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Last updated:
27 February 2015


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Some of the Highlights of the week of 45 items on
NEW ARRIVALS List #469 (27 February 2015)
:

album cover BABA COMMANDANT & THE MANDINGO BAND Juguya (Sublime Frequencies) lp 21.00
Well, there's Records Of The Week, and then there's Records Of The Week. This one was quite a nice surprise. And it's not like we don't already expect great things from the globetrotting subversives at the Sublime Frequencies label, they're always making great discoveries - we almost take 'em for granted now, we suppose. So with this album, by the wonderfully-named Baba Commandant and the Mandingo Band, which boast a striking cover design too, at first we were like, that's probably going to be cool, but then when we heard it, we were like, this is REALLY cool. We were expecting some kind of funky Afrobeat, and that's what it is, but much wilder than we ever imagined. Totally off the hook!
Baba Commandant (aka Mamadou Sanou) and his band are from the West African state of Burkina Faso (formerly the Upper Volta), and in a true, underground, DIY style, mix up the traditional, tribal Mandingo music of their region with a more modern, electric approach. Baba Commandant, born in 1973, who sings and plays the ngoni (an ancient, traditional lute), has been an active and original presence on the music scene in Burkina Faso for many years. He's been in various other bands, but as far as we know, this is the debut release from this group. It's a cool discovery on the part of Sublime Frequencies, but we bet Baba Commandant & Co. would have been heard sooner or later over here, just due to the tons of rhythmic energy radiating from their music. Yup, they've got plenty of power (there's guitars to go with the ngoni, horns too, and they don't hold back), making for some pretty hot jams. The wide ranging vocals of Baba and his backup singers are crucial too, and together the group really casts a hypnotic spell. Fans of Konono No.1, of all the cool desert guitar bands that Sublime Frequencies has brought us before (like the late, great Koudede, whom Baba Commandant has performed a live tribute to), of anything Afro-funky and maybe a bit eccentric in that vein, check this out, you will dig!!
On cd and lp, and as usual with Sublime Frequencies, the vinyl is a limited edition release.
MPEG Stream: "Waso"
MPEG Stream: "Folon"
MPEG Stream: "Ntijiguimorola"
MPEG Stream: "Siguisso"

album cover INFLATABLE BOY CLAMS s/t (Superior Viaduct) 2x7" 15.98
Well, this is a first for the aQ list, at least as far as we remember. We're hitting list #469 so forgive us our senility if it's happened before, but we do believe this is the very first 7" we have made Record Of The Week! And it's not just any 7" but a double 7", one that hasn't seen the light of day since it was first released in 1981 right here in San Francisco by Subterranean Records, containing the sole recordings (five songs) of legendary all female art punk eccentrics, Inflatable Boy Clams. Long sought after by collectors of bizarre music and fetching indecent prices online, it's amazing to have this left-field punk artifact available again.
Featuring Carol Detweiler and Judy Gittlesohn of local new wave heroes Pink Section (whose collected recordings were just released as well and reviewed on this list), Jo Jo Planteen and saxophonist Genevieve Boutet de Monvel of Longshoreman and Club Foot Orchestra, Inflatable Boy Clams were not so much a traditional band as they were a performance art collective, rotating instruments and vocal duties for each song. Barebones arrangements with minimal musicianship of carnival organ, saxophone, angular bass riffs and incredibly oft-kilter singing put them in a kinship with bands like Monitor, Flying Lizards, The Art Bears, and The Raincoats, and later with bands like The Double U, Thinking Fellers, and Smack Dab, but the Inflatable Boy Clams were even weirder, funnier and much more cooly deranged.
The first 7" features "Skeletons", a Halloweenish children's song made by what sounds like very unhinged children, with the B-side "Snoteleks" being, you guessed it, "Skeletons" played backward making a weird surreal song even more fun-house like and disorientating.
The second 7" has three songs, starting with the satirical "Marin", a sort of send-up of richness and comfort of the affluent county north of San Francisco, sung by Gittlesohn in an arch French accent. The next track, "I'm Sorry", was perhaps the Clams most well-known song, often getting airplay on Dr. Demento's radio show. A sort of cover of Walter Donaldson's 1926 hit "What Can I Say After I've Said I'm Sorry" (Donaldson gets a writing credit), a chorus of voices sing a slow refrain of the main lyrics, while Gittlesohn and Planteen trade confessional stories of mutual bad friendship to each other (stealing boyfriends - or maybe girlfriends, electrocuting pets, ruining a dress, destroying beloved cassette tapes), with very disingenuous apology. The final song on the B-side, "Boystown" is a curious martial dirge about boys going back to Boystown with their guns and knives as the gals sing with slow sinister "good-riddance" tra-la-la glee.
But really, words and descriptions can't quite quantify what a bizarre, hermetic and wholly contained piece of DIY musical art from content to packaging this is. One whose mystery and unexplainable attraction would likely have been diluted had the group attempted to continue and make more recordings. That shirk of commercial success brand identity and skewering of gender politics is in turn what makes San Francisco punk stand apart and sound so fucking great right now. Thanks to Superior Viaduct for making this and the Pink Section recordings available again! Highly Recommended!
MPEG Stream: "Skeletons"
MPEG Stream: "I'm Sorry"
MPEG Stream: "Marin"

album cover CANTU-LEDESMA, JEFRE A Year With 13 Moons (Mexican Summer) lp 22.00
AND HERE'S THE VINYL!
A Year With 13 Moons is Cantu-Ledesma's first major release since his debut for Type, Love Is A Stream, back in 2010. Of course he has been busy in between those years, releasing limited tapes, cd-rs and split lps, touring and collaborating, co-running the Root Strata label and moving restlessly from San Francisco to Berlin, to Munich, back to San Francisco and finally settling (for the time being anyway) in Brooklyn. In many ways, A Year Of 13 Moons is the other side of the same coin of Love Is A Stream's glorious embrace of the shoegaze tidal waves of Flying Saucer Attack, Cocteau Twins and Lovesliescrushing. Sonically, they share a kinship. But where the first album appeared to be about the blossoming of new love and the changes it brings, this new one seems more about the dissolution of that love and the moving on from its aftermath; what disappears and what lingers.
Recorded during a residency at the Headlands Art Center he shared with filmmaker and visual collaborator, Paul Clipson, the first and longest track, "The Last Time I Saw Your Face" sets the tone with a slow-fading white-hot burst of solar distortion topped by a lilting electric melody that suggests the rushing in of a loving yet painful memory, but half-way through sputters, flickers and changes course in a way that the sound appears to move past you and gets farther away, leaving one adrift both aurally and physically. That trajectory of smoldering intensity, combining a soaring but battered angelic Cocteau Twins-ish guitar drift with the quasar-laden feedback void of magnetic static conveys us through the albums many peaks and valleys, which at times touch on the romantic melancholy of Durutti Column's pastoral guitar and drum machine as well as Main's ominous and sometimes airless ambience. It's a beautiful and heartfelt record, gorgeously realized but one that does not try to endear the listener to its many complex moods. In fact, its blown out acoustics seem designed to be played in big echoing halls as loud as they can. It's face-meltingly bittersweet.
MPEG Stream: "The Last Time I Saw Your Face"
MPEG Stream: "Disappear"
MPEG Stream: "The Spree"
MPEG Stream: "Along The Isar"

album cover CARLTON MELTON / KANDODO3 split (Creepy Crawl) lp 17.98
Local psychedelic space rock heroes Carlton Melton team up with UK psych drifters Kandodo 3 (which is in fact Simon Price of aQ fave the Heads, gone solo, but now seemingly a trio, thus having appended a 3 to the moniker) for this heady slab of cosmic trippiness. CM start things off with three lengthy tracks. The first, being a loping sprawl of head nodding krautrock style mesmer, the drums locked down, pulsing away beneath clouds of shimmering guitars and slow shifting chunks of effervescent riffage. It's the most straight ahead rocking CM track we've heard in a while, but fear not, the follow up gets a bit more abstract, sounding like some blown out electric blues Appalachia coming apart at the seams, dense tangles of buzz and strum gradually unfolding and unfurling, a bit twang flecked and still plenty zoned out. The final track defaults more toward the rocking side of the spectrum, this time a bit nosier and more swinging, channeling some serious classic sounding spacerockiness, although somehow via some interplanetary alien jam band, their hypno-rock churn wrapped in all sorts of slippery slide guitar, conjuring up a sound that's like some twisted Allman Brothers / Hawkwind hybrid, which you know is a very good thing indeed.
The now expanded Kandodo 3 fill up the entirety of their side with a single track, one that seems to ooze from the darkest corner of the sonic cosmos, some seriously dense, trippy blissed out dronemusic, a softly pulsing, layered, chordal thrum, that grows gradually more and more wispy, until it's finally just a barely there shadowy swirl, over which a groovy bassline emerges, before it's joined by some tribal percussion, and streaks of guitar buzz drift in from every direction, a hazy cloud of druggy shimmer, over a woozily rhythmic churn. The guitars eventually grow more fierce and less distinct, moving from behind the shadows, the sound more of a Spacemen 3 style druggy drift, chiming harmonics and fragmented bits of melody swirl in the foreground, while that background churn collapses into a roiling black hole of softnoise churn, over which those guitars continue to glow and glimmer, before eventually settling back into one final stretch of tripped out psychedelic grooviness.
Pressed on transparent blue vinyl, with cover art by Kandodo 3's Price. LIMITED TO 500 COPIES!!

album cover CARTER TUTTI (CHRIS & COSEY) Play Chris & Cosey (CTI) 2lp 34.00
Carter Tutti. Chris & Cosey. There may be a semantic difference somewhere to be discussed, but this album brigades what those differences may be as the pair of Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti have crafted an album of material mined from the back catalogue of Chris & Cosey albums under the moniker Carter Tutti. Over the past four years, the couple has been touring vigorously, with the set including revamped / recorded / reengineered versions of the older Chris & Cosey material. So many people approached them with requests for the live recordings of these newer versions that they went into the studio to properly sequence these tracks for an album. And we gotta say that Carter Tutti offer up one hell of a recapitulation, and at times, they really do better themselves than what they had done back in the '80s. When Throbbing Gristle broke up and Chris & Cosey ventured out on their own, they adopted the seductive electro-pop subversion facets of TG to their own devices. Their albums eagerly consumed technology and fused any and all forms of electronics into the sexual / somatic rhythms of the human body. Admittedly, some times their ideas were hindered by the technologies that were at their disposal. Samplers that could only fire so fast and so much. MIDI programming that was limited by latency, memory, and timing issues. Jump several decades, and what Chris & Cosey did in the '80s with a bank of synthesizers and sequencers can now be done on any given phone. So many of these recapitulations work with the same set of melodies and sequences, but smoothed out the technological stumbling blocks. "Driving Blind" was one of the better tracks on their 1984 album Songs Of Love And Lust; and here, the two flesh out the arpeggiation of the sequences with a dense polyphony of streaming electronics above their whipcrack techno production - and Cosey's skulldrill monotone mantras are as compelling, delirious, and sexy as ever. "BeatBeatBeat" is one of the most refreshing recreations, mostly because the original was pretty damn annoying, again with a minimal, surgical set of cybernetic techno and Cosey reworking the vocal chorus into more of a celestial chime and less of a mosquito irritant. The S&M inspired "Sin" finds Cosey channelling Siouxsie more so than she's ever done in the full-throated bellows of sexual depravity above another finely tuned machine of chome-plated techno. One can hope that whatever new material comes out of this redux, it will follow this template which is pretty fucking great.
MPEG Stream: "Retrodect (2015 Version)"
MPEG Stream: "Driving Blind (2015 Version)"
MPEG Stream: "Sin (2015 Version)"

album cover CHALK, ANDREW Ghosts Of Nakhodka (Faraway Press) lp 28.00
You may be thinking, there was an album by Andrew Chalk with this exact same title. And you would be correct but for one small distinction - the 2009 album was called Ghost Of Nakhodka and this 2015 album is Ghosts Of Nakhodka. Ah, the difference of plurality! The album is pegged as a sister to that 2009 album though Chalk has implemented a different set of tools on this one. Instead of piano and guitar laced with placid droning effects that was found on the singular Ghost album, here he's using a monophonic synthesizer occasionally dappled with field recordings and a few choice effects.
It becomes very clear this a Chalk record through the albums' impressionist fragments spilled across 13 tracks, each rich with his languid sense of space and his elegant timing in placing this free-roaming kosmische blorp here and that swollen ambient blur over there. Brian Eno's Discreet Music and Apollo would be the closest references to what Chalk is up to here, though his production methods are qualitatively rough hewn in the synth manifestation of melancholic nostalgia with little of the portent that Eno imbues into his work. The miniatures presented are exquisite jewels coming from a craftsman keen on showcasing his work to a select few and within an deliberately intimate setting. It would seem far out of Chalk's character to broadcast works such as these at the Guggenheim or even the ICA. Instead, a humble English cottage with a sod roof and a console-sized cathode ray television as the only means of transmission. Ah, the wonders of Andrew Chalk never cease.

album cover COMMUNITY OF LIGHT Night Visions (Invisible Birds) cd 11.98
Just as Parson Sound morphed into International Harvester and brought forth a same-but-different sense of a sprawled Swedish psychedelia, so the Community Of Light emerges from the kosmische drone continuum that produced the equally mysterious and poetic smears of the Ingenting Kollektiva. The concept rich Kollektiva arose from the cultural year zero of 1969, when a considerable amount of influential records on the Kollektiva's agenda were published. Holger Czukay, Amon Duul, Ornette Coleman, Pentangle, King Crimson, and Alan Silva were amongst those in this pantheon of aesthetic greats; but so too were the concepts of Ingmar Bergman and his existentially empty gaps of narrative silence and deliberate inactivity. Aesthetically, this outfit broadcast emotionally rich ambient swathes of echo across droning pools of acoustic instrumentation swollen through delay and reverb. Community Of Light eschews the overt cultural references to one far more occult and gnostic, announcing themselves "as pursuers of the Light, which is often called Darkness, and a sound we call silence (with a we called night vision)." Such a proclamation could have been spoken by Robert DeGrimston of the Process Church or by the heretical Valentinian monk who might have penned the inscrutable Gospel Of Truth or even by the Great Beast himself, Aleister Crowley.
Musically, the Community Of Light follows in what the Kollektiva had created, although this new iteration has given considerable heft to the low end of things and considerable witchiness to the wordless vocal incantations. Wisps of melody solemnly ring from the guitars above the rumbling underbelly to Night Vision's five tracks with those eerie vocals floating throughout as some sort of disembodied ectoplasm. Enveloping with shadow, but never threatening, Community Of Light drifts along the droning seas of Troum, Stars Of The Lid, and those rare instrumental numbers from Current 93.
MPEG Stream: "Lustration"
MPEG Stream: "Wiring Azalea"
MPEG Stream: "Florian"

album cover DODOS, THE Individ (Polyvinyl) lp 15.98
It seems like just yesterday (when in fact it was a decade ago) that a sweet & soft-spoken young man came into aQ with copies of his self released cd called Dodo Bird. We were hooked right away and it wasn't long when that young man, Meric Long, would team up with the drumming excellence of Logan Kroeber to form The Dodos. With their rabid fan-base as solid proof, The Dodos have been one of the most engaging, rewarding, and infectious indie rock bands of the last decade. They haven't had a slip in quality in any of their releases, and this new outing shows them on-point once again with a set of songs that ring with resonance and an almost melancholic triumph that burns through the whole album. It's striking what an individual sound the band has created for itself over the years; frenetic energy, gorgeous vocals, melodic hooks, and playing that is both technically spectacular yet also so creative and full of emotion. Somehow, Individ is able to be both driving and infectious, smooth and angular, bright and pulsating. It's like if you were somehow able to mix the best parts of Pinback, Jawbox, and Phoenix. So damn good!
MPEG Stream: "The Tide"
MPEG Stream: "Bubble"

album cover EMMANUEL, J.D. Echoes From Ancient Caves (Black Sweat) lp 27.00
We're big fans of J.D. Emmanuel who has been self-releasing his own private press new age music since the early eighties. His 1982 masterpiece Wizards may be our favorite release of his, at turns evoking a Tangerine Dream like synthscapery with soft-focus kraut-rock propulsions. But this newly reissued 1981 release is in our opinion just as good, even if it is more gentle and new-agey, but still quite mysterious and meditative. Evoking ideas of past-life journeys, Emmanuel employs multi-tracked organ and synthesizers with occasional acoustic guitar and windchimes in compositions that remind us of works by Terry Riley and Peter Hammill but filtered through a mesmerizing pastoral sensibility. Wonderfully kaleidoscopic and vibrant, like sunlight piercing through a dark cathedral-like chamber, this will appeal to fans of atypical new age music like Ariel Kalma, Iasos, and Jordan De La Sierra. Download card included.
MPEG Stream: "Earth Dance"
MPEG Stream: "In Movement on the Rings of Saturn"
MPEG Stream: "Sunrise on a Tibetan Hillside"

album cover ETERNAL TAPESTRY Wild Strawberries (Thrill Jockey) 2lp+cd 24.00
Latest tripped out missive from these Northwestern psychedelic jammers, this latest their most epic yet, a sprawling double lp that finds the band expanding their already spacious sound into some sort of abstract drone-dub space jam. Most of the tracks clocking in at 10+ minutes (with three over 15!), the opener is a surprisingly brief bit of hazy, druggy minimalism, a serious dub vibe throughout, programmed rhythms, vocals washed out reverby but drifting further up in the mix than we remember from past ET outings (although on the last record we did compare them to both the Grateful Dead AND the Allman Brothers), but here, the opening jam quickly dissolves into a trippy swirl of abstract percussion and vocal drones, of wheezing organs and clouds of cymbal shimmer, an ultra abstract and extremely hypnotic avant raga / drone, that could easily have filled up the whole rest of the record. Instead the band settle into some darkly dreamlike hypno-rock mesmer, organ drenched motorik minimalism, the guitars eventually not so minimal, more restless and scrabbling above a field of layered tones and loping grooves. sometimes getting almost jazzy, hazy slow jams, that at times sound like some weird alien jazz-fusion, and at others, like pure kosmische bliss out (tracks like "Maidenhair Spleenwort" definitely drift into Spacemen 3 territory).
The second half of the record seems to shift gears dramatically, jettisoning much of the 'rock' elements, beginning with the glimmering harmonic guitar fields of "Lace Fern", a softly swirling cloudscape of Michael Rother like glittery, new age dreaminess, continuing on into the tangled trippiness of "Pale-Green Sedge", a roiling space-blues avant Appalachia of organ drones and slippery guitar melodies, which bleed directly into the 15+ minute closer "White Adder's Tongue", the first few minutes of which unfold in soft swells of wordless vox, softly proggy organs, pulsating drones, a minimal drumbeat slowly surfacing, the sounds coalescing into a very sixties sounding psych jam, which gradually grows more and more manic and unhinged, the main riff locked into some dizzying loop, reminding us of Terry Riley's tripped out tape experiment "You're No Good", but here presented in a much more raw, lo-fi, and psychedelically space rocking incarnation. Supposedly Wild Strawberries was recorded over some Phish Bootleg tapes, which whether true or not, makes us dig it even more.
While they last, both the cd and the lp version will include a bonus disc (a real cd, not a cd-r), featuring 40+ minutes of exclusive and unreleased material. Five more tracks of organ drenched bliss out, psychedelic shimmer, dubby droned out minimalism, fuzzy psych pop jangle and swoonsome space-kraut drift!
MPEG Stream: "Wild Strawberries"
MPEG Stream: "Enchanter's Nightshade"
MPEG Stream: "Maidenhair Spleenwort"

album cover FELIX K Tragedy Of The Commons (Blackest Ever Black) 12" 19.98
Felix K hails from the drum 'n' bass scene in Berlin, where he has steadily deconstructed the formalism of the genre with more and more extreme variations of abstraction while maintaining those ominous atmospheres of dub devastation. So, yes Blackest Ever Black is a perfect home for such avant dubstep excursions alongside Raime, Vatican Shadow, and Black Rain.
The slow burning title track is a side-long 17 minutes, building from a pall of near silence through a hauntologically inclined sequence of goth synths all swaddled in a heavy atmosphere of rumbled low-end and gloomy shadow, hinting at something that could have been a bassbin rattle tempered to hyper-minimalist echo, all of which casts the same spell as the most recent Haxan Cloak productions. "Silent Money" is one two B-side tracks, standing out as downer electronica track of optiganally inclined rhythms, airlock hiss, desolate ambient notes, and hyperdubbed out vocals that cascade through piles and piles of reverb. The voodoo hand-drum rhythms of "Fundamentals" and smoldering dub of blackened noise amounts to something that would be very easy to mistaken for some Demdike Stare track lost on the cutting room floor.
MPEG Stream: "Tragedy Of The Commons"
MPEG Stream: "Silent Money"
MPEG Stream: "Fundamentals"

album cover FRANCIS THE GREAT Ravissante Baby (Hot Casa) lp 26.00
Here's a rare Afro funk/soul record, now officially reissued on vinyl, that lives up to the 'holy grail' hype, in part due to featuring a precocious, charming 7-year-old singer! That'd be Francis Mbarga, aka Francis The Great. Recorded in Paris in 1977, the album was produced by The Great's dad, and benefits from the presence of a bunch of talented French and Cameroonian musicians, backing up the boy with burbling soukous rhythms, trippy synth, and funky guitar. There's two side-long, 12 minute jams, "Ravissante Baby (Negro Phasing)" and "Look Up In The Sky (Negro Nature)", both headnoddingly hypnotic and irresistibly groovy - and the weird, extra X-factor of the little kid vocals (with some deep lyrics) gives this an even more special vibe.
MPEG Stream: "Look Up In The Sky (Negro Nature)"

album cover GILBERT, B.C. & G. LEWIS 3R4 (Superior Viaduct) lp 17.98
One of the earliest releases from the nascent 4AD label, issued in late 1980, 3R4 marked one of many facets to the structuralist experiments of Bruce Gilbert and Graham Lewis. Those two had parted ways with the other half of Wire in 1979, bringing forth a deluge of exemplary projects of adventurous post-punk including Dome, Duet Emmo, and Cupol, with this album being one of the few things ascribed to their birth names. It follows relatively closely - or rather as closely as one could - to the deconstructionist approach to the song espoused by Dome, with angular mechanical noises, tape loop miasma, psychological-drone slumber, and flanged noise engineering. The pastoral swell that grounds the first half of "3.4" could very easily have been the inspiration for William Basinski's baroque anthology of crumbling tape loops, through a languid melodic fragment whose origins could hail from a similarly decontextualized Muzak via slow-motion pitchshifting. It's quite a stately progression that takes a rather lumbering turn upon the introduction of a series of tape loops of orchestral flourishes, wooden rhythms, and a hypnotic lurch that tumbles out from Lewis' bass. The flipside "R" builds on a rhythmic interplay between two chiming sets of guitars glides from urban gamelan grittiness to flanged tape loop exploration with a drone-on dubbiness that easily parallels the anti-rock stupor of This Heat's posthumous album Repeat. Another necessary reissue from Superior Viaduct!
MPEG Stream: "3.4"
MPEG Stream: "R"

album cover HEY COLOSSUS In Black And Gold (Rocket) cd 17.98
When we originally got into UK heavies Hey Colossus some years ago, they were the epitome of brutal, noise rock extremity. Heavy, head caving stuff. But they also always had a psychedelic, krautrock-y side to 'em too (making for the 'Fudge Tunnel meets Can' comparison we cited in an earlier review). Lately, they've definitely been experimenting even more, not getting away from the heaviness, but emphasizing their psychedelic side, with their last album (on MIE) veering towards full on Carlton Melton/White Hills style space rock.
This new album for Rocket Recordings finds Hey Colossus really opening things up, being different. Eclectic influences are GO!, starting off with a celestially spacey shoegaze blissout called "Hold On". After that, you'd think track two, "Sisters And Brothers" would be a crusher, suddenly bringing down the monolithic destructo heaviness, but instead it's a loose-limbed groove, spacey and fuzzy and quasi-funky, and 'groove' is something that's definitely, and very effectively, to the fore on this album. Track three, "Hey, Dead Eyes, Up!", is equally rhythmic, a bit heavier though, like some sort of slammin', swampy Circle-meets-Swans or Harvey Milk-meets-Endless Boogie party proposition. And it don't stop, not on next cut "Wired Brainless" that keeps us thinking No Wave sludge spaciousness. That's what's going on, on this album, a good use of space, the truly heavy bits strung out, stretched out, spaced out, for maximum less-is-more power. Or something. We like it.
Then there's the title track, with drawled deep vocals and a wide open Western twilight vibe, accompanied by some big ol' crushing chords, indeed, for a Lee Hazlewood fronting Earth sort of sound, that soon morphs into a stoned motorik Wooden Shjips style jammathon!! Killer.
And there's still another three tracks to go, including the nearly 10-minute, dubby "Lagos Atom", all of 'em full of beats and drones and noise and distortion, always getting that groove happenin'. So, definitely recommended, let's just mention a few more bands we wanted to reference earlier but didn't work in here yet: Lumerians, Television, Gun Club, early Pharaoh Overlord, the entire Cardinal Fuzz roster... Heck we're pretty sure if your ears have perked up at any of this review, you're gonna like In Black And Gold - which, by the way, sports some handsome black and metallic gold artwork/packaging.
MPEG Stream: "Hey, Dead Eyes, Up!"
MPEG Stream: "Black And Gold"
MPEG Stream: "Eat It"

album cover JFK La Bas 1987-1992 (Fourth Dimension / Dripping Dust) 2lp 30.00
RESTOCKED!! RELISTING!!!
As we said before, NOW ON VINYL, WITH BONUS TRACKS!
Anthony Di Franco is probably best known as a one time member of UK noise institution Skullflower, but outside of SF he was involved in and responsible for a whole bunch of other amazing projects, he was the man behind the industrial / power electronics / black drone of Ax (whose recent Metal Forest career retrospective we recently made Record Of The Week) as well as the power electronics / noise assault of Ethnic Acid, he was a member of Skullflower offshoot Ramleh as well as one half of industrial noise duo Novatron. As if that weren't enough, he also recorded as JfK, a 'group' conceived by Di Franco, to create "a total music, absorbing all possibilities", and while we're not sure he necessarily achieved anything quite that grand, what he did do is whip up some seriously kick ass psychedelic dirgery, and twisted post industrial noise rock that KILLS.
This collection gathers up a 1992 single originally released on Fourth Dimension and a clutch of rare and unreleased tracks, and delivers what will likely be some folks first exposure to Di Franco's JfK project, which one might expect to be caustic and noisy and harsh, but in fact is way more song based, sounding at times like UK space rockers Loop, and others, like some obscure home brewed bit of NZ style 4 track noise pop, and at others like a slightly dialed down Godflesh.
Opening with "Big Fat Sin", Di Franco sets the template with primitive programmed drums, jagged crunchy guitars, woozy effected layers, buried loops, shards of feedback, tense and intense, cleaned up a little, it could be some bit of late eighties gloom pop, but here it's presented in all its noisy glory, rough around the edges, loping and lumbering, crumbling distortion, it's pretty great, but even that hardly prepares you for the tranced out space-psych dirge of "Omen" which lays down a simple motorik rhythm, wraps it in a noisy chugging riff, wreathed everything in reverb and echo, then the vocals, an FX drenched croon, the 'group' locked into a groove that's total space rock trance-out, Loop for sure, but even fans of modern day outfits like Moon Duo and White Hills will find lots to like here, although the sound here is much more raw and rough. "Aktion In A 10/6" lays down a weird robotic beat, and then adds an almost metallic riff, but instead of sounding 'heavy' or 'metal', it's like Stooges at 16rpm, a slithery creep, laced with weird bits of percussion, the whole thing swaggery and snarly and surprisingly rocking.
But it's not all caveman riffage and space rock dirge, "Will To Love" is a wild concoction of detuned guitars, warped percussion, squealing feedback, which gives way to a swirling murk of buried vocals, and low end thrum, disembodied samples, a warped tangle that eventually erupts into some full on noise. Then there's "Avernus", which is like JfK via the Dead C, a crooned minimal bit of pop, wreathed in a cascade of impossibly distorted guitar crumble, and clouds of staticky hiss, or "Black Tower" which is all keening melody, and weirdly wistful poppiness, driven by some fierce fuzz bass, and some occluded noise rock jangle, or "Teenage Fantasy", which is a slo-mo creepy crawly dirge, driven by a buried tarpit rhythm, and wreathed in wild squalls of guitars and strange voices, effects and crumbling layers of sound, noisy for sure, but also hauntingly hypnotic.
The last two tracks are from the aforementioned 7", the A side a blast of propulsive psychedelic space rock, that fuses Godflesh like programmed beats to corrosive guitar buzz, and a darkly gloomy Jesus And Mary Chain style vibe, while the B side, a longer version of one of the unreleased tracks is like a super charged near metallic noise rock Moon Duo, which is most definitely a good thing.
Fans of post industrial heavy psych space outs (and who's not????) NEED this! We're so psyched Di Franco's various past projects are getting some long overdue love, and as much as we love that Ax reissue, this JfK record has been getting pretty much nonstop play since we got it in...
This limited vinyl edition also sports two non-cd tracks, "Necropolis" and "Waterfall" - the origins of which escape us at this time and place. Nonetheless, a REQUIRED anthology!
MPEG Stream: "Big Fat Sin"
MPEG Stream: "Omen"
MPEG Stream: "Aktion In A 10/6"
MPEG Stream: "Teeange Fantasy"

album cover KRENG The Summoner (Miasmah) cd 17.98
The first release from Kreng since 2011, but well worth the wait. While the sound sources on The Summoner are quite the departure from his 2011 release Grimoire, the dark and disorienting atmosphere is still here. Here Kreng (aka composer Pepijin Caudron of Belgium) conducts a dozen string players, creating a twisted and droney orchestral mass that explodes and dies without warning, bringing to mind the terrifying works of Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki. The song titles here, too, tell Caudron's story as the five stages of grief, going from "Denial" to "Acceptance". The first four tracks are dark, twisted, orchestral soundscapes, dynamic and haunted that slowly goad you into Caudron's warped world. The climax of the album is without doubt the titular track, sandwiched between "Depression" and the somber "Acceptance". The 15-minute long track features Belgian doom band Amenra (whose album Mass V we reviewed back in 2013) providing the slow, crushing trudge (with maybe the slightest, SLIGHTEST hint of uplifting melody) to bring the whole piece to a bombastic, epic zenith. Very few out there can capture the range of emotion and atmosphere that Kreng can - terrifying, cathartic, bleak, and maybe just a little bit uplifting. For fans of Gnaw Their Tongues, The Caretaker, and anything on the Miasmah label.
MPEG Stream: "Anger"
MPEG Stream: "Depression"
MPEG Stream: "The Summoning"

album cover LANGHORNE, BRUCE The Hired Hand OST (Scissortail) lp 22.00
Hot dang, this long time AQ fave, also long out of print, has at last been repressed on vinyl!! When this soundtrack first came out on cd we made it a Record Of The Week, that was years and years ago, that's long gone, as is the first pressing of vinyl version that subsequently appeared, and we bet there's lots of folks who haven't encountered it before who will be blown away. So very recommended.
Here's what we wrote about it back in 2004 when we made the Blast First Petite cd reissue a Record Of The Week:
We weren't really sure what to expect with this one. A lost soundtrack from 1971 (a magic year for music, just ask Allan - though it turns out the music was recorded in 1969, also not a bad year) to a movie none of us had ever heard of, directed by and starring Peter Fonda. Could go either way. But the second we threw it on, we knew this was IT! A dark and languorous abstract country psych folk gem. Seriously. Hearing this for the first time, you'd be forgiven for guessing it was Scott Tuma, Souled American, Califone, Golden Hotel, Thuja, Woven Hand or some totally obscure cd-r on some little tiny label from some mysterious band of psychedelic country folk minstrels. Slow and mournful, delicate and dreamy, acoustic guitars, farfisa organs, harmonicas and an echoplex. Spare and skeletal, mini epics of melancholic twang. Imagine if Sergio Leone had Ennio Morricone assemble a band cobbled together from members of the Jewelled Antler Collective, the No Neck Blues Band and Souled American to score one of his Westerns. Definitely recommended if you dig any of the folks mentioned above (including Morricone). And if like most of us, you've been digging all sorts of those obscure so-called "new weird America" outfits, maybe it's about time we all dug into some "OLD weird America."
And by the way, now we HAVE seen the movie (it was re-released on dvd in 2006 or so) and it's GREAT! Not a feel-good hit though, or a typical Western shoot 'em up, at all. The soundtrack is perfect, for this beautiful film. Great movie, great music.
180 gram vinyl pressing, limited (again) we're sure.
MPEG Stream: "Opening"
MPEG Stream: "Leaving Del Norte"
MPEG Stream: "Riding Through The Rain"

album cover LIAISONS DANGEREUSES s/t (Soul Sheriff) lp 19.98
VINYL VERSION HERE NOW TOO!
This mysterious European minimal industrial album from the very early '80s was reissued on Hit Thing like eight years ago, now it's back again via Soul Sheriff, and just as welcome as ever.
Liaisons Dangereuses were primarily two individuals, Beate Bartel (who in later years went on to form Malaria!) and Chris Haas (a founding member of DAF). They were accompanied on vocals by Krishna Goineau who sang in French, German and Spanish (a few customers have mistaken his flamboyant delivery for that of Falco). Very much akin to Einsturzende Neubauten, The Normal, Suicide and DAF. Edgy, dark and throbbing, the programmed nailgun-like beats are punctuated by Goineau's impassioned singing/speaking, some high pitched female backing vocals, squidgy electronic belches, an occasional saxophone run, and much metallic clanks and thuds. It was all mixed at Conny Plank's studio. The one track here that may be familiar is their dance 'hit' "Los Ninos Del Parque", however LD's impact goes beyond this one song. Indeed they were/are highly regarded and very influential in techno, house and yes, electroclash circles. Fans of present-day electro, EBM, post punk and no wave should definitely check this out as it's the real deal - solidly kicking ass on many of the current crop. May leave you reeling.
MPEG Stream: "Etre assis ou danser"
MPEG Stream: "El macho y la nena"

album cover MEDICINE Home Everywhere (Captured Tracks) lp 17.98
ALSO ON VINYL!
Home Everywhere marks the second album in the return to the limelight for Medicine, a band that still garners the pithy epithet as an American equivalent to My Bloody Valentine. When Medicine burst onto the scene as the first American band to get signed to Creation Records in the early '90s, Loveless had only begun to ooze into the musical landscape, with bands like Teenage Filmstars, the Swirlies, and Medicine to take the idea of My Bloody Valentine's resampling and art-pop deconstruction as a zeitgeist to blossom and not merely as an oceanic wash of dream-pop / drone-on psychedelia. Medicine's initial recordings were cut from the same cloth as any punk band circa 1977 being inspired by the Sex Pistols. There was a license to take the ideas first proposed by My Bloody Valentine and go for broke on them. Throughout the '90s, Medicine produced some amazing records that got largely overlooked; and not surprisingly, the band called it quits. When the itch to reform came, Medicine's return was a delightful surprise as it was exactly what we had hoped Medicine would sound like -- harmonic noise-laden overdrive, swoon-some vocal harmonies from vocalist Beth Thompson, and some pretty fucking catchy hooks ripping throughout. Home Everywhere is far more decentered and purposefully destabilizing as the baroque paisley pop structures are smashed against the floor with the blindingly sharp shards of noise, rhyhtm, and melody are pieced back together through an entirely different logic. It's a logic that speaks more of Brian Wilson at his grandest and most lysergic. The songs of Home Everywhere dissolve, tumble, and fragment; and its hard to tell how much of that is by design of these experiments intentionally shattering their contents. Don't really know how to peg it in just the right way, but we'll just say that Los Angeles has always had its share of weirdos flying their freak-flags a top the Hollywood sign; and Medicine's refusnik noise-pop demolitions seems to adhere to that ethos.
MPEG Stream: "The Reclaimed Girl"
MPEG Stream: "Turning"
MPEG Stream: "Cold Life"

album cover NOVELLER No Dreams (Taiga) lp 26.00
NOW ON VINYL!
We've been big fans of Noveller's trance inducing guitarscapes for quite a while now. She's one of those artists that takes her sweet time between albums, and that sort of meticulousness and patience comes with rewards. While her first five records all seemed to showcase just what she could do with just a guitar and handful of pedals, this time out she's expanded her sonic palette, adding washed out synths, subtle piano, even some murky electronics.
What separates Noveller, and this album, from its peers, is that there is real song structure beneath the wall of sound that seems to cascade gloriously up and down and all around this whole record. Haunting melodies are deftly woven into the tracks, making the experience of listening to No Dreams one that taps into worlds of washed out memories, distant yesterdays, and a present moment that blurs the line between the material world and something much more ethereal and ephemeral.
With soaring sonic elements that remind us of Robert Fripp alongside majestic crescendos that recall Glen Branca and Rhys Chatham, No Dreams also has a cinematic quality that evokes the come down moments of some of our favorite records by folks like Godspeed You Black Emperor and Mogwai. Noveller has managed to create a record that manages to be drifty and dazy without ever getting stale or static. The perfect soundtrack for when all you want is to wash away you day and let dreams whisk you away, blast this at full volume, and let yourself disappear into Noveller's gorgeous world of No Dreams...
MPEG Stream: "Mannahatta"
MPEG Stream: "No Dreams"
MPEG Stream: "The Fright"

album cover OLD MAN GLOOM Ape Of God I (Sige) lp 19.98
NOW HERE ON VINYL, VIA SIGE! Letterpress covers, fancy big booklet. No download. Here's what we said a few months ago about the cds on Profound Lore...
Everyone's favorite simian enamored post-metal/post-doom/post-opposable thumbs heavy dirge titans (featuring members of Isis, Converge and Cave In, no less!) have returned from the caves and the treetops to deliver another bewildering slab of mysterious noise-flecked sonic sludge. Only this time it's two slabs. And they both look almost identical. And they both have the same name. That's right - The return of Old Man Gloom is heralded by a cloud of listener-confounding confusion that can only be described as "Circle-esque." Oh, and did we mention there was also a pre-release "leaked" version that went out to zines & blogs that was actually different from both of these? Yeesh, our heads hurt. But we have to admit it's refreshing to see a band with a bit of a sense of humor in a genre that has a history of taking itself perhaps a little too seriously. But there sure ain't anything funny about either of these album. Blown out noisescapes, like unnerving ethereal ancient transmissions from long dead alien civilization give way to staggering rhythmic doom, peppered with indiscernible static mutterings & world-breaking howls. Whistling feedback pleads hypnotically with swaths of ghostly reverb. The drums plod and roll enormously, like a slow motion avalanche unfolding over a millennia. It's alternately punishing, trance inducing, serene & unsettling - and sometimes it's all of those things at the same time. The ambient passages (of which there are plenty over both discs) lure the listener into a drunken state of ominous hazy hypnosis, which only serves to make those heavy sections all the more overwhelming and landscape flattening. A musical experience as aggressive, punishing & cold as it is mysterious, distant & alluring. A high evolution in instinctual primitivism! A fight-or-flight pummeling recommended to heavy-leaning, spaced-out bipeds everywhere...
Note: same review here for both discs, 'cause why would you not buy both? In fact, you'd better not try and order just one 'cause we're likely to send you the wrong one accidentally.
MPEG Stream: "Eden's Gates"
MPEG Stream: "Shoulder Meat"
MPEG Stream: "Fist Of Fury"

album cover OLD MAN GLOOM Ape Of God II (Sige) lp 19.98
NOW HERE ON VINYL, VIA SIGE! Letterpress covers, fancy big booklet. No download. Here's what we said a few months ago about the cds on Profound Lore...
Everyone's favorite simian enamored post-metal/post-doom/post-opposable thumbs heavy dirge titans (featuring members of Isis, Converge and Cave In, no less!) have returned from the caves and the treetops to deliver another bewildering slab of mysterious noise-flecked sonic sludge. Only this time it's two slabs. And they both look almost identical. And they both have the same name. That's right - The return of Old Man Gloom is heralded by a cloud of listener-confounding confusion that can only be described as "Circle-esque." Oh, and did we mention there was also a pre-release "leaked" version that went out to zines & blogs that was actually different from both of these? Yeesh, our heads hurt. But we have to admit it's refreshing to see a band with a bit of a sense of humor in a genre that has a history of taking itself perhaps a little too seriously. But there sure ain't anything funny about either of these album. Blown out noisescapes, like unnerving ethereal ancient transmissions from long dead alien civilization give way to staggering rhythmic doom, peppered with indiscernible static mutterings & world-breaking howls. Whistling feedback pleads hypnotically with swaths of ghostly reverb. The drums plod and roll enormously, like a slow motion avalanche unfolding over a millennia. It's alternately punishing, trance inducing, serene & unsettling - and sometimes it's all of those things at the same time. The ambient passages (of which there are plenty over both discs) lure the listener into a drunken state of ominous hazy hypnosis, which only serves to make those heavy sections all the more overwhelming and landscape flattening. A musical experience as aggressive, punishing & cold as it is mysterious, distant & alluring. A high evolution in instinctual primitivism! A fight-or-flight pummeling recommended to heavy-leaning, spaced-out bipeds everywhere...
Note: same review here for both discs, 'cause why would you not buy both? In fact, you'd better not try and order just one 'cause we're likely to send you the wrong one accidentally.
MPEG Stream: "Burden"
MPEG Stream: "A Hideous Nightmare Lies Upon The World"

album cover PINK SECTION s/t (Superior Viaduct) lp 15.98
Oh my God, yes! Finally the collected recordings of San Francisco's punk sweethearts Pink Section have been released to broader appreciation. Named after the San Francisco Chronicle's pink entertainment guide, the quartet of drummer Carol Detweiler, singer Judy Gittlesohn (both of Inflatable Boy Clams and Longshoremen), singer/guitarist Matt Heckert (Survival Research Laboratories) and bassist /keyboardist Stephen Wymore existed on the margins even in San Francisco's 1979 underground scene. Forming at the San Francisco Art Institute and haunting venues like The Deaf Club on Valencia Street and Mabuhay Gardens in North Beach, gigging with bands like Tuxedo Moon and The Units, their self-taught musicianship and songs playing up the dark side of domesticity and consumerism into an infectious and oft-kilter new wave artiness. Angular rhythms and infectious hooks, and alternating male and female vocals put them directly on a par with bands like Suburban Lawns, Devo and The B-52s, even if they were barely known outside of San Francisco. While they never released a full length, this compilation collects their 7" single, their 12" ep, unreleased demos and live material, even a Yoko Ono cover of "Midsummer New York". So great!!!! Download card included.
MPEG Stream: "Francine's List"
MPEG Stream: "Jane Blank"
MPEG Stream: "Safety Instruction"

album cover PRATES, JOSE & MIECIO ASKANASY Tam...Tam...Tam...! (Trunk) cd 16.98
BBC radio DJ and avid record collector Gilles Peterson has never steered us wrong, especially when it comes to rare jazz and Brazilian music, and this one is a gem. Recorded in 1958, it is one of the rarest Brazilian releases, one that became a touchstone for the evolution of Brazilian music in the sixties from samba and bossa to tropicalia. So rare that Peterson didn't have a copy and was approached by a seller offering it for a staggering $4700, prompting Peterson to put an ad out in Record Collector urging someone to reissue it. Johnny Trunk saw the ad, got in contact with Tim Maia's nephew Ed Motta, who is a record collector and musician who had the lp in his collection, and got to work transferring Motta's copy digitally and remastering it, so we finally have a chance to listen to it, and it's quite fantastic.
A part of a global touring show called Brasiliana by Polish producer Miecio Askanasy and arranged by Jose Prates, the cast members cut a couple of records and this is one of them. Its lush orchestration of exotic rhythms, haunting choral passages and old world musical theater charm at turns evoking the soundtrack work of Ennio Morricone and Allesandro Allesandroni, the exoticism of Les Baxter and Yma Sumac and even the choral African mass of Missa Luba by the Troubadours du Roi Baudouin, make for a captivating and hypnotic listen. But one song in particular, "Nana Imboro", turns out to be the inspiration for Jorge Ben's "Mas Que Nada", one of the most popular Brazilian songs ever made. At times, mournful, mysterious, reverent and ecstatic. Highly recommended!
MPEG Stream: "Nana Imboro"
MPEG Stream: "Nega Zefinha"

album cover SANNHET Revisionist (The Flenser) lp 17.98
Full length number two from Brooklyn instrumental, avant post-metal outfit Sannhet (the word for truth in Norwegian), Revisionist is a dizzying concoction of math-metal intricacy, prismatic pop shimmer, and dense metallic crush, taking the metalgaze sound of like minded modern metal combos like Deafheaven or Alcest and adding more dynamic indie rockisms and churning noise rock crunch, then somehow, distilling it all into more concise, pop-like song structures, while somehow packing just as many parts, and just as much majestic epicry into those comparably brief blast.
Each track here a chunk of deftly crafted melodic heaviness. Massive riffs, and thick swaths of distorted buzz wound around dynamic drumming, wild squalls of mathed out drum crush wreathed in sparkling fields of melodic guitar shimmer, even the occasional blast beat, is decontextualized into something more blissed out than brutal, resulting in a sound that churns and soars, with beautiful bits of heavy ambience woven into moody, minor key riffage, peppered with brief bursts of straight up black metal / metalgaze buzz and blast, but even at it's most furious and frantic, it seems to be bathed in some sort of otherworldly glow, a hazy, dreamy poppiness infused into the sound.
Just check out the opening one two punch of "Revisionist" and "Lost Crown", the title track delivering a decidedly non-metallic opening, with thick, undulating layers of fuzzy, psychedelic riffage, peppered with super dynamic fills, the vibe more proggy than metal, before dissolving into a sound more gothy and gloomy, dense tribal drumming, over chiming guitar shimmer, our first glimpse of blastbeats too, and much like the rest of the record, so strangely placed, and deftly composed, it might not even seem like a blastbeat at first, instead, it just adds to the layered texture of the sound, which careens back and forth between a roiling blackened blissed out churn and a sun dappled buzz drenched pop. "Lost Crown" opens up similarly, with a strangely loping, mathy noise-pop sprawl, the drums cascading over a field of crumbling distortion and warm fuzz, only to erupt into some actual buzzing blackness, but again, even here, it's more swirling and psychedelic than grim and brutal.
And throughout Revisionist, those bouts of buzz and blast are tempered by moody, melancholy math rock passages, that occasionally blossom into still more furious black buzz, but more often, are transformed into something more textural, and at times almost gothic, in fact skip ahead a bit and check out the gloomy moodiness of "Enemy Victorian", driven by a low slung Joy Division bassline, and sounding like the Cure via Interpol, albeit with some swirling psychedelic guitar thrum, and the occasional bleary-eared blast beat, the end result is again not so much metallic as transcendent and emotional, melancholic and almost dreampoppy, especially when more layered guitar texture, and a skyful of keening, minor key melodies swoop in. And even further on, there's "Sinking Forward", a sprawling majestic epic somehow compacted into less than four minutes, a smoldering, slow-motion crescendo, that builds from hushed drift to Godspeed like bombast, a howling psychedelic coda, that leads directly into closer "You ThyÉ" which is where most bands might finish things off with a final burst of metal, but instead, Sannhet unfurl another textural sonic sprawl that briefly dips into some blastbeat driven metalgaze bliss, quickly settles sonically somewhere else entirely, sounding like some impossible, and impossibly dreamy, mathpop/dronemetal/postrock hybrid equal parts Shellac, Laddio Bolocko and Explosions In The Sky.
MPEG Stream: "Revisionist"
MPEG Stream: "Enemy Victorian"
MPEG Stream: "Sinking Forward"

album cover SEGALL, TY BAND Live In San Francisco (Castle Face) lp 15.98
Heck really does this even need a review? The Castle Face "Live In San Francisco" series continues - White Fence, Fuzz, OBNIIIs, now another awesome garage rock act from the local/Castle Face scene, an obvious and popular choice indeed, the Ty Segall Band. Not to be confused with Ty Segall the solo artist, though that'd be easy enuff. The Ty Segall Band's discography ain't nearly as extensive, with Slaughterhouse being their only studio album, they also did a Live A Death By Audio set, and this, oh and a limited 7" featuring Motorhead and Black Sabbath covers too.
Anyway, here Ty, Charlie, Mikal, and the rest of the Band rip it up on ten tracks recorded live in front of an enthusiastic crowd at SF's Rickshaw Stop in 2013. Approximately 50 percent comes from Slaughterhouse, the rest drawn from various corners of Ty's solo career. Played with punked-out energy and lotsa fuzz, kinda reminding us of early Mudhoney, this recorded performance is a nice souvenir for anyone who was there, and for everyone else, a yummy taste of what was clearly a freakin' fun live show!! After hearing this, you'll know never to miss 'em next time. For the uninitiated, no reason really not to start here with Ty and/or the TSB...
MPEG Stream: "Wave Goodbye"
MPEG Stream: "Death"
MPEG Stream: "Standing At The Station"

album cover SIX ORGANS OF ADMITTANCE Hexadic (Drag City) lp 17.98
Uh, woah, WTF?! Ben Chasny, you rule! His Six Organs Of Admittance manifestation goes of the deep end here, big time, with a blown-out noise rock album borne of a truly esoteric methodology, a system (The Hexadic System) of chance operation and combinatorial choice, using a normal deck of playing cards, that presents the user with possible notes to play, the duration of those notes, and in some instances "intensity factors" regarding the performance of those notes. (In fact, Drag City will be releasing a specially illustrated Six Organs deck of cards specially configured to be used with this system, as well as for playing poker or whatever.)
It's a kind of compositional indeterminacy strategy a la John Cage & the I Ching, but specifically inspired by the works of Gaston Bachelard - also Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa and Ramon Llull. We don't pretend to more than vaguely understand it, but we know Ben would be happy to discuss the Hexadic System in detail with any interested parties - also he provides much more info about it on his blog at sixorgans.com, delve on in! But first, you wanna delve into this album, which means cranking it up and standing back, 'cuz it's a doozy. Apparently, Chasny used the system to write 30 songs, the nine most 'rock' of which he selected for this record, as realized by Chasny alongside a band consisting of equally open minded experimentalists Noel Von Harmonson (Comets On Fire) on drums, Rob Fisk (Common Eider, King Eider) on bass and Charlie Saufley (Assemble Head In Sunburst Sound) on bass. By 'rock' Ben means loud heavy and distorted; this is mostly super noisy and improv-like, some crazy shit that reminds us of the likes of Rudolph Grey's Blue Humans and Keiji Haino/Fushitsusha, which we're sure are big sonic inspirations here, as significant as the writings of Bachelard et. al. The group Chasny's in with Sir Richard Bishop, Rangda, would be another good reference point.
There ARE a few delicate, dark, spacious numbers on the record too, including opener "The Ram", lovely interludes interspersed amidst the amped-up overdrive. Presumably the "intensity factors" of the cards drawn for those pieces were lower than on the rest of the album, making for some moodiness to go with the mayhem.
So, the conceptual aspect of how these pieces were composed is intellectually interesting (this album needs footnotes and a bibliography), but academics aside, a more visceral response is guaranteed as well, it's powerful, confusional SOUND that can't be denied. Avant out-rock awesomeness from a guy who, while also an excellent acoustic fingerpicker in the Takoma tradition, certainly has his weirdass heavy-duty psych rock side, as (once again) displayed here.
MPEG Stream: "Wax Chance"
MPEG Stream: "Maximum Hexadic"
MPEG Stream: "Hesitant Grand Light"

album cover SKELATOR King Of Fear (Swords & Chains) cd 12.98
Seattle's truest underground power metal warriors have returned with another headbanging batch of toons about swords, witches, demons and METAL. Indeed, this disc is, as they accurately put it, a collection of "catchy metal anthems to pump your fist bang your head and scream into the night." As fans of the band's prior opuses (opi?), we expect no less! Not very groundbreaking, but very metal and very fun - especially (or only) if you like paint peeling, air raid siren vocal histrionics in the tradition of Halford and Dickinson (and Gerrit Mutz of Sacred Steel!). Skelator possess an abundance of both vocal and instrumental firepower, along with a certain panache to how they deliver the goods. A band like this you judge by how effectively their ripping riffery, soaring vocals, and true metal 'tude make you raise your hands in the instinctive 'invisible oranges' gesture, and these guys are off the hook in that department. Invisible oranges lofted, stat. Epic, majestic, and also rockin', our only disappointment here being that they didn't include their cover of Hawkwind's "Master Of The Universe" on this cd (Skelator gone space rock, with saxophone!), but you can find a free download of that on their Bandcamp page. And if you think it's weird a band like Skelator would cover Hawkwind, well, we know they are big Elric/Moorcock fans, so that's a Hawkwind connection, plus, that song could be construed as a He-Man reference, just like Skelator. Clever.
MPEG Stream: "King Of Fear"
MPEG Stream: "Curse Of The Black Hand"
MPEG Stream: "Necromancer"

album cover THIN LIZZY s/t (Light In The Attic) lp 26.00
Kudos to Light In The Attic for doing real nice vinyl reissues of the first three, lesser known (and often underrated) albums by '70s Irish rock greats Thin Lizzy!! We listed Vagabonds Of The Western World last time, they also just did Thin Lizzy's second album, from 1972, Shades Of A Blue Orphanage, to go with the reissue of Lizzy's 1971 self-titled debut that they put out three years ago - we never listed it then, but LITA just repressed it too, so here's both of 'em.
Again, this is Lizzy in their infancy, before the big time, before Jailbreak, before the twin-guitar-harmonies era, way before Lizzy were any kind of a 'metal' band, but still utterly enjoyable, with original guitarist Eric Bell demonstrating why he's still some folks' favorite of the many, many brilliant guitarists to have done time playing alongside mainman Phil Lynott, who of course is the major attraction in Lizzy here as always, his distinctive, hoarse voice charismatic and earnest, whether spinning tales over folky acoustic backing (there's lots of mellow moments on these Lizzy's) or kicking out the more rocking, rollicking jams.
The self-titled album is a pleasant mix of groovy pop rock and that folkier fare, with some slight hints of the more hard rockin' Lizzy to come - there's the loping Hendrix-y psych-funk of "Ray-Gun", the energetic percussion-driven "Return Of The Farmer's Son", and Eric Bell gets to show off his fast-picking six string skills at times, like on "Look What The Wind Blew In". The whole record has a mostly laid-back vibe, though, often bluesy and melancholic. Humble beginnings, perhaps, but already Lynott sounds like he's 'got it'.
Shades Of A Blue Orphanage is similar, but maybe a bit more diverse. There's more gentle pop (like the acoustic loveliness of "Sarah"), as well as some powerfully proggy rocking for the proto-metal fans ("Baby Face"). Some novelties too, like the sorta dubby Elvis impression "I Don't Want To Forget How To Jive". And opening jam "The Rise And Dear Demise Of The Funky Nomadic Tribes" is indeed funky and tribal, all 7+ minutes of it.
In terms of straight up rock, Shades has a shade more than the debut.
Hmm, at times these albums make us think of an Irish equivalent of the James Gang, y'know, that hard/soft mix, a bit funky too. Certainly any true Lizzy/Lynott fan needs to check these out, you'll likely find some fresh 'deep cut' faves!
MPEG Stream: "The Friendly Ranger At Clontarf Castle"
MPEG Stream: "Return Of The Farmer's Son"

album cover THIN LIZZY Shades Of A Blue Orphanage (Light In The Attic) lp 26.00
Kudos to Light In The Attic for doing real nice vinyl reissues of the first three, lesser known (and often underrated) albums by '70s Irish rock greats Thin Lizzy!! We listed Vagabonds Of The Western World last time, they also just did Thin Lizzy's second album, from 1972, Shades Of A Blue Orphanage, to go with the reissue of Lizzy's 1971 self-titled debut that they put out three years ago - we never listed it then, but LITA just repressed it too, so here's both of 'em.
Again, this is Lizzy in their infancy, before the big time, before Jailbreak, before the twin-guitar-harmonies era, way before Lizzy were any kind of a 'metal' band, but still utterly enjoyable, with original guitarist Eric Bell demonstrating why he's still some folks' favorite of the many, many brilliant guitarists to have done time playing alongside mainman Phil Lynott, who of course is the major attraction in Lizzy here as always, his distinctive, hoarse voice charismatic and earnest, whether spinning tales over folky acoustic backing (there's lots of mellow moments on these Lizzy's) or kicking out the more rocking, rollicking jams.
The self-titled album is a pleasant mix of groovy pop rock and that folkier fare, with some slight hints of the more hard rockin' Lizzy to come - there's the loping Hendrix-y psych-funk of "Ray-Gun", the energetic percussion-driven "Return Of The Farmer's Son", and Eric Bell gets to show off his fast-picking six string skills at times, like on "Look What The Wind Blew In". The whole record has a mostly laid-back vibe, though, often bluesy and melancholic. Humble beginnings, perhaps, but already Lynott sounds like he's 'got it'.
Shades Of A Blue Orphanage is similar, but maybe a bit more diverse. There's more gentle pop (like the acoustic loveliness of "Sarah"), as well as some powerfully proggy rocking for the proto-metal fans ("Baby Face"). Some novelties too, like the sorta dubby Elvis impression "I Don't Want To Forget How To Jive". And opening jam "The Rise And Dear Demise Of The Funky Nomadic Tribes" is indeed funky and tribal, all 7+ minutes of it.
In terms of straight up rock, Shades has a shade more than the debut.
Hmm, at times these albums make us think of an Irish equivalent of the James Gang, y'know, that hard/soft mix, a bit funky too. Certainly any true Lizzy/Lynott fan needs to check these out, you'll likely find some fresh 'deep cut' faves!
MPEG Stream: "The Rise And Dear Demise Of The Funky Nomadic Tribes"
MPEG Stream: "Brought Down"

album cover TIMM MASON / CATHARTECH Sleep Study I (Masters Chemical Society) cassette 8.98
Lucid dreaming and hypnogogic mirroring of a drift towards unconsciousness. These are the goals presented through the electronic experiments from Timm Mason and Cathartech, two artists operating under the banner of conducting a "Sleep Study" through sound. The Seattle based electronic artist Mason set up his modular synths with a series of augmented circuit patches that he manipulated and modified over a series of 10 nights attempting to find a set that mimicked his own dissolve from a waking state into the earliest stages of sleep. While there is a bed of hushed white noise slowly pulsing like a slightly snoring bed partner above a placidly undulated set of sustained sawtoothed tones, this is not the banal, braintuning drivel of much of the '80s / '90s new age and ambient poppycock. Mason's hand-off patches allow for very slow cycles of squelched blurts and whirring clatter to burst forth throughout the piece. Cathartech on the other hand wanted to work within the liminal state of dreaming and being awake, thanks to a holistic recipe of various chemicals, tinctures, and yes stilton cheese (!!!) that promotes the recall of dreams. Cathartech woke himself up after two hours of deep sleep over the course of several weeks to capture whatever automatic writing may come through him in that state and be recorded through his gear of electronics, contact microphones, etc. By comparison to the electronic sequences and sci-fi rigor of Mason's work, this is far more of an abstracted cauldron of drone, smoke, and dislocation not at all dissimilar to those recent collages from irr. app. (ext.). Limited to something like 60 copies.
MPEG Stream: TIMM MASON "Alpha Expansion"

album cover UMILIANI, PIERO (AS MOGGI) Tra Scienza E Fantascienza (We Release Whatever The Fuck We Want) lp 27.00
Even if we weren't already Umiliani fans, we'd have been sold on this from the cover art alone - the painting looks a bit like a still from some psychedelic science-fantasy animation, like La Planete Sauvage, and the creature in the foreground with the one big eye reminds us of a 'minion' from Despicable Me wearing a black leather/latex bondage suit! So there's that. And, there's the music - also cool and strange and not that far removed from La Planete Sauvage stuff either. This album, which was originally released circa 1980 (supposedly, though some sources state '81, and others 1976), was made by Italian soundtrack/library music composer Piero Umiliani, here operating under the "band" name Moggi. We've always loved Umiliani, best known for his nonsense hit "Mah Na Mah Na", made more famous by the Muppets. He's a 'Space Age Bachelor Pad' music maestro, and here, with drums, bass and hella Moog, gets especially spacey, these retro-futuristic ditties approaching kraut-electronica status (a la Cluster), often sounding quite ahead of their time. It's a real wondrous romp of experimental synthesizer poppiness, chock a block with quirky, groovy instrumentals, squelchy and super-catchy and synthed out to the max, with mesmeric melodies, percolating percussion and other splashes of jazziness along with the avant-garde electronics and FX. Utterly delightful.
First time reissued on vinyl, limited to 500 copies, and goin' fast - in fact, we can't be sure if we'll be able to get more at all when we run out. (Oh, and nice label name, by the way!)
MPEG Stream: "Gadget"
MPEG Stream: "Officina Stellare"

album cover V/A Glory Dominion Majesty Power (Half Moon) 2lp 32.00
Yay, repressed on vinyl, reggae fans rejoice... Here's our review from when we first listed this back in 2003:
From the label that helped put out the swell Darker Than Blue compilation comes a new, even more obscure collection of great tracks. Everything on this collection comes from the vaults of the Canadian label / recording studio Half Moon, sort of a Great White Northern version of Wackies and every bit as good. Lots of crispy, crunchy hi-hats and boomy-muffled bass surround the vocalists in a sandwich of audio love. There's a really nice rootsy reworking of Michigan & Smiley's "Nice Up The Dance" rhythm with some vocals by Johnny Osbourne. Along with Osbourne many Jamaican stars came to visit and record with the in house Super 8 Corporation band during the eighties. Included on this set are Joe Higgs, Stranger Cole, Leroy Sibbles as well as the home team's own vocalists. In addition to the vocal tracks there's some really sweet dubs on here to boot, fairly stripped down in style with a little added instrumentation here, a little more spring reverb and delay there - very tasteful. The recording quality is very reminiscent of Lee Perry's early Black Ark era stuff, cramming as much signal onto the magnetic tape as will saturate (just caint do that darn thing with that digital crap!) Quite nice, a great collection filled with rarities.
MPEG Stream: BLENDERS, THE "Why Did You Run Away?"
MPEG Stream: BONGO OSSIE & THE MOONLIGHTS "Black Society"
MPEG Stream: LEROY SIBBLES & OTRAVIS BAND "Sky Jacking Version"

album cover WIRE, THE #373 March 2015 magazine 9.98
Another issue of this indispensable guide to what's what in the world of interesting new music, with Carter Tutti on the cover (all about the album of re-recordings we're reviewing this week), plus also jazz bassist Cecil McBee, saxophonist Steve Coleman, a scene report on Mexico City, and plenty more, including the usual news and (tons of) reviews. And maybe best of all, an "Invisible Jukebox" blind-test session starring the Sleaford Mods!!


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