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Last updated:
04 July 2014


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Check out this week's special inbetween list:
NEW ARRIVALS List #453.5 - Vinyl Round-Up Redux:
Part The Third (11 July 2014)


Highlights of the week of 70 items on
NEW ARRIVALS List #453 (04 July 2014)
:

album cover FOSSIL AEROSOL MINING PROJECT 17 Years In Ektrchrome (Hand-Held Recordings) cd 14.98
We first heard of the Fossil Aerosol Mining Project on :zoviet*france:'s fantastic podcast A Duck In Tree, and we were certainly baffled to discover that this enigmatic project from the outskirts of Chicago has been in existence since the early '80s. A cassette here or there might have materialized throughout the years, but it seems that the bulk of the output was just secreted away until some of this stuff started showing up on their website, revealing a dreamy, narcotic ethos of post-industrial tape-loopery. Think Phillip Jeck. Think Terry Riley. And most of all, think :zoviet*france:! The etymology behind the name Fossil Aerosol Mining Project harkens to the act of rummaging through abandoned warehouses, whose crumbled surfaces were dappled with graffiti. The remnant waste from all that graffiti was the never-ending supply of crushed and spent spraypaint aerosol cans. So, the punk-scavenger miscreants who would find themselves sifting through the rubbish of those abandoned warehouses in search of a motherlode of 16mm film or reel-to-reel tape machines would undoubtably come across countless, discarded cans. Quite a poetic allusion for this tape-heavy Mining Project.
The quotations of bird song and the pleasant ambient wash of the initial 30 seconds snap into something quite foreign with a series of radio communication bursts and snippets of slow-motion monologues from Ronald Reagan, whose soothing, patronizing declarations would raise the hackles of many critical thinkers and agit-prop artists during his presidency. Nowadays, it's something of a distant, sonorous ghost, something that we're supposed to dread but can't quite figure out why. The Fossil Aerosol Mining Project cycles through a myriad of sympathetic loops, each of which harbors its own patter of delay, lending to a complex web of crumbling sound furthered along by backward tapes of textural scrabblings and iridescent drones. This network of eerie, diaphanous sounds and hypnotizingly soft-focus rhythms which may have their origins in a thoroughly forgotten fragment of a song, whose content was wholly lost to the magnetic erasures, dubbing-upon-dubbing-upon-dubbing, and / or the bacterial decay which flecked away the ferric oxide leaving behind an entirely different set of chemical stains. What's left is just a shadow of whatever emotion might have been imprinted onto the tape. It's a beautiful coagulation of sound, the musical equivalent of a Joseph Cornell box... either that or the recapitulation of the classic :zoviet*france: albums (e.g. Look Into Me, Assault & Mirrage, Just An Illusion, etc.). One of the best albums of 2014.
MPEG Stream: "Backbone 1982"
MPEG Stream: "From The Lowlands"
MPEG Stream: "Systems Clock"

album cover CLONE Sons Of Octabred (Dead-Cert) lp 24.00
This is another one of those records, that's almost too good, and too weird, to be true. Especially coming as it does from the Dead-Cert label, run by weirdo music obsessive Andy Votel. In fact, based on the description, AND the sound, we were pretty much convinced that this had to be Votel himself conjuring up some imaginary lost sonic artifact. How could it not be? Son Of Octabred is/was apparently a 'birthing' record, as in an album to assist/instruct with giving birth (?), recorded on primitive analog synths and 'originally broadcast' on a radio show in Anchorage, Alaska - its sound a strange hybrid of kosmische synthscapery, spaced out kraut-psych, minimal dronemusic, and percolating early electronica. But once again, whether it's all true or not, almost doesn't matter: if it IS true, what a ridiculous and impossibly WTF find, and if it's NOT, well, goddamn, total brilliant art prank / fictional sound conjuration.
The record begins with a female voice instructing the listener to breath and push, with some strangely poetic descriptions of having a baby, then a man's voice talks weirdly about 'his pregnancy', before in swoop some space synths, and we're off, on a cosmic journey, some alien planetarium show, swirling percolations, swooping FX, shifting textures, playful melodies, there's definitely a sort of John Carpenter / Klaus Schulze vibe, pulsing kraut-psych gives way to weird vocodered vocals, not singing so much as just humming/crooning more textures, and again if this is real, it's hard to imagine just flipping on the radio in the middle of the night and hearing THIS. Or, being born, and hearing it! Crazy.
The sound soon erupts into something much more sinister, thick swells of swirling shadowy rumbles, and staticky clouds of hiss, all over buried voices and keening melodies, some serious black ambience for sure, that sounds like birthing music for Rosemary's Baby. The flipside returns to the playful percolation of the opening, sounding a bit like Perrey & Kingsley, before devolving into a weird sprawl of dubby gamelan like percussion, and strangely processed abstract rhythms, all floating in the ether, before a Close Encounter synth melody surfaces, swopping wildly from speaker to speaker, the whole thing dizzying and seriously trippy, before once again drifting into darker sonic territory, some ominous shadowy drift, that eventually returns to the light, for a final bout of bouncy bloopy synthiness and one final burst of wild tangled psych-synth freakout. So cool, and so weird. Real or not, we love it!

album cover AFGHAN WHIGS Do To The Beast (Sub Pop) 2lp 29.00
There are some of us around here at aQ HQ who just might cite The Afghan Whigs as one of the best American rock bands of the 1990s, so to say that their first new album in 16 years was highly anticipated around these parts would be a huge understatement. And is it exactly what we wanted? Is it a complete return to the classic mid '90s Whigs sound?? Is it Gentlemen part 2??? Actually no, not really. But is it totally great? Yep. It sure is. Instead of Do To The Beast being a continuation of where the Afghan Whigs left off when they broke up in 2001, it's instead more of a culmination of everything Greg Dulli's done before and since. It's sensual, seedy, dripping with lurid disdain just like classic Whigs, but it's also musically much tighter, more produced and layered, way more of a studio production, like Dulli's more recent project Twilight Singers. "Parked Outside" has all the drunken confident swagger of a man with truly nothing to lose. "Matamoros" is a jittery slither, sparking with clattering violins, throbbing bass and twisted funk guitar. The delicate piano of "It Kills" erupts into a stirring bass drum pulse, throbbing under the same kind of gospel vocal accompaniment that appeared on the 1998 Afghan Whig's album 1965. "Algiers" is a lonely dusty Western epic strummed carelessly and listlessly over a classic Phil Spector drum beat. The horror movie piano of "Lost In The Woods" plods ominously under breathy wine soaked vocals. "The Lottery" might be the closest to classic Afghan Whigs, with its cutting anxious riffing, but still has the modern flare of drum machines shuffling and scattering underneath, as well as that same tight punchiness that marks the rest of the album. And then it ends gloriously with "These Sticks" - all clattering toms, epic John Barry horns and Greg Dulli seeming to howl an acrimonious goodbye. All over this record in fact his voice is that perfect mix of grit, sensuality, sadness, anger and off key soul that has always been the perfect accompaniment to the Whigs' twisted take on late night Motown. So, no it's not really the album we expected, or the album we wanted, but we're damn happy it's the one we got. Comeback of the year? No doubt.
Available on cd or lp, the latter with download.
MPEG Stream: "Parked Outside"
MPEG Stream: "Algiers"
MPEG Stream: "The Lottery"

album cover AKBAYRAM, EDIP s/t (Pharaway Sound) lp 27.00
Vintage Turkish psychedelia, we love it! The love affair for us started years ago, when we got turned on via a compilation called Hava Narghile on Bacchus Archives. Hip '70s singer Edip Akbayram didn't appear on it, not sure why, but we've been fans of his music for a long time too thanks to some other reissue efforts, including a double cd anthology that Shadoks put out a while back. And as we've said before, Akbayram's music is some of heaviest and hardest-rockin' out of all the Turkish psych acts of the era, up there with Erkin Koray, blending Anatolian flower-power folk-rock with the polyester wah-wah funked-up sound of the '70s.
Now Pharaway Sounds has come out with a full reissue, on both cd and vinyl, of Akbayram's debut album, originally released on the Turkish Sayan label in 1974. It boasts a simple and colorfully '70s lookin' cover design, and features ten great tracks, all of 'em great, including quite a few of our absolute biggest Akbayram faves. Vibrant grooves, impassioned singing, tons o' fuzz, swingin' horns, just irresistible, classic stuff. We don't understand the words, but know the songs are about love and pain, with titles that in English translate to things like "The Mountains Made Me Sad", "Don't Touch My Sad Soul", and "Mother Cries About Me At The Head Of My Bed". Sounds like a bummer but it's not, the music has the opposite effect, powerful and jubilant.
So, if you don't already have that self-titled double disc Shadoks collection we mentioned (which contains all of the tracks from this record, as well as much of Edip's second album as well) then this is hugely recommended for sure. Presumably Pharaway Sounds will be reissuing more of his individual albums in the future too.
The liner notes by Angela Sawyer of Weirdo Records provide a full history of Akbayram's career (he still performs to this day, though his heyday was in the '70s) with details about his famous backing band Dostlar, and connections with other Anatolian artists like Mogollar and Baris Manco.
MPEG Stream: "Degmen Benim Gamli Yasli Gonlume"
MPEG Stream: "Deniz Ustu Kopurur"
MPEG Stream: "Yakar Inceden Inceden"

album cover ALTURAZ / WIKKID split (Soulthief) cd 6.98
It seems many moons ago now that a mysterious man sporting a black cowboy hat with a cigar (in a cigar holder!) perched upon his lips first strode into the aQ shopfront to thrust upon us some of the weirdest, most damaged outsider black metal we have ever heard, under his one-man solo project Wikkid, and since then we've had further unexpected visits where we've been blessed with weird home made spray painted t-shirts along with cut and paste printed cassettes and cds by Alturaz, this same mystery man's "black metal influenced instrumental organ" outfit. And now here we have a split between those two projects - Wikkid and Alturaz (a split between two one man projects that both feature the same one man! How amazing of a concept is that??), and it's just as fucked up as we'd hoped. Not only in the music disarmingly bizarre, but even the little details are bewildering. The album cover simply features the same cover art from both previous Wikkid and Alturaz releases, but squashed together so they'll both fit on one cd sleeve (but make no mistake, this is all new music!). The track names at first seem to be delineated by Roman numerals, except when you get past "III" they just become "IIII", "IIIII", etc.! The beauty of these bizarre Easter eggs is it's truly impossible to determine whether this is totally calculated, or just genuine weirdness on the creator's part (but personally, we're betting on the latter.) As for the music, Alturaz starts off this strange journey with "In the Name of Self", a full 37 seconds of genuinely creepy horror movie ambient reverb accompanied by some truly bizarre pitch-shifted echo chamber death growls. The second track "Forbidden" (and second Alturaz track) is literally just three minutes of desolate Arctic tundra winds. It's not until track three where Wikkid first emerges and the weirdness truly begins. "Worship of Fire" kicks off with some guitar work (the word "riff" doesn't really apply here) that sounds like someone chewing on metal, before the song dizzily tumbles into some crazy d-beat drumming, constantly drifting in and out of time. The vocals exist on some other audial plane, like a nervous muttering goblin having a panic attack. The affect is a bit like Hellhammer crossed with The Shaggs (Shagghammer??), or as one aQer puts it: Wikkid make Striborg sound like Steely Dan. With the next Wikkid track, the sound quality totally changes (a real trademark of this split - things like levels have no meaning here!), getting way louder with much more low end. "The Unreleased One" is an instrumental mid paced plod, all chugging guitars and intermittent double bass that seems to start and stop with little regard for the song's timing. And then there's this sudden abrupt high pitched beep, way way louder than anything else in the mix, like something's being censored, and suddenly "Putting The Black Birds Blood In Your Veins" (what a title!) bursts forth with some truly demented blast beats and tinfoil tremolo guitar, before Alturaz returns to close out the proceeding with more lonely howling winds and creepy instrumental clean guitar. Needless to say, if you're interested in the shadowy fringe areas of black metal, you need to check this out, but really, we'd recommend this to anyone truly fascinated by those strange outsider records that seem to exist free of any genre constraints, and any petty earthly concerns like "listenable" or "musicality." Utterly weird, utterly fascinating, and totally amateurish but all the better for it. How could we not love it??
MPEG Stream: ALTURAZ "Forbidden"
MPEG Stream: WIKKID "Worship Of Fire"
MPEG Stream: WIKKID "Putting The Black Birds Blood In Your Veins"
MPEG Stream: ALTURAZ "Forbidden Forest Of Black Spirits"

album cover BLACK MONOLITH Passenger (All Black) lp 23.00
Passenger is the debut full length from this Oakland based crusty melodic black metal project, comprised solely of onetime Deafheaven touring guitarist Gary Bettencourt; it's also the debut release from the label All Black, founded by current Deafheaven singer George Clarke. So with that sort of pedigree you may be expecting a platter of glorious soaring shoegaze tinged black metal / black metal tinged shoegaze, but Passenger is in fact a much grittier affair. After a brief intro of looming grinding noise pulsing over ominous shortwave radio static, this record launches into a pummeling, overdriven assault of blown out blast beats, anguished d-beat crust punk and mournful melodic black metal. At first one might be forgiven for thinking Black Monolith are yet another band in the orthodox Sargeist mold (albeit a very good one), but as the album grinds along other elements start creeping in - a driving uptempo punk rock beat provides a rigid spine to a hammering bittersweet riff, which in turn leads to a moment of throbbing ambient calm, before launching into the kind of crust punk / black metal hybrid that would make latter day Darkthrone proud. But then those haunting melodies start to seep in again, and as the blast beats re-emerge and the guitars pile on top of each other, the song shifts into something much more poignant and morose. The beauty of this album seems to blossom more and more as it progresses. By the album's midway point it seems to have accomplished the strange and dangerous task of morphing very subtly from some filthy black crust into an ethereal flurry of bittersweet melodies, driving hypnotic drums and buried muffled howls. And although those dirt-flecked HxC riffs are never far away, lending a genuine vitriol to the moments of comparative serenity, by the record's end the grit has given way to a complete immersion into gorgeous heavy post rock, like the heartbreak gleam of Deafheaven's Sunbather filtered through a much more huddled claustrophobic spectrum. The beauty hidden under layers of decay. Fans of the crustier side of melodic black metal (i.e. Panopticon, Ludicra, Lluvia) would do well to check this out. Highly recommended!
MPEG Stream: "Dead Hand"
MPEG Stream: "Eris"

album cover CAULDRON BLACK RAM Stalagmire (20 Buck Spin) lp 17.98
The genre of "pirate metal" (yes, there is such a thing) gets a bad rap, perhaps deservedly so. Maybe it was ok back in the day when Running Wild was the only band, um, running wild with it. But modern "pirate metal" acts like Alestorm and Swashbuckle, while good for a chuckle, are just too silly. You can't help but imagine 'em in frilly shirts and eyepatches, maybe a stuffed parrot on the shoulder or a fake hook on the hand. About as mean and scary as National Talk Like A Pirate Day. Arrr!
However, underground Australian black/doom/death act Cauldron Black Ram, featuring a couple members of funeral doomsters Mournful Congregation, are more like what REAL, truly bloodthirsty buccaneers would have listened to, if they were into metal on the Spanish Main. Churning, rumbling riffage, punishing battery, blower bass, guttural vokills, truly vicious rockin' heaviness indeed! And, yes, CBR have a pirate theme, but their lyrics seem more derived from the creepy occult myths that pirates might have believed in, speaking of drownings and disembowelments, cannibals and caverns. The pirates of Cauldron Black Ram's fevered imaginings are like the ones from John Carpenter's The Fog, ghosts and ghouls back from a watery grave. Wicked (sea)sick.
MPEG Stream: "Fork Through Pitch"
MPEG Stream: "Maw"
MPEG Stream: "Bats"

album cover CRAFT SPELLS Nausea (Captured Tracks) lp 16.98
Another fantastic new record from Stockton dream poppers Craft Spells, who have pretty much entirely distanced themselves the weirdo pop scene that spawned them (Ariel Pink, Blank Dogs, Greatest Hits, etc.). And while they made a brief stop around record number two at a sound that harkened back to Eighties MTV new wave pop, this new one finds them fully embracing a new (to them) sound, one that's simple, melodic, heartfelt, dreamily fuzzy, a little bit wistful, sun dappled and so lovely. There are still hints of their earlier sound, little new wavy bits here and there, some subtle weirdness, but for the most part this is classic sounding baroque pop, that looks back to the classics, the Kinks, the Zombies, early Bee Gees, with strings and synths, even some vibes (maybe xylophone?), lush, luxurious arrangements, plenty of jangle and strum, some subtle electronics, a softly psychedelic production. Fans of modern day recently reviewed retro poppers like the New Lines and Still Corners, as well as groups from the recent (and not so) past like Stereolab, the High Llamas, Witch Hazel and Cardinal, this definitely falls right in there sonically. Hazy vocals, laid back steel string strum, lush vocal croon, harmonies, impossibly catchy hooks, woozy baselines, lots of shimmer and glimmer, hints of Elephant Six for sure, a little paisley pop too, but with a definite power/psych pop bent. So good. And generally we'd be bummed for a band to ditch all the stuff that made them weird, but Craft Spells work so much better as a proper pop band, and this is easily the best thing we've heard from them yet.
MPEG Stream: "Nausea"
MPEG Stream: "Komorebi"
MPEG Stream: "Changing Faces"

album cover EARTH JERKS File #01 (Computer Tapes) cd-r 4.98
Synth-drone heaviosity and thousand-yard-staring contests are on deck for this project by San Francisco icon Chris Dixon. This man about town has been in countless projects over the years -- Death Sentence Panda, Cops, Murder Murder, Tujurikkuja, to name a few - mostly following a scum-rock/no-wave/hardcore axis of skronking jazz-not-jazz energy, perpetual punk enthusiasm, and a quick-witted tongue to boot. Earth Jerks is none of those things; and it actually came as a bit of a surprise for us as a meditative album of elegantly swirling radiophonic tones better suited for the hallowed chambers of the San Francisco Tape Music Center than a grimy, stuffy basement crammed with people eagerly awaiting Dixon to blow out their ears on drums, guitars, or both.
File #01 opens with a lonely set of synth clusters recalling the empty-band signal bleeps of modems vainly seeking a connection with another modem in the dial-up days of the internet, or maybe the overseas dial-tones while trying to make a satellite call to someplace in Vanuatu or Mauritius. As these tones shimmer and billow into long-form pieces, they maintain that sense of underlying melancholy through an archaic technology, as gorgeous oceanic harmonics and stoned-blissed drones ebb and flow, falling somewhere between Growing, Pulse Emitter, and Daphne Oram. Nice!
MPEG Stream: "File #01.2"
MPEG Stream: "File #01.4"

album cover ELECTRIC CITIZEN Sateen (RidingEasy) lp 19.98
LA stoner/fuzz specialists EasyRider (or RidingEasy, seems they changed the name of the label, what did they get sued by Peter Fonda or something?) have been KILLING it lately, not just doing cassette versions of some awesome shit (Saint Vitus, Fuzz, Witchcraft, Windhand, etc.) but signing up some rad new bands too for vinyl & cd release - we recently reviewed great albums Salem's Pot and Sons Of Huns, this list we've got two more, by Monolord and Electric Citizen.
This band, Electric Citizen, from Ohio, are yet another entry in the current upsurge (we won't say glut) of female-fronted, '70s styled retro-rockers - Jex Thoth, Blood Ceremony, Purson, Mount Salem, The Oath, Jess and The Ancient Ones, etc., etc. - and they already rank up amongst our faves. Heavy, rollicking riffage, check. Psychedelic vibes, check. High, wailing vocals (she's got pipes), check. And, in Electric Citizen's case, lots of heavy Hammond organ too, a la Deep Purple, but also conjuring the shades such lesser known '70s precursors as Bloodrock and The Power Of Zeus. Indeed, many of the songs here almost sound like they could have belonged on that Darkscorch Canticles comp of obscure '70s proto-metal we made Record Of The Week not long ago!
Among their contemporaries, with the organ, Electric Citizen could be compared especially to Blood Ceremony, but EC tend to put the pedal to the metal a bit more, rippin' and rockin, not wandering in the witchy woods of prog and folk quite so much.
So, we're digging this big time, the only thing we can really gripe about is that the band name is kinda whatever - really, there's already a lot of Electric Something bands, right, so if you're gonna do it too, you need to pick a decent Something. Electric Prunes, Electric Eels, Electric Wizard, Electric Frankenstein, those are some good ones. Electric Citizen, though, what's that about?
MPEG Stream: "Beggar's Need"
MPEG Stream: "Savage"
MPEG Stream: "Burning In Hell"

album cover ETHNIC ACID Power-Works 1986-88 (Industrial Recollections / Freak Animal) 2cd 17.98
BACK IN STOCK!!
Anthony Di Franco is probably best known as a member of British noise rockers Ramleh, as well as the legendary Skullflower, playing on that band's seminal, industrial sludge records including Obsidian Shaking Codex, a bunch of impossible to find singles, and the universally revered IIIrd Gatekeeper. Di Franco also had a couple of other solo projects in Ax and Novatron, the latter has proven to be an awesome, if rarely heard slab of headrinsing, low-end noise, and Ax, holy shit, so punishingly good, c'mon someone, reissue those NOW!!!
Di Franco was also the man responsible for the power electronics noise project Ethnic Acid, which existed for a short two year period from 1986 to 1988 but managed eight cassettes during that time period. A couple of those tapes were self-released through Di Franco's own JFK imprint; and most importantly as a historical note, one of those cassettes was released by Broken Flag. It's most likely due to Di Franco's working relationship with Broken Flag's Gary Mundy, that he become one of the revolving members of Mundy's Ramleh. Outside of his better known bands, Di Franco's solo work has always been very worthwhile, and these early recordings of tape splatter and electronic bloodletting do not disappoint! Managing to be heavy and noisy and caustic, but also surprisingly listenable. As we've mentioned before in the past, we're not always that into full on noise / power electronics, we're way more into texture and timbre and dynamics, and thankfully, for every spurt of face melting crush found on Power-Works, there's a long stretch of rumbling drone, or strange stuttering collaged heaviness.
Di Franco's pedigree should probably be enough to get most folks on board, and noiseniks were probably already anxiously awaiting this collection, but for the rest of you, definitely check this out, if you're not into noisemusic AT ALL, this might not be your thing, but anyone into dronemusic and dark ambience, and experimental tape music, this is some seriously powerful and varied stuff. From heaving digital crunch, to stuttering almost metallic sounding loops, to murky stumble and blackened rumble, to spaced out soundscapes of sine waves and looped classical music, to wild squalls of distorted sort-of-riffage, to whispered industrial whir, to smeared and blurred dronescapes, it's all pretty fantastic and heady stuff, especially for being 20 years old. And anyone who's been digging Skullflower's recent return to noisiness (Vile Veil, Malediction, The Paris Working, Desire For A Holy Warm, Pure Imperial Reform) will most likely find lots to love here, although in comparison to those discs, lots of this stuff is downright pretty!
MPEG Stream: "Severed From Life"
MPEG Stream: "Il Papa"
MPEG Stream: "Sexodus I"
MPEG Stream: "Sexodus II"

album cover FROST, BEN Aurora (Mute / Bedroom Community) 2lp+cd 25.00
ALSO ON VINYL!!!
Ben Frost records are scary. And beautiful. They're the stuff of dreams. And nightmares. They're like soundtracks for films that can never be made, the music conjuring up images that can only exist in the imagination. It's musical magic, or sonic alchemy, whatever it is, it's something few have mastered, and even those that have, barely approach the mysterious mastery of Ben Frost, whose previous record, By The Throat, remains one of the most terrifying documents of electronic sound art we have ever heard, weaving the sounds of snarling wolves into thick swells of corrosive bass buzz, and brilliantly bleak, yet impossibly lush sound design, and balancing that sonic grimness, with glimmers of hushed beauty, in a way that makes the sound both mellifluous and malevolent in equal measure.
Aurora is another stunning sonic missive, and one that immediately conjures up yet another lost world, one that lurks in our collective imagination, but that has begun to bleed through, into our every day world. The shadows seem deeper and darker. The grey skies shout through with streaks of blood red, the nights interminable, the days, scorched expanses of endless time. All of this represented by strange sprawls of layered electronic drones, of gristled pulsations, of strange staticky rhythms, and mysterious buried melodies, the sounds this time around brittle and jagged, the loveliness sharp edged and flecked with rust and dried blood, the rhythms that surface are hauntological, reminding us of the dubbed out avant mesmer of groups like Demdike Stare, but here those rhythms seem to gradually splinter and fray, wreathed in thick swirls of soft noise, sculpted into weeping melodies, and darkly decaying textures, all hiding some glowing inner warmth, suffusing these sounds with an organic quality, that transforms a series of sounds into something alive, a crackling energy that is barely contained on the record, one can almost imagine the sound as colored sparks leaping from the speakers, bursting from the headphones, a cascade of brilliant sonic flares, raining down from above.
Lurching robotic percussion is shaped into strange skeletal shapes, lumbering behemoths trading through fields of groaning, creaking chordal thrum, pelted with prismatic streaks of sound, a beastly groove, that builds to a thick swath of soaring epic psychedelic electronic majesty, like a meaner, moodier, more metal M83, a brilliant blacknoise blur, that blots out the stars, painting the sky in shade and shadow, eventually morphing into burnished stretches of grey ambience, laced with dubby skitter, all of which blossom further into a flurry of blissed out electro flares, which fade into crackling seas of gristle and hum, undulating imperceptibly beneath hazy layers of grumblingly distorted shimmer and grinding sheets of druggy thrum. A heaving landscape of tense cinematic atmosphere, smeared fields of tangled melody, wildly colliding synth streaks, and jumbled beats and rhythms, all wound up into a tightly coiled swirl, flurry of frenzied electrons, gradually crumbling into the ether, leaving just a barely there cloud of sonic static discharge, until finally, nothing. And emptiness.
Simply stunning.
MPEG Stream: "Nolan"
MPEG Stream: "The Teeth Behind The Kisses"
MPEG Stream: "Secant"

album cover GLASS COFFIN / HARASSOR split (Universal Consciousness) lp 19.98
Brand new split from these two purveyors of black filth, LA black metal trio Harassor, and Kentucky one man black metal outfit Glass Coffin. Harrassor start things off with a surprising bit of poppiness, the opening of "Promise Of Fire" is crazy catchy, sounding like it could explode into some sort of M83 / Weekend sort of noisepoppiness, but instead, the vocals swoop in, an inhuman shriek, and the sound splinters into some seriously grim blackness, but without ever really losing the vibe of that first riff, in fact, whenever that riff is present, it sounds like some sort of blackened shoegaze, but the song is in constant movement, lurching from chaotic thrashing black blast to churning death march doom, to Venom-ous black metal stomp, but eventually returning to THAT riff. Has us wondering what kind of noisy beauty these guys could whip up if they set their minds to it. But metal heads fear not, the rest of the Harassor half is furious, chugging black metal pound and thrashing, shrieking griminity, although we prefer their sound when it slows down, into a sort of black doom, which it does often, and these guys conjure up some seriously intense doomic ruminations, the sound perfectly murky and blown out. And we just had a chance to see these guys play a couple weeks back, and they were SOOO good.
Glass Coffin start their side off with some classic sounding metal, a little lo-fi, some majestic leads, gruff vokills, before the sound splinters into something more raw and grim and urgent, buzzing insectoid riffing, weird brittle band room production, leads WAY up in the mix, twisted outsider lo-fi primitive blackness that definitely pushes all our raw BM buttons, but then the second track is TOTALLY different, a murky, muddy, frantic blast of black buzz, the drums buried in the mix, growled throat shredding vox, the sound still loose and chaotic and stumbly, the third track too, dramatically different production, but similarly buzzy and grim and hellish, but stick around for the final GC track, the weirdest of the bunch, black ambience beneath a buzzing riff, suspended in space, weird harmonics, a little bit cant post rocky, but also sort of damaged and abstract, a trippy droned out soft noise blackness, that had us wishing for WAY more of that!
LIMITED TO 300 COPIES!! Includes a download code too.
MPEG Stream: HARASSOR "Promise Of Fire"
MPEG Stream: HARASSOR "The Deathless Urge"
MPEG Stream: GLASS COFFIN "Satanic Sacrifice"
MPEG Stream: GLASS COFFIN "Order Of The Rusted Chalice"

album cover HAINO, KEIJI / JIM O'ROURKE / OREN AMBARCHI Only Wanting to Melt Beautifully Away Is It a Lack of Contentment That Stirs Affection for Those Things Said to Be as of Yet Unseen (Black Truffle) cd 17.98
4th album from this all-star international improv unit. We're fans of Jim O'Rourke (bass) and Black Truffle label head Oren Ambarchi (drums) of course, but we're even bigger fans of dark lord of Japanese psych Keiji Haino (guitar, vocals), which is good - 'cause, as should come as no surprise, he's the dominant personality in this trio. This formation - and its slight variant, with Stephen O'Malley in place of O'Rourke - has become one of the best sources for a reliable Haino-fix. This disc (on cd for now, vinyl upcoming) consists of one 40+ minute track, that begins blissfully, with sparse, Eastern-sounding string pluck and sudden strum, eventually joined by gentle, more-melodic-than-usual singing from Haino. But does it stay that way? Of course not. Haino steps away from the mic, his guitarwork gets more tangled, the drumming more insistent, heavier bass tones begin to resonate, and then at about the 14 minute mark, some (still relatively mild) feedback amp action kicks in as well. A storm is not unleashed, not yet, but dark clouds gather on the horizon, and the air becomes thick with anticipation. Ambarchi keeps up a nervous pulse, steadily skittering away, as Haino and O'Rourke build up drones, high and low. Electronic bleepage and sci-fi FX wander in from somewhere, and we're expecting immanent cataclysm. But nay, the trio pull back, Haino returns to the mic, hushed at first, his vocals backed by Jandekian fractured folk that then gets hectic and no-wavey in recent Fushitsusha tradition. More extreme noisiness briefly erupts at about the half-hour mark, but fades, heralding a humid jungle jam, Haino on flute we think (or recorder?), Ambarchi's beats getting bongo-y. Nice.
Side stepping some of our usual expectations, but not nearly all of 'em, this one's another interesting addition to this trio's oeuvre, and we're left wanting more.
MPEG Stream: "Only Wanting to Melt... (excerpt)"

album cover IASOS Elixir (Rotifer) cassette 4.50
It's rather funny that with cassette tapes becoming popular again that we now see classic New Age albums getting reissued in the same format that they were originally released. We got a handful of this new cassette reissue of New Age Icon Iasos' 1986 release Elixir. Subtitled, A Visionary Gateway to Celestial Realms, it certainly is a dramatic mix of the symphonic and electronic with deep vortex swooshes, angelic cascades and mind-expanding synth drones. Heavenly!
MPEG Stream: "Elixer (excerpts)"

album cover JACK RUBY s/t (Feeding Tube) lp 21.00
NOW ON VINYL! There's a double cd collection we listed recently called Hit And Run, this lp contains the tracks from the first of those discs only, but it's the most essential stuff. Here's our write up on Jack Ruby from before...
Jack Ruby was a sporadic NYC art-fuck project from the mid '70s that existed before such a thing as No Wave could be codified as an actual 'scene' or else they would have no doubt been lumped alongside Teenage Jesus & The Jerks, Beirut Slump, Theoretical Girls, and Mars. The band only managed to get into a proper studio a couple of a times and played about five shows during their brief start-stop-start-stop 'career'. By the time the band finally ceased to be in 1977, none of the founding members had stuck around to see the band dissolve. The title track to this compilation was recorded in one of Jack Ruby's very rare studio sessions, made as a demo for Epic Records who may have been looking for the next Stooges, but instead had on their hands a psycho tune of hotwired proto-punk underpinned by strutting monofunk rhythms and an unkempt guitar/violin squalor on top. What would have been the B-side to that unreleased single is an atonal carcrash of anti-rock entitled "Mayonnaise." Had Jack Ruby continued to make tracks like these two, they may have been destined for greatness; but as it is, the band was only a whisper of a footnote, barely remembered by anybody from back in the day.
If the chronology is to be understood properly, the first incarnation of Jack Ruby involved electronic wrangler Randy Cohen, who splattered sounds across his Serge synthesizer with free-noise squiggles courtesy of the mononymous performance artist Boris (later known as Boris Policeband) and mumbled anti-poetry from Robin Hall. The recordings from this incarnation of Jack Ruby comprise the second disc, very much a precursor to the libertine, DIY electronics of Nautical Almanac. When Cohen, Boris, and Hall added guitarist / bassist Chris Gray into the fray, Jack Ruby transformed into the splatter-rock outfit that earned them that one longshot possibility to record for Epic, taking up purposefully tasteless raunch-rock akin to the Electric Eels and Destroy All Monsters. Boris, Cohen, and Hall all slowly departed, with Gray finding other members to bash rhythm and thrash vocal cords. One of Jack Ruby's latter-day members was George Scott III who matriculated into No Wave royalty as a member of the Contortionists and 8-Eyed Spy.
MPEG Stream: "Hit And Run"
MPEG Stream: "Bored Stiff"
MPEG Stream: "Neon Rimbaud"

album cover JACKIE-O MOTHERFUCKER / TOM CARTER & HELENA ESPVALL split (Pome Pome Tones / Ruralfaune) lp 23.00
It's been awhile since we've heard from these two camps of free rock improvisers, but this split is a welcome return for both old faves, Jackie-O Motherfucker and Tom Carter.
The Jackie-O side is a side-long track called "House of Rain" which begins plaintively with funereal horns, bass, synth, and clattering percussion airing out in a slow build. Mournful mumbling vocals intone through a collage of interweaving sounds, broken guitar strums, hallucinogenic claptrap, and propulsive dirgery that coalesce into a momentous free-jazz memorial send-off for some seemingly heroic figure's burial at sea. Flutes, drums and horns buzzingly flock together into an epic whirring cloud of noise that battles it out among the stratosphere before slowly dying out.
The Tom Carter side is a collaboration with cellist Helena Espvall (formerly of Espers) called "Electrogesis" which begins more abstractly with what sounds like sped-up piano tones joined by cello and guitar in tandem, the cello more abrasive and droney while the guitar is more searching and exploratory, riding the line between melodic psych excursion and free improvisation. Soon the two lock horns around an intense raga-like center and as the sound grows more intense, the music fragments and destabilizes into a burning murky ember of glorious beautiful noise. So great! Limited to 200 copies.
MPEG Stream: "House of Rain"
MPEG Stream: "Electrogesis"

album cover KNEALE, JAMES CAMPBELL I (Don't Fuck With Magic) cd-r 13.98
It's been a while since we heard from our noisy pal Campbell Kneale. When we last checked in, he had retired the Birchville Cat moniker, and had rechristened himself Our Love Will Destroy The World, but then after a Birchville-worthy torrent of releases with OLWDTW, sort of just disappeared for a bit.
So we were super excited to get a missive from the man, informing us of a new release, the first on his Don't Fuck With Magic imprint in ages, and so ordered a bunch, and are one of the only (if not the only) places in the US carrying it. We were of course curious what this latest name change meant, going back to his given name, we made a guess, but we were wrong. We had sort of expected something pretty and tranquil, but instead, Kneale as Kneale explodes right out of the gate with a face melting, ear shredding barrage of caustic Japanoise style crunch, cascades of grinding high end, and swirling shards of jagged skree. As always, Kneale is a master noisemaker, so while a glancing listen reveals and army of blends and vacuum cleaners set to stun, dig deeper, and beneath the surface, lurk all manner of moaning low need melodies, deftly stylized textures, but that said if your tolerance for noise is low, this might be a bit much for you. The first track does go through multiple permutations, drifting through a field of shrieking feedback, before emerging on the other side as a murky, albeit still crunchy, noisy jumble, before eventually blossoming into a strange psychedelic skree, that sounds like multiple Sunroof! records spinning at once.
The second track flirts with nuance in the first few seconds, but quickly splinters into another furious flurry of white/grey/black/pink noise, more buried voices and sounds, swirls of glitched out grind, and malfunctioning electronics, whipped up into a fervor, and sent spinning in some sort of soul shearing sonic whirlwind, pocked with weird moaning metallic howls, before sputtering out into something a bit more restrained, a lush textured bit of gristly, muted soft noise, a comparatively dreamy comedown to a record that is definitely one of Kneale's fiercest.
Crazy limited as always, and in the usual swank Don't Fuck With Magic packaging, an oversized full color sleeve, adorned with original Kneale artwork.
MPEG Stream: "I"

album cover KSHATRIY Slepok Soznaniya (Muzyka Voln) cd 14.98
Heaving, psychonaut droning from this Russian project, Kshatriy. The name of Sergey Uak-Kib's project is actually Sanskrit, as a now deracinated caste of warriors from ancient India. Uak-Kib posits something of a balance between the spiritual and the physical in the beliefs for this class of enlightened fighters. The holistic fortitude found in that statement seems to be furthered in the glowingly psychedelic artwork that has graced some of Kshatriy's other recordings. So much for first impressions, as this is fucking bleak. Anenzephalia bleak. Thomas Koner bleak. Lustmord bleak. Thrumming drones of Vulcan intensity and Promethean scale gird the entire album of Slepok Soznaniya. The thunderous cracks that introduce "Lights" are cataclysmic in nature, tumbling from deep space and smashing into the Siberian forest, unleashing shockwaves across the curved surface of Russian's landmass and creating elegantly harmonic ripples across the swampy taiga. Iron wheels grind on long-train tracks which lead to destinations unknown on the "Hymn To Kali," which is more of a dirge than a hymn through the slow, militant pound and evolving reverberant chord shifts for an ashen, musical negativity. The almost self-evidently named "Space Travel" surfs the solar winds with echoes of distant pulsars and glowing nebula clouds flickering through the endless expanses of nothingness.
We were awestruck by the work that Kshatriy produced for the 2014 Drone-Mind / Mind-Drone III compilation; and so we're delving into his catalogue. Slepok Soznaniya was originally released in 2009 on the bracingly good Russian imprint Muzyka Voln. Not all that much in the way of distribution west of the former Iron Curtain; so this one makes for a new favorite in the radiant black dronemusik camp.
MPEG Stream: "Hymn To Kali"
MPEG Stream: "Loki"
MPEG Stream: "Magic Forest"

album cover LAY LLAMAS Ostro (Rocket Records) lp 28.00
The latest from psych/space rock label Rocket, comes from this mysterious Italian duo, who recorded their record in an old house in the countryside outside of Sicily. That's not necessarily the location where you'd expect a group to gather to conjure up some psychedelic space rock, but then Lay Llamas deliver a sound that's a bit removed from their psychedelic brethren, infusing the usual motorik pulses, and slow build smolder with twang flecked Morricone-isms, and drifting cinematic ambience, just check out the first track, which lays down a krautrock churn, beneath bongos, and electronic feedback, and winds it all around some almost Western sounding melodies, as if this was the soundtrack for a Sergio Leone Western set in space, in the future, which is actually a pretty good shorthand description of this whole record. The vocals add a different vibe, somewhere between Hawkwind, Suicide and the Residents, maybe Devo too, the second track "We Are You" has a hazy, spacey new wave vibe to it, still anchored by a krauty pulse, but definitely more poppy and synthy.
But fear not, these guys can space rock with the best of them, "The Lay Llamas" is fuzzy, and spaced out, lysergic and darkly groovy, but they add their own twist, weird layers of rumbling machine-vocals, pulsing synth fuzz, giving it the feel of some chase scene movie music, reimagined as some sort of druggy underground space rock music video. And so it goes, the band drifting easily from the tranquil drowsy haze of "Desert Of Lost Souls", with it's swooping backwards FX and wasted campfire filigree, to the murky almost Goat-like groovery of "Archaic Revival", which is a sprawling, chugging, churning, chant laced bunkurfunk workout, to the psych-funk space get-down of "Something Wrong", to the lazy, soporific Spacemen 3 channeling closer "Voices Call".
WAY recommended for fans of hazy, druggy, psychedelic grooviness, motorik kraut-fuzz twang and FX-drenched space-funk mesmer.
MPEG Stream: "Ancient People Of The Stars"
MPEG Stream: "We Are You"
MPEG Stream: "The Lay Llamas"

album cover LEWIS, EDVARD GRAHAM All Over (Editions Mego) lp 22.00
One of two concurrently released albums from Wire's eccentric bassist / vocalist Edvard Graham Lewis. Even through the lens of Wire's situationist post-punk and avant-pop eccentricities, the solo and side projects for Lewis were almost always well beyond the scope of Wire's amorphous signature. Dome was an early investigation into proto-electronica and disjointed industrial bricolage, and then there was the contorted romanticism of '80s balladeering through the under-appreciated He Said moniker.
Where the companion album All Under is the more abstract and (slightly more) unconventional, All Over finds Lewis returning to his capacity for penning some brilliantly weird avant-pop numbers. The overall feel of the album is sunk in a liquid narcosis that runs parallel to the blurring miasma of shoegazing; but Lewis doesn't drown his work in reverb. It's a great trick to build something hypnotizing though a skeletal synth & guitar pop context. "We've Lost Your Mind" girds a motorik click track of Oval-like glitching with a minor-chord jangle that harkens back to A Bell Is A Cup Until It Is Struck era Wire if it were recorded today. "The Start Of Next Week" is a fabulous piece of dark techno that could fit somewhere near Silent Servant or Surgeon. The dubbed-out tropical ditty "Quick Skin" pools Lewis' vocals into layers of overlapping delay patterns with a tinny rhumba and chicken-scratch guitars channelling the spirit of Brian Eno's Another Green World, albeit with a darker color palette. Other tracks do push the abstraction with a few tracks sounding similar to what :zoviet*france: would make if given the challenge to make a 'pop' record circa 1988. Like All Under, this is brilliant.
MPEG Stream: "The Start of Next Week"
MPEG Stream: "We've Lost Your Mind"
MPEG Stream: "It's Hard"

album cover LEWIS, EDVARD GRAHAM All Under (Editions Mego) lp 22.00
One of two concurrently released albums from Wire's eccentric bassist / vocalist Edvard Graham Lewis. Even through the lens of Wire's situationist post-punk and avant-pop eccentricities, the solo and side projects for Lewis were almost always well beyond the scope of Wire's amorphous signature. Dome was an early investigation into proto-electronica and disjointed industrial bricolage, and then there was the contorted romanticism of '80s balladeering through the under-appreciated He Said moniker.
There were also plenty of one-off collaborations with various Swedes throughout the '90s (H-A-L-O, He Said Omala, Hox, etc.) and one hell of a great collaboration with John Duncan.
That Duncan / Lewis album immediately jumped to mind when we first put on All Under, a compendium of soundtrack work and ephemera recorded at various times over the past 13 years. The eerily paranoiac blips of phasing shortwave radio broadcasts fire across the first two tracks of All Under, both of which are variations on work composed for a multi-channel video piece by Gunilla Leander. These electrical flurries, flecked with irradiated ash and attenuated glitches, are shaped from the droning data-streaming into mercurial melodic ambience that wouldn't be out of place on Aphex Twin's dreamtime masterpiece Selected Ambient Works Volume II. "The Eel Wheeled" again reflects similarities to that Duncan collaborative record, with Lewis slowly reciting one of his bizarre assemblages (which also form the basis for Wire's lyrics, even those sung by Colin Newman). His Burroughs / Gibson / Dick inspired sci-fi fragmentation with his baritone voice elegantly sitting amidst his discordant collage, projecting an ominous sound of a crumbling society being sucked into its virtual self. The finale is another soundtrack piece "No Show Godot," draping wisps of arctic noise onto a soft rhythmic chatter as Lewis slowly unveils a blossoming radiant drone that terminates at the unveiling of a long-form drone-pop number for ritualized pulse, blurs of fourth-world vocal exoticism, Sub-Saharan cinematic nods, and Lewis commanding a subdued industrial mantra akin to an opiated version of Muslimgauze. Like All Over, this is brilliant.
MPEG Stream: "All Under (Film Score)"
MPEG Stream: "The Eel Wheeled"
MPEG Stream: "No Show Godot"

album cover LIVE SKULL Cloud One (Desire) lp 26.00
The latest installment in this long overdue reissue campaign for eighties New York noise rockers Live Skull, this being their second full length, Cloud One, originally released in 1986, the last album before Thalia Zedek (Come, Uzi) would join and take over lead vocals, and like their debut, on Cloud One, Live Skull still sonically fit pretty perfectly alongside their NYC brethren (and sistren) in Swans, Sonic Youth (especially Sonic Youth) and the rest, but on Cloud One, the band made great leaps both sonically, and with their songwriting (and the matching more polished production), the new(ish) sound definitely hewing ever closer to the minor key melancholia infused angularity of SY, but mixing in long, droned out passages and slow dark blooze creeps, adding an element of brooding mesmer, and dark psychedelia. That darkness also represented by a sonic shift toward something gloomier and gothier, with many of the tracks here more reminiscent of the West Coast sound of the time, the Scream Club, and bands like Janes Addiction, Kommunity FK and the Abecedarians (especially on the live bonus tracks!). Hints too of outfits like the Wipers, the Gun Club, the Flesh Eaters, a sort of swaggery psych blues crossed with noisy experimental rock, there's still some junkyard percussion, a little Pussy Galore here and there, but the band definitely had their eyes on the musical prize, whether by design or not, Cloud One is a tightly wound, complex piece of noise/art rock, that even now sounds impossibly prescient of a sound that so many bands would go on to mine in their wake. It's actually a bit shocking that Live Skull's career trajectory wasn't more like Sonic Youth's, on this record for sure, but even more so on their 1988 swansong, Positraction, the band seemed poised for success, and an eventual move into the semi-mainstream, but for whatever reason, they remained firmly entrenched in the underground, and would only make it another couple years/records before calling it quits.
Fantastically curated reissued, with a whole mess of bonus tracks, unreleased, demos and live, as well as a massive booklet with tons of rare photos, old flyers, live shots, and extensive liner notes by the band, as well as extensive track by track notes on the extra songs as well!
MPEG Stream: "Fort Belvedere"
MPEG Stream: "Cloud One"
MPEG Stream: "Boot Camp"
MPEG Stream: "Haircut For Pigs"

album cover MESA RITUAL s/t (Sige) 2lp 30.00
One truism gleaned from any given Cormac McCarthy novel is that the desert is a good place to dump a body. The lore about the desert outside of Las Vegas makes the claim for shallow graves dotting the landscape as the handiwork of mobsters and psychos. There's probably some truth to that; but at the same time, the land also holds a sacred beauty to many of the citizens who live in such environments and respect that land not only for the desert beauty bloom but also the simple fact that the desert can kill you and swallow you up without much of trace left behind. William Fowler Collins and Raven Chacon make their homes in New Mexico; and they draw heavily on the atmospheres, ghosts, and general vibes of the desert for their Mesa Ritual collaboration. Collins is a character who we've championed over the years for his hauntingly morose drone-works; and Chacon - a member of the Dine' nation - has performed in various guises over the years, including the brutalist black noise project Kilt. Every track minus one, produced for Aaron Turner's Sige Records, is a numbered "Procession", alluding to an animistic, ritualized vision quest for Mesa Ritual, with their accompanying soundtrack building from crunched low-end drones and rumbled tones that are conjoined to rhythms of amplified heart beats and drum-skins. While these low-frequency structures are similar to those of Thomas Koner, there's an oppressive tension which underlies the work of Mesa Ritual, highlighted through the albums finale that roars to a conclusion with a thunderous blast of infernal distortion. This is a very dark record, even in comparison to the shadowy productions that Collins has offered forth previously; and it's a very effective one at that! Limited to 230 copies or thereabouts.
MPEG Stream: "Procession II"
MPEG Stream: "Procession VII"
MPEG Stream: "Procession VIII"

album cover MONOLORD Empress Rising (Easyrider) cd 12.98
Hey, an awesome uber-heavy band from Sweden, what a surprise! Last list we had Salem's Pot, also now on the same label comes this album from psychedelic stoner sludge outfit Monolord. (As in, Lord of the Monolithic riffage!) What they do, and do well, are massive mesmeric doom jams, derived from the devolved DNA of old grandads Black Sabbath. While that's nothing we haven't heard before from the likes of OM and Electric Wizard, Nibiru and UFOmammut, Gonga and Sleep, we're still suckers for it - the blown out speaker-rumbling amplifier worship, the repetitive riffs, extended song structures, the mantric vocal chants (utilizing an echoing underwater-y sort of effect, much more stoned sounding that way). There's five long songs here, one of 'em an instrumental, the others featuring fantastical, occult lyrics fixated on death and ritual. It's OM/Sleep, perhaps, that these ceremonial riff/chant tracks remind us of most, not a bad thing at all. Recommended to all who like to be able to throw on a disc, crank the volume, and be helplessly, hypnotically buried beneath a slow moving, oozing mound of HEAVY.
MPEG Stream: "Empress Rising"
MPEG Stream: "Harbinger Of Death"

album cover NRIII The Algea (Prison Tatt) lp 17.98
First lp from these Florida experimental blacknoise / psychedelic dronelords, and like their Solus Patior cd-r we reviewed back in 2012, it's another terrifyingly grim landscape of haunting black ambiance, post industrial crush, and blackened grimnity. The band lacing hellish vokills over softly swirling drifts, burying strange fractured rhythms, beneath cascades of glitch and squelch, often all blurred into something downright dreamy, but just as often, splintering into something abjectly noisy and filthy. The opening track here sets the template, with some venomous vocalizations WAY up in the mix, over a bed of muted pulsations, moaning melodies, mysterious chordal smears, the background sound surprisingly tranquil, those vox transforming the sound into something much more harrowing and hellish.
The rest of the record tends toward the more brutal, but manages the nearly impossible task of crafting a noise record, that manages to be hypnotic and listenable, mesmerizing, and in its own way, blackly beautiful. The shorter tracks here are blasts of grinding glitch, fractured electronics, clouds of swirling static, monk like chants, and crumblingly distorted gristle, often settling into downright beauty, but before you know it, launching right back into another burst of blacknoise or churning power electronics. The longer tracks deliver some seriously stunning sound design, fields of sonar pings, woven into crystalline sonic lattices, of hushed samples tangled into strange textures, those backdrops, often perfectly offsetting the more bombastic and abrasive sonics up front, although in many cases, NRIII let it drift, creating haunting ambience, epic sprawls of mysterious minimalism, the vokills are often present there too, but are WAY off in the distance, buried in the mix, like another layer of static, while above it, barely there sounds hover and shimmer. In fact, much of the second half of the record tends towards the surprisingly serene, the noisiness dialed back, crafter into something more textural, it's as if side two was designed as a blissed out soft noise come down antidote for the beautiful brutality of the first side. Fantastic stuff, and the sort of rare noise that might even appeal to those who generally find noise music is not their thing.
LIMITED TO 100 COPIES!! Each one hand numbered.
MPEG Stream: "Primal Misery"
MPEG Stream: "Fall Apart"
MPEG Stream: "I Refuse"

album cover NUZZLE Junk Of Myth '92-'95 (Zum / Sound On Sound) cd 8.98
Not a new release, but newly discovered, let's call it a warehouse find, dug up a little stash of this record, a killer cd collection of all the out of print vinyl releases from these Santa Cruz backpack emo / screamo noise rock, post punks. You can tell from that many-genre'd attempt at categorization, that these guys definitely defy description a bit, but if you like your punk rock, noisy, and catchy, rife with angular guitars, wild chaotic drumming, sinewy baselines, yelped vox, brooding post rockisms, and hooks galore, these guys will do it for you big time.
Not ever hugely popular, and infamous for erratic band behavior, these guys were one of the great unsung bands of the nineties, their live shows were intense, sweaty and energetic, the band letting loose as much as the crowd, the music the perfect soundtrack for that sort of wild, unabashed, heart on sleeve musical energy, but unlike many of the more screamo bands of the time, these guys were a lot more nuanced, letting some tracks stretch way out, experimenting with tone and texture, tension and release, their sound sometimes slipping into Fugazi territory, and at other times falling more in line with the Gravity Records Bands of the time, and at others sounding like some lost midwest emo band, that somehow wandered to the west coast. Even now, this stuff oozes emotion, and for folks who grew up in the nineties, or at least spent their formative musical years during that decade, every track here is pitch perfect, easy to imagine rocking out to any of these songs in a sweaty crowd in some living room or basement, or blasting these jams on your Walkman, or including them on a mixtape for that boy/girl you've been crushing out on. It's a kind of music they really don't make anymore, and by extension, it's a mood/energy/vibe, that music doesn't seem to have anymore either.
Nuzzles don't at all sound dated, as much as they sound of their time. And for younger folks who may have missed out on all this stuff, this is the sort of band, and sort of record, that just might open up a whole new (old) world of music, and listening to this stuff again now, we sort of forgot how goddamn great these guys are. In the age of band reunions, we'd kind of kill for one more chance to see these guys. Until then, this will likely be back in heavy rotation. Again.
MPEG Stream: "The Sorting That Evens Things Out"
MPEG Stream: "Bring The Leeches"
MPEG Stream: "Incan'tations"
MPEG Stream: "For The Length Of Me"

album cover OGRE The Last Neanderthal (Minotauro) cd 18.98
These outrageous '70s-sounding stoner rockers from up in Maine are back at last, after like a six year absence, with an excellent new opus of their over the top, hard riffing retro-rock. As we had expected, it's a doomy, proggy concoction, lots of Sabbath goin' on (the wailing, nasal vocals sound a bit like Mike Patton doing an Ozzy impression). Ogre don't hold anything back, this is a wild ride of unabashed old school heaviness with a theatrical flair, and lots of fuzz and wah.
Lyrically, the songs concern themselves with a range of subjects: the science-fantasy works of Roger Zelazny, Greek myth, the French and Indian Wars, drugs, madness. And then there's one mellow instrumental named after an Advanced Dungeons & Dragons module.
Of further note, the song "Soulless Woman" is a cover, originally by an even more obscure band also named Ogre, who were actually from the '70s, and its sure seems to be a lost garage psych classic, giving this album a bit of a detour into more of an Uncle Acid or Satan's Satyrs direction, not that they were too far removed to begin with.
Italian import, on the label best known as the home of cult doomster Paul Chain. Gatefold miniature-lp style jacket.
MPEG Stream: "Nine Princes In Amber"
MPEG Stream: "Soulless Woman"
MPEG Stream: "Warpath"

album cover OHMWAR Broken Arms Dance With Black Feet (FCC) lp 12.98
After a self released 7", and a split single with recent Record Of The Weekers, weirdo biker metal ne'er-do-wells Satans Satyrs, Canadian noise rockers / metal punks Ohmwar deliver their first full length, and it's sonically quite surprising, super polished and all over the sonic map, taking the Maiden / Motorhead / Speedwolf sound of their 7" and infusing it with a surprising amount of poppiness, crafting a record that manages to be heavy, and punky, but also impossibly catchy, the opening track begins with some chiming Sonic Youth like guitars, and thick fuzzy bass, before eventually erupting into something more punked out, and that's not even mentioning the strange almost reggae sounding outro (!)...
The second track starts off crazy poppy too, with some almost NWOBHM sounding guitar harmonies, which blur into feedback drenched tones wrapped around some galloping punk rock crush, peppered with little blurts of tangled progginess. And it really doesn't settle into a single sound for the rest of the record, although in not settling, they seem to be defining their own super distinctive sound, a dizzying hybrid of post punk poppiness, mathy metal, and fierce punk rock stomp. Tracks like "Blithe Reaction To An Unfortunate Life", begins all slow burn majesty, and almost Godspeed like slow build, before transforming into a strange (at least for metal/punk) bloopy guitar melody, draped over another galloping rhythms and some thick, rumbling bass buzz, the guitars then splintering into atonal/angular shards of keening high end, the sort of sound that at a slower tempo, minus the gruff vox, could easily end up being some twisted avant art rock, and even in its punkier incarnation, much of that art rockiness remains, and then mid song, there's a killer little guitar lick/melody, that will stick in your head like crazy. And so it goes, most of the songs clocking in around the two minute mark, but these guys cramming as much as they can into those two minutes, with almost every song offering up some sort of unlikely sonic surprise, transforming, what could have been straight ahead metallic punk, into a way more twisted and progressive record, pop punk collides with chugging metal, nineties style math rock bleeds into pounding hard rocking, Refused sounding anthemic post-hardcore mixes with straight up heavy pop, all wound up into something pretty goddamn great.
Awesomely over the top, black and white Nick Blinko style cover art, but Blinko by way of Bosch, a twisted punk rock underworld of mouse headed hipsters, people with exposed spines, astronauts on rafts drifting across lakes of blood, insects on swings, man eating fish, alien swamp sound systems, wheelbarrows full of teddy bear skeletons, creepy cave eyes and more. Includes a massive glossy, fold out poster/lyric sheet, with more of that gloriously gruesome and garish artwork.
MPEG Stream: "John Boy"
MPEG Stream: "Earth Angel"
MPEG Stream: "Blithe Reaction To An Unfortunate Life"
MPEG Stream: "(Some Kind Of) World(')s End"

album cover OOIOO Gamel (Thrill Jockey) 2lp 24.00
Oh, oh, eye oh oh! Drummer/trumpeter/vocalist/Flaming Lips mascot Yoshimi P-We's other main gig besides the Boredoms is back with their first album since 2009's Armonico Hewa. Over the years, OOIOO has honed both the playfully melodic aspects of their sound, and their sheer rhythmic prowess, into something simply magical. Gamel is something even more extra-special though, probably our favorite from the groop since their early outings Feather Float and Gold & Green near the turn of the millennium. As the name suggests, this album takes a lot of inspiration from Javanese gamelan music, in fact adding two actual gamelan players to the core group, OOIOO herein melding the tinkling, metallic (actual metal, not heavy metal) percussive sound of the gamelan with the band's usual tight grooves, vocal chant and electronic textures. They were somewhat "tribal" before, now OOIOO verges on exotica! It's gorgeous, dense, detailed, funky in a funky way, bright and colorful, absolutely captivating right from 10 minute opener "Don Ah" through all eleven kaleidoscopic tracks. Super recommended!!
Both the compact disc and limited double vinyl versions come in gatefold sleeves, the vinyl with a free download card.
MPEG Stream: "Don Ah"
MPEG Stream: "Gamel Kamasu"
MPEG Stream: "Jesso Testa"

album cover POW! One Eyed Scorpion (Grazer) 7" 5.98
Latest from these SF synth punks, and the opening track finds the band drifting into more straight up garage rock / pop territory, the synths are still present, but don't define the sound as much as add a gorgeous buzz to the proceedings, and give things a bit of a new wave vibe, otherwise, the jam is crunchy and fuzzy and poppy, makes sense that their most recent full length was on John Dwyer from Thee Oh Sees' Castle Face label. And maybe not so weirdly, the title track here almost sounds like a more rocking version of a song from Dwyer's recent synth side project Damaged Bug. But when the synths do pop up, like on "The Punisher" and the rest of the single, they dominate, and add a twisted outsidery weirdness to the proceedings, wild and psychedelic and new wave-y and catchy like crazy. "Fight Fire" is a progged out chunk of synth swaddled Oh Sees worship, right down to the vocalist's echo drenched vocal 'whoo's, and finally, "Hangin' Out (At Home)" is a noisy, synthy blast of glorious noise pop / garage punk radness, that's reminding us just why we dig these guys so much!
MPEG Stream: "One Eyed Scorpion"
MPEG Stream: "The Punisher"

album cover PRONOUN Faux (self-released) cassette 10.98
A while back we made the record World, by Aussie noise rock / shoegaze outfit The Bunyip Moon, our Record Of the Week, a gloriously blown out, chaotic sonic gem, that even now we have trouble keeping in stock. So were were psyched to discover that one of the guys from The Bunyip Moon had a new solo record, a tape in fact, under the name Pronoun, and like World, it's weird and wonderful.
But UN-like World, Faux is not all bombastic noisiness and buried blown out melodies, instead, it's a darkly moody, lush, almost cinematic creep, right from the get-go, we're sucked into some mysterious soundworld, that to our eras exists right between the epic with house of Salem, and the soundtracky synth bombast of M83. So if that sounds good to you (and why the heck wouldn't it?!), then there's much to dig here.
The opener unfurls as a brooding plod, all primitive drum machine, over processed strum and thrum, before majestic synths swoop in, faux strings, the whole thing epic and stirring, but with just the right amount of distortion and noise, gristly, and staticky, and distorted and psychedelic, but even at it's most explosive, it's still lilting and lovely, it's a tough one to describe for sure, but it's pretty stirring stuff.
The whole record expands from that sound, with some of the tracks a bit more garbled and chaotic, darkly noisy and murky, sounding a bit like a way more abrasive Caretaker (which is most definitely a good thing), while others, slip into a more kosmische haze, all swirling chordal thrum and deep, lustrous sonic swells, and on at least one track, the sound slips into some strange, tripped out avant shoegaze new wave, although the best moments of course are when those disparate sides collide, which they do often, resulting in blissful noisiness, and noisy dreaminess in equal measure, culminating in the strangely gristly garble of crunched static and crumbling decaying distortion of the closer, which ditches pretty much all poppiness in favor of a strange sprawling field of grinding textures, and the sporadic sputter of alien transmissions from the ether.
Fantastic, and so so so recommended. The packaging is pretty ace too, totally over the top. The tape housed in a sleeve, housed in a second embossed outer sleeve, then housed in yet ANOTHER sleeve, hand silkscreened and ink splattered, a weighty arts/sound object, LIMITED TO 50 COPIES!!! Each one hand numbered. Includes a download code too...
MPEG Stream: "Drowning Under A Fetherolf Sky"
MPEG Stream: "Ignoring The Lovely Photos Of Your Putrid Life"
MPEG Stream: "Lost In The Stars, Lost In The Fog"

album cover PUCE MARY The Great Panic (Freak Animal) cassette 9.99
It's inevitable that Frederikke Hoffmeier (aka Puce Mary) is gonna get compared to Pharmakon, as the number of women producing the sour and sick tones of high caliber, industrial malaise is paltry at best. Pharmakon's mini-album Abandon was certainly a highlight for 2013 through her blighted electronics, bloodcurdling vocalizations, and the abject imagery of larvae crawling across her bare legs; but we did have to wonder if Pharmakon had more to offer than those four scalding tracks, wondering if she was just a flash in the pan, creating a visage that adopted the violence and terror of industrial culture as a marketing ploy of shock in order to rattle / titillate the nerves of the fainthearted.
Enter Puce Mary, whose output of noise-culture vulgarities easily outpaces that of Pharmakon, with an impressive slew of sadly impossible to find cassettes and lps (including a handful of releases on the Iceage related Danish imprint Posh Isolation). Her voice is at the center of The Great Panic, uttering desolate screams, longing sexualized moans, glossolalic ululations, and barked declarations that may or may not be understandable to her fellow Danes; and she buries all of this amids carpet-bombed detonations of crusty noise, mutant bass-synth pulsations, and atonal flurries, pushing her work as a distillation to the necrotic pall of Brighter Death Now, the hyperbolic tautologies of Whitehouse's delerium, and the scabrous distortion of Mauthausen Orchestra. Bad vibes guaranteed.
MPEG Stream: "The Great Panic"
MPEG Stream: "Insomnia"
MPEG Stream: "Drugs II"

album cover PUCE MARY Ultimate Hypocrisy (Freak Animal) cassette 9.99
Ultimate Hypocrisy is another cassette only release from Denmark's reigning queen of noise -- Puce Mary (aka Frederikke Hoffmeier). The tape is a bold statement of power electronics and noise tactics that eschew much of the overtly troubling imagery found throughout the genres, in favor of a more poetic adaptation of existential nihilism. It begins with an uneasy, marching churn of chirping electronics latched onto a grinding locomotive plod, all processed through crude machines and effects recalling the classic industrial murk of SPK, Anenzephalia, and Factrix. She follows this with a horrifying piece of sound poetry that would make the demented aktionist Otto Muehl proud, through an extended passage of psychosexual sobbings and moanings adjoined to a gloomy, creepy thrum of blackened emptiness. The unsettled spaciousness of this track emphasizes her vocal gasps and deep throated utterances that might have been lost had she taken a wall-of-noise approach. Elsewhere, Hoffmeier does belt it out in a staccato, militant delivery although the content is thoroughly obscured through heavily flanged effects and the complement of juggernaut metal-on-metal bashed rhythms. Razor-slashes of caustic noise, coarsely rendered oscillations, paranoid-as-fuck tension, and sick-sick-sick tones foul the air throughout the remainder of the tape. Of course, it's recommended!
MPEG Stream: "Ultimate Hypocrisy 2"
MPEG Stream: "Ultimate Hypocrisy 5"

album cover ROCK*A*TEENS, THE A Major Motion Picture (Chunklet) 2lp 28.00
As we've mentioned in a bunch of other reviews, lots of our favorite bands are woefully under-represented on the aQ list, generally, it's because those records predated the list, so when a record gets reissued, it's often a chance to finally lavish praise on a record that's been a favorite for years (or decades). In this case, it's not a reissue, but instead a live record from Georgia garage punks the Rock*A*Teens, who are currently are covered on the aQ site by just a couple sentences about one of their records, which is really a shame, cuz we LOVE these guys. So until someone mounts the lavish, deluxe reissue campaign these guys and their incredible records deserve, we can revel in this sweat soaked high energy live set cobbled together from an extended residency at the Star Community Bar in Atlanta, between 1998 and 1999, courtesy of aQ pal and Chunklet mastermind Henry Owings, who continues to dig up incredible rarities (we're still loving the recent Don Caballero record, and are hoping he'll do a Bar-B-Q- Killers reissue, another legendary and underappreciated Georgia outfit), and incredible this is.
If you've yet to discover the Rock*A*Teens, imagine a swampy, reverb drenched, fifties style, garage rock rockabilly, filtered through something more modern, swaggery and dramatic, the same sort of gospel tinged swampiness of Woven Hand, but more rocking, feverish, loose limbed and wild. Brooding, sweat soaked, bloody knuckled, broken bottled, booze soaked, psychedelic blooze stomps and echo drenched slow burn ballads in equal measure, all whirring organs, reverb galore, buzzing distortion, wild tribal drumming, and stunning, timeless songwriting, all wound up into something gloriously gritty, grimy, ecstatic, cathartic, murky and emotionally charged. Just check out the samples and you'll be sold. "Black Ice" might be one of our favorite songs EVER, in a body of work that has an impossible number of potential all time faves. Every record a stone cold gem, and this live set manages to transcend the limitations of the 'live record' and transports the listener to a dive bar in Georgia, lit with Christmas lights, packed with punks, this band crammed onto a little stage in the corner, conjuring up musical demons, and angels, and creating a gorgeous, noisy, heart breaking din. AWESOME. Includes a download too.
MPEG Stream: "Black Ice"
MPEG Stream: "Don't Destroy This Night"
MPEG Stream: "Clarissa, Just Do It Anyway"
MPEG Stream: "Tuesday's Just As Bad"
MPEG Stream: "Cry, Crybaby"

album cover ROLL THE DICE Until Silence (Leaf) 2lp 23.00
Past records from Roll The Dice found the Swedish duo channeling the spirit of John Carpenter, crafting lush, sinister synthscapes, that much like the rest of the current crop of Carpenterians, played like some lost soundtrack, and while this new one displays much of that sound still, they've fleshed out their sound big time, the most notable shift being the addition of actual strings, turning their already lush sound into something downright majestic.
Brooding pianos drift amidst clouds of crackle, deep reverby shimmers, ominous minor key melodies, little bits of glitch, the strings gradually building to a harrowing, haunting coda, and that's just the opener, that sounds exactly like it could be the music beneath the credits from some seventies Italian giallo, right down to the simulated record crackle.
The band push way past their faux soundtrack roots, building epic bombastic creeps, like "Assembly", a stately march, more of a trudge actually, the chords ringing out, beneath big booming percussive thuds, a sinister slow build, that eventually blossoms into something almost Swans like, albeit heavy on the strings and piano, but still, it's fierce and intense, a near orchestral sonic death march, with a Godspeed style slow build energy, the songs here not so much songs, as pieces, single parts that develop over time, that expand and sprawl, often to devastating effect, the strings stunning, the mood darkly heart wrenching, some tracks the strings get all Bernard Hermann Psycho-stabs, sometimes accompanied by the plunk of prepared piano, those tracks drifting into full on 20th century / musique concrete territory, but other drifting along dreamily, sounding like the prettiest, most minimal Tim Hecker track, all hazy and washed out, and delicately crystalline, while still others sound almost like trip hop, channeling groups like Portishead or Massive Attack, that sound even more effective with the strings, that add so much pathos and emotion. Fantastic stuff, haunting and lovely, alternately brooding and bombastic, cinematic and soundtrack, but also dabbling in straight up sound design, fans of Tim Hecker, and Fennesz, and Godspeed, and Belong, and Stars Of The Lid, not to mention all the modern retro-synth wranglers, the Goblin and Carpenter worshippers, this is the next step in the evolution of that sound, and is really pretty goddamn stunning.
MPEG Stream: "Blood In Blood Out"
MPEG Stream: "Assembly"
MPEG Stream: "Coup De Grace"

album cover SOFT PINK TRUTH, THE Why Do The Heathen Rage? (Thrill Jockey) cd 15.98
The Soft Pink Truth was originally the solo outlet for Drew Daniels of experimental electronica duo Matmos to get ridiculous with over the top gay house/disco music. How ridiculous? Well, in this case, the subtitle to his long awaited new SPT album says it all: "Electronic Profanations Of Black Metal Classics", meaning, club/techno/IDM/industrial versions of songs by Venom, Beherit, Sarcofago, Sargeist, Darkthrone, Mayhem, Hellhammer and others! What Drew did to his favorite hardcore punk songs ten years ago on SPT's Do You Want New Wave Or Do You Want The Soft Pink Truth? disc, he does here for his fave black metal tracks, which we'd always predicted/hoped he would - since, as we can attest, Drew's no poseur, he's seriously a big fan of black metal, and has been for years. Although, what he's up to here is perhaps less than serious - one of the alternate subtitles provided in the liner notes is as follows: "Putting The Fag Back In Sarcofago". So, there's an element of humor (and, of course, um, gayness) here that your average corpsepainted churchburner might not appreciate. At the same time, though, Drew has put some deep thought into his reasons for manifesting these "profanations", which he explains in the liner notes, the section that begins "Confessions Of A Former Burzum T-Shirt Wearer", check it out and see what you think.
Anyway, about the music on here, we can kind of sum it up by saying a lot of it sounds like Snap (y'know, of "The Power" fame) meets Cradle Of Filth. Or Skinny Puppy with a dose of C+C Music Factory, wearing corpse paint. It's rave music that took a wrong turn into an Impaled Northern Moonforest - which happens to be the name of the late Seth "A.C." Putnam's joke black metal band, whose "Grim And Frostbitten Gay Bar" is the last track covered here (that one NOT actually a black metal classic, but still an album highlight, in part thanks to the use of a Rihanna sample, are we right?). Elsewhere, results vary, at the worst it can be pretty goofy, but on the other hand, a few tracks get pretty crazy in a cool Venetian Snares sort of way. For lots of folks, this might be more of an amusing novelty record, and to a degree that's essentially what this is - but still, we wonder what folks unfamiliar with all the black metal Drew is referencing will think? Perhaps for some open minded dance music fan who stumbles upon it somehow, it could become the most demented booty-shaker in their collection.
MPEG Stream: "Black Metal"
MPEG Stream: "Let Their Be Ebola Frost"
MPEG Stream: "Maniac"

album cover SPECIAL INTERESTS #9 (Freak Animal) magazine 11.98
"Power Electronics, Industrial Noise, Experimental, Avantgarde, Ambient" reads the tagline to this 84 page zine published by the Finnish label Freak Animal, which focuses on just those genres. Special Interests offers a solid interview from J.G. Thirlwell / Foetus, plus insight through interviews with some less known stalwarts of the noise community (Das Synthetische Mischgeweve, Sektor 304, etc.). There's also a feature on the latest output from the HWN communities including The Rita, Alo Girl, Tourette, etc. Dominic Fernow / Prurient goes through his collection offering his pithy descriptions on a handful of obscure gems (e.g. Macronympha, Sickness, Ond, Death Squad, etc); and there's a slew of reviews to sink your teeth into, sometimes quite literally. Limited stock.

album cover SPLINTERED Turned Inside Out (Totuuden Sarvi Levyt ) 2cd 17.98
An exhausting, exhilarating compendium from '90s British noise-rock outfit Splintered, Turned Inside Out collects many of the singles, B-sides, demos and unreleased tracks on an expansive double disc anthology. Splintered was often lumped alongside Skullflower, Ramleh, Godflesh, JFK, Terminal Cheesecake, and other malcontent proponents of industrial-noise-crust damage due to similarities in the revolving door policies for each of those projects, the appetites for taking drugs to make music to take drugs to, and of course, the self-immolating noise-rock girded to massively pummeling drum assaults. Richo Johnson was the man at the center of Splintered, whose ideas on post-punk culture, trashy films, Ballard / Burroughs / Beat poets, and the like were drawn out via his Grim Humour fanzine through which he made a considerable amount of contacts in England, Europe, and beyond. A heavy, monolithic rhythm section was formative to Splintered's sound, upon which Johnson and company would lay scalding, black-hole riffs of unholy psychedelic guitar noise, controlled feedback bursts, tape collages of murmuring newsreel / talking heads discussing the horrors of a graphic crime right next to gardening tips, and Johnson's best impression of Gibby Haynes barking through a megaphone.
Even though Splintered was known for recording "singles," these were expansive, nine-minute long tracks pushing the boundary of what could physically fit on a seven inch. The compilation is set up chronologically, with disc one featuring two such gaping cuts that originally graced their single for Stefan Jaworzyn's Shock Records label. The second disc continues through this path of obstinant, noise-rock pummel akin to early Swans or Missing Foundation, highlighted on the awesome, apocalyptic hypno-rock track "Smokescreen "(which actually was one of Splintered's singles, though this version was a cassette comp track instead of the single version for some reason or another... they probably lost the master tapes, is our guess). But by the end of 1996 when Johnson called it quits for Splintered (and continued on under the different project name Theme), the guitars, noises, and vocals were acquiring a heavy doom-drone quality with the drums thudding at a slower, more meditative pace, almost prescient of what Nadja would be doing a decade or so later. Pretty fucking brutal we gotta say.
MPEG Stream: "Land Fall"
MPEG Stream: "Breakdown, Part II"
MPEG Stream: "(Behind The) Smokescreen"
MPEG Stream: "Blood Orchid"

album cover STAPLE SINGERS, THE Swing Low (Yeti / Mississippi) lp 16.98
Long before the group's most well-known hits, "Respect Yourself" and "I'll Take You There", The Staple Singers were one of the country's most self-made gospel singing family groups. Mississippi Records and Yeti Magazine have done us all a great service by reissuing the groups first three gospel albums from the late fifties and early sixties and they're all quite incredible. Led by Roebuck "Pops" Staples who wrote nearly all of their material and played guitar, and featuring his son Purvis, and daughters, Yvonne, Cleotha, and Mavis, whose incredible vocal range from deep lows to ecstatic highs made her the star of the group, the family began performing in 1948 in Chicago churches, the first performance at the request of Roebuck's brother Charles who just started a church and heard his brother's family harmonizing together on their front porch. They began in an acoustic folk-gospel style, harmonizing around Roebuck's twangy blues. He soon changed it up to electric guitar, and the tremoloed riffs as well as Roebuck's incredible song-writing skills gave the family's take on spirituals an incredible energy and feeling that was atmospheric, passionate and groovy. It's these early albums, more so than their mainstream funk and soul success of the seventies, that propelled the family into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999. Embedded in their tight-knit harmonies, their cool soulful delivery and their infectious riffs, are the roots of rock and soul music. Uncloudy Day from 1959 is a collection of their early recordings at their most stripped down and their very first release. Will The Circle Be Unbroken from 1960 and Swing Low from 1961 are the group's first two studio albums augmented only by occasional bass and drums. All are absolutely essential!
MPEG Stream: "This May Be The Last Time"

album cover STAPLE SINGERS, THE Uncloudy Day (Yeti / Mississippi) lp 16.98
Long before the group's most well-known hits, "Respect Yourself" and "I'll Take You There", The Staple Singers were one of the country's most self-made gospel singing family groups. Mississippi Records and Yeti Magazine have done us all a great service by reissuing the groups first three gospel albums from the late fifties and early sixties and they're all quite incredible. Led by Roebuck "Pops" Staples who wrote nearly all of their material and played guitar, and featuring his son Purvis, and daughters, Yvonne, Cleotha, and Mavis, whose incredible vocal range from deep lows to ecstatic highs made her the star of the group, the family began performing in 1948 in Chicago churches, the first performance at the request of Roebuck's brother Charles who just started a church and heard his brother's family harmonizing together on their front porch. They began in an acoustic folk-gospel style, harmonizing around Roebuck's twangy blues. He soon changed it up to electric guitar, and the tremoloed riffs as well as Roebuck's incredible song-writing skills gave the family's take on spirituals an incredible energy and feeling that was atmospheric, passionate and groovy. It's these early albums, more so than their mainstream funk and soul success of the seventies, that propelled the family into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999. Embedded in their tight-knit harmonies, their cool soulful delivery and their infectious riffs, are the roots of rock and soul music. Uncloudy Day from 1959 is a collection of their early recordings at their most stripped down and their very first release. Will The Circle Be Unbroken from 1960 and Swing Low from 1961 are the group's first two studio albums augmented only by occasional bass and drums. All are absolutely essential!
MPEG Stream: "Uncloudy Day"
MPEG Stream: "Help Me Jesus"

album cover STAPLE SINGERS, THE Will The Circle Be Unbroken (Yeti / Mississippi) lp 16.98
Long before the group's most well-known hits, "Respect Yourself" and "I'll Take You There", The Staple Singers were one of the country's most self-made gospel singing family groups. Mississippi Records and Yeti Magazine have done us all a great service by reissuing the groups first three gospel albums from the late fifties and early sixties and they're all quite incredible. Led by Roebuck "Pops" Staples who wrote nearly all of their material and played guitar, and featuring his son Purvis, and daughters, Yvonne, Cleotha, and Mavis, whose incredible vocal range from deep lows to ecstatic highs made her the star of the group, the family began performing in 1948 in Chicago churches, the first performance at the request of Roebuck's brother Charles who just started a church and heard his brother's family harmonizing together on their front porch. They began in an acoustic folk-gospel style, harmonizing around Roebuck's twangy blues. He soon changed it up to electric guitar, and the tremoloed riffs as well as Roebuck's incredible song-writing skills gave the family's take on spirituals an incredible energy and feeling that was atmospheric, passionate and groovy. It's these early albums, more so than their mainstream funk and soul success of the seventies, that propelled the family into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999. Embedded in their tight-knit harmonies, their cool soulful delivery and their infectious riffs, are the roots of rock and soul music. Uncloudy Day from 1959 is a collection of their early recordings at their most stripped down and their very first release. Will The Circle Be Unbroken from 1960 and Swing Low from 1961 are the group's first two studio albums augmented only by occasional bass and drums. All are absolutely essential!
MPEG Stream: "Will The Circle Be Unbroken"

album cover STONEBURNER Life Drawing (Neurot) cd 14.98
Stoneburner's previous slab of crushing heaviosity came to us via the Seventh Rule label, but they fit in just as well on Neurot, their new home. Certainly Neurosis fans ought to want to willingly submit to Stonerburner's burly onslaught of atmospheric sludge sonics. These Portlanders are serious pros at atmospheric sludge all right, their well crafted compositions balancing sections of steamrollering metallic power with others of postrocky slow/low moodiness.
To elaborate, amidst all their epic-length tracks packed full of riffs to pound you into the ground, the occasional pretty part will surface - an acoustic guitar interlude there, a passage of sombre quietude there - before the distorted amp-abuse and accompanying pained throat-rasped vocals kick (your head) in again. Stoneburner's brand of doomed-out lumbering despair comes in a variety of modes and it's all very effective and affecting, guitar solos included. Their previous disc, the one on Seventh Rule, was titled Sickness Will Pass, but it hasn't, yet, for them, or their listeners...
MPEG Stream: "Caged Bird"
MPEG Stream: "Pale New Eyes"
MPEG Stream: "Done"

album cover SUR / HAINTS split (self-released) cassette 5.98
Super limited tape from these two noisy Texas outfits. Haints deliver some seriously sick, feedback drenched noise rock pummel, all downtuned dirgery laced with distorto sung/spoken vox, over rib cage rattling, bass-heavy churn, some weird samples too. Reminds us of that classic pigfuck sound, the sort of thing we we're digging from our favorite bands back in the day, a la Homestead / AmRep records...
Sure are a pretty good match, with the same basic template, but their sound is a bit less noisy and knuckle draggy, more druggy and droney, an old school dirge/noise rock but spaced out, with some Sonic Youth-y guitar noise, shards of feedback, and chiming chords. All wrapped around some reverb heavy, distorted mumble mouthed vocals. Plenty noisy, but with loads of spaced out echoey slow burn psychedelic jammage, swaggery, a little bit swampy, a twisted noise rock / psych-blooz hybrid that sounds a lot like some lost Aussie post punk combo. Killer stuff from both bands. And Sur has another tape on Sleeping Giant Glossolalia which we'll review soon too...

album cover THOMAS EDISUN'S ELECTRIC LIGHT BULB BAND The Red Day Album (Guerssen) lp+7" 32.00
THIS RECENT RECORD OF THE WEEK, NOW OUT ON VINYL TOO! Here's what we said about the cd version on Gear Fab just a few months ago...
Holy moly, this is quite a discovery. A hitherto unknown album of wonderful Sgt. Peppery (flower) power pop, that ought to make fans of the Beatles, early Bee Gees, The Kinks, Big Star and so forth very, very happy indeed.
We admit were a bit skeptical when we first heard about it, 'cause there's so many reissues and whatnot these days that claim to be lost classics, but as soon as we put this on we were hooked! And more amazingly, while we'd certainly consider this a lost classic, it isn't even technically a reissue. Except for two songs here that appeared on a 7" single, this material was never actually released to the public, until now! Recorded in 1967, yes, but the tapes languished forgotten all these years, which is hard for us to understand - how could this gem stay unknown for 46 years?! These songs are so great! As always, makes you wonder what else is out there... And, at first, it also made us wonder if this was even really a group from the sixties - we suspected it could be a more modern-day band (a really good one!) emulating the sounds of yesteryear, a la The Dukes Of Stratosphear, The High Llamas, or Jellyfish. Especially since the production job, while vintage-sounding, is also so top notch (even though the liner notes tell us the whole thing was recorded and mixed in merely a weekend). Heck, a modern band trying to put one over could have added the analog tape hiss. But no, our skeptical conspiracy theories are all wrong, we have it from trusted sources that this is indeed for real, from 1967, the work of a bunch of talented, Anglophilic youngsters from Louisiana. But the vocals here are often (but not always) delivered in a lilting faux English accent, a common practice amongst the paisley-clad syke popsters of the day, wherever they were from, wanting to sound like they too were a part of the British Invasion. So, definitely Beatles-esque; as with Peru's We All Together, there's quite a few tunes here, like "Marigold", that sound like they were written by Paul McCartney - and the band name is an obvious homage to a certain Sgt.'s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Though this is sometimes more White Album than Sgt. Pepper's, really, the band even pushing into edgier sounds like the rather manic "Have You Been To The Light" - that's a weird one, and great. "Hope" is another of the album's harder, garage rockin' tunes.
But so much of this just delightfully sunshiney stuff, sometimes quite melancholic too. There's super melodic, energetic toe tappers and dreamy blissouts both, stuff that will get stuck in your head immediately, sounding so lovely and familiar right from the get go. There's the gentle, hushed intimacy of "Merlin", the lively, layered "Alexander Graham Bell", the heartfelt grandeur of the ELO-ish "Walk Out With Your Heart", the sweet & mellow soft pop of "Common Attitude" (which reminds us of Curt Boettcher's Millennium), and so many, many more highlights, that we can't possibly detail them all (and deciding which ones to make sound samples of was tough!). Oh, and the album's final track, a brief "outro" of druggy, tape-manipulated studio trickery, is titled "Dream Me Up Snotty"!!!
So, grab this and get in on the ground floor with the first ever release of an unheard, utterly obscure '60s artifact that ought to be way up there in the psych power pop pantheon!!
This new vinyl version is an improvement over the cd with better cover art and graphic design (and has a blurb from AQ on the cover sticker too!). It comes with an insert with photos and detailed liner notes by Jeremy Cargill (Ugly Things/Got Kinda Lost). And the two songs from the cd that were previously released on that 7", are included here on a separate 7", a repro of the rare original single. Nice!
MPEG Stream: "Red Day"
MPEG Stream: "Have You Been To The Light"
MPEG Stream: "No One's Been Here For Weeks"
MPEG Stream: "Walk Out With Your Heart"

album cover TWEAK BIRD Any Ol' Way (Let's Pretend) lp 16.98
Latest from this LA sludge pop duo finds the guys sounding a bit more polished and spacey than before. The opener "Weird Oasis" reminds us a bit of the Meat Puppets, or even an alt rock Allman Brothers, which is not a bad thing at all. In fact, they always had a bit of that vibe to their sound, but fear not, it's soon right back into the usual Tweak Bird churning riffage and drawled vox, all groovy and psychedelic, but still a bit twangy and spacey. Plus, as always, there's an element of Weezer / Jeff The Brotherhood power poppiness to TB's sound as well, super simple hooky, heavy pop, a little bit stonery rock, but liberally doused in crumbling distortion, and warm, blurry guitar fuzz, the arrangements slipping into a little progginess here and there as well, but at its core, Any Ol' Way definitely has the feel of a classic rock record, or at least the sort of record that might be considered classic rock in 30 or 40 years, but for now, this is just a seriously satisfying slab of primo, hook heavy, psychedelic fuzz pop, that we can't seem to stop listening to...

album cover V/A Happy Machine: Standard Music Library 1970-2010 (Public Information) 2lp 35.00
The great Public Information label releases another incredible collection of archival Library tracks, this time from the British archives of The Standard Music Library, recorded between 1970 and 2010. While many famous people recorded for Standard Library, including Delia Derbyshire, Tony Visconti, Michael Chapman, Sven Libaek, as well as Brian Eno and Steven Stapleton (Nurse With Wound), this anthology focuses on the more obscure composers and electronic output released for industrial films, sci-fi television and commercials. You get the full range over 30 tracks from bloop-bleep abstractions, cosmic kosmiche and new age as well as eighties VCR funk and John Carpenter-like horror-synth jams. If you liked the last library survey Public Information offered, Tomorrow's Achievements - Parry Music Library 1976-86, then you'll certainly dig this. Top notch collection!!! Limited, import.
MPEG Stream: CHRIS MCCORMACK "In The Shadows"
MPEG Stream: MIKE VICKERS "In Th Beginning"
MPEG Stream: JOHN KEATING "Hayley's Comet"

album cover V/A Hyperdub 10.1 (Hyperdub) 2cd 26.00
Hard to believe the Hyperdub label has been going for a whole decade now, and what better way to celebrate than with this double disc, with one disc focusing on new stuff, and another on classics from the life of the label. In addition to commemorating 10 years, this comp is also meant to focus more on the label's dancefloor focused sounds, but even then, which is what's so great about Hyperdub, is that even the mainstream dance stuff, is still inherently experimental, sometimes to the point that it's hard to believe the level of popularity they've achieved, putting out some seriously challenging music, and for dance music, a lot of this definitely does NOT sound like it was designed to dance too.
The first disc starts with a new jam from DVA, which pretty much sets the template, a dizzying, constantly shifting groover, that flits from bass heavy electro skitter, to dubbed out jungle, to weird clipped vocal metallic beat driven hip hop, to warped dubstep, even dipping into what sounds like some cheesy eighties proto-hip hop, before lurching right back into more skitter and stutter. The sound on disc one is heavy on the footwork, a sound we've championed here big time, infuriatingly repetitive and totally mesmerizing, but amidst the new footwork tracks, there's plenty of other weirdness, from experimental dubbed out electro, to string-laden grime, creepy electro-soul, wild jungle-y exotica, to boomin' system bass music. And the footwork jams, so good, a whole bunch of new names, and potentially new records forthcoming.
The second disc is like a bad ass Hyperdub mixtape, starting out with Burial's classic "Spaceape" and hitting all the high points, killer jams from Ikonika, Cooly G, DVA, DJ Rashad, Terror Danjah, LV, and more, and even on the 'classics' disc, there are a handful of new (to us) tracks/songs, which had us scrambling for all the releases we missed...
MPEG Stream: DVA "Mad Hatter"
MPEG Stream: KYLE HALL "Girl U So Strong"
MPEG Stream: FLOWDAN "Ambush"
MPEG Stream: BURIAL "Spaceape"
MPEG Stream: FUNKYSTEPZ "Hurricane Riddim"
MPEG Stream: IKONIKA "Idiot"

album cover V/A Museum Of Future Sound IV (Flogsta Danshall) 2lp 39.00
Skweee! It's been a little while since we've been able to use that word in a review, but we're always super happy when we can, because it usually means we're listing a new release of "skweee" music. Skweee! You know, the mostly-Scandinavian DIY electro subgenre, characterized by bleep-bloopy videogame-y synth sounds and freaky, fractured funk grooves, all very stripped down and homebrewed. Still pretty much an underground cult thing, despite being the some of the most charming, fun stuff that all of electronica has had to offer, ever. Just check out this, the latest import compilation of skweee bangers from one of the form's leading purveyors, Sweden's Flogsta Danshall label. Fans will already be salivating, with cuts from top skweee artists like Randy Barracuda, Limonious, Claws Cousteau, Daniel Savio, and Joxaren, appearing alongside lots of new names we're not familiar with. 20 tracks in all, spread over four sides of vinyl, housed in a sleeve bearing black & white brick wall artwork in keeping with the earlier entries in this great series (volumes 1 and 2 were cds, vol. 3 was download-only), graphics we love so much.
It'd be too much to go track-by-track in this review; we're not even sure if we should bother calling out highlights - like, the slinky, stuttering funk of Randy Barracuda's "Black Belt", or the herky-jerky blurble of Vurado Bokoda's "Hunchback Blast", or the head-bobbing 'attract mode' keyboard jam that is Grizzler's "Orangutan Sizzle", 'cause we'd have to keep going, and mention Easy & Center Of The Universe's Eastern glitch grooves on "Bosporus Raver", as well as the spacey, swaggery chopped up blip-hop of Claws Costeau's "Sichuan Tongue", and on and on, 'cause it's all good stuff, skweee at its best - that's the point of the Museum Of Future Sound series after all. So, very recommended. If you're just gonna buy one skweee release this year (and you should, every chance you get) then make it this one!! Skweee!!!!
MPEG Stream: STILETTI-ANA "Alkuperaiset-Originals"
MPEG Stream: JOXAREN "Sunu Dambala"
MPEG Stream: RANDY BARRACUDA "Black Belt"

album cover VENETIAN SNARES My Love Is A Bulldozer (Planet Mu) cd 15.98
Another twisted electronic gem from Mr. Aaron Funk, aka Venetian Snares, and much like or favorite records of his, and there have been many, My Love Is A Bulldozer, is another dizzying mashup, this one, combining his wildly tangled drill and bass and frenzied jungle, with jazzy torch songs, and haunting Scott Walker like ballads. Sounds like a weird mix, and it is, pretty jarring too, but in a really cool way. All it should take is a few minutes of opener "10th Circle Of Winnipeg", which begins with swoon some strings, then jazzy drum skitter, then throaty female vox, then some thick dub step bass warble, the drums gradually cranking up, the sounds wreathed in weird little flitting fireflies of FX, before exploding into a gloriously chaotic drum and bass freakout, all wound around that swoon some torch song opening, veering wildly back and forth between buzzing droned out skitter, to wild cascades of spastic drum programming, to dark jazziness, and back again, often all of those edges blurring and bleeding into something confusional and downright mad scientist brilliant. And heck, that's just the first song.
The rest of the record is rife with strings, and choirs, the sound classical, baroque, folk, Flamenco, in equal measure, with long passages that could be mistaken for some lost Arvo Part piece, but inevitably, the sound explodes into some classic Snares drum programming.
The male vocals, presumably Funk's, are super emotional and distinctive, dramatic and over the top, sounding a little like Scott Walker, and when wound around dizzying drum programming, it's pretty stunning.
And those vocals definitely define much of this record, those tracks sounding like some weird seventies prog-folk record re-envisioned as modern warped electronica, while other tracks (like "Dear Poet"), are epic and cinematic, and sound like they could be the score for some Game Of Thrones style epic, or some steam punk space opera, the jungle perfectly meshed with the orchestral stapes, the droning synths, the strange chorales, the strings, totally over the top, confusing, and utterly and entirely addictive. Like every Venetian Snares record, we can't stop listening to this one, and feel compelled to proclaim it the best yet, at the very least it's currently our favorite, which is saying something, considering that the Venetian Snares catalog is pretty much all favorites. Needless to say, WAY recommended.
MPEG Stream: "10th Circle Of Winnipeg"
MPEG Stream: "1000 Years"
MPEG Stream: "Amazon"
MPEG Stream: "My Love Is A Bulldozer"
MPEG Stream: "Dear Poet"

album cover WIFE What's Between (Tri Angle) cd 14.98
Another warped gem from the Tri Angle label, this one, a dark, brooding, moody bit of skittery slo-mo soul, in the tradition of other Tri Angle artists like Vessel, oOoOO, Holy Other, Balam Acab, How To Dress Well, etc. The weird bit being that this is no mysterious electronic producer, or bedroom misanthrope (well, okay, he could be that), but it's actually the side project of James Kelly, who readers of the aQ list might know better from his day job, playing in post black metal outfit Altar Of Plagues. And it's not like there was lots of stuff like this lurking below the surface in AoP. Or maybe it was, just WAY beneath the surface.
There's literally nothing metal about Kelly's Wife project, so metalheads steer clear. And really, we might expect a metalhead making a weirdo avant electronic soul record to come up with something seriously damaged and demented, but really, amidst the other above mentioned Tri Angle artists, Wife tends a bit more toward the mainstream. Sure the sounds are strange, the arrangements too, and apparently these songs are crafted from found sounds, filed recordings and homemade instruments, but the final project is surprisingly polished, very poppy, still murky and mysterious, but one of the few records on Tri Angle that has breakthrough potential. Fans of more mainstream fare like Portishead and Massive Attack and even to a degree Radiohead, will definitely dig a lot of what's going on here.
And we're not trying to downplay the weirdness. It's still plenty weird, it's just that the weirdness is deftly woven into songs and sounds that are much more accessible. We also hear a little Majical Cloudz (on tracks like "What's Between"), dark, crony electronic torch songs, with lushly layered vocals, dreamy gothic ballads, haunting and darkly lovely, the sound is utterly mesmerizing, and really quite gorgeous, and again, we'd never guess this was the work of a metalhead, but we're digging it a lot. And obviously, fans of other Tri Angle stuff will definitely dig, but for folks who have been thinking abut dabbling in weirder electronic music, this might be the perfect gateway record.
MPEG Stream: "Like Chrome"
MPEG Stream: "Tongue"
MPEG Stream: "Heart Is A Far Light"

album cover ZIG ZAGS s/t (In The Red) lp 15.98
The Ty Segall produced debut full-length from LA trio Zig Zags is all about owning the term "kick ass punk/metal hybrid"! They hit the ground running, come out swinging, whatever metaphor you wanna use for rulin' from the get-go, the first few cuts compelling you to crank the volume up, up, up! "Brainded Warrior" (also available on a 7" single with cool cover art) is the leadoff jam, and quite a jam it its. Sorta like NWOFHMers Steel Mammoth mixing it up with SoCal stoner skaterockers The Shrine. Next, "The Fog" takes over, its crunchy neckbreaking riffage suggestive of Black Flag covering Sabbath's "Symptom Of The Universe", but with a catchy pop punk chorus, and an awesomely doomed-out finale. And so it goes from there, many of those elements remaining in play, Zig Zags bringin' the party to ya with tons of fuzzed out heavy guitar and high energy rock action galore. Part Sabbath, part Ramones, what's not to love?
This album is way more metal than we had expected, yet Zig Zags are totally punk too, their songs often over before they've barely begun, the tempos frantic, the singing sorta melodic but nicely gnarly. Lyrically, they revel in all sorts of cool hesher shit, singing about girls, partying, magic, and biker movies (one song's about Psychomania). Trashy, thrashy good times. An instant favorite!!!
Some records make you feel cooler for listening to 'em, this is one. Play this loud (in your car, if possible) and it's like you're suddenly the Fonz.
MPEG Stream: "Brainded Warrior"
MPEG Stream: "The Fog"
MPEG Stream: "Blazer"


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