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Just some of the Highlights of the week of 37 items on
NEW ARRIVALS List #485 (09 October 2015)

album cover APPRENTICE DESTROYER Glass Ceiling Universe (Castle Face) lp 15.98
The first thing worth mentioning about the geniusly warped and bafflingly brilliant debut release from Apprentice Destroyer, is that the whole thing was recorded at Guitar Center. Secretly and surreptitiously, over the course of months (maybe years?). Repeat trips were made to capture bass parts, drum loops, synth melodies, essentially treating Guitar Center like an impromptu multitrack studio. And as any one who's been to Guitar Center knows, it's often infuriating, as random folks pound away on drums, or shred on guitar. So now imagine one of those guys was actually recording an album. Playing whatever part was needed until an employee would make him stop. Enlisting his girlfriend as a distraction, to keep the clerk busy while he bashed out another drum part of another layer of sound. That alone had us sold. It almost didn't matter if it was even good or not. Just the concept, and the execution. And of course, that's not to mention that Apprentice Destroyer is the work of the same madman behind sci-fi tech-prog improv black metal one man black metal band Mastery, as well as actual one man black metal band Pandiscordian Necrogenesis (as in he plays drums with his feet, while playing guitar and singing) AND he also sings and plays bass in SFBM horde Pale Chalice! But don't be expecting metal, Apprentice Destroyer is more psychedelic krautrock styled, tripped out kosmische spaciness, wild, FX drenched 8-bit bleep and bloop, whirring zoner dronescapes, skittery mutant electronica, a little bit of all that fused into a totally trippy, mesmerizingly moody sprawl of heady, sonic delight.
The opener sounds like Neu! hopped up on amphetamines, or some early Stereolab B-side spinning at 78rpm, all cascading arpeggios and sped up motorik grooves, the sound switching back and forth as if some mad scientist producer with ADD was cycling between channels. The whole record isn't as maddeningly hypnotic, in fact, much of Glass Ceiling Universe is nearly ambient, there's the churning cosmic swirl of the title track, sounding like music from some twisted planetarium show, or an alternate score to the retro-thriller Beyond The Black Rainbow, or the hazy pulsating shimmer of "Downward To Greendeep". The record does deliver moments of super charged crunch and energetic, rhythmic disruption throughout, the almost Afro-noise sounding "Welcome, Destroyer", or the gristly electro-skitter of "Metamammal", but they're surrounded by surprisingly tranquil soundscapery, and moody, muted, softly rhythmic pulsations, that make Glass Ceiling Universe align more with sonic bliss out than blow out.
It's easy to forget that this was recorded at Guitar Center, and not in a proper studio, which is a testament to the genius involved, and the perfect foil to what is ultimately a gimmick, but the fact that that gimmick is subverted by these incredible, and fantastically realized sounds, is really what makes this so special. But just to make sure you DON'T forget, there's a whole track made from recorded snippets of Guitar Center employees, including some serious dude/bro talk, somehow expertly woven into a cool, smear of murky, psychedelic kraut-drone!
In case it wasn't obvious, this RULES, and gets THEE highest aQ recommendation. And you can expect this to end up on a lot of our year end lists. And we're guessing very likely yours too!
MPEG Stream: "Chrome Temple"
MPEG Stream: "Jovian Sky"
MPEG Stream: "The Cloud Fortress"
RealAudio clip: "Metamammal"

album cover CHASSE, LOREN The Animals And Their Shadows (Semperflorens) cd 14.98
San Francisco is a city with a populace in constant flux, with only a few that could claim to have legitimately made a mark upon this city. Loren Chasse was one such artist, who had called San Francisco home for well over a decade and a half before taking up residence in Portland a few years back. His musical explorations begin through an endless curiosity with the uncanny sounds of the environment. In his art, work, and life, Chasse's sense of wonder with with acoustic details and phenomena played out like kid with soil-stained hands searching underneath every moss-encrusted rock and rotten log for salamanders, scorpions, beetles, millipedes and other creatures of the soil. He's equally at home exploring such ideas and thoughts with school children (the day job both here in San Francisco and up north) and rummaging around vast piles of sticks in one of the many deconstructed, psychedelic happenings he released under the banner of Jewelled Antler. Thuja, The Blithe Sons, The Child Readers, and The Franciscan Hobbies were some of the Jewelled Antler projects in which Chasse participated, though Jewelled Antler was seamless and fluid in recording a 'temple music' of their own making, wherein the roughhewn interventions of guitar, piano, zither, and gong morph into the ambience of a field recording and vice versa. This dedication to these organic networks of sound and the discovery of the transcendent through these explorations are just a few of the reasons as to why aQuarius has championed Chasse's work for so many years.
And so we get to The Animals And Their Shadows, only Chasse's second album since 2008, making his return to the recorded medium all the more welcome. As in particular with Thuja and his solo Jewelled Antler recordings under the name Of, Chasse loosely locates his sound objects in acoustically rich locations and often rebroadcasts those recordings back into those spaces to further the environmental resonance. The tracing of sonic footpaths with dripped sand matches the cold spray of the surf, with Chasse imparting a dislocation of the two intertwined coastal elements, emblematic of the way that he observes, shapes, and interacts with sounds both captured in studio and in nature. Radiant drones, leaf clatter, shapeless wateriness, and even a few stains of industrial detritus populate The Animals And Their Shadows finding parallels to both the almighty Taj Mahal Travellers and Akio Suzuki at the same time. Even when the sounds are distinctly from a drum kit or from a bowed dulcimer, Chasse finds a way to tilt those sounds into an organic other. A wonder to behold.
Packaged is a slim, dvd-sized case with hand-assembled insert.
MPEG Stream: "The Animals And Their Shadows"
MPEG Stream: "When The Flower Throwers Wither"
MPEG Stream: "A Jut Of Air And Open Stone"

album cover KOWLOON WALLED CITY Grievances (Neurot) cd 14.98
The sound of local noise rock outfit Kowloon Walled City has always straddled the line between Unsane/Helmet like measured metallic brutality, and a more spacious, song-oriented introspection, bordering on a sort of ultra heavy slowcore (at times hinting at our long time fantasy of a more metal Codeine). It was the tension between those two sonic sides that always gave KWC an edge over their noise rock compatriots for us. And while their last record Container Ships still mostly tended toward the heavier side of the equation, Grievances, their first for Neurosis' Neurot label, swings in the almost exact opposite direction. Which is not to say Grievances is not heavy, because it certainly is, it's just more subtle, more delicately crafted. And if the metal-Low thing SORT of applied before, on Grievances, it seems KWC has made a total transition from metal with slowcore moments, to a brooding, downer rock, with more metallic tendencies.
And we have to say, it definitely suits them. In fact, for long time fans of the band, it feels like the group's ever evolving sound has finally found that sweet spot, one that will no doubt bum out some of the group's more metal fans, but for the rest of us, this might be THE ONE. Much of Grievances is spent exploring space, and texture, tension and mood. For every bout of churning, hypno-riffage, there's a hushed stretch of Slint like Sprawl. Modern mope rockers True Widow are another reference point, as again are Low and Codeine and Galaxie 500. KWC have managed to take that sort of introspective mesmer, and transform it into something with way more heft. The only real remnant of the group's noise rock roots is frontman Scott Evans' feral bark, but even that has become something much more, taking that throat shredding yowl, and letting it do much of the melodic heavy lifting. Which gives the whole thing a sort of anguished, bruised quality, infusing the already introspective heaviness, with even more emotion and pathos.
And let's not take away from the record's heaviness, the sound (recorded by Evans) is stunning, the drums sound massive, the guitars thick and corrosive, some of the more melodic guitar parts are gnarled and gristly, squalls of controlled feedback are sculpted into jagged, mesmerizing melody, and when the band lock into a bout of hypnotic heavy riffing, it does most decidedly sound metallic, but it also blurs into a kind of mesmeric hypno-rock, often stretching out long enough, that even though it's all distorted chug, the sound becomes a burnished thing of beauty, equalling its core heaviness.
Even just from a purely technical standpoint, this record is a marvel, which is helping get KWC the sort of widespread love they have so long deserved, but should also finally get Evans the sort of adoration more generally reserved for engineers like Steve Albini. And it's a combination of that deft hand behind the board, along with stunning songs, subtly catchy songwriting, and a seemingly effortless mastery of tone and texture, that not only makes Grievances KWC's best by a mile, but makes this a serious contender for our top spot of 2015!
And thus, another Record Of The Week for 'em.
MPEG Stream: "Your Best Years"
MPEG Stream: "Grievances"
MPEG Stream: "Backlit"

album cover BLKHRTS Dead Drops Vol. 1 (Deathbomb Arc) heart-shaped 12" 33.00
Another batch of releases from weirdo LA hip hop label Deathbomb Arc, the latest being from experimental rap crew BLKHRTS, who sonically find themselves positioned right between classic hip-pop (hooky hip hop that you might hear on the radio), and more exotic/experimental flavors, like Ho99o9, Death Grips, Abdu Ali and the like. Although the experimental aspect is definitely balanced by some serious songsmithery, cuz goddamn tracks like "Trillex" are catchy as fuck, killer beats, woozy, synthy, loops, and both rappers totally on point, one sort of smooth and swaggery, the other, raspy and growly, the track replete with a wicked hook and some sweet female background vocals. "Coathangers" is a bit more chaotic and noisy, distorted and practically punk, but when the noise is dialed back for the verse, poppiness again rears it's not so ugly head, and makes for a killer combo. The kind of shit that sounds wicked blasting from a booming system but will also get a punk-as-fuck pit whirling and swirling. Definitely need to hear more from these guys, cuz as it is we've had these tracks on non stop repeat!
Also we have very limited copies of this, AND it's pretty pricey, mostly cuz it's swanky black heart shaped vinyl (get it??)!!!
MPEG Stream: "Coathangers"
MPEG Stream: "Trillex"

album cover CARLTON MELTON Out To Sea (Agitated) 2lp+cd + poster 23.00
Another killer batch of music from the dome! The dome being the home base of local space drone psychonauts Carlton Melton whose MO is holing up at said geodesic dome and spending marathon sessions recording endless, heart-of-the-sun jams, that they somehow later work into proper records. This latest might be the heaviest yet, opening with the seriously bombastic "Peaking Duck", which starts with some kosmische synth shimmer, which is soon joined by some Bonham-esque drum crush, then some hazy psychedelic swirl, laced with squiggly, pulsating FX, wild wah wah guitar freakout, the whole thing wound up into a brooding, hypno-psych churn. The sound is almost doom, especially when the low end come swooping in, not sure if it's synth or distorted bass, but it's thick, and dense, droned out and mesmeric, a tranced out, throbbing groove that oozes right into "Wheel And Deal" which is blown out, sun baked and stonery, a serious Kyuss vibe going on, but a sort of more minimal mesmeric take on that group's desert rock. "The Barrier" too is a seriously sinister sprawl of zoner-psych space doom, that never really coalesces into a song proper but instead, loops cyclically into a hazy hypnotic mesmer, while the title track is equally, if not more abstractly heavy, ditching the drums, and unfurling thick undulating layers of processed guitars and sheets of shimmering feedback.
In between all this heaviness, there's plenty of grooviness and more laid back jammage, some of it, softly strummed, almost pastoral psychedelic folkiness ("Diamond In The Rough", "Similarities", "It's Been Summer All Winter"), some of it almost funky, lurching and lumbering ("Amfmpm", "Perdiddle"), and some of it super abstract, slow motion, brooding drift and thrum, laced with spidery melodies, swirling synths, and subtle tribal rhythms ("Too Close To Home").
Once again, these aQ beloved, psychedelic spacelords push all our psych/kraut/space/drone/cosmic/stoner rock buttons, delivering on a sound we already love, but giving us something just different enough to keep things interesting: plenty of extra heft, alongside more tripped out introspection. We've already been playing this to death, and anxiously await CM's next transmission of lysergic dome-doom dreaminess and zoner-drone riffiness...
Available on cd, or double lp (blue vinyl, while they last) with a cd of the album included too!
MPEG Stream: "Peaking Duck"
MPEG Stream: "Out To Sea"
MPEG Stream: "It's Been Summer All Winter"

album cover COLLEY, JOE Disasters Of Self (C.I.P.) 3lp 36.00
A triple boxset that was originally released back 2010, Disasters Of Self represents what may be the final released works for Joe Colley - the existential noise artist who embarked on a flurry of activities in the '90s under the moniker Crawl Unit before shifting over to his given name around 2000 or thereabouts. Since the release of this album, Colley had released a couple of archival tracks that date back much earlier. Colley has not publicly professed to ceasing activities (such as the case on two occasions for Maurizio Bianchi); but the province he finds himself is that of Melville's Bartleby - the refusal to act as a quiet declaration of intent. This position, this circumstance is one where we also find Colley in the production of Disasters Of Self.
An array of square wave tones, electro-mechanical clattering, and rasping LFO waveforms quickly extinguishes itself at the onset of Disasters Of Self's first piece of vinyl. Inscrutable, yet wholly organic field recordings emerge as the hushed sound that might trickle down from the air vents of a fallout shelter that unfortunately saw its intended use come to pass. Scrabblings of high frequency static and percolating tactile demolition implode into a Luc Ferrari like concrete passage describing and abstracting the inner workings of a doomsday clock.
For the second lp, radioactive crackling gives way to an ominous thrum which begets a toxic explosion of circuit bent errata above a pitch-shifted grounding error hum that gives the whole piece a psychological tension through a clinical malaise, detachment, and acrimony all at once. Through all of these records, Colley inserts the compositional dead-end of a locked groove. The strategy willfully inserts the listener into the process, forcing her or him to decide when the composition is over, disrupting whatever envelopment of psychic dread or aesthetic wonder with the act of having to remove the needle from the vinyl. This too is an act of negation, refusing to allow for a particular trajectory of sound or a compositional motif to come to resolution.
The third lp swarms with profoundly ugly electric field disturbances that phase into a blackened sludges of electricity, feedback, and brute forces, balancing the conceptually opposite but aesthetically similar environs of Le Syndicat and David Tudor. And of course, this final lp terminates in a locked groove of blackened crackle and sinetone unease.
A few of these have trickled into the store over the years, but we've never been able to get enough copies to stock in earnest. That said, these are the last copies we obtained from C.I.P., so act fast.
MPEG Stream: "Mirror At The End Of The Road"
MPEG Stream: "One Second Or Some Seconds Of Light"
MPEG Stream: "Trance Tapes, Locks, and a Fragment: Untitled 4"

album cover CUNTZ Force The Zone (Homeless) lp 19.98
These controversial & offensive ('cause of the name, at the very least, though the z in there makes it cuter, right?) Aussies are back again with a steaming new platter of their pissed yet poppy punk. Third album, fourth if you count the live one, and like the others, it's a real, raw good time for anybody into the sort of bilious, loud soundz the Cuntz dish out. Twelve new tracks to make your day (miserable), with song titles that include "Tired", "Evil", "Factory Floor", "Internet (Connect)" and both "Nah" and "Nah Man" among other zippy tunes not destined for the hit parade, except in the homes of sardonic sickos like us. And them. Grungy noisy goodness for fans of Deaf Wish, Venom P. Stinger, Cosmic Psychos, and others in the grand Australian tradition of ugly scuzzy punk rawk.
Limited to 500 copies. Includes download. Nice lavender cover. US tour happening now. Really pretty great.
MPEG Stream: "Chinese Dream Boat"
MPEG Stream: "Nah Man"

album cover CURRENT 93 Swastikas For Noddy / Crooked Crosses For A Nodding God (The Spheres) 2lp 34.00
Here is the necessary reissue of Current 93's masterpieces Swastikas For Noddy and Crooked Crosses For The Nodding God - two albums that solidified the apocalyptic folk songwriting for David Tibet and company. At the time, Tibet's sergeant-at-arms was Douglas P of Death In June with the ghostly presence of Steven Stapleton felt through sporadically through the mix; and a rather large cast of characters involved in making what are minimal neofolk albums. Swastikas For Noddy at the time of release in 1988 was quipped as "the pop album" for Current 93. Compared to the Crowleyian chants and nightmarish bricolage of Nature Unveiled and Dogs Blood , this would certainly ring true; but in the light of the entire C93 oeuvre, Swastikas For Noddy is a feral scrabbling of the more baroque orchestrations and arrangements that Tibet would coax out of his musical troupe. Noddy is a British children's character from the mid-century and in the fluid pantheon of godheads that Tibet worked into his cryptic poetry and revelations, Noddy had become a semi-deity which he figured into a canon of his own making alongside Christ, Crowley, and Lucifer. It's an absurd declaration; and the whimsy that Current 93 can muster in such jaunty numbers as "Beau Soleil" and "Hey Ho The Noddy Oh" acquire a sinister irony to them. Current 93 offers their version of "Oh Coal Black Smith" which had been a British folk staple dating back to the early 19th Century under the title "The Two Magicians", matching Current 93's then infatuation of Comus with the wild-eyed psych-folk mania and urgent, two-note acoustic guitar strum alongside Tibet's feral vocals. Crooked Crosses For The Nodding God is an album that originally came out in 1989 on Stapleton's United Dairies, as remixed, restructured, and rerecorded versions of many of the songs that went into Swastikas For Noddy. These versions are much more skewed, demented, and psychedelic, showing much more of Stapleton's penchant for dislocating the minimal folk arrangements and singsong tunes with warped effects, drones, cloak and dagger. Included here is a version of Current 93's "Looney Runes" with its glam-goth guitar riff and early Alice Cooper vibe, amidst Tibet's freakish chanting. It makes perfect sense to bind these two albums together, with the latter as the lysergic mind-fuck version of the former.
MPEG Stream: "Oh Coal Black Smith"
MPEG Stream: "Panzer Rune"
MPEG Stream: "The Return Of The Final Church"
MPEG Stream: "Looney Runes"

album cover DIGGS, DAVEED Small Things To A Giant (Deathbomb Arc) cassette 6.98
Faithful readers of the aQuarius list likely know Daveed Diggs as the MC of experimental hip hop crew Clipping. (former Record Of The Week honorees); although these days, he's likely even more well known as the breakout star of historical hip hop Broadway show Hamilton, but on his solo joint Small Things To A Giant, he channels that experimental side into a somewhat more traditionally hip hop framework, crafting some killer cuts that in a perfect would get the rest of the world to wake the fuck up, and realize just what a wicked rapper he really is. Listening to Small Things, and even Clipping., we can't understand why bigger hip hop super stars aren't clamoring for Diggs to do a verse on ALL their tracks. Small Things makes that eventuality seem even more likely, or at least possible.
Displaying a flair for crafting unlikely hooks, sculpting surprising sounds into the sort of loops that stick in your head for DAYS, and unfurling some impeccable, smarty pants wordplay, Diggs destroys here. All it took for us was a listen to the title track, with its Indian beat, and exotic Indian vocal loop, peppered with thick, grungy synth blurts, and Diggs spitting rhymes over the top, with some of the smartest, snarliest, funniest lyrics EVER. The guest verse by Rafael Casal is sweet too. And we say this a lot, but this was another case where we found ourselves listening to the same track non stop. But once we finally dug deeper, as we pretty much expected, the rest of the album is jam packed with super original, pretty far out, crazy catchy hip hop of the highest order. "Trappers" sounds like it could be co-opted by Kanye, "Dirty World" injects a little woozy R&B, and then the sort of companion title track that finishes things off, is a slow, skittery creep with a killer verse from Chinaka Hodge, and a swoonsome chorus/hook. Not as avant or experimental as Clipping, but in its own way, equally inventive, and much more accessible. Perfect on its own for sure, but also an alluring sonic gateway drug to the fucked up Clipping. weirdness that lies just on the other side.
MPEG Stream: "Fresh From The Hood"
MPEG Stream: "Night Time"
MPEG Stream: "Go Boi"

album cover DUNGEN Allas Sak (Mexican Summer) cd 10.98
It's been a long five years waiting for a new album by Swedish pop-psychsters, Dungen, but boy has the wait been worth it. Allas Sak doesn't see the band forging new territory, and really who would want that as they don't sound like any other contemporary band out there anyway. Instead, they expand upon the sonic palette they have forged over seven albums, but with a deeper concentration on nuance, instrumentation and song-writing. Flutes, horns, piano, vibraphones, congos have a more focused integration into the overall sound making this one of the richest sounding recordings the band has made. Done so without losing the signature drum sounds and psych guitar flourishes that have defined the band since the beginning, nor have they lost sight of the vintage global psych influence of fellow Swedes, Trad Gras and Stener, Pugh Rogefeldt and Turkish acoustic psych pioneers Mogollar. So great!
MPEG Stream: "Allas Sak"
MPEG Stream: "Sista Festin"
MPEG Stream: "Franks Kaktus"

album cover ENGLISH, LAWRENCE For / Not For John Cage (Line) cd 14.98
Mushroom, chance operations, and Zen Buddhism. Those are the articles, strategies, and philosophies through which the ambient composer Lawrence English drafts this homage to John Cage. Yet, English recognizes that outside of these three arenas, he certainly does not share an aesthetic connection to Cage, who had very specific aesthetics that he strongly privileged, despite all of the open-ended declarations of musical possibility and the radical forms of compositional deconstruction. Hence, this is both for and not for Mr. Cage; and that seems like an apt qualifier to this album which was composed around the same time as English's highly acclaimed album The Peregrine - another homage of sorts. His smeared synth drones, foggy field recordings, and streams of watery ambience are all layered in triggering sequences that slowly bring these suspended forms in and out of existence from each other. The organic folds, slow-motion circadian breathiness, and shifting sands from these elegant passages equate with English's application of Cage's ideas of Zen meditation crossed with the chance operation. Less bombastic and more hypnotic than English's latter day compositions, this is nonetheless a marvelous recording of liquid nirvana.
MPEG Stream: "Jansia Borneensis"
MPEG Stream: "Naematoloma Sublateritium"
MPEG Stream: "Entoloma Abortivum"

album cover F INGERS Hide Before Dinner (Blackest Ever Black) lp 33.00
We've totally fallen under this Australian group's sonic spell, an intoxicating concoction of hazy, beautifully dirgy, psychedelic synths. The dreamy, disintegrating songs on Hide Before Dinner wash over the listener, inducing a gloriously drugged out hypnotic state from the beginning to the very end of this wonderful record.
One of our customers thought F INGERS sounded like the perfect combination of two of our favorite labels: Not Not Fun and Fonal. And we totally agree! Equal parts Paavoharju and Pocahaunted, La Vampires and Islaja. There's a ghostly quality to these songs, which seem to hover and shimmer with a woozy and darkly tinted gracefulness. It's almost like Nico crooning from beyond the grave, her detached but sexy voice filtered through a bank of FX pedals operated by Noveller and Andy Stott. We could definitely imagine F INGERS touring with fellow Australians Fabulous Diamonds, whose sound is like a more driving and rhythmic version of F INGERS' melted music aesthetic. Totally gorgeous!
MPEG Stream: "Mum's Caress After Trip"
MPEG Stream: "Tantrum Time"

album cover GARET, RICHARD Meta (Line) cd 14.98
The lowercase aesthetic and strategies have their origins with the vanguardists like Robert Ashley, Morton Feldman, and Luc Ferrari; and something of a global lowercase community emerged in the late '90s and early '00s when composers like Bernhard Gunter, Richard Chartier, and Steve Roden began exploring works that were deliberately understated in form, while details abound in the low volumes and gently massed textures. Richard Garet's Meta is an austere distillation of many of the ideas proposed by these and many other likemined artists - the amplification and abstraction of background noise. Garet never states what specifically he captures in the overarching concept of background noise, but we can postulate that could mean the hidden chirping of data from the technologies that surround us, the hushed din of the urban landscape, the thumming hiss of ventilators, and the waves of static that silently glide on the paths of radio. As such, Garet heightens particular resonant frequencies, whisping any particular mundane sound source into that which resembles a sublime hush, and telescopes the sharp glare of unknowable, diamond-scraped surfaces into a slow-motion tumble with protracted passages of austere stillness. At times, Garet's rarification process extracts sine waves of piercing intensity that shocks against the composition's more emblematic forms akin to ASMR recordings for delicate sibilance and graceful electroacoustic poetics. Brilliant, as always.
MPEG Stream: "Meta (extract 1)"
MPEG Stream: "Meta (extract 2)"
MPEG Stream: "Meta (extract 3)"

album cover HAACK, BRUCE Haackula (Telephone Explosion) lp 23.00
NOW THERE'S A VINYL REISSUE, here is what we originally wrote about the cd version of this uniquely amazing release:
Wow. This is a real "believe it or not" release. We thought we knew all about eccentric electropop pioneer Bruce Haack (1931-1988). Omni's reissue of Haack's 1969 psychedelic synth classic The Electric Lucifer was an automatic Record Of The Week for us. But we'd never heard of Haackula before. However, it lives up to its billing as a "lost classic of outsider electronica" for sure. At first, we weren't sure what to expect, putting it on with some excitement and trepidation... rest assured, we now have big smiles on our faces. Haackula is playful and perverse, and perhaps more than a little bit paranoid. Imagine Perrey and Kingsley on some bad acid. Haack's electronically effected vocals here continue the wordplay that he delighted in on The Electric Lucifer but now, shockingly, some swear words have crept in, for instance he drops the f-bomb in the first song "Lie Back", wherein he also rhymes "schizoid" with "shitzoid"!
Bruce Haack unleashed his Moogs (and warped imagination) in his bedroom studio to create Haackula back in 1978, but it remained officially unreleased until now. Possibly 'cause a large portion of Haack's discography consists of records for children, we were really surprised by the R-rated content of Haackula. And the R isn't just for robotic. There's a song called "Blow Job" fer chrissakes. Perhaps this is why it never saw the light of day in Haack's lifetime...
Haack's homebuilt synths and rhythm machines bleep and bloop, shuffle and shudder, conjuring an alternate universe of electronic computer funk wackier and weirder and way more off-kilter than anything Kraftwerk was up to at the time. The musical sense of childlike innocence with which Haack was so adept is still happening here, these tracks are as tuneful and catchy as ever, but his mystical ideas are joined by sexual themes... where The Electric Lucifer was astrological, Haackula is scatological. Adult realities are confronting the outsider, making Haackula's haunted house electronics all the more eerie, while the bizzaro-factor (plus Haack's aforementioned songwriting skills) insure that it's all very entertaining, gleefully so.
Includes bonus track of Bruce Haack's 1982 proto-hiphop collaboration with Def Jam's Russell Simmons, an 8 minute track entitled "Party Machine" that features funky Herbie Hancock "rockit" style grooves and deep distorted vocals laying down such science as "Haack attack is back... Bruce Haack... Anti-wack." Damn!
Like we said, believe it or not, it's true. Haackula lives!!
MPEG Stream: "Man Kind"
MPEG Stream: "Blow Job"
MPEG Stream: "Party Machine"

album cover HAFLER TRIO If Take, Then Take (C.I.P.) lp 27.00
We didn't really expect to ever see this record again, but lo and behold here it is: The Hafler Trio's brilliant lp-only production If Take, Then Take from 2005. The album was recorded and released during a notorious flurry of Hafler Trio activity about a decade ago, when he cranked out some 20 albums in a 4 year period. Pretty much all of those albums (and most everything that Andrew McKenzie has produced as the Hafler Trio and beyond) are highly recommended; and are wholly out of print. So, if you are curious about this enigmatic / brilliant / frustrating author of gnostic sound art, this may be your last chance to grab one of his original pieces of vinyl.
Is there much more to say about The Hafler Trio that hasn't been said already by us or anyone else for that matter? Perhaps. Yet another month and another Hafler Trio album arrives, stretching our feeble efforts to describe the audio / visual / contextual productions of Mr. Andrew M. McKenzie, the sole member of the Hafler Trio with assistance from other like-minded techgnostics on occasion. For the month of September 2005, the Hafler Trio album in question is If Take, Then Take which marks the first full length LP that McKenzie has engineered in over a decade - this, of course in the wake of numerous multi-cd sets and 10"s galore. In describing this record, the C.I.P. label offered an exceptional introduction for If Take, Then Take: "Unanswered questions, unasked-for responses, stimulus and response exercises conducted and presented for the benefit of a select few. Hafler Trio has always asked more of the listener than many sound artists do, with questions and ideas that provoke and, like an open invitation, await response from those who are willing to tackle, often at length, the ideas presented. The audio cleanses the aural palette and refurbishes it nicely. The ideas in the booklet are available to those who wish additional illuminations, provocations, questions, and - when the light is right - answers, may add greater tricks to their own personal repertoire of knowledge. Please note: in this instance, knowledge may be considered fact, fiction, or entirely up for debate."
As to the musical program found within, McKenzie offers another breathtaking variation on the theme of hidden ambience, disrupted silences, and rich timbral minimalism. Limited to 400 copies and signed by Andrew McKenzie and includes a fancy trapezoidal booklet of text and art. And as always, he prefers for us to not offer any sound samples.

album cover INFERIOR PASSIONS Any Day (Chondritic Sound) cassette 8.98
Inferior Passions is an unsmiling production of industrial din, hellish noise, and scalding acceleration produced by East Coast noise tacticians Justin Lakes (Shredded Nerve) and Matt Boettke (Scant). We'll issue the warning that there is a thoroughly destructive, vice-grip crush of noise located on the first side of the cassette. This overwhelming chunk of in-the-red recording excess of who-the-fuck-knows noise production has all of the full-frontal attack and precision of a jet-engine cooking a piece of tuna. Yup, burnt to a crisp. A plethora of noise-junk and flamethrower iridescence lights up that particular caterwaul of distortion; where the rest of the tape creates its tension through the mere threat of sonic detonation. Throughout the remainder of Any Day, we encounter an eerie shroud of nocturnal atmosphere from undercurrents of buried subharmonic resonance, abraded, warbled, and mangled with tape splutter, synth noise, amplifier abuse, and pedal immolation. Released on the always impressive Chondritic Sound imprint.
MPEG Stream: "Any Day (Part 1)"
MPEG Stream: "Eradication"
MPEG Stream: "Containment"

album cover IRON MAIDEN The Book of Souls (BMG) 2cd 17.98
If anybody (like Iron Maiden bassist/mastermind Steve Harris) had asked us what we'd suggest Iron Maiden do differently for their newest album, our advice probably would have been to try writing shorter songs, make a shorter album. But, they didn't ask us, obviously, and in fact have doubled down (maybe even tripled down) on the lengthy, ultra-epic songwriting that has marked their output in recent years. And you know what? Maybe that's just fine. Our good customer Jesse offered to review this for us, and he kind of has us convinced that Maiden's really doing the right thing in releasing their longest album with longest songs ever, now... Here's what he so eloquently wrote:
Listening to Bruce Dickinson's refrain "Waiting in line for the ending of time/If eternity should fail" on the opening track of The Book of Souls, I can't help but think about the opening sequence of the British science fiction show Red Dwarf, in which we see a derelict gargantuan mining ship doomed to traverse the cosmos for eternity, manned only by one true human being: it feels like Maiden, now with their 16th and longest album, clocking in at over 90 minutes, has become ancient sailors into the gloom at this point, completely regardless of any human intervention whatsoever. Contrary to most audience's desires, Maiden has lengthened everything: the songs are longer, the solos are longer, the album is longer, nay, like I said, the album is the longest. There is no turning back at this point. And, in fact, like some test of endurance, Book of Souls dares you to travel to its center (the title track) and travel back out again, again reiterating its cinematic length. Along the way, there will be only a few tracks that approaches the breadth of a single: "Speed Of Light", for example, which, if you haven't seen the accompanying video, I suggest you do so right away. As it stands, for the majority of the album you have songs in the latter epic Maiden mode, with its greatest variation being the closing track, penned by Dickinson, 18 minutes long, written primarily with piano, and including strings and brass accompaniment along with the rest of the crew. The result still sounds like Maiden, but a new leaf for them, which seems insane, considering how long they have been playing - when was the last time they tried such innovation? Actually, for those that have been acutely listening, almost every album contains such slight experimentation - on their last one, for example, The Final Frontier from 2010, the album opened with a strange noisy dissonant track unique in their catalog before resolving itself into a galloping Maiden anthem. It is a mistake to think these long albums and long tracks in Maiden's twilight era are in any way complacent or resting upon their laurels - one thinks of Nestor in the Iliad, the aged warrior who accompanies Agamemnon to the battle of Troy as advisor - yes, perhaps one could consider him long winded, but the wisdom and grace of his elocution are of indeterminable value. In this way, Iron Maiden have become the titular Ancient Mariner they once paid homage to so long ago. The Book of Souls has such grandiose moments as the aforementioned Dickinson closing track "Empire Of The Clouds", there is also the early Harris track "The Red And The Black", the other longest song on the album, and the centerpiece, "The Book of Souls", which feels like a molten landscape you approach, only to depart for the more melancholic second half ("Tears Of A Clown", no, not a cover of the Smokey Robinson tune, but apparently about Robin Williams, and "Man Of Sorrows", no, not a cover of the O Brother Where Art Thou tune - would be examples of such melancholic fare). The question most Maiden fans will ask is: should I listen to this? For some, they dare not depart from the golden era (perhaps the first 7 albums), and, if you haven't departed from those, this might be jumping off the dock - maybe try the first album Dickinson came back for, Brave New World. Or, if you wanna skip James Joyce's Dubliners and just dive right into Finnegan's Wake [strangely enough, a hit in Japan in the last few years - Maiden Japan anyone?], try The Book of Souls. If you're familiar with the latter day Maiden, it would be splitting hairs to argue "Is this most recent one the best?", as Maiden fans are already familiar with the arguments over what is the best Maiden album period. Suffice to say, this is another worthy effort into the lexicon, guaranteed to bring joy to those who dare plumb these depths, and to bring hope that the gargantuan beast that is Maiden continues to sail into that eternal night and darkness, regardless what you or I think about it. Up the Irons.
MPEG Stream: "If Eternity Should Fail"
MPEG Stream: "The Book Of Souls"
MPEG Stream: "Empire Of The Clouds"

album cover JEFFERSON, ALAN Galactic Nightmare (Trunk) 2lp 38.00
We fell in love with this on the cover alone, a bizarre illustration of a screaming space explorer with devilish eyebrows, his face almost in shadow against a Technicolor backdrop of alien abduction motifs with the words GALACTIC NIGHTMARE in '80s computer gradient font on the cover. No other information included. What the hell is this?
Turns out this was the dream project of Alan Jefferson, an amateur musician from Hull, England, who upon hearing The War of The Worlds (not sure if that's the Orson Welles Radio Broadcast or the British seventies musical featuring Richard Burton, but we're betting the latter based on the songcraft displayed), decided he could make a better version. Using his bedroom as his studio, a Moog, a reel-to-reel, a guitar and some pedals, he set about making his four part sci-fi epic in 1979, which took six years to complete, and he alone made every single part of it including the illustrations!
And what an epic it is! A kaleidoscopic radio play of proggy electronics, spacey sound effects, and engrossing narratives of alien battles, and planetary shipwrecks. But also with bizarrely heartfelt rock-musical songs like "Wrinkled, Old and Gray", sung from the point of view of a stranded young space explorer whom aliens have sucked out his life energy making him old before his time, sounding very much like a naive cover of a Roxy Music song.
Finally finished in 1985, it was made available on cassette to readers of the magazines Future Music and CU Amiga, but few people bought it. Through the efforts of one of the writers for Future Music who was given a preview, he has passed the tape around through a handful of folks over the years where it finally reached Jonny Trunk who sent a letter of interest to the original address in the ad - and miraculously managed to get in touch with Jefferson, with the result that for the first time, this incredible piece of outsider ingenuity and vision is made available to a wider audience. Features interviews with Jefferson and the players involved in rescuing this from obscurity, with original adverts and pictures and fantastic documentation in a beautiful gatefold package. For serious devotees of the bizarre, this is quite incredible and amazing and super limited!
Unfortunately, the tracks were too long to make useful sound samples from, but here are the links to each part on youtube to check out yourself:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

album cover KING GIZZARD & THE LIZARD WIZARD Float Along Fill Your Lungs / Oddments (Flightless) 2lp 24.00
Um, ok, either you're reading this review BECAUSE the band is named King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, or you were just about to stop reading it 'cause the band is named King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard. If the latter is the case, please stick with it, they're actually a better band than their name might suggest (we're making this a Record Of The Week after all!!). Or, if you do think the name is cool, then they ARE as good of a band as you're hoping for. But maybe not the sort of band you'd think they'd be. It's actually kind of hard to pin down exactly what kind of band Australia's King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard are, anyway. Kind of cosmic garage psych pop?
The first disc here, Float Along - Fill Your Lungs (originally released on its own last year in their home country) starts off stonery enough with a fifteen minute spaced out extravaganza called "Head On/Pill", truly a trippy psychedelic swirl, a mind-altering mix of lilting melodies, gentle vocals, and driving motorik rhythms, with loads and loads of FX, all sorts of fuzz and distortion. It's spacey and sunshiney and somehow like a much more garage-poppy Hawkwind or Acid Mothers Temple track. Had us sold right there. But this 7-piece ensemble aren't just about the extended space rock (pop). Most of rest of the songs on Float Along are much shorter, taking elements of that first track, or not, and going to other delightful garage-pop places, variously strummy and twangy and foot-tapping and head-nodding, fuzzy and shambolic, before winding the disc up with another long, tripped out (but mellower) jam in the form of the Eastern-tinged, drone-laced title track.
THEN, there's the 2nd disc, also released separately this year Down Under, the aptly titled Oddments, which is even more varied than the 1st disc. This one starts with a Bollywood-sampling instrumental that makes us think of ol' Money Mark and the Beastie Boys, super groovy and kinda chaotic, fuzzy "hairy funk", with lots of organ and synth sizzle. The psych-groove continues on the next, vocal track, bringing in visions of early Funkadelic and Shuggie Otis. But then, as the disc spins, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard (love typing that name out!) get back into the ramshackle '60s teen garage pop inspired songwriting that also made up the bulk of the first disc, with a dash of distorted Ariel Pink-ish dementia. The wispy vocals of "Work This Time" make us think of Vincent Gallo's solo album When, "Hot Wax" is a weird, catchy jam incorporating some "Surfing Safari" quotes, "Homeless Man In Adidas" (!) is a hushed acoustic folk number... you see, all over the place. Oddments indeed.
Overall, soundwise, King Gizzard align themselves with the Ty Segall / Thee Oh Sees type of crowd, and so it's no surprise then that they're gonna be over here in the States in October touring with White Fence. Hope we get to see that. Seems like they'd be a blast live. But King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard's style of "garage rock" is waaaay more cosmic and psychedelic and randomly bizarre than a lot of their US contemporaries, that's for sure. We'll be indulging ourselves heavily in both these records for a while yet, trying to fully get our heads around 'em. Nice, nice, nice.
MPEG Stream: "Head On/Pill"
MPEG Stream: "Mystery Jack"
MPEG Stream: "Pop In My Step"
MPEG Stream: "Alluda Majaka"
MPEG Stream: "Vegemite"

album cover LIFE After A Life (Musikstudion Masen) cd-r 14.98
This is a bit of a weird one! Back in 2004 we reviewed a record by Life that originally came out in 1971. In that review, we gushed about what a kick-ass, underrated record that first Life release was. Proggy, psychy, heavy, but also poppy. Now, imagine our surprise when someone walked in the store out of the blue and told us Life had a NEW record! 45 years of silence between records usually isn't a great sign that you've still got it, and when the first track started up, we thought we had made a terrible mistake. But you know what, this isn't bad. Mostly poppy but with some really prog, psych, and the occasional proto-metal heavy riff. There are some really cringe-inducing lyrics if you're paying attention to those (listen to the lyrics to "Age," we dare you), the production is a little sterile, and it's a cd-r instead of a proper cd, but there are some downright beautiful moments on here! The last track especially, all lush strings and guitars and vocals blending into a blissful swirl. Yeah, it's not the self-titled Life album, but these are clearly some dudes that still have songwriting chops and spirit. We know this record won't be flying off the shelves, but we know a few of you out there will be willing to take a chance at Life, later in life.
MPEG Stream: "Rage"
MPEG Stream: "Signs"
MPEG Stream: "Strange Day"

album cover LOOP Array 1 (ATP ) lp 16.98
Holy shit!! Loop!!! We were floored when Robert Hampson decided to re-ignite his seminal hypno-rock project with the original lineup back in 2013. While the brief sojourn with the original Loop fizzled out, Hampson wanted to keep going with these ideas and recruited a new cadre to continue as Loop. This lead to a larger number of live dates, included one hell of a great performance here in San Francisco, and now the first in a trio of long eps. Given that many a band in this day and age will issue a 25 minute set of recordings and call it a full album, these 30 minutes of Loop seems weighty for the qualification as a paltry ep. Semantics.
The A side begins with two taut, drugged-into-monotone, psych-rock numbers each mighty with their propulsive underbelly and blown-out riff as rhythm structures. Hampson's vocals are still as weary, detached, and washed-out as always, making him one of the most unlikely of frontmen. The lazer-shot drone-on number "Coma" rounds out the A side as a slumped piece of feedback, distortion, and sculpted guitar minimalism that recalls more of Hampson's recent Editions Mego recordings under his Main moniker. More Organum-like fug-drone miasma opens the B-side with its slow-burning swirl that ignites into a magnificent Neu! / Can motorik rhythmic excursion dripping with gilded guitar distortion and the occasional wammy-bar bent solo flares out of Hampson's post-Stooges / post-13th Floor Elevator riffs.
So fucking great Loop is, was, and hopefully will continue to be!
MPEG Stream: "Precession"
MPEG Stream: "Aphellion"
MPEG Stream: "Radial"

album cover MGLA Exercises In Futility (No Solace) cd 14.98
This is the first we've heard from Mgla in a few years, they the cloaked nihilistic Poles making some of the most tantalizing modern black metal. Mgla have long had aversion to anything resembling self-promotion or ego; their matching black outfits worn during live shows that blot out any individual identity, all untitled tracks, and, this release in particular, which was uploaded with nary an announcement except to tell us that we should wait for a proper physical release for optimum quality. And here that release is!
Exercises in Futility perfects what Mgla have always done best: combine the nihilistic and bleak fury of the best black metal with the songwriting and melodies of a pop band. That's not to say there's anything cheery about this record, just that Mgla can somehow make a melancholic, knuckle-dragging riff into a catchy melody that won't leave your head. The guitar work is intricate yet dissonant, nihilistic yet made with great care, and the rare combination of tragedy and victory. The rhythm section is held down by the mysterious Darkside, who also drums for Kriegsmachine, in which he shows off a much mathier, chaotic style of drumming, but on here, he works more to service the already top-notch songwriting. There's an unmistakable style to Darkside's drumming, a sort of rolling disco beat on the ride, hard to describe but impossible to forget, and which somehow totally works to make those parts sound totally furious. The production on here mimics that perfect combination; clear enough to have full war-like force but murky enough to still feel bleak and rain-soaked like any good black metal record should.
It's clear to us at this point that Mgla are in a league of their own. Exercises In Futility is a modern black metal masterpiece, and easily one of the top metal releases of the year. The vinyl version will be released later this year for those interested.
MPEG Stream: "Exercises In Futility III"
MPEG Stream: "Exercises In Futility IV"

album cover MYRKUR M (Relapse) lp 23.00
Much hullabaloo has been made over Myrkur, this one woman project from Denmark, and it seems most of that hubub tends to focus on the fact that she performs that most sacred of musical forms (black metal of course) but has the gall to do so after previously playing in a... *gasp*... indie rock band!!! Personally we could care less if she used to be in The Wiggles, because when a record is this glorious, expansive, raw and beautiful nothing else much matters. M is the debut full length from Myrkur and incorporates in equal parts classic Norwegian black metal (the album is in fact produced by Ulver's Garm and there are definitely more than a few hints of their seminal Bergtatt album here), ambient, Cocteau Twins style ethereal vocal drift, new age (some of this seriously sounds like black metal Enya, and we mean that in the best way possible - Euronymoco Flow anyone??), Scandinavian folk, and epic naturistic harshness a la Wolves In The Throne Room. The songs themselves are barely even songs, more like ideas drifting in and out of consciousness, often fading out into a blissfully warm abstract soundscape. The affect is enveloping and largely dreamlike, like some sort of melancholy lost message sent across time from a once-mighty civilization, now in its crumbling death throes. A singular gorgeous vision and highly recommended for all those who don't mind their black metal lush, melancholic and a bit pretty.
MPEG Stream: "Skogen Skulle Do"
MPEG Stream: "Haevnen"
MPEG Stream: "Onde Born"

album cover PAKI * VISNADI Imaginary Choreography (Antinote) cd 15.98
An unimaginable sonic combination of Neu, Aphex Twin and Craig Leon, this 1985 minimalist electronic score made by two Italian musicians Paki Zennaro and Gianni Visnadi was designed with the intention of aiding contemporary dance schools. Only a handful of demo cassettes were made and one happened to fall into the hands of a partner of one of the heads of the French experimental label Antinote. Recorded with a minimal setup of synths, drum machines and guitars, the five tracks exude an open atmospheric style anchored by poised economic rhythms and gentle pulsations to spawn creative movement. Not too far off the mark from the Entourage Music and Theatre Ensemble, Imaginary Choreography is a charmingly beautiful artifact of graceful proto-electronica. Recommended!
MPEG Stream: "Migration"
MPEG Stream: "In A Dark Run"
MPEG Stream: "Emigration"

album cover PEEBLES, ANN Straight From The Heart (Hi / Fat Possum) lp 14.98
Ann Peebles may be best known for her 1974 hit "I Can't Stand The Rain", a masterpiece of epic Memphis soul minimalism, but her star began to rise a couple of year earlier with 1972's Straight from the Heart, her third album for the Memphis based Hi Label, whose biggest star was Al Green. Peebles, the girl with the big voice, as her producer Willie Mitchell called her, delivers the deeeeeep soul goods on this album with her first big hits which she also wrote like, "Slipped, Tripped, Fell In Love", and "99 Pounds". Her voice packed a wallop for such a tiny figure as evidenced in "99 pounds", and it helped propel the focus of southern soul away from the Stax juggernaut. This is deliciously dirty soul at its best!
MPEG Stream: "99 Pounds"
MPEG Stream: "I Pity The Fool"
MPEG Stream: "Somebody's On Your Case"
MPEG Stream: "Slipped, Tripped, Fell In Love"

album cover PINKCOURTESYPHONE Description Of Problem (Line) cd 14.98
Pinkcourtesyphone began as a project for the ultra-minimalist Richard Chartier to explore the aestheticized ennui of his beloved mid-century suburbia. He's located his heroine in his telescoped revisionist history as a housewife garbed in white taffeta and heels whilst nursing a cocktail (and a valium) as the meatloaf cooks in the kitchen. Her thoughts might turn to the mundane reflections on this newfangled television, the various pieces of Knoll furniture that might tickle her fancy, and the fleeting thought of sexual diversion or bloodyminded revenge on an ungrateful neighbor. This is not far from the dystopia that David Lynch revealed in Blue Velvet of the horrors and fetishes that lie just beneath the surface of Americana, for example. As for how this all sounds, Chartier indulges in the off-kilter hauntology, the deleted scenes and forgotten dreams of Caretaker and Phillip Jeck in terms of a hypnotic abstraction of found materials and dislocated melodies, all buried in an avalanche of reverb and sonic decay. Descriptions Of Problem continues along this vein, with a host of high-profile guest vocalists contributing to the pharmacological haze. William Basinski appears on the first track that could very well be one of his own tape loop mantras, but his presence was culled from an answering machine message left on Chartier's voice mail and turned into a dreamlike ellipsis of drone and fog. Cosey Fanny Tutti's breathy narration drifts above a cold storage ambient production, where AGF's code cracked vocals are rendered as a conveyor belt of empty consumerism and its luxurious vapidity. The unlikely collaboration with Kid Congo Powers and Richard Chartier continues, with Powers snarling above a highly spiralized whirlpool of reverb and deconstructed guitar strum. The album's finale with a rose-colored crescendos of saccharine orchestration is blurred into solemn dispersion of atomized perfume that finds no host to cling its scent upon.
MPEG Stream: "Description Of Problem / More Of Everything"
MPEG Stream: "iamaphotograph"
MPEG Stream: "I Wish You Goodbye"

album cover PLATANOS, LENA Gallop (Dark Entries) lp 17.98
Another gem from the Dark Entries label, this one featuring the art-fueled electronic music of Greek female composer and poet Lena Platonos. Gallop was released in 1985, and is her second solo album after years of collaborating with the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation. Recorded after a difficult break-up, its central themes of utopian mythology against the backdrop of personal heartbreak, desires and dreams, predicts the future of computer and technological infiltration into the urban landscape. Platonos narrates her surrealistic poem-songs over futuristic minimal wave pop balladry, sounding a bit like an art-house John Carpenter and Vangelis dance project with dystopically cold romantic leanings. The cover is an exact replica of the 1985 edition, featuring Lena's original collage. Each copy includes a two-sided lavender 11"x11" insert with lyrics, photos and liner notes by Lena, filmmaker Antonis Boskoitis, and fellow Greek musician Vassilikos. Cool and glamorous with a biting edge. Though song titles are in Greek characters and difficult to translate, one track we found translates to "Bloody Shadows From Afar". Indeed!
MPEG Stream: "An Unresolved Exercise In Physics"
MPEG Stream: "Markos"
MPEG Stream: "Bloody Shadows From Afar"

album cover REGIS Manbait (Blackest Ever Black) 2lp 35.00
While the name Regis might not be familiar to you, anyone into twisted electronic music should definitely know Karl O'Connor, the man who is Regis. He was a member of the late great Sandwell District, as well as one half of the British Murder Boys (the other half was Surgeon!), not to mention a ton of solo projects and one off releases. His vision of techno is skewed and geniusly warped, which is further evidenced by some of the folks he's remixed: Ike Yard, Dalhous, Tropic Of Cancer, Raime, Vatican Shadow. In fact anyone who's been digging any of those, all featured on the aQ list sometime in the recent past, while dig the shit out of Regis as well.
Manbait collects some of O'Connor's best productions and remixes from the last 5 years, which hold together remarkably well, playing like an album as much as a collection. His Ike Yard remix is spare and gothic, cold and clinical, stiff robotic rhythms and pulsing synths underpin deep vocals and a lurching, almost uncomfortable sounding groove. The Dalhous track is essentially ambient, all smeared sounds, disembodied voices, field recordings drifting in and out, a sort of kosmiche new age fused to cinematic seventies ambience. Vatican Shadow gets some added gristle, as well as some squalls of soft noise, all wound around very Kompakt sounding rhythms. The Tropic Of Cancer track also drifts into some reverb drenched new age shimmer, plucked notes hover and dissipate, vocals are slowed down and blurred into haunting melodies, again, the vibe very gothic and maudlin. Regis works within Raime's already minimal framework, sculpting glitch and gristle, transforming the original into a sweepingly dramatic digidub, minimal and skeletal one second, swoonsome and prismatic the next.
In between those remixes and productions (along with a few others: a reworking of a track by Regis' synth punk outfit Family Sex, and a remix for a group called Cub), are a handful of original Regis productions, all of which sound right at home amongst their remixed company, although they tend a bit more toward the bombastic, rife with rumbling low end bass washes, sizzling sheets of distorto drones, driving and urgent, but dialed back just enough to be more mesmerizing than anything. Fantastic!!
Compact disc housed in a digipak, lp includes a digital download!
MPEG Stream: IKE YARD "Loss (Regis Version)"
MPEG Stream: REGIS "Blood Witness (Original 12" Mix)"
MPEG Stream: VATICAN SHADOW "Church Of All Images (Regis Version)"

album cover SMOKEY EMERY A Clear Dark (Chondritic Sound) cassette 8.98
One of the staples of the Holodeck roster of gorgeously shoegazing electronics, Smokey Emery (aka Daniel Hipolito) presents this cassette on the industrial strength cassette imprint Chondritic Sound. The change in venues does not equate to a change in aesthetics, however, as Hipolito continues with the cavernous droneworks that have captured our imagination over the years. Thick bellows of tape loop drones with melodies grafted from varispeed explorations, all of which buried upon soupy reverberations that make the dense pall constructed by Flying Saucer Attack or The Caretaker seem light and ethereal. The slomo bpm of a drum machine clicks through variously churned loops of church organ chords and exhumed orchestral motif, all the details of which degrade into a disquieting miasma and a hypnogogic din. Thunderous clangs and suspended ectoplasm drones tangle into balls of cyclical patterns and decentered compositions. It all leads up to a grandiose denouement in the final track, where Hipolito presents a breathtakingly dour Gate-like pop song deconstruction of slow-motion smoldered electronics. All that's left behind is a depressive minor-key melody and its whisper of a drum track amidst his signature reverb in this exhustingly repetitive mantra of washed out blur. So mysterious, sad, and tortured.
MPEG Stream: "City Of Dreamers"
MPEG Stream: "The Sun Is Gone But I Have A Light"

album cover THEY HATE CHANGE Cycles (Deathbomb Arc) cassette 6.98
Another new offering from So-Cal avant hip hop label Deathbomb Arc (who also gave us wicked releases from BLCKHRTS, Daveed Diggs, Signor Ben Edick The Moor, True Neutral Crew, etc.), the first we've heard from They Hate Change, and unlike much of the other DBA stuff, the sound of THC is way more laid back, still pretty experimental, but more subtly so. The flows of the two MCs are more drowsy, druggy and soporific, the music backing them too, all hazy swirls and shimmery synth swells, with beats that tend toward the gristly and grimy, the whole thing very home brewed sounding, a sort of 4-track, bedroom hip hop, that still manages to sound pretty slick, but with a lo-fi sensibility that keeps things much more interesting. THC's sound definitely has a cloud rap vibe too, the sort of thing that should definitely appeal to fans of Lil B, Abdu Ali, ASAP Rocky, Main Attraktionz, etc.
MPEG Stream: "Remember?"
MPEG Stream: "Bryam's Trip"

album cover TRUE NEUTRAL CREW #Monsanto (Deathbomb Arc) cassette 6.98
On The last list, we reviewed the very UN-pop punky #Poppunk release from L.A.'s kraut-rap nerds True Neutral Crew, which features members of drum driven noise rockers Foot Village and Daveed Diggs of Clipping. (also more recently of historical hip hop Broadway musical Hamilton). #Monsanto is another sprawling experimental dive into some fractured form of hip hop, that is only really only tangentially rap, the title track is a sprawling nearly nine minute blowout, that is constantly shifting gears, tribal live drums (the whole album is all live drums too!) pounding over swirling synths, tinkling chimes, playful melodies, a stretch of grey noise drone, before dropping into some loping hip hop groovery, only to get all super abstract again, before TNC introduce their secret weapon, nerdy art rock vox, the song splintering into a frenetic angular noise-punk workout. That angular nerdery is all over the other tracks, from the hazy, low slung drift of "X-Files Clan", which features a pretty sweet Diggs verse, in-between more nerd-hop and some swirly new aginess, to the Boredoms meets beatbox nerd-rap of "I Guess", all chaotic and crunchy, with some wicked female flow in the second half.
The cassette also tacks on True Neutral Crew's debut single, which includes a collaboration with Lightning Bolt's Brian Chippendale, which means, yup, MORE DRUMS. Fuck yeah.
MPEG Stream: "Monsanto"
MPEG Stream: "I Guess"

album cover V/A Excavated Shellac: Strings (Dust-To-Digital) cd 14.98
About five years ago this cool comp came out on vinyl, now it's been released on cd (along with a companion, on both cd and lp, that we'll review soon, Excavated Shellac: Reeds). Here's what we said about it the first time around, now with sound samples too:
First proper release from aQ pal, 78 collector, and curator of the awesome Excavated Shellac blog, Jonathan Ward, appropriately enough on Parlortone, "The Phonographic Arm And Limited Edition Leg" of longtime favorite reissue label Dust-To-Digital. And it's a doozy, before we get into it, anyone who buys everything on Mississippi is gonna want one of these, if you loved the Black Mirror collection, or the Victrola Favorites, for anyone into world music, into lost gems, old sonic obscurities, this is about as good as it gets, the song selection, the curation, the sound, the detailed liner notes, utterly fantastic, and sonically breathtaking. But of course we would have expected nothing less.
For those not familiar with it, Excavated Shellac is a blog dedicated to "78rpm recordings of folkloric and vernacular music from around the world", and besides having an incredible collection, Ward also is a fantastic write, who writes extensively about each record he posts (almost all unavailable anywhere else in any format), detailing the recording, the style of music, the history, a musical lesson in every post, and the music, well needless to say, it's easy to get lost and subsequently obsessed.
So Excavated Shellac: Strings, is an analog extension of the ES blog, with all the things we love about the blog intact. Of course there's the music, impeccably chosen, deftly cleaned up, and perfectly sequenced, the writing, informative and funny, educated and informed, about the record, the project, and each track and artist, and of course the object itself, beautifully laid out, pressed on thick vinyl, lots of amazing archival photos, so great.
This first volume focuses on string instruments from around the world, Armenia, India, Bolivia, Congo, Vietnam, Georgia, Iran, Turkey, Uganda, Lebanon, Japan, Norway, Croatia and Paraguay. Every song a gem, haunting solos on Middle Eastern lutes, tangled frantic, droney sitar like buzz from India, playful festive dance music from Bolivia played on small guitars fashioned from gourds, gorgeous acoustic guitar music, lush and melodic, with soulful call and response vocals, from Congo, home recorded duets on 2 string fiddle and 'moon guitar' from Vietnam, solo violin from Iran, traditional folk music from Georgia, we could go on and on and on and on. But you know already if you need this, and it seems likely you probably do. We had been hearing rumblings about a Jon Ward / Dust-To-Digital project in the works, and had been anxiously awaiting it ever since. Now that we're playing this to death, we find ourselves already looking forward to future volumes [see above]. So incredible, and so totally recommended.
MPEG Stream: SUNDRARAM BALACHANDER "Dayapayonidhe, Pt 2."

album cover WHITFIELD, JT Adjustment (Chondritic Sound) cassette 8.98
No idea where this dude (or dudette) came from; but Chondritic delivers yet another killer cassette of bleak, post-industrial bad vibes. The lack of any context and the brooding black energy that seeps from these four lengthy tracks only serves to heighten the mystery about these recordings. Super minimal electronica, subterranean industrial dub devastation, end of the night recordings of various ghost hunters shitting themselves in an abandoned mental hospital, squalid reverberations of distant feedback, divebomb arcs of synth-noise murk into thrummed kick drum pulse, and blackened detuned drones of synths ominously churning through heavy, crumbled bass sequences. It could very well be some forgotten Raime tracks that never got released, or some fucked-up collaboration between Lustmord and Burial, with both parties canceling each other out in a black hole vortex of negation. Probably our favorite from the recent batch of Chrondritic cassettes; but we should say that these are already sold out at the source, and we've only got a limited supply on hand.
MPEG Stream: "Forgotten Strength"
MPEG Stream: "Odiar"
MPEG Stream: "Arrepentira"

album cover WINDHAND Grief's Infernal Flower (Relapse) cd 14.98
Um, yeah!! Windhand. At this point, three albums in, doom lovers, do you need us to tell you they're freaking great? Bow down already. There are lots of lots of doom bands, and dooooom bands, and even dooooooooooooooooooom bands out there dooming it up, down, and around these days, but Virginia's Windhand are easily at or near the top of that heaping heap. Do not sleep on this latest release of theirs. Heck, they know how to write a 14 minute long doom song that's so groovy and catchy and heavy and utterly hypnotically captivating, that you're startled when it ends. That's something a lot of other doom bands, no matter how long they make their songs, can't do.
Windhand wield plenty of heavier-than-thou (and heavier-than-Sabbath, Vitus, even Electric Wizard) massive fuzzy riffage, plus they have a bunch of other elements that make them unique, including the way they occasionally weave in acoustic Americana parts, and some ambient passages too, amidst the blown out heaviness of the whole thing. Also crucial is their singer, Dorthia Cottrell, who as a female vocalist in this genre is interesting 'cause some of the time you can't tell it's a woman singing, and sometimes you can, but either case she brings a lot of melody and emotion and presence to the vocal parts, adding a lot to the overall, multidimensional Windhand sound. On previous Windhand slab Soma, the band really started making use of the potential of Cottrell's vocals, and Grief's Infernal Flower builds on that.
"Hesperus", the album's quasi-title track (it's in the the lyrics), brings back the surprising Acid Bath comparison we noted in our review of Windhand's debut, in the vocals at least, delivering a catchy refrain, until the lengthy song's final 2 or 3 minutes, which ramp up the already stoned out sludge to incredibly hypnotic, even heavier and harder proportions, before the sudden ending gives way to the next (also 14 minute!) cut's ambient opening, but we're hitting repeat on "Hesperus" already. Damn it's the epic doom jam of the fall, utter doom trance nirvana. Oh, speaking of times on this album we're reminded of Seattle grunge slowed waaay down, and interestingly enough, Jack Endino produced this.
There's one entire old tymey folky sounding acoustic song here, "Sparrow", following on from some efforts in this direction on Soma, as well as Cottrell's solo album earlier this year. It's a nice change of pace, well not pace really... nor even mood... just change in volume and heaviness from most of the other tracks here, which ultimately are all about thee HEAVY sheer slomo groove, married to a melodic sensibility as well. Kinda like Electric Wizard run through some sort of 'especially-melodic, almost-sorta-dreamy' filter. So maybe Electric Wizard with some Mazzy Star to it?? Whatever, it's a beautiful thing. So once again all the doom fanatics here are in love. Windhand rules.
MPEG Stream: "Two Urns"
MPEG Stream: "Crypt Key"
MPEG Stream: "Hesperus"

album cover WOLF EYES Slicer (Orion Read) lp 24.00
Way back in 2001 good ol' Wolf Eyes released Slicer as a cassette, then in 2002 it made it onto compact disc (their 2nd), but it's taken a lot longer - 13 more years - for it to now at last make its vinyl debut! Worth the wait for vinyl fetishizing fans of these now-classic noiseniks...
The Michigan noisejunk / scumart / ghettopunk antirockers Wolf Eyes have amassed an impressive arsenal of gear salvaged from planned obsolescence or from becoming landfill fodder; thus, their preferred medium (the cassette) is quite fitting. Fortunately, they have enough sense to realize that their music runs the risk of never being heard if they stuck to the cassette format, and have re-issued a couple of their albums as cds and / or lps. Slicer follows Dread as the second Wolf Eyes cassette to be reincarnated as a cd, and is just as punishing, gritty, and lo-tech as its predecessor. While vaguely associated with the aggro-rock of contemporaries like Lightning Bolt, Total Shutdown, Black Dice and the latest John Dwyer project, Wolf Eyes have much more in common with the electrocution tactics of the Industrial pioneers Throbbing Gristle, SPK, and Lille Roger (the precursor to the Swedish death industrial project Brighter Death Now). No one will ever accuse Wolf Eyes of being funky, as their drum machine programming usually amounts to a deliberate pulse from an 8-bit thud acquiring the monotonous dis-ease of unknown panzer division systematically destroying the Eastern European countryside. Squiggles of equally primitive and equally agitated 8-bit noise from cheap synthesizers and abused samplers spiral throughout these skeletal rhythms. This isn't music that wants to be pleasant, harmonious, or enjoyable. Rather, Slicer is a grim vision of what would happen if art-students scripted the apocalypse. Scary indeed!
MPEG Stream: "Untitled II"
MPEG Stream: "Untitled III"
MPEG Stream: "Untitled V"

red dot See ALL of NEW ARRIVALS List #485...

Also, just a few of the Highlights of the previous week, of 40 items on
NEW ARRIVALS List #484 (25 September 2015)

album cover SCOTT, SIMON Insomni (Ash International) cd 15.98
With his first release under the auspices of the Touch label (via their Ash International subsidiary), after others on Miasmah and Immune, Simon Scott offers up yet another exquisite album, once again treading far beyond the shadow of Slowdive. Yes, Scott is the drummer from that beloved shoegazing / noise-pop ensemble; but there's nary a rhythm to be found on Insomni, which graces us with radioluminscent guitar drones, data-crunched sheets of noise, abstracted field recordings, and a number of languid ellipsis on the acoustic guitar. All of this comes together for a damn near perfect album that is right at home alongside so many of the other greats on Touch and Ash International (like Fennesz, BJ Nilsen, Lawrence English, Phill Niblock, Oren Ambarchi, Chris Watson, etc.). The album operates somewhat like a diptych with the first half of the album re-coding dilated shoegazing drones into effervescent explosions of digitalia girded with sublimely somber harmonics and loping melodies. Many of the environmental sounds address the album's title of insomnia, with Scott capturing those household drones and electrical hums that can dig into the brain as an unwelcome sonic earworm, late at night when one is trying to sleep but cannot. Scott amplifies and expands these sounds and coaxes something transcendent out of them amidst his soft-focused explosions of guitars and whatnot. The second half of the album is dominated by his beautiful acoustic guitar explorations that certainly pay homage to someone like Robbie Basho or Peter Walker, with these crystalline figures chiming into elegant fugues and languid passages equally melodic as they are hypnotic. Undoubtedly, Insomni is the best solo recording we've heard from Simon Scott yet!
MPEG Stream: "An Angel From The Sea Kissed Me"
MPEG Stream: "Confusion In Her Eyes"
MPEG Stream: "Nettle Bed"
MPEG Stream: "Nember"

album cover BASINSKI, WILLIAM Cascade (2062) cd 13.98
The Deluge and Cascade are two variations on the same set of tape loops constructed by William Basinski, with the former being released on vinyl and the latter on compact disc. Piano and orchestral recordings are the source material embedded onto those tapes, which Basinski colors with the muddled patina of a fictionalized antiquity. It's same deliciously haunted atmosphere that has captured our imaginations ever since he released the seminal Disintegration Loops nearly fifteen years ago. We'd love to believe that he stumbled up a pile of quarter-inch tape from some closet in a forgotten school who had a music program sometime in the '50s and '60s, whose students were only instructed on playing the most elegiac of funeral dirges on the piano. Or at least that's what Basinski's antiquated sounds allude to.
Cascade is a single 40 minute piece (coupled with a download of a live variation recorded at the Issue Project Room) that slows the pace on the frenzied loops that were introduced on The Deluge. It's a softer, more contemplative, dreamier variation, all the while keeping true to his woozy melancholia traced with delay, echo, reverb, and drone. So fucking what if we've already heard Basinski present this same technique on every preceding recording, it remains always unnervingly beautiful and spellbinding!
MPEG Stream: "Cascade"

album cover BLACK WING ...Is Doomed (The Flenser) lp 17.98
We've long been huge fans of experimental, outsider, bedroom, black metal outfit Have A Nice Life, so much so, that at one point, Andee was gonna release one of their records on tUMULt. Since then, the world has seemingly caught up, and caught on to the twisted genius of Dan Barrett's Have A Nice Life, and in the process, have also begun to discover the various other projects Barrett somehow finds time to mastermind.
One of which, this record right here, might be our favorite so far. Not entirely removed sonically from Have A Nice Life, but at the same time something completely different. Apparently inspired by a recent illness, and the surrounding machines that barraged Barrett with various beeps and bleeps and tones, Black Wing is not even remotely metal, although it is dark, an it's not difficult to draw a line back to Have A Nice Life, but essentially, Black Wing traffics in a sort of gloomy electro pop, a downer darkwave that seems to be equal parts post punk, and new wave, but filtered through Barrett's cracked sonic aesthetic.
The resulting record is a moody collection of droned out, minor key jams, built from cascades of sequenced synths, and primitive drum programming, all wrapped in a blurry, psychedelic song fug, and all in service of plaintive, echo-drenched vox, drifting way down in the mix. But don't get the idea that this is some straight up bummer rock, just check out "Luther", which sort of lopes and lumbers, until a second synth comes in and unfurls a gloriously melodic, and nearly sun dappled sounding melody, reminding us of a happier Cure, and when the vocals build into a lush chorale, this could almost be some outsider indie rock.
The whole record is rife with those sorts of sonic surprises, the eighties production, the booming reverberant drums, the tones and drones, the buzz and shimmer that seems to underpin all the tracks, and the vocals, lilting, plaintive, a little bid sad boy indie sounding, but that's kind of what makes Black Wing so cool. It's indie pop doused in industrial crunch, a little bit burnished and blackened, but a crazy catchy melody, or sweetly swoonsome vocal hook is never far away, and really almost every track eventually blossoms into something impossibly pretty. "Black Wing" sounds like a home brewed, lo-fi, industrial-wave Postal Service, while "My Body Betrayed Me" sound like it could be some weird eighties reissue on Medical Records.
While there are a few moments of twisted heaviness, the rest of the record plays out way more like some lost eighties synth pop record, albeit with extra fuzz and grit, especially the last track, which has an almost dance-y vibe, but one that is balanced by the strange harmony group vox, and a dense swirl of softly psychedelic noise. So good!
Includes a download code as well.
MPEG Stream: "My Body Betrayed Me"
MPEG Stream: "Unemployed"

album cover BOOGEY MAN, THE (TIM KROG & ED CHRISTIANO) OST (One Way Static) lp 37.00
And now One Way Static brings us a vinyl version of this killer (literally) soundtrack...
A classic slasher from the eighties, The Boogeyman is crazy even by the standards of other classic B-movie horror flicks. The plot is confusing to say the least, childhood trauma, a young girl and her brother, a murdered mother, killed while having sex, a mute child grown up to be a knife hoarding mute, living with the seemingly well adjusted sister, terrifying reflections in mirrors, eventually painted black, a priest impaled by multiple blades, possession, levitation. It's actually a pretty fun movie, but it is NUTS.
The soundtrack is a doozy though, the classic sort of Carpenter style creep fest of the time, actually quite reminiscent of what might be THEE greatest horror score EVER (and one that has inexplicably not been reissued yet), Phantasm!
Composer Tim Krog offers up ominous sprawls of squiggly synths, dense swaths of kosmische creepiness, twisted sound effects, some Halloween like melodic themes, moody organs, dark drones and moody ambience, for a batshit movie, the score is actually pretty fantastic, lovely and terrifying in equal measure, swirling atmospherics laced with cool backwards psychedelia, stately minimal melancholia, some far out WTF electronics, and a main melodic refrain that after a couple listens could definitely join the horror score pantheon of classics like Friday The 13th, Halloween and again, Phantasm.
MPEG Stream: "The Boogey Man"
MPEG Stream: "Explosion At The Well"
MPEG Stream: "Gloom"

album cover DARK BUDDHA RISING Inversum (Neurot) cd 14.98
Not sure what most devout Buddhists would think of this band, but we suppose if they're into heavy psychedelic Finnish space sludge drone trips, they'd like it! And the name Dark Buddha Rising isn't that bad of a shorthand description of the band's sound, really, in a way. There's definitely an ominous ceremonial vibe here, with trance-inducing ritualistic percussion and mumbling monkish chant amidst the slabular riff repetition. Is Yoga Doom a genre yet? These guys could teach a class in that for sure, heck they'd be at the top of that zoned-out heap, alongside aQ faves Nibiriu, whom this music reminds us of a lot. Speaking of esoteric Italian psychonauts, this reminds us of UFOmammut as well, and it's no surprise that DBR too has landed on the Neurot label for this release, following a sprawling double cd/triple lp set on Svart in 2013 and several rare, limited, uber underground vinyl-only sets (and a cd-r or two) before that.
With just two long tracks, "Eso" and "Exo", each at least a vinyl side in length (were this on vinyl), you know this Dark Buddha takes some time to rise, that's what it's all about, that process, that practice, that spaciousness, an exploration of the whole calmness/crushingness spectrum.
The first of the two tracks is a slow, slow build from vaporous drone on into eons of tumbling tribal rhythm and throbbing riff stumble accompanied by occasional, worshipful chants and screams of supplication - and more drone, waves and waves of it. The second similarly starts off quiet and blissful but gets into the action (of scaling the holy headbanging mountain) with less preamble, powering up the morose megaton throbulation earlier on, with some jazzy drumming around the edges (shades of Bohren), getting more massive and mesmeric as it goes, eventually approaching the lift off potential of the late, great Tarantula Hawk, with riff detonations on the SUNNO)))-scale. Earthshaking sonic ritual in other words, and our only disappointment is that after about 24 minutes, this sweaty yoga mat magic carpet ride to the dark side of the sun ends rather more abruptly than what we expected (endlessness???).
MPEG Stream: "Eso"
MPEG Stream: "Exo"

album cover DRINKS Hermits On Holiday (Birth) lp 15.98
As much as we dig White Fence, this might be our favorite recording yet by that band's Tim Presley, as he teams up here with an unknown-to-us Welsh musician named Cate Le Bon. The result of their collaboration is sheer post-punk perfection.
Taking turns on vocals, the interplay between Tim and Cate through these minimal and infectious songs works so well. There is not a wasted note or wasted second on this record. Think of the best parts of Young Marble Giants and Deerhoof coming together, and you might start to get a sense of the vibrant sounds that Drinks create. Angular, punchy, and stripped down sounds that ring with an immediacy that is so damn refreshing.
We're also reminded of a long and super underrated record that came out a decade ago, that was the only recording by a band named Klang who featured an ex-member of Elastica. If you ever heard that record, No Sound Is Heard, you know the greatness it contained and we were so stoked to finally hear a brand new record that taps into that same sound, and likewise channels early Rough Trade output in all its brilliant post-punk glory. Recommended, though maybe we don't even need to tell you that, as these Drinks have been flying out the door...
MPEG Stream: "Focus On the Street"
MPEG Stream: "Hermits On Holiday"
MPEG Stream: "Time Between"

album cover GOAT It's Time for Fun (Sub Pop) 7" 5.98
Goat Goat Goat! Yay, Goat. If anyone reading this isn't already a fan of Swedish Afro-Voodoo-psych-groove sensations Goat, we'd be sorta shocked. Seriously, who doesn't love Goat? And thus, who needs to know much more than that Sub Pop have a new Goat 7" out, and we've got it, and you need it??
The tightly percussion driven A-side "It's Time For Fun" still sounds very Goat-y for sure, the vocals are the usual distinctive Goat wail, but it's just a bit different - maybe it's what we think is a drum-machine in the mix, or the staccato keyboard melody that rides the groove out steady to the end. The aptly-titled flip, "Relax", is an instrumental, all sunny and organ-groovy, which kinda makes of think of Mammane Sani. And again there's what sounds like a drum machine, organically incorporated into the interwoven rhythmic texture. Figure they've been digging on some Francis Bebey? Sweet stuff, all around, on this single.
Includes mp3 download code.
MPEG Stream: "It's Time For Fun"

album cover GOLDEN VOID Berkana (Thrill Jockey) lp 17.98
Well, you know we're fans of this band!! We hosted a fun party here last week for the release of this new album (their 2nd) and in 201X we made their self-titled debut a Record Of The Week - this one really coulda been too, as Golden Void make Records Of This Or Any Other Week, really, as far as we're concerned. We've been in love with them ever since their first single came out on Valley King. Just, y'know, dang good stuff if you like heavy rock and psych music. If'n you don't know, Golden Void is a Bay Area band featuring members of both stellar psych squads Assemble Head In Sunburst Sound and Earthless, in particular showcasing the considerable talents of guitarist/vocalist Isaiah Mitchell, who takes the endless jamming / soloing style of his instrumental power trio Earthless and, without taming his searing solos entirely, puts 'em to use in a much more, let's say 'catchy song oriented', classic rock (that you somehow never heard before) format.
The magic is maintained on this sophomore outing, Golden Void again shining forth with their brand of mellow heaviness, very 'Cali', with vibes for miles, hooky and hypnotic, swinging and stonery, their loping grooves laced with achingly incandescent guitar soloing from Mr. Mitchell - though the rest of the band are no slouches either and keep up their end too amidst his astral-travellin' guitar forays. Lots of dreamy melody is the order of the day, the laid-back vocals a big part of the appeal, Isaiah's singing blending nicely with the backing vocals provided by keyboardist Camilla. They also riff it up quite heavily when they wanna, the band not lacking in power.
When we saw 'em play The Chapel here on Valencia Street last weekend, the day after the party, they had an old school liquid light show behind 'em, and they were perfect for it. Especially on numbers like (from this record) the super spaced out and mesmeric "Astral Plane", that one having a bit of Sufficiently Breathless era Captain Beyondness to it, we'd say. But the thing is, even though they were giving off that San Francisco ballroom, psychedelic '60s vibe, with the light show and all, and you could suppose the feel of something like Hendrix doing "All Along The Watchtower" sorta sums up where Golden Void are coming from, at the same time they're not throwback hippies, and this doesn't really seem like a retro affair, you know it's modern, it's got a different energy. Cool that they can make that work, sounding both so classic and current. Peeps into old Queens Of The Stone Age should check 'em out, also fans of Woods albums like Bend Beyond, if you haven't already. And of course anyone into classic old heavy psych rock with songs you that'll get stuck in your head, too!
So, once again, a winner. Golden Void rule. Wish we could party with them all the time, and whenever we spin their records, we feel like we are!
FYI, regarding the lp version, while they last we have a batch on some special colored vinyl that Thrill Jockey was nice enough to let us have.
MPEG Stream: "Burbank's Dream"
MPEG Stream: "Silent Season"
MPEG Stream: "Astral Plane"

album cover HEAT DUST s/t (The Flenser) lp 15.98
Local label The Flenser may have started out as a straight up metal label, but lately, it seems metal has taken a back seat to all sorts of other weird sounds, and we have to say, even as metalheads, we're digging it. Elsewhere on this week's list you'll find the electro gloom pop side project of Have A Nice Life, and recently we've dug the druggy psych folk of Boduf Songs, the twisted avant cabaret of Father Murphy, the crumbling shoegaze of King Woman and now this, the debut from New Orleans post punks Heat Dust. And it's a doozy. A murky sprawl of gloomy, reverby howl and pound, all bellowed dramatic vox, slithery low slung bass, and chiming angular guitar. Plenty of riffy crunch too, at times just as heavy on the punk as the post, with a heaping dose of dark swagger energy, swirling and psychedelic, the sort of stuff that should definitely appeal to fans of Iceage, Holograms, Interpol, Savages, Cold Cave, His Electro Blue Voice, Cold Showers, Beast Milk and all that (post punk) jazz. But unlike most modern bands of this ilk, Heat Dust do more than ape the sound, they're actually pretty bad ass songwriters too, all the songs here kinda crazy catchy. We didn't really notice at first, since this is just a sound we love, but the more we listened, the more we found ourselves humming along, returning to songs we wanted to hear again, and realizing that even sans the post punk trappings, these are just goddamn great songs. Needless to say, WAY recommended for folks into this kind of thing, and for folks who aren't, this might just change your mind.
Includes a download code.
MPEG Stream: "Nothing Left To Lose"
MPEG Stream: "Seeking A Praxis"
MPEG Stream: "Something For Nothing"

album cover HILLS Frid (Rocket) cd 17.98
Ah, Hills! We looooooove Hills. Rhymes with pills. Not to be confused with White Hills, whom we also love, most folks would be into both. This is plain ol' Hills from planet Sweden, doing timeless, kraut-channelling hypno-rock bliss, cyclic and psychedelic, totally in the ancestral tradition of their fellow countrymen / like minded souls from the '60s and '70s in the Parson Sound / International Harvester / Harvester / Trad Gras Och Stenar collective (also aQ faves, of course). What is it with Sweden, anyway? Good grief, both Hills and the mighty Goat aren't just on the same label Rocket Recordings, they're from the same town. Maybe they should have the water supply there analyzed. Anyway, yay, these particular master mantric jammers from Sweden now offer up their 3rd album (4th if you count the live lp on Cardinal Fuzz), and it's thankfully more of what we dig about them - deeply droned, trance-inducing excursions into higher mind states, filled with fuzz & wah, Scandinavian folk motifs, floatational flute flutter, ecstatic chant-like vocals, spacey fx, and endless krauty grooves. Tracks like "National Drone" or the ten-minute "Och Solen Sankte Sig Rod" just send you far into some fantastical ceremonial '70s zone, where you want to be. "Milarepa" is heavy-duty Parson Sound worship, "Anukthal Is Here" channels krautrock tribe Siloah, and then, like, on previous album Master Sleeps, the record ends with an especially ceremonial sounding track, the Lizard King meets Om chant, "Death Will Find A Way"... Altogether beautiful thing, heavy in a "heavy, maaaan" sort of way, once again for fans of their forefathers in TGOS et. al., also White Hills of course, Wooden Shjips definitely too, certainly their buddies Goat (throw on some Goat after this, it segues quite well), Circle at their hippiest, and the like... yeah!!
FYI, vinyl still upcoming.
MPEG Stream: "National Drone"
MPEG Stream: "Anukthal Is Here"
MPEG Stream: "Milarepa"

album cover ISHRAQIYUN (SECRET CHIEFS 3) Perichoresis (Web Of Mimicry) lp 17.98
NOW ON VINYL! Here's what we wrote about the cd version when it came out last year:
Not strictly a Secret Chiefs record, Ishraqiyun is the Chiefs' "neo-Pythagorean electro-folk" side project, which essentially consists of the non-rock based music the band routinely perform live, in non-Western tunings, and on non-Western instruments. But they're not played entirely straight, with most of the tracks sounding a bit like Master Musicians Of Jajouka by way of Don Caballero, with lots of bowed buzzing strings, tabla-like percussion, Eastern rhythms, a serious world music / international folk vibe, but then wedded to wild mathed out drumming, and swoon some cinematic strings, the arrangements intricate and the sound exotic, some mutant strain of math-prog-world music maybe?
Ishraqiyun for this debut recording is made up of various Secret Chiefs past and present, including Eyvind Kang and Ches Smith, and of course led by former Mr. Bungle weirdo and SC head honcho Trey Spruance. All the songs are exclusive to this record, although many have been performed live over the years, and anyone who's seen SC live, will definitely recognize some of the tracks here, and recorded they're just as mesmerizing and hypnotic, sprawling world-folk grooves, lush and layered and psychedelic, the sound like some alien Sublime Frequencies release. The title track is apparently the first recorded composition to feature Spruance's "evolving system of musical ideas patterned upon the specific geometrical relationships found in certain polyhedra and the tessellating patterns from which they are derived" Phew! And while maybe understanding what the heck that means might give you an insight into the mad musical genius at work here, it's not a requirement to dig these sounds. Not at all. And while most of the record is as described above, buzzing strings and will percussion, often wound around fierce propulsive proggy drumming, some tracks, like "Base Phive Futur Cossacks" mixes in some of the band's avant garde tendencies, some moments harkening back to the WTF? days of Mr. Bungle, others the band's obsession with John Carpenter style soundtrackiness, with sounds cutting in and out, swirls of mutated samples, thick buzzing synths, weird blurts of baroque pop, all draped over a woozy world music framework, and what at first sounds chaotic and on the verge of collapse, quickly becomes one of the record's highlights. And while the next two tracks (including the epic 16+ minute title track) dial back the weirdness, and deliver more whirling dervish folk prog and brooding hypnotic world music psychedelia, the final track gives us one final taste of that weird international synth-prog space-psych exotica, this time with even more synthy swirl, wild splatters of piano, blown out, distorto psychedelic guitar buzz, plenty of studio fuckery, wild edits (and if not edits, some impossibly dexterous playing), all in a swirling sonic tangle that has to be some of the most seriously dizzyingly next level, psychedelic, avant prog, faux world music we've ever heard!
MPEG Stream: "The 15"
MPEG Stream: "Base Phive Futur Cossacks"
MPEG Stream: "Aptarshi"

album cover KNIZAK, MILAN Broken Music (Multhipla / Sub Rosa) lp 17.98
We had a cd reissue of this years and years ago, that's long out of print, but now here's a nice vinyl reissue of this pioneering 'turntablist' experiment from the '60s...
The Czech artist Milan Knizak began his art career without much success, getting himself thrown out of Pedagogic Uni Prague, Preliminary Art School Prague, and Art Academy Prague in quick succession. But during the mid '60s, Knizak affiliated himself with Fluxus and began experimenting with turntables, tape recorders, and the surfaces of vinyl in order to make a 'broken music,' predating the damaged turntable 'n' vinyl experiments of Christian Marclay by almost two decades! Originally he would just slow down and speed up his records to change to quality of the intrinsic music. But by 1965, he started to scratch the records, punch holes in them, sticking tape to the surfaces, dumping paint over whole record, burning them, literally cutting the records apart and gluing them back together. These would then be played on his turntable, and inevitably destroy the needle and often wreck the turntable itself! The collages that Knizak arrived at are nerve-wracking clattering works in which snippets of the original would emerge amidst erratic skips and asynchronous warbling. Certainly for those adventurous fans of Philip Jeck, "Metal Machine Music," and Marclay.

album cover MAGISTER TEMPLI Into Duat (Cruz Del Sur) cd 16.98
Sound the trumpets! Man the gates!! For it is the thunderous return of Norway's heaviest epic metal titans Magister Templi. And what a welcome return it is! It's been two years now since their debut full length Lucifer Leviathan Logos, which was a serious favorite amongst aQ's sword-flailing heavy metal brethren, and those two years have done nothing to dull the steel of The Templi's theatrical doom-tinged heaviness. Not unlike the previous record, Into Duat is a dizzying slab of stop/start, meticulously structured heaviness - the frantic pacing, off kilter riffing and labyrinthine song writing recalling Mercyful Fate, while the hints of doominess bring to mind early Trouble, Cirith Ungol and Candlemass. But make no mistake, this is no low energy affair! As heavy and earthshaking as Magister Templi can be, they mostly keep the pace uptempo, perfect for rabid fist pumping, feral headbanging and manic air guitaring. But there's also a certain regal majesty to their music - a sort of world weary drama, not unlike Dio-era Black Sabbath even. This is thanks in a large part to Abraxas' vocals which are a forceful, commanding bellow. Deep in register, but rich and kingly - every word sounding like a spell being desperately cast over the havoc of clashing steel! Needless to say, any and all fans of traditional metal who remain uninitiated need to check these guys out pronto, and if you already have... then we can only say that Into Duat will not disappoint!
MPEG Stream: "Osiris"
MPEG Stream: "Slaying Apophis"

album cover MAUTHAUSEN ORCHESTRA First Essay: Sexual Depravity And Pleasant Atrocities (Urashima) 4cd 55.00
Before we delve into this boxset, we are reminded of an absurd experiment that took place here at Aquarius some years ago, when one of our staff reviewed each and every album in the Merzbox - the 50 cd anthology that was just a tiny fraction of the back catalog of the almighty Merzbow. And yes, all of the reviewing and listening was done here at Aquarius. The review became a stream of consciousness ramble that only tangentially related to the the noise found within, perhaps reflecting the teetering sanity of that particular staff member. So here we embark on the review for the first in reissue campaign into the back catalog of the horrifying noise productions from the legendary Italian power electronics project Mauthausen Orchestra (aka Pierpaolo Zoppo). Unlike what Extreme did for the Merzbox, Urashima has divided this body of Mauthausen Orchestra work into 3 sets of archival material, all of which had been collected into a 12 cassette boxset entitled the Gravitational Arch Of Sex. Or at least that's what the lurkers of the noise underground have claimed.
We can say that the First Essay does contain four of those cassettes - 2nd Movement (1983), Bloodyminded (1984), Anal Perversions (1985), and Host Sodomy (1986). 2nd Movement is a blackened hallucination of lo-fi synth noise, art brut primitivism, and overblown tape hiss into a hellish void of gaping existential alienation. Zoppo's propositions of desolation and despair mirror those of Maurizio Bianchi's cancerous work from the same time period. Bloodyminded's longform communions with abject sicktones and black noise rumble, bellow, and moan as a thoroughly nightmarish industrial soundtrack. It should also be noted that this was the origin for the name of Mark Solotroff's power electronics outfit after abandoning Intrinsic Action. Speaking of the aforementioned Merzbow, Anal Perversions shares more than a few of the timbres and metal-junk abrasiveness that Akita-san produced during those early days, though Zoppo seems to be still using all tape, synth, and feedback with no actual found metal in his arsenal. It's still a grim affair of thoroughly prolapsed noise that immediately descends into cauldron of tumult and discord, endlessly churning and boiling in its decay and malaise. Host Sodomy continues along this path of moral destitution and sonic devastation situated along an intertwining pair of noise-streams of phased distortion, volcanic abrasions, and prolonged thermal detonations. Damn brutal, these four discs. Limited stock, too.
MPEG Stream: "Anal Perversions 1"
MPEG Stream: "Bloodyminded 1"
MPEG Stream: "Host Sodomy 2"

album cover MB (MAURIZIO BIANCHI) CMRS / OPEA (Urashima) 2lp 36.00
Urashima offers forth a luxurious reissue of one of the rarest cassettes in the Maurizio Bianchi catalogue. CMRS / OPEA was realised back in October 1980, marking his early experiments with a Korg MS20, the synthesizer that would get worked into his arsenal of "cacophonelectronics" in the development of his signature, cancerous noise. This was before Bianchi had released the infamous Leibstandarte SS MB albums for Come Organisation, and when he was feverishly recording his own noise de-compositions and distributing them to a handful of friends and colleagues. Many of these early tapes eventually were reissued via Vinyl On Demand, documenting these early cassette editions. CMRS / OPEA was among those self-released cassettes from Bianchi, but the recordings had seemingly been lost to history until Bianchi's longtime friend Vittore Baroni had uncovered one of the seven or eight copies that Bianchi had duplicated back in the day. Now sprawling over two slabs of vinyl, his is the germination of Bianchi's hostile electronic sequencing and black hole nihilism that would later get fleshed out on Symphony For A Genocide. Bianchi's investigations and experiments with the tools at hand are still raw and untrained in many ways, but he still manages to push his electronics, his turntables, his effects, his tape decks towards his own damning vision of an existential self-immolation. Limited to 199 copies, we must note.
MPEG Stream: "Cmrs Part 2"
MPEG Stream: "Opea Part 1"

album cover SIGNOR BEN EDICK THE MOOR El Negro (Deathbomb Arc) cd 9.98
We usually don't pay too much attention to the tags on Bandcamp. After all, bands can make tags that say ANYthing. And often it's the artist's perhaps not entirely objective assessment of their own music. "Psychedelic, black metal, ego-trap, drunk-wave, psych folk." Sure, that's something we'd want to hear (okay, maybe we wouldn't), but it doesn't and couldn't exist. But occasionally, the tags do speak to us, and give some insight into an artist, and even more occasionally, they NAIL it. Los Angeles MC Signor Benedick The Moor (who's also a member of weirdo hip hop outfit True Neutral Crew) has only two descriptors: 'experimental prog rap' and 'krautrap', and really, how could we not wanna check it out after reading that? And holy shit, that's actually what it sounds like. Not only is SBtM a killer MC with a super unique flow, the music is crazy, definitely proggy, all over the map, strings, and martial drums, what sounds like epic soundtrack music, alongside super distorted, grimy beats, and distorted metal guitars, wild synth squiggles wound around pizzicato strings and booming tympani, one track sounds like Surfing With The Alien, another sounds like primitive, outsider sci-fi-hop, and another is a wild barrage of video game music. The production is in constant flux, as are the arrangements, it's a seriously wild ride, but one that's super ambitious and is the kind of forward thinking hip hop that should be as big as Drake or Kanye. It's way more fucked up and experimental for sure, but considering how weird much of mainstream hip hop has gotten, the time just may be right for Signor Benedick The Moor to sneak into the spotlight. Here's hoping.
SUPER LIMITED!!! These are likely the last copies there are, and for sure the last copies we can get!
MPEG Stream: "The Tragic Tale Of Bisen Francisco (In Media Res)"
MPEG Stream: "Existential Humanitarianism As A Fashion Choice"

album cover THEOLOGIAN Pain Of The Saints (Malignant Records) 2cd 13.98
The profane and blasphemous agenda of Lee M. Barlow (the principle agent behind Theologian, working with a few willing supplicants) looks backwards at the dual histories of metal and industrial culture. Yup, it is commonplace to find vehement opposition to Christian doctrine in the reversal the symbols as sigils of a black magic. Yet, this opposition is rarely a full-frontal denial of God as the blank void of atheism has no place for the transcendent and the spiritual, both of which manifest proudly in this rich and diverse iconoclasm. Aesthetically speaking, we suppose this could be trace even further back to Carl Orff, whose work has become the de facto audio signifier for all things Satanic; and probably further before Nietzsche, Lautremonte, and Baudelaire to the charisma of heretics, ignoble witches, and self-designated messiahs. So in a polemic for the will to power and the deification of the self, it's not all that much about what's said, but how it's said. And the aesthetics of Theologian speak mightily through blunt force, wielded as a relentless production of blackened synths and grim industrial drone. Pain Of The Saints conjures a sonic turbulence that is almost wholly drumless, which stands as a departure from much of the other Theologian albums which rely on heavy Teutonic beats to propel the vitriol and wailing. It's nonetheless an exhausting and exasperating journey, blasting through one miasma after another of aggressive amalgams of guitars, synths, and voice, two whole discs worth!
MPEG Stream: "Without Trust, Your Love Is Meaningless"
MPEG Stream: "Of Foulness And Faithfulness"
MPEG Stream: "Their Gelded And Rapacious Hearts"

album cover UNCLE ACID & THE DEADBEATS The Night Creeper (Rise Above) cd 14.98
Clear the foggy cobblestone streets! Curfew is in effect! The streets are no longer safe. For around every shadowy corner and in every lonely lamplit alley may lurk... The Night Creeper!!! And accompanying this dark spectre is none other than Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats. That's right, crawling once more from the pale artificial B-movie light comes the return of everyone's favorite occult stoner garage popsters. The Night Creeper actually marks album number four for these psychedelic psycho-derelicts (although album number one seems nigh unattainable and has yet to be reissued, c'mon guys), and once again it slinks and oozes with a palpable lo-fi Hammer Horror dread, even when its wealth of catchy hooks seem ready to strike from nowhere, like a glistening blade hidden in a Victorian aristocrat's overcoat! Many of the same hallmarks of Uncle Acid's sound are here in full force: Roky Erickson, Manson-esque subliminal imagery, swinging Sixties pop, and of course Black Sabbath (whom the band recently fulfilled what we can only assume to be a lifelong dream in opening for). Also we note the Sabbath influence here seems to come from the sounds of their mid-'70s Sabotage era rather than the very early daze.
But compared to 2013's Mind Control, The Night Creeper seems perhaps a bit more concise - less conceptual, doomy and atmospheric - more straight forward and groovy. In a sense a bit closer to their modern classic, Blood Lust! Not to say there aren't some moments of quiet moody gloom, most notably the instrumental "Yellow Moon" and the gentle morphine-swing of 8 minute album closer (the very appropriately titled) "Slow Death". Not to mention the acoustic secret bonus track "Black Motorcade". Another highly enjoyable notch on the cellblock wall for these drug devil deviants!!
PS also on vinyl, we're just waiting for more...
MPEG Stream: "Waiting For Blood"
MPEG Stream: "Murder Nights"
MPEG Stream: "The Night Creeper"

album cover WAND 1000 Days (Drag City) lp 17.98
Normally we'd scoff at a band releasing three albums in almost the span of a single year, but goddamn if we can't get enough of prolific, psychedelic, noise-pop, garage rockers Wand. And this new one manages to be pretty different than the other two. At least at the outset, sounding like some trippy, folky, psychedelic baroque pop, all sixties lilting jangle, Kinks like vox, but also barraged by weird squiggly FX and some seriously metallic guitar buzz, the second half somehow fusing, dirgey riffage with that paisley poppiness. But it works, and is pretty great. As is the rest of the record, which continues on in that fashion, shedding much of the lysergic freakery and blown out weirdness of the other records, in favor of folky, glammy pop. In fact, on "Broken Sun", the band unfurl a lush expanse of proggy, pompy pop, that explodes into some surprisingly far out (and weirdly dramatic), glam heaviness, replete with some wild guitar shred, and more thick guitar buzz. In a way, 1000 Days mirrors fellow garage rocker Ty Segall's sonic trajectory, this sounding like Wand's poppiest and glammiest record yet, but unlike Segall, it seems Wand have dragged some of their fucked up freaky past along with them, and it makes for a pretty wicked concoction. Sixties psych pop meets heavy glam rock stomp, meets distorto garage, meets freaky folkiness (that at times reminds us a little of the Frogs, which is about the highest compliment we can give!), which all adds up to a record of the year contender for sure. And maybe the record that will finally get Wand the sort of love their pals Segall and Cronin and Dwyer have been enjoying lately!
MPEG Stream: "Grave Robber"
MPEG Stream: "Lower Order"
MPEG Stream: "Sleepy Dog"

album cover WIRE, THE #380 October 2015 magazine 9.98
As usual, a lot of good stuff in this issue of the UK (and world's) premiere magazine of 'new music'... For starters, a special batch of features pertaining to the late great Sun Ra and his legacy, with Hieroglyphic Being, Marshall Allen, Gilles Peterson and more. Then, also this issue: Storm Bugs, Christina Vantzou, Heatsick, Ernest Berk, and Randall Dunn from the Master Musicians Of Bukkake (doing the 'Invisible Jukebox' thing). Plus lots more, including tons of tons of informative reviews of course.

album cover ZOVIET FRANCE & FOSSIL AEROSOL MINING PROJECT Flexible Pooling (Alt.Vinyl) flexidisc 7" 18.98
In 2014, we were blessed with a few copies of the first collaboration between the like-minded alchemists :zoviet*france: and the Fossil Aerosol Mining Projects, which came to us as a double lp, housed in a beefy slab of metal. Those few copies did not take long disappear, and we certainly expect that same fate to fall upon this outing as well. Flexible Pooling is intended to be the material antipode to the heft and durability of that first, with this 7" being a mere flexidisc and housed in a thin paper sleeve, with various printed ephemera gracing the package as well. There's two tracks found on the flexidisc and a download track, making the entire program an honest 30 minutes in length. It's a radioactive blizzard of tape machined errata, countervailed with subcutaneous drones and slippery layers of bedraggled, haptic noise compressed and / or exhumed from the vaults of some deep sea science station collecting data on thermal vents at the ocean floor before it was abandoned. The two entities organically sift through their material, sending various flutters, glissandos, snippets of unknowable dialogue, and electrical malfunctions into accreted and aggregated chorales of raw hypnogogia. Beautiful and eerie, Flexible Pooling represents a perfectly realized sound between two already exceptional authors of the sublime drift. Extremely limited.

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