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Records of the Week
ANENZEPHALIA Instrumentalities: Singles Collection 1991-2008 (Tesco Organisation) cd 19.98
Limited stock on this singles collection from Anenzephalia, one of our favorite Industrial noise projects. We had the good fortune of coming across the first Anenzephalia 7" here at the shop. Packaged in an oversized sleeve, the design featured a handwritten death certificate and supposedly various medical tools attached to the cover. Forceps, speculum, surgical scissors, razor blades, etc. were the reported objects that could have been included; but this copy of the single was missing that piece of medical ephemera. Such an object d'art came straight from the industrial culture of SPK's Information Overload Unit, complete with autopsy photos, low-rent pornography, and ghastly war footage. Anenzephalia's unsmiling plod of death-industrial orchestrations is hardly what could be considered singles fodder, yet here it is - the Anenzephalia singles collection. That medical tool single "Lyse" is featured alongside three other, long out of print singles. Anenzephalia harvests the fields of horror film design with a bloody scythe, with intermingled shortwave radio transmissions and megaphone barked vocals as the unreliable narrator of your own death and salvation, spluttering amidst lugubrious electronic crawls of heavy-as-fuck low-end throb and the creeping torpor of radioactive blood infusions, deliberately septic treatments, and other maladies of medical procedures gone horribly, horribly wrong.
MPEG Stream: "Induratio Penis Plastika"
MPEG Stream: "A Tribute..."
MPEG Stream: "Stille Spharen"
ANENZEPHALIA Task Force Terrorist (Tesco Archaic Documents) lp 40.00
We described Anenzephalia's 2004 release Noehaem, as "quite possibly one of the scariest records we have ever heard", and it really was. Some sort of a imaginary soundtrack to a movie so scary no one could see it without dying of fright. Drones, and strings, and creaking ambience, some impossible mix of Ligeti and Lustmord. Live Anenzephalia is a much different beast. A much noisier beast. A glowing red eyed, hunchbacked black shape, hunkered down beneath a pile of electronics, unfurling coruscating clouds of noxious black fog and processed megaphone vocals. Streaks of white hot feedback, snippets of old speeches, grinding rhythmic distortion, disembodied voices, old folk songs, white noise, shortwave interference, buzzing glitched out electronics and super distorted buzz, all ground into one huge lumbering abstract blacknoisebeast. Still pretty damn scary, but now extra noisy to boot! This is a super limited vinyl reissue of a super limited edition cd-r "Live At Karlsruhe" that we had stocked back in the day. Restocks are unlikely.
MPEG Stream: "Life Penalty"
MPEG Stream: "Savak Chair"
BIRCHVILLE CAT MOTEL Alpine Pacific Triangle (Don't Fuck With Magic) cd-r 14.98
Along with the recent reactivation of Kiwi noisemaker Campbell Kneale's Our Love Will Destroy The World project, as well as some solo work, comes the rebirth of his long running, and aQ beloved, Birchville Cat Motel. There were times, we'll admit, when OLWDTW began, that to us it seemed like less of a new group/project/sound and more of a new name, with the two 'groups' sharing the same sonic palette. But this recent spate of releases is demonstrating that there just may be a method to Kneale's madness, with Our Love Will Destroy The World focusing on a sort of prismatic psychedelic Ur-drone, all wild sonic tangles, fractured beats, and dizzying sonic density, and with the last solo record veering into caustic pure noise howl. With Birchville, or at least this new one, Kneale seems to be exploring returning to a mysterious hushed minimalism, a surprisingly expansive soundworld of gristled textures, of whirring thrum, static and hiss, the background here could be a field recording of some abandoned power plant, still running on low power, machines way off in the distance rumbling ominously, plenty of keening tones, everything dialed way back, shadowy and atmospheric. Dripping water gathers in puddles beneath the archaic machinery, the first nearly ten minutes is mostly a haunting wander through this strange alien space, until other sounds begin to surface, barely there melodies, grinding low end tones, fields of whispery shimmer, clanks and clangs, but again everything washed out and seemingly way off in the distance, the vibe here more like sound design, at times sounding like the ambience of Freddy Kreuger's basement, but when nothing is happening, just a creepy abandoned space, rife with malevolent potential, but otherwise strangely hypnotic and tranquil. Eventually Kneale introduces some pulsating kosmische melodies, which quickly erupt into a psychedelic soft noise squall, before exploding into a chaos of jumbled metal bash, and churning brownnoise howl, laced inexplicably with some distorted guitar riffage, as if the song might launch into some full on rock, and that 30 minutes was just a protracted intro, but instead, that riff just loops and loops, more and more lost in the swirling, dizzying noisiness above. Finally, for the last few minutes, that noisiness abates, and we gradually sink into more moody tranquility a la the first half of the record, all hazy cinematic drift, sinister soundscapery, and a final stretch of near Hitchcockian atmospheric creepiness.Housed in the now familiar Don't Fuck With Magic style full color oversized sleeve, and always EXTREMELY LIMITED, and aQ is one of, if not THEE only place in the US carrying this. Get one before they're gone!
MPEG Stream: "Alpine Pacific Triangle"
BOLDER DAMN Mourning (Guerssen) lp 28.00
Now reissued on vinyl, remastered and with new liner notes, by the fine folks at Guerssen, in Spain, this proto-metal hard psych cult obscurity...Bolder Damn's only album, Mourning, came out originally on vinyl in 1972 in a scant pressing of only 200 copies. Bolder Damn were a hard rock band from Florida, kinda legendary for their song "Dead Meat", which appears here, the final track on the record. It's an over-15-minute long epic of proto-DOOM metal, combining Alice Cooper-ish schlock horror stage theatrics and sub-Sabbath riffage, also getting pretty tripped out and psychedelic. If not the holy grail of heaviness, it's still definitely pretty dang heavy and doomy, with a '60s downer vibe. The rest of the album preceding "Dead Meat" is decent rockin' stuff, much more in a good times, let's rock vein, garagey and fuzzy and jangley and wah-wah'd and all that. Echoes of the James Gang, the MC5 (opening cut "BRTCD" shakes it like them), Frijid Pink, Bubble Puppy, and Sainte Anthony's Fyre. But then "Dead Meat" shows up and says, party's over, time to die. And the bad trip begins.Bolder Damn broke up not long after this lp was recorded, thanks to the draft, giving Mourning a kind of lost classic status - although we're not saying it really *is* a classic, just something for connoisseurs of obscure '70s hard/boogie rock (you know who you are), with the added attraction of the freaky "Dead Meat", definitely something special in the annals of early doom.
MPEG Stream: "BRTCD"
MPEG Stream: "Breakthrough"
MPEG Stream: "Dead Meat"
BRIGHTER DEATH NOW With Promises Of Death (Familjegraven) cd 15.98
The first new recordings from Brighter Death Now in how many years? The monsterous collection Very Little Fun tracked material up until 2005, but wasn't released until 2011; so it was probably 2007 when BDN published the blacknoise assault 1890. Brighter Death Now, of course, is the solo black-ambient / death-industrial project for Roger Karmanik, the founder of the seminal imprint Cold Meat Industries. Karmanik closed down CMI in late 2013 / early 2014 as he was suffering mentally and physically from the drain of running the label. The terminus of the label, however, brought focus back on his own work which had been dormant for so long. By the end of 2014, Karmanik had fully immersed himself within the shroud of Brighter Death Now, completing this album and announcing the birth of his new label Familjegraven whose sole purpose is to release his own projects, including rarities, reissues, and new recordings. With Promises Of Death begins with a burst of power electronics might and fury of Swedish / English sloganeering blurting above a vertiginous torrent of thrummed black noise and deafening reverberation. It's somewhat atypical for BDN to encroach into the territories of Con-Dom or Grey Wolves, as is the locomotive noise-futurism of "Hate Is For Beginners." The raw-nerve intensity of poorly grounded electronics cycling a diabolical hum collapses amidst the signature BDN collages of true crime / confessional dialogue buried deeply in the mix; and by the end of the album, Karmanik has slowly shifted to those engulfing shadows and fear-mongering orchestrations of coal-black monotone. It's all so deliciously morose, this Brighter Death Now.
MPEG Stream: "Promises Of Death"
MPEG Stream: "The Cover-Up"
MPEG Stream: "In The Shadow Of Death"
COBB, ALEX Marigold And Cable (Shelter Press) lp 17.98
There should be little surprise that Alex Cobb is the man behind Students Of Decay, a publishing house of impeccably blissed-out albums of post-everything melancholia that might very be able dissolve the entire history of recorded music into a puddle of tears if given the chance. Kyle Bobby Dunn with his self-deprecating minimalism and Secret Pyramid crafting rainy-day mantras are two of the more recently championed artists published by Students Of Decay. The bulk of Cobb's own work has come under the Taiga Remains banner, and he brought that project to a close with the maudlin collection Works For Cassette. Despite this terminus of Taiga Remains, there's nothing so dramatic as an aesthetic rupture; and the transition from the work as Taiga Remains into that of his birth name is as fluid and seamless as the music that he produces. In other words, Cobb produces another beautiful album of frozen stare dronemusik captured through a lens that's been smeared with ample gobs of vaseline. The opener "Famosa" glistens with a radiance of liquid golden light held in permanent suspension before Cobb delves into a very Andrew Chalk like piece of audio impressionism in "Rain At The Fete" with its chiming drones and slow ellipsis of cyclical notes washed out in reverb, delay, and more reverb. The rasping tones of "Oversong" are courtesy of Maxwell Croy's koto whose sibilant textures are softened into a muted hum, cohabiting the mindgaze euphoria of stoned pharmacology and the earnestness of an enlightened calm. "Marine Layer" effortlessly floats from one Aeolian harmonic thrum into another, as if the graphical score followed the crest and fall of the Pacific fog surging to and fro against the California coast. Beautifully rendered through and through.
MPEG Stream: "Famosa"
MPEG Stream: "Oversong"
MPEG Stream: "Marine Layer"
EL TOPO (ALEJANDRO JODOROWSKY) OST (Real Gone) lp 31.00
REPRESSED! (And also, FYI, the Real Gone label has also just issued vinyl versions of the soundtracks to two other Jodorowsky films, including the sought-after Holy Mountain - we have 'em in stock, but didn't have time to review yet!) The great Chilean experimental filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky directed, starred in and composed the music for one of THEE flat out strangest cinematic experiences ever made. El Topo from 1970 was Jodorowsky's bloody surreal take on the Western genre and was the film that began the phenomenon of the Midnight Movie. Funded by John Lennon and Yoko Ono, this film is like a Sergio Leone film on a serious dose of brown acid. Visually stunning and brutally violent, El Topo shares the avant garde qualities of all of Jodorowsky's early films: the soul-baring psyche of experimental theater, the role-playing excess of costumes, props and pageantry, the ritualistic entanglements of violence and beauty as catalysts of transformation, and most importantly the notion of existence as a journey through all kinds of personal and mystical revelations both sacred and profane. The soundtrack is comprised of 18 tracks composed by Jodorowsky and John Barham inspired by both the soundtrack work of Ennio Morricone and Nino Rota. Full of flutes and droning horns, accordions and organs and twisted Mariachi styles. The music is as visceral as buzzing flies around the rotting corpse of an evil marauder. Highly Recommended!180 grams, gatefold, remastered from original tapes, with 4 page booklet including stills from the movie.
MPEG Stream: "La Catedral De Los Puercos (The Pigs Monastery)"
MPEG Stream: "Vals Fantasma"
MPEG Stream: "Las Flores Nacen En El Barro (Flowers Born In the Mud)"
ELECTRIC EELS Die Electric Eels (Superior Viaduct) lp 17.98
Totally something we should have expected that reissue specialists Superior Viaduct would get to sooner or later, 'cause it's very much up their, uh, viaduct, and yep here it is - a retrospective compilation from seminal raw weirdo almost-avant-garde punks the Electric Eels! Proto-punks, really, as the band started in '72, and broke up in '76, with all their releases being posthumous ones. We'll now repurpose a bunch of what we wrote about the band when a previous, now out of print anthology came out some years ago... The Electric Eels were the undisputed bad boy kings of Ohio punk, spitting out snarled three minute blasts of noisy, clumsy, snotty '70s punk rock, sounding like a retarded Black Flag, which is a *good* thing. Super distorted and super whiny, these Cleveland fuck-ups made fellow Ohioans Pere Ubu and the Dead Boys look and sound like choir boys. Magnets for trouble, the Eels attracted cops and fist fights and rowdy crowds like shit attracts flies, resulting in inter-band squabbles, drunken half sets, and mucho club destruction. The thing was, even though these guys could barely play, they wrote amazingly catchy songs and what they lacked in skill they made up for with attitude. Songs like "You're Full Of Shit" are relentless, hook filled pop gems, dipped in shit and sprinkled with garbage, that still somehow came out smelling like roses. The Electric Eels are what all punk rock should sound like - catchy, heavy, loud, funny and most importantly not pretentious. Completely essential, fucked up, PUNK ROCK.This vinyl-only Superior Viaduct collection, 13 tracks in all, contains such Eels essentials as "Agitated", "Cyclotron", "Sewercide", and "Jaguar Ride", and features liner notes by punk rock scholar Jon Savage.FYI, Superior Viaduct have also just reissued the Electric Eels' killer 2nd single, "Spin Age Blasters/Bunnies", available separately, we've got those too (the tracks from their first single are on this Die Electric Eels comp, btw).
MPEG Stream: "Cyclotron"
MPEG Stream: "Refrigerator"
GHOSTWRITER & MICHAEL PAINE Morrow [Deluxe] (Time Released Sound) cd 75.00
Ye gods, how do they do it? Another great release, in of course both regular and deeeeeeeeeeluxe versions, from Time Released Sound, a local label specializing in obscure experimental/ambient loveliness from around the world, and also specializing in the most over the top, one-of-a-kind, labor intensive, hand made packaging for the deluxe releases we've ever seen (and the standard digipacks look nice too). Mr. Colin Herrick, take bow. He's the crazy guy who spends all his free time making these things, it's his label.So, what's this one like? As usual with TRS stuff, this artist Ghostwriter (aka Mark Brend) and his accomplice here, Michael Paine, we weren't previously familiar with, but we believe they're British, and bit like another TRS disc last year, the one by The Inventors Of Aircraft, thematically, this concerns itself with England's faded past. Impressionistic, hushed atmospheres, melancholic and beautiful, inspired by sepia-toned mid-century memories of seaside holidays and gloomy country houses. Hence the vintage 1930's wallpaper worked into the deluxe edition packaging (each one different!!). Ghostwriter's "folktronic" approach finds melodic acoustic guitar and piano motifsinterwoven with field recording hum and other evocative samples. It's quite nice - again as usual with TRS stuff!And then there's the packaging. What do you get for your 75 bucks if you spring for the deluxe art object option? Well, protected by two sheets of cardboard, you get a handworked 7" square translucent envelope containing a "uniquely hand distressed and antiqued hardcover booklet", with the cd inside in a "typewriter addressed, stamped and soiled envelope" (not too soiled, though!). Meanwhile, the aforementioned booklet's pages are collaged with that wallpaper and other images, AND comes with a small, round hand-stamped and colored jigsaw puzzle depicting a pastoral scene! Again each one different. Pretty special, and perfectly aligned with the mood of the music.The deluxe edition is limited to just 80 copies, the digipack to 150.
MPEG Stream: "Cooling Bay"
MPEG Stream: "(S)pace (L)eft (O)ver"
GODFLESH A World Lit Only By Fire (Avalanche) lp 24.00
NOW HERE ON VINYL!!!After the four song Decline & Fall ep from earlier this year, legendary industrial metal duo Godflesh follow it up with their first full length in THIRTEEN YEARS, the first since 2001's Hymns, and like Decline & Fall, it's a total time machine trip, the band sounding pretty much as good as they did back in the day. All the elements are present, the robotic drum machine pummel, the crushing down tuned riffage, the thick rumbling bass, Justin Broadrick's throaty bellow. When we first heard about Godflesh's reformation and return, we were sort of expecting it to be more of a Godflesh lite, with some of Broadrick's other more poppy band Jesu finding its way into Godflesh's new sound. But that new sound is pretty much their old sound, and we're definitely not complaining. Other than the first couple Pitchshifter records, which were widely considered to be Godflesh ripoffs anyway, no other industrial metal band, has managed to pull it off like these guys, creating epically tranced out mechanical metal mesmer, pounding, and churning, a bleakly psychedelic mechanoid doom, that at times had us thinking of modern, machine-making, one man doom band Author & Punisher, which makes sense since he no doubt owes pretty much his whole sound to Godflesh, but for folks late to the party, young 'uns who maybe missed out on Godflesh the first time around, and who have been digging stuff like A&P, this is the OG shit, or the OIM (original industrial metal?) shit.And it's not just the sound, the songs too, long stretches of grinding riffage, give way to more spaced out psychedelic passages, cascades of minor key melody draped over stuttering drum machines, and undulating bass buzz, the vocals too, even occasionally slip into a more sort of monk-like chant before returning to that distinctive bark, the songs weirdly catchy, which is quite a feat for music like this, but for every atmospheric bit, every buried hook, every melodic moment, it's more than made up for by some seriously brutal metallic crush, flurries of pounding behemoth beats, and probably some of the most punishing, skull-caving, down-tuned distorto, industrial-doom riffage you've likely heard in a long, long time. Killer.
MPEG Stream: "Deadend"
MPEG Stream: "Life Giver Life Taker"
MPEG Stream: "Obeyed"
KALEIDOSCOPE Further Reflections: The Complete Recordings 1967-1969 (Cherry Red/Grapefruit) 2cd 19.98
Nice! The two crucial albums by this aQ fave sixties psych pop act, now reissued as a double cd, complete with bunches of bonus tracks! Not to be confused with the various other Kaleidoscopes of the era from the US and Mexico, this perfectly twee UK psych pop combo's were one of the best unsung post-Peppers British psych-pop acts. We believe these guys might in fact have been THE ULTIMATE psychedelic pop band ever. The first of the two discs here contains their 1967 debut album Tangerine Dream (which is also not to be confused with the famous krautrock/soundtrack outfit Tangerine Dream) is just incredible. Gorgeous vocals, killer melodies, lush orchestrations, and, especially, beautifully baroque psych-speak lyrics that put "Strawberry Fields Forever" to shame - with lines like "Battalions in baby blue are bursting beige balloons / the water pistols are all filled with lemonade / the jester and the goldfish have joined minds above the moon / oh please kiss the flowers and you too will be safe / oh swing and sway..."It's very British, twee and dreamy, being that perfect blend of sunshine and melancholy so many psych pop bands of the era were striving for. The Kaleidoscope did it best right here. I mean, if you like the Zombies and the Hollies and heck the Olivia Tremor Control, you should know about these gents too. Indeed, the album's final track "The Sky Children", might be THE ULTIMATE pop-psych track on this ultimate pop-psych record. (Hey a little hyperbole never hurt anybody.) It's an eight-minute epic, with a thrilling vocal hook on endless repeat, and amazing lyrics continually pouring forth the whole time. Truly awe-some, if you're attuned to the vibe. The disc is rounded out with six bonus tracks, from singles and such.Disc two contains the band's second album, 1969's Faintly Blowing (and an additional 4 bonus tracks). This one carries on from their first with more of the same delightful dreamy oh-so-melodic and lysergically lyricized pop psyke, some of the best ever in our humble opinion. Orchestrated, emotive, shoulda-been-hits abound, along with some way-out psychedelic experimentation. The Kaleidoscope story continued into the proggy '70s with a name change to Fairfield Parlour but Faintly Blowing was really their last colourful hurrah of dainty dandy '60s poppiness. Quite nice, fantastic, possibly even supercalifragilistic.
MPEG Stream: "Dive Into Yesterday"
MPEG Stream: "Flight From Ashiya"
MPEG Stream: "The Sky Children"
MPEG Stream: "Faintly Blowing"
MPEG Stream: "Snap Dragon"
MUSIC BLUES Things Haven't Gone Well (Thrill Jockey) lp 23.00
The grimy and oozing, sludgey and slimy, sonic apple does not fall far from the musical tree, as Harvey Milk bassist Stephen Tanner turns an aborted attempt at writing a new Harvey Milk record into his own solo record, the evocatively titled, and ultra personal Music Blues, a droning, dirgey, downtuned rumination on Tanner's life, from birth all the way up until right goddamn now. With a heavy focus on a recent spate of blues-worthy bad times, heart break and homelessness, death of friends and depression, Tanner crafts a brooding sprawl of epic slo-mo heaviness, that really could have been a new Harvey Milk record, with long stretches of murky churn butted up against impossible metallic majesty, soaring and epic, dirgey and doomy. At time it's actually a little bit difficult to not imagine HM's Creston Spiers bellowing over the top, but even sans those distinctive vocals, Tanner's soundscapes of tarpit riffage, knuckle dragging drummige, churning, crumbling low end, and tripped out, droney, abstract, almost psychedelia, make for some sweet, and sweetly abject heaviness.Peppered amidst all the low slung sludge are brief bits of weirdness (or maybe more accurately, weirder weirdness), woozy stretches of pitchshifted ultra lo-fi downer country strum, transformed into some twang flecked murk, or moments that sound like intros to some Fucking Champs-like shred, but which instead just lock into stretched out stasis, minimal and metallic and mesmerizing. But the songs themselves, for being as minimal as they often are, are pretty riveting, and hypnotic, heavy for sure, but also textured and strangely nuanced, with varying levels of fidelity, the sound slips easily from massive crush, to home brewed heaviness and back again. Many of the sounds here are obviously beholden to the 'Milk mothership, and channel the sound of classic metal (Kiss, Priest), and like HM turn it into something that sounds like it's being played by someone with serious head trauma, and spinning way too slow on some old busted up turntable (check out "Trying And Giving Up). But there are also moments of monochromatic mesmeric metal trudge ("Great Depression"), murky, hazy, atmospheric soundscapery ("Failure") and surprising poppiness ("It's Not Going To Get Better"), which perhaps not surprisingly at all, does not stay poppy for long. This will definitely tide over Harvey Milk fanatics until the next HM full length (assuming there ever is one), but really, anyone into droned out, melodic minimalism, and droney, doomy heaviness, will dig these here Music Blues.
MPEG Stream: "Premature Caesarean Removal Delivery"
MPEG Stream: "Hopelessness And Worthlessness"
MPEG Stream: "Trying And Giving Up"
NIGHT TERRORS, THE Pavor Nocturnus (Twisted Nerve) lp 19.98
You know Australian synth & Theremin laden all-instrumental prog band, The Night Terrors? Hopefully yes, since we made their last release, Spiral Vortex, a Record Of The Week earlier this year! So, here's an idea: get them to create an album using what's reputed to be the Southern hemisphere's largest Grand Pipe Organ. Have 'em record it on Friday the 13th and release it on Halloween. (Yep, we've had this in for just a little while╔ but it's perfect 'nightmare before Christmas' timing on our part listing it now.) Really, what could be better? The Night Terrors, who specialize in sinister, bombastic, soundtrack-sounding stuff, going to town on a big ol' pipe organ, plus their usual synthesizers, percussion, and of course trademark Theremin. The results are atmospheric, spooky, a grand sonic hallucination you could dance the jitters to. The human-yet-inhuman voice of the Theremin sings intensely over propulsive suspenseful beats and electronic zipzap, while the organ looms ominously behind/above/below it all. It's like John Carpenter goes to church. Very Death Waltz, and pretty darn cool! Two "movements" / sides, eight tracks, vinyl-only.
MPEG Stream: "Megafauna"
ORDER OF THE SOLAR TEMPLE, THE s/t (I, Voidhanger) cd 13.98
We've had a couple things on weird Italian metal/doom label I, Voidhanger before, but we got those from the artist (Blizaro/John Gallow). Now we finally did an order directly with I, Voidhanger and got a bunch of other amazing cds, most of 'em really bizarre black and/or death metal bands, like Spectral Lore, Howls Of Ebb, and Inconcessus Lux Lucis. Look out for us listing those at some point soon. But the first of 'em that we wanted to review is the the eponymous debut from The Order Of The Solar Temple, which is a bit more along the lines of the Blizaro/Gallow stuff, very '70s and '80s influenced, eccentric occult rock/metal. A Canadian band featuring the former singer/guitarist of doomsters Funeral Circle, The Order Of The Solar Temple are super bombastic and over the top, hard rockin', melodic metal madmen. They really go for it, putting their poppiest, cheesiest foot forward on the album's lead-off track, "Fallout Woman", which sounds something like a baroque version of The Cult (who, hmm, did a song called "Fire Woman", right?). But it's more like The Cult meets The Darkness, it gets crazy with the vocals. Bold move, but we love it. Elsewhere on the album, they're really more Blue Oyster Cult than The Cult, and in fact perfectly cover a BoC classic, "Dominance And Submission" later on. Oh, and one of their originals is called "The Cult (Of Rock And Roll)". With the catchy BoC influence evident, there's moments here (particularly on final track "The Order") that will certainly remind one of Swedish sensations Ghost, who also dig that Cult. But The Order Of The Solar Temple are more bizarrely metal, more anything goes, more freakin' rockin' than Ghost, making us think also of everything from Paul Chain to UFO, Reverend Bizarre to some of the more metal moments from Circle and their side projects - in fact, if you like Pharaoh Overlord's Out Of Darkness or the Falcon (Ex-Circle) album, you should definitely dig this.Basically, when this is cranked up, it's simply hard to deny. Definitely turning into a surprise hit amongst the aQ staff, that's for sure!
MPEG Stream: "Fallout Woman"
MPEG Stream: "Aeon Of Horus"
MPEG Stream: "Jervas Dudley"
PRURIENT Despiritualized (Tesco Archaic Documents) 10" 32.00
Prurient has always been the project for Dominick Fernow to do whatever the fuck he is doing at the time. Here, Dom shifts gears back to power electronics on Despiritualized after all of those notable explorations into electric rhythm. This was of course the place where Fernow began, with filthy feedback and distortion bracing scabbed noise-pulse frequencies and his pitch-shifted, commanding voice; and it's a place he will continue to investigate probably right up to the day he dies. The symbols of stalker creepiness, vaguely political overtones of political corruption, and socially maladjusted rage all haunt Despiritualized. The trenchcoat / true-crime aesthetics to this vein of Fernow's work come from the long tradition of underground transgression that sensationalizes the heightened states of sexuality and violence as the grand existential scream into the void. Fernow, like William Bennett and Genesis P-Orridge before him, have shrugged off the accusations of glorifying the ills of society for the use as shock-value. It is a questionable argument that work such as Despiritualized is done as an exercise of clinical detachment. In all of the coded aesthetics of schizoid rage and hypersexualization, Fernow does find pleasure as the sadist; and he's not particularly shy in expressing his thought. The four tracks of Despiritualized land in the mental minefield of some poor fucked on the verge of snapping over a jilted lover or even just a misheard word. The poetics of this dot the tortured grind of a classic power electronics context - gnashed feedback, morose Italian-styled looping noise, and deliberately obfuscated vocal bellowing. This super limited 10" pressing is a re-issue of a 2011 double cassette (each tape just 10 minutes long, mind you), in a numbed edition of 250 copies. Restocks are doubtful on this one.
MPEG Stream: "The Other World"
MPEG Stream: "Closing Agruments"
MPEG Stream: "When Different Worlds Collide"
PYE CORNER AUDIO The Black Mist EP (Front & Follow / The Outer Church) 12" 15.98
We only got a handful of these, and they're already out of print at the label, so once these are gone, they are gone for good. We've dug pretty much everything we've heard from these guys, although much of their output has been a bit tough to track down. We raved about the Black Mill Tapes a while back, and this is more of the same, the title track and extended version of a song from a recent compilation (that we never managed to get), and is a heady, hazy bit of motorik electronica, percolating melodies over a simple throbbing autobahn beat, wreathed in swaths of sinister synth, and cinematic ambience, art film chase scene music for sure with just a hint of kosmische kraut-psych. The second track slows things way down, moody and hauntingly, the beat a woozy lope, laced with some percussive skitter, muted bassthrob, and haunted house Theremin-like melodies, the track growing ever darker, the second half sinister and shadowy, before the two halves, light and dark, merge into a sort of warmly glowing sprawl of wistful electronic soundscapery, something that wouldn't have sounded at all out of place on the last Boards Of Canada record.Finally, the title track gets a creepy, crumbly reworking from another aQ fave, Old Apparatus, who turn the beats into crunchy blurts, add some ranting voices, dial up the low end, and quickly recast the hazy electronica of the original into something abject and seriously sinister, the beats all but buried beneath swaths of minor key synth thrum, pocked with some Carpenter like melody, ratcheting up the tension, until the sound returns to the opening, those voices return, as do the beats, dense and driving, noisy and distorted, a wild psychedelic finale, that quickly abates leaving just a slow, serene fade out. Fantastic!And again, EXTREMELY LIMITED! We only got about ten copies and that's probably it! So act fast, these will likely disappear quick.
MPEG Stream: "Black Mist (Long Version)"
MPEG Stream: "Bulk Erase"
RADIO SILENCE Issue Number 03 magazine 13.00
"Literature and Rock & Roll" is this spiffy digest's tagline. A good looking 179 pages, with all the production quality of a McSweeney's or Believer. Poetry, fiction, art, essays, interviews, criticism, this is indeed very "lit" but also music-culture oriented, with a crazy impressive lineup of contributors, including Greil Marcus, Rick Moody, Carrie Brownstein, Daniel Handler, Lucinda Williams, Patrick and Tobias Wolff, and Ian MacKaye.It being that time of year, this could be a great stocking-stuffer for the more bookish music nerds on your list.
SLEEP The Clarity (self-released) 12" 17.98
BACK IN STOCK - BUT NOW ON BLACK VINYL. Instead of green. But otherwise it's the same, with the art-etched side and plain brown sleeve. This is the very last batch of these limited new Sleep 12"s we will get, and we only have a few...This is the very unexpected return of stoner doom heroes Sleep, their first new music in more than a decade. It's a single side long sprawl, originally released as part of the Adult Swim monthly series of digital downloads, now available as a super limited 12" on black vinyl (sorry, the limited translucent green vinyl is all gone.) housed in a plain brown sleeve, and sporting a bad ass spaceman etching on the B side!And as much as it can be, "The Clarity" is vintage/classic Sleep, starting out with a weird, almost electronic pulse, that soon supernova's into crushing, slithery, swaggery, stoner doom bliss, a massive main riff, the drums appropriately caveman crushing, the vocals the strangest part, seemingly beholden to post Sleep vehicle OM, sort of sung/spoken, doused in echo/reverb, but really, it's not all that different that the druggily chanted vox of the old days, and it all bleed and oozes into a perfect slab of druggy, downtuned heaviness, with plenty of tempo shifts, long stretches of doomy lumber, some seriously Sabbathy leads, the sort of head nodding crush few do better than these guys, the track bookended by a tranced out, spacey outro, where the drums gradually drop out, leaving just arcing streaks of guitar buzz, and droned out fragmented riffs, all tangled up into a mesmeric, pulsing, doom-buzz, minimal-drone coda that ends way too soon. Here's hoping this means there's a full length imminent... As mentioned above, it's a limited edition BLACK vinyl version, with etched art on the B side, brown cardstock sleeves, and no info except the label on the A side with the logo, the song title, minimal credits, and what could be Sleep's mantra or motto: "Praise Iommi"...Get before they are gone for good. You have been warned!
SPACE VACATION Heart Attack (Pure Steel) cd 15.98
Previously issued on vinyl by the band two years ago, we now have a few copies of an import compact disc version! Here's our rave review from before (and we still have some of the lps too, by the way):Finally, record number two from these local hard rockers, whose debut self titled cd-r was a huge hit with the aQ metalheads, and while we LOVED that record, we're beginning to think Heart Attack might be even better, a another killer collection of kick ass metal jams, equal parts classic NWOBHM, eighties hair metal and classic early thrash metal, the sound poppy and heavy and hooky. Right up front, if you're fans of groups like Cauldron, Twisted Tower Dire, Slough Feg, Midnight Chaser, and of course classic metal and hard rock combos like Iron Maiden, UFO, Tokyo Blade, Pandemonium and the like, then Space Vacation is definitely right up your alley. Just give the title track a listen, it's been stuck in out head like crazy for weeks now, and it pretty much perfectly encapsulates the group's sound, the heavy riffed out opening, the harmonized guitar leads, the wild drumming, the song shifting into a chugging eighties hard rock, super poppy and catchy, before launching into a furious almost speed metal blowout, chugging guitars, and furious double kick drumming, wedded to soaring clean vocals, plenty of super dynamic stop starts too, and hooks galore, even the heavy parts are crazy catchy. And then there's the shredding last minute or so, wild soloing guitars over furious drumming, and still more killer guitar harmonies. It literally took us about twenty listens before we could stop listening to that one track and dig deeper in the record. But once we did, pretty much all the tracks here are equally catchy. "End Of The Bender" is another killer, with a chorus that won't quit, and another crazy shredding finish, and then there's "Bro Hammer", a churning chunk of classic double kick driven Euro metal style radness, with yet another impossibly catchy chorus.And while there's plenty of heaviness here, and fierce riffing, and insane drumming, and for all the record's NWOBHM aspirations, Space Vacation still mostly sound like eighties hair metal, albeit on the heavier, hookier side, and while there's plenty of cool weirdness throughout, your love of Space Vacation all depends on how much you dig that era of heavy metal, which we dig A WHOLE LOT, so for us Space Vacation is basically the modern version of a metal band that would have literally been our favorite band at age 16, and heck, considering how much we've been listening to this lately, they're coming dangerously close to being just that even now, several decades on. WAY WAY recommended!
MPEG Stream: "Heart Attack"
MPEG Stream: "End Of The Bender"
MPEG Stream: "Bro Hammer"
MPEG Stream: "Summer Knights"
SWANS Filth (Young God) lp 17.98
An aptly named album for a time and a place and a band. Swans' first full album came out in 1983 from the gritty underbelly of New York City, before Guiliani has kicked out all the freaks, criminals, and artists. The sound of Swans engorged the primal violence and psychological dread that had been first broadcast under the banner of No Wave a few years earlier. Led by the tyrannical Michael Gira, who probably only learned how to crack a smile some 15 years after the inception of Swans, barked and grunted lyrics which might be easier read as agitprop slogans, decrying the perceived imbalances of power through sex, money, depravity, and (later) religion. He controlled and commanded his band to perform pummeling excesses of rhythmic brutality with lurching basslines and atonal splashes of guitar shards forming the barest sense of what could pass for a melody. At the time of Filth, Gira had two thugs - Roli Mosimann and Jonathan Kane - behind drum kits, augmenting their panzer-korps marches with bloodyknuckled sheets of metal and pipe fights tossed into that engine at unpredictable moments and angles. For all of the furious muscularity and self-inflicted violence of Filth, Swans could color their claustrophobic slabs of sound with empathizing spells of existential misery. "Power For Power" is probably the best example of this, with guitarist Normal Westberg (the longest standing member of Swans aside from Gira) chopping the melody that could very be knocking on the door of The Stooges' raga-dirge "We Will Fall". It should also be noted that John Gossard swiped the title "Weakling" for his cult black metal band, and like Gira, used the term not to self-identify but as a damning epithet. The song itself is a depressive trudge of basslines alternating with dissonant guitars and shoved along by a strangely spry rhythm from one of the drummers, while Gira (taking on the role of the weakling) insists that all of the shit around him isn't real. Filth still stands as one of the great achievements of an already highly acclaimed band. It's never been an easy listen, and never will be. Newly remastered and comes with a poster!
MPEG Stream: "Stay Here"
MPEG Stream: "Power For Power"
MPEG Stream: "Thank You"
MPEG Stream: "Weakling"
TATE, DARREN When An Insect Visits Your Window (Fungal Recordings) cd-r 13.98
Here's a micro-edition repress of the 2009 album When An Insect Visits Your Window, the original only pressed up in an edition 75 copies; and the second only 30 copies. While we've been pretty good about keeping up with Tate's work, this was one that we missed when it came out. We've long championed this British eccentric's electronics and field recordings, from his early work with Andrew Chalk as Ora and with Colin Potter as Monos. The first of four untitled tracks is a deep oscillating flange churns the frequencies of sustained synth-slump into an insistently hypnotic pattern, delving into a more delirious mantra of crystal powered tone-float. These electronics flutter into a twin note melody that is reprised in variable forms throughout the rest of the album, girded at times by a distant, spatialized splutter of prepared guitar noises that act like disruptive sunspots flaring against a vacant background of deep space. At other times, Tate continues along the exploratory vein with subterranean clanks and creaks uttered from within the reverb saturated strings of his guitar. There's a loner / spectral quality to Tate's guitarwork, with nods to Keith Rowe and Jandek in equal measure.
MPEG Stream: "One"
MPEG Stream: "Three"
MPEG Stream: "Four"
UGLY THINGS Fall/Winter 2014 #38 magazine 9.95
It's always a great day when all these stories of "wild sounds from past dimensions" invade our minds via a new issue of one of the bestest garage/psych/punk/etc. fanzines ever, Ugly Things! This issue, another thick, tightly-packed 176 page tome adorned with one of UT's usual eyesore cover designs (it's called Ugly Things, remember), features LOTS of cool stuff, starting with a vintage 1978 interview with legendary unsigned California punks The Screamers, and a more recent interview with the band's drummer. Also: bassist Dennis Dunaway of the original Alice Cooper band, Dave Davies of The Kinks, Texas psychedelic band The Golden Dawn, proto-metalers Blue Cheer and Dust, disc jockey Dave Diamond, an article about rock crit Lester Bangs' teenage years, and even a "belated appreciation" of Bread. Plus plenty more, including tons and tons of reviews!! Oh, and of course one of our favorite regular features, "San Francisco Beat" by Cyril Jordan of The Flamin' Groovies - so many great stories and words of wisdom. Even if you're a fast reader, this issue should keep you busy for a while!
V/A A Distant Invitation: Street & Ceremonial Recordings from Burma, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand (Sublime Frequencies) lp 21.00
One of FOUR recent new vinyl releases on the mighty Sublime Frequencies label (we have the others too, if you want any/all just ask), this one harkening back to the label's mind blowing 'Radio' series (Radio India, Radio Java, Radio Morocco, etc.), which were essentially just recordings done by someone in a hotel room, flipping through the radio dial, capturing songs, and advertisements, radio plays, whatever. Those comps were amazing glimpses into another culture. A Distant Invitation is a similar sonic survey, capturing all manner of sounds from the streets of Southeast Asia (Burma, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand), whether it be musicians jamming on corners, snippets of music drifting from back alleys, bits of conversations, radios blasting, impromptu street parties, dogs barking, children laughing, cars zooming by, the music itself a wild concoction of traditional folk music and mutated modern pop, played through all manner of homebuilt speakers and junkyard instruments, creating a gloriously vibrant din. From chiming, lilting gamelan, to snake charmer horns and wild percussion atop a bed of revving engines, wild pounding percussion freakouts, with vocals bellowed through loud speakers, laid back folk, warm winsome crooning and simple sweet strumming, dizzyingly dense and distorted drum jams, the splattery report of firecrackers, soaring, sweet vocals wreathed in birdsong, and drifting through echoey streets, the chatter of insects, the static of radios, what sounds like the buzzing of kazoos, totally fantastic, and utterly fantastical. Like all Sublime Frequencies releases, gorgeously packaged in a full color sleeve, includes a printed insert with liner notes as well. But sorry, no download.
MPEG Stream: "Bali, Indonesia"
MPEG Stream: "Bangkok, Thailand"
MPEG Stream: "Myanmar/Angkor/Bali "
V/A (DIRTY SOUND SYSTEM) Dirty French Psychedelics (Born Bad) lp 19.98
Yay, this killer comp repressed on vinyl after several years MIA...From the same great tastemakers who put together the Dirty Space Disco collection that has become an all-time AQ favorite, comes this collection of sultry and sensual French psychedelia. These are the sounds and artists that have influenced folks like Sebastian Tellier, Air, Islaja, Blonde Redhead, Bjork, Broadcast, Komeda, etc. And while we of course love the peppy sounds of classic French ye-ye pop, it's the more seductive, warped and tripped out sounds from France in the '70s that really gets us going! When we realized that one of our favorite songs of all time, "Il Pleut" by Brigitte Fontaine (complete with arrangements by Jean-Claude Vannier!) was included, we knew there was some mighty fine curatorial work going on here.But it's not just that one track, not even close, this comp has turned us on to amazing sounds from new-to-us folks like Christophe, Nino Ferrer, Jeanne Marie Sens as well as long beloved AQ faves like Dashiell Hedayat, Ilous & Decuyper, and Francois de Roubaix. While many of their US and UK counterparts were injecting large amounts of blues and hard rock into their psychedelia, the French kept it sensual, steamy and tripped out, realizing an alternate yet completely enticing musical universe. Full on sexy psychedelic seduction! Weirdness too, like the awesome track whose grooves are backed with the sounds of revving race cars.
MPEG Stream: BRIGITTE FONTAINE "Il Pleut"
MPEG Stream: CHRISTOPHE "Sunny Road To Salina"
MPEG Stream: JEANNE-MARIE SENS "Tape Tape Tape"
WIRE, THE #371 January 2014 magazine 9.98
It's the big, always popular year end issue of this key new music magazine! "Rewind 2014" covers the best of the year in underground music - 30 pages of charts, lists, essays, etc. Then, there's also the usual interviews, reviews, columns, etc., including bits on rapper Divine Styler and Japanese sound artist Rie Nakajima, an "Invisible Jukebox" session with folkie Alasdair Roberts, and more. If you were only to get one issue of The Wire every year (what's the matter with you?) then this would be the one.