In Rotation: Multi-instrumentalist Boris Hauf says Last.fm saved his ass 

Plus: Reader music editor Philip Montoro on Witch Mountain and El-P, and Cheer-Accident keyboardist Dudley Bayne on the composer of Shredded Paranoid Cheese

click to enlarge como park carousel cassette
  • An Eagle Horse from Como Park

Philip Montoro, Reader music editor, is obsessed with. . .

Witch Mountain, Cauldron of the Wild This four-piece from Portland, Oregon, pairs clean female vocals with charcoal black guitars and dilated, doomy riffs. Singer Uta Plotkin sounds like Ann Wilson of Heart if she'd been raised by wolves—which works especially well on the lines "Don't know if you're dead / But I like it that way / 'Cause you know if I knew / Don't know what I'd do." Cauldron of the Wild comes out Tue 6/12, and Witch Mountain plays at the Empty Bottle on Sat 6/16.

The Como Park carousel cassette In the late 70s someone taped a carousel calliope in Saint Paul, Minnesota, capturing it in a state of disastrous disrepair—and a few years ago that man's son, Ned Hurley, submitted the recording to the blog Tape Findings. The horns sound like slowly deflating geese, and various valves jammed open or closed produce queasy, out-of-place drones and melodies gap-toothed with missing notes—the calliope's renditions of pop chestnuts (including "Hello Dolly," "Seventy-Six Trombones," and, um, "It's Not Unusual") are hilariously abject and decrepit.

El-P, "For My Upstairs Neighbor," from Cancer for Cure El-P has been working on the brand-new Cancer for Cure for years—his previous record, I'll Sleep When You're Dead, dropped in 2007—but it's like he knew all along that at the time of its release Republicans in Congress would be fighting to weaken the 1994 Violence Against Women Act. "For My Upstairs Neighbor" addresses a woman in El-P's apartment building whose husband or boyfriend he can hear beating her. It's not the most confrontational-­sounding track, but the sung chorus is the most powerful lyric on the album: "If you kill him, I won't tell." El-P plays at Bottom Lounge on Fri 7/6.

He asks. . .

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