Every outsider artist got their start somehow. Maybe Jandek really worked at some obscurely named woodshop in the before time. Maybe Jarboe’s association with the type of order espoused by the FBI was mystical and not necessarily familial. Instances where origins are discernible become important clues to intent and direction. That’s one way to tell if such output is brown brilliance or just bullshit. That’s the case with this awkward, difficult yet occasionally rewarding listen. In the totality of things there is a hard-to-reach end point to this sort of excursion, just ask the Shaggs or their father-producer. But there are enough jangly-bright moments on this trip to make it worth the cringing that is gonna come out and visit your countenance when you listen, no matter what. Favorite tracks: “KYS Song” and “Prescribed Pillhead.”
Family FluidFamily Fluid EP(Self-Released)
It would be great to have a copy of this brief, fiery-fierce and indescribably beautiful recording available for loud and proud discourse as the lights dim, as the bombs fall, as the cancer comes on again. But it would be just as fine, I have decided, to have the damn thing available if you plan to live forever too. From the first frenetic track, “Movin’ On,” to the gorgeously ground-up pop flava of “So Much For Me,” this really is it. The burned-up rhythm and breathless vocals on “What’s With You” are more than just nods to ’60s or ’90s rock tropes, they are actually demonstrations of mastery of the genre by four fortunate souls and their engineer. This is truly timeless material. In its effortlessness and casual-cool, completist causality it’s practically unutterable as a description of who played what and where. The events that marched out to be recorded here are from another place.
KayohesStress City: The Struggle Within(Self-Released)
Here is a record with lots of Burque business mixed up with thick Detroit-derived beats and a sometimes syrupy H-Town aspect too. The swirling sounds that accompany the laconic, long-limbed and sometimes blank flow of worldly rapper Keyohes fortify his narratives—they’re deeply rooted in the earth and experience of living. But EDM is everywhere now, amigos, a foregone conclusion the artist manages with grace. News reel samples and odd melodic pop culture references—forgotten by the latest generation of electronic media addicts in America—bring the personal histories on view here to life. Clever but not indulgently derivative, and sometimes forward-looking, check out tight tuneage that includes “Beautiful,” “I See Fire” and “Stress Flow.”