Words on Sounds - end of 2023


Gonna spend some words and time at the end of this year ruminating on a batch of recordings that have involved local/Sacramento-ish folks. Stuff that has captured my attention in this last year that I think people might want to check out.
Gonna start off with a bandcamp compilation for Trans Day of Remembrance put out by the amazing folx involved with 916 Growth Gigs. You can find it / listen to it / buy it here: https://916growthgigs.bandcamp.com/.../a-compilation...
@916.growth.gigs does wonderful stuff in - and for - Sacramento: putting on DIY shows notable for delightfully mixed genre lineups for at least the last half dozen years; making a lot of music in a variety of group and solo configurations; and this last year starting to pull together a batch of fun benefit compilations full of sweet music.
The Trans Day of Remembrance comp is a mix of tracks of indie, folky, glitchwavy and sometimes punky stuff by trans and/or nonbinary artists from near and far. Standout tracks for me are the Blooming Heads song - cuz Bri’s voice is magic; the great opening emo-ukey track by MJ Bones; and Porch Cat’s most-relatable song about what it feels like to go back to the hometown you have evolved beyond
The whole collection is a delight. It’s a thoughtfully curated comp - wisely going for quality over quantity, so you’ve got nine different fine songs that all sound unique, but fit together really well. Many benefit comps are excellent for what they support, as this one certainly is, raising funds for the movement to Free Epona Rose. However, this one also works so well as an album to listen to all the way through that I’ve come back to for repeat listens and discoveries.
You can find more info on all the inspiring stuff 916 Growth Gigs is up to here: https://916growthgigs.carrd.co/ which has links to all the comps, as well as info on a couple of upcoming shows they have scheduled at the Cafe Colonial for the end of 2023 and the beginning of 2024.
Can’t wait to see what 916 Growth Gigs does next, and so very glad they are here now doing what they do.


Continuing to dig into local releases that came out in 2023 with a wonderful archival compilation from local mobile recording studio and cassette label, Pawn Takes Pawn.

@pawntakespawn has been recording local bands for years and this summer opened up their vaults to put out a compilation of 30 tracks they had recorded between 2002-2007. It is a delightful document capturing the spirit of the poppy/rocky side of punk rock in Sacramento at that time.

It kicks off with a stellar power pop track from Army of Trees and then moves through a fine mix of once-upon-a-time scene stalwarts like the Secretions, Helper Monkeys, Little Medusas, Riff Randals, Pizzas, 4 Eyes, and Enlows. Buncha finger snappin toe tapping singalongable stuff throughout the whole thing.

I was particularly thrilled to hear bands I don’t think I ever saw play live or heard before who have some of my favorite tracks on the comp: the infectious punk of Carpet Pissers, raging thrash of Shark Sandwich, rad femme-fronted punk of Lemmies and Lobots Revenge, and hearing familiar voices in new arrangements with Ski Instructors and Lousy Bums

It's not all pop punk rock stuff as there’s bits of experimental sound from the great Klondike and York, the psych of Munia, pure raging rock ‘n roll by Hotel Pistol & Sunshine Smile, as well as the never-should-be-forgotten incomparable Duchess of Saigon.

All the bands on the Pawn Takes Pawn comp have disappeared to history to be revisited on this lovely collection with the exception of two diehards who are still keeping it going decades later: Four Eyes (playing Dec 30 at Torch Club with Losin Streaks & Okmoniks) and The Enlows (playing Jan 14 at Cafe Colonial with National Ransom & Sub-Atomix).

The comp can be found right here in pay what you will form:

While there, check out the other recordings and tapes, in particular the great “Relajo'' tape by Jesus & the Dinosaurs, Fairfield’s premier Latin American inspired garage punk band who never failed to blow me away every time I saw them.


WORDS on SOUNDS: RANDOM REFLECTIONS RECAPPING some local RECORDINGS from 2023 to end this year. # 3/???

Since around 2021, @thrashtapes has been absolutely killing it with a dozen 7” records and tapes from bands around the world and down the street unified by a commitment to rippingly fast thrash and hi-quality nasty hardcore punk.

At the very beginning of 2023, Thrash Tapes - in conjunction with the fantastic No Times Records - unleashed one of the best splits of the year: The Cockring/Fastcase split tape ep features about eleven minutes of two of the best Sacramento punk bands of the 2020’s. Both bands have had a major impact on the scene around here and are total powerhouses live. This release captures that power. 

The Cockring side is a beastly twisted gnarl of riffs and anger and hatred. Vicious stuff coming at you with an unrelenting and unpredictable attack that just drips venom. A beautifully ugly mess, raw and uncompromising with a discomforting ability to mix noise and power into great punk rock. If you like your shit abrasive and nasty, this is the side for you.

Flip it over and you got three blasts by Fastcase. Hellaciously fast fast fast when they need to be, yet slowing down to smash the stomp and be a mighty powerful force when they want to be. A stunningly tight cavalcade of blasting beats and shredding riffs topped by great cord shredding vocals. If you like your shit coming at you at blindingly fast speeds, this is the side for you.

I love all that shit, so both sides of this great split are for me.

Both of these bands released their own great demos in 2022, but this early 2023 Thrash Tapes release is a step up for both of them. Overwhelming sound, more focused, higher intensity. And just dripping with so much rage. Punker than Punkest punk your punk can Punk.  

You can get the split tape - and a ton of other great Thrash Tapes stuff right here: https://thrashtapes.bandcamp.com/album/cockring-fastcase-split-ep-thrash-12 +++

Back in 2022, @researchchemicalrecs started releasing small runs of tapes capturing the sounds of underground bands from in and around Sacramento. In 2023, they put out a few albums all of which stand out in different ways, but share a penchant for creative unpredictable alternative / indie / diy / whatever rock and punk-adjacent tunes..
BLOUS3’ “Illusion of Safety” came out a little under a year ago and the 8 songs go a lot of places in 30 minutes. Cuz I’m old or something, I’m gonna call this ‘art punk’ and it’s really good stuff - guitars going from all sharp and cutting to wriggly and wormy; shared vocals of different styles telling tales; and heavy angular rhythms driving it forward and down unexpected paths. Enough push and urgency to keep things moving while the twists and turns take me places I didn’t know I wanted to go.
H. SALT’s “A Burnt CD Effigy” cassette album goes different places. It came out last March and is a layered recording. Droll, lyrically clever, leisurely indie rock sits on top, but in the background are thoughtful asides, screamed exhortations, tricky rhythm bits, and sudden bursts of sneaky sounds. Keep listening and see what you find.
The most recent Research Chemical album is a tape by DOGS BARKING that came out a couple of months ago. Ten tidy songs that are all over the place and keep me on my toes. At first, it was so all over the map ranging from grunge to emo-rap to post punk to noise rock to moody pop to experimental to punk bits and more that it sounded almost like a comp of a buncha different wild and weird indie bands. Upon deeper listening I started to find the threads that held it together and made it all make sense. And it’s definitely worth taking the time. If you want to know more just search for “Dogs Barking” and watch a bunch of videos of dogs barking and forget what took you to the search engine in the first place.
You can track down these and much more here: https://researchchemicalrecords.bandcamp.com/music

WORDS on SOUNDS: RANDOM RECORDING RECAP REFLECTIONS of some local stuff from 2023. # 5/&

HOLEHOG snuck out a swell recording on vinyl / tape / digital in the middle of 2023. “To Have and to Hold” is a split album between Holehog and “B-Side,” a solo punk thing done by an A Global Threat-ian. That B side is very cool with an effectively eccentric claustrophobic hardcore feel. but I’m here to talk local music at the end of the year, so I’m gonna spend the rest of my 2200 available characters on Holehog.

For me, @holehogpunk epitomizes punk. The exact band to share with someone who asks, “What does punk sound like?” They just capture the spirit, the sound, the feel of punk.

From their beginnings they were good, and they just get better with each release and show. Since 2020, they have put out two other 12”s - “Dystopian Reality” and “Radiation Blues” - both highly recommended. The five tracks on this year’s split release are my favorites from them so far. The sound on it is massive and every piece hits in that perfectly punk way they have perfected.

They are rooted in a uk82 / hardcore street punk sound, but they amp everything up. Galloping tempos, tight rhythm section, great raw guitar sound, stirring vocals. They know their way around the chorus part of a ditty, and almost every time I hear a new song by them, I am yelling along heartily before the song is done. Anthemic earworm hardcore punk rock classics with a delightful mix of both piss & vinegar.

If you love punk, you will love this. Track it down, raise your fists, and shout along.

As always with Holehog, the graphics/visual accompaniment are exceptional and jaw-droppingly stareworthy. (They also make a bunch of cool-lookng shirts, if you are into wearing clothes). Lotsa places you can track it down - I’d start here:

You can see them live February 16th at Cafe Colonial with a stellar lineup featuring California Slugger, Repeat Offender, Defective Chain, and Earth Exit. ++++++
WORDS on SOUNDS: RANDOM REFLECTIONS on some local recording from 2023. # 6/&?
Blessed Curse have been thrashing around in one form or another since the beginning of the 2000s. Once upon a time as Atrosity, and then starting a new chapter as Devastator only to find out there are too damn many devastators out there devastating, so a little over 10 years ago they became Blessed Curse.
Through the name changes, several recordings and many many shows, they have always been deeply committed to shredding thrash metal, or, as they like to call it, “Deadly Thrash,” while I’m over here wailing, “That’s SPEEDMETAL!”
Whatever you want to call what they are doing, they are really good at it. This last Fall, @blessedcurseofficial put out a new album on M-Theory Audio called “Pray for Armageddon” and it captures the classic speedmetal/thrash/crossover sound. From the moment it starts you are in for an intense ride. The riffs hit the spot with powerful hooks coming from all directions, the drums amaze as they should,and on top of it all are strong gruffly barked vocals. The guitarwork on this is nifty as fuck, with tons of creative and quick leads all over the place.
What I think I appreciate about it the most is how much it reminds me of just how much I love speedmetal. Yeah, those 47 other brands of metal that have developed over the decades are cool, but there is something deeply satisfying about hearing this particular old school style so well played. Blessed Curse mix tons of well thought out parts to their songs that don’t stray from the overall goal of thrashing til death. When they pause on the rapid-fire riffing, it is only to strengthen the impact with pummeling chugging breakdowns.
If you love great fast thrashing metal you will surely dig this. If you want to be reminded of how great well-done speedmetal can be - or just want to learn how great it can be for the very first time in your life - you should go to the effort to check this out.
To grab it, go here:

WORDS on SOUNDS: RANDOM REFLECTIONS of some local recordings from 2023. # 7/&??
A delightful surprise. I’ve been a longtime appreciator of Important Records who have spent the 2000s releasing copious amounts of experimental sounds (over 500 releases so far this century). What they put out is hard to classify but includes avant-garde, minimalist, electro-acoustic, space rock, and about 73 more subgenres of sound. What thrills me about them is not just the breadth and quantity of their releases, but the exceptional quality.
This summer I was excited about the release of mHz’s “Proof of Identity” (which you probably want to check out whether you realize it or not) and ImpRec was offering a cheap bundle with some other new releases. Knowing that pretty much every thing the label does is worth hearing, I bought the bundle of a few tapes and a CD, and that is how I ended up with Parish’s “Cascades of Refinement” album.
When I put on the cd, I was entranced. Like most releases on Important Records, it was innovative and enthralling and somewhat unclassifiable. As I was listening picked up the case and saw “Recorded with immutable love in Davis, California.” Holy shit, Parish was local?!?!
Turns out some of the material on the album was first performed at a Norcal Noisefest a couple years back. A decade before they had put out an influential early mallksoft vaporwave album under the name, Disconscious, although this is something else entirely.
The album sounds gorgeous and moving and subtle and troubling and deep. I won’t pretend to understand how Parish Bracha creates all this cascading sonic power, collapsing in on itself. I hear sounds I know unfolding into sounds I can’t place. It’s both familiar and mysterious with layers of space and vibration all making something beautiful and thoughtful and sometimes scary and painful, and you should really hear it!
Spend some time with this one (and about 100 other things from Important Records)
WORDS on SOUNDS: Randomized Reflections on some local recordings from 2023. # 8/&???
@transylvanianrecordings is one of my favorite labels. Deeply dedicated to a variety of sounds, most - but certainly not all - very heavy and crushing. Endlessly enthusiastic about releasing music they feel is important. Hellaciously hard working and assiduous. To top it off, for years they’ve been releasing a load of great bands from Sacramento. 2023 was no exception, and here’s 3 releases by local bands they put out this year that made an impact on my ears:
I was thrilled that S.U.R.G.E.’s “State of Complete Emptiness” came out last month. A band that impressed me from the first pummeling riff I heard from them. Heavy as hell but with an undergirding crustypunk foundation. A creative desperate sounding powerful sonic response to a fucked up world. They burn when they need to burn, grind when they need to grind, and just wallop you when they need to wallop you, which is most of the time. Standing at the crossroads of metal and punk, but carving out their own unique space. So glad this got released.
TENTACULT’s “Lacerating Pattern” is 40 minutes of unearthly twisted proggy death metal. Rooted in very fast frisky yet heavy doomy deathy metal that reaches towards unpredictable outer limits. Raging riffs clashing with trippy rhythms with monumental sounding vocals. It’s experimental and arty while maintaining the heavy fist-pumping power of metal. Weird, wild, ripping, and wonderful.
EMBODIED TORMENT came back last year after several years of quietude with a return to form - that form being the intense nasty brutal death metal they’ve been known for generating for the last decade. “Archaic Bloodshed” is extreme death metal for the 2020s full of precisely played sections of inordinate speed and power. Listen and get blown away by some of the shit they pull off. An impressive resurgence. You can find Transylvanian Recordings here (just start scrolling down to get overwhelmed with how much great stuff is there)



WORDS on SOUNDS: Random reflections of some local recording from 2023. # 9/?%
San Kazakgascar’s “Too Many People” is one of those albums that is so good, so exciting to me, so fresh, unique, and wonderful that I want to scream from the rooftops, “You Gotta Hear This!” So at this moment on xXxMas Day, I am on my rooftop, screaming (yet again).
A completely instrumental album that never fails to move me at my core. When they hit me with that right mode when I am in just the right mood, it can generate goosebumps or tears even as it all maintains a shifting subtly ass-shaking groove throughout.
I could (and will) try to explain it, but it’s kinda pointless. Just go find it and listen, ideally grabbing some headphones and going for a walk to hear the way the instrumentation - which includes, but is not limited to: guitars, clarinet, flutes, sax, synths, percussion - weaves a sonic web around you. There’s a world of sounds traveling from deserts to mountains to creeks to streets of cities all over the world. Underpinning it is a pulsating rock and slithering funk base that keeps things moving as your ears get showered with so many engaging hooks. While it feels like these are songs that could go on forever if they chose, they wisely keep things succinct.
@sankazakgascar has been kicking around Sacramento for at least 15 years - and some of the members have been an active part of the Sacramento/Davis DIY scene for at least another 15 before that. “Too Many People” feels like a culmination of all those years of work as they have pulled together something extremely special. Highly recommended.
This year, San Kazakgascar also put out a delightful live drone tape on Trouble in Mind Records where they stretch things out into inner and outer space quite a bit more. Also check out their affiliated label - Lather Records - that has put out around 50 totally unique, mostly Northern California-based recordings dating from this year back to the early 1990s.
+++++++++ WORDS on SOUNDS: Random reflections of some local recordings from 2023. #10 / %

MALANDRO retired earlier this month. A few years spent blasting ears all over the West, and then intentionally calling it quits. I’ve seen so many bands implode or explode through the years, it was sweet to see such good folks go out so consciously and constructively.

Around 3 years ago, they put out their first recording “La Frontera” as a 2-piece that was “influenced by our lives in Mexico and coming to the US.” Seven songs in under 4 minutes full of blasting beats and brutal bass, screeching shrieks and burly barks. Like their live shows it was over almost as soon as it started, a powerful expression of identity, effective sampling, controlled chaos and power, leaving you wanting more. As time passed, they resurfaced with an additional vocalist, a developing intricacy and power to their songs, and an even more focused attack.

@xmalandrox released their 2nd tape and played their last show with Violencia from Tijuana a couple of weeks ago. The show was spectacular and the amount of love and chaos ricocheting around the room as they played felt like the perfect ending to the short and important life of this great local band. I remain amazed and thankful to live in a time and place where a local band this intense and vital can generate such a well–deserved enthusiastic response from a hometown crowd. (hashtag916-4ever)

“Demo # 2” is an excellent release that just dials everything up from their debut. Stretching out to 10 songs over nearly 6 minutes and full of a hardcore rage added to their powerviolence stew where the wall of rhythm bounces between wildly fast and bludgeoning breakdowns. All the pieces - the desperate vocals, filthy as fuck sounding bass, manic drum blasts, sample breaks - work so well together. Going out at the top of their game. It’s inspiring.

“Demo #2” can be found online. I think the first run of the tape is sold out already, but more will be coming out on Mullet Death Records soon…

Hear it here:
https://malandro916.bandcamp.com/album/demo-2 +++++++++++

WORDS on SOUNDS: Random reflections of some local recording from 2023. #11 / %?
@aruspexcrust is a crust band - that makes me happy.
ARUSPEX is a REALLY GOOD local crust band. That makes me giddy.
At its core, crust can simultaneously serve as lamentions capturing the sadness and despair of the realities of the world we live in; anthems rallying us to rebellions public and personal - revolutions large and small - against and alongside this fucked-up world we find ourselves immersed in; and inspirations shining brightness through the cracks and offering possibilities of what might be that help us keep going in spite of it all. Tunes that mourn, organize, and offer sparks of hope. That is why I love crustcore.
On “Hawthorne & Henbane”, Browns Valley crusties, Aruspex, do an exceptional job of capturing all those elements of crust that stir my soul. Furious galloping rhythms topped with exceptional shared vocals screaming, shouting, and growling out excellent thoughtful lyrics. Some really creative guitar that checks all the crusty boxes that make my heart go pitter pat, and then throws in lil’ spicy bits of melodic death metal, skramzies, and doodlelicky leads that fit perfectly and add more layers to the outpouring.
It’s dynamic, it’s crucial, it's intelligent, It’s poignant. It’s a fabulous and impactful album. Over a half an hour it takes you on a rollercoaster of emotion and power, protest and possibility. Desperate howls simultaneously enraged and somehow hopeful. When I listen, I feel the sadness, the focused anger, and the glimpse at a better world that the best crust can offer.
“Hawthorne & Henbane” is such a fine recording. It thrills me that it exists. Looking forward to seeing what these folks do next. You can track it down on cassette and digital here:
Aruspex and many more great bands will be playing the Punks for Palestine benefit January 6th at Doll Slum.

WORDS on SOUNDS: Reflections on some local sounds from 2023. #12 /%??
One of the niftiest local DIY music projects of the last year is THE SOUND.
A series of themed compilations from local songwriters paired with a zine featuring song lyrics, chords and reflections. Such a swell project full of the diverse voices of Sacto folk laying their hearts bare. It emanates from a local songwriter community with a deep commitment to creativity, mutual aid, hard work, and a lot of broken (and mending) hearts.
#1 came out late 2022 with 24 takes on the idea that “Breakups are Hard”. 2023’s #2 had 35 songs under the theme “Loving is Easy.” Both have the raw immediacy of home recordings and create a sense that around every corner of this city there may be someone taking the time to create music that means something to them. That, by itself, is such a great thing, but THE SOUNDs show that a whole lot of those people are writing quite fine songs.
There’s a bunch of guitar and voice, plenty of ukulele, a bit of banjo all mixed up with some keys and beats. Some of the standout tracks for me included songs by Lokeigh, Songs in the Key of Leslie, Blooming Heads, Vs. The Girl, Be Brave Bold Robot, Donrico De Castro, Isle of Stipe, Celia St. Croix, Curse You Von Baron, Three Armed Bandit, Little Tiny Knife, Kinsly, Luhan Si Hadin (whose “Binary Stars” on #1 wormed its way into my brain months ago and seems to have taken up permanent residence) and NineFingers (who deserves stacks of kudos for bringing this awesome project together).
Thanks to this comp I now have a new song that has skyrocketed onto my personal “favorite local songs of all time” list - Mazy J’s incredibly wonderful clawhammer punk, ‘T4T Love Song.’
Best of all, #3 is being compiled with the theme: “Home is…” Contact @ninefingersmusic or NineFingersMusic@gmail.com if you’ve got a song you want to share. I can’t wait to hear it!
You may be able to find THE SOUND out in the wilds of Sac, or you can get it all digitally (songs/zine) and build it yourself at:

WORDS on SOUNDS: Random Reflections on some local recordings from 2023. #13/16

SHOVE IT made a mark on Sacramento around the 2010s as a high-quality local skate punk band who always impressed with their creative, enthusiastic, and thoughtful tunes. They played a bunch of shows and were called on to open for great touring bands. And then - from my perspective - they kinda disappeared. I figured that they - like so many bands - did their thing and moved on. Glad I got to experience them when I did.

However this last year, I noticed they were back at it and playing live at some N-Men Movie events. Then in the fall, I saw that they released an LP called “No Comply” that was available at Sacramento’s (oh, let’s just say, the whole world’s) bestest record store, PHONO SELECT.

The album is a vinyl version of a 2014 recording and it is very cool to see it out in the world. It works both as a great album, and as a slab of a historical documentation of Sacramento punk reaching back to the decade ago when it was recorded and further beyond in the influences that permeate the platter.

Shove It has a great sarcastic sneering old school punk sound that the recording captures delightfully. They take sonic inspiration from the history of punk (and more) and make it their own with slinking slithery guitar lines, throbbing bass weaving in and out, and creative songwriting full of unpredictable twists, infectious hooks, and sharp edges. A highly literate and intelligent band with in-depth lyrics from personal, political, historical, and global perspectives. They make some of the most intellectual skate punk you’ll ever hear.

If you remember Shove It, you probably already know you want to run out and get this album. If you missed out on them the first time around and love good ol’ smart punk rock, track it down, it’ll be worth it. I know you can grab the album at @phonoselect

You can see them play live again January 27th at the Boardwalk with Light the Way and Filthy Kids (ALL AGES).

Take a listen to Shove It here: :
https://shoveitsacto.bandcamp.com/album/no-comply ++++++++++++++

Words on Sounds: Reflections on some local sounds from 2023. #14/16
“Unholy Death Quadrumvirate'' is a 4-band/song split tape full of black/war/death metal that came out in 2023 with two lovely local metal bands, ABHORRENCY & DEIPHAGE, as well as Declension from Germany and Oregon’s Horns Against Heaven. Now I know next to nothing about all the distinct flavours of metal, but to paraphrase Jesus, “I know what I like,” and I like the shit these folks are spewing.
ABHORRENCY kicks it off with spiraling tension that winds its way around ghastly vocals and a mid-tempo burner that comes to a pounding climax. A seething wall of ferocity.
DEIPHAGE rips through a thrashing black death metal track that manages to go a whole lot of places in just 3 minutes - great howling vocals and a blistering pace highlighted by drum and guitar parts that serve to emphasize the power unleashed.
This is a fine, fun, and fancy little tape taste to get you wanting more. Luckily, both Abhorrency and Deiphage have their own albums that came out in - or around - 2023.
@abhorrency_666 released the great “Climax of Disgusting Impurities” album on cd & tape in 2022, but if you only pay attention to records, you can pretend it is a 2023 release cuz Sentient Ruin put it on vinyl this year. It is an unrelenting and vicious delight - layers of face melting mayhem with sneaky little hooks throughout. A great album by a fantastic sweet and sick band. Find it here: https://abhorrency.bandcamp.com/.../climax-of-disgusting...
@deiphage released “Nuclear Calvary '' on cd early in 2023 on labels in Sacramento, Europe, Brazil, and Thailand. It starts off with the sounds of war and then sounds like war. Phenomenal guitar work throughout, harrowing vocals, rhythms that barrel you over at varying tempos. Fabulously destructive. Get it here: https://deiphage-war.bandcamp.com/album/nuclear-cavalry
To track down the Unholy Death Quadrumvirate tape, try the Deiphage or Horns Against Heaven bandcamps or start digging a trench to hell, cuz there’s probably a couple hanging around there.


Words on Sounds: Reflections on some local recordings from 2023. #15/16
DOLORES 5000 and BAFUS / BASKIN / SHIURBA are widely and wildly different in sound, but connected at the source - local visionaries creating sonic substance that cannot be defined as they break through the barricades of normality and predictability..
DOLORES 5000 - “Schoenberg’s Cats'' is at least her 5th album to come out in the last half dozen years and it pulls on the strengths of the others while forging new ground. I first heard it in the summer of 2023 and took pause from telling people about powerviolence shows to write…Sacramento’s premier solo space rock sonic traveler has a new one and it’s probably my favorite trip so far. ‘Schoenberg’s Cats’ is full of spongy synths, burbling beats, and total guitar Goddessry.
Wild instrumentals mix with great songs that have you meeting Daedalus and Henry Robinett as you travel from the Plaza Hotel to the moons of Uranus. It’s a fabulous journey into a wonderful world of sonic adventure. Get some headphones and then get this one in your head.
Yeah, that still works. Get it, and all other things Dolores5000, at: https://dolores5000.bandcamp.com/album/schoenbergs-cats
BAFUS/RASKIN/SHIURBA’s,“Fair Shanks Suburbia,'' came out a month ago. Filled with fierce and feral drumming, beautiful and abrasive electric guitar, and blurting saxophones big and medium, this improv album is so fuckin great and repeated listenings reveal wonders. I love the sequencing with the first half dozen tracks giving you a taste over just 10 minutes of what they are about to dig into, and then the next 6 tunes taking more than a half an hour to unfold the potential hinted at early on. It’s wonderful, beautiful, challenging, careening, and comforting throughout.
While there, explore the multitudes of other Bafus-related sounds and prepare to be drum-stunned. If you need a jumping off point, start with Sacto’s premier experimental art-rock band, Gentleman Surfer, cuz they are a delight!


Words on Sounds: Reflections on some local recordings from 2023. #16/16.
MESCALINE MANIACS put out a new release in 2023. A split tape with Chafa on No Time Records. @notimerecordsoc is such a fantastic diy label - dozens of releases in a wide variety of genres; a fierce commitment to radical underground values; and a sweet spot for some of Sacramento’s finest - Cocking, Fastcase, and, of course, the Mighty Mesky.
While the split with Chafa might be sold out at the moment, you can hear it online here:
The Chafa side is great. The Mescaline Maniacs side is as fabulous as anything they’ve ever done. Just the perfect blend of speed, power, noise, tension, anger, chaos. A band that keeps pushing limits of what is possible when making smoothies from the extremes of powerviolence, grind, noise, and beatdown hardcore.
@mescalinemaniacs is one of the best bands EVER to come out of Sacramento. I’ve told you that before, and I will keep telling you that (unless all of a sudden they aren’t, in which case I’ll probably just keep quiet about it). They’ve had an immeasurable impact on influencing and building up the ever-evolving local scene. We are lucky to be alive at the same time they are.
On a related note, a great zine just came out- as in a PRINT zine - not this bullshit ‘write a buncha words online crap’ I engage in (for now). xHSX #2 focuses on the history of Branch Street House, throws in some Sacto Style and a deep love of music, and is an excellent read with a fantastic layout style that balances nifty images with readability. Great work and it’s thrilling to have a local PRINT zine to look through. If interested in reading it, reach out to @flaminhots or you can probably track down a copy at this great show coming up at the end of January…

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