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Records of the Week
MAINLINER (KAWABATA MAKOTO'S) Revelation Space (Riot Season) cd 17.98
In some Spinal Tapped version of mythology, the gods of rock and roll, of noise, of distortion, of turning amps up to 11 and melting faces, having once said "let there be rock!", recently must have looked down in dismay from the heavens (where they dwell in castles made of ROCK, which float on puffy clouds generated by fog machines) upon their creation and found something in today's music scene sorely lacking. Where was the primal motorpsycho fuzz feedback rock freakery they originally had commanded? Not nearly enough of it about (and heck, even too much would never be enough). So, they summoned their loyal servitor, The Bearded One, Kawabata Makoto. As lead guitarist/guru of trippy Japanese jammers Acid Mothers Temple, Kawabata has always been a devout worshipper, doing the bidding of the gods with many, many Acid Mothers shows and releases month in and month out. But now he was called upon to do something more - to resurrect the mighty MAINLINER, power trio to end all power trios, and teach a lesson in transcendental distorto-delic mayhem to all mankind. And, lo, faithful Kawabata has not failed in this holy task! Thus, Mainliner is back, with Revelation Space. It's been over a dozen years since the last proper Mainliner release, 2001's Imaginative Plain cd on PSF, and even longer since Mainliner made their debut with the unbeatable classic Mellow Out. The lineup has changed - in fact it's important to note that this is specifically billed as Kawabata Makoto's Mainliner, 'cause originally he was just the young hotshot guitarist in the band, which was in fact founded by bassist/vocalist Nanjo Asahito of the legendary High Rise, as an almost doppelganger version of that trio so Nanjo could go out on tour when High Rise couldn't. But now, for whatever reason, Nanjo's no longer participating in the band, presumably having given Kawabata his blessing to carry on with the name and mission. Kawabe Taigen, from new wave Japanese psych band Bo Ningen, has been chosen to replace him; and in addition to holding down the rumbling bottom end, he manages to emulate Nanjo's droning otherworldy croon quite capably.They've had several different drummers on various releases (including Tatsuya Yoshida of Ruins); the drummer here, Koji Shimura, is from AMT, has played in High Rise and many other "Tokyo Flashback" acts, and appears on several previous Mainliner releases including Imaginative Plain. Thankfully, as it turns out, the "new" Mainliner is just as over-the-top and in-the-red as the old Mainliner ever was, maybe more!! They took this seriously - it's not just yet another freaky Kawabata album (as good as they always are), nope. The opening title track drops the listener in at the deep end and then some, immediately unleashing insane blown out crumble and stutter, the guitar sounding like it's being run through an effects box labeled both Brainbombs AND Faxed Head, but then when it's wed to simple motorik drumming, and hazy, soft focus vox, the combination is strangely beautiful. Beautiful, too, the blurts of feedback shriek, the echo-drenched squalls, the chaotic drum splatter. Really, it's less about the songs, and more about the sound. If stripped of the insanely distorted guitars, this iteration of Mainliner would be a whole different, less beastly beast. And sure, white noise psych guitar freakouts were always a (big) part of Mainliner, but the sounds here seem so much more extreme, the guitarnoise utterly relentless, the whole record wreathed in a crackly field of malfunctioning guitar / damaged amp buzz skree, almost like something Editions Mego would put out, that caustic and corrosive.But still, let's talk about the songs. The two-minute blast of "D.D.D" is like Aufgehoben doing a Stooges cover, playing through mile high Marshall stacks, and plugged into a daisy chain of dead battery stomp boxes, this time the maniacal vocals matching Kawabata's wild noise-shred with some seriously acrobatic, near falsetto wailing. Even the 'prettier' songs, like "Taitan", find Kawabata wrapping the tribal rhythms and swoonsome shimmer in wild tangled ribbons of strangled, distorto shred and stuttering, glitched out axe frenzy, so the prettiness is not just buried, but obliterated, or so it seems, until that guitarnoise is momentarily peeled back, eventually revealing the hushed mesmer still lurking just beneath the surface. "The Dispossessed" (found on the cd only) could be some classic proto-metal groover, with its busy drumming and woozy, bluesy groove, but there, the guitars seem to explode from within, a grinding blast of Hendrixian shreddery fused to Butthole Surfers style psychedelic freakery, again balanced by some truly haunting, ethereal vox. And then there's the final track "New Sun", a 20+ minute epic, that begins with a gnarled churn of super distorted riffage, wrapped around an almost 'funky drummer' beat, those drifting spectral vocals hovering over the top, the band locked into a weird warped groove, a lurching metallic blues stomp, that about 4 minutes in slows down to a dirgey crawl, around the same time the guitars explode into some seriously heart of the sun super nova style fretboard freakery! And when they return to the main riff, the guitar is somehow even more distorted and blown out, and they cycle through the song proper one more time, before finishing off with 8 minutes of utter in-the-red cosmic guitar god freakout, with Kawabata flying high, his axe spitting sparks, the drums and bass buried beneath an avalanche of some of the freakiest, fantastically fucked up, psychedelic leads ever, building to a finale that cranks the drums to a frantic gallop, the bass thrumming fiercely, all within a swirling sonic cloud of Kawabata's amp destroying, soul searing psych-drone shred. Whew!!The gods must be pleased. Any Mainliner fan will be too. But this is NOT just for Kawabata/AMT/Mainliner fanboys, excited though those folks should be. Nope, 'cause there's at least one aQ staffer who realized after hearing this that they NEEDED, but didn't have, all the previous Mainliner albums. You might too, and this would certainly make a good place to begin your lifetime of worship. Not sure what the future holds for Kawabata Makoto's Mainliner, 'cause Kawabe Taigen's Bo Ningen band is based in London, where they seem to be making a name for themselves, collaborating with the Savages and such (we'll try to track down some imports by the way). But even if this is all we get out of this trio for another 12 years, it will suffice - it just might take that long for our ears to recover!!As some of you mighty recall, the vinyl version of this was originally meant to be a Record Store Day release this year - they didn't get it pressed in time, so it was bumped back, but it's still hella limited - 500 copies for the world, either white or swamp green vinyl, released on what we're gonna call Mainliner Day. We've got about a dozen left and that's gonna be it. The good news is, though, that the compact disc version, which isn't quite so limited, contains a 9 and a half minute bonus track, the aforementioned "The Dispossessed". Other differences: the vinyl sleeve is black with gold print, while the cd comes in a white miniature lp-style sleeve likewise with gold print. And graphically, both kind of look a lot like Mellow Out, doubtless quite intentionally.
MPEG Stream: "Revelation Space"
MPEG Stream: "Taitan"
MPEG Stream: "New Sun"
GORI, LALLO La Morte Scende Leggera OST (Quartet) cd 11.98
We've been on a bit of a soundtrack kick lately here at aQ, getting a lot of cool ones in over the past little while. We just came across this disc and figured we should give it a shot, even though we hadn't seen the movie and weren't that familiar with the composer - but it's from an early '70s Italian "giallo" style thriller after all, and that's pretty compelling piece of cover art, ain't it? (Grasping hands, witchy woman, supine topless beauty; possibly promising a cinematic / soundtrack experience equally creepy and occult and sexy). As it turns out, this soundtrack turned out to be even better than we had hoped!! Much of the music here is soooooo beautifully sinister and slinky, exotic and noirishly jazzy - but that's not all, what we weren't expecting was how much fuzzed out psych-rock guitar action was going to be on here, too. WOW. Amidst the suitably spooky, sometimes quite lovely atmospheric interludes that primarily comprise the soundtrack, there's sudden heavy parts that sound not unlike the intro to a Black Sabbath song!! Maybe Tony Iommi happened to be visiting ancestral homeland and got hired to do these sessions while he was there - ok, unlikely, but that's almost what it sounds like. And certainly it's not impossible that the same guys who made that Blue Phantom library record could have been involved with this... definitely the occasional isolated slice of Sabbathy fuzzy doom riffage should attract any adventurous proto-metal fiends also into Italian library music, Goblin, & stuff like that too.Mostly, this consists of dark, suspenseful, instrumental grooves, tracks variously arranged for ticking, agitated percussion, zinging strings, eerie woodwinds, springy Jew's harp, bongo drums, smokey jazz trumpet, wordless haunting female vocals, wavery electric organ, electronic effects... These incidental tracks are sinister, but romantic. Like the theme song for a lover you don't trust to not kill you when she's done with you, but you're still gonna take that chance. And then, oh yeah, there's that aforementioned fuzz guitar, putting this over the top for us. Sometimes just a stab of it here or there, a single chord ringing out, cranking up the intensity level of this spinetingling music. Or, a couple times, leading into a full-on heavy psychrock jam. Weird how this album at moments reminds us of Black Sabbath or Randy Holden's Population II - and also, at other times, when that trumpet gets a-swinging, of Herb Alpert!Now it seems lots of times when we list a soundtrack, we mention that we haven't actually seen the movie - in part 'cause yes we haven't seen the movie and thus can't say a lot about it, but also to indicate that you don't HAVE to have seen a movie in order to enjoy a soundtrack - but you all get that already, right? Of course. So for this review, we decided that we'd make an effort to try and watch La Morte Scende Leggera (aka Death Comes Lightly), the soundtrack made us curious after all... but alas we didn't manage to track it down in time. So once again, this is an example of how you can absolutely LOVE a soundtrack without any idea what the movie was all about - although the copious liner notes in the cd booklet, illustrated with stills from the film, do give us an idea - directed by Leopoldo Savona and released in 1972, it was apparently a movie with a confusing plot somehow involving drug smuggling, political corruption, quasi-supernatural elements, a series of mysterious murders, and erotic interludes - part psychological thriller, part ghost story, part softcore porn. The liner notes don't exactly give it two thumbs up, but it sounds kinda cool to us. And the appropriately psychedelic soundtrack for sure is cool. From reading the liner notes, we also got some notion of how exactly it ended up sounding the way it does. Turns out track one, the movie's theme song, "Sunday In Neon Light", was actually not specifically written for the soundtrack. It had originally appeared on an obscure 1972 album (which now we'd love to find) called Peace On You by the Mak Sigis Porter Ensemble, lead by an expatriate singer/musician from Ghana. Part aching ballad, part heavy psych jam, "Sunday In Neon Light" has a bit of the vibe of some of the Afro-fuzz garage records we've had reissues of lately, with crunching guitar chords and vocals that remind us of Jimi Hendrix or Malcolm Mooney from early Can (hearing it was the first thing that clued us in that this wasn't the usual giallo soundtrack). Then, 'cause they'd decided to use this song in the movie, composer Lallo Gori wrote the rest of the score around it, his orchestrations in a similar psychedelic style using fuzz rock guitar, etc. And, in our opinion, the results are up there with some of our favorite soundtracks like Klute, Psychomania, and Possession - the latter of which we made a Record Of The Week not long ago, so we're gonna do the same for La Morte Scende Leggera too. Also note, it's a limited edition release, our supplier apparently having some of the last copies around, and at a bargain price since it's normally an expensive import.
MPEG Stream: "Sunday In Neon Light"
MPEG Stream: "La Morte Scende Leggera - Seq. 2"
MPEG Stream: "La Morte Scende Leggera - Seq. 7"
MPEG Stream: "La Morte Scende Leggera - Seq. 12"
MPEG Stream: "La Morte Scende Leggera - Seq. 14"
3 LEAFS s/t (Spiritual Pajamas) 10" 13.98
Latest blast of cosmic hypno-psych from these local psychedelic space rock explorers find them continuing to push their sound in new directions, the first track here driven by the distinctive sounds of the Omnichord, a cool little electronic autoharp/drum machine combo, which lays down a playful percolating motorik Casio rhythm, swathed in the instrument's weird harp-like electronic strum. The band augments its woozy groove with soft swirls of tonal shimmer, little squiggles of guitar filigree, and a cool softly buzzy riff/refrain that surfaces occasionally. It's like a lo-fi home brewed giallo soundtrack almost, the beat finally slowing way down, the electronic chordal thrum mostly fading out, leaving soft streaks of twang flecked, FX wreathed guitars, which sprawl into a dreamy freeform chunk of cinematic drift, still anchored by the dying battery slow motion pulse of the Omnichord, creeping through a pulsing cloud druggy washed out psychedelia.The second track pairs echo drenched pop vox, with some thick groovy bass, some buried in the mix drumming, and a skyfull of what sounds like animal sounds, lots of shimmery FX, simple percussion, all blurred into a dubbed out sonic headtrip, that partway through coalesces into a cool krautrock groove, rife with backwards guitars, and super distorted drumming, the result not that far removed from some super blown out, ultra abstract Flaming Lips jam! Which brings us to the 13 minute "Golden Weapons", which begins as a strange collaged swirl, fields of cymbal shimmer, blurred effects, sculpted feedback, the drums kicking, wild and octopoidal, over a bed of swirling noise, and then BAM, the bass swoops in, and it's a killer dubbed out noise groove, that bass sounding not unlike Paul Simonon from the Clash - which may sound weird, but imagine the Clash at their very dubbiest, then mix in some roiling rhythmic freakout a la the Boredoms and some Butthole Surfers-ish slow burn psych dirge tribal noise jam, and somehow craft all of those disparate parts into a hazy, driving, psych-kraut groove, toss in some of Tim Cohen's reverbed vocal croons on top, as well as dense clouds of guitar blur and layered constantly shifting textures, and smear it all into a gorgeously hazy expanse of minimal drone-dub hypno-rock bliss out. Near the end of the track, the song settles down into something much more minimal and tranced, out, a little jazzy even, once again, like some past 3 Leafs jams, reminding us of the Necks, albeit a bit more lo-fi and lysergically spaced out. Great stuff as always, and of course absolutely recommended!!!LIMITED TO 500 COPIES!!
MPEG Stream: "Omniscience"
MPEG Stream: "Golden Weapons"
AK'CHAMEL Old Norse Mara (Chaos Of The Stars) cassette 5.98
Brand new tape from this mysterious Texas three piece, Old Norse Mara marks aQuarius' first exposure to the sounds of Ak'chamel. They seem to be the latest in a long line of iconoclastic badasses from their home state - going back to Blind Lemon Jefferson, Leadbelly, the 13th Floor Elevators, Jandek, and so on - where the rules of the game are continually ignored, rewritten, and used at the band's convenience to create a sound that refuses to fit within any specific label, recalling everyone from the Sun City Girls to Moondog to Dead Raven Choir, often in the same song. Dark, folk-tinged melodies merge with a warped punk sensibility, but these songs surely exist in their own fucked up world where categories are pretty much useless. Beginning with the awesomely titled "Pussy Gloating The Give", where banjo and murmured vocals clatter below weird chipmunkish voices and an unsettling atmosphere, the tape gets weirder from there. Things get sunny for a brief moment with "Slalom", a quick Meat Puppets/Minutemen styled jam, before getting more evil sounding. "Mountain Of The Sleeping Lady" comes off like some Sublime Frequencies field recording of a street performance in Cambodia being reprocessed into weird quasi-industrial ambience. The tape is strangely and surprisingly cohesive despite its lack of easy reference points and Ak'chamel's voice is truly their own. A killer surprise from a band we can't wait to hear more from!
MPEG Stream: "Pussy Gloating The Give"
MPEG Stream: "Virgin Del Mercedes"
MPEG Stream: "Mountain Of The Sleeping Lady"
ALGUIRE, LYNDSIE Clair Obscur (Time Released Sound) 3" cd-r 32.00
One of two new releases from local label Time Released Sound, this one from Canadian songstress/soundscaper Lyndsie Alguire, who we had never heard or heard of before, and who apparently used to traffic in a sound more rooted in piano/vocal interplay. But the sonics here however are much more suited to TRS's aesthetic of field recording flecked cinematic ambience, with Alguire weaving a lush landscape of collaged sound, the vibe reminiscent in fact of Nurse With Wound's prettier moments at times, but exploring a sound much more tranquil and lovely at others, with her piano still the focus. After a brief opening track of swirling atmospheres and slow shifting layers, ominous rumbles and blurred soft focus psychedelic shimmer, the first song proper unfurls, lyrical lovely piano, set on a bed of processed voices, manipulated field recordings, all smeared into a dreamlike haze. But Alguire has more up her sleeve, the sound slowly shifting into something that sound much more 4AD or Projekt, a sort of gauzey shoegaze, driven by programmed beats, and ethereal vocals, all wreathed around her melancholic piano. The record finishes with the epic 10+ minute "All Possible Stories", a dense collages drift, sample voices and layered field recordings woven into a softly undulating field of warm whirring chordal thrum, the piano here washed out into hazy clouds of color, the whole thing a haunting, filmic, dreamlike drift. So lovely. And as always, Time Released Sound has pulled out all the stops, no standard version on this one, just the pricey special art edition, a sealed printed envelope encloses a folded foot long accordion like insert, made from a hundred year old educational flash card, mounted with 8 reproductions of polaroid prints of the rather attractive artist mostly nude, the insert printed with sentence fragments, the whole thing as mysterious as the music it contains. LIMITED TO 100 COPIES!!!
MPEG Stream: "I Was Dreaming Of You"
MPEG Stream: "You Used To Look Happy"
ALLO DARLIN Europe (Slumberland) cd 12.98
Europe is the debut full length from this dreamy UK jangle pop combo, who besides sounding like the perfect Slumberland band, also are distinctive for the fact that they feature the ukulele pretty prominently! That said, if we didn't know we might not have picked out the ukulele, it sounds a bit like another guitar, although at times, you can hear that distinctive strum beneath the group's glistening summery sunshine pop. And really, it's hard not to love this sort of dreamy jangle, there's nothing weird or outsidery, even the ukulele can't make Allo Darlin's sound anything but perfect girl pop loveliness. Softly fuzzy, super melodic and twee, simple and sweet, with hooks galore, the vocals soaring over a warm bed of lush pop mesmer, definitely beholden to the classic age of nineties indie pop / college rock, Sarah Records, K Records, Heavenly, Velocity Girl, etc. So great!
MPEG Stream: "Neil Armstrong"
MPEG Stream: "Europe"
MPEG Stream: "Northern Lights"
ALUK TODOLO Finsternis (Ajna) cd 13.98
Finally! The second full length album of tranced out blackened, minimal psych-kraut from these aQ fave French occult rockers (featuring members of Diamatregon and Gunslingers), originally released in 2009 on cd by Utech (and on vinyl by Public Guilt) is at last available again, on vinyl once more, and on cd in a swank new digipak with the artwork from the lp edition. Here's what we had to say about Finsternis when we first reviewed it way back on New Arrivals List #320...Another mysterious rhythmic communique from French blackened post krautrock alchemists Aluk Todolo. There will always be something magical about the strange sonic world this group is able to conjure up. Especially considering they're a three piece, a power trio, drums, guitar, bass. Nothing else, no synths, no strings, just the basic rock band instruments. It's testament to the power these three wield, that they can do so much with so little. Or more accurately, so little with so little. As the music of Aluk Todolo, is disarmingly simple, subtle and minimal, but in its minimalism, lies its power. The power of rhythm, of texture, of mood, these five long pieces are so evocative, so expressive and strangely emotional. Even at its most spare and skeletal, the sound is palpable, almost a physical presence, which is surprising again considering just how stripped down Finsternis actually is. Descension, Aluk Todolo's debut, was heavy and space-y and rhythmic, we described it as a buzz-less black metal, some of the songs were thick and caustic, others were loping and motorik, but on Finsternis, it's as if the band decided to strip away all the extraneous sounds, leaving just the core, the root, the heart of the music, and that heart beats out a simple, hypnotic rhythm.The record is split into 4 parts, with a brief interlude, but those four parts are split into two distinct movements. The first, which comprises the first two parts, is much of what we described above, simple skeletal rhythms, surrounded by minimal guitar whir, bursts of grinding distortion, fragmented jangle, keening feedback, but it's all about the rhythm. After a brief burst of mathy chaos, the track reverts to its initial rhythm, this time the bass more prominent, fuzzy, distorted, woozy and mesmerizing, the band locked in tight, the bass and drums solid and unwavering, while the guitar sings in the background, moaning and keening and howling, giving the track an ominous otherworldly vibe, a trudge across some hostile alien landscape, a weary, washed out deathmarch. Then the interlude, a haunting abstract percussive sprawl, simple percussive thuds set amidst a sea of warped distorted low end, bits of glitch and hiss, and grinding shards of industrial clatter, which gives way to the second, noisier movement, the drums transformed into a simple machinelike pound, snare and cymbal crashing over and over and over, the guitars whipped into a frenzy of blurred buzz and warped swirling blackened chaos, what at first sounds noisy and harsh, soon reveals itself as strangely textural, and as hypnotic as the more stripped down first movement, the guitars slip from monochromatic whir, to insectoid black metal riffing, constantly swirling around the motorik pound and pummel, the final track finds the guitars slipping into ever higher registers, blissing out, laced with feedback, smoothing out into warm smears and blurs, before a brief deconstruction, and a surprisingly tranquil last few minutes, the drums back to a woozy lope, the guitar offering up warm swells and shimmering thrum, the bass throbbing beneath, eventually stumbling to a halt in a cloud of creaking metals and static-like tape hiss. Woah. Just like Descension, Finsternis is an intense and emotional journey through sound, a haunting and hard to describe exploration of rhythm, mood and texture, a slow shifting otherworld defined by This Heat, Geronimo, Laddio Bolocko, Can, Faust, accessible only via the three shadowy figures that make up Aluk Todolo, whose magic and mystery has been rendered in these glorious black rhythms.
MPEG Stream: "Premier Contact"
MPEG Stream: "Deuxieme Contact"
MPEG Stream: "Totalite"
APPLE, THE An Apple A Day (Guerssen) lp 28.00
Another guest review here courtesy of longtime aQ pal and expert music enthusiast David Katznelson (also head honcho of both the Sutro Park and Birdman labels, amongst others), this time he's raving about a sixties artifact that's been blowing his mind lately:It is unbelievable to me that after all of this time, and all the reissues that have been coming out steadily for years, that there are still unknown gems from the psychedelic period of the late '60s that surface. And yet, there was a UK band called The Apple who released An Apple A Day in 1969 and over 40 years later, they are being played nonstop around my house. Think Open Mind... July (yes!!)... maybe even The Move: call it freakbeat or RnB fueled psych. Whatever you call it, An Apple A Day is a mighty fine platter. It starts with an instant classic (and great suggestion), "Let's Take A Trip Down The Line" and flows into a song that I truly do not understand how it never made a Nuggets comp: "The Otherside", complete with a more poppy (in a good way) groove and a great guitar line. Side B is harder... more aggressive... with some great covers (The Yardbirds, Loving Spoonful) leading the way for a dirty and power-filled psych-blues set. This reissue comes with a very English recipe pamphlet around "Cooking With Apples". I have not tried the recipes yet, but something tells me that with the right ingredients, this record could take off into universes still unknown.180 gram vinyl, with inserts including lengthy liner notes.
AVARUS Salon Des Amateurs (Pome Pome Tones) lp 17.98
It's been ages since we've heard from these Finnish forest freaks, four years in fact. And these days it sounds like that Finnish forest is on some other planet, their ramshackle campfire-kraut sound still perfectly intact, bit this time around, even more electronic, bouncy and playful, sounding a bit like it could be a rejected theme song for some twisted Finnish children's television program, you know the kind adults watch when they're super stoned? Woozy and whimsical, droney and psychedelic, a loping bassline anchors the otherwise freeform sound, spidery melodies in looses tangles drift heavenward, abstract percussion, some coalescing into proper rhythms, others tribal and primitive, lots of electronic bits, damaged FX, warped swirls, slow shifting textures, and lots of voices too, but not singing, more just talking, and snippets of conversations, as if the whole thing was super casual, recorded while other folks just went about their business in the background, occasionally joining in, but just as likely making dinner, or playing cards. The vibe is super loose and laid back, but also weirdly cosmic, some of the melodies sound like effected kazoos, everything is sing-songy and playful, but as the track progresses, constantly shifting and morphing, the sound grows more abstract, the electronics gradually taking over, until the sound splinters into something wholly other, the upbeat bounciness reimagined as something almost jazzy, Eastern and exotic, before finally, a slow stretch of hushed muted mesmer unfurls, murky and mysterious, and yet somehow retaining some of that childlike playfulness. The whole side sounds like just part of an even more epic jam, a days long musical ritual, of which we were only privy to a tiny glimpse. The flipside delivers more of the same, as if really it was part of the same epic jam, but here it gets even more groovy, sounding almost African at times, tranced out and hypnotic, super rhythmic, the sound building momentum, growing even more dense and droney, buzzy and layered, blossoming into a druggy psychedelic swirl, that is downright divine. SUPER LIMITED!! Get one before they're gone...
BAKER, AIDAN Already Drowning (Gizeh Records) cd 17.98
Aidan Baker continues to be ridiculously prolific, and continues the pattern of recent releases, with this latest songsuite, the sound leaning more towards minimal jazziness and hushed creeping slowcore. The difference this time around, is that Already Drowning is based on myths and folktales about female water spirits, and thus, Baker recruited a handful of female vocalists to interpret each song in their own style. While a few of the singers we were familiar with (Jessica Bailiff, Carla Bozulich), most were new names to us, but they all do amazing things with Baker's dark, haunting arrangements. The opener is one of our favorite here, a woozy, murky ballad, the instrumentation super minimal, vocalist Clara Engel playing the sultry chanteuse, with the chorus offering up a super dramatic, subtly processed vocal line, that definitely is the most dramatic part of the track. Baidan also chops up her vocals and peppers the tracks with fragments of her singing, adding even more of a mysterious abstract vibe. Jessica Bailiff's track is almost Portishead-y, with swirling strings, a low slung bassline, and a mesmerizing motorik rhythm, Bailiff using her voice more for texture, and a brief bit of spoken word, otherwise, her voice is deep in the mix, the result is definitely dramatic, haunting and dreamily cinematic. The next few tracks all feature vocalists we had never heard of (Valerie Niederoest, Maude Oswald, Joanna Kupnicka, Liz Hysen, etc.) but form a powerful centerpiece for the record, Baker conjuring up skittering swirls of ambience, the vocals layered into spectral swirls, underpinned by swooping backwards guitars, very psychedelic, before slipping into a dark folk, replete with accordion, acoustic guitar, and jazzy drumming, the sound almost Parisian, before again shifting into a hushed soft focus dirge, programmed drums, stately piano, the sound here exploding into squalls of Hermann like strings and churning low end thrum, the sound closer to Nadja than anywhere else on the record, howling and intense, but always settling right back into that slow motion shimmer, then finally, Baker improbably fuses dark jazz (his fluttering flute and moaning trombone a big part of the sound) and a Mogwai like brooding slow build, which at first is definitely a weird combo, but soon reveals itself to be quite cool and super dense and dramatic. Finally, Carl Bozulich lends her distinct voice to the closer, a collaged tangled of jazzy drum skitter, pointillist piano, staccato string plucks, lots of swirling backwards effects, some funereal horns, Bozulich's vocals sampled and swirled into a shimmering psychedelic cloud that wreaths the proceedings, while in the foreground, she croons a harrowing lament, over Baker's suitably haunting sonic backdrop. So gorgeous.
MPEG Stream: "Already Drowning"
MPEG Stream: "30 Days / 30 Nights"
MPEG Stream: "Tout Juste Sous La Surface, Je Guette"
MPEG Stream: "Lorelai / Common Tongue"
BATS, THE By Night (Flying Nun) lp 15.98
This reissue of the very first recordings from NZ pop legends the Bats, was one of two special Flying Nun reissues from the Captured Tracks label (who are starting a comprehensive Fn reissue campaign, YAY!) released to commemorate this year's Record Store Day. The other was the debut self titled 12" from another amazing NZ outfit, Snapper, which you'll find reviewed elsewhere on this week's list. Sadly, the records didn't show up here until well after Record Store Day, but that means a handful of mailorder folks get a chance to nab copies. And we mean handful, as right now we have just FIVE copies of this left, and it's already sold out and out of print. Originally released in 1984, even now, this remains a practically perfect chunk of Kiwi indie pop jangle, one that most definitely inspired legions of groups to come, this reissue an exact reproduction of the original 12", right down to the super striking cover art. The songs were later compiled on the Completely Bats compilation in 1990, but this is the first time this 12" has been available since the eighties, and it's so good, jangly, and fuzzy, catchy and dreamily twee, but also raw and energetic, passionate and emotional, the music is rough and a little bit lo-fi, but so obviously has aspirations to sound massive, and those aspirations shine through, transforming these songs into pop classics that have obviously stood the test of time. No need to go on at length, odds are these will be gone in a flash. Highly recommended though, so do grab one if you can, you won't be sorry. Anyone into indie pop, jangle pop, fuzz pop, noise pop, this is definitely a pantheon worthy classic. Here's hoping the rest of Captured Tracks' Flying Nun reissues aren't so limited...Includes a download code!
MPEG Stream: "I Go Wild"
MPEG Stream: "Jeweller's Heart"
BELL WITCH Longing (The Flenser) 2lp 23.00
Doom lovin' vinyl fetishists have indeed been 'longing' for this - the lp edition of this fantastic debut from Seattle doom duo Bell Witch, that we made a Record Of The Week when it came out on compact disc via Profound Lore last fall. Now at last The Flenser label has made it available on (double) vinyl, with sturdy gatefold jacket and insert. Here's what we said about it before:Bell Witch are one of the heaviest doom outfits around, their sound achingly crushingly despondent, made all the more remarkable for the fact that they're just a duo of bass and drums. On the one hand, that makes sense, all low end, the perfect ingredients for dismal dirgery for sure, but the weird thing is, the most appealing part of this new record, and easily the most special, is the parts that are most definitely NOT metal at all. Not even not doom, we mean not METAL. On this, their debut full-length, the band have crafted an incredible hybrid of plodding miserablist ultra doom, and classic, minor key, slowcore, it's like Codeine crossed with Esoteric, or something. Admittedly, the band do conjure up a pretty devastating sound, the bass super distorted and downright guitar like, churning and blown out, the drums a monstrous plod, the tracks laced with aching minor key melodies (also played on the bass we presume), the vocals an inhuman demonic rasp, perfectly suited to the group's death march trudge, but then, suddenly, the buzz and distortion peels away, leaving just a spare minimal rhythm, and soft warm chords, drifting in long expanses of soft focus shimmer, softly loping, a minor key slo-mo lament, made even more perfect by the clean crooned vox, emotional and heartfelt, hell, we probably would have dug this record just as much sans the crushing doom, but the two parts together, make this pretty spectacular."Rows (Of Endless Waves)" explodes right out of the gate, as a churning slab of downtuned extreme heaviness, bellowed howls, pounding drums, laced with demonic shrieks, the bass buzzing and blackened, but then suddenly, the sound begins to grow more melodic, even still in the heavy part, and then like the opener, the heaviness is gradually shed, and the song is reborn as a super spare stretch of haunting, softly strummed slow motion sad pop, sounding quite a bit like Low in fact, slightly heavier perhaps, but not much, and here, the heaviness creeps back in gradually, but without the track following, instead it seems to wrap its shadowy sonics around the dark dolorous sadcore, making it just that much darker and dolorous. Almost the entirety of "Longing (The River Of Ash)", is spent in slowcore mode, the heaviness relegated to lazily crashing chords, but it's the sort of dark doom pop gem that could easily find its way on to some indie kids breakup mixtape. In fact in many ways, this is the kind of record that could very well open the doors to darker and heavier sounds. For a heavy doom record, it's remarkable how much of the record is spent sounding not that heavy, or perhaps more 'emotionally' heavy, than sonically heavy. We'd almost classify this as some sort of slowcore/sadcore record with elements of doom, than the other way around. However you approach it, it's definitely one of the darkest, saddest, and most beautiful doom records we've heard in ages. Or if you'd rather, one of the doomiest, heaviest slowcore records. WAY recommended.
MPEG Stream: "Bails (Of Flesh)"
MPEG Stream: "Rows (Of Endless Waves)"
MPEG Stream: "Longing (The River Of Ash)"
BIRDS YOU ONCE KNEW Synth Miniatures (Donkey Disk) cassette 5.98
Murky underwater jams from deep space, Birds You Once Knew is one of two Von Himmel related releases on this list (the other being Black Thread), and will not only appeal to fans of that band, but probably those of you digging the current crop of synth lords like Umberto, Zombi, and Gatekeeper. The main difference here is that BYOK doesn't really fit into the retro agenda of John Carpenter worshipping fan boys, instead operating on that distinct Von Himmel wavelength of melody and rhythm to take you into strange and majestic worlds. Unlike VH though, whose collage-like jams bring about all kinds of disorientation in the best of ways, BYOK lets things ride out without abrupt shifts and turns, and the results are perfect for zoning out into oblivion. Throughout the tape, synths wander about and give you the feeling of being transported to beautiful lo-fi worlds of pink skies, inflatable trees, and rainbow colored oceans. Or something. The drum machines are primitive and perfectly suited to get your ass moving into LaLa Land where you will dance your life away and never sleep again. It's a surprisingly fun affair with the greatest strength being its inherent tunefulness and the ease with which the friendly machines fool you into believing they beat with a human heart. Check it out!
MPEG Stream: "1"
MPEG Stream: "2"
MPEG Stream: "3"
BLACK THREAD Descending Heliotrope Shards (Chaos Of The Stars) cassette 5.98
Shadowy Von Himmel offshoot Black Thread returns with another tape of gorgeous blown out meditations, where kaleidoscopic melodies decay and regenerate in equal measure. Sounds collapse in on themselves and billow out of the fuzzy cinders in an interesting balance between control and chance. Unlike the previous tape, Black Antlers, Descending Heliotrope Shards is more melodic and pretty, though the huge walls of looped sound conjure a similar overall density that manages to stand alone as something unique. Utilizing two 4-track cassette decks for some uber-primitive sound-on-sound recording, basically the sonic equivalent of a dirty needle, there is an element of randomness here that's super exciting and unpredictable. The process, though, fascinating as it is, ultimately plays second fiddle to the songs themselves, which display an inherent sense of melody and structure amidst all the chaos. The sounds are majestic and pulsing, rhythmic with a forward momentum that gives them their own sort of lifespan, but also disembodied and free from both the constraints of conventional songcraft and wanky new age sungazing. The method of creating music fits well within Von Himmel's approach, but also displays influences, specifically some electronic ones, not as readily apparent on VH records, such as minimal techno, industrial grind, and a healthy dose of earsplitting harsh noise for a tape that throttles as it soothes.
MPEG Stream: "Descending Heliotrope Shards"
MPEG Stream: "Untitled"
CARDINALS FOLLY Strange Conflicts Of The Past (Shadow Kingdom) cd 12.98
As fans of this Finnish (FINNISH!) doom (DOOM!) band's 2011 full-length, Such Power Is Dangerous, we are happy to hear more by 'em, now that the cult Shadow Kingdom label have delved into the band's past to bring us this collection of early material culled from out of print ep's, cd-rs, and rare demos circa 2007-2009, ten weighty tracks in all, including a previously unreleased cover version of "The Model" by Kraftwerk! Cardinals Folly turn it into a pretty decent, crushing doom metal song, although we think taking a more histrionic vocal approach would have been maybe even more amusing, rather than sticking with the robotic style of the original. But in any case, the way they do it totally fits in with their own compositions, "rumbling heavier-than-thou true doom wretchedness" as we said in our review of their debut full-length, this disc replete with tons of heavy trudging riffage (sometimes breaking into a spirited gallop) and portentous, primarily deep-voiced vocal eccentricity, enacting occult doom rock rituals in the vein of fellow Finns Reverend Bizarre (RIP).The cd booklet includes lyrics, among them for the song "Cardinals Folly" itself - lots of great lines, like: "So what if we don't please the masses blind / the world might not be made for our kind / flower power rules while the ungodly try / to seduce people into false metal cry!" They also tell us to "Doom in! / drop out!" Ok, all very cool, but we still haven't learned what it was exactly that Cardinal did that was so terribly ill-advised. Listening to false metal, perhaps.
MPEG Stream: "Rasputin (The Mad Monk)"
MPEG Stream: "They Found Atlantis"
MPEG Stream: "The Model"
CASA, DANIELA Societa Malata (Penny / Flipper Music) lp + cd 27.00
A mind-bending Italian library obscurity gets a nice reissue thanks to Penny Records. Daniela Casa may not be as well known as Ennio Morricone, Egisto Macchi, or Alessandro Alessandroni, but his 1970 concept album Societa Malata (The Sick Society) is one of the strangest psych "soundtracks" we have heard. It begins very dreamy, with hypnotic vibes and woodwinds lulling us into a restless sleep state, where we are introduced to the acid guitar grooves, loping bass rhythms and bongos that seem to anchor the majority of the record as we traverse otherworldly landscapes tinged with paranoia, seduction and uncertainty. Moogy flourishes and hectic rhythms add to the fever dream feel. With piano and echoing metallic percussion highlighting the noirish vibe, but it's not all terror. "Esoda" carries a wondering pastoral vibe, even if it does have a creepy tinge, but not as creepy as a track like "Occultismo" with its chorus of ghostly voices, or the final track, "Dittatura", a beautifully doomed march to destinations unknown. It's a wonder how the Italians can make such beautifully dreamy music that scares the bejeezus out of us, but we're entranced every time! Each record comes with a cd version as well, nice.
MPEG Stream: "Strade Vuoto"
MPEG Stream: "Fabbrica"
MPEG Stream: "Esoda"
MPEG Stream: "Occultismo"
MPEG Stream: "Dittatura"
CATHEDRAL The Last Spire (Rise Above / Metal Blade) cd 14.98
Doomsters, have ye heard the news? UK misery merchants Cathedral, one of doom and stoner metal's A-list acts, have decided it's time to hang it up. They're done with being doomed, after 23 years in the biz. But they also apparently didn't want 2010's The Guessing Game to be their epitaph. That double disc album, one of the weirdest and most indulgently prog-damaged in the whole Cathedral canon (all good things, we think, though!) isn't the last thing for which they wish to be remembered. So, for a final bow, they've come out with album number ten, their self-proclaimed swansong: The Last Spire. And it is definitely less eccentric and experimental than The Guessing Game, more representational of Cathedral across the years - super sludgey Sabbathy heaviosity, some prog twists, NWOBHM-riff-rockin parts, and an overall grim and gloomy vibe, albeit with some hidden humor - the doleful intro track, "Entrance To Hell", makes use of a classic Monty Python & The Holy Grail line: "Bring out your dead! Bring out your dead!" but in such a way that it's actually pretty creepy and atmospheric (and it turns out the reference wasn't intentional AT ALL, according to an interview we read, the Cathedral guys got the idea from some '70s prog record and didn't realize 'til it was too late that everyone was gonna think Monty Python, whoops!). There's even a song named after critically acclaimed Profound Lore doom act Pallbearer (what? oh, nothing to do with them? ok, sorry). That one, at twelve minutes the disc's longest song (but not by much!), complete with acoustic interlude, pretty much brings it all together, "Pallbearer" also boasting some guest female vocals from the singer for the next-big-thing in the female-fronted occult rock scene, Purson. Likewise, The Last Spire seems to have the best of Cathedral's characteristics, from the slow and low doooooom of their Forest Of Equilibrium debut to their latter day psych/prog explorations, without (fortunately) really any of the "stoner-disco" shenanigans they thought were clever once upon a time. In other words, it's Cathedral as most fans will be happy to remember 'em, utterly heavy and still a bit strange and psychedelic.So now frontman Lee Dorrian can concentrate on running his excellent Rise Above label, the rest of the band can carry on with whatever their other projects or hobbies may be (collecting cuckoo clocks? gardening? vinyl digging? graverobbing?) and the world will have just a little less doom in it. In this case, a sad thing. RIP Cathedral, but at least this slipcased cd is a suitable send-off. Rather ironic that Cathedral's last ever album would come out before Black Sabbath's (due in June), we have a strong feeling that this one's likely to be the better of the two, too.
MPEG Stream: "Pallbearer"
MPEG Stream: "Cathedral Of The Damned"
MPEG Stream: "An Observation"
COLISEUM Sister Faith ( Temporary Residence Ltd.) cd 14.98
Holy shit these guys just keep getting better and better. Record number four finds this Louisville trio about as melodic as they've ever sounded, but still pretty goddamn heavy, and a lot more punk than last time around actually, with a massive production courtesy of Jawbox's J. Robbins, which perfectly suits their sound, giving even the poppiest jams some serious heft, and making the whole record sound equal parts classic nineties math/noise rock, chugging post punk and sludge pop heaviness a la Torche. In our review of the last Coliseum, we compared their sounds as being a strange mix of Torche, Turbonegro and Queens Of The Stone Age, which might still apply a bit, but to these ears, the new Coliseum has definitely shifted to something much more punk, managing to fuse their new found poppiness, with the urgent, punk fury of their earlier records, and while not as overtly and immediately catchy, it's a sound that suits them, the crunchy guitars, the gruff yowled vocals, the dense, hard hitting drumming, the thick buzzing bass, and the songs, super reminiscent of another era, the nineties, a sound/era/scene that we (and they) seem still pretty connected too. Not hard to imagine this record coming out on Homestead or Touch And Go back in the day, there's lots of brooding gloominess going on too (check out "Love Under Will"), lots of low slung bass driven groovery, and chugging churning punkiness, it's the sort of sound we often lament doesn't really exist anymore, and when bands do try to channel it, they often fail spectacularly, but these guys kill, and are out of time masters of that sound, a sound we love now as much as we did then. Like their last record, Coliseum called in all sorts of favors so the guest roll call is a serious indie who's who, Wata from Boris, Jason Loewenstein from Sebadoh, Jason Farrell from Swiz and Bluetip, and Elizabeth Elmore from Sarge - her contribution maybe our favorite, her vox a good balance for Ryan Patterson's gruff bellow, almost wish she sang with him on all the tracks...
MPEG Stream: "Disappear From Sight"
MPEG Stream: "Last Lost"
MPEG Stream: "Doing Time"
MPEG Stream: "Late Night Trains"
COMMON EIDER KING EIDER Earth Liver (Black Horizons) cassette 8.98
The latest from this beloved Bay Area combo comes in the form of this super limited, and extravagantly packaged cassette on the Black Horizons, the epic packaging perfectly reflecting the epic sounds within. It begins with a slow building sonic brood, that immediately conjures Arvo Part, the rich thrum of ominous strings, the swirling voices woven into some sort of haunting chorale, a chorale that is quickly subsumed by a cloud of fierce psychedelic guitar buzz and brittle metallic clatter, all blurred into a burnished squall of warm dreamnoise density, before gradually decaying to a sea of black cloud shimmer. The second track, "Mound", begins with some distorted buzz, sounding almost metallic, stretching out into a mesmeric sprawl of lush, black buzz, sculpted into a series of swells, almost like a way more dynamic SUNNO))), but soon the vocals swoop in, hovering above those dense, crumbling, distorted bursts of black noise buzz, but tempered by spectral voices, and distant hovering drones, soon laced with streaks of feedback, and melodic shards of high end howl, still locked into that mesmerizing ebb and flow, finally disappearing in a cloud of crumbling sonic decay. The sound grows even more ghostly, CEKE unfurling a spectral sprawl of ethereal ghostlike voices, and the soft shimmer of slowly bowed strings, all smeared into soft billowy swirls, the vibe sort of classical, like an abstract chamber music, performed in some lost glade, in a dark forest, lit only by firelight, a mysterious musical ritual, timeless and otherworldly. Finally, Earth Liver concludes with "Child", beginning with some echo drenched steel string guitar, hushed reverbed vocals, a dark apocalyptic blackened folk, minimal and murky, a funereal lament drifting and droning, before unexpectedly exploding into some seriously blown out distorted doom, the guitars thick and buzzing, the drums a caveman pound, the sound though epic and brooding, the vibe more Godspeed or Mogwai, than doom proper, and before you know it, they settle right back into that folky drift, and the song continues to swing wildly, from hushed and haunting, to dense and explosive, building to a soaring climax, rife with wild streaks of psychedelic guitar, the song fading out, leaving JUST that guitar to leave a shadowy streak of high end shimmer... The tape also includes Common Eider's Amnesia, a super limited one sided picture disc, which we described thusly:Amnesia patiently opens with deep stretches of weeping violin, quiet vocal haze creeps into the murky horizon, subtle cymbal splashes accent the deeply ambient swells and the piece grows into a huge orchestral bellow. A single composition that breathes and changes like a sweeping ocean tide, a wash of crystalline tones wavering from the forest floor, long-form melodies echoing from the evening sky, the strings, vocals and minimal percussion all melting together into a gloriously kaleidoscopic fever dream! LIMITED TO 100 COPIES!!! And the packaging, WOW. The tape label silver metallic, the J-card, blue metallic ink on silvery metallic paper, inside a fold out accordion-like insert of super striking full color images, the tape housed in a printed cloth bag held shut with a drawstring, which also contains a screen printed cloth patch!
MPEG Stream: "On A River Of Blood, In A Boat Made Of Skin"
MPEG Stream: "Mound"
CONTROL UNIT In A Frame (Alt Vinyl) lp 27.00
Control Unit are the Italian duo of Sylvia Kastel and Ninni Morgia, the latter having done all sorts of scattered psychedelic projects including a prolonged stint in La Otracina. But in teaming up with the uncompromising Sylvia Kastel for Control Unit, his expository tendencies are tempered in the heavy sourness of Control Unit's grim electronics. In A Frame is their second lp and perfects the bad-drug cocktail of early '80s Italian industrialisms and the narcotic / narcoleptic vibes of Factrix and Mars which they first began to manufacture a couple years back. Kastel and Morgia employ monotone guitars, beatboxes, and cheap synthesizers cast through ghostly delay patterns and a zombified / exhumed production grit that alternates between abstracted decompositions of Hansen records styled electrical damage and tracks which could almost be considered songs with their step sequenced skeletal rhythms haunted by Kastel's vocalizations. These more structured elements seems to corrode from within, as the geiger-counter rhythms and ticking pulsations misfire and palpitate amidst the crosshatching loops and erratically fired patterns. Even with all of the cold/minimal/wave revivalism going on, Control Unit are dialed into a very specific historical reference of most death-obsessed electronica circa 1982. Creepy, horrifying, chaotic dirges for the industrially minded. Limited to just 275 copies!
MPEG Stream: "In A Frame"
COUGH / WINDHAND Reflection Of The Negative (Relapse) cd 11.98
Now this is a match up. Two super heavy bands from Richmond, Virginia, both big time aQ faves, who in fact share at least one member. When we first heard about this split, we were like, all right!! It was obviously gonna be great, the only question was, of these two bands, who was gonna come out on top, with more bottom end? Who was gonna triumph, by being more despondent and despairing? Who was gonna win the race, to be the slowest? Well let's not make it a competition, all sludge-doom fans are winners here.First up, Cough, who unfurl a crumbling lo-fi, weirdly psychedelic, almost electronic sounding dirge called "Athame", the guitar strangely processed, the drums a deathmarch pound, all wreathed in clouds of droned out buzz, and laced with some weird movie sample, total classic drugdoom weirdness... We were all settled in and then suddenly, the song explodes into something even more heavy, another layer of guitars comes crashing in, thick and blackened, crumbling and epic, wrapped around the weird electronic droniness of the opening, super tranced out and totally hypnotic, the kind of rare riffing minimalism, that we could literally listen to forever, no need for vocals, or more parts, or chord changes, just total doom trance bliss, and for a minute we were thinking that's just what we might get, but instead, the song splinters into something more harsh and abject, a lurching funereal creep, mathy but slo-mo mathy, lumbering and blown out, but returning to that lilting main riff/opening. The vocals have a little Electric Wizard "Supercoven" to them too, which is definitely a good thing - and then things get even weirder. A churning riff, a weird pulsating sprawl of guitar noise, chanted monotone vocals, super psychedelic and woozily warped, again, the sort of part that could go on forEVER, but sadly doesn't, the song lurching back into more stumbling chaotic downtuned doom crush, wild drumming, swirls of blurred riffage, churning and gnarled, with some cool dynamic stop start feedback breakdowns a la Eyehategod, before finally finishing off with a killer stretch of feedback drenched doom-noise pummel. Maybe the best Cough track yet!Windhand are up next with two tracks, coming close in length to Cough's epic one. Some of you may remember their self titled debut (repressed and relisted last list in fact), which we sold a TON of. We actually reviewed it entirely before even realizing the singer was a woman, her hellish howl transcending any earthly ideas of gender. And on their tracks here, sonically, very little has changed, with super distorted riffage, monstrous drum pound, and the vocals soaring and still doused in effects. However, the vocals this time around ARE way more obviously female, the vibe much more witchy, and perhaps, unlike their debut, positioning them amidst the current crop of female fronted metal outfits. Some skeptical aQ-ers felt the sudden switch seemed a bit calculated, but even if it was, the resulting sound is pretty goddamn great. Any one into that new sound, this is easily the heaviest variant (next to Wooden Stake, perhaps), and repeated listens, to this AND the full length, reveal that perhaps it's not such a dramatic change after all. And the songs, well opener, "Amaranth" is epic, majestic, dramatic, and heavy as fuck. Some seriously crushing witchy psychedelic doom sludge for sure. The other Windhand track, "Shepherd's Crook", is even more psychedelic, opening with a tangle of swirling distorted guitar buzz, which stretches out for almost a whole minute before the song proper kicks in, and then it's a dreary, doomy plod, the lumbering tarpit riffage wreathed in swirling effects drenched buzz, that soon settles into a hazy, washed out creep, the vocals as clean as they get, the vibe almost classic old school doom at times, we hear some organs swirling just below the surface, the chord progression totally perfect, and timeless, almost like this could be some cover, catchy and hooky, the vocals epic and emotional, the music minor key and melancholic, the sound lush and layered and heavy as hell. There are some super psychedelic leads, but overall, this is just a mesmerizing sprawl of epic, doomic heaviness.
MPEG Stream: COUGH "Athame"
MPEG Stream: WINDHAND "Amaranth"
DAFT PUNK Random Access Memories (Columbia) cd 14.98
The future funk robots are back and they brought with them an arsenal of legendary guests: Electronic euro-disco king Giorgio Moroder, Phantom of the Paradise and AM Gold madman Paul Williams, and Chic's Nile Rodgers who reigns over what will definitely be THE summer jam this year, "Get Lucky" with Pharell. Panda Bear of Animal Collective and Julian Casablancas from The Strokes round out the special guest roster. In the eight years since their last effort, the duo decided to eschew the computer technology of today and instead recorded the whole album in analog direct to tape, rewiring modern dance music with a fresh prog-disco retro sheen. Basically, school's out kids, here's your candy. Bright, delicious, electric candy.Vinyl is 180 gram, includes digital download; the cd is not quite so thick and is its own digital download.
MPEG Stream: "Give Life Back To Music"
MPEG Stream: "Giorgio By Moroder"
MPEG Stream: "Get Lucky"
DETEST Thundersteel (Stormspell) 2cd 13.98
Every once in a while, we run across some obscure old school metal reissue that really, really makes us go "heck yeah, that's why we love obscure old school metal!!!" Max Planck, Drakar, Coven, Dark Quarterer, Wolfbane, the list goes on. The latest discovery we've been freaking out about is this one from Swedish band Detest, who released a five song mini-lp in 1990 with the very metal title of Thundersteel (a name already used by Riot for an album 2 years earlier, so don't be confused), now reissued with tons of bonus tracks from the band's demos (filling up two whole cds!) by the cult metal Stormspell label as part of their archival "Red White Heavy Arcane Collector Series For The Initiated", which previously brought us that Max Planck among others.Maybe what first attracted us to Detest was the intriguing cover art, a cartoony black & white & red drawing of a (despondent? pensive?) man-creature with sword, crouching at the top of some steps, apparently on a mountainside, near an altar (?), with lightning in the background and a small lizard in the foreground. Very curious. On the back cover of the cd booklet, the scene is the same, but the humanoid is gone, his sword left stuck in the earth. Did he go back down the steps? Or climb further up the cliff? Or jump off? While wondering about all that, we started listening to the music - and were blown away. The first disc opens with the title track, "Thundersteel", and immediately you'll be smitten like we were, if you're into heavy, epic, glorious metal in the style of Manowar, Candlemass, and Doomsword - with a 'deeper' lyrical twist, as it's about the hypocrisy and evil of Christian crusaders killing heathens. It's got classic stamped all over it. And Detest keep up the quality, galloping through the rest of the disc with quite a few more killer songs that vary from the doomy to the thrashy, always pretty dang catchy and HEAVY. There's more riff monsters like "Chains Of Hell", another epic romp; insidious Bay Area thrash influenced attacks like "Cold Steel Tears Your Flesh"; and even some dementedly WTF? heaviness in the form of the plodding, extra-sludgy "Steinhurst's Chainsaws". Detest kick out plenty of memorably melodic cuts too, like the powerful "Crossfire", "Zone Of Nowhere" and the singalong mead-hall folkmetal of "One Too Many"; there's even a pretty decent, heartfelt ballad with 12-string acoustic guitar, "Angel Of Mine", but elsewhere it's more or less all about chunky riffage, ripping twin leads, rough wailing vox...Disc two has its share of gems on it too, but to be honest disc one is SO good that we keep playing it over and over and haven't yet really given the second disc enough spins to write much about it in this review! Nice to know it's there to get into when/if we ever tire of disc one, though. 28 tracks total on this anthology, and somehow, despite the DIY recording of most of this, the production quality is pretty excellent overall regardless if the tracks are from the mini-lp or from demos.The very thick cd booklet includes a band bio, full lyrics, and detailed notes on each track from the band's vocalist/guitarist Micke Darth. There's also an interview with him, where he answers various questions including why the band was called Detest: "Slayer was taken". Plus there's more drawings by the guy that did the cover, of that guy on the cover, Detest's scrappy little red naked furry sword wielding mascot we suppose.Definitely something special about this band, we're SO glad Stormspell dug this up 'cause we'd never have heard 'em otherwise. Clearly a talented, intelligent band (with kind of a weird sense of humor but also a serious, sincere vibe) that were making this music in their garage more for themselves than for any larger audience - which is insane since so much of this stuff is so much better than a lot of things released by other bands of the era who "made it", y'know? Highest recommendation to anyone into cult underground '80s heavy metal!
MPEG Stream: "Thundersteel"
MPEG Stream: "Crossfire"
MPEG Stream: "Chains Of Hell"
DEVO New Traditionalists: Live 1981 Seattle (Booji Boy) cd 15.98
Calling all spuds!! If you consider yourself a Devo-tee, you're gonna want this. Heck everyone should want this, a live recording by one of the best bands EVER (really!) at the height of their powers. Originally released on limited vinyl for Record Store Day 2012, at long last Devo's own Booji Boy label has put this out on compact disc too, nice also since that coveted RSD vinyl version went instantly out of print. Recorded live November 28th, 1981 at Seattle Center Arena, during the tour for New Traditionalists, these unique new wave art punk weirdos, always a great live band, rip it up here with a good, synth-laden selection of some of the best songs from their first four albums, like "Girl U Want", "Uncontrollable Urge", "Mongoloid", "Jocko Homo", "Through Being Cool" and of course "Whip It". Includes 2 bonus tracks from another show in '81 at The Orpheum in Boston, not found on the vinyl version, for twenty tracks in all - including, since it's a live show, an "Opening Theme" and also a "Set Change Countdown" interlude. Packaged in a nice digipack, which includes liner notes by Devo's Gerald V. Casale. Not really much more to say - if you're into Devo it's no-brainer, and it's nice to hear these songs again sounding so fresh, delivered with loads of energy. Or, if somehow you've yet to become a fan, this might do the trick, check it out.
MPEG Stream: "Going Under"
MPEG Stream: "Uncontrollable Urge"
MPEG Stream: "Gates Of Steel"
DIRTY BEACHES Drifters / Love Is The Devil (Zoo Music) cd 13.98
We recently reviewed the soundtrack to a movie about water parks, by Dirty Beaches, aka Alex Zhang, and were surprised to find none of Dirty Beaches' grimy super lo-fi RnB, instead discovering a gorgeous collection of kosmische new age, lush orchestral ambience, droned out dirges, and haunting sprawls of reverby shimmer. At the time, we remember wondering it that soundtrack was simply that, a soundtrack for which Zhang composed an appropriately dreamy cinematic score, or if it in fact signified a more substantial sonic shift. Thus we weren't entirely sure what to expect from this new Dirty Beaches record. And in a way, it ends up, it's a little of both. Split into two parts, the first half, titled Drifters, returns to the sound of Badlands, the sound low fidelity and skeletal, simple programmed rhythms, loads of echo and reverb, drowsy, driving basslines, and Zhang's old style rock and roll croon. The vibe not so much RnB this time around, the opener "Night Walk" has a sort of Suicide style minimal sci-fi swagger vibe, while "I Dream In Neon" sounds like classic Depeche Mode, albeit recorded on a broken boombox. After that, while the 'sound' remains the same, Zhang definitely pushes it in all sorts of different directions - "Belgrade" is like John Carpenter or Goblin, but cooked up in a bedroom on a four track, droney and tense and spacey and hypnotically psychedelic. "Elli" is all minimal cold wave cool, while "Mirage Hall" is pulsing sci-fi electro, which gives way to the groovy, almost Caretaker sounding jazziness of Drifters' closer "Landscapes In The Mist"The record's second half, "Love Is The Devil" definitely falls somewhere closer to that water park movie soundtrack, all drifty and swirly and abstract, warm languid tones, jazzy horns, skittering percussion, wheezing organ drones over delicate pianos, strange stretches of alien electronics, sounding a bit like primitive early electronic experiments, but here draped over spare, mournful piano melodies, swirling soaring strings, which sound so lo-fi, it almost sounds sampled, like it was recorded on a tape player off the TV, but which gives the sound a cool, sort of washed out feel, soft swirls of psychedelia bleed into more classic sounding soundtracky orchestral shimmer, which in turn gives way to some creeping pointillist drift, all spare guitar twang, and for the first time in the second half, softly crooned vocals, and finally, a sprawling stretch of haunting, minor key melancholia, hazy and washed out and woozy and dreamily lovely.
MPEG Stream: "Night Walk"
MPEG Stream: "I Dream In Neon"
MPEG Stream: "Belgrade"
MPEG Stream: "Greyhound At Night"
MPEG Stream: "This Is Not My City"
EMMANUEL, J.D. Time Traveller (Aguirre) 2lp 28.00
Back in 2007, when J.D. Emmanuel was reintroduced to the world via Lieven Martens (aka Dolphins Into The Future) through Martens repress of Emmanuel's 1982 masterpiece Wizards, it completely revived his career, and we've seen many archival releases of Emmanuel's organic new-age synthscapery reissued since. Soon after in 2011, he was touring Europe with Martens and Paul Labreque and finding large new audiences embracing his fluid performances, Emmanuel decked out in a cowboy hat and Hawaiian shirt complete with psychedelic visuals behind him. We even managed to see him live at the San Francisco Electronic Music Festival that same year performing on a bill with Kevin Drumm and Gregg Kowalsky (what a night!). This new double lp on the Aguirre label documents his live set from that tour with long form excursions that have great sci-fi titles like "Adrift in The Gamma Quadrant" and "Ghost Emanations From Seti Alpha 6", but also new age references like "At-One-Ment" and "Path Inward" that reveal Emmanuel's lifelong dedication to meditation, healing and cosmic harmony. Emmanuel's sound is rarely dark, but it's otherworldly in a way that avoids coming off as fluff. We can follow his mind-journeys through music anywhere he wants to take us. Recommended!
EREMITA, VICTOR A Study For Transcendental Communication (Black Horizons) cassette 8.98
One of two new tapes on this week's list from local label Black Horizons, the other being a new one from local psychedelic drone folk drifters Common Eider, King Eider, and this one, the first we've heard from Victor Eremita, the moniker for a mysterious Swedish soundscaper, who delivers a cold, haunting, minimal ritualistic industrial music, all murky pulses, abstract scrapes and creaks, whirring shimmers, at times sounding like super abstract house music slowed to a crawl and then fused to Ghost Orchid style EVP recordings, at others, like some haunting machinemusic, a softly churning barely there rhythm, wreathed in clouds of keening high end thrum, and blurred layers of rumble and whir, haunting but not so much harrowing, as ominously entrancing. A dreamworld of rusted automatons, animated by some dark spirit, and compelled to create this soft focus din, an otherworldly sonic ritual, an ethereal, skeletal krautrock style churn, blurred and smeared into soft focus streaks of haunting mesmer, which are ghostlike and spectral, and seem to have been conjured from a realm free of human interference, their presence less musical, and more spiritual, the remains of a mad sonic scientists lab, imbued with the dying spark of his soul, which has somehow kept everything barely working, a strange workshop, a perpetual musical motion machine, gradually running down, captured here in the throes of slow expiration, and a gradual drift to the other side. Haunting and darkly lovely. And as with all Black Horizons releases, super swank packaging, this time the tape is all clear, with no sticker or printing, housed in a silver and black printed vellum J-card, which holds several printed cardstock inserts. LIMITED TO 100 COPIES!!
FESCAL Two Winter Poems (self-released) cd 14.98
This is the third release we've reviewed from Fescal, the first was on local label Time Released Sound, which should give you an idea of Fescal's sound, and sadly this one too, like both before it, is INSANELY limited, we have ten copies of a total run of 100 and won't be able to get more once we sell out.Fescal delivers two long tracks of softly psychedelic, pastoral drone music, long layered tones, softly undulating beneath a sky full of fractured melody and ethereal shimmer, all smeared into heaving swells of deep chordal thrum. Buried within seem to be voices, a distant angelic singing, which imbues the sound with a melodic warmth that keeps this from being simply dronemusic. The sounds too are imperfect, bits of sound crumble here, distort there, sounds drop out, others waver, still others surface, it's dreamy and druggy and divine, the first track here is a heady stretch of lush, lustrous drones, and deep listening mesmer, a sound which wouldn't have been out of place on Root Strata or yeah, Time Released Sound. But unlike much of this music that sounds passive, this music is powerful, the sounds alive, and active, beneath the surface is a roiling world of complex structures and continually shifting melodies, this first track glows with a mysterious inner warmth, and exudes and a cosmic energy that seems to bathe the listener in an otherworldly golden light. The second track is much more contemplative, cut from the same song cloth, but where the first seemed to smolder with some mysterious energy, the second sound more entropic, casting off all that energy, the sound of melting snow, of fading light, of waning life, still pastoral and dreamlike, but a bit more melancholy, the end not the beginning, a haunting, and lovely rumination on what has been, and what can never be again, faded memories and future dreams of the past. So lovely. Fantastic packaging too. A small textured box, with printed art affixed to the front. inside a small plastic bag containing some sort of dried plant, on a nest like bed of blue confetti, a printed, numbered full color insert, and a gorgeously printed, textured paper, vellum songbook, containing the titular poems, as well as the liner notes.
MPEG Stream: "Winter Morning"
MPEG Stream: "Winter Evening"
FINGER, BENJAMIN Listen To My Nerves Hum (Time Released Sound) cd + box + marionette 85.00
We try to carry everything we can from Time Released Sound, and we generally do, but some releases sell to quick, or are too limited, some are just too expensive, but well worth it, as those of you who've purchased one of TRS's over the top, extravagantly packaged deluxe editions can attest to. So this new one from Benjamin Finger, we almost weren't gonna carry for all those reasons, it's crazy expensive, and the label nearly sold out already, but there are a handful of aQ list readers who are pretty dang obsessive about TRS, so we managed to finagle a tiny handful of these, so at least a few aQ customers will be able to get their hands on one of these. Cuz holy cow are these incredible, easily the most fantastic packaging we've seen from TRS, which is saying a lot, since they pretty much pull out all the stops every time, but they've outdone themselves with this one for sure. The whole thing is housed in an extensively modified chocolate box, collaged inside and out, with century old educational musical strips, it's stamped and hand painted, the boxes feet made from brass piano capstans, inside the box is a bird marionette, a sculptural/skeletal creature made from the parts of an antique piano, that bird marionette is laid atop a nest of random piano parts, nestled in little sections, separated by antique and hand printed inserts. The mythical bird, the marionette in the box, is then described in extreme detail on the inserts, its history, and the story of its eventual extinction. Yowza, you sort of have to see it to believe it, and it's totally worth the price, just imagining how much time and work went into making every one of these sort of boggles the mind. And it's limited to just 70 COPIES, of which we have 3 or 4, and can NOT get more.But enough about the packaging, it is a musical release after all, and a lovely one at that, Finger weaving hypnotic landscapes of looped piano, Reich and Riley like figures, wreathed in echo and delay, and laid over a soft swirling background of barely there thrum, the shimmery piano augmented by strange ethereal, processed voices, melancholy and wistful, some tracks shot through with a shadowy, slightly sinister vibe, but others purely pastoral, sun dappled and dreamy, the production is strangely lo-fi, giving the sound an immediacy, often sounding like you're right there in the room, but other times, the sound smearing and blurring into something more ephemeral, shadowy and softly psychedelic, those voices surfacing throughout, and giving the whole record a strange haunted faded photograph feel. Definitely cinematic, a little bit old timey, and definitely darkly dreamy.
MPEG Stream: "Birthslides"
MPEG Stream: "Consonance Of Fear"
MPEG Stream: "Sevilla On Tape"
MPEG Stream: "Fearless VK"
GEVURAH Necheshirion (Profound Lore) cd ep 10.98
Profound Lore offer up yet another slab of twisted death metal, this one from a Canadian duo called Gevurah, whose sound is a furious, gnarled, downtuned, blackened, furious churning heaviness. After a brief lumbering doom-ic intro, the band immediately launch into a sonic onslaught that belies the fact that there's just two guys making all this noise. Unlike much of the blurred, twisted death metal we've been obsessing over of late. Gevurah lace their black death with plenty of melody, the songs often shifting into dark expanses off woozy melodic midtempo drift, but just as often exploding into Deathspell style atonal gnarled black noise, and returning here and there to that lurching doom-ed pound that opened the proceedings, but in all three cases, those elements are woven seamlessly into Gevurah's relentless, and furiously frantic death metal churn, the result is actually something that often transcends the tropes of every day death metal, transforming Gevurah's debut ep into something much more varied, more textured, and ultimately much more satisfying, and definitely the sort of blackened death, that might just appeal to folks who don't always find themselves digging death metal so much...
MPEG Stream: "I. The Essence Unbound"
MPEG Stream: "II. Flesh Bounds Desecrated"
GIRLS NAMES The New Life (Slumberland) cd 12.98
The New Life is the second album from Belfast, Ireland's Girls Names following the triumphantly jangly album Dead To Me. The metaphors in the titles should be noted, as the dream pop elements of the first album (which they emphatically distanced themselves from right after the tapes were in the can, so to speak) has been shed in favor of a post-punk gloominess that was hinted at on the earlier record. Frontman Cathal Cully has long received comparisons to Crystal Stilts' Brad Hargett, both embracing a detached, baritone monochromatic delivery of death-obsessed romanticism. Cully's deep croon fits much better with the skeletal arrangements that take after The Cure's twin records Seventeen Seconds and Faith. "Drawing Lines" really could have been lifted from either of those records as a bass-driven jam driving the propulsive, death-disco rhythms topped with spectral guitar hooks punctuated by Cully's vocals that are awash in leaden gray reverb and delay. "A Second Skin" and "Notion" return to more of the C86 sound with a brightly ringing Johnny Marr guitar vibrato, even as the moods retain a detached swagger. Another fantastic album of dark-eyed pop by way of Slumberland!
MPEG Stream: "Pittura Infamante"
MPEG Stream: "Drawing Lines"
MPEG Stream: "The New Life"
HAXAN CLOAK Excavation (Tri Angle) 2lp 27.00
ALSO ON VINYL!!It seems Haxan Cloak has gone through a bit of a reinvention. Up until now, we would have classified Haxan Cloak as psychedelic folk, their previous records darkly ritualistic, with urgently strummed acoustic guitars, swirling black ambience, chanted monk like vox, moaning cello rumbles, a fluttery folkiness that seemed more in keeping with industrial neo folk outfits like Death In June. Which raises the question, how did they end up on Triangle, and how did they end up sounding like Burial and Vessel and Raime? Not that we're complaining. We can't get enough of this new strain of slo-mo soul, dubbed out minimal electronic murk, and that's pretty much what Haxan Cloak deliver on their Triangle debut. Sure much of the moodiness and black ambience of their previous sound carries over, but then that's the perfect delivery system for spare, skeletal, glitched out rhythms, and Excavation definitely straddles the line between new and old Haxan Cloak. peppering black drifts of deep rumble, and keening sine wave tones, with weird sampled voices, and shimmering Tibetan bowls, but soon that tell tale Burial style wood-block snare sound comes in, all echoey and reverbed, and the song transforms into a blackened electro creep, the background sounds swooping ominously, soft swells of hiss and grit wreath the rhythm, the mix a bit warped as well, the sound pulsing, laced with thick bursts of ominous thrum cranked WAY louder than everything around it, creating a secondary rhythm, one that's even more woozy. Which is pretty much how the rest of the record plays out, and perhaps exactly what you might expect from a formerly psych folk / black ambient technician gone electronic. In fact, strip away the beats, and this would be some harrowing black ambience, but it really is all about the beats, as much as the textures and moody ambience. In some places, the sound slips into an almost dubstep, but a hellish ultra minimal, avant dubstep, a swirling swath of fractured blurred samples, glitched out beats, and rib cage rattling low end.The shorter tracks here seems to drift back toward the Haxan Cloak of old, with scraped cello string rumbles, keening distant melodies, echo drenced industrial plod, ominous minor key piano stabs, but the two 2-part epics here definitely have the new sound on full display, channeling a Burial like minimal dub, and the more spare haunting minimal abstract beatscaping of recent aQ faves Raime, filtering it through Haxan Cloak's sinister black ambient industrial filter, the results might be one of the darkest, meanest sounding electronic records ever. The second half of the record finds some melody filtering through, the second half of "The Mirror Reflecting", is almost pretty, although still fractured and fucked up, but it builds to a seriously psychedelic coda, before the relatively brief "Dieu" delivers the most straight ahead electro jam here, but it's really relative, freaky vocal snippets, swirling strings, buzzing bass thrum, fragmented rhythmic skitter, ominous pulsating melodies, it's almost like an intro for the massive 13 minute closer "The Drop", which ditches beats completely for the first half of the track, instead, weaving a lush undulating landscape of shimmering chiming melodies, moaning strings, deep bass pulsations, lysergic chordal swirls, everything hazy and washed out, the beats do eventually surface, but they're more like processed low end throbs, looped beneath the song's haunting almost orchestral sounding swirl, the beats becoming almost Kompakt worthy for the last half, but the blackened surrounding sounds, and the weirdly static churn of the main single beat rhythm, keeps the track from getting at all 'dance-y', the beats merely adding texture to the song's blurred and blackened abject sonic sprawl. The sort of seriously sinister, cinematic soundscaping that transform any dancefloors into a crushing, harrowing, black pit of sonic despair. Awesome!
MPEG Stream: "Excavation (Part 1)"
MPEG Stream: "Excavation (Part 2)"
MPEG Stream: "The Mirror Reflecting (Part 2)"
HIGGS, DANIEL The Godward Way (Latitudes) cd 16.98
The latest in the ongoing Latitudes series comes from none other than the mighty Daniel Higgs, former world renowned tattoo artist, former vocalist for the late great Lungfish, sometime member of Skull Defekts, and current wandering sonic shaman, whose performances range from strange spoken word, solo jaw harp, cosmic banjo, and even maniacal musical laughter. We never know what to expect from a new Higgs record, but are rarely disappointed, and more often then not, super surprised. For this Latitudes session, it's mostly Higgs with just a banjo, playing his own distinctive brand of cosmic bluegrass, dense and melodic, tranced out and cyclical, loping and mesmeric but often building to frenzied melodic tangles, his vocals in the beginning almost conversational, until in swoops some droning harmonium, and Higgs switches to a fantastic alien glossolalia, that harmonium, droning meditatively, but laced with wild melodic squiggles, Higgs, his vocals getting more and more dramatic and operatic, until finally the harmonium fades out, never to return, leaving Higgs to weave an expansive sprawl of haunting, almost liturgical sounding banjo music, equal parts apocalyptic and reverential, a long stretch of intricate instrumental mesmer, droned out and psychedelic, heady and near transcendental, culminating in one final vocal, Higgs delivering the titular line, before one final burst of tangled psychedelic alien bluegrass finishing things off. Like all Latitudes releases, both the cd and the vinyl are housed in that immediately recognizable brown and white packaging, the lp with a fancy die cut, the cd an origami style fold over sleeve, both with original Higgs artwork rendered on the front in pink embossed metallic reflective ink, and both with a full color printed insert. The cd limited to 500 copies, the lp to 1000 copies.
MPEG Stream: "The Godward Way"
INSTANT CITY Issue #8 magazine 7.98
The aftermath of an earthquake in the near future. Mission District residents as viewed by an eighteenth-century journalist. An ill female bank robber. Even mutant cowboys and vampires! Local San Francisco literary journal, Instant City is back with its 8th installment of unusual literary explorations of our fair city. The brainchild of cultural producer, Gravity Goldberg (who also organizes events for LitQuake and the Contemporary Jewish Museum) and started at Adobe Books with designer Mitch Manitou, each volume features great local writers and artists. Including a painting by our own Scott Hewicker, this issue features stories by Alvin Orloff, William Poor, Sean Taylor, David Corbett, Loren Rhodes, Alia Volz, Richard Jay Goldstein, Atom Wong, Trent Tano, India Mandelkern and Alia Volz.
IRON TONGUE Dogs Have Barked, The Birds Have Flown (Neurot) cd 14.98
We weren't sure what to expect from this, a new band on Neurosis' Neurot label featuring the singer from, Southern sludge heavies Rwake, but we can tell you it sure wasn't this. A sort of brooding soulful classic rock? Twang flecked Southern hard rock? Brooding metallic singer songwriter moodiness. A little of all of those? The label namedrops Down, and Crowbar, which in theory sort of apply, but Iron Tongue are not nearly s heavy as either. At least much of the time. We're actually reminded quite a bit of the recent Neurot compilation of Townes Van Zandt covers, especially on the opener, Iron Tongue has the same sort of apocalyptic folk, wasted country rock vibe, the music laid back and lush, a big band, with whirring organs, even soulful female backup vocals, which was a surprise, and does actually sound kinda weird at first, or at least out of place, but once you're in the mindset of where these guys and gals are coming from, it totally fits. We also hear lots of Raging Slab, and aQ faves Antler, as well as one of our all time favorite singers, Mark Lanegan, Iron Tongue vocalist Chris Terry's whiskey soaked rasp the perfect foil for the group's slow burn heavy Southern rock. And it is heavy at times, in fact much of the record is spent rocking pretty hard, the band locking into extended jams, lead guitars shredding over smoldering grooves. And on tracks like "Witchery", the band get all bellowy and bellicose, the sound muscular and indeed a little bit sludgey, but then they'll slip right back into something more moody, like "7 Days", with its slippery slide guitar, and boy/girl vocal harmonies, again getting downright soulful, which might be a bit much for some metalheads, but hell, we're digging it, some seriously hooky hard and heavy southern rock, what's not to love?! Folks expecting Rwake style sludge will definitely be bummed, but fans of Raging Slab, Antler, Skynrd, and other Southern/stoner rockers, should definitely check this out!
MPEG Stream: "Ever After"
MPEG Stream: "Witchery"
MPEG Stream: "Moon Unit"
JACKMAN VIKKI, ANDREW CHALK, AND JEAN-NOEL REBILLY A Paper Doll's Whisper Of Spring (Faraway Press) lp 25.00
The arrival of anything that Andrew Chalk touches is a cause for celebration here at aQuarius, and here we have this new lp entitled A Paper Doll's Whisper Of Spring. A tiny edition of these recordings appeared and disappeared on cd-r about a year or so ago, with the occasional duo of Vikki Jackman and Andrew Chalk working here with the hitherto unknown to us Jean-Noel Rebilly. The Jackman and Chalk aesthetic of wintry pastoral piano clusters swelling with beautifully rendered gossamer clouds of impressionism, haze, fog, smoke, and whatnot remain intact, so what Rebilly is contributing is not all that clear. But given how good Jackman and Chalk work together, why mess things up? At times, it appears that the three are in fact working as a trio, with Jackman sitting behind the keys and with Chalk and Rebilly taking up possibly guitar and bass. There sounds are so ephemeral and so seamlessly integrated into the languid tones and suspended drones out of Jackman's piano that it's hard to really tell. Synths, koto, and possibly flutes also get wrapped up in the mirage-like sonic miasma that Chalk weaves from his source materials. That of course is the magic of Andrew Chalk, his ability to render the drone musical, and blur all sounds into time-lapsed experiences of forgotten memories, haunted films, and half-remembered dreams. Beautiful stuff as always and again, as with all Chalk releases, immaculately packaged. The vinyl is limited to 400 copies, and it's unlikely that a cd version of this will show up anytime in the near future...
JANDEK Canticle Of Castaway (Corwood Industries) cd 8.98
The Jandek onslaught continues unabated. So much so that we have been forced to actually go back in time and review albums released within the last few years that somehow flew under the radar when they first came out. Jandek's recent direction with melodically rich collaborative albums like Where Do You Go From Here? and Maze Of The Phantom has been enthusiastically received by aQ customers and staff alike, we just can't get enough. Canticle Of Castaway dates from 2010, and unlike those previously mentioned albums, this is the kind of material that probably separates the casual Jandek listener (if there is such a thing) from the true acolytes. Featuring the most enduring of Jandek recording approaches - the man and his sourly tuned guitar - Canticle is almost jarringly "out there". So if you dig that stuff from the mid-2000s, like the Ruins Of Adventure and When I Took That Train you should find plenty to love; if you found yourself pleasantly surprised by how much you actually liked the past few releases after never really being a fan, you may find yourself cowering in terror. We think it's great that Jandek's still got the old fire within to create such awesome and bizarre tunes that are completely unique to him. Starting with the 29 minute "Don't Go Out", the feel is similar to what you get on the earliest records, but more upfront and less distant sounding, the voice older and more secure sounding in its delivery, but perhaps even weirder in the lyric department (a good thing for sure). Occasional slashes of conventional chords show up, but it's mostly free form strumming and wandering single note melodies. Things follow a similar path with "You Weren't", a brief 6 minute piece before closing with another monster, the 17 minute "Boys Like Blue", which has slightly sparser instrumentation, perhaps hinting at the restraint we've heard on some the recent live stuff. Or perhaps not. It's Jandek, so you'll probably never know. So yeah, we're definitely giving this our highest recommendation, and we know there are plenty of you who will agree with us. Of course, it wouldn't be a Jandek record without confusing the living fuck out the majority of the human population, so approach at your own risk!
MPEG Stream: "Don't Go Out"
MPEG Stream: "You Weren't"
JENSSEN, GEIR Stromboli (Touch) 12" 14.98
Stromboli is an active volcano located on the island of Sicily in the Mediterranean Sea, and what we have here is a field recording of said volcano, captured by Geir Jenssen better known under his electronica moniker Biosphere. As you could imagine, a volcano sounds FUCKING RAD!!! Big explosions from molten rock hurled outward from the center of the earth, hissing clouds of sulfuric gases, rumbles and crackles of magma slowly cooling after oozing out from the mantle, and the gentle patter of hot ash falling from the sky. Jenssen's field recording, which fills the first side of the 12", is seriously impressive; and the B side (in true 12" fashion) is the dub version, which is a collaged manipulation of the sounds captured on the A side with an emphasis on the slushing, gaseous activity caught in a slow vortex of delay / echo dub effects. Yeah, it is a proper dub track, but don't expect a slow-motion Rhythm & Sound pulse popping through the mix. The recordings that Jenssen made are admittedly short and certainly were strong enough to warrant a lengthier documentation, but perhaps the brevity speaks to the inherent danger of even making an attempt at recording a volcano.
JESUS CHRIST, JR. Sound Collage #17 (Chaos Of The Stars) cassette 5.98
Got a whole batch of new tapes in from our very own Andrew's Chaos Of The Stars label, all of which are reviewed elsewhere on this week's list. This one in particular is a doozy, and seemed especially aQ-worthy, the first we've heard from the mysterious (and mysteriously monikered) Jesus Christ Jr. who delivers two side long sprawls of crumbling, processed, spaced out psychedelic sound. Hard to say what the sounds are or where they came from, whether they're actual compositions, or found sounds and stolen samples, cuz they're seriously warped and extremely fucked with, but it sounds like, even before said fucking with, they were some sort of tranced out psychedelic Spacemen 3-style hazy droned out drug rock drift. But once they're run through JC Jr.'s fucked up filter, they become something even more druggy and psychedelic, the sounds melting and crumbling, riffs slowed down and spaced out, tape speed constantly shifting, voices surfacing and disappearing again, swells of thick crumbling distortion, reverby chunks of twang, the sound locking into tranced out grooves, but just as often devolving into abstract drifts, sometimes laced with Eastern raga style melodies, other times, we almost recognize little snippets that pop up, but before we can put our finger on it, it crumbles and melts into the surrounding sounds. At times it sounds like Les Rallizes Denudes via Faxed Head, other times like Spacemen 3 recorded onto a dubbed to death cassette left in the back pocket of a pair of pants run through the washer, and played back on a Walkman with dying batteries. Sometimes it coalesces into something near symphonic, epic, blown out psychedelic space rock drone-kraut freakout, other times it falls apart into random spaced out drifts, but the whole thing is pretty fantastically mesmerizing, two twisted, layered sprawls of collaged psychedelic trip out, droned out minimal mesmer, and freaky fucked up free noise drift. Fuck yeah.
MPEG Stream: "Excerpt 1"
MPEG Stream: "Excerpt 2"
MPEG Stream: "Excerpt 3"
KADAVAR Abra Kadavar (Nuclear Blast ) cd 15.98
Oooh yeah! What else to say? Germany's answer to the Swedish legions of retro-proto-metallers like Witchcraft, Graveyard, Horisont, Troubled Horse, Skogen Brinner, etc. have returned with their 2nd full-length of swinging heavy fuzz riffage, wailing vox and wah-psych guitar leads, sounding as 1972-ish as ever. We loved their self-titled debut last year, and the collaborative record they did with French heads Aqua Nebula Oscillator too. This new album, for big label Nuclear Blast (who seem to be loading up lately on these sorts of retro-psych-doom acts, putting out the new Orchid too, as well as the latest by a couple of the above-named Swedish outfits), absolutely does NOT disappoint. From the crushing bluesy stomp of "Black Snake", to the urgent attack of the very Witchcraft-y (and/or Pentagram-y) "Fire", to the trippy grooves of the title track, and everywhere else and in-between, Abra Kadavra is quite the hard rockin' bellbottomed blow-out. There's a spacey, hippie, Hawkwind vibe to much of this ("Rhythm For Endless Minds" ferinstance full of FX on both guitars and vocals) as well as a garagey side to 'em too (like the exotic swirl of the electric organ laced "Liquid Dream"), Kadavar achieving a satisfying synthesis of such styles overall. Acid Mothers Temple and Earthless fans should give 'em an ear, as well as all you folks already into that whole Swedish crowd mentioned above!This is the domestic digipack cd version, we also did have expensive import vinyl and hopefully will be getting a slightly cheaper domestic lp pressing soon, but you should know, this cd contains a 7+ minute bonus track not on any vinyl version!
MPEG Stream: "Doomsday Machine"
MPEG Stream: "Dust"
MPEG Stream: "Liquid Dream"
KILT Santa Muerte (Universal Consciousness / SickSickSick / Anarchymoon) lp 12.98
Super limited new lp from this free form blackened doom-drone-noise combo, two sidelong sprawls of twisted improvised blacknoise, each track awesomely and hilariously titled ("Satan Fe" and "Denvhorr"), and featuring at least one member of LA black metal horde Harassor, but this is far from black metal, there is most definitely a blackness, but the sound Kilt conjures up is more like droned our power electronics, lush and layered but corrosive and chaotic, churning low end burbles beneath grinding sheets of burnished white noise, streaks of feedback wrapped around heaving swells of super distorted thrum, blasts of super blown out buzz that sound almost like DHR beats recontextualized, clouds of cymbal shimmer, the sound woozy and warped, slipping from hushed drift to roiling speaker melting ferocity. There seem to be vocals too, chant like, but before they can form they seem to melt into the sounds around them. The sound is also fairly dynamic, with some of the low end peeling away, and leaving blasts of keening high end, or swirling fields of static, even a weird whistling melody at one point, or a wheezing chordal thrum, but even at its most ferocious, for a 'noise' record, it's surprisingly listenable, the textures and fractured melodies, the tone and timbre, not as harsh as it might seem at first blush, it's pretty tranced out and mesmeric. The second side starts out with a blast of fractured sound, jagged jump cuts and blasts of noise, before settling into a warm swirl of muted crunch and blurred rumble, and from there on out, the sound drifts from washed out crackly drift, to face melting howl, and back again, seeming to attain a sort of sonic equilibrium right in the middle, making this more mesmerizing than brutal, and we're far from being proponents of harsh noise, but this is the sort of sculpted noise, the sort of blown out power electronics and textured blacknoise dronemusic that we can't seem to get enough of. LIMITED TO 120 COPIES!! Each in a swank hand silk-screened cover.
MPEG Stream: "Satan Fe"
KLOSOWSKI, A.K. / PYROLATOR Home-Taping Is Killing Music (Bureau B) cd 17.98
A second generation krautrock anomaly created in 1985, Home-Taping is Killing Music is the first and only collaborative lp by Pyrolator (Ata Tak label operative and member of Der Plan) and tape loop tinkerer Arnd Kai Klosowski, now reissued by the always reliable German electronic resurrectionists Bureau B. Using the then burgeoning technology of sampling, this duo created raw sound experiments and whimsical almost Dada-ish musical forms and rhythms, spliced from prerecorded tapes. Not sure if it's a response or parallel to what hip-hop producers like Double Dee and Steinski were doing, but it seems like a precursor to the sample-based dance tracks groups like Colourbox and M.A.R.R.S would mine heavily just a couple of years after this. The Pyrolator / Klosowski material, though, is far weirder, as anyone familiar with Der Plan would expect! Sometimes sounding like the tropical groove of Can's Flow Motion mixed with bits of Penguin Cafe Orchestra colonial exotica and Holger Czukay style song-craft, this may be too odd of a record for the casual listener. But for those who dig the strange and eccentric with the technically innovative, a very cool and unique release. (FYI, the vinyl version includes the cd with it.)
MPEG Stream: "Osterreich"
MPEG Stream: "Hammond"
KODE 9 Rinse 22 (Rinse) cd 16.98
It's hard to believe we're on volume 22 of this long running series of DJ mixes from the venerable UK radio station (online and terrestrial) Rinse FM. It might be even harder to believe that of those 22, we've only previously reviewed ONE, the recent Roska installment. Which is crazy, cuz we're all big fans of these mixes, and previous installments have featured a who's who of the modern electronic/garage/dubstep scene, including Skream, Skepta, Plastician and loads more. And while our favorites in the series were definitely heavy on the dubstep, that is after all the genesis of this series, the individual mixes are all over the map, mixing in everything from house music to techno, dub to electro. Obviously when we discovered the new one was curated by Hyperdub label head honcho Kode9, we knew we had to hear it. And we were not disappointed. Just a quick flit through the tracks here, jams by Burial, Kode9 himself, Theo Parrish, The Bug, Rustie, Terror Danjah, and even RP Boo (whose new full length on Planet Mu is reviewed elsewhere on this week's list). So yeah, heavy on the dubstep, and of course plenty of Hyperdub artists, past, present, and we're presuming future, not to mention some seriously rare dubplates and sneak peaks of new up and comers. It starts off super string with Burial's "Turant", perfectly setting the mood with the murky slo-mo soul, sinister and skittery, but after that, pretty much all bets are off, playful super melodic house music collides with shimmery, prismatic electro pop, which bleeds right into some Kompakt style house-dub, which in turn leads into a killer dubstep groover, with rad sped up soul vocal samples, and a killer bass drop. And that's just the first 10 minutes. It's a DJ set after all, so similar sonics come in clumps, our favorite, of course are the Hyperdubby dubstep stretches, like the one that starts with Jam City's "Her", a dizzyingly stuttery hip hop dubstep mash up, which mutates into Kode9's ominous "Uh", or later when Faze Miyake weaves strange theremin like melodies, and what sounds like barking dogs into a sultry sprawl of dubbed out skitter and stutter, which blossoms into Cashmere Cat's weirdly Eastern synth heavy lurching stutter-groove "Aurora", big beats, and weird chooped vocals, like a revved up Burial sort of, but definitely wanna here more from him (her? them?). Still later, we're treated to one of the best songs we've heard from Rustie, sick ribcage rattling bass, distorted and laced with siren like high end squiggles, a crunked out beat, and some epic almost M83 sounding flourishes. That launches a killer dubstep stretch, with Terror Danjah, S-type and Kode9 offering up variations of that low slung dubbed out groove we can't seem to get enough of. The Bug pops up too with some of that supercharged dubbed out dancehall, and then some wildly funky and maddeningly repetitive footwork from RP Boo, a strangely perfect fit with some of the other dubstep jams here. The last ten minutes or so is mostly DJ Rashad and friends, who spin a whirling web of revved up garage, stuttery techno-house breakdowns, sliced and diced vocals, recontextualized into twisted melodies, and stuttering free form vocal freakouts, draped over and wrapped around chaotic rhythmic skitter, swirling soft focus synth pads, some tracks slow burn electro-soul, some laced with little blurts of jungle, others stretched out into some seriously hypnotic dancefloor mesmer.Bunch of killer stuff on this installment we'd never heard (or even heard of) before, here's hoping more of that stuff will be coming out on Hyperdub in the near future...
MPEG Stream: DVA "Chilli Burrito"
MPEG Stream: CHAMPION "Friday 13th"
MPEG Stream: JAM CITY "Her"
MPEG Stream: KODE9 "Uh"
MPEG Stream: FAZE MIYAKE "Burciaga"
MPEG Stream: THE BUG "Dirty"
MPEG Stream: RUSTIE "Triadzz"
LIAR IN WAIT Translations Of The Lost (Profound Lore) cd ep 10.98
A new release on Profound Lore, featuring members of Wolvhammer, Nachtmystium and Mourner. Now it's just a question of what stripe of metal it might be. Grim black, warped death, filthy crust? You'd be wrong on all counts, cuz Liar In Wait, while boasting a serious metal pedigree, is not metal at all. It's still dark, and gloomy, and maybe a little grim, but it's actually death rock, or gloom pop, or some hybrid of the two. And really, it's not surprising considering most metalheads have a soft spot for gloomy old pop and goth rock, whether it be Depeche Mode or Christian Death, Fields Of The Nephillim or Sisters Of Mercy. And really if you like any of those, then this just might hit the spot. Four songs, of brooding bass driven gloom rock miserablism, Joy Division-y basslines under chiming minor key guitars, deep crooned vox, softly psychedelic, heavy at times, but much more atmospheric and gothic. While not as great as say Soror Dolorosa, it's still pretty good, and death rockers, gloomy metalheads and depressed goths should all be able to get into this. The perfect soundtrack for depressed wanders through a dark and decaying city, or just a night home laying in the dark.
MPEG Stream: "Faithless"
MPEG Stream: "Conversations In Violet"
LORD TIME Drink My Tears (Universal Consciousness) cassette 5.98
Latest blast of nekro morbid death metal primitivism from the drummer of LA black metallers Harassor, and like on previous tapes, Drink My Tears is a twisted, lo-fi, blackened, psychedelic freakout, a warped strain of primitivism, the recording this time around even shittier (read: genius), the guitars brittle and buzzy, but not black metal buzzy, more sort of tinny, the drums cardboard box thumps, everything super distorted and in the red, the vocals a raspy grumbly croak, heavily processed, and made super trippy, the sound surprisingly melodic, with what sounds like piano, the recording not so black metal as damaged lo-fi dirge pop with black metal elements? Maybe. Well, really, it IS black metal obviously, but seriously mutated, black metal the way Circle Of Ouroborus is black metal, as much the mood and atmosphere and intent as the sound, cuz really some of the tracks here are weirdly hypnotic slabs of lo-fi psychedelic weirdness, that out of context, we might not even classify as black metal. But then there are tracks that are raw as fuck, and black as fuck, but those are far outweighed by the trippy, the tranced out, the droney, the woozy and wonderfully weird. Swirls of distorted guitar melodies emulate carnival organs, a sort of blackened kosmische, others are lurching lumbering dirges that again seem too heavy on the chiming clean guitar to be truly black metal, but fuck it, not of that matters, this is some super rad, super twisted, outsider sonic weirdness, that whether it sounds psychedelic, or grim and black, or freaky and WTF?, to you, or hell even all of the above, this is some amazing, inspired, dementedly genius stuff that is KILLING us. So totally and absolutely recommended. Comes in swank packaging, colored cases, stickered red tapes, heavy cardstock J-card, each one marked with real blood, and each one with two buttons.
MPEG Stream: "Side One (excerpt)"
MPEG Stream: "Side Two (excerpt)"
LOSSMAKER s/t (Lo Bit Landscapes) 12" 11.98
We had never heard of Lossmaker, aka video artist / musician Luke Wyatt, but this new 12" on recent Record of The Weekers Nihiti's Lo Bit Landscapes label is pretty fantastic, a strange assemblage of mini-soundscapes, cinematic and lush, textured and layered, the vibe sort of mellow and melancholic, a little Boards Of Canada for sure, but way more twisted and experimental. The opener is a brief bit of crackle wreathed chamber folk, sort of old timey, but definitely strangely soundtracky, piano and fiddle, swoonsome strings, a little haunting and dreamlike, which leads directly into the sort of Boards Of Canada style minimal electronic groovescapery, minor key melodies, over softly pulsing rhythms, the sound sweeping and darkly epic, while at the same time pensive and personal, lots of strange production happening, but it's all woven into some dreamy dark electronica. There's more of that hazy, softly psychedelic chamber music, again haunting and cinematic, this time laced with strange electronic glitches and mysterious pulsations, a dreamy, melancholy coda to the first side. The flipside begins with a brief bit of backwards melodic swirl, dreamy and super psychedelic, super hypnotic, sorta wish it was more than an intro. That leads directly into another stretch of minimal moody electronic skitter, this time, laced with acoustic instruments, some guitar strum here and there, but also some ominous synth swells, some robotic squelches, some cool super distorted melodies, all warped and warbly, the song epic and intense, getting more and more psychedelic and intense, but remaining warm and woozy and dreamlike.
MPEG Stream: "Melodrama Camp 3"
MPEG Stream: "Mann Hires Haim For Sad Caper Film"
MPEG Stream: "Early Morning Robotech"
MANILLA ROAD Metal (Shadow Kingdom) cd 12.98
If you're into '80s metal of the more obscure, underground, cult variety and a reissue of a 1982 Manilla Road album entitled Metal doesn't immediately get you jazzed, something is wrong (unless you have it already of course, but then you'll at least be happy that other folks, less fortunate, at last have a chance to pick it up). Released now as part of Shadow Kingdom's Manilla Road reissue campaign, this is the follow up to the band's 1980 debut, Invasion. It's even more metal (hence the title), these weird Wichita wizards most likely adding Iron Maiden and other NWOBHM'ers to their roster of influences, previously a '70s space/prog/hard psych blend of Rush, Hawkwind, B.O.C., Hendrix, Captain Beyond, Black Sabbath, etc. that in combination with their interest in pulp fantasy literature they turned into some of the earliest of "epic" (and eccentric!) metal. As the '80s progressed, each MR album heavied up, but still stayed strange (not difficult, considering the unique vocal stylings of guitarist and mastermind Mark "The Shark" Shelton). Metal is a great early example, one of our several faves in the band's still-growing catalog, in part 'cause it contains a song called "Defender", written from the perspective of a Defender video arcade machine! Here's a few lines: "Defending my planet / Is all that I do / Won't somebody play me / One quarter will do". Haha. Who else would do that, even in '82 when it was indeed a topical song idea? Other key cuts include the no-argument-there title track "Metal", and Conan-themed classic "Queen Of The Black Coast". And let's not forget "Out Of Control With Rock 'N' Roll", which sure hints at that Blue Oyster Cult influence, eh? Then there's this album's longest epic, "Cage Of Mirrors", which gets pretty freaky by the end.Reissued with new cover art but the more stark and simple (read: crude) original cover appears on the back of the booklet so purists can flip it around.
MPEG Stream: " Defender"
MPEG Stream: "Queen Of The Black Coast"
MPEG Stream: "Cage Of Mirrors"
MAUSOLEUMS, THE The Tollbooths (Chaos Of The Stars) cassette 5.98
The Mausoleums are back with a new collection of hypnosis-inducing riffs and sonorous tape-saturated grit transmissions in tow. With this, their fourth outing, The Mausoleums continue to refine the ball-lightning-like blown out energy of their earlier missives' psychedelic black metal into a somewhat more dynamic nuanced approach consisting of heavy doses of fried amp guitar buzz, churning organ, bass and percussion. Even with the feeling of simplicity achieved via elemental reduction and experiments in fidelity shift, the result is equal parts fist-pumping and cerebral, like a foggy haze trapped in a perpetually ascending NASA shuttle. This album retains the feeling of claustrophobia and paranoia of earlier ones; yet, more than before, production accentuates mood, providing just enough space for the sounds to breathe and create texture and depth, particularly in the buried yet aggressively melodic, occasionally double-tracked, vocals. There's a strange sense of reassurance in the music; the knowledge of plant growth overrunning remnants of civilization, perhaps, while Hawkwind riffs warble on the last Victrola. While the Mausoleums have always felt like an unearthed, organic compost of sound, elements of rural black dirt psychedelia and even Appalachia drape like a shrouds of mist on this record more heavily than before, alongside wafting echoes and half-remembered dreams of other distinctly domestic traditions: Detroit Rock, Southern Blues, metal, and hardcore, among others. And the Mausoleums' dirt-under-the-nails approach extends beyond the sonics; in spite of the diversity of influences and implications of cross-pollination, the Mausoleums seem to exist wholly on their own terms, offering a compelling statement in support of the simplicity of homegrown songcraft, production, and maintaining a singular vision in an era of hyper-aware referential complexity.
MPEG Stream: "Rainin"
MPEG Stream: "Defying Life"
MPEG Stream: "Once Again"
MPEG Stream: "Dead End"
MELCHIOR, DAN C.C.D.E. Music ( Little Big Chief ) lp 16.98
This might be one of the weirdest (and coolest) records we've heard from Dan Melchior, which is saying a lot, considering how twisted and cool most of his records are, but this one just might take the cake, seeing as what is essentially a full lp, is really only three or four 'proper' songs, filled out by some seriously twisted sonic weirdness, which in some cases we dig even more than the songs themselves. The record opens with buzzing synths and garbled processed vox, a lurching distorto creep, all murky and warbly, which soon adds some acoustic guitar strum, and some weird samples, the sound constantly on the verge of blossoming into a 'real' song, but it's not until track three, that a 'proper' song coalesces from sonic murk, and even then, it's still pretty fucked up, skeletal programmed drums, jagged guitars, distorted bass chug, echo drenched vocals, a seriously lo-fi dirge, the vocals getting deep and dramatic, the song culminating in some wild, tripped out murk guitar shred. After that there's some minimal hushed shimmer, a sort of ambient interlude that leads directly into another weird dirgey jam, this one a bit more propulsive, but still plenty muddy and tranced out, psychedelic and trippy, laced with some awesomely twisted backwards vocals. The B side opens with some abstract, psychedelic drift, distant chordal shimmer peppered with weird synth blurts, which bleeds into some creepy minimal drone/thrum, sounding like whipping wind over distant barely there riffage, which erupts into another song, this one cool fuzzed out drum machine driven gloom pop, heavy guitar buzz, droney, noisy and super hypnotic. There's a brief crumbly lo-fi ballad, all Faxed Head production, dreaminess beneath squelch and glitch and hiss and hum, before the final jam, a detuned Beefheartian creep, angular and atonal, super noisy, ultra murky, the whole thing eventually devolving into some super cool, and seriously demented free form sample laced drift. Wow. So fucked up, and twisted and dementedly amazing!
MESSAGES Mirage (Root Strata) lp 17.98
The Root Strata label hasn't been as active as they used to be, what with main founder Jefre Cantu-Ledesma living in Europe and then moving back to San Francisco temporarily and now heading to New York to stay awhile... Hopefully they'll get back to a more regular release schedule real soon.But until then, we got this to deep primitive drone record to tide us over and it's a stunner. Messages is the New York duo of Taketo Shimada & Tres Warren. We never carried their previous recordings, but are now kicking ourselves for not tuning in sooner. Even though Mirage is the third full-length release, this was recorded in 2008 before their first two albums and has remained unreleased until now. Four long-form excursions with a lyrical pastoral focus using an array of acoustic and electric drone instruments reminding us of like minded wayfarers Taj Mahal Travellers, Deep Listening Band, Date Palms and Portraits. Limited to 500 copies.
MOHAMMAD Roto Vildblomma (Antifrost) cd 14.98
We recently reviewed an lp on the Pan label from Mohammad, a Greek trio specializing in long form acoustic drone music. It was a stunning collection of modern minimalism created from just cello, contrabass and oscillators, the group conjuring up a rib cage rattling thrum in the form of huge organic expanses of low end sound, we still have a few of those limited lps left, anyone into dronemusic, from the modern minimalism of Phill Niblock, to the crushing dronedirgedrone of SUNNO)), should absolutely grab one before they're gone (& we also have ONE copy of a super limited triple lp Mohammad box set, check the instock not yet reviewed section!). We dug that Pan lp so much, that we got in touch with the band to get copies of this, their first cd release, and like the lp, it's incredible. But unlike that lp, it's much more rooted in classical music, slightly less abstract, with the opening track sounding a bit like some haunting chamber music, albeit all lower register, but it's so haunting, and stately, and strangely majestic. The tones rumble and reverberate, melodies play out in slow motion, a funereal threnody that creeps and drifts until the final few minutes when the sound seems to blossom into something much more psychedelic. The rest of the record is equally fantastic, "Skora" is even more minimal, nearly inaudible sans headphones, but strap some on, and you're submerged in a strange subterranean sound world, a sort of ultra spare slowcore drift, softly undulating barely there tones, that seem to grow more gristly as the track progresses. Deep foghorn moans wreathed in crunchy swirls of soft focus static, and near the end, the sound suddenly gets LOWER and BASSIER, not sure how it's possible, but suddenly, your speakers are on the verge of blowing, the bones in your ears vibrating at an alarming rate. Amazing."Lamane Kradoj" is still even MORE minimal yet, reminding us of those old Restgeraeusch records, which were sourced from the industrial noises in an office, the whir of the air conditioning, the rumble of the elevator down the hall, this is just a barely there field of low end static, that doesn't really build until the last minute or too, where it coalesces into the sound of some strange churning machine. "Lentzen Tranen" is like an acoustic version of that Nurse With Wound creaking ship record, all groans and rumbles, the sound of being in some rickety structure, which reacts to all of the vibrations outside, cars whizzing past, buses, subtle shifts in the earth's tectonic plates, all somehow woven into a gorgeously hypnotic thrum. And finally, the closer, sort of bookending the record, with a dark jazzy creep, starting out as a barely there drift, but soon morphing into some haunting doomjazz, the cello laying down woozy melodies over contrabass rumbles, and distant oscillator hum, jaunty by comparison, a truly strange coda, to a wonderfully mysterious drone record...
MPEG Stream: "Vildblomma"
MPEG Stream: "Letzen Tranen"
MPEG Stream: "Luminus Vuori"
MONITOR s/t (Superior Viaduct) lp 15.98
Also now on vinyl!!This is a weird one, the latest from local reissue label Superior Viaduct, who have so far reissued recordings from Factrix, Black Humor, German Shepherds, Noh Mercy, and the Sleepers, and even still, amongst some seriously weird company, this might outweird them all! We had never heard of Monitor before (although we just learned Scott is a big fan!), apparently the musical offshoot of a seventies LA art collective called World Imitation Productions, who fused modern technology with more archaic influences, and whose music somehow struggled to sonically represent that hybrid. The group was part of a loose group of like minded outfits, know as the Associated Skull Bands, which included Nervous Gender, NON, among others, but even amidst a weirdo Hollywood punk scene, Monitor proved too much for the not so weird weirdos. And hell it's easy to see why listening to this now. The record opens with queasy synths and ominous rumbles, from which emerges a minimal rhythm wrapped in primitive synths, peppered with burst of drum freakout, and angular fuzz guitar, super hypnotic and darkly dirgey, the vocals are breathy and reverbed, dueling boy girl voices, trancey, and woozy, the guitars seem to grow more detuned, the sound seeming to fray at the edges, super psychedelic and crazy creepy cool. That's the core sound of the group, the drums driving most of the tracks, the guitars and synths doled out a bit more judiciously. The track "Mokele-Mbembe" lays down a sinewy bassline, and some tribal drumming, and then over the top, the group deliver some very straight ahead sounding African high life style vocals. "In Terrae Interium" drapes distorted guitars, over a dirgey rhythmic stumble, tangled vocals croon and moan over the detuned dirge, super trippy and abstract. And so it goes, the group unfurling twisted ditties, rhythmic and playfully synthy one second ("Herb Lane Theme"), distorted and and almost carnivalesque the next ("Amphibious"), replete with weezing organ and angular guitar skronk, cold wave twee pop one second ("Pavillion"), minimal washed out drone-psych doom creep the next ("Phosphorea"). And when they came up with a song that required more rocking than they were equipped to do, well hell, they just hired it out, in this case, to the Meat Puppets, who kick out the jams on "Hair", a fierce staccato punk rock blow out, all howled vox, swirling sci-fi synths, noisy buzzy guitars, serious drum pound, squiggly Black Flag like leads and some seriously harsh vox! Almost wish Monitor had written a whole record for the Meat Puppets. The cd had 3 bonus tracks, this doesn't, but does a include digital download of the album.
MPEG Stream: "We Get Messages"
MPEG Stream: "In Terrae Interium"
MPEG Stream: "Amphibious"
MPEG Stream: "Hair (Performed By The Meat Puppets)"
MORS SONAT (Crucial Blast) cd 13.98
Holy shit, does this sound like a made-in-hell aQ dreamdate or what? The first filthy sonic offspring of a mutated meeting of the minds, between Mories the mastermind behind longtime aQ faves Gnaw Their Tongues and Aderlating, and the mystery man behind one man Aussie black metal/blacknoize juggernaut Nekrasov, known simply as Bob. Both men specialize in a sick breed of sonic depravity, the soaring orchestral cinematic black doom noise of GTT, the grim harsh buzz of Aderlating, and the noise infused blackness of Nekrasov, but none of that prepared us for the opening track, a haunting near symphonic sprawl of swoonsome strings, laid over a bed of spare percussion, and softly swirling black ambience, a darkly demonic chamber music, that sounds a bit like a satanic Rachel's, or a way more sinister noise drenched Necks, a hushed blackened shuffle, that is gradually subsumed by thick, caustic swaths of crumbling distortion, heaving low end moans and rumbles, the whole thing splintering into a glorious billowing cloud of hellish harsh noise and grim psychedelic blackness.Which is our baptism by black sonic fire, into the warped and harrowing soundworld that is Mors Sonat, nothing so lovely as that opening track, and if anything, the record is like a musical black pit, yawning before you, and with every track, you get farther and farther from the edge, where eventually, fingers bloody and torn, all hopes of clawing your way out have been abandoned, leaving the only hope to continue down, further into the blackness. Thick swirls of hellish voices, buried beneath cascades of black industrial crumble, dense low end rumbles and howls, and splinters into a grinding swirls of blackened shards, long sprawling stretches of slowly decaying power electronics give way to sheets of blacknoise, which in turn give way to dense noisy drones, and soundscapes of abject grey thrum, and terrifying cinematic mystery. There are moments of lightness, subjectively speaking, when compared to most of the records deep black, but those moments are suffused with their own terror, dense and intense, laced with ghostly voices, buried melodies, a strange uneasy oasis surrounded on all sounds by black walls of unstable sound, that can collapse at any moment, and usually do, transforming these small moments of tranquility, into full bore black holes of sonic chaos. Near the end of the record, there's a gorgeous bit of funereal creep, all pounded piano, and grinding blurred staticky ambience, spread out into a haunting expanse of sonic malevolence, lovely but blackly lovely, a final respite, the long slow trudge toward the inexorable end, in the case of Mors Sonat, the final track, an all engulfing blast of hateful, harrowing, feedback drenched white noise terror.
MUTANTES, OS The Sixth Finger: Singles, Rarities and Outakes 1965-1968 (Which Label) lp 32.00
There was a time in the mid-to-late nineties where Brazil psych-prog-pop legends, Os Mutantes ruled supreme at AQ. Their first three records came to define one of our store's focus areas in finding cool obscure Latin psychedelia especially from Brazil's Tropicalia scene of the sixties and seventies. While a large part of the band's back-catalog remains temporarily out of print on cd, we did just come across this mind-bending vinyl-only compilation of obscure rarities from the band's early days. The Sixth Finger was originally the intended title of the band's second album, which their record label refused. So it's apropos that this collection shows the band at their most primal, raw and rebellious, even featuring the Shell spots they did for radio adverts of their most experimental tape collages. Most of the music is taken direct from masters of longer alternate versions of some of their most well-known tracks including "Bat Macumba", "Panis Et Circensis" and "Ando Meio Desligado", but it also includes some raw live festival recordings featuring Caetano Veloso. The cover is even taken from one of the cancelled photo sessions for their second album. A really cool collection even though the price may keep unfamiliar but curious folks from taking a listen. Still a worthy addition for Mutantes fans!
NIHITI Ghosts & Versions (Lo Bit Landscapes) 12" 11.98
On the recent aQ Record Of The Week For Ostland, by mysterious NY electro-rock alchemists Nihiti, they started things off with a fantastic cover of Marisa Nadler's "Ghosts And Lovers", which ended up being one of our favorite tracks on that record, and which we described like this: "The already dark original transformed into an even darker lament, all swirling churns of mumblecore drift, heaving swells of black blurred fuzz, over skeletal rhythms, and moaned barely there vox, smeared and subtly processed, a plaintive whispery croon becomes a lush landscape of layered drones drifting dreamily and druggily, a ghostly and spectral electro-ambient threnody, that builds to a near squall of roiling riffs and tangled black melodies, the result still somehow warm and soft and utterly trancelike."This new 12" offers up four remixes of Nihiti's Nadler cover, and all of them are pretty excellent. National Park Systems (whose Lo Bit 12" we still have in stock), add some rhythmic propulsion, and some swirling noise, processing the vox a bit, transforming the song that sounds more like some lost M83 jam, all prismatic and big beat-y, while Mark Verbos give Nihiti's version a skeletal electro makeover, with a bit of a house-y twist, drenching the vocals in reverb, and stripping away most of the rest of the song, and draping those vocals over their own beats, and giving the whole thing a sort of retro-futuristic sci-fi vibe to boot, especially the second half, that definitely reminds us a bit of Majeure or Zombi. The flipside starts off with Hrdvrsn, who strip the song down to something very Kompakt sounding, chopping the vocals and creating a haunting stuttery melody, over a simple handclap rhythm, and wreathing the whole thing in glimmering swirls of synth, eventually letting the beat take over, before fading out and leaving just a pulsing ethereal swirl. And finally, Zebrablood adds some step sequencing and adds some robotic melodies, and transforms the song into something way more cybernetic, a super minimal electro-pulse minimal-house groover, that's both spare and skeletal, but also weirdly melodic and impossibly lush and layered. Super cool. And the perfect sonic addendum to Nihiti's amazing For Ostland...
MPEG Stream: "Ghosts And Lovers (National Park System RIP Mix)"
MPEG Stream: "Ghosts And Lovers (Zebrablood Remix)"
NKENGAS Destruction (Secret Stash) cd 15.98
Here's some more of that funky stuff, that funky African stuff to be precise. Secret Stash, who previously unearthed such gems as, well, the band Afro Funk among others, bring us a reissue of the first album from this Nigerian outfit, originally released in 1973. Kind of hard to argue with a record like this: super groovy, JB's meet Afrobeat / high life stylings, and it's called Destruction, yeah! With lots of jubilant singing, hand percussion, rhythmic wah-wah guitar, joyful jazzy horns, and awesome breaks, it's guaranteed to make you dance or at least -consider- dancing, if you're not the type to actually dance. Many of the songs are in a Nigerian dialect, but there's some English lyrics too, not always easy to make out - on the song "Jungle Beat" we could swear he's singing "Ride that rhino", perhaps he is.Secret Stash has produced this first-time-ever reissue in cooperation with bandleader Chief Vincent Okorego and original London-based record label Orbitone. Vinyl version comes with download, both formats include plenty of liner notes and vintage photos. It's a good one.
MPEG Stream: "Jungle Beat"
MPEG Stream: "Ube Frank Special"
MPEG Stream: "Ndu Bu Isi"
OM Gethsemane Dubplate By Alpha & Omega (Drag City) 12" 13.98
The second track from OM's recent Advaitic Songs gets the dub reworking, again by Alpha & Omega, who redid Addis for the first 12", and like that, this new one doesn't need to stretch to far to transform OM into straight up dub, since OM's sound is essentially a doomy dub to begin with. But here, that doom is shed in favor of some old school classic dub sounds. Upstroke guitars, simple grooving rhythms, bass for days, in fact, the bass, and the vocals are really the main thing thee new version retains, the bass driving everything, the sound warm and and hypnotic, a little mellow, but with just a hint of sonic shadow. The vocals translate perfectly, although they're a wee bit more cringeworthy stripped of the supporting sonic heft of the original. And like that first 12", if you weren't familiar with OM, you might not even know this was a remix/reworking, it sounds pretty genuinely old school dub. That said, not all OM fans will dig. A quick look online and seems like lots of folks didn't really get it, or like it, which is surprising considering how dubby in spirit at least OM's actual sound already is. The B side amps up the dubbiness even more, dousing the vocals and rhythms in echo and delay, words and snare cracks careening into the ether, wreathed in warm swirls of melodica melody, everything dreamily druggy and delightfully hazy and washed out. We'd recommend spinning this at 33rpm though, if you want to get some of the doom back, at that speed, it's a dirgey doom-dub creep, the vocals a demonic bellow, the music tarpit thick, the rhythm a droney dubby dirge. Either way, cool stuff, fans of the first 12" will want this one too, and open minded OM fans, give this a try, cuz you know these days it seems like dub, more than metal is the sound that influences OM's sound, see also OM frontman Al Cisneros' dub solo singles for more proof of that!
PERSONAL BEST Issue #3 magazine 14.98
Third (duh) issue of this fanzine done by notorious Nordic noisician Lasse Marhaug (Jazzkammer, etc.). Super nicely put together (it looks like a "real" magazine), but definitely a fanzine in its enthusiasms... Marhaug and a few friends go one-on-one in in-depth interviews with such interesting contemporaries/colleagues as Svarte Greiner, Pumice, Phill Niblock, Graham Lambkin (of The Shadow Ring), Moe, Will Guthrie, Carl Michael Eide (of Ved Buenes Ende fame!!) and more... 96 pages or so, squarebound, color cover, color interior (with lots of cool photos/graphics - the Pumice piece is actually done in the form of a comic strip), on a nice matte paper stock, kinda like a double-size, Marhaug-curated edition of The Wire, but the content is ALL interviews (well, and ads, which are interesting too - the back page is a full page ad for an upcoming Reynols 20th anniversary 7 cd box set on Marhaug's Pica Disk label!!!). And the interviews are quite interesting. And go in some strange directions, indeed...Still new fave 'zine, heartily recommended to anyone into experimental drones, noise, black metal, cool artwork, and other weirdness. Only five bucks more than a copy of The Wire and well worth it.
PURSON The Circle And The Blue Door (Rise Above / Metal Blade) cd 14.98
At first we assumed this UK combo was gonna be another witchy female fronted doom outfit, they're on the same label as Uncle Acid And The Deadbeats after all, but have a lovely lady singer, and there's plenty of hype surrounding their debut (Pentagram meets Pentangle is the tagline), but folks looking for something truly heavy might be a bit disappointed, as Purson owe more to seventies British acid folk than they do any strain of metal, doom or otherwise. That said, for everyone else, there's a lot here to dig, it is sort of witchy, but also has a kind of medieval vibe, definitely some classic rock and vintage folk going on too. Seems like fans of Ghost's style of retro hard rock will be the ones most likely to dig Purson, their sound sultry and slithery, lots of acoustic guitars, swirling psychedelic organ, and to be fair, while it's not METAL, there are some heavy parts, some distorted guitars, plenty of buzz. Check out "The Contract", which might be our favorite track here. The verses driven by a thick fuzzed out bassline, beneath little flurries of folky steel string strum, and vocalist Rosalie Cunningham's sultry croon, but when the chorus kicks in, it's all buzzing guitars, swirling effects, the song splintering into some full on heavy prog, a hook to die for, the vocals soaring, the music following suit, the organ leaping to the fire, totally trippy and psychedelic, definitely hard rocking, and when the bridge comes in, the bass is wickedly distorted and thick and slithery, joined by FX drenched guitar swirl and wild tribal drums, and then it's right back to that killer chorus. We were definitely sound after that song, and while the whole record is not that hard rocking and proggy, there's definitely a sonic thread that holds it all together, and makes it a good fit on Rise Above / Metal Blade."Spiderwood Farm" is another exotic hard rocker, with some spidery wah wah guitar, over dense drumming, circusy organ, and when it shifts into the main riff, it's definitely a riff we could imagine in a Ghost song, the vocals sinister and intense, with Cunningham delivering her lines like some evil sonic sorceress, intense and sort of evil. Tracks like "Sailor's Wife's Lament" are more folky and laid back, but those tracks are inevitably butted up against tracks like the oddly titled "Leaning On A Bear" which is total hard rocking seventies style prog, with a killer chorus of swirling organs and processed vox, and when the band lock into the mathy grooves on either side, it totally pushes all our old school prog buttons. We could go track by track, as we're writing this, we keep finding tracks we dig and want to describe, and with every listen we end up finding a new favorite, the deeper we get into the record, but really, if you like retro leaning modern heavies like Ghost and Uncle Acid, and love classic proto metal, hard rock and prog, odds are Purson will definitely end up a new fave...
MPEG Stream: "The Contract"
MPEG Stream: "Spiderwood Farm"
MPEG Stream: "Leaning On A Bear"
MPEG Stream: "Mavericks And Mystics"
QUIET EVENINGS Impressions (Aguirre) lp 25.00
Another gorgeous piece of kosmische electronica from the Quiet Evenings duo of Grant & Rachel Evans! For many years now, these two have embarked on an introspective take on the transcendent psychedelic electronics pioneered by Klaus Schulze, Tangerine Dream, and Cluster. For the most part, these two tend toward channeling those sounds through their solo projects - Motion Sickness Of Time Travel for Rachel and Nova Scotia Arms (amongst others) for Grant - but when they find themselves working together as Quiet Evenings, it can be magical. Impressions is one of the best things we've heard from them in any context, sporting two sprawling pieces for electronics, voice, and guitar. The first side "Blue Dream" settles upon a hypnotic bed of synthetic tones, out of which the pair broadcast fizzling arcs of warm static and revolving beacons of melodic phrases. As Rachel's ghostly voice settles into a narcotized sustained melody about halfway through the track, Grant picks up the guitar picking up the bittersweet, sodden vibe that Mark McGuire would occasionally create in the darker Emeralds tracks. Telepathic Heart is much more of a sci-fi excursion with its slow revolution through the sweeping ambient oscillation and twinking arpeggiations, as if they were creating the imaginary soundtrack to a documentary film about travelling through the heart of deep space nebulae. There's a considerable amount of hand-wrought melancholy that comes through Quiet Evenings productions, and this has always separated the Evans' from many of their contemporaries who are just aping a crystal dangled New Age wishy-washiness. Yeah, there's some teeth to these sounds, and we're much better off for it. Limited to 200 copies.
MPEG Stream: "Blue Dream"
QULIELFI Forgetter (Universal Consciousness) cassette 4.98
Got a whole bunch of new releases from the Universal Consciousness label, a new lp of twisted experimental black noise from Kilt, the final release from shoegaze black metal one man band Wrath Of The Weak, and the latest slab of twisted blackened weirdness from Lord Time. And then there's this, some seriously fucked up outsider bedroom blackened doom folk from the Pacific Northwest, which is even more twisted than that sounds. Imagine intensely strummed acoustic guitars, fluttering flutes, cardboard box blast beats (or maybe it's someone slapping their palms on a table), add some raga like drones, and some seriously harsh blown out vokills, some weird samples, and holy shit, you've got the unpronounceable Quloelfi, whose sound is a seriously demented strain of blackened bedroom weirdness, the sound slipping from furious ACOUSTIC black buzz, to droned out ritualistic psychedelia, to distortion drenched 4 track folk, apocalyptic and menacing, the vocals are sick, a hellish monstrous shriek, that when draped over even the dreamiest folkiness, transforms the sound into something abject and demonic, but even with that shrieking, the band sometimes add a second clean vocal, a twisted counterpoint that only makes it all that much weirder and cooler. Some tracks the drums do sound real, and the guitar does sound electric, but even then, it's got this weird, stumbling low fidelity home brewed bedroom vibe, that makes it super twisted and super unique, especially when the band whip up some seriously majestic black buzz heaviness, using elements that are obviously not typical. We can honestly say we've never heard anything like this, and thus we're sort of obsessed, and think anyone into twisted outsider heaviness, and warped experimental weirdness, will likely be as smitten as we are.
RP BOO Legacy (Planet Mu) cd 14.98
Another collection of maddening footwork genius, this one from one of the big names in the jukin' scene RP Boo. We've reviewed two collections of footwork jams, a twisted offshoot of hip hop, very specific to a certain style of dance, called jukin', and the sound is crazy catchy, but also insanely repetitive, so much so, that in every review, we make it clear, that while some folks (us for instance) can't get enough of this stuff, plenty of other people can't handle more than a track or two. Which is kinda understandable. Every track is essentially a single skittery programed rhythm, generally a single melodic loop, and ONE sample, chopped up, looped and layered and repeated ad infinitum. For us it's sort of trancelike, super mesmerizing and hypnotic, almost like a single measure, looped and looped and looped and looped... you get the picture.Some of our favorite tracks on the above mentioned comps came courtesy of RP Boo, so we were super psyched for this full length, and it's everything we hoped for, groovy, funky, dark, with a definite sense of humor and a serious flair for creative loopscaping. Give a listen to "Battle In The Jungle", which is probably our favorite jam here, where the main melody is a sliced and diced and manipulate sample of Tarzan's distinctive yell, here transformed into a woozy, stuttery melody, SO GREAT! Or check out the final track "Area 72", which is super cinematic and soundtracky, a dense layered loopscape of soaring synths, intoned vocals samples, and wild skittery beats. In between, there's all sorts of twisted variations, the crazy cartoon music of "Robotbutizm", the slow burn soul of "The Opponent, or the sinister string laden opener "Steamidity". Check out the samples, it'll only take a minute or two for you to figure out which side you're on, odds are, if you're regular aQ list reader, this stuff is probably weird and wild enough that its maddening insane repetition and endless loopage will only make it that much more appealing. We've been playing this like incessantly and driving people CRAZY! Love it!
MPEG Stream: "Battle In The Jungle"
MPEG Stream: "Area 72"
MPEG Stream: "Invisibu Boogie!"
MPEG Stream: "Robotbutizm"
SAVAGES Silence Yourself (Matador / Pop Noire) cd 14.98
The hype surrounding Savages has almost eclipsed the album itself. Here was a London quartet that erupted on the scene in 2012, hybridizing your favorite post-punk reference into a violent buzzsaw of Teutonic falsetto and martial rhythms, delivered with a sneering abhorrence of anything melodic. While it's easy to hear a riff from Wire, a plod from Joy Division, or a scream from Siouxsie in Savages, all of those bands had the potential to deliver an unforgettable pop hook; and that is something that these four lasses have no interest in delivering. Instead, these songs are built through jagged layers of propulsion, aggressive thrusts into guitar noise, and unconventional mathy structures that start-stop-start-stutter-then-stop-start-stop. In listening to Savages, we're really getting that sense of deja vu; but not for those bands we had already mentioned. Instead, Savages really come across as a re-incarnation of Bestial Mouths, the LA goth-punk outfit which matched an unhinged drumming with a caterwauling vocalist in the most inhospitable of atmospheres, and again nary a melody to be heard. While that LA band seems to be undergoing an re-invention themselves with their fantastic drummer leaving Bestial Mouths, Savages pick right up from where Bestial Mouths left off a couple years back on their LP for Dais. That record made a lot of sense coming out of the bowels of the underground, but Savages' campaign through the mainstream music press is all the more unlikely. If you were expecting Matador to deliver the next Interpol through Savages, that's not the case... but if you were hoping for a feral squallor of post-punk volatility, Savages will happily oblige.
MPEG Stream: "Shut Up"
MPEG Stream: "Strife"
MPEG Stream: "Husbands"
SIC ALPS She's On Top (Drag City) 12" 13.98
Latest from Mr. Mike Donovan, aka Sic Alps, a short three song 45rpm 12", the A side of which might be the most high fidelity jam we've heard from him, a glammy hard rock stomp, swaggery with big crunchy guitars, pounding drums, and killer vocals that slip easily into a soaring falsetto, not to mention a wicked hook and kick ass chorus. The flipside is more of the same, another glammy, groovy, hi-fi jam, this one though more slithery than swaggery, all woozy and druggy with some killer psychedelic leads, and some seriously fierce crumbling guitar crunch. The second track on the B side is almost as catchy as the A side, a sweet slab of big rock power pop, the main riff a dead ringer for some other classic jam, but here it's all Sic Alps, lots of swing and swagger, another glam rock stomp that kills, and a super cool falsetto mathy breakdown that weirdly reminds us of the recently reviewed new record from aQ pop faves Pretty & Nice, but then it's right back into it. Definitely dying for the upcoming full length now!
SNAPPER s/t (Flying Nun) lp 15.98
One of the Record Store Day releases we were most psyched on getting this year was this Flying Nun/Captured Tracks reissue of the first ep by NZ cult legends, Snapper. But they didn't show up in time for RSD like they were supposed to, thanks to a shipping snafu. Finally, however, our Snapper 12"s (along with The Bats' first ep, also reissued by Flying Nun via Captured Tracks for RSD) finally showed and we're so glad it's here now and we're able to share it with you, as we probably wouldn't have been able to write about it earlier, because we're sure they would have been all snatched up on RSD proper. So we only have about 7 of these left, and we're pretty sure they're gone for good, so act fast if you want one!Released in 1989, Snapper was formed by Peter Gutterdige (The Clean, Chills and Great Unwashed) and featured Christina Voice on organ and vocals. The band would go through several lines-up but it is this ep that defined their sound for bands to come, a mixture of Suicide, Jesus and Mary Chain and a less campy B-52's with a farfisa driven hypno-psych vibe that predated Stereolab. Their drug-psych influence can be easily sensed in bands like Moon Duo and Psychic Ills today. Includes poster and original press release. So so good! Four songs. All killer!
MPEG Stream: "Buddy"
MPEG Stream: "Death in Weirdness in The Surfing Zone"
SNIDER, ADAM Decomposer (Psychic Arts) cd-r 8.98
First full length from this Bay Area guitarist, who we first heard on the Berkeley Guitar compilation back in 2006, which also featured Matt Baldwin (whose Psychic Arts label released this!) and Sean Smith. And like his tracks on the comp, Snider displays quite a knack for sweetly melodic, pastoral Appalachia, conjuring up warm chordal swells, wrapped in delicate fingerpicked melodies, the tracks peppered with some subtle slippery slide guitar. Snider's style is generally not super flashy, and isn't about cascades of rapid fire notes, or dizzying melodic flurries, instead he tends to gently coax a hushed melancholia from his guitar, obviously the shadows of Fahey and Kottke and the rest loom large, but Snider definitely sounds right at home amongst such esteemed company. Most of the tracks here are dreamy and wistful, but a few (like "Val Verde Nights"), do display a more shadowy side, giving those tracks a moody minor key vibe. Good stuff.LIMITED TO 100 COPIES, each one hand numbered, and packaged in an origiami style folded jacket, with pasted on cover art and a photocopied insert.
MPEG Stream: "The Flying Suit"
MPEG Stream: "Mermaid"
MPEG Stream: "Accidents"
MPEG Stream: "Val Verde Nights"
SUTEKH HEXEN Empyraisch / The Power To Condemn (Petit Mal) cd + 3"cdr 10.98
Killer cd reissue of the recent singles collection, Empyraisch, from local blacknoise/black metal outfit Sutek Hexen, which includes a bonus 3"cd-r with an exclusive unreleased 20 minute track! More on that in a second, first, here's what we had to say about Empyraisch when we reviewed the lp version:Empyraisch is a compilation of sorts, gathering up all the tracks from Sutekh Hexen's super insanely limited and long out of print 7"s from the last couple years, as well as a rare compilation track or two. We'd imagine most of you were like us, and were unable to snag any of those rare 7"s, or perhaps only managed to track down one or two, so this should still be of interest to even the most obsessive SH fans, but fair warning to the folks who did manage to get em all. For the rest of is though, this is a godsend (devilsend?)...This Bay Area black metal / noise outfit dig deep into the crypt for these grim blacknoize rarities, a gloriously dizzying mix of blurred noise drenched black buzz and haunting atmospheric ambience... The opening track introduces Sutekh Hexen at their noisiest, the initial stretch of washed out buzzing blackness giving way to pure face melting black noise, unrelenting and devastating. Which is a bit of foreshadowing, since this collection obviously represents the group at their noisiest and grimmest. The record continues to unwind with blasts of corrosive noise, this time underpinned by low drones and chant like vox, adding some melody and color, however subtle, to the proceedings, everything blurred into a Tim Hecker-ish haze. The first half closes with a blast of extremely harsh black metal, the buzz and any semblance of riffage, nearly buried beneath an avalanche of grinding psychedelic noise.After that, Sutekh Hexen flex those soundscaping muscles, at least briefly, opening with a stretch of droned out thrum, a soft black swirl, drifting ominously, only to disappear in a squall of torrential blackness, a wild roiling black hole of sound, that eventually dissipates, allowing the harsh vokills to slip to the fore, then the buried rhythms, but again, it all bleeds into an extended sprawl of black metal murk, woozy and blown out, blurry and dense, trailing off into a cloud of grim black energy.This reissue tacks on the 20 minute "The Power To Condemn", which opens with some seriously ominous abject ambience, swirling winds, some creepy scraping (bones dragged on stone?), creaking, rumbles, all laced with strange sonic shimmer, soon voices drift in, demonic whispers, in the distance keening feedback, we were steeling ourselves for the band to launch into some caustic black buzz, but it never happens, this is all ambient, although about halfway through, some deep low end thrum surfaces, pocked with strange pulsations, and eventually, some proper buzz swoops in, but it's way low in the mix, sounding off in the distance, not black buzz so much as glacial tar pit ooze, downtuned rumbles, slo-mo riffage bleeding into black blurs, a SUNNO)))-like dirge, which soon blossoms into something blacker and noisier, a swirling squall of harrowing, hellish howls and churning blackness, darkly psychedelic and hauntingly harsh, the sounds seem to melt and fade before our ears, gradually settling into a low level feedback drenched thrum, before finally fading out completely. Swank packaging too, housed in an oversized black matte envelope, sealed with a printed sticker, inside, two printed inserts, and two printed clear plastic transparencies, probably SUPER LIMITED too, so don't dawdle...
MPEG Stream: "Bled Thy Likeness"
MPEG Stream: "Murmur"
MPEG Stream: "The Power To Condemn"
TTOTALS Spectrums Of Light (Twin Lakes) 7" 8.98
For whatever reason, this Nashville psych rock combo got just a one sentence review on the aQ site for their self released self titled lp, which most of us here really dug. That sentence goes on to describe Ttotals as "scuzzy, bluesy and dirty" which to still definitely applies, but these songs seem a bit more polished, without losing any of their scuzz, the A side a brooding groover, with deep dramatic vox, and peppered with little blurts of wah guitar (which almost sound like electronics), the song a loping smoldering psychedelic sprawl, which explodes into a crunchy, heavy chorus, all thick bass buzz, and chiming distorted guitars, a killer for sure. The flipside is sonically similar, darkly dramatic, a little bit droney, driven again by some thick bass buzz, super gloomy and gothic, Stoogesy swagger woven into post punk churn, we're reminded of old Aussie outfits like the Scientists and the like, lots of moody atmosphere and swirling sonic texture, with some seriously heavy riffage going on, getting downright metallic, but the crooned vox and gothic atmosphere keep it firmly rooted in the realm of garage gloom psych rock. Mastered by Sonic Boom too which of course makes perfect sonic sense...Includes a download for the single and a download for a label sampler too!
MPEG Stream: "Sometimes You Just Are"
MPEG Stream: "Tricks Of The Trade"
V/A Broken Hearted Dragonflies: Insect Electronica From Southeast Asia (Sublime Frequencies) lp 21.00
One of our favorite Sublime Frequencies releases EVER, long out of print on cd, is finally available again, and on vinyl!!!! Here's what we wrote about this amazing record way back in 2004 when we first reviewed it on New Arrivals List #192:The first recording in the Sublime Frequencies catalog to not focus on the noise people make, Broken Hearted Dragonflies gives a voice to our insect brethren in Southeast Asia, as recorded by Tucker Martine in Laos, Burma and Thailand in 2000. The disc starts off like any other "traditional" insect recording: lots of cicada-like whining and chirping, but gradually turns to sound unlike all the rest. As one particular insect in the field begins to slowly sweep up in pitch like an oscillator on a synthesizer. A short time later, the clashing buzz of insect varieties begins to grate against their own harmonies and sounds much like either a clever DSP patch or the aliasing sound of a poorly sampled instrument. In other words, it all sounds hardly organic. In fact, in the field recording genre, we'd have to place this one in the same bizarre category as Douglas Quin's Antarctica recordings. The Raster-Noton sounds of nature. We're periodically reminded of our bucolic setting only by the steady hoots and coos of the native birds. You will undoubtedly share our initial skepticism regarding the purity of these field recordings, but it is emphatically stated by the recordist that "these recordings were not processed, the insects actually sound like this!" Absolutely amazing stuff! Features liner notes by none other than Hakim Bey.
MPEG Stream: "Morning Fanfare"
MPEG Stream: "Brood X"
V/A Music For Dancefloors: The KPM Music Library (Strut) 2cd 17.98
Crate-diggers have long looked to Library music (anonymously created music cues made available for use in film) for obscure hip-hop and funk breaks. Back in 2000, Strut Records released this survey on the KPM library originally intending to create a series dedicated to mining the archives of UK's foremost music libraries. It has now been reissued in a deluxe format that includes a bonus cd of a live reunion concert at London's Jazz Cafe with KPM's top performers, Alan Hawkshaw (The Mohawks), Keith Mansfield, and Alan Parker, dubbed The KPM All Stars. The album proper also includes tracks by John Cameron, Les Baxter and a host of others focusing on funk, soul, Latin, jazz, and disco with a gritty seventies urban vibe. Break beats are plentiful, but what is most stunning is the solid session player chops being presented especially on the live disc, not to mention the stunning vocals by Madeline Bell on "That's What Friends Are For" (not the Dionne Warwick song of the same name, thankfully!). Fans of Gilles Peterson, or rare soul and jazz groove. take note! There's also a gatefold double lp version that includes both cds with it as well.
MPEG Stream: ALAN PARKER "That's What Friends Are for"
MPEG Stream: THE KLAUS WEISS SOUNDS AND PERCUSSION "Morning 1/ Morning 2"
MPEG Stream: NACIMBENE "Interlude: Witchdoctor"
MPEG Stream: KEITH MANSFIELD "Crash Course"
MPEG Stream: KPM ALL STARS "Swamp Fever"
V/A Theppabutr Productions: The Man Behind The Molam Sound 1972-75 (Zudrangma Records) cd 23.00
Released on vinyl by Light In The Attic for Record Store Day this year, now here's the cd version (lps all gone now)... Please don't ask us to pronounce Theppabutr, but do ask us why this is so awesome - though the best answer is: just listen to it! International vinyl diggers, seeking out vintage grooves in far flung parts of the world, have made Molam music from Thailand into something that's now definitely a 'thing' in our world music section - we've had some other great Molam collections on the Sublime Frequencies label, for instance, so of course it's exciting to hear from 'The Man Behind The Molam Sound', Theppabutr Satirodchompu, responsible for the production work on the 17 tracks collected here from a variety of Molam artists. It's Molam of the modern variety (modern circa 1972-1975 that is, in this case), a form of electrified vocal music from Northeast Thailand that combines traditional folk melodies and ethnic instrumentation with electric guitars and electronic keyboards. Great stuff, all of it, lively and rhythmic, emotive and ear-wormy. Even though we don't understand a word, it's still immediately captivating. We love the keening singers and warbly organs, groovy beats and exotic vibes. If you haven't yet given Molam and closely related genre Luk Thung a try, this would be a great place to start. Seventies Molam like this is mighty fine stuff, up there with those 'Ethiopiques' recordings and certain Jamaican reggae of the same vintage, though we'd imagine the vocal stylings here might work for some folks and not so much for others.Comes in a gatefold sleeve with thick booklet of informative liner notes.
MPEG Stream: BANYEN RAKKAEN "Siang Toey Jak Jai"
MPEG Stream: YUPIN KANFUNG "Sao Isan Lam Khaen"
MPEG Stream: SAKSIAM PETCHCHOMPU "Saksiam Dearn Glon"
MPEG Stream: SABAIPARE BUASOD "Kor Hai Rak Jing"
V/A To Fathom Hell Or Soar Angelic (Particles) cd 17.98
We always love a good heavy psych/proto-metal mix, that's what you get here on this new comp, twenty tracks of fairly obscure heaviness circa 1968-1974 from the UK, USA, Holland, and elsewhere; as the subtitle says, "a lesson in devilish psychedelics", sure! Making it more of a lesson, they've thoughtfully provided some notes about each band/track in the full-color illustrated cd booklet. Now, what's interesting is that we used to get comps like this and everything was new to us, but now, we know a lot of this stuff, you might too, bands like Incredible Hog, The Way We Live, Armaggedon (the German one), Skid Row (the Irish one!), Rotomagus (with their punkiest tune, "Fightin' Cock"), Schizo (Richard Pinhas' pre-Heldon band, with 2 tracks from their rare 7", sounding like a spaced out Steppenwolf), and big aQ hits Jerusalem (represented here by their devastating "Primitive Man"). We've had full-length reissues from several of these acts, most recently the Francais Metal de Proto of Rotomagus. Great stuff, all of it, and so if you don't know 'em all, this would be a good introduction.And then, there's actually, on the other hand, quite a few tracks here from band we DIDN'T already know, and thus are glad to hear. Seems that many of them were singles-only bands, so comps like this are one of the best ways to find out about 'em. Some names: The Hook (pretty dang wild and heavy for '68!), Sound Of Imker (both sides of their '69 single), Dickens, Spirit Of St. Louis, Bintangs, Henry Schifter, The Gallery, Inca Bullet Joe, Demian, Zendik, and Rapunzel. Some of those now we're gonna be on the lookout for more by - if there IS any more, 'cuz what's here might be all of it in some cases.Definitely a expertly-curated dose of old school, fuzz-filled heaviness for folks who dug similar comps like Up All Night, White Lace & Strange, and Downer Rock Genocide. A good range of frantic garage, manic psych, & plodding prog, all proto-something, either metal or punk or both. And by the way, interesting to note that a good 40 percent of these tracks date specifically from 1971, once again THEE year for awesome rock music.
MPEG Stream: SOUND OF IMKER "See Those Girls"
MPEG Stream: THE WAY WE LIVE "King Dick II"
MPEG Stream: SPIRIT OF ST. LOUIS "See Me Go"
VAN IMPE, DR. JACK Marked For Death - Can America Survive? (Chaos Of The Stars) cassette 5.98
Rescued from the vaults of obscurity, this chunk of early '70s Midwestern religious hyper-paranoia is sure to appeal to those of you who like your sermons firebreathingly irrational and on the slightly scary side - if it weren't so damn funny. Nowhere near as transcendental as Elizabeth Clare Prophet and with none - absolutely none - of the out there hippie charm of Brother John Rygden, Dr. Jack Van Impe, who is still at it all these years later, albeit in a way more toned down manner, focuses his sights on that classic cause for all of the world's problems - Rock n' Roll! We are encouraged to go home and smash our Herman's Hermits records as rock is blamed for the explosion of illegitimate babies being born, the dumbing down of our youth, and the overall moral decay in the world. Oh, and rock was created in Russia as a communist plot to take over, if you can believe it. Operating out of Detroit, Van Impe singles out much of his rage on legendary shit-stirrer, leader of the White Panthers and one time manager of the MC5, John Sinclair. Yep, dope, guns and fucking in the streets, all the good stuff, comes into heavy criticism here as Van Impe spews out bile in his admittedly impressive preacher voice. A strange slice of forgotten history that has previously been sampled by DJ Shadow, Marked For Death is interesting for its reactionary agenda - which isn't too far from some of the moralistic, self-aggrandizing sleaze coming today, religious, political, or otherwise.
MPEG Stream: "1"
MPEG Stream: "2"
WILD NOTHING Empty Estate (Captured Tracks) cd ep 12.98
Latest from these aQ fave dreampoppers, and while on past records these guys have flirted with new wave, they haven't gone for it full bore until now. And we're digging it. The opener might be the only exception, a gorgeous short, sharp blast of prismatic fuzz drenched, piano laced, distorto pop, hooks galore, sweet crooned vocals, swirling strings, cool synth melodies, a little bit of an M83 vibe, but more sun dappled and dreamy, with some crunch too, and yeah, a little bit of new wave, the sound is more like something you'd hear on Merge or Slumberland. But then "Ocean Repeating (Big-Eyed Girl)" gets all angular, and super new wavey, reminding us a bit of The Fixx (!), but much more fuzzy and poppy, more swirling synths, angular melodies, handclap rhythms, and a main hook that will get lodged in your head like crazy. "On Guyot" might be our favorite track here though. A weirdly spaced out sort of psychedelic kosmische kraut-groove, all simple motorik rhythm, swirling processed vocals, and shimming, glimmering synths, super spacey and dreamy, thick swaths of synth drone laced with buried melodies and slow shifting textures, wish it went on for way more than its six minutes. The rest of the record returns to WN's woozy jangly new wave, from crunchy, fuzzy propulsive synth pop, to caffeinated synth soaked garage pop, to tripped out, angular new wave grooviness, replete with processed horns and all manner of keyboard blurt, until the final track, another more abstract drifter, this one all hazy and washed out, bleary and blurry and dreamlike, a twang flecked drift, drenched in echo and reverb, a soft focus finale, that finishes the record on a surprisingly dreamy melancholic note.Housed in a eye popping, full color slipcase.
MPEG Stream: "The Body In Rainfall"
MPEG Stream: "On Guyot"
MPEG Stream: "Ocean Repeating (Big-Eyed Girl)"
WOE Withdrawal (Candlelight) cd 14.98
A Brand new full length from these East Coast black blasters, and maybe their most black metal. Which is maybe a weird thing to say about a BLACK METAL band, but part of what we dug so much about Woe, especially when they were a he, and a one man bedroom black metal band, is that the black buzz was heavily tempered with lots of post rockisms, and noise rock elements, we mentioned in a past review that their sound was as much beholden to Bastro and Husker Du as black metal. Which was definitely true of their (his) debut, A Spell For The Death Of Man, but slightly less true for record #2 "Quietly, Undramatically", which while still black metal, remained super melodic and definitely still displayed hints of noise rock and other not specifically black elements. Which brings us to Withdrawal, which as we mentioned is maybe the blackest of the bunch. Sure there are moments of clean singing, acoustic guitars, super catchy major key melodies, but really that stuff isn't so rare in black metal, and the band were pretty melodic from the beginning, we even compared certain parts on past records to Alcest and Amesoeurs. But get an earful of the opener, it's frantic and frenzied, exploding immediately into some furious blasting and buzzing, and while the band are still heavy on melody, the buzz and blackness is definitely front and center these days, soaring and epic and majestic, slipping easily from heads down, grim blasting ferocity, to super soaring metal majesty, to galloping thrashing heaviness. There are definitely moments, the band slip into some doomy dirgery, or explode in a bit of mathiness, but it's much more integrated into the group's sound, a sound which is now firmly and solidly black metal, but it's definitely a strain of black metal that few can pull off, and even fewer who are this good. Making grim buzz this catchy, and making melodic blackness sound this fierce and furious, it's pretty incredible, as is pretty much all of Withdrawal, which seems like it wouldn't be nearly as appealing, sans the overt math/noise rockiness, but somehow, those elements remain, just subsumed into the blackness, which is making us dig this just as much, and maybe even a little more that the other Woe records, which is saying a lot!
MPEG Stream: "This Is The End Story"
MPEG Stream: "Carried By Waves To Remorseless Shores Of The Truth"
MPEG Stream: "Song Of My Undoing"
WORLDSCAPE:18 Hunter (Brotherhood Of Light) cassette 5.98
This is the latest release from local black metal tape label Brotherhood Of Light, who have been moving well away from black metal on recent releases, never more so than here, the first we've heard from Worldscape:18, one of a handful of new BoL tapes (the rest are listed in the In Stock Not Yet Reviewed section if you want to take a flyer on any of those) that find the BoL crew exploring all manner of experimental soundscapery, power electronics, harsh (and not so harsh) noise and even techno, ALL of which find their way onto Hunter, a dizzying, constantly shifting sprawl of crumbling drones, blurred damaged loops, corrosive textures, and even some beats!Hunter starts out in a grey sonic fog, sound a bit like Nurse With Wound doing power electronicsall blown out, decayed sonic detritus, the sort of cool warped sound that makes it hard to figure out if it's meant to be like that, or if it's the batteries dying in your Walkman, either way, it sounds amazing, a churning fractured dronescape, buried melodies and swirling looped samples underneath, sounding a lot like a noisier, more caustic Caretaker, all washed out and woozy. The sound shifts into dense cascades of melting symphonic swirls, and wild squalls of demonic whispers and fractured psychedelia, again all jumbled and tangled into a swirling chaotic mesmer, harsh in places for sure, but smeared into something less brittle and brutal, and transformed into the sort of soft noise that's totally hypnotic and mesmerizingly tranced out. We were settling in for a long sprawl of droned out zoner drift, when BAM, the sound splinters, and then explodes into a sort of killer distorto house music, blown out and super aggressive, like a jacked up Silent Servant, laced with all sorts of strange sci-fi bloops and bleeps, spacey melodies, wreathed in sheets of thick blacknoise thrum, pounding malevolently, total blackened dancefloor destruction for sure. That beat soon disappears in a cloud of staticky white noise, before devolving into a cool, slithery downtempo groove, all slowed down vocals, roiling looped rhythms, again all wreathed in gristly buzz, and drifting atop a bed of rumbling thrum. Haunting minor key melodies surface, again transforming the sound into something hauntingly beautiful, the beats still throbbing down in the murk, sounding a bit like a demonic lo-fi Boards Of Canada, sort of. All before another barrage of noise swallows the proceedings whole, and spews out an entirely different set of gnarled beats, monstrous vokill bellows, and swirling kosmische synth melodies, buried beneath layer upon layer of black noise buzz. And so it goes. A twisted sort of electronic noise record, fused to old school hardcore techno, woven into a beat driven chunk of psychedelic post industrial power electronics, and filtered through a damaged floorcore harsh noise combo, and the result might just be one of our favorite BoL releases yet!
MPEG Stream: "Recolinization"
MPEG Stream: "Submission / Captivity"
MPEG Stream: "Meningeal Decay"
MPEG Stream: "Stalker Behind The Light"
WRATH OF THE WEAK Solace (Universal Consciousness) cassette 4.98
Final release from one of our favorite one man black metal bands, who if you regularly read the aQ list, you may remember us describing as possibly THEE buzziest black metal band we had heard, so buzzy in fact, that the sound actually became LESS black metal and more sorta shoegazey and tranced out and trippy, which is obviously not a bad thing at all. So here is the final missive from WOTW, and it's exactly what we wanted, a huge swirling mass of blurry buzz and buried melody. After a bit of haunting organ drift, the sound explodes into a squall of swirling white noise, beneath which, lilting melodies drift and shimmer, there are some vokills too, but it's almost like a black metal Caretaker, dreamy and drifty, all of the caustic crunch and black buzz balanced by the haunting dreaminess beneath. And so it goes, each track here is dreamy and darkly melodic, it just happens to be swathed in crumbing distortion and swirls of black buzz. We're guessing that folk into Lovesliescrushing or Leyland Kirby or Tim Hecker, who aren't averse to some buzz, might be seriously smitten. This just might be the prettiest black metal record EVER. Sad it's the last. RIP WOTW...
MPEG Stream: "The Sad Turth, The Dirty Lowdown"
MPEG Stream: "Three Forty One"