established 1970!
san francisco, california
the store that's old enough to think
it's funny that we're selling lots of tapes again

store hours | contact info

worldwide mailorder welcome
secure server | all credit cards accepted

want to receive our New Arrivals list?
your email:

subscribe unsubscribe


view shopping cart

new arrivals

about the store
about mailorder
gift certificates
t-shirts 'n undies
customer photos
customer comments
old new arrivals list archive
film series about AQ
2007 CUSTOMER faves
2007 STAFF faves
2008 CUSTOMER faves
2008 STAFF faves
2010 CUSTOMER faves
2011 CUSTOMER faves
2011 STAFF faves

2012 CUSTOMER faves

2013 STAFF faves NEW!

2013 CUSTOMER faves NEW!

aQ blOg

A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K
L - M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U
V - W - X - Y - Z - Other

20th century composers
compilation / split
country/folk/blues ("no depression")
dvd / video / film
exotica / novelty
found sounds, field recordings, oddities
hiphop (turntablism)
international (africa)
international (asia)
international (central / south

international (cuba)
international (europe)
international (french pop)
international (latin american

japan (noise/free/psych)
japan (pop)
metal (black metal)
metal (stoner rock)
rock/pop ('60s psych/garage)
rock/pop (goth/industrial/darkwave)
rock/pop (krautrock)
rock/pop (prog rock)
rock/pop (punk/hardcore)
spoken word & comedy

Past Records of the Week

Allan's Favorites
Andee's Favorites
Antaeus's Favorites
Cameron's Favorites
Cup's Favorites
Irwin's Favorites
Jim's Favorites
Jon's Favorites
Lauren's Favorites
Matt's Favorites
Pam's Favorites
Sally's Favorites
Scott's Favorites


you've seen our window, and our sidewalk, now see your loyal AQ staff

Last updated:
18 July 2014

website warlord:
Jason Witherspoon

various photos
throughout site by
Jessamyn Harris
Mark Wasserman
Windy Chien
Byram Abbot
Maya Hayuk
and a whole
bunch of other
kind folks.



COPYRIGHT 1996-2014

Help support aQ!

Those of you who regularly read and enjoy our site, but maybe don't actually buy records here, for whatever reason, please consider contributing to the cause! (we're not a non-profit, but we might as well be...)

Check out this week's special inbetween list:
NEW ARRIVALS List #454.5
Secret Serpents Special (25 July 2014)

Highlights of the week of 92 items on
NEW ARRIVALS List #454 (18 July 2014)

album cover T.R.A.S.E. (TAPE RECORDER AND SYNTHESIZER ENSEMBLE) s/t (B-Music / Finders Keepers) cd 13.98
Sweet! This is the sort of thing that makes for a good Record Of The Week both 'cause of how it sounds (always the biggest consideration of course!!) and also 'cause the back story is pretty cool, too. We'll start with that. T.R.A.S.E. stands for Tape Recorder And Synthesizer Ensemble, a name that, if used by a band nowadays might seem just a bit unimaginatively straightforward & blandly self-explanatory, or perhaps meant ironically academic-sounding somehow. But when you learn that T.R.A.S.E. were a DIY "ensemble" masterminded by a precocious British schoolboy back in 1981, making experimental electronic home recordings that sound not too far from stuff such modern-day outfits as Emeralds and Umberto and Soft Moon would be doing years later, then the name becomes fairly endearing, eh? Just take a look at the cover photo, two skinny teenagers, one looking kinda cool in T-shirt and shades, standing with electric guitar in hand, the other kid in sweater and jeans, looking a bit dorkier as he sits amidst a cluttered array of electronic keyboards, amplifiers, reel-to-reel tape machines and other assorted audio gear. The latter teen is T.R.A.S.E. founder Andy Popplewell, most definitely an A/V geek at his school, who put together his own six-channel audio mixer at age 16 following plans in a issue of Practical Electronics magazine. Being into both sci-fi soundtracks and new wave music like The Human League, Ultravox and Gary Numan (one of the tracks here is a Tubeway Army cover) it wasn't long before that mixer, and other gear he built, like an "Elektor Chorosynth", was put to use to record his own music. Kraftwerk, Jean-Michel Jarre, and Giorgio Moroder where among his other inspirations. T.R.A.S.E. recorded one unreleased cassette lp called Electronic Rock, and the deep diggers at B-Music/Finders Keepers have compiled tracks from that tape here along with other home studio / real studio / demo tracks by Popplewell and T.R.A.S.E., 14 total cuts of adolescent outsider synthsplorations, all tick-tocking drum machines and swells of droning synth, adorned with phaser and fuzz FX, replete with gentle melodies and warped "cosmic" soundz. These tracks are mostly instrumental, though a few have vocals, like the Messethetics-ish downer electro pop of "Talk To Me" and the sad, fuzzy "Unrequited Love". So much primitive shimmering synth beauty, the more abstract of the tracks glistening rhythmically, the more song-like coming across like lo-fi coldwave cuts.
Perhaps the best recommendation we can give this, is that playing it in the store, generally results in customers asking about it and buying a copy. Probably the best "long lost tapes" release of vintage unknown electronica since that Rodion G.A. record!! One of those serendipitous discoveries, occasioned by a fortuitous meeting between Andy Popplewell and Andy Votel of Finders Keepers.
The cd booklet includes color photos and vintage synth kit adverts, alongside detailed and very revealing liner notes penned by Popplewell himself, who in the wake of T.R.A.S.E. later became a BBC radio engineer, now works in audio media restoration, and who currently studies conspiracy theories and other esoteric knowledge in his spare time.
Fyi, we momentarily had an import vinyl version of this a while back, but it took 'til now for the cd to materialize, glad it finally did, though it's too bad we don't have the vinyl anymore (maybe again, someday?).
MPEG Stream: "T.R.A.S.E. Sketch-1"
MPEG Stream: "Harmonium"
MPEG Stream: "Talk To Me"
MPEG Stream: "Momento"

album cover FLESH EATERS A Minute To Pray, A Second To Die (Superior Viaduct) lp 17.98
Superior Viaduct does it again, bringing us much needed reissues of not only one but two classic LA underground records from 1981: The Flesh Eaters' amazing A Minute To Pray, A Second To Die, and The Gun Club's incredible debut, Fire of Love. We're gonna (gotta!) make 'em both Records Of The Week!
Death, drugs, sex, voodoo, evil blues, macabre horror and a sublimely detached southern gothic sensibility pervades the sound of these two bands who sat somewhere between the margins of the "death rock" and "cowpunk" or "gothabilly" genres in the LA punk scene of the late seventies and early eighties without fitting neatly into either.
Chris Desjardins, or Chris D., was the central force behind The Flesh Eaters as well as producer for The Gun Club, and other bands of the era such as Tex and The Horseheads (featuring his then girlfriend Texicala Jones) and his later band, The Divine Horsemen. Once a writer for the popular underground fanzine Slash, Chris D assembled The Flesh Eaters from many bands of the scene, such as The Blasters, Wall of Voodoo, Los Lobos, and X, and indeed no Flesh Eaters record had quite the same line-up. Their second release, A Minute to Pray, A Second to Die remains the band's most critically regarded effort and it's easy to see why. Featuring John Doe and DJ Bonebrake from X on bass and marimbas respectively, Dave Alvin and Bill Bateman from The Blasters on guitar and drums and Steve Berlin from Los Lobos on sax, the band's swampy but driving voodoo rhythms marked most notably by the unusual use of marimbas and saxophone and Chris D's horror-spun lyricism and guttural vocals put them in a similar scene as bands like 45 Grave and The Cramps, but with a fiercer edge and far less campy aesthetic. Instead, A Minute to Pray, A Second to Die is like a dark spaghetti western full of werewolf marauders, evil curses, night fevers, grave-digging and a rollicking hell-bent fury. Essential listening for fans of The Birthday Party, Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, and any of the bands mentioned above.
MPEG Stream: "Digging My Grave"
MPEG Stream: "Divine Horseman"
MPEG Stream: "River of Fever"
MPEG Stream: "Satan's Stomp"

album cover GUN CLUB, THE Fire Of Love (Superior Viaduct) cd 15.98
Superior Viaduct does it again, bringing us much needed reissues of not only one but two classic LA underground records from 1981: The Flesh Eaters' amazing A Minute To Pray, A Second To Die, and The Gun Club's incredible debut, Fire of Love. We're gonna (gotta!) make 'em both Records Of The Week!
Death, drugs, sex, voodoo, evil blues, macabre horror and a sublimely detached southern gothic sensibility pervade the music of these two bands who sat somewhere between the margins of the "death rock" and "cowpunk" or "gothabilly" genres of the LA punk scene of the late seventies and early eighties without fitting neatly into either.
The commanding vocal prowess of Jeffrey Lee Pierce leads the scorched delta blues of The Gun Club, a darkened mixture of Johnny Cash, Charley Patton and Elvis recycled through a furious yowling intensity. The band rotated line-ups often and has featured throughout their existence key players of the LA punk scene such as Kid Congo Powers (The Cramps, The Bad Seeds), Patricia Morrison (Sisters of Mercy, The Damned, The Bags) and Terry Graham and Rob Ritter (The Bags). While the band had a run of great albums, Fire of Love is largely regarded as their most influential, containing an impressive string of punk hits: "Sex Beat", She's Like Heroin To Me", "Fire Spirit" "For The Love of Ivy", "Ghost on The Highway", and "Jack On Fire", many of them produced by Chris D. of The Flesh Eaters.
Such a great album and without it bands like The White Stripes and The Black Keys simply wouldn't exist.
Note: Unlike The Flesh Eaters, Superior Viaduct didn't do a vinyl version of this reissue - but it turns out there was a vinyl reish on Spain's Munster records a few years back that has been recently repressed, so we'll probably get copies in sometime soon...
MPEG Stream: "Sex Beat"
MPEG Stream: "For The Love of Ivy"
MPEG Stream: "She's Like Heroin To Me"

album cover ADMIRAL SIR CLOUDESLEY SHOVELL Check 'Em Before You Wreck 'Em (Rise Above) lp 21.00
We've kind of had writer's block about doing this here review of the new album by British heavy retro-rockers Admiral Sir Cloudsley Shovell, just cuz we loved their first one so much, and anticipation for this new one was so high, it was hard to come up with anything to say, other than YEAH!! But that wouldn't really constitute a review, would it? So we put it off, hoping we'd come up with something better, but maybe that's good enough - so we finally took the advice of the opening track here, "Do It Now". Basically, if you like high energy hard rockin', the Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell are kickin' out the jams for you, once again, on this their second record. Another batch of rad tunes from 'em. Heck, if this was another band's first album it'd be easy to rave about it for paragraphs, but since it's this band's 2nd album, and we already raved about their debut, it seems so much easier just to say, hey it's their 2nd album! Right on!! YEAH!!
Er, however, for those that don't know, "The Shovell" are a power trio from England, featuring, we now realize, at least one of the guys from the stoner rock outfit Gorilla, whose two albums we reviewed back in the day. They play riffy, groovy, kickass heavy rawk'n'roll, often very much in the epic fuzz mode of their '70s forefathers with the sorta-similar name, Sir Lord Baltimore. Also, Budgie, Dust, Buffalo, Toad, James Gang, Leaf Hound, et. al., and of course ye olde Black Sabbath!! Plus, sometimes, due to a gruffness to the vocals and/or some quasi-punk speediness, these guys crank up some Motorhead vibes too, on a rave-up like "Happiness Begins" ferinstance. Motorhead meets Sabbath, yep, coulda just said YEAH!
We're digging all the tracks, but there are a couple stand-out song TITLES to mention: "2 Tonne Fuckboot" and "Late Night Mornings" (the later, this album's lengthy, surprisingly melodic finale, part ballad, part badass jam). Also, there's a song named after their previous album, kind of a classic move there.
Whew! Did it! Now, get it!!
MPEG Stream: "Do It Now"
MPEG Stream: "Captain Merryweather"
MPEG Stream: "The Thicker The Better"

album cover AMEN DUNES Love (Sacred Bones) lp 21.00
Previous records from Amen Dunes, aka Damon McMahon, have been twisted collections of avant outsider folk, the skeletal songsmithery balanced by an experimental streak a mile wide. Even the prettiest songs on those records were buried in sonic murk, and consequently, hushed, delicately strummed ballads were generally stretched way out into spacey sprawls of abstract sound and wreathed in musique concrete filigree. On Love, however, McMahon seems to have ditched much of that weirdness in favor of crafting some straight up, almost baroque sounding, extremely lush and lovely folk/pop, that on first listen was almost too straight ahead, but gradually, with repeated listens, revealed itself as something much more, a truly and subtly dark little gem. The almost orchestral opener "White Child" combines simple strummed guitars, and achingly crooned vocals, all over a lustrous, undulating backdrop of moaning horns and woozy strings. While at first blush, it seemed that there's much unabashed Dylan worship going on, the record quickly blossoms into something much more mysterious, the production reverby and echo drenched, McMahon's super distinctive vocals sounding better than ever, the music too, deceivingly simplistic sounding, but rich with subtle nuance, and lushly layered, a softly swirling morass of psychedelic shimmer, and slow crawl dream pop balladry, blurred into a subtly mutated strain of spaced out, haunting and otherworldly alternative universe psych folk drift.
MPEG Stream: "White Child"
MPEG Stream: "Lonely Richard"
MPEG Stream: "Spirits Are Parted"

album cover AUTHOR & PUNISHER / HARASSOR Fearce (Goteblud) 7" 7.98
First off, if you don't know the comic Wuvable Oaf, go track down whatever you can. Right now. There's a forthcoming compendium, which should gather up most everything, but the individual issues (some of which we still have in stock, just ask) come with all kinds of extras, hand drawn covers, scratch and sniff pages, guitar picks, stickers, paper dolls and even records! By the imaginary bands in the comic!! basically, it's all about a big hairy guy named Oaf, his failed attempts at finding love, his crazy cats, and his weirdo friends, the comic is silly, and funny, and clever, and hairy and pretty gay, and has lots of music stuff in it too (our own Andee is featured in one issue, as is "Aquarium Records"!!) One of the bands in the comic is the awesomely monikered Ejaculoid, and we're obviously not the only ones a little bit obsessed with Ejaculoid, as two aQ faves, LA black metal trio Harassor and mad scientist industrial metal instrument builder Author & Punisher, have stepped up to offer their own takes on the Ejaculoid classic "Fearce" (recorded by members of Limp Wrist!), which originally accompanied the Oafanthology collection, but now available on its own...
Author & Punisher transform it into what is essentially an A&P track, a churning industrial pound, processed vocals, thick, grinding rib cage rattling bass, sounding like some weird hybrid of Nine Inch Nails, Ministry and robotic gabber, but slowed down into something malevolent, maniacal and darkly doomy. While Harassor turn the track into a lo-fi grim blast of grunted black buzz, furious blast beats and insectoid riffing, laced with some weird electronic squiggles, and breaking down part way through into a swaggery doomic stomp. So rad!
On maroon/grey swirled vinyl, with bad ass Ed Luce artwork, includes a download!
MPEG Stream: HARASSOR "Fearce"

album cover BATS, THE Daddy's Highway (Captured Tracks / Flying Nun) lp 16.98
One of the greatest indie pop records ever, gets yet another vinyl reissue! This classic slab of eighties bittersweet jangle pop from legendary New Zealand pop combo the Bats, still sounds as good as it ever did, originally released on Flying Nun in 1987, Daddy's Highway was the group's debut after handful of eps, and found the band effortlessly creating a template for pretty much all of the Kiwi pop music to follow. Robert Scott, one of the best (and perhaps most unsung) pop songsmiths of the last 3+ decades, delivers these heartfelt tunes in a gorgeous clear croon, his guitar playing understated and so sublime, the traditional rock band arrangement augmented by long time aQ fave Alastair Galbraith on violin, giving the songs a dark gravitas, and an even more melancholic vibe, some of the songs bouncy and bubbly, but many of them moody and brooding, laced with subtle drones, sounding at times like a janglier Velvet Underground, while at other times hinting at the more new wave sounding pop going on around the same time, but more often occupying some pure pop space, every song here, rife with warm jangle, sweet melody and dreamy hooks, all wreathed in lush instrumentation, and presented heart on sleeve. So great!
MPEG Stream: "Treason"
MPEG Stream: "North By North"
MPEG Stream: "Tragedy"

album cover BLACKSHAW, JAMES Fantomas: Le Faux Magistrat (Tomkins Square) 2lp 29.00
Wow! To mark the centenary of Louis Feuillade's Fantomas silent film series, James Blackshaw was invited to perform a live score for the fifth and final film, Le Faux Magistrat in Paris on Halloween night of last year. The Fantomas film series, based on the popular character of French crime fiction, a symbol of terror and master of disguise, is an exciting match for Blackshaw who has evolved over the past few years from solo guitar work to full orchestral composition. The group assembled here includes Duane Pitre and Simon Scott from Slowdive as well as multi-instrumentalist Charlotte Glasson providing violin, vibraphone and various wind instruments. In a beautifully brooding score that at times channels David Shire's The Conversation soundtrack as one of several reccurring instrumental motifs, Blackshaw alternates between guitar and piano in a tense and moving score that while atmospheric, never seems to take rest.
MPEG Stream: "Part 2"
MPEG Stream: "Part 3"
MPEG Stream: "Part 8"

album cover BLUT AUS NORD / PHOBOS Triunity (Debemur Morti) cd 16.98
At first we were thought maybe this was gonna be a collaboration and not a split, either way it would be a pretty perfect match up really, of two weirdo industrial tinged French black metal outfits, and a split it is, offering up three songs from each band.
The tracks from long time aQ faves Blut Aus Nord incorporate everything we love about these guys: woozy, psychedelic riffage, haunting spectral vocals, and chaotic, intricate drumming. The opener is surprisingly slow and melodic, bordering on epic doom, especially when the soaring, melancholic leads swoop in, and that depressive doominess bleeds right into the second track, with a gloomy, slowly descending main riff, and monk-like chant vox, draped over stuttery double kick drumming, and another bed of undulating riffage, smeared into something bordering more on hazy black psych, and again, the song blossoms into an aching, mournful doom, plodding and depressive, culminating in the final BaN track, which cranks up the temp a bit, and gets super proggy, without shedding the doomy sonic pallor, instead, it's a twisted prog-doom dirge, rife with haunting melodies, lush textures, and twisted, constantly shifting arrangements, the final moments driven by some super creepy demonic vox, over moaning guitars, and sputtering rhythms.
Which leads us directly into the P.H.O.B.O.S. tracks, which begins with something that sounds more like some blackened Wax Trax 12", all fractured rhythms, over a swirling backdrop of curdled black blur and tangled, mutated melodies, it's really only the gurglingly demonic vokills that make this black metal at all, otherwise, it's some mutant strain of blackened electronica or black industrial, but it is cool, and creepy. The second track introduces some proper riffage, but it's all looped and layered, sounding more like the Young Gods than proper black metal, but again, it works, tripped out and hypnotic, the smeared riffage wound around an almost-breakbeat, gloomy and atmospheric, spaced out and heavy, those vox again the blackest element, which is true of the closer too, and there, even the vocals are more washed out, reverie and echo drenched, but eventually, that track builds to an almost Godflesh sounding crescendo, pounding and metallic, but that metallic pound sounding way more like some lost nineties industrial jam than modern French black metal. So yeah, while we dig this a LOT, metalheads might be a bit disappointed by the lack of actual METAL. That said, fans of either/both of these bands should know by now to expect the unexpected...
MPEG Stream: BLUT AUS NORD "Nemeinn"
MPEG Stream: P.H.O.B.O.S. "Glowing Phosphorous"
MPEG Stream: P.H.O.B.O.S. "Transfixed At Golgotha"

album cover CEREBRAL BALLZY Jaded & Faded (Cult Records) lp 16.98
Besides having probably the coolest/stupidest band name ever, Brooklyn skate punks Cerebral Ballzy return with another killer clutch of songs they claim to be about more high minded topics than their first record (chicks, skating, puking, etc.) but a quick scan of the song titles reveals, they haven't pushed the subject matter too far, fake I.D.'s, skating, fast food, and chicks, all still seem to be the focal point, but what has changed is the sound. That first record was a dizzying blast of short sharp punk rock in the style of the old school classics, equal parts Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Suicidal Tendencies, but this time around the band have gotten downright poppy, injecting some serious power poppiness and loads of hooky melody into the jams, resulting in some seriously addictive, and seriously poppy post punk, that ends up ultimately being a lot more more sonically satisfying than that first record. More original for sure, a cool hybrid of that feral punk energy with more actual songsmithery. The tracks are longer, the sound is much more lush and well produced too, but more importantly, the songs themselves are killer, essentially pop songs in punk clothing, and we're not talking the dreaded pop punk, we're talking pop flecked punk rock, of noise pop, or fuzzy pop, or punkish pop, whatever you wanna call it, the vibe throughout touches on classic power pop of the past, post punk too, and while there are moments of straight up punk rock pound, for the most part, those parts are woven into what is essentially a killer batch of punky pop that should have fans of other like minded outfits like the Zig Zags, The Shrine, Hot Lunch and the rest, freaking out big time.
MPEG Stream: "Another Day"
MPEG Stream: "Fake I.D."
MPEG Stream: "Parade of Idiots"
MPEG Stream: "Better In Leather"

album cover COLD BEAT Over Me (Crime On The Moon) lp 15.98
We were sad to learn of Grass Widow's break-up after releasing their amazing Internal Logic album back in 2012. Though they are calling it a "hiatus", we're pretty much convinced it's over. Time will tell. Anyway, bass player and vocalist Hannah Lew has spent the past year forming a new band that shares Grass Widow's penchant for enchanting harmonies and song-craft but wrapped in a tighter, sharper and much darker package. Cold Beat reshapes the dark post-punk drive of Joy Division and The Sound with haunting but infectious vocal harmonies and melancholic imagery in a more metallic polished gloss. Like The Mallard's last record, Finding Meaning In Deference, Cold Beat inject a dose of off-kilter energy and damaged beauty into their debut that sets it apart and gives it a fresh feel, like a brand new scar.
MPEG Stream: "Rain"
MPEG Stream: "UV"
MPEG Stream: "Year 5772"

album cover COLOURED BALLS Heavy Metal Kid (Desperate / Aztec) lp 26.00
The late great Aussie underground guitar hero Lobby Loyde lead this crew of hard rocking "sharpies", who made two albums of boogie bar band proto-punk in the early '70s: the classic Ball Power from '73, and this, their not-quite-as-great-but-still-cool 2nd album from '74. The album and its title track may be called Heavy Metal Kid, however it's NOT heavy metal. (Not any more than the unrelated '70s band Heavy Metal Kids was.) But, that title track is an up-up-uptempo proto-glam stormer! Elsewhere, the Balls offer up a high energy mix of '50s style stompers and FX-laden psychedelic fare (such as "Back To You"). ZZ/DC?
Remastered from the original master tapes, pressed on 180 gram vinyl, gatefold sleeve, with lyrics insert & obi, limited!!
MPEG Stream: "Heavy Metal Kids"

album cover CRACKED VESSEL Paths I & II (self-released) 2 x cassette 11.98
We have VERY few of these, as in maybe 5 copies, but we figured there were at least 5 weirdo aQuarius customers out there who would flip their lids for this (sadly, probably WAY more than 5, but at least there's talk of a less limited version down the line), cuz really, even conceptually, this has aQ written all over it. A lavishly handmade package, two tapes in a little gatefold sleeve, with a miniature booklet inside the gatefold, all held together with a Japanese style obi. The artwork itself is sorta curious, there is what appears to be a bike tread, and what is most definitely a cyclist, and yep, Cracked Vessel is in fact something we've never encountered before, BICYCLE BLACK METAL. To be fair, listening to this, you might not immediately pick up on the bicycle connection, but knowing it's there, only makes it that much cooler. And weirder. And by the same token, if you had no idea there was a bicycle theme, the music itself is fucking furious and frenzied, a wild, chaotic, blast of punky blackness, whirling and wild, lurching from impossibly frantic blasts to punky pound, the arrangements intricate and downright proggy, feedback everywhere, the drumming insane, the songs super short, but crazy catchy crammed with parts and time signatures, killer riffs, all blown out heaviness, the sort of buzzing black rawness that would put most non bicycle black metal to shame. Grab one of these before they're gone, and for all but the five of you who actually nab one of these, keep your fingers crossed that they repress it in a much less limited run...
MPEG Stream: "Bitten By The Hand Of Winter"
MPEG Stream: "The Atmosphere Is A Glass Ceiling"

album cover CYCLOPEAN WALL Demo 1 (self-released) cassette 5.00
First we've heard from this one man kraut-drone combo from Torronto, but we figured we'd probably dig it based on the list of influences (Taj Mahal Travellers, Fripp & Eno, Ash Ra Tempel, Cluster, Manuel Gottsching) and the fact that the music was self-described as "fuzz worship, drones, hails to Big Muff and Dirge Electronics" and it definitely lived up to the promise of all that. From the first few moments of the first track, Cyclopean Wall unfurl a black, caustic, viscous sprawl of rumbling, crumbling distortion, blurred and buzzy, undulating and softly churning beneath spidery guitar melodies, drifting weightless over the roiling neat-metallic churn. And while those above mentioned influences definitely apply, we also hear plenty of SUNO))), Expo '70, even another obscure aQ fave, the Hills Have Amps. But Cyclopean Wall is not all downtuned dirgery, the sound opens way up on the second track, into something much more pastoral, all lush, lustrous chordal swells, and soft focus melodies, with a brief build mid song into something again nearly metallic, before settling right back into that dreamy drift. The flipside offers up variations on the same sonic theme, with one track that buries the melodies beneath a thick layer of gristly static and blackened haze, sounding a bit like some lo-fi Skaters / Tim Hecker hybrid, while the other is the most darkly delicate of the bunch, a hazy slow burn that unfurls languorously, all somnambulant shimmer and gauzy twilit ambience. Super limited, just 50 copies, dubbed onto different colored tapes, each one labeled by hand.
MPEG Stream: "9:05"
MPEG Stream: "8:52"

album cover DAYDREAMER Camus [Deluxe] (Time Released Sound) cd 55.00
The latest from local label Time Released Sound comes from a Russian duo called Daydreamer, their record a sonic homage to French existentialist Albert Camus, the music a darkly languorous sprawl of slo-mo ambient drift, and abstract post rock shimmer, opening with a bit of Durutti Column like guitar mesmer, the record soon settles into a brooding, cinematic slowcore, horn flecked smolder, sounding like some lost David Lynch score, before transforming into a hazy Tim Hecker-ish stretch of minimal murk, which in turn unwinds as a haunting abstract chamber folk, all pointillist piano and slow burn shimmer, the sound over the course of Camus' nine tracks slipping easily from sun dappled dreaminess, to dark, ominous dronescapery, black ambience shot through with barely there rhythms, strange snippets of what sounds like subtle turntablism, a hazy sinister creep through sonic shadows, emerging on the other side, all warm, and lush, and lustrous, a softly glitchy swirl of prismatic sound, a woozy world of whirring chordal thrum woven into lush layered ambience, the final movement more straight up guitar, spidery melodies suspended in space, wreathed in barely there distant drones, surrounded by clouds of cymbal shimmer and strange abstract voices, finishing off with a brief bit of smeared psychedelic swirl, a gauzy, druggy, drowsy coda. Gorgeous!
Like all Tim Released Sound releases, there are two versions, the standard digipak edition, limited to 150 copies, and the deluxe handmade art edition, this time limited to just 90 copies, and as always, extravagantly packaged. Which means for Camus, a multi page booklet, hinged on one corner, which fans open into a sort of mandala. The super striking cover image is printed to Japanese tissue paper, hand pasted and shredded. The booklet itself is printed on heavyweight Moab paper, and are hand punched, sewn, collaged, stamped and doodled. The back of each page is spray stenciled as well. And to top it off, hanging from the corner of each booklet is an actual Gauloises cigarette, packaged in a little capped vial. Everything then housed in a 6" square spray painted, hand punched and stamped translucent envelope. Wow!
MPEG Stream: "High Road"
MPEG Stream: "Cloud Castles"
MPEG Stream: "Abandoned Archangel"

album cover DEMDIKE STARE Test Pressings 005 (Modern Love) 12" 17.98
Yet another installment in this ongoing series of 'test pressings' (the first four are all sold out) from hauntological electronic duo Demdike Stare, and like the others in the series, the tracks on the rest pressings tend to be pretty well removed from the moody creep of the Demdike records proper, and this new one is no different. The A-side, "Procrastination", begins with a barrage of sliced and diced distorted vocals, and weird stuttery burst of industrial percussion, sounding like it could explode into some sort of dense EDM at any minute, but instead, woozy rubbery bass warbles drift up from below, give the sound a sort of melting dubstep vibe, that low end rumble is soon joined by some spacey synth swirls and some strange droned out tones, all the while, that initial stutter step percussion marches on unwaveringly, as the surrounding sounds build and billow into dense clouds of gauzy ambience, and murky atmospheric smears.
On the flip, "Past Majesty" begins with a churning synthy squelch that almost sounds like electronic doom metal, especially when the weird distorted guitar sounding blast comes in, it's like electro Sabbath, and then when the loping beat kicks in, it gets even more off kilter, a lurching gallop, that is rhythmically sort of at odds with the main loop, and then when yet another loop swoops in, it just gets more chaotic and dense, but remains sort of driving, the second half settles into a similarly driving groove, but the synth churns and pulses, and suddenly it sounds like some alien heavy synth kraut-psych, but one made my machines gone haywire, some grim, terrifying scene from Fantasia that ended up on the cutting room floor, where robots armed with synths, march in unison to overtake and eventually rule the humans, and when everything drops out at the end, leaving just that thick synth riff, it's about as heavy as electronic music gets. So good.
Like the first four volumes, these come packaged in simple, black and white, paper test pressing style sleeves, and they're CRAZY limited, we always sell out of these lickety split, so grab one before they're gone for good!!!

album cover DIE ANTWOORD Donker Mag (ZEF Records) cd 13.98
What really needs to be said about Die Antwoord at this point? An elaborate art-prank, that turned into a YouTube sensation, but rather than a brief flash in the pan, South African rap duo Die Antwoord have managed to make some pretty amazing records, to go with their next level batshit genius videos. For most groups who traffic in similarly image heavy hype, the music is secondary, and exists simply as an excuse to create elaborate visuals, and while few bands reach the level of Die Antwoord when it comes to whatthefuck videos, their records are still manage to be routinely pretty goddamn great. A mix of old school hip-hopisms, and twisted modern weirdo electronica, it helps that the two members of Die Antwoord, Ninja and Yo-Landi are both crazy cartoon characters, who have at this point essentially totally disappeared into their characters, Ninja, a gangly, tattooed thug, who is usually clad in just a pair of boxers, and the extremely crushworthy Yo-Landi, a seriously stacked pixie, with a weird shaved head / mullet, and a whispery sexy flow, the perfect compliment to Ninja's twisted gangsta delivery, and then the music, sometimes minimal electro, other times over the top, rib cage rattling big beats, some tracks relentlessly high energy, buzzing synths over stuttery beats, others sounding like some redneck South African Eminem, and others like the 'hit' on this record "Pitbull Terrier", impossibly catchy, twisted electro-hop blowouts, with a production that rivals most better known producers, and might just be a big part of why this band has the legs it does. That and the videos of course. Seriously, if you've been living under a rock, and have somehow missed out on Die Antwoord's videos, all it will take is one or two to win you over, and once those get burned into your brain, you'll find the records doing the same thing to your ears.
MPEG Stream: "Pitbull Terrier"
MPEG Stream: "Ugly Boy"
MPEG Stream: "Girl I Want 2 Eat U"
MPEG Stream: "Donker Mag"

album cover DIE ENTWEIHUNG Despair Division: A Tribute To Joy Division (Acephale Winter Productions) cassette 5.98
Two strange releases on this week's list from local black metal label Acephale Winter Productions, the other is a twisted tape of blackened industrial ambience from a UK outfit called Synsophony, and this one, which somehow might be even weirder, a collection of Joy Division covers from an Israeli black metaller called Die Entweihung, who manages to transform these classic tunes into something slightly blacker, but only slightly, just check out his version of "Love Will Tear Us Apart", which minus the raspy vokills, and the programmed drum machine rhythms, is not that far removed from the original, in fact, the chorus is even clean vocal crooned, but the bridge does get a metallic makeover, and there are little flurries of robotic double kick drum, so ultimately it's a pretty faithful rendition, with some blackened filigree, which is fine with us. And that said some of the other covers do get a bit more far out, the metallic component cranked on some, the synths getting a bit krautrocky on others, and one or two get almost punky, sped up and frenzied, the synths all swirly and way up in the mix. "Warsaw" is furious and blackly grim, so is "They Walked In Line", those tracks balanced by some of the others, since clean vocals are far more prevalent than the howled demonic rasp, so it's sort of split right down the middle, the perfect balance between faithful renditions, and warped weirdo reworkings, both of which we ended up digging a bunch.

album cover DISSECTION Storm Of The Light's Bane (The End) lp 23.00
While of course this is a fave of all the metalheads around here, and many of our metal-lovin' customers, it's also loved by the less metal inclined - for instance, former aQ staffer Byram, not normally a big metal consumer, ranks this as one of his favorites amongst the Nordic hordes. In fact, it's one of the few metal albums he owns. It's that great. It was their 2nd album, originally released in 1994, and on it Dissection perfected their melodic, blackened Swedish death metal approach - that means TRUE, original metal, with elements of everything from Morbid Angel to Mayhem to Iron Maiden, suped-up and super-grim, with raspy vocals, wicked drumming (the guy is AMAZING), truly memorable, majestic melodies, and tons of cold winter atmosphere. They take long breaks to let their acoustic guitars gently weep, then tear back into the brutal, razor-edged rifferama. Serious stuff, seriously great.
At the time, this was to be their last album, a mighty swan song, as Dissection called it quits soon after when their frontman ended up in jail as accessory to murder - but their very tangential role in any of that over-sensationalized Scandinavian black metal true crime stuff has nothing to do with why you should be interested in this band. Regardless of Jon Nodtveidt's (R.I.P.) sordid saga, Dissection was a brilliant band, and Storm of the Light's Bane is an all time classic that belongs in every metal collection. Here's a chance to get it on vinyl.
MPEG Stream: "Night's Blood"
MPEG Stream: "Where Dead Angels Lie"
MPEG Stream: "Soulreaper"

album cover DRCARLSONALBION Gold (Oblique) lp 25.00
The first proper full length from Drcarlsonalbion, the alter-ego of Dylan Carlson, he of twang flecked dronelords Earth, who along with Earth drummer Adrienne Davies, has crafted this gorgeous bit of psychedelic drift, a soundtrack to a film called Gold, and really, fans of recent Earth records might think they've stumbled onto a new Earth record, although the music on Gold is much more spare and minimal, especially considering that mostly it's Carlson on guitar, with just a bit of percussive filigree from Davies. It's a sort of washed out and woozy, sun baked Appalachia, a definite desert blues vibe, most of the tracks here super short, many more like the film cues they are, than proper songs, with Carlson unfurling hazy, bluesy riffs, and letting them ring out, slowly decay, in clouds of reverb and delay, echoey shimmers ringing out like ripples in water, each track here some sort of dark folk ritual, some smoldering and cloaked in shadow, others bathed in sunlight, but most of the tracks here, just Carlson on some back porch, with an old broken bottle for a slide, and playing through a busted old combo, the notes wreathed in soft FX and let loose to drift on the afternoon breeze, or be carried skyward by soft swirls of black smoke, the campfire vibe is huge here too. It's hard to say what the movie Gold is all about, having not seen it, or even read anything about it, but we're imagining some sort of Cormac McCarthy style bleakness, vast expanses of dusty roads, and dilapidated farmhouses, dying crops and slope shouldered workers toiling in the fields. It has that sort of wasted, hopeless feel, endless days, and the brief respite of night. Gorgeous stuff for sure.
Packaged in an oversized heavy weight tip-on style sleeve, includes a download code as well.
MPEG Stream: "Gold I"
MPEG Stream: "Gold II"
MPEG Stream: "Gold V"
MPEG Stream: "Gold VII"
MPEG Stream: "Gold XI"

album cover DUNN, KYLE BOBBY And The Infinite Sadness (Students Of Decay) 3lp 45.00
Kyle Bobby Dunn seems like quite a character. Photos of the Canadian ambient composer could easily stand in as an earnest dating profile image / avatar, imbued with a boyish charm and scholarly airs; yet whatever public image of poignant sincerity he seems to be cultivating is thrown completely out the window when it comes to the id-authored track titles like "Movement For The Completely Fucked," "Meadowfuck (Waltz Of The Nobodies)," and "An Excrement Suite." Given the fact that these tracks hold the exact same aesthetic scope of bleary ambience as the more sensible, allegorically charged titles like "Where Circles Never Become Circles" or "Canticle Of Votier's Flats," Dunn is obviously wanting his audience to ask the ever important question: "what the fuck?" It all may be calculated to expose the dorky / wonky bits of his personality, so that people don't assume he's just a dorky / wonky composer, but a fully-formed human being with thoughts, dreams, and ideas - some of which may be profoundly ridiculous. The sounds from "And The Infinite Sadness" are beautiful impressionist swells of tonal colors, billowing orchestrations, and elegant melancholy. Some of the tracks expose their instrumentation of guitars or horns or chamber ensembles, all of which are blurred within a luminous and richly shoegazing wash of sustained reverb and stately melodic / harmonic progressions. His work often gets compared to Stars Of The Lid; and yeah, And The Infinite Sadness is that good, perhaps his best release to date!
MPEG Stream: "Variation On A Theme By St. Dipshit"
MPEG Stream: "Mon Retard"
MPEG Stream: "The Same (Drunk In Quebec & In Love Club Remix)"

album cover EMERALD WEB The Stargate Tapes 1979-1982 (B-Music / Finders Keepers) cd 13.98
We reviewed an amazing album on the Dead-Cert label (the boutique subsidiary label of Finders Keepers and Demdike Stare) a while back by musical couple Kat Epple and Bob Stohl called Sanctu Spiritus, a proto-new age document of early recordings utilizing synthesizers and flute with tape-loops to be used in planetariums and space documentaries. That release is now sadly out of print, but that was just the beginning. Between 1978 and 1982, the couple would later form the group Emerald Web, a mixture of space and fantasy music with proggy new age leanings and release 5 recordings (1 lp and 4 cassettes) on their own imprint label Stargate from which the tracks here are compiled by the fine freaks at Finders Keepers/B-Music.
Hailing from Florida, the duo recorded their music at night utilizing the studio they used for their day jobs as synth-programmers, music consultants for computer technology labs and TV and film soundtrack work. Named after a laser show formation and combining elements of dungeons and dragons fantasy and cosmic ambience, the group released their vinyl debut, Dragon Wings And Wizard Tales in 1979, a heady post-prog synth epic of tripped out soundscapes and ethereal female vocals that was recently featured on the Record Store Day compilation Monster Skies. The subsequent tape releases were less proggy and more spacey, filled with field recordings, dueling flutes, and ambient electronics that have more of a minimal composition focus than your typical new age music does. The couple would go on to record music for Carl Sagan's Cosmos series and hopefully that will get released soon as well. So great!
There is an import lp version of this, but it's been very hard for us to track down, so for now we only have the cd.
MPEG Stream: "Flight of The Raven"
MPEG Stream: "Nightsong"
MPEG Stream: "Ars Nova"
MPEG Stream: "Photonos"

album cover EMERSON, DONNIE & JOE Still Dreamin' Wild: The Lost Recordings (Light In The Attic) lp 22.00
Everyone here fell in love with Dreamin' Wild, a rediscovered pop gem from 1979, we made a Record Of The Week a couple years ago. The story of two teenage farm boys from rural Washington dreaming of making it big and the family who believed in them so much that they took out a second mortgage on their farm so their sons could build a studio and release records was as compelling as their music. The fact that their goals for success ultimately eluded them, only gives their music with its heartfelt earnestness, a deeper weight. But now their past efforts have finally gained the Emerson brothers some attention and with that, a discovery of more recordings made after the recording of Dreamin' Wild. All in all the brothers recorded over 70 tracks in that home studio, mainly led by Donnie's ambitions not to give up on his dreams of becoming a successful musician even after their sole record failed, while Joe turned more of his attentions to taking over the farm his family started and nearly lost.
Still Dreamin' Wild is less cohesive in form than its predecessor, mainly because the tracks jump various genres from power pop and new wave to synth balladry and soft rock. While there are some great jams like the opener, "Don't Fight" with its pulsating beat and haunting harmonies that we could see bands like Ariel Pink or Once and Future Band taking on, as well as the closer, "Don't Disguise The Way You Feel" which hearkens back to the sincerity of the first record, there are a few tracks that sound like music from any number of teenage movies of the eighties. Good thing? Bad thing? You be the judge! Definitely a deep cuts record that will appeal to fans of the duo and era in which they were made. Not as essential as its predecessor, but still a curious and entertaining artifact.
MPEG Stream: "Don't Disguise The Way You Feel"
MPEG Stream: "Don't Fight"
MPEG Stream: "Ride The Tide"

album cover FIS Iterations (Tri Angle) lp 13.98
Second 12" of weirdo minimal electronica from this New Zealand producer, and it might be even stranger/cooler than the first (Preparations, which we reviewed back on list #441). In our review of Preparations we describe FiS as sounding like a Tri Angle band, but totally deconstructed, and pulled apart, into something super abstract and slo-mo, but on Iterations, the sound is strangely lush and expansive - check out the title track, which pairs a fractured, super noisy beat, with soaring swoon some strings, the whole thing wrapped in gristle and static, but the end result is somehow epic and majestic, darkly groovy, but almost cinematic and symphonic. That beat does just gets more and more twisted and jumbled as it goes, the perfect foil for that melancholic backdrop. The rest of the record is not too shabby either, "Womb Dreams" is all skeletal dubstep, more hiss and static sculpted into slowly undulating waves and anchored by a dubbed out pulse, and some buried melodies, murky but darkly lovely. "Fever Sweats" cranks up the distortion, sounding a bit like a Burial B-side gone haywire, all blown out and in the red, grindingly rhythmic, with distant angelic voices, and swirling synths, beneath the crumbling latticework of decaying beats. And finally "Her Third Eye (Drum Rain)" lays down a flurry of wild percussion beneath softly stuttering melodies, all smeared into a prismatic haze, shot through with pulses of bass-synth, and strange percussion, a total come-down, minimal electro-dub trip out, that has us hankering for more more more!
MPEG Stream: "Iterations"
MPEG Stream: "Womb Dreams"

album cover GODFLESH Decline & Fall (Avalanche) cdep 14.98
Listening to "Ringer", the first track on Godflesh's new Decline And Fall ep, it would be easy to imagine that this wasn't in fact the duo's first new record since 2001, the sound, as we were assured by folks who heard it before us, was very much like old Godflesh, and now that we -have- heard it, we most definitely concur. Sure there are some subtle differences, the production for one, less raw and abrasive, a bit warmer, as well as some strange sonic filigree that sounds like it could have been lifted off of a Jesu or Pale Sketcher record, and more dynamics too, with some cool psychedelic passages, and more minimal soundscapey bits, but at it's core, and for the bulk of the ep, the new Godflesh hews pretty close to the old. The guitars gristly and crunchy and abrasive, the bass thick and buzzing and corrosive, the drum machine locked into churning, unwavering, industrial rhythms, Broadrick's vocals the same sort of pre-Jesu bellow, the songs strangely catchy, with the occasional soaring melody draped over that instantly recognizable industrial machine metal, laced with shards of feedback, and arc of grinding down tuned crush. The whole thing tranced out and hypnotically headbangable, and a serious return to form, one that has us hankering for a proper full length.
MPEG Stream: "Ringer"
MPEG Stream: "Dogbite"

album cover GOG s/t (King Of The Monsters) lp 12.98
In the early days, Gog, aka Mike Bjella, trafficked in straight up blackened drones, thick slabs of monolithic heaviness, but with each record, that sound got weirder, more difficult to classify, and more removed from that more primal, metal drone sound. This trajectory culminated in Gog's last record, Ironworks, which was mostly sourced from the sounds of the Bjella family blacksmith shop, and found Bjella fusing that early blackness, with something more minimal and hypnotic. We mentioned Aussie minimal jazz trio the Necks, and on the first track on this brand new self titled Gog record, we feel like we have to mention them again, cuz that track lays down a thick backdrop of rumbles and whirs, punctuated by a weird subtly distorted rhythm, over which haunting, melancholic piano drifts and loops, super moody and mesmerizing, those background sounds gradually building momentum, and slowly overtaking that jazziness, burying it beneath moaning sheets of sound, keening slabs of metallic buzz and clouds of gristly static, eventually transforming into something almost black metal sounding, maybe via Skullflower, a frenzied guitar riff, and buried vocals, blurred into a woozy blackened swirl.
Not all of the record is so subtle or avant, as quickly the sound evolves into something way more metallic, pounding, weirdly produced drums over more harsh vokills so low in the mix, they almost sound like white noise, while swirling all around, more black buzz, the sound gradually darkening and deepening and becoming a sort of feedback drenched noise rock doom, all plodding and lumbering, and at times sounding like a breakbeat slowed down to a near crawl. But still there's no way to pin down what's going on. The next track is a barely there field of static, a deem resonant thrum, crafted from sonic gristle, while the next track begins as a dark torch song like ballad, all lush sonic swells and female vocals, haunting and almost liturgical, before exploding, quite suddenly into some seriously muddy, muted, and blown out black metal murk. And finally, things finish off with some noise flecked, loping slowcore, the piano returns once again, wrapped around a laid back rhythm, the whole thing a dark jazzy drift wrapped in clouds of caustic noise, exploding in a final bust of churning heaviness, a howling black-psych frenzy still somehow underpinned by that moody, mysterious darkjazz. So good. Definitely recommended for fans of moody, minimal heaviness, and haunting, abstract, metallic minimalism. Includes a download code!
MPEG Stream: "The Lies, They Want To Give You Something"
MPEG Stream: "Before You Go, We'd Love To Tear You To Fucking Pieces"

album cover GRAVES AT SEA This Place Is Poison (Eolian) 12" 11.98
They're baaaack... well, we knew that already since we just listed these newly resurrected sludge merchants' totally killer split with Sourvein. Here's a new 12" as well! The A-side features the heavy-as-heck title track, a suitably caustic and corrosive doomdirge onslaught for which the only antidote is deafness - or death. The B-side is perhaps even more intriguing, as it consists of two Black Sabbath covers. The acoustic "Orchid" is seemingly quite a departure from the usual Graves At Sea sound, yet they manage to make it as creepy and foreboding as anything in their catalog, and even a serious Sabbath fan might not know it was "Orchid"; Graves At Sea's interpretation certainly much more sinister-sounding than Sabbath's original version, adding a sampled (?) voiceover and martial marching rhythm. Then, they blast into "Lord Of This World", Sabbath's famous riffs certainly recognizable this time, but slowed down a tad, and encrusted with megatons of filth. It's Sabbath taken to a blackened, abject extreme, Graves At Sea making the song their own, in other words.
Limited (1000 copies), very nice metallic gold-on-black packaging, includes download code.
MPEG Stream: "This Place Is Poison"

album cover HOT FOG Secret Phantasies Of The Dragon Sun (self-released) 2lp 12.98
The fog rolls in almost every night here in San Francisco, but only once in a very great while is it a HOT fog. Which is to say, we've been waiting for this second album from these local, retro heavy metallers for a while now, and at last it's here, on both cd and vinyl, resplendent in eye-catchingly colorful, phantastic Alan Forbes artwork.
Gotta love these guys - though they may be dad-aged dilettantes (previously in punkier bands), they rip it up mightily, paying homage to Iron Maiden and Metallica. The goods they deliver here range from galloping NWOBHM influenced stormers like "Priest Of The Hillpeople" to sleazy, quasi-ironic party time rockers like "Tonight! (In The Night)" to triumphant epics like the 9+ minute "Agamemnon's Gambit" to doomed-out thrashers like "Epoch Of The Tyrants". There's plenty of melody, even plenty-ier of riffs, lots of shredding leads, and some sweet acoustic intros. Amateur air guitarists, flex your fingers! Also, the vocalist wails away quite convincingly, even when his lyrics are ever so slightly tongue-in-cheek.
You can be a troo grim sourpuss and complain that these overgrown teenagers are having too much fun with their metal, but we'd rather have fun too and headbang along to Hot Fog's energetic & majestic old school tuneage. Seriously, this rules. Fans of certain other Bay Area 'bangers, like Hammers Of Misfortune and Space Vacation, should check Hot Fog out, if you haven't already.
FYI, there's also going to be a cd edition on Stormspell that we'll have in just a few days (and list next time), but right now we've got the band's own self-released limited vinyl version while they last, it's a 45rpm double lp 'cause they wanted a gatefold sleeve (and also for maximum fidelity).
RealAudio clip: "Epoch Of The Tyrant"
MPEG Stream: "Priest Of The Hillpeople"
MPEG Stream: "Sword Mountain"

album cover HOT KNIVES s/t (Grown Up Wrong) lp 28.00
SWEET, NOW REISSUED ON VINYL! We wrote up the cd of this a couple years ago, now the label has pressed it to vinyl.
San Francisco '70s folk rockers and hash smokers Hot Knives put out a couple of 45s back in the day, but this, their complete full-length album, remained unreleased for like 35 years. As the extensive liner notes put it: "Caught in between eras, the Hot Knives were a little too late for the '60s hippie trip and little bit too hippie for the crash 'n' burn punk-rock scene that followed..." But, thankfully, at long last their record has been rescued and released, and it's quite nice indeed, a treat for anyone into the likes of Jefferson Airplane, the Byrds and Moby Grape (whose "Hey Grandma" Hot Knives cover here). Also fans of the Flaming Groovies may be interested, as ex-Groovies Tim Lynch and Danny Mihm were members of the Hot Knives, on guitar and drums, respectively, plus Groovies Cyril Jordan and Ron Loney were credited with production, or at least hanging out in the studio, for some of these songs. But the core of the band were lead vocalists Mike and Debbie Houpt, a brother-sister duo whose lovely harmonies hark back to the influence of Peter, Paul & Mary in their youth. But don't think this is all flowery '60s folkiness, the Hot Knives definitely rock out upon occasion. While definitely not new wave punk rockers, they could do the raucous garage thing all right, witness their killer cover of the Knickerbockers "Lies"...
And while we've mentioned a few covers, it's the originals that make this truly worthwhile. Great classic-sounding songs like "I Hear The Wind Blow" deserve to be heard. How was that one not a hit? In the cd booklet for this, there's a clipping from a vintage issue of the fanzine Bomp!, wondering the same thing, editor Greg Shaw saying the Hot Knives "are the best thing happening in San Francisco these days". Also reproduced in the booklet, we noticed a print ad for one of the Hot Knives singles that says it's available at Aquarius Records, and also Rather Ripped in Berkeley, "two of the finest independent record stores in the Bay Area". (The ad also features 7"s by Crime, Bryan Ferry, and The Nerves, among others.)
So, super nice to have this, and so nicely presented, definitely a good example of the seemingly endless supply of lost gems out there still awaiting (re)discovery.
MPEG Stream: "Sooner Or Later"
MPEG Stream: "I Hear The Wind Blow"
MPEG Stream: "So Fast"

album cover HYBRYDS Music For Rituals (Zoharum ) 2cd 21.00
Belgian electronic-ritualists The Hybryds began producing their exotic, sensual mesmerism and ethnographic forgeries in the mid '80s, after ringleader Sandy Nys (aka Magthea) transitioned from the minimalist EBM of The Klinik into the far more supple forms of tape loops and ritualized performance. Their iconography was one that was very much a precursor to the modern primitive bacchanal of Burning Man and paralleled the philosophical fascination with Crowley that came out of the whole Psychic TV and Current 93 circle. As such, Hybryds were a project with one foot very clearly in the ancient and the other firmly adhering to the technological advances. The slow, gyrating rhythms interlace the patter from hand-drummed percussion on wood, skin, bone, and metal with the electronic structures from MIDI-driven samples draped with reverberantly sustained synth drones. Nys along with co-conspirator Leen Smets (aka Yasnaia) also wove this tapestry with wordless vocals, processed violin, phasing tape loops, and the sublimely eerie buzzing of Egyptian reeds. Music For Rituals was the band's first album beyond a couple of limited cassette releases, featuring input from fellow Belgian transcendentalist Vidna Obmana who like Nys had shifted from a hard-bodied industrialist into a liquid melange of ritualized ambience and gnostic mysticism. This album originally came out on the seminal German label Artware in 1992, has been remastered from the 4-track tapes, and is now fleshed out with an extra cd's worth of bonus material. Zoviet France, O Yuki Conjugate, Zero Kama, and even the more introspective albums from Coil would all be worthy comrades in arms with Hybryds. Polish import in a limited edition of 500 copies.
MPEG Stream: "A Door To Perception"
MPEG Stream: "Vayu"
MPEG Stream: "Drifting Moon"
MPEG Stream: "Azjemz"

album cover IL BALLETTO DI BRONZO Sirio 2222 (Lion Productions) lp 24.00
Long, long ago, we reviewed this band's complex second album, 1972's Ys, calling it "crazy '70s Italian prog" and remarking upon the band's "nutzoid sci-fi keyboard attack". A super rad record, we think. Same goes for Sirrio 2222, Il Balletto Di Bronzo's first album, from 1970, now reissued on cd, which is a bit different but equally cool. Proggy, sure, and sometimes also "nutzoid", but not quite so dark and intense as Ys, this one's more '60s flower power psych pop sounding, but super fuzzy, and often heavy like early Led Zep. Yep, proto-metal fans will like that there's lots of lumbering low-end (the wonderfully titled "Eh Eh Ah Ah" incorporates a fat, bluesy "Mississippi Queen" like riff, ferinstance), while prog weirdos will dig, uh, all the prog weirdness that pops up, amidst the pop. There are moments of over the top acid rock freakery, others of twee folk melody or romantic classical chamber-rock, and others of cowbell-knocking "hairy funk" groove. A baroque 'n' roll classic, really. Italians DO do it better, when it comes to '70s prog rockin'!
MPEG Stream: "Un Posto"
MPEG Stream: "Girotondo"
MPEG Stream: "Missione Sirio 2222"

album cover JOBRIATH As The River Flows (Eschatone) lp 19.98
We've been fans of Jobriath (nee Bruce Wayne Campbell) for a while now. Back in the '70s, he was billed as the world's first openly gay pop star. Or, rather, would-be pop star, as his career was a commercial failure, though he's now a cult figure (tragically, he died in 1983, a victim of AIDS). Glammy and campy (no shit), Jobriath, who was a classically trained pianist and singer, had a pop persona that was part David Bowie, part Elton John, part Mick Jagger, maybe a little Alice Cooper too. He made complicated, cabaret-ready Rundgren-esque pop, with plenty of keyboard chops, and no little drama. He really should have been huge, but it didn't happen. Too much hype, or homophobia, who knows?
His two major label flops, released in '73 and '74 on Elektra, and reissued a few years ago, are again currently both out of print. But, now there's this, for fans and other potentially interested parties. An archival collection of rare, previously unreleased Jobriath music, recorded in '71 prior to those two records! As The River Flows is certainly less produced than those later, big-budget albums, but aren't completely rough demos either. It does contain early versions of two songs that later appeared on his official debut, "Inside" and his anthem "I'maman", in more stripped-down arrangements, alongside a whole bunch of Jobraith compositions never heard before, enough to really make this constitute a "lost" Jobriath album.
There's a street-level vibe to this, what with frantic opener "Amazing Dope Tales" for instance - the sordid side of NYC in the '70s definitely being Jobriath's milieu. He's got a band and backup singers here, but naturally his voice and keyboard playing take center stage. Sometimes with melancholic piano balladry a la Elton John, sometimes with honkytonk glee, Jobriath getting all Jerry Lee Lewis on us. But no matter what, regardless of style, these songs have got that special Jobriath edge to 'em, his performance one of both pathos and panache.
Fans should be excited about this, of course, but since his other albums are out of print, it's also the only available entree to his oeuvre for noobs, too, who should be commended for taking the plunge. Includes lyrics, credits, and photos, but there's unfortunately no liner notes, nothing about the story behind these recordings, which would have been cool, oh well, though otherwise it's a nicely done package.
MPEG Stream: "Amazing Dope Tales"
MPEG Stream: "I'maman"
MPEG Stream: "As The River Flows"

album cover LONGING AND SILENCE Through The Fog (Sylvan Screams Analog) cassette 5.00
We've been trying to get enough copies of anything on the amazing Sylvan Screams Analog label to review and list, but previous releases were so limited, that we were only able to get a couple. And while they're just as limited, we did now manage to get a handful of the two most recent releases, this one comes from a band from right here in the Bay Area, called Longing And Silence, whose sounds is a gorgeous depressive plod, a grim slo-mo black buzz, all mournful and melancholy, the vokills a harsh demonic rasp, but minus those vocals, it's another band whose sound found be mistaken for some weird shoegaze/slowcore outfit, the sort of avant metal weirdness you might expect to find on The Flenser, but -with-those vocals, this remains firmly in the realm of depressive black metal, remaining us a bit of a more orthodox Lifelover, the same sort of loping, minor key miserablism, but with some seriously melodic bass, notable also considering how little bass is even audible in most black metal. But it makes for some cool, woozy, downtuned blackened slowcore, with some surprisingly melodic moments, that has some of these bordering on downright poppy. Long songs, mesmerizingly miserable, and gorgeously bleak. As the label suggests, definitely for fans of Burzum, Silencer, Strid and Bethlehem.
LIMITED TO 50 COPIES!!! Each one hand numbered.
MPEG Stream: "Ever-Present"
MPEG Stream: "Wasted Days"

album cover MAEROR TRI Wheel (Waystax) 2cd 21.00
Very prolific, that Maeror Tri! This new Wheel double cd marks the third compendium of obscurities, compilation tracks, and unreleased material for this aQ-favorite drone-industrial outfit, following the two volumes of the Meditamentum series (originally released individually, but later collected onto a double disc set). Maeror Tri began back in 1988 and developed into one of the pioneering dark-ambient projects of the '90s before the project dissolved. Two of the members continued on as Troum, trekking along a similar trajectory for the heavy / bleary thrumm. The album is sequenced chronologically, with the title track of a DIY 4-track piece of echoplex saturation and sci-fi synths. This track of eerie synth pointillism and the next track from 1989 of monophonic plainsong chants cast through abandoned warehouse reverberation represent Maeror Tri's wanderings in the dark in search of their own vocabulary. By 1990, the flanging, shimmering gossamer guitars took root within the heavy pall of reverse-tape loop effects and dense bass-drones. The first disc marches through terminally obscure tracks (including one from a VHS tape that would be very interesting to watch, in order to see what Maeror Tri's visuals would have looked like!) from 1988-1994; and the second takes up the period from 1994-1996. On this latter half, the band abstracts the echo and shadow into slippery pools of despairing drone-melodies complemented with thunderous bass rumblings. There's a maudlin fragility to these guitar-laced melodies often stitched onto a far more desolate or tumultuous underbelly than heard on the first disc, as Maeror Tri become master impressionists in their compositions for sodden atmospheres, ironclad rigor, and grim industrial vibes. Hand-numbered Russian pressing, and as such, we have limited stock on hand.
MPEG Stream: "Secret Ways Of A Pyramid"
MPEG Stream: "Immersion In Emotion"
MPEG Stream: "Lysis"
MPEG Stream: "Rhoos"

album cover MOLES, THE Flashbacks And Dream Sequences: The Story Of The Moles (Fire) 2cd 19.98
Originally released for this year's Record Store Day, Flashbacks And Dream Sequences collects (almost) everything recorded by these aQ beloved Aussie experimental jangle poppers. The Moles were never a household name, at least in most normal households, which is totally a shame, cuz their perfectly crafted bittersweet jangle pop sounds as good now as it did decades ago. Like lots of folks, we discovered the Moles a bit circuitously. Not sure how many folks remember the band Cardinal, they only released one proper full length, back in the nineties (you can find the review elsewhere on the aQ site), but to this day, it remains quite possibly one of the most perfect orchestral pop records ever released. And before there was Cardinal, there was the Moles.
The Moles is the band that Richard Davies of Cardinal, called home before that band was born, and while not quite as lush or orchestral as Cardinal, the sound is a classic slice of primo late '80s & early '90s New Zealand / Flying Nun style style experimental pop. Droning and hypnotic, with lots of jagged unfinished edges, weird almost industrial noise bits, plenty of Brit pop jangle, the sounds swirling and sweet and spacious, dreamy and melancholy, warbly organs, lush Rickenbacker guitars, sunny, reverbed harmonies, Davies' strange crooned vocals, sometimes Robyn Hitchcock-ish, other times closer to a Morrissey like drawl, everything swaddled in a hazy psychedelic production. But for as experimental as the Moles were, all of that experimentalism was wrapped around some incredibly catchy pop, hooks galore, not always proudly on display, sometimes nearly totally obfuscated, but just as often, set up right in front, and allowed to shine, an approach to pop that to this day still seems distinctly from that era / region. Yet seems impossibly prescient of what was to come.
Fans of NZ outfits like Tall Dwarfs, the Bats, the Clean, the 3Ds, the Chills, Straightjacket Fits, the Verlaines, could have easily missed out on the Moles, they were actually from Australia after all, and were sort of underground even among the already underground, plus they were definitely a bit weirder, but now's the time to right that wrong, this stuff is timeless, sounding as good as ever, these two discs are overflowing with some incredible pop songs, and half the fun is digging through all the psychedelic strangeness to find them.
This double disc set collects the group's albums proper, Untune The Sky and Instinct, as well as a treasure trove of singles, B-sides and unreleased rarities!
MPEG Stream: "What's The New Mary Jane?"
MPEG Stream: "Breathe Me In"
MPEG Stream: "Bury Me Happy"
MPEG Stream: "Tendrils And Paracetamol"
MPEG Stream: "This Is A Happy Garden"

album cover MOTION SICKNESS OF TIME TRAVEL Ballade For A Strawberry Moon (Motion Sickness Of Time Travel) cd-r 17.98 THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.The Ballade monthly cd-r series from Motion Sickness Of Time Travel's with each release thematically linked to the farmer's almanac names of the full moons, is finally nearing completion. The Strawberry Moon (also known as the Honey Moon) corresponds with the lunar cycle that lands in June, which for 2014 happened to be a Friday The 13th, for those astrologically / numerologically inclined. Rachel Evans (aka Motion Sickness Of Time Travel) sinks into her blissed-out kosmische synth drone with church organ ethereal airiness and firefly illumined paisley patterns of pleasantly nocturnal ambience. We've always gotten limited stock on this series, and Strawberry Moon is no exception. Just 50 copies exist, so you know what that means...
MPEG Stream: "Ballade For A Strawberry Moon"

album cover NURSE WITH WOUND To The Quiet Men From A Tiny Girl (United Dairies / RRRecords) cassette 6.98
Now, for a limited time, we have this classic NWW recording on cassette!
To The Quiet Men From A Tiny Girl was the second NWW album, originally released in 1980 and was credited to Steven Stapleton, John Fothergill, and Heman Pathak - the original trio which created the debut Chance Meeting On A Dissecting Table Of A Sewing Machine and An Umbrella. Garnering a dedication to the transgressive Viennese aktionist Rudolf Schwartzkogler, the album makes an erroneous claim that Schwartzkogler "killed himself in the name of art through successive acts of self mutilation." Schwartzkogler's performances amplified the experiences of pain and mutilation, often counterpointed with aesthetics of clinical purity and precision. A number of myths and urban legends came out of Schwartzkogler's very controversial work, including one that he killed himself after cutting off his own penis during a performance. His death was much more of a mystery as he tumbled out of a 4th floor window in 1969. Perhaps an accident? Perhaps not? Perhaps a leap bettering that of Yves Klein? The reasons for his death are a mystery; and this album's dedication probably exacerbated the myths around Schwartzkogler, given the cultural cache of Nurse With Wound. The two tracks are strange sets of action based residues and Fluxus constructions from found object manipulation. The resultant scrapes, squeals, knocks, and blurts pass through all manner of effects in various states of psychic clarity, hedging toward a setting that could be roughly labelled "fried on acid." Stapleton had roped in the French free-jazz iconoclast Jacques Berrocal to add his own trumpet skronk to the slender cacophony of the first track. Very much an extension of the ideas found on Chance Meeting On A Dissecting Table Of A Sewing Machine and An Umbrella.
MPEG Stream: "She Alone Hole And Open"
MPEG Stream: "Ostranenie"

album cover NURSE WITH WOUND / CURRENT 93 Nylon Coverin' Body Smotherin' (United Dairies) cassette 6.98
Another archival recording from the United Dairies catalogue, Nylon Coverin' Body Smotherin' is an unequal split release, with 5 of the six tracks authored by Nurse With Wound and just one from Current 93. Originally released in 1984, the opening NWW track is an early cover version of Brainticket's jawdroppingly lysgeric psych-funk-motorik centerpiece from Cottonwoodhill. Stapleton has brought along Roman Jugg of The Damned to play organs and roped in J.G. Thirlwell and Diana Rogerson to freak out on the vocals. Admittedly, this is probably not as good as the original; but that original set a very high bar. The Current 93 track hails from the Crowleyian loop / pre-menstrual music stage of Tibet's cracked apocalyptic vision. "The Great In The Small" features Tibet growling about the antichrist around those Crowleyian chants and arrhythmic / anti-schooled percussion sounding like it could come from the Crass commune. The finale "Well What D'Ya Know Henry" is one of the best tracks from Stapleton's early body of work, with these Bernard Hermann-esque slashes of orchestral wash, churning amidst Diana Rogerson's demented ululations and the deadpan sample of a minor chararcter in Eraserhead declaring "I've locked myself out of my apartment." Creepy as fuck is what it is.
MPEG Stream: NURSE WITH WOUND "Nylon Coverin' Body Smotherin'"
MPEG Stream: NURSE WITH WOUND "Glory Hole"
MPEG Stream: NURSE WITH WOUND "Well What D'Ya Know Henry"
MPEG Stream: CURRENT 93 "The Great In The Small"

album cover OPIUM WARLORDS Taste My Sword Of Understanding (Svart) 2lp 33.00
3rd album from this aQ fave band with perhaps the best "truth in advertising" name in the realm of psychedelic doomy druggy heaviness. They also have some of the strangest album titles too. A project of Sami "Albert Witchfinder" Hynninen, of Reverend Bizarre (R.I.P.) and The Puritan fame, Opium Warlords' brand of doom metal is often on the minimalist, avantgarde ambient side of things, and oddly prog-inflected. Sprawling Finnish weird-ass doom dirgery at its best!
These slo-mo riffscapes meld the sombre Sabbathy-ness of Reverend Bizarre with the more experimental, extreme likes of early Earth (Extra-Capsular Extraction era), some of the tracks being stripped down to just guitar only, others accompanied by the plodding of a live drummer, or the even more precise plodding of a drum machine. They can range from the somnolently super-sludged to the curiously acoustic, always massively moody in any case, simple and effective. Several are purely instrumental, while some feature Sami's deep voiced vocals ponderously intoning melancholic lyrics, like on the morose, majestic organ-laced 12 minute epic "The Self-Made Man" (which concludes with a noodling, jamming outro that Orthodox might do in one of their more Greg Ginn-ish moments). Sami also occasionally unleashes some wretched black metal style anguish in the vokill dep't. as well, as on the quietly despairing "The God In Ruins".
Depressive and dreary, but strangely comforting and beautifully mesmeric at the same time, Opium Warlords have again come up with a hard to describe, quite original slab of less-is-more, confusion-infused doom (or doom-infused confusion). Scratch your heads and bow down, as they doom on!
MPEG Stream: "The Self-Made Man"
MPEG Stream: "The Land Beyond The Pole"
MPEG Stream: "This Place Has Been Passed"

album cover ORANG-UTAN s/t (Sommor) lp 28.00
Fantastic! One of our all-time obscure proto-metal, heavy psych faves has now been reissued on vinyl. Long, long ago we had a cd version, but that's long gone and this is definitely a nicer, more definitive reissue, done totally legit (for the first time we're now told) with the cooperation of the original band members. Here's more or less what we said about it before:
Here's good 'un for you Seventies proto-metal lovin' brothers and sisters out there, being another reissue of a vintage slab of heavy psych rock from way back when, in the vein of Captain Beyond, Dust, Bang, Leaf Hound, Jerusalem and the like... We don't know much about Orang-Utan other than that this was probably their only release, a self-titled album from 1971, and they hailed from England (we think). Certainly this is a bit Zeppish in spots. A minor lost classic? This rocks hard and melodic with a melancholic emotional edge to many of the songs, not just the mellower ones. Great vocals and riffage!
This new vinyl reissue enlightens us a bit, we've learned that Orang-Utan were indeed from London, England, but operated there under the name Hunter. But their sole album was issued only in the USA, under the name Orang-Utan, unbeknownst to the band themselves (sneaky management shenanigans afoot!). Comes with insert featuring rare photos as well as liner notes, by Ugly Things writer Jeremy Cargill, explaining the whole weird story. Also we found out that the singer was previously in cult popsyke band Jason Crest.
MPEG Stream: "I Can See Inside Your Head"
MPEG Stream: "Slipping Away"
MPEG Stream: "Chocolate Piano"

album cover RANDOM, ERIC & THE BEDLAMITES Mad As Mankind & Time Splice (Klanggalerie) cd 22.00
Post-punk technician and multi-instrumentalist Eric Random hailed from Manchester in the late '70s, having collaborated with Pete Shelley in The Tiller Boys (an experimental electronic project more akin to Shelley's Strange Men In Sheds With Spanners output); but Random's most enduring relationship was with Cabaret Voltaire, whose development from DIY horror-electronics into sensual proto-electronica and disjointed-funk pulled a number of artists in their influential wake, including the likes of Hula, Clock DVA, and Eric Random's various projects. The Bedlamites began in the early '80s, with Time Splice being the band's second album recorded and produced by Richard H. Kirk of Cabaret Voltaire in 1984, getting released on Double Vision that same year. The album veered in a number of directions including post-punk dub explorations, sitar-driven dervishes for electronic headiness, and subversive disco-pop laced with antiestablishment samples amidst the cybotron rhythm box workouts. The bulk of the album is instrumental, through Random has employed the talents of vocalist Lynne Walton, who adopted the ballsy stage name Stagger Lynne as a female counterpart to the murder ballad anti-hero Stagger Lee. Her icy, minimal wave vocals hold a commanding presence amidst the complex step-sequences and punchy, industrial-pop intervals; and had she been used more in the context of the band, she might be remembered alongside Danielle Dax and Anne Clark as an exemplary eccentric of British female pop singers. Perhaps Walton stepped outside the limelight due to the Bedlamites stepping into the role of being Nico's touring / backing ensemble from 1982-1988 right up to her untimely death. A very interesting footnote to one of the better reissues from the whole minimal wave rejuvenation. The Mad As Mankind single (also produced for Double Vision in 1984 by R.H. Kirk) is included as the bonus to the fully remastered Time Splice album.
MPEG Stream: "Mad As Mankind"
MPEG Stream: "Subliminal Seduction"
MPEG Stream: "Second Sight"
MPEG Stream: "Father Can't Yell"

album cover RUNNING Fizzled (God / Drag City) 7" 6.98
Three short sharp blasts of garage punk noise rock from this Chicago outfit, the first we've heard from them since their Vaguely Ethnic full length on Castle Face, and like that record, the two songs on the A side here are more of the same, swagger stomps equal parts distort riffage, echo drenched vox, wild chaotic drumming, murky and lo-fi, until the second track seems to gain a bit of fidelity, while blossoming into something slightly poppier, albeit still drenched in distortion and reverb, sounding a bit like the Oh Sees' evil twin, which is most definitely not a bad thing at all. The flipside starts off with some seriously corrosive guitar noise over a bed of tribal drumming, and then the thick buzzing bass swoops in, and that guitarnoise transforms into a weird sort of buzzing riffage, the whole thing sounding a little like Texas noise rock weirdos Rusted Shut, the reversed vocals resurface, along with some crazy low end bass noise, but all the while that main riff, buzzes along relentlessly, totally tranced out and super hypnotic. Probably pretty limited as these things generally are, we have a handful...

album cover SALEMS POT ...Lurar Ut Dig Pa Prarien (EasyRider) lp 19.98
If we didn't tell you that Salem's Pot was a heavy, stonery, very Electric Wizard-y psychedelic doom metal outfit from Sweden, the band name kinda shoulda already given you a good idea of what they might sound like - and also an idea of their sense of humor. Yep, they like puns - an earlier album was called Sweeden... geddit? S-WEED-en. Heck, the title of this new disc could possibly be a pun too; we don't know Swedish so we can't be sure. But anyway please don't let the pot-themed punning dissuade you, Salem's Pot aren't just some bogus toker jokers, no, they really ARE damn heavy and occultishly effective at the slow, low, Sabbathy psychedelic sludge thing.
There's three looong tracks here, "Creep Purple" (egad, another pun!), "Dr. Death", and "Nothing Hill", and they're all creepy, crawly, brainwrecking doomfests with wasted, wailing vocals (Ozzy-ish but super distorted) and hypnotically lumbering grooves. Yep, if you wanna call it Electric Wizard worship, well, sure, and it's done damn well. But they have their own weirdly woozy angle on this sound, really. The heavier-than-thou guitar riffage and plodding percussion is augmented with droning organ and, at one point, even some sinister, warbly accordion!! Going back to the guitars, gnarly feedbacky soloing is another essential element of their sound. Yeah, we like how Salem's Pot really accentuate the creepy vibes - it's a 3am hazy Satanic drug thing you wouldn't understand, quite compelling and almost (almost) serious sounding, puns aside.
So of course recommended big time for fans of Electric Wizard, but also to for fans of Uncle Acid, Blood Farmers, Satan's Satyrs, Monster Magnet, Windhand, The Wounded Kings, Sourvein, fellow Easy Riders HORNSS, and all others into witches and weedÉ
MPEG Stream: "Creep Purple"
MPEG Stream: "Dr. Death"

album cover SKYGREEN LEOPARDS Family Crimes (Woodsist) lp 15.98
The Skygreen Leopards is perhaps the only project from the hydra-headed Jewelled Antler collective to still exist in this day and age. Way back in the heady days of home-burnt cd-rs, we championed all things Jewelled Antler, whose rotating cast of characters took up more band names and projects than you could shake a stick at. Most of Jewelled Antler harbored a loosely structured psychedelia of freak-folk droning and method-acting sonic pharmacology, with the Skygreen Leopards being the most song-based, with summery jangle-pop duets between Jewelled Antler ringleader Glenn Donaldson (also known as Xavier Cross of Teenage Panzerkorps and Horrid Red) and Donovan Quinn. Each of the songs on Family Crimes lopes along at a jaunty pace for the duo's Byrds-ian 12-string strumming and wide-eyed wonder in effortlessly creating this wistful pop gem of mundane juvenalia and just slightly bittersweet tales of love and love lost...
MPEG Stream: "Leave The Family"
MPEG Stream: "Love Is A Shadow"
MPEG Stream: "My Friends"

album cover SMOKEY EMERY Soundtracks For Invisibility Vol. III: Qui Mal y Pense (Holodeck) cassette 7.50
This is the third installment reissued on cassette by Holodeck Records of Smokey Emery's great Soundtracks For Invisibility series. Based on field recordings from various locales and processed into tape loop constructed compositions, this series has always shown a deeper range between pieces. Recorded between 2006 and 2010, the trademark cavernous dronework here is augmented by degraded guitar pieces that bring a wondrous melancholy to the grey din. Vaguely romantic and tender, yet raw and chilling, a piece of gorgeously disquieting contemplation.
Comes with download code. Limited to 200 copies.
MPEG Stream: "01"
MPEG Stream: "Afore"
MPEG Stream: "The Room Falls Away"

album cover SURVIVAL KNIFE Loose Power (Glacial Pace) lp 19.98
We'd been hearing rumors about this band for ages, a new group featuring ex-members of late great nineties post/noise rockers Unwound, who were easily one of our favorite bands EVER. And while we were were prepared to be disappointed, we were actually super pleasantly surprised. The sound definitely has some Unwound too it, but it's WAY popper, and to these ears actually sounds a bit like the Melvins in places, certainly the vocals. But the music itself is some weird nineties beholden post punk / noise rock, with a serious Black Flag vibe throughout, plenty of Greg Ginn-ish guitars, the sound dynamic, and intricate, certainly some post/math rock going on, but then in the middle of a tense post punk jam, the song will blossom into impossible poppiness. Just check out opener "Divine Mob", which is super Melvins-y in the beginning, and unfurls some tense droned out guitar melodies, and some motorik drum pound, before the chorus delivers s hook that KILLS, and then that chorus gets all pulled apart, the vocals wrapped around angular guitar noise and more drum pound.
Frontman Justin Trosper of Unwound is reunited with the original drummer from Unwound (now on guitar), so there's bound to be some Unwoundisms, but Survival Knife is a whole different beast, they actually sound like the kind of band that 15 years ago major labels would be losing their shit over, scrappy, but still pretty polished, noisy and heavy, but also plenty catchy and poppy, lots of broody minor key churn, even some shimmery acoustic guitar strum in the mix. Ultimately, this is just a killer slab of nineties beholden post punk / noise pop, that fans of Unwound will definitely love, but really, anyone who grew up on groups like Sonic Youth, The Swirlies, Sebadoh, and all that Homestead / Touch And Go / Dutch East stuff, this will definitely hit the spot.
MPEG Stream: "Divine Mob"
MPEG Stream: "Fell Runner"
MPEG Stream: "Gold Window"

album cover SYNSOPHONY Rabbit Hole (Acephale Winter Productions) cassette 4.50
Two strange releases on this week's list from local black metal label Acephale Winter Productions, the other is a collection of Joy Division covers, and this is the first we've heard from UK avant blackened psych duo Synsophony, who's sound is a bit difficult to describe, the title track begins with a long stretch of sculpted static, pulsing rhythmically, over a bed of extended tones and drones, before suddenly slipping into something much more murky, buried voices beneath softly undulating layers, all softly distorted and blurred into hazy chordal smears, a crumbling, noise drenched black ambience, that builds to some serious noisiness, before finishing off as a whispery thrum. That track gets remixed by someone called EGB, who mostly makes it even more murky and abstract, and near the end, even noisier, a black industrial sprawl that oozes and crumbles, and eventually howls and grinds into a psychedelic blacknoise frenzy. The final track, clocking in at over 23 minutes, slips from hushed abstract minimalism, processed field recordings and ambient murk, to weird abstract strings stretched out over static pulses and distortion drenched squelches, the final stretch almost choral, with monk like chants off in the distance, beneath a barely there haze of blackened shimmer. Cool stuff, but only for the most open minded of metalheads, although definitely recommended for fans of black industrial, and minimal ambient noisescapery.
MPEG Stream: "Rabbit Hole"

album cover TARAB I'm Lost (23five Incorporated) cd 14.98
"Careful arrangements of sonic rubbish." That's one hell of a great artist's statement, courtesy of Eamon Sprod (aka Tarab). Over the past decade or so, this Australian sound-artist has quietly produced some of the finer examples of composition through field recording. His work is hardly the stuff of pleasantries from a soft ambient whoosh set as the backdrop to various birdsongs plopped willy-nilly for the intrepid listener to identify. Nope, there's always the threat of psychological, psychic, and existential violence lurking throughout Sprod's work. When the insect chorales push through to the foreground, it's symbolic of pestilence, disease, blight, and the simple fact that much in the outback can fucking kill you. It's easy to tap into the ultra-violent, post-apocalyptic, doomsayer, and/or isolationist scenarios mapped out elsewhere through the Australian psyche (e.g. Mad Max, Chopper, On The Beach, Bad Boy Bubby, etc.); and Sprod carves out his own niche in digging through the hinterlands of urban neglect, locating meaning of psychogeographical import (or the lack there of) within a recontextualized sound object. Since his debut Surfacedrift back in 2004, Sprod's work has steadily exhibited a maturation in conceptualization and aesthetic complexity, culminating in the schizophonic collage-tactics of I'm Lost.
The opening salvo of leaden thud, turbine roar, and pressurized blasts of air slithering through release valves is a torrent of concrete-actions, jump-cuts, and dead-ends, as if Sprod has decided to dematerialize the listener and purposefully mistranslate the coordinates between alternate realities of equally miserable / fascinating locations of industrialized bleakness. When he settles upon a singular space-time continuum, it's a vat of uranium churning at the bottom of an oil drum, while the container itself quickens its half-life through atomic fission. Another turn and Sprod channels an ethereally unholy skree of a thousand particle accelerators amassing their beams on a single contact microphone, ending up with something akin to a far more uncomfortable Phill Niblock or Rhys Chatham, manifested through what could be fluorescent bulbs. The quiet passages of textural rummaging that Sprod intersperses throughout I'm Lost have the queasy feel of somebody pulling off scabs from old wounds. Equal parts Cronenberg and Schimpfluch (Lanz, Phillips, Eb.Er., Zeier, etc.) - so of course, it's fucking awesome.
MPEG Stream: "I'm Lost 1"
MPEG Stream: "I'm Lost 4"
MPEG Stream: "I'm Lost 5"

album cover TOBACCO Ultima II Massage (Ghostly International) 2lp 19.98
Smoke 'em if you got 'em. It's the return of Tobacco, the vaguely-hiphop-ish electro-weirdo alter ego/side project of the quite similar really Black Moth Super Rainbow. We're big fans of both, though Tobacco tends to take things to even more of a bizarre extreme even than BMSR, and Ultima II Massage pushes all the buttons, flips all the switches, turns all the knobs, etc., we were hoping for this time out. Totally trippy, effects-damaged synth shuffle, overdosed on DayGlo distortion, some tracks with processed pop vocal hooks, others all about the glitchy grooves, like we said before, its like Fuck Buttons got Daft Punk'd, or M83 going all skweee.
Tobacco brings the noise here, but also doesn't neglect the melodic side of things either, in kicking out these fuzzy, funky jams, perverse party pleasers for sure - at a party we'd imagine features strobe lights, LSD spiked punch, and a sweaty, shambolic dancefloor. Well, there's tracks here for the dancers, and others for the partygoers passed out on the carpet. Good stuff!
MPEG Stream: "Streaker (ft Notrabel)"
MPEG Stream: "Lipstick Destroyer"
MPEG Stream: "Father Sister Berzerker"

album cover TOMBS Savage Gold (Relapse) 2lp 31.00
Writhing forth once more from the most shadowy cracked wastelands of forsaken Brooklyn, Tombs returns with their third full length of glistening, gleaming extreme metal. And indeed extreme metal is the only genre tag that really works for this band, since they've made it their crusade to cherry pick the absolute best traits from a myriad of metal subgenres to mathematically create some of the most monolithic, ferocious and enormous metal being recorded today. A brief vaguely funereal dirge ushers in a flurry of pummeling helicopter double bass, wild eyed doom-laden heaving guitars, and a hurricane of rolling snare drum and hammering blast beats. There are hints of Souls At Zero-era Neurosis or even Deathspell Omega in the dissonant hypno-riffing. The circling, maddening guitar work and sickening Lovecraftian grooves sometimes recall early Morbid Angel. While elsewhere you might hear hints of the wasted urban scrawl of vintage Godflesh or the slithering futuro-insectoid crawl of latter day Celtic Frost / Triptykon. But there is not one moment of Savage Gold that sounds like homage. Instead, these influences are blended together seamlessly, creating a sound all encompassing, familiar and unique all at once. The vocals are a cold emotionless howl, which lends otherwise innocent lyrics like "life is a dream" a twisted rotten air. It's an extremely dense record. Guitars seem to avalanche upon one another, building a higher and higher wall of black glistening sludge, ready to collapse in on itself again at any moment. There are melodic moments as well. The regal grind of "Portraits" especially brings to mind Ludicra or Wolves In The Throne Room, but with a more obsidian metallic sheen. Compared to their insanely critically-acclaimed last album Path Of Totality, Savage Gold feels much more streamlined, smooth and clean (mostly thanks to a production job from Hate Eternal's Erik Rutan), but it's not at all a detriment to this record. Instead it gives the band the sound of some well oiled calculated killing machine. The spaciousness of the production really lends an extra sprawling quality to the band's more epic moments, while somehow magnifying the menace of the darker passages. And while there's still plenty of doom, sludge, groove and twisted death metal, Savage Gold has really upped the black metal influence. Labyrinthine tremolo whirlwind guitars seem to spiral upward like some Escher staircase, leading to realms shadowy, alien and obscured! A shining black monolith that shows metal can be forward-thinking, modern and unique without sacrificing any of the heaviness, ferocity or... well... metalness! Absolutely recommended, and sure to make more than a few metal best of the year lists come January 1st.
MPEG Stream: "Thanatos"
MPEG Stream: "Portraits"
MPEG Stream: "Seance"

album cover UHUSHUHU Long Songs Pleasant For Hearing (Zhelezobeton) cd-r 12.98
There's a Cyrillic transcription affixed next to the name of this project, which is even more cryptic in appearance than the onomatopoetic moniker Uhushuhu, rendered as Yxywyxy. Supposedly in both languages, this transliterates somewhat close to the call of one of the larger predator owls bellowing to another owl in the forest. U'hu! Shu'hu! - or the Boy Scout mnemonic "Who Cooks For You?" asks the Barred Owl (whose habitat includes both Russia and North America, fyi). But taken outside of the context of avian communication, the hushed blur in whispering Uhushuhu could easily stand in as a whoosh or hiss as pure description of their dreamy, forest-dwelling drones. And yes, the Uhushuhu collective have been known to perform and produce their work under the canopy of the Russian forests outside of St. Petersburg, making them something of a Russian reincarnation of Jewelled Antler. There's much more of an electronic underbelly to Uhushuhu than Jewelled Antler, while retaining the pine-cone drone ethos of luminously radiant psychedelic dronescaping. The first track actually holds a number of aesthetic similarities to the long form works of Motion Sickness Of Time Travel - sinewy, seductive, and slippery passages of intertwining synth melodies softened through reverb and spaciousness, furthered along by watery field recordings and damp ruminations on subterranean lairs, wormholes, and caves. Each of the album's three tracks clock well past the 15 minute mark, leading towards deeper, more shambolic explorations of sublime atmosphere. Quite a lovely piece of work, but it's limited to just 77 copies!
MPEG Stream: "Surface"
MPEG Stream: "Underwater"
MPEG Stream: "Underground"

album cover UMPIO Muelas (Freak Animal) cd 14.98
Here's some uneasy listening courtesy of Finland's Umpio. We had discovered the work of Umpio by way of a collaboration with the long-time aQ-favorite irr. app. (ext.), upon which Mr. Umpio (nee Pentti Dassum) reconstituted a bunch of irr. app. (ext.) material into an album that sounded remarkably like irr. app. (ext.) - profoundly strange collages of mudsucking torpor and psychically unstable gloominess. Muelas is none of that, standing in fully erect glory as a throttling, self-perpetuating explosion of noise-junk, signal-overload, and gleeful sonic destruction. The album's artwork connects the dots of the noise to the phobias and fears of going to the dentist, only to discover the man behind the dental drill is quite the sadist. There's a faux-outsider-artist drawing of phallic creatures with equally phallic dental drills who are converging on the poor patient suffering from some unfortunate tooth malady. There's the standard dental X-ray; and then there's a strange photograph of what actually looks like a dismembered jaw floating in the bottom of a jar, complete with fleshy tissue and decayed molars. Gross. Suitably, the noise that Umpio generates is sharp, crackling, and brutal, with plenty of cut-up configurations that sit somewhere between the pre-digital work of Merzbow and the scatological aktions of Runzelstirn & Gurglestock. Somebody on the internet postulated that the track "Night Goat" might be an uncredited Melvins cover. Why not?
MPEG Stream: "Caries"
MPEG Stream: "Nervous Surgeon"
MPEG Stream: "Night Goat"

album cover V/A Funny Old Shit (Trunk) cd 7.98
One can always count on Johnny Trunk of the amazing Trunk records for making a mix that is as hilarious and head-scratching as it is beautifully listenable. When asked by strangers what kind of music his label releases, Trunks's response is usually, "you know, funny old shit", which if you think about it is the perfect response to describe the kinds of audible curiosities he reissues, from long forgotten children's TV show soundtracks to obscure novelty records and forgotten jazz greats. A few of the tracks included here are from earlier out of print reissues in the Trunk catalog such as Leona Anderson's wonderfully awful Music To Suffer By, but many of the tracks are from Trunk's private record collection, likely highlighting the best tracks on perhaps otherwise less interesting albums. You get a full gamut of styles and genres from novelty calypso songs from Robert Mitchum and Bernard Cribbins, space-lounge jazz from Alain Romans and Sergio Mihanovich, musique concrete from Pierre Henry and Pierre Schaffer, the punk dub of The Jellies, classical piano from Glenn Gould, ethnic music curios and warped kid songs. So great and for a real nice price, you'd be foolish not to pick this up! (And sorry, the more expensive vinyl version is now gone it seems.)
MPEG Stream: BERNARD CRIBBINS "Gossip Calypso"
MPEG Stream: THE JELLIES "Jive Baby On A Saturday Night"
MPEG Stream: LEONA ANDERSON "Rats In My Room"
MPEG Stream: YUSEF LATEEF "Love Theme (From "Spartacus")"

album cover V/A 1970's Algerian Proto-Rai Underground (Sublime Frequencies) cd 16.98
Yet another winner from Sublime Frequencies (have they ever released a loser? We think not). And like many of the Sublime Frequencies before it, we find it hard to not think that maybe folks don't need to be making so much music, releasing so many records, when so much amazing outrageously creative music is already being and has been made all over the world, for so long, much of it never heard outside of a very few people. Maybe we should have some sort of national policy, where bands can turn in their instruments, and in exchange get a recorder, a plane ticket, and an expense account, with which they can roam the world bringing back some of that unheard and lost music. Heck, sign us up right now!
Anyway, this new release is a collection of Rai music from the early seventies, from Algeria, and these particular cuts are samples of some of the sort of "outlaw" Rai performers, a modern strain that has been neglected and ignored, and takes this classic Algerian music form, and adds electric guitar, trumpets, wah wah pedal, and whips it all up into an infectious brew equal parts Ethiopiques, Bollywood and garage rock. Or something close to that. This stuff is truly hard to describe, and the liner notes, while informative, are printed on an eye popping blue on red old school 3-D colored background which makes the text swim and sway before your eyes. And offer more on the history and the players than what Rai music actually is (there's a good description on Wikipedia). But for the purpose of this review, as it should be, we'll just focus on the sound. And what a sound!
Warm whirring organ drones, trumpets EVERYWHERE, really the defining sound, wild chaotic tribal drumming, crooned dramatic vocals, groovy, soulful, funky, raw and lo-fi, like a garage rock Ethiopiques, but with a strangely raw Bollywood vibe, the trumpets peppering the murky grooves with strange fanfares and jazzy melodies, here and there distorted guitars surface, wrapped in wah wah, reverb and echo all over the place, some songs super frenzied, others laid back and dreamy, Indian melodies draped over almost surfy grooves, really pretty fantastic. Hard to imagine that folks who have been digging all the Sublime Frequencies releases, or the Yaala Yaala reissues won't go crazy for this stuff.
Group Doueh, Group Inerane, and now this, a pretty mind blowing, near perfect, far out world music three-fer, and that's not even counting the 30+ release that came before. ABSOLUTELY RECOMMENDED.
MPEG Stream: BELLEMOU & BENFISSA "Li Maandouche L'Auto"
MPEG Stream: GROUPE EL AZHAR "Mazal Nesker Mazal"
MPEG Stream: GROUPE EL AZHAR "Touedar Aakli"

album cover V/A The Ecstasy Of Gold: 31 Killer Bullets From The Spaghetti West Vol. 5 (Semi-Automatic) 2lp 26.00
The fifth in this ongoing series of limited double lps collecting some of the best songs from classic Italian Westerns. Named for Ennio Morricone's iconic song from the Good, The Bad And The Ugly, Ecstasy Of Gold gathers up some equally iconic tracks, as well as plenty of rare and mostly unheard gems, the list of artists should have Italo-Western soundtrack nerds freaking out: Bruno Nicolai, Nico Fidenco, Francesco De Masi, Lusi Bacalov, Stelvio Cipriani, Alessandro Alessandroni, Nora Orlandi and a bunch more. And like the past volumes, the tracks here are overflowing with dramatic crooned vocals, swoonsome strings, plenty of twang, galloping rhythms, fluttering woodwinds, flamenco guitars, wild percussion, a sound most folks are probably familiar with, but a bunch of songs and artists they might not be. And just like after digging into the other volumes, our list of must-see Italian Westerns just keeps getting longer and longer. Top of the list now is Matalo from 1970, the track here from Mario Migliardi sounds like some lost heavy psych gem, or some modern retro-psych outfit, like something you'd here on Rise Above or Cardinal Fuzz, the vocalist a dead ringer for the guy from Redd Kross (themselves genus sixties psych revivalists), with fuzzy, almost metallic riffing, and some seriously psychedelic shred, definitely need to see that movie, and hear the rest of the soundtrack. And the rest of this collection, while not all as fuzzy or psychedelic, is some seriously primo Italo soundtrack gold for sure!
Packaged in a super swank full color gatefold sleeve, adorned with bad ass illustrations from vintage Italian Western movie posters, as well as iconic images from the films themselves. LIMITED TO 750 COPIES. No download.

album cover V/A The Electric Asylum Volume Six: Rare British Freakrock 1971-1976 (Past & Present ) cd 17.98
If any compilation series deserves to go to six volumes, the Electric Asylum series devoted to cult '70s British "freakrock" does. At least, we can't get enough of the stuff, so we're stoked on this latest installment, which brings us another big batch of obscure old acid psych / garage prog / hard pop weirdness sourced from rare 45's. 20 tracks, all circa 1971-'76. We recognize a few tracks - like the biker fuzz funk of Frog's "Living Dead", which also appeared on the soundtrack to Psychomania - but most are new to us. You get bubblegum glam, you get Moog-laden psych, you get novelty sci-fi grooviness... regarding the latter, John Pertwee, one of the actors who played TV's Dr. Who, contributes a track called "Who Is The Doctor", based on the Dr. Who theme!
Great & sometimes goofy stuff all around. The other artists on here include: Pioneers, Danaa, Bambi, Smoke, Marsha Hunt's 22, Barron Knights, Colin Young, JSD Band, Jeff Smith, Rococo, Jigsaw, Buster, Dawn Chorus, C. Star, Winston, Chris Garrett and Sweet Poison, Memories, and Henry Turtle. 16-page cd booklet provides notes on each, plus vintage color photos/graphics.
MPEG Stream: BAMBI "Lady Of Lies"
MPEG Stream: SMOKE "Shagalagalu"
MPEG Stream: MARSHA HUNT'S 22 "Medusa"

album cover VENETIAN SNARES My Love Is A Bulldozer (Planet Mu) 2lp 28.00
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 WARGTHRON Demo 1 (Sylvan Screams Analog) cassette 3.50
We've been trying to get enough copies of anything on the amazing Sylvan Screams Analog label to review and list, but previous releases were so limited, that we were only able to get a couple. And while they're just as limited, we did now manage to get a handful of the two most recent releases, this one is super raw, primitive old school black metal, the label references Blazebirth Hall and Les Legions Noires, and it most definitely has that feel, the guitars swarm insect like, the drums skeletal, the bass inaudible, the vokills a buried rasp, like a lot of that stuff it's about emotion and energy, the feel and the vibe, and the vibe here is definitely grim and frostbitten, even though these guys (this guy?) hail from Georgia. They somehow manage to channel France and Scandinavia, into something equally kvlt, blown out and brittle, sounding like it was recorded in practice space, a forest, or a cave, the second track is a weird creepy dirge, all stumbling lumber, and frosty black buzz, the vocals in-the-red, the whole sound blurring into blacknoize before settling back into that death march creep, only to eventually explode into another blast of galloping black buzz.
LIMITED TO 44 COPIES!!! Each one hand numbered.
MPEG Stream: "I"
MPEG Stream: "II"

album cover WARWICK, HENRY Something Borrowed (Auricular) cd-r 8.98
Some abstract, cinematic, late-night (or early morning) drone-whoosh here from this academic/electronic/experimental composer. He's now based in Toronto, but we know him from his years in SF, as he's an aQ customer of long standing. Recorded between 2003-2012, the seven tracks here encompass warm waves of blissed out ambience, glitch-distressed hauntology, and cold glacial drone. 'Tis nicely varied from track to track, and within each one as well, there are enough dynamics and textural shifts to hold one's interest, if you're actively listening - though a more relaxed listening practice could easily result in simple mesmerization.
Apparently, this disc is the first release in a trilogy, documenting Warwick's latest program of "audio research". The title of this one, Something Borrowed, is in reference to his compositional process here - the basic sound materials are all "borrowed" (samples from cds, synth presets, etc.) and then manipulated with the use of computer software. Not that you'll recognize the sources or anything.
Fans of stuff like :zoviet*france: and Tim Hecker should perhaps investigate.
MPEG Stream: "Old Friends"
MPEG Stream: "Civic"

album cover WHITE LUNG Deep Fantasy (Domino) lp 24.00
Record number three from these Canadian punks, whose first two records were big faves around here even though they never made it onto the list. Their sound seems loosely aligned with Perfect Pussy, in that they're noisy, and have a bad ass female vocalist, but where Perfect Pussy embraces abrasive noisiness, White Lung are much more concerned with melody and songcraft, reminding us of a super charged Team Dresch, which is most definitely a good thing. The production on this new one is massive, the guitars heavy and almost metallic, splintering into shards of keening high end, swirls of angular crunch, all wound around a super tight rhythm section, and of course, vocalist Mish Way, who flits easily from feral how, to throaty croon, and the songs, so catchy and well crafted, the multiple guitars winding multiple melodic lines into killer harmonies, the sound dense and lush and layered, making for something that definitely transcends punk rock, it's anthemic, epic and majestic, but also super personal, and emotional, not hard to imagine White Lung being primo mixtape material, particularly vitriolic breakup mixtapes, it's got that sort of anger and energy and passion. So killer. Odds are you'll end up wanting the other two records as well (and we can get em for you, just ask!)...
MPEG Stream: "Drown With The Monster"
MPEG Stream: "Down It Goes"
MPEG Stream: "Snake Jaw"
MPEG Stream: "Face Down"

album cover WIFE What's Between (Tri Angle) lp 19.98
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 WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM Celestite (Artemisia) 2lp 24.00
We're super into this, but avant black metallers Wolves In The Throne Room have gotten a lot of flack for this new record of theirs, which seems to be more based on them as a band, than the record itself; like Deafheaven or Liturgy, the fact that they're 'hip' and 'cool' and lots of non metalheads dig them makes them ripe for criticism from the 'troo cvlt' black metal crowd. Also that they're doing something a bit different. A LOT different, here. And we applaud it! 'Cause taken objectively, as in, if you didn't even know this was WITTR, you might find yourself pretty into it.
The deal is, there's really no black metal here, just pure spaced-out synth shimmer, completely cosmic and kinda New Agey, even. It's total Tangerine Dream worship, but with plenty of dense bombast and thick layered drones. More like Emeralds than Emperor. The sort of thing some black metal bands dabble in as "intro music", taken to the full-length extreme. And it's pretty good - the first track sounds like it could be an alternate soundtrack to Bladerunner. Haunting and ominous, lush drones and buried melodies... Elsewhere, the swaths of thick synth-iness sound almost like Salem, some beatless almost witch-housiness... There's even some Carpenter-y electro beats on "Sleeping Gold Storm". The moaning horns and other elements, in the more cacophonous crescendos, builds up the drama and edginess, but it never gets metal, nope. It's the intro to itself, instead.
Thumbs up from us! And, black metal and/or WITTR fans who aren't open-minded enough to approve of this, don't fret, it's just meant as an electronic "companion" to their last album, 2011's Celestial Lineage, not a follow-up. You still gotta keep waiting for that, but in the meantime, you could try to relax and enjoy these surprisingly spaced-out sounds. Plus, it's not like there's not precedence for stuff like this in the realms of black metal, from Neptune Towers to Alturaz... And for other folks, more into synths and drones than metal, this could easily be the first (only?) WITTR you'll ever need.
MPEG Stream: "Turning Ever Towards The Sun"
MPEG Stream: "Initiation At Neudeg Alm"
MPEG Stream: "Sleeping Gold Storm"

red dot See all the NEW ARRIVALS List #454...