Various Artists - "19 Ways To Avoid The Draft"
(Airborne Virus/Marino 2000, CD)
From Aural Innovations #14 (January 2001)
This is the second compilation I've heard from Marino, which is a sub-label of Elsie & Jack and released in association with Airborne Virus Records (home of Minmae). And once again I find myself introduced to numerous bands I've never heard of covering a range of styles including noise, ambient, psychedelia, and good old rock songs. There are 18 contributors so I'll just give a brief overview of each.
Like Millions contributes a solid rocker that made me think of a punky New Wave version of King Crimson. Woman alternates between being a bouncy rocker along the lines of early XTC and more grungy Rolling Stones style rock. I'd be interested in hear more from Woman. Electroscope plays trippy acoustic guitar and synth produced electro psych. Halkyn's contribution is a simple acoustic tune. Not much to it really. Ms. Black play a melodic song with nice female vocals. Too basic for my tastes. Empress contribute another melodic song with female vocals, but this one grabbed me a bit more. It's so simplistic yet the music had an appealing raw quality and I liked the singer's ghostly style.
Steward lay down a basic rock beat overlayed with anguished vocals and all manner of grating and screeching sounds. Fed Cast And The Spiders From Mars is actually pretty similar to Steward. Minmae plays a valium-paced lo-fi guitar tune. Read the other reviews this issue for more detailed info on Minmae. Static Films play a simple strumming guitar, pained vocals, and a slow whining violin (or cello?) that creates a dark and slightly dissonant atmosphere. There's also faint voice samples in the background. Things get a bit wild but unruly making for an intriguing chaotic tune that would be pretty good if it were a little more controlled. I'd like to hear more from Static Films.
Nylon Coated Cats play early Pink Floyd styled psychedelia. Gang Wizard's track assaulted me with bashing dual space guitars that fire things up and even get a little acid punky. I hear a riff similar to "Interstellar Overdrive". Gotta check out more from these guys. Monera is a band who contributed to the previous compilation. Very pleasant experimental atmospheric space sounds and drones. The music evolves slowly but maintains a confident meandering course. I'd very much like to hear more from Monera. Karina ESP play slowly developing ambient guitar drones.
We had featured a review of Drekka in an earlier issue but this is the first time I've heard them myself. Drekka is apparently the moniker used by guitarist Michael Anderson and on this track he plays slowly picked ethereal psych guitar with some occasional whispy vocals. Throughout there's a constant noisy drone line that gives a rough edge to the atmosphere. Things start to intensify after a while and the whole thing is a strange combination of Eastern influenced psychedelia and heavy noise drones. I'll have to explore Drekka further. cLOUDDEAD are difficult to describe. We hear quirky vocals over waves of lush ambience, though in the last minute drums are introduced and the ambience becomes more purely electronic. Way too brief, but I've marked them down for further exploration. Moral Crayfish's contribution is a wild glom of voice samples, phased or looped freaky space sounds, and ambient washes. And, finally, Seaworthy play wailing electronics and slowly picking guitar. A nice contrast that combines well.
For more information you can visit the Airborne Virus Records web site.
Contact via snail mail at Airborne Virus Records; PO Box 420825; San Francisco, CA 94142-0825.
You can visit the Marino label at their web site.
Contact via snail mail at Marino; PO Box 230316; Grand Rapids, MI 49523-0316.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz