39 Clocks Zoned (De Stijl) CD - Zoned is an excellent anthology from this little known German duo, which just happens to be one of the most freaked out Krautrock groups to come out of the motherland that I'd not heard before now. Drawing equally from Nuggets era garage psych, The Velvets, Krautrock and even Suicide (who also used a drum machine and were a duo, though 39 Clocks existed concurrently), these lads weave such influences along with their own wacky screwball sensibilities to conjure weird, tuneful art punk/new wave ditties that amuse, disturb, confuse, transfix -- often at the same time. It's fairly amazing how far ahead of the curve this stuff sounds when you think about it, not that I recommend such foolishness. As stoned to the bone as it is minimally austere, Zoned lands somewhere between the warped acid pop of Ariel Pink and the original New Wave era. Highly recommended, and one of the sweetest surprises of '09.
Blues Control Local Flavor (Siltbreeze) CD - Yet another tripped out duo with something to say, Russell and Lea hit their stride on this their third--fourth?--full length, first for the gods of Silt. The four songs on Local Flavor are often more upbeat and downright boogielicious in a way that explores the righteous bleed-over between West Coast psych, early Eno, NYC ghettotech and Krautrock. Nice enough trick on paper, but in Blues Control's hands it comes off like genuine psychedelic muzak majik on the changer (and on stage!).
Kito Mizukumi Rouber Otonaki Touge De Hagureta Kmr (Ultra Eczema) LP - This weird record was Tom Lax's #1 album of '09, so you know it's some messed up shit. Kito Mizukumi Rouber is a self-described dance band from Japan. Their "dance music" is, ostensibly, amateurish idiot slop that promises to test the listener every second of the way, but that's only at first. The opening songs of Kito Muzukumi Rouber albums are apparently like a rite of passage of sorts -- a test to determine whether you are worthy of what follows. Their second album, Otonaki Touge De Hagureta Kmr, features uber-destroyed art punk new/no wave garage skronk that comes recommended only for the chosen, deranged few. If up to the task, you will find a cathartic post industrial dance party that raises the bar all over again when it comes to utterly destroyed/deconstructed sonic splendor noise punk mayhem. As tortured as it is joyfully unhinged, as beautiful as it is ugly, not to mention deceptively dramatic and darkly hallucinatory, this record is a case study in calculated deconstruction that comes highly recommended for all the brain-damaged children of the sun. There's even a couple hooks in there! End results land somewhere between Harry Pussy, Dead C, The Stooges and Maher Shalal Hash Baz. If that sounds like your cup of tea, then God help you, and dig in. The rest of you can probably pass. Me? Hook, line and sinker.