Thor's Rubber Hammer

Thor's Rubber Hammer is a Washington, D.C. based record label featuring a wide array of avant-garde acts, with most releases in the cassette and CDr formats. After just listening to the latest batch of tapes and discs, it is clear that they aren't sticking to a single type of sound or band, but have culled some experimental acts working with the cornerstones of such genres as drone, folk and jazz as starting points, but going well beyond the generic boundaries of any genre. They definitely have a lot to offer for everyone, and everything about the recording, presentation and commitment to experimental music is top-notch professionalism. I highly urge you to go check it out at:


Robe.- Remains of a Burning World
Robe - Remains Of A Burning World c76

Robe was first brought to my attention by a reader of the blog who passed along a digital media link file of one of their CDrs. Since that time, they have been a favorite of the so-called "death drone" genre. I know most bands would hate to get lumped into a genre that seems centered more around the symbolism and presentation of the music than what's actually being put on tape, but Robe goes far beyond that.

You see that c76? That's 76 fucking minutes of absolute destruction. While it's hard to write a review of music that is very singular and only has slight changes throughout, I will do my best to avoid a hyperbolic review that compares everything to taking a boat trip up the Yanghtzee on a head full of acid. Robe is known for heavy, dark drones, which come in abundance here. Though, it's less haphazard as it is there to just leave you lost in the remains of their burning world. I felt like I was being led around a barren, post-apocalyptic landscape on a head full of codeine with no end in sight (sorry). The imagery created by the weighty drones is one of despair and being lost. Which is why, if you're going to do death drone, don't just put a bunch of skulls on your album cover. Kick me in the face with some suffocating noise, batter down your listener with a sonic assault, leave them gasping for air, make me want to swerve my car off the road about an hour in and then burn a hole through whatever is left of my brain. Robe manages to do all this right before leaving you with a hopeful semi-melody that shines a light on the dark journey you just took. Go figure.

Check out Robe and other similar artists at their site, Tragic Creature Recordings
Buy The Remains Of A Burning World

Beru- What Would I Do Without You

Mothguts III
Mothguts - III CDr
Remember how visceral and bad-fucking-ass Last Exit sounded when you first heard them? I sure do. I also remembered what a world of free-jazz/rock-fusion it opened up to me. I also started thinking, why aren't there any bands doing this anymore? Well, now we have Anthony Ware (sax), Mike Noordzy (bass), Ben Ross (drums) and Chris Welcome (guitar) or as a whole, Mothguts. This band will definitely be right up the alley of anyone who likes the jazz explosion of bands like Last Exit or Painkiller, the ability to flawlessly switch genres while remaining it's own like The Naked City or the kind of hardcore no-wave prog of old NYC bands such as Massacre. The best part it is that while it remains an assemblage of these styles, it stands alone as its own. Way more composed than some of the free jazz outfits, harder than the no-wave jammers, Mothguts settle into their own niche that can go from swing to drums barreling downhill admist a super fast guitar repitition or sweltering sax skronk, right before dropping back into a complex composition before you can even blink. They can also take it down a notch and put together a down-tempo jazzier piece that still has a bit of rock edge to awesome quartet interplay. It's in essence a really awesome CD of the kind of genre I feel is really under-represented in the modern world of experimental music. Very refreshing.
Last Winter We Didn\'t Sing
VA - Last Winter We Didn't Sing
Not part of the newer crop, but still on sale, is a collection of winter themed music from a great group of artists. It features some well known ambience and noise makers such as Fabio Orsi, as well as a lot of solid and up-and-coming musicians as well. As the days get shorter and the nights get colder this is the kind of album you want to put on before you pull the covers back over your head. Highlights include Greg Davis doing an ambient glitch version of Silent Night with 24 hour news channel recordings humming underneath the eerie ode to our Blessed Virgin Mary, Fabio Orsi doing Badalamenti on Dead Leaves Christmas, a dark ethereal mood piece, and a huge bit of improv'd pedal steel solo from Susan Alcorn. Most of the album is a highlight, really, as many traditional, holiday themed pieces are reworked and the rest are busy capturing the beautiful, yet solemn tone of the winter months.


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Label: Deep Tapes