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Last updated:
13 March 2015

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Some of the Highlights of the week of 54 items on
NEW ARRIVALS List #470 (13 March 2015)

album cover ZEX Fight For Yourself (Magic Bullet) cd 10.98
If you're a follower of the aQ list, you know that there's this retro-but-fresh Canadian metal band called Iron Dogs, that we think is really, really special, eh? We've raved about their two records of punked out, DIY old school heavy metal worship - in fact, we made their Free & Wild album a Record Of The Week about a year ago. Well, the singer/guitarist in Iron Dogs, a talented & busy bloke with the very punk name of Jo Capitalicide, is also in a few other cool bands, one of 'em being the freaking great Zex, who sound kinda like a cross between Iron Dogs and the Rezillos, because compared to Iron Dogs they're more punk, more poppy, and they've got a female singer. This is their debut album, which also has to be aQ Record Of The Week for sure, 'cuz they've waxed a classic, we think, when it comes to records with a "youth gone wild in the streets", us-against-the-world vibe, that will make you feel like a 16 year old runaway again. Heck, we've been wanting to list something by Zex for a while, ever since we first heard 'em, but their two 7"s sold out too fast. But now we're so happy Magic Bullet has just released a US edition of their full-length on both cd and vinyl that we can at last stock and shout about.
Zex, who like Iron Dogs are based outta Ottawa, find Jo playing guitar alongside Gab Sex (bass), Tasha G (drums) and Gretchen Steel (vocals).
On Fight For Yourself this crew crank out ten catchy 2-to-3 minute long blasts of energetic, anthemic streetwise punk with a NWOBHM inspired flair. (That's New Wave Of British Heavy Metal - though plain ol' New Wave is a factor here too!) Really, take Iron Dogs, keep the early Iron Maiden influence, but add a bunch more Ramones, maybe some Fuzzbox, the aforementioned Rezillos, some Joan Jett perhaps, and you've got Zex. So Iron Dogs fans oughtta dig this if they're into punk at all; really quite a few of the tracks, like "Savage City", could easily have been Iron Dogs songs, they've got the same guitar tone, same riff-writing knack, same gnarly, twangy Strat soloing from Jo - but when the vocals kick in, instead of Jo's charmingly rough yobbish yowl, you get Gretchen's more melody-capable, obvious-frontperson-worthy singing, which is tough & sneering enough to convey commanding metalpunk attitude, while also sealing the deal on the uplifting pop side of this band. And, she's got zex appeal (ba-dum-bump). Gretchen's vocals and Jo's riffing make for, at the end of the day, quite a poppy listen indeed - just spin songs like "XXX" or "Wanderlust" and dare them not to get stuck in your head, especially when the choruses (often with gang vocals) roll around. This is one of those albums where it was tough (or easy, depending on how you look at it) for us to pick which tracks to make our sound samples for, 'cuz they're pretty much all killer.
Obviously, we got into Zex 'cuz we love Iron Dogs, and Zex have so much of the same sound & spirit. But even if we'd never heard Iron Dogs, we're pretty sure this still would have grabbed us. So for those of you not yet hip to Iron Dogs, well, do you like, say, the garagey metalpunk of Zig Zags? Or, do you the ripping girl-powered power pop of Ex Hex?? Fans of either could totally get into this. For that matter, d'you just like the teenage excitement of some good ol' rock n' roll? Then check this out. We've been spinning it so much that you could almost call us Zex addicts...
FYI, vinyl version we have at the moment is limited colored (clear, actually) and includes insert with lyrics and show fliers, whereas the cd comes in a slim cardboard sleeve.
MPEG Stream: "Fight For Yourself"
MPEG Stream: "Screaming At The Wall"
MPEG Stream: "XXX"
MPEG Stream: "Savage City"

album cover FATHER MURPHY Croce (The Flenser) lp 17.98
Croce is the newest collection of distorted, dark psychedelic, industrial cabaret from this Italian boy/girl duo, who, after a series of ever darkening releases, have arrived at this, a concept record about the cross, and yeah, it's THAT cross (Croce in Italian), with one side of the record sonically representing the suffering and sacrifice, the flipside reflecting what comes after, the end of said suffering, resurrection, or perhaps oblivion.
The sounds are shadowy, the atmospheres muddy and murky, from which spring unexpected blurts of impossibly catchy noise pop, approaching at times something almost operatic, like some twisted psychedelic musical detailing the trials and tribulation of the crucifixion, with male and female vox intertwined over distorted blasts of guitar crunch, anchored by stuttering homebuilt percussion, a sound both textural and nuanced, but also noisy and chaotic, that chaos carefully sculpted into jagged shards of fragmented pop, and that pop oven into a dramatic, almost theatrical songsuite.
At points, the songs can seem to gradually lose cohesion, the lumbering and loping angular grooves (d)evolving into wild psychedelic squalls, or alternately stripped down to just the skeletal essence of the song, while the duo proceed to add layer upon layer, rhythm upon rhythm, working their way up to another blast of glorious cacophony. That percussion is a driving force throughout, whether it's swirling billows or rubberband twang and big booted thump, or sinewy pulses, wound up into tense, and intense low slung swaggers, all beneath cascades of wild junkyard crumble and soaring devotional vox, sung/spoken intonations over bell-like clang and the almost tuned sounding metallic sproings of reverberating springs.
The first side finishes up with "In Solitude", an appropriately dour slab of murky miserablism that sounds like a slow sonic death, the hazy, nocturnal sound gradually fading, retreating further into the shadows, loping, lumbering creeps, soft chordal swirls beneath strange metallic rhythms, too slow to be motorik, but a similarly hypnotic vibe, albeit more sort of druggy and slo-mo, a haunting moody dirge that dissolves into that ineffable space that exists between the record's second side, the netherworld, the afterlife, Purgatory even, an endless expanse of nothingness, from which few return. But Father Murphy erupt from this Stygian blackness, with the second half of Croce, meant to be the light, to the A side's dark, and yet the opener is still somehow strangely doomy, a field of metallic shimmer, and more junkyard percussion, strung together into a spare framework, over which dramatic male vocals soar, the female vocals responding like some demonic Greek chorus, but true to the theme, the vibe grows strangely warm, an otherworldly glow, nearly sundappled in places, you can almost hear the rays of light breaking through the grey cloud filled skies.
But really, these two have a strange idea of 'light', with "All The People Yelling Fire" seemingly still cloaked in shadow, a lumbering cacophony of rhythmic crashes and metallic pounds, not to mention some elephant like bleats, moaning horns suspended in a field of distant drones, very ominous and sinister, but before you know it, it's right back to the clatter and clang, leading directly into the penultimate "We Walk By Faith", a harrowing hymn, both droney and almost liturgical, with throat singing like vocalizations, wound around long, softly undulating tones, modern minimalism by way of some ancient ritual, the music evoking flickering firelight, dancing shadows, primitive worship to the cosmos, driven by muted thumps and buried beats, another one of those rickety rhythms surfacing from beneath the murk, a swampy, apocalyptic psychedelia, melted down into a viscous sonic crawl.
The finale, "They Won't Hurt You", is all majestic pipe organ, a stirring and stately court music, lush and lovely and epic, the sound of rebirth, redemptive and ultimately restorative, a return from the beyond, arisen from the grave, ascended into the heavens, the sounds drifting upwards, beyond the galaxy, the universe, into the unknowable infinity.
MPEG Stream: "A Purpose"
MPEG Stream: "So This Is Permanent"
MPEG Stream: "In Solitude"
MPEG Stream: "We Walk In Faith"

album cover TONY TEARS Music From The Astral Worlds (2000-2014) (Minotauro) 3cd 32.00
Tony Tears, you've come a long way, baby. When we first discovered psychedelic doom outsider Tony Tears a few years ago, he was an eerie, despondent Italian fellow with very few friends/fans, judging by his MySpace page (see below). Nowadays, he still is eerie and despondent (and Italian) but he's got some fans now, maybe even a cult. Cult enough to now have a handsome lil' box set release, containing three cds, collecting all of his significant public recordings to date, including Voci Dal Passato, the weird Goblinesque DIY doom masterpiece that we made an aQuarius Record Of The Week when we first got it on cd back in 2009. That cd quickly sold out, but fortunately there then was a cassette version released, which also soon went out of print, but then after that, it was released on vinyl. So it wasn't just us that had become obsessed with Tony Tears, it seems. We know some of you are too, and this box of music from Tony's Astral Worlds is for you!
We'd managed to track down only one other Tony Tears release, a cd-r we listed two years ago, and which is also long gone too of course. But, having begun his career as Tony Tears back in 1988, the man has got a bunch of other releases, all of them incredibly hard to find, most of 'em limited run cd-rs and even more obscure demo tapes. Fans should be very thankful, then, for this box set put together by, naturally Minotauro Records (what with that label being home to another cult Italian psychedelic doom genius, Paul Chain). Besides Voci Dal Passato, the box includes Fears And Sensations In The Claustrophobic Mirror from the year 2000 (the cd-r we did get before), along with The Reality Before All (a cd-r from 2004), Tony's half of a split 7" with Abysmal Grief from 2004, the All My Black ep from 2007, and perhaps best of all, the more of less brand new 2014 Tony Tears full-length album, Vortice, previously issued on cd-r and very difficult to obtain. Vortice is pretty great, something we'd have considered making a Record Of The Week by itself, though definitely different from Voci Dal Passato, being rather more spacey and spooky than heavy, though parts are quite heavy too. On it, Tony is no longer alone, he has recruited a new member into what's now we guess the Tony Tears band, a vocalist, named David Krieg, who also must be Italian though. At first we we apprehensive, 'cause we like Tony's semi-spoken vocals. But this new singer has a haunting, almost operatic style that gives Vortice's heavily synthesizer laden, abstract ambient drone doom sound a touch of Early Music or 20th century classical avantgarde. 'Nuff said, perhaps, 'cause we're about to tack on our original reviews of Voci Dal Passato and Fears And Sensations, so this is gonna get loooong. We figure if you read about those and don't have 'em already, you can figure out if you want this box; if you DO have 'em, you probably already know you want this box for everything else, anyway.
The final two sound samples below are from Vortice, though, fyi.
And a word about the box itself - in addition to the three cds in cardboard sleeves with credits and tracklistings, there's also a separate set of cards with the original cover art for each release on 'em, and a fold-out insert with photos and liner notes from Tony himself, in both Italian and English. In a nice touch, the inside surfaces of the box feature full-color occult artwork by Tony, too.
So, here are the two Tony Tears reviews we've previously published, for those who need to find out more...
Voci Dal Passato:
We first got a couple of these in a few weeks back ('cause we were curious) and it didn't take long before we realized we had a Record Of The Week on our hands. It was obvious, really, since some of us here ending up getting so obsessed with this that it was just about ALL they'd listen to, for days, getting home after work and throwing it on, listening to it going to sleep at night, and when they'd get up in the morning, playing it at the store too... At first, though, we thought well heck maybe that's just us, maybe we're weird to like Tony Tears that much. But of course, we ARE weird, and so are a lot of AQ customers, and that's why this is definitely a good choice for Record Of The Week. Anything this hypnotic and dirgey and doomy and last but not least weird, has got AQ (and possibly you) written all over it.
We had to go to some trouble to acquire enough of these to list, contacting Tony Tears via MySpace, importing copies from Italy, getting all the cds we could lay our hands on. Which means we may or may not be able to get more when we run out, and if we can, it will certainly take a while, so be forewarned...
Tony Tears? So what IS that, you ask? Actually when we first saw the name, we thought it said Ebony Tears, which is the name of another band. But no, it's Tony Tears, as in a guy named Tony, last name Tears. And the "band" is indeed just the work of one man, whose (we presume) stage name gives this its monicker. How perfect is that, a mournful Italian doom metaller named Tony Tears? Already you feel sorry for him. Awww, Tony Tears...
Tony Tears' MySpace page is also perfect for this sort of depressed, lonely sounding music. It's really stark and plain, with a sort of electric purple/pink background color. He's got, like, only 66 friends (one of 'em us), and in his "top friends" listing he still has Tom. You know, Tom the founder of MySpace, who is automatically your first and only friend when you first sign up, but then of course you remove Tom 'cause he's not actually someone you know or care about... But lonely Tony, grateful for Tom's friendship, keeps him around.
So, anyway, to answer your question, this is some sort of underground doom metal, but also Italian in that spooky proggy soundtracky way, so it's kind of like Goblin crossed with St. Vitus, or Umberto teamed up with Trollman Av Ildtoppberg. Or, our early '70s proto-doom prog faves Jacula, channelled through someone's (Striborg's?) basement 4-track today.
Tony wrote the lyrics and the music, sings, and plays all the instruments... there's layers of fuzzy, foggy bass, gorgeously melancholic psychedelic electric guitar leads, eerie Goblin-y synths tinkling and droning, and a rhythmic foundation of slightly stumbling drum machine programming. Along with enough echo effects to give parts of this a bit of a dubby, or druggy, vibe.
Perhaps most crucial to our enjoyment of this are the vocals, which are spoken rather more than sung, and are all in Italian. Which works great, it's a language which even when simply spoken still sounds rather musical, we LOVE hearing Italian in this manner (we're reminded of old fave "Ordine Pubblico" by Starfuckers, especially by the track "Antichi Messagi" here), and we feel Tony's echoing, emotional chant-like recitations further enhance the hypnotic aspect of this lugubrious music. We can imagine Om fans zoning out to this quite easily!
Speaking of hypnotic, one of the times recently we had this playing in the store, a customer asked if it was some sort of new Circle side project... we can see why he thought it might be.
The overall atmosphere of this record is sooooooooo sad, yet somehow comforting. Even though we don't understand the Italian, this comes across as being very intimate & personal, and not just because of a certain sparseness to the mix that speaks to this being a one-man effort.
Tony Tears' repetitive lumbering heavy riffs and dark keyboard coloration, punctuated with mechanical, but not entirely predictable drum beats, awash with flangey, spacey effects and further embellished with his poetically mannered, incantatory Italian, has had quite an effect on the psyches of those here who can't help but keep this in heavy rotation. While rather raw and ragged in a charming DIY home-recorded way, the results are sheer beauty, weird weeping dreamlike beauty.
Definitely in the tradition of such strange Italian dark underground metal/prog/psych as Death S.S., Paul Chain, and Black Hole. But quite something else besides, with no prior interest in that tradition being necessary for appreciation of this. Being into doom metal isn't a prerequisite, as long as you like unusual music. Being into Goblin though might help.
Fears And Sensations In The Claustrophobic Mirror:
This is first official release of TT's debut demo from 2000, Fears And Sensations In The Claustrophobic Mirror, consisting of six tracks (the last an extended, 4 part suite lasting 15 minutes). Just like the Tony Tears album we made ROTW, it's a lo-fi morass of mesmeric doomed-out psychedelia, inspired by Paul Chain, Goblin, Black Hole, and other esoteric Italians, with wobbly keyboards, crude drum programming, chant-like and sometimes extremely distorted Italian-language vox, and of course heavy fuzzed out doom guitar riffage, the whole thing giving off uniquely eerie, eccentric vibes galore as each track slowly plods forth through a haze of hiss and murk.
We mentioned Umberto with Striborg-level production and performance in our review of Voci Dal Passato, and guess what, these earlier recordings are even MORE like that. It's a beautiful thing. Tracks like "The Return To The Underground Temple", mostly echo effected keyboards and weeping guitars over simple steady rhythms, have so much weird psychedelic atmosphere that Tony Tears should not be limited to a 'cult doom metal only' audience. Devoted dronologists should hear the quietly ominous "Forze Invisibli Bussano Al Cuore", the aforementioned four-part suite - it's pulsating electronic cosmic mystery that could be from some lost '70s krautrock lp or sinister soundtrack, at least until the super slowed down sludge part kicks in, with vocals and guitar sounding like they're recorded at quarter-speed or something, as if you're listening to it on a device with dying batteries.
MPEG Stream: "Le Ossa E Il Fuoco"
MPEG Stream: "Voci Dal Profondo"
MPEG Stream: "Antichi Messagi"
MPEG Stream: "Mondo Parallelo"
MPEG Stream: "Coniurationes Mundi"
MPEG Stream: "The Return Of The Underground Temple"
MPEG Stream: "Forze Invisibli Bussano Al Cuore"
MPEG Stream: "Gli Anni Del Tempo Veloce"
MPEG Stream: "Il Sole Nella Casa Dell'acquario"

album cover ABIGOR Leitmotif Lucifer (Avantgarde Music) cd 19.98
Lots of folks did not dig 2010's Time Is The Sulphur In The Veins Of The Saint, the ninth (?!) full length from Austrian black metal legends. They had already been moving away from their raw, primitive beginnings, but on Time Is The Sulphur, the group went all out, adding all manner of tripped out weirdness, tons of effects, the record had a sort of electronic black industrial vibe that we found pretty appealing, but definitely alienated lots of their fans. With this new record, last year's Leytmotif Luzifer, the band don't return to their roots, but they do reach back a bit, with a sound that to our ears sounds quite a bit like their 2007 masterpiece Fractal Possession. The sound is still pretty polished, and super produced, but it's also chaotic and dense, dizzyingly complex, and heavily layered, with moments of classic blackness, splintering into tripped out Deathspell worthy churn, the guitars too, flitting from furious insectoid riffing to wild, alien shreddery, and while not nearly as bewildering as the new Mastery, it does display a similarly avant bent, without losing sight of the black roots from which their sound was born. And while it's not as weird as some of their other material, it's still plenty fucking weird the band launching into some straight up classic metal crunch, unleashing twisted multi tracked shredding solos, the vocals suddenly erupting into a super dramatic bellow, some twisted minimal drift, some weirdly melancholic moodiness, even one track that sounds almost like Abigor gone power metal, right down to the weird ork-choral vox, and the final track that gets downright poppy and bombastic, reminding us a bit of Code actually, but Abigor's sound sound here is never far from another eruption of black metal madness, and mad it is...
So yeah, maybe don't be expecting Orkblut or Nachthymnen, but don't be scared off by the band's twisted sonic sensibilities, cuz it's that outsider, obtuse, modern take on black metal, that produces transcendent art like Leytmotif Luzifer. We have the super fancy A5 digibook, which comes with a huge beautifully printed booklet with lyrics and artwork, but like the Darkspace, it took forEVER to get these, so once we sell out, it might be a bit before we can restock, and we might not be able to get the digibook version again, which just means you should grab one now before they're gone.
MPEG Stream: "Stasis Temptation 2"
MPEG Stream: "Akrasia Temptation 3"
MPEG Stream: "Neglect Temptation 5"

album cover ACROSOME Non-Pourable Lines (Dusktone) cd 11.98
There are very few black metal bands we can think of from Turkey (although metal archives lists a bunch), this one man outfit delivers a unique take on black metal, which like many of his Dusktone labelmates is probably more commonly (and often derogatorily) referred to as post black metal. But around here we love this stuff. What could be better than post rock mixed with black metal? Here however, the mix is at times decidedly on the post rock side of things. The opener is mostly piano, drums and dramatically crooned vox, but quickly the sound erupts into something much more metal, but not necessarily black metal, sure there's buzzing and blasting, but the vibe is almost more like math rock, and with the bits of weird percussion, and unlikely melodies, it also reminds us of local drum and dulcimer weirdos Botanist, in fact the second track sounds like it might actually include some dulcimer. The song soon stutters to a halt, and transforms into a weird sort of spaced out math rock groove, all atonal guitars, and stop/start arrangement. The rest of the record splits its time pretty evenly between pounding blasting and buzzing, and more abstract, avant rockisms, with strange vocal harmonies, droned out layers, still more piano, even accordion (!!), one track that sound like jazzy slowcore, and a closer that sounds like some lost downer rock goth jam, and ends up being crazy catchy in spite of itself, all of that is balanced by some truly mesmerizing (post) blackbuzz.
MPEG Stream: "II"
MPEG Stream: "III"
MPEG Stream: "V"

album cover ALL YOUR SISTERS Modern Failure (Weyrd Son Records) deluxe lp 26.00
We're so stoked to get our hands on this limited edition release (on cassette, or black vinyl, or deluxe clear vinyl, take your pick) by this fantastic San Francisco goth/gloom duo. While there's been no shortage of new bands inspired by the sound of bleak '80s goth/industrial as of late, All Your Sisters stands way above the crowded pack as they infuse tons of raw emotion in their songs instead of just being concerned with nailing a particular sound/style.
It doesn't hurt that they do nail that sound/style so damn perfectly. Comparisons we've heard, bringing up records by folks like Clan Of Xymox, Skinny Puppy, and Ministry for sure hit the mark. We also hear hints of early Neurosis, Sisters Of Mercy, Bauhaus, and a dirty/nastier Nine Inch Nails. As the record goes on there is more of a dazed & doomy sound that will make fans of Lustmord and the like want to raise their ears to this.
But for us it all comes back to the feeling we get when we blast this record, as it gets right to our core and leaves no doubt that it was made with lots of guts, sweat, blood, and tears. So fucking good!
The cassette & both versions of the lp all come with a digital download, btw. And the 'deluxe' lp, besides being clear, comes with a special metallic printed insert.
MPEG Stream: "Tension"
MPEG Stream: "Whites"

album cover ATA KAK Obaa Sima (Awesome Tapes From Africa) lp 15.98
Wow! This is one of the most ecstatically strange recordings of hip hop dance music we've heard in quite awhile and it is no wonder that its elusive existence was the spark that inspired Brian Shimkovich's Awesome Tapes From Africa blog (and subsequent label) a decade ago. After years of searching for the man behind the music and eventually getting permission for the reissue, we finally get to hear it.
Hailing from Ghana, Ata Kak Yaw Atta-Owusu released this cassette in 1994, an awesome tape indeed of homegrown African Hip-house - a hybrid genre of high energy disco, b-boy hip hop and off-kilter rap-singing, that we weren't sure even existed. Only 50 tapes were originally made and out of them, only 3 sold, making its rediscovery that so much more remarkable. Made with a synthesizer, a 12 track recorder and Notator Atari software, Obaa Sima is like no African hip hop we've heard before. Tinny drum machines, fast-paced babble-rapping, helium voiced back-up vocals, infectious bass grooves and an alltogether beamed in from outer space atmospheric soulfulness that somehow makes this all work. Seriously, it's as much fun as the craziest Bollywood disco stuff, ferinstance. Get in on this party train! Super recommended!!
MPEG Stream: "Daa Nyinaa"
MPEG Stream: "Yemmpa Aba"
MPEG Stream: "Moma Yendodo"
MPEG Stream: "Obaa Sima"

album cover BAD LOSERS, THE Easy (Equation Records) lp 19.98
Unlike the bulk of psych bands from the UK these days, the Bad Losers are not Hawkwind worshipping spacelords, or krautrock obsessed drone rockers, instead, these sixties beholden psych rockers channel that classic freakbeat garage sound - fuzzy organs, jangly guitars, harmonicas, some fuzz and crunch, plenty of hooks and melody, but also a dash of lysergic trippiness. It makes for the sort of spacey, head nodding grooviness most modern bands can't pull off. Fans of like minded bands from back in the day will dig for sure - think paisley pop, Nuggets, that sort of thing, but also, anyone into the current crop of psych-garage combos like Lorelle And The Absolute, Sultan Bathery, Moon Duo, People's Temple, etc. who maybe missed out on the earlier waves of psychedelic garage, this will definitely hit the spot.
Super duper limited too, released on the aQ beloved, and usually more experimentally minded Equation Records (New Blockaders, Troum, Nadja, Blue Sabbath Black Cheer, Organum, etc.).
MPEG Stream: "Easy"
MPEG Stream: "A Certain Something"
MPEG Stream: "Gonna Find Her"

album cover BISHOP, SIR RICHARD Tangier Sessions (Drag City) lp 17.98
Another release from the former Sun City Girl, and this one needs just a little context: While in Switzerland, Bishop came across a guitar that mesmerized him, so he bought it, took it to Morocco, and improvised some tunes on the rooftop of a Tangier apartment building. If you aren't listening carefully, this will be just as good as every other acoustic SRB recording: drifting passages of ragas, flamencos, and cosmic Americana all twisted together. What sets this recording apart is the simplicity: recorded outside, without a pick, and with absolutely stunning clarity makes Tangier Sessions perhaps the most beautiful recording by Bishop yet. There isn't a lot that needs to be said about this one. If you've never heard an SRB recording before, this is the PERFECT starting point, and if you're an SRB vet, this is just another must-have!
MPEG Stream: "Frontier"
MPEG Stream: "Safe House"
MPEG Stream: "Mirage"

album cover BORDEN, DAVID Music For Amplified Keyboard Instruments (Spectral Spools) cd 16.98
Electronic musical pioneer David Borden might not be as famous as a name as Robert Moog, or Don Buchla, but he was in all the same right places at the same right times, beta-testing Moog synthesizer prototypes, taking them apart, blowing them up and repairing them repeatedly in an effort to perfect patching techniques. He formed the first all synthesizer ensemble, Mother Mallard's Portable Masterpiece Company, in 1969, and headed the one of the first record labels devoted to New music and Minimalist composition, Earthquack, that inspired later more prodigious labels such as Lovely Music.
Music for Amplified Keyboards is his 1981 unsung masterpiece made from solo recordings made in the late seventies after the ensemble had called it quits. Long unavailable and remastered from a once thought lost safety master recording, it is great to see this unheralded composer finally getting some recognition. The RVNG label had done a Freakways installment with Borden that included modern synth purveyors such as James Ferraro, Daniel Lopatin and Laurel Halo, but it's nice to hear his original compositions on their own. On par with the works of Michael Nyman, Philip Glass, and Steve Reich, the four long tracks on this release contain a minimalist repetition that is both fluid and continuous, but there is also a pastoral landscapular ennui that has touches of the romantic and human, chilly but not at all cold or distant. Incredibly performed and executed. Another fantastic archival release from Spectrum Spools!
MPEG Stream: "Esty Point, Summer 1978"
MPEG Stream: "The Continuing Story Of Counterpoint, Part Nine"
MPEG Stream: "Enfield In Winter"

album cover BROADCAST The Future Crayon (Warp) 2lp 27.00
Yes! The Broadcast vinyl reissues are finally here and it can't be overstated how much we love this band and everything they ever released, especially since as a band they are no longer with us with singer Trish Keegan's untimely death in 2011. We won't go into our usual fan-gush prose and write paragraphs about how wonderful these albums are (we mean we can go on and on about them!) since we just got a handful of each one, apart from the first singles compilation, Work And Non-Work, which is already awaiting a repress. In fact all of these might be being repressed, we think they sold out on preorder, but we have a few, come in this weekend and try and grab 'em!
Over four full lengths and two single collections, Broadcast has traversed a dreamy retro-futurist sound that may have started from the same kaleidoscopic pop spark as bands like Stereolab and Pram, but has since become something fully their own. We will eventually relist all of them as soon as we get enough copies to list.
Like a big ol' box of Crayolas, The Future Crayon is a collection of Broadcast rarities, an absolute delight from start to finish! The eighteen tracks are compiled from singles, eps, and compilations dating back to 1998. They effectively remind us that while this UK band is perhaps best known for their plush synth-driven pop, their musical spectrum stretches far beyond that into jazz, space age, exotica, krautrock, prog, and the science fair even! Needless to say, your ears will surely find that they're so much more delicious than those waxy coloring implements. They're more like the aural equivalent of a fifty scoop sundae - towering in dream pop yumminess comprised of soft creamy sherbet (Trish Keenan vocals! sigh!), occasional bloops of marshmallow cream and hot fudge (their analog synthesizers!), a sprinkling of nuts and sugary bits (the snappy often jazzy percussion as well as those synths again!). It's all perfectly summed up in the album's sixteenth and seventeenth numbers "Minus Two" and "Violent Playground", both taken from their 2003 ep Pendulum. Fantastic! Yes, recommended!
MPEG Stream: "Illumination"
MPEG Stream: "Test Area"
MPEG Stream: "Minus Two"

album cover BROADCAST The Noise Made By People (Warp) 2lp 27.00
Yes! The Broadcast vinyl reissues are finally here and it can't be overstated how much we love this band and everything they ever released, especially since as a band they are no longer with us with singer Trish Keegan's untimely death in 2011. We won't go into our usual fan-gush prose and write paragraphs about how wonderful these albums are (we mean we can go on and on about them!) since we just got a handful of each one, apart from the first singles compilation, Work And Non-Work, which is already awaiting a repress. In fact all of these might be being repressed, we think they sold out on preorder, but we have a few, come in this weekend and try and grab 'em!
Over four full lengths and two single collections, Broadcast has traversed a dreamy retro-futurist sound that may have started from the same kaleidoscopic pop spark as bands like Stereolab and Pram, but has since become something fully their own. We will eventually relist all of them as soon as we get enough copies to list.
Broadcast's debut full length, The Noise Made By People, released in conjunction with Tommy Boy back in 2000, was a dark and cinematically dreamy departure only hinted at from the early singles. Early and lazy mis-characterizations of the band just being another Stereolab copy (which we might have though ourselves), couldn't be farther from the truth. Keegan's thoughtful and psychically focussed lyrics and delivery were a far cry from Sterolab's vocals as rhythm instrument approach. Instead, typified by the opener "Long Was The Year" much of the sound was largely and selectively lifted from electric psychedelic bands from the '60s like United States of America and White Noise where ring modulators and synthesizers transport female voices into environments of psycho-acoustic dream states with an infectious pop moodiness. While their albums like Tender Buttons and The Ha Ha Sound have a more popular following and rightfully so since each album is its own particular gem, we believe their debut is equally potent, underrated and probably the best place to start for the uninitiated. Highest Recommendation!!
MPEG Stream: "Long Was The Year"
MPEG Stream: "Come on Let's Go"
MPEG Stream: "Echo's Answer"

album cover CARPENTER, JOHN Lost Themes (Sacred Bones) lp 16.98
Yay, they repressed this, so we got a restock, and can now also list it on vinyl, after making the cd version Record Of The Week recently on list #468. Includes a download, by the way. Our review...
This really kind of had to be Record Of The Week. We're darn excited about it, and we're sure as heck not the only ones. John Carpenter, as you probably know, is a director of horror films and sci-fi thrillers, who also composes the soundtracks - suspenseful, powerful, pulsating - for many of his movies (often with collaborator Alan Howarth). We've reviewed reissues of many of our favorites: Halloween, The Fog, Assault On Precinct 13, Escape From New York╔ classics, all.
In recent years, as you probably also are away, there have been many, many, MANY artists who are hugely, obviously, inspired by the film music of John Carpenter. We're talking artists like Zombi, Umberto, The Night Terrors, Majeure, Nightsatan, Steve Moore, Roll The Dice, Zombie Zombie (who did a whole disc of Carpenter covers), Crypt Vapor, and quite a few others. So, in our reviews, we're constantly saying stuff sounds "Carpenter-y", "Carpenter-esque", referring to "John Carpenter worship", and in general using the soundtracks of John Carpenter as a necessary reference point for all these bands who indeed do worship him. (Italian giallo soundtrack greats Goblin, of course, are also another big influence on this crowd, but the synth-ier side of things is especially Carpenter-y.)
So it's about time John Carpenter himself got in on the act, and put out an album of his own, of music for the music's sake, not associated with any particular, actual film. Sacred Bones has scooped everybody with this brand new album of non-soundtrack music by John Carpenter. Carpenter recently formed a trio with his son (who is in a rock band) and godson (a film composer) and they jammed in his home studio until they came up with these pieces, freed entirely from the constraints of scoring specific scenes in a film. Instead, YOU provide the mental images╔ Despite the title, these tracks weren't ever meant for any of his films - it's not like they're from the cutting room floor, or were intended for movies that never got made - although, he could always use some of these themes in something in the future, we suppose.
In light of what we said above, you know it's tough for us to review this without quite tautologically saying it sounds very John Carpenter-y!! Which is EXACTLY what we all want it to sound like, obviously. Heavy on the spooky '80s sounding synths, and propulsive chase-sequence grooves. The nine tracks here are each given a simple but evocative title, almost like this is Carpenter's own collection of "library music". There's thumping opener "Vortex", urgent and ominous, haunted by a repeated piano motif, followed by the melodic nightmare romance of "Obsidian", its powerful throb taking on epic proportions. Next, "Fallen" is another suspenseful transmission from the horror-zone. Then, side one (on the vinyl) closer "Domain" takes on some more uplifting qualities, but evokes many moods, propelled by Euro-disco beats and colored by heavy synth and organ flourishes. Powerful stuff, big grooves, stirring melodies, lots of atmosphere, and a bit of that "training montage" vibe we love.
And so it goes, the remaining tracks ("Mystery", "Abyss", "Wraith", "Purgatory", "Night") replete with eerie tinkling synths, creepy organ, soaring guitar soloing, minimal percussive skitter, hypnotically repetitive rhythms, thick synth bass, and the miasma of droning electronics.
Very, very satisfying; recommended to all fans of Carpenter and his acolytes! While we won't say "accept no imitations" (we LOVE the imitations), it is nice to get the real deal from the maestro.
Now if only they'd go on tour... and if SB would reissue the rare record JC made in 1985 with his band The Coupe De Villes, pressed only for friends...
MPEG Stream: "Obsidian"
MPEG Stream: "Domain"
MPEG Stream: "Night"

album cover COPOUT s/t (Ormolycka) cassette 5.98
Every batch of tapes we get from our pal Jason's Ormolycka label, is like weirdo music nerd Christmas. But instead of getting socks or a sweater we get some obscure Japanse grind, or some damaged electro, some goofy white boy hip hop, or some lost psychedelic rarity. There's some seriously demented curatorial music genius going on, and this latest bunch of tapes is no exception. Instead of overwhelming you with all of them at once though, we'll pick a couple of our favorites, and review them all over the course of the next few lists. But if you do want them all, and why wouldn't you, just ask, and they can be yours!
Copout were a hardcore band from Tennessee, who were around for a few years in the early to mid nineties, whose various members would go on to play in bands like His Hero Is Gone, Talk Is Poison, Deathreat and others, and whose sound was very much aligned with the Slap-A-Ham stable back in the day, playing the annual Fiesta Grande fest with bands like Capitalist Casualties, No Comment, Discordance Axis, Man Is The Bastard, Agents Of Satan, Spazz, No Less, Noothgrush, so you get the idea, Copout fit pretty perfectly amongst all those bands, the sound raw and furious, a little metallic, lo-fi and fucking super pissed, shredded vocals over slashing guitars and wild drumming, punk as fuck for sure. This tape collects their entire recorded history which is not much, just a couple 7"s, a tape, and a couple comp tracks. Awesome.

album cover DARKSPACE -I (Avantgarde Music) cd 15.98
Along with the stunning new album III I, we also managed to get a handful of the first demo from everyone's favorite Swiss black cosmic sci-fi space metal cyborgs, two tracks, originally released way back in 2002, and like all the records, cryptically titled with just numerals (these two tracks in the negative of course) and housed in another super minimal black sleeve. Sonically, the template for all four future records was already perfectly laid out here, the sound while a bit more raw, really isn't that far removed from the records proper, the same sort of horror score, sinister ambience, the arrangements simultaneously lush and expansive, dense and tangled, in fact if anything, -I might be the meanest sounding of the bunch, with some of their cosmic tendencies yet to come, here the group find themselves engaged in some sheer sonic brutality, albeit one that manages to be blackly beautiful and stunningly complex. And even back then the band flirted with dub and electronics, not hiding the fact that their drummer was a machine, but embracing it, the second track, a haunting swirling morass, held down by a slow motion programmed beat, laced with heavily effected vox, and some grinding, crumbling swaths of distortion, a black dub, that while soon overwhelmed by an avalanche of blown out guitars,quickly transforms back into a final bit of almost industrial sounding droned out dubbiness. Killer stuff, and again, as essential as any and all of their other records. Once again, fair warning, we got these direct from the label in Italy, and it took FOREVER, so when we run out, it will likely be a while before we're able to get more, so buy now, or be prepared to wait a while later!
MPEG Stream: "Dark -1.-1"
MPEG Stream: "Dark -1.0"

album cover DARKSPACE III I (Avantgarde Music) cd 15.98
We've now been waiting for six years for this record, and been trying to track down copies for a year, but it's finally here, and it was totally worth the wait. the latest sprawling cosmic black masterpiece from Swiss black metal cybernauts Darkspace. Titled III I (not to be confused with IV, or even IIII), Darkspace's latest is a continuation of the three previous records, right down to the packaging, and the numeric song titles, and of course the sound, with III I beginning life as some abstract ambient soundtrack, a Hellraiser worthy cloud of electrified blackness, martial percussion, shimmering synths, like a nightmarish planetarium show gone haywire, creepy and otherworldly, and when the programmed drums come in, it almost sounds like gabber techno, if it weren't for the swirling cyclical melodies, and chugging riffage, the slowly build and build and build, until the sound explodes into the relentlessly furious galactic blur we've missed so much. Somehow symphonic and orchestral, but wound up in Blizzard Beastly squalls of blacknoise, and those drums, WAY up in the mix, and even what sounds like some vocodered vokills, that main melody constantly resurfacing, giving the sound a majestic, almost power metal feel at times. And we're not even ten minutes in. The opening track, clocking in at nearly a half hour, mutates constantly, from doomy creep driven by wild double kick drumming, to dizzyingly ferocious blasts of kosmische blackbuzz, to what sounds almost like a black metal Massive Attack, a sort of industrial black dub, wreathed in thick cascades of distorted buzz. The other two tracks, are essentially a continuation of the first track, a tripped out psychedelic black metal songsuite, with choral vocals, with strange electronics, weird almost krautrock sounding synths, some bits that almost sound like 8bit bleeps and bloops, still more stretches of ominous ambience that sound like the score to some alternate reality Blade Runner, and some seriously classic metal sounding chug, all blurred and smeared and stretched into a mind blowing, sonically confusional, eerily lysergic batch of next level black cosmic crush.
Super striking packaging as always, pressed on black cds, in minimal black packaging, in an equally minimal black slipcase. Also we got these direct from the label in Italy, and it took FOREVER, so when we run out, it may be a while before we're able to get more, so buy now, or be prepared to be very very patient later!
MPEG Stream: "Dark 4.18"
MPEG Stream: "Dark 4.19"
MPEG Stream: "Dark 4.20"

album cover DDAA Hazy World (Nefryt) cd 15.98
The shorthand descriptors for DDAA have long read that they are the French equivalent of Nurse With Wound or The Residents. It has to be said that this pithy equation isn't too far from the mark, with DDAA trading in the self-taught meandering through lysergic experimentation, fractured psychedelia, surrealist stream of consciousness, prankish naivete, and the loosest of connections to European post-punk, all of which are very much akin to their stalwarts of NWW and the Residents. DDAA started back in 1979, lifting their name - Deficit Des Annees Anterieures - from an accounting vernacular of the past year's deficit, with the core membership being remarkably stable as the trio of Jean-Luc Andre, Jean-Philippe Fee, and Sylvie Martineau Fee. Like NWW and The Residents, DDAA has self-published much of their work, allowing them the freedom to take whatever detour they need to make while on their eccentric journey of crafting an album. Hazy World, published in late 2014 (not on their own label, but through the obscure Polish imprint Nefryt), is a suitably strange and ineffable record. Hand-cranked, liquid rhythmic patterns trickle through the album, sounding somewhere between the clatter of toy locomotives, somatic wheezings, and the burbled hypnosis of a vernal stream. The trio lace these organic rhythms with mumbled voice, drone-on organ, radiophonic electronics, scabby guitars, and various other instruments, crafting linear passages that might be considered motorik if such sounds weren't performed as if drunken, liminally scribbled, and / or only half-awake. It makes for quite a weirdly meditative record; and yes, those references to NWW and The Residents still hold up very nicely.
MPEG Stream: "Pirouette"
MPEG Stream: "Humanity"
MPEG Stream: "Mar Duch"

album cover DEAD GAKKAHS Demo (Ormolycka) cassette 5.98
Every batch of tapes we get from our pal Jason's Ormolycka label, is like weirdo music nerd Christmas. But instead of getting socks or a sweater we get some obscure Japanese grind, or some damaged electro, some goofy white boy hip hop, or some lost psychedelic rarity. There's some seriously demented curatorial music genius going on, and this latest bunch of tapes is no exception. Instead of overwhelming you with all of them at once though, we'll pick a couple of our favorites, and review them all over the course of the next few lists. But if you do want them all, and why wouldn't you, just ask, and they can be yours!
Dead Gakkahs are from Korea, and deliver a bruising, furious fastcore, short sharp burst of punk rock fury, with shrieked dual female vox, imagine a much more raw and primitive Melt-Banana maybe, simple punk metal riffs, loose pounding drumming, and paint peeling vocals, all wound up into jagged blasts of hardcore intensity, but with a weird pop sensibility that lurks just below the surface. A couple of the tracks are covers, but you'd never know it, and the band they're covering, Sugar Pie Koko, we'd never heard of (although now we're intrigued for sure). It's short, 7 songs in less that 7 minutes, but it's cheap too, and Dead Gakkahs is that rare sort of sheer punked out energy and sonic intensity that that'll likely have you flipping this tape over and over and over again.

album cover ENISUM Samoht Nara (Dusktone) cd 11.98
This is the first we've heard from these Italian ambient black metallers, but like many of the bands on Dusktone, they definitely traffic in a strain of post black metal that we dig big time. Fusing clean guitar strum, shoegazey shimmer, and minor key melancholy, with blasting beats, harsh vokills, and buzzing riffage. And again like so many of those bands, even when they're at their heaviest, the sound is still a little washed out, tracks like "Samoht Nara" only black metal by merit of the vocals, otherwise, they almost sound like Swervedriver, and they don't shy away from acoustic guitars, or wistful melodies, thankfully, the bulk of the record finds them taking that wistfulness and melancholy, and wrapping it all up in spiky shards of blackened buzzing bombast, conjuring up a sound that's at once both black and brutal, bleak and beautiful.
MPEG Stream: "Samoht Nara"
MPEG Stream: "L'arvoiri Du Cudlit"
MPEG Stream: "Still Life"

album cover FM3 Buddha Machine 5 (Black) (FM3) battery powered soundbox 26.00
These showed up on Friday last week and we were so excited we made a whole "in-between" list out of 'em! If you didn't happen to see that, well, we got more in this week and here's that 'first impressions' review again (yeah, we sold out so fast last weekend that none of us here have even gotten a chance to pick one up yet!):
Hey, it's like Christmas in March! The new Buddha Machines are here! We wanted to let you all know, since it's been three long years since the last one - and ten years, believe it or not, since the FM3's original Buddha Machine appeared. Hence, the release of Buddha Machine 5 marks "a decade of drone." If you're not familiar with the Buddha Machine, well... we're very surprised. We've sold SO many of Buddha Machine I, II, III and IV.
But in case you haven't seen one yet, it's basically a small, handheld device - a "battery powered sound box" or, as some would have it, "pocket sound system" - that plays a discrete set of loops of ambient music. Kind of a Zen alternative to the iPod, in a way. Ever since the FM3 created their first iteration of the Buddha Machine, they've been extremely popular, with artists remixing the loops, museum shows, copy-cat sound boxes, and whatnot. Brian Eno was a famous early adopter. You could take a look at our earlier Buddha Machine reviews if you wanna get more info on what they're all about.
So, fans have been hankering for a new Buddha Machine, we were hoping it would be here for Xmas last year (they're the best stocking stuffers for music/sound geeks), but better late than never. We'll let you know the basics about it now - but really you know you want one (or more) already, right?
Buddha Machine 5 contains nine blissful, beautiful new loops by the Beijing-based experimental duo FM3 (Christiaan Virant & Zhang Jian), featuring, among other things, "deep, orchestral drones, a Steinway grand piano, and the ambient washes of a vintage monosynth". It's got the usual volume and pitch controls, and a line out so you could plug it into a stereo or whatever, although of course it's self contained with it's own little speaker. In a departure from the many neon hues of the Buddha Machine 4, there are two colors available for the Buddha Machine 5, a Black one (this one) and a White one, each with "a special five-layer silicon coating", providing "a warm and fuzzy handfeel", which sounds kind of kinky. We'll be trying it out tonight.
And oh yeah, requires two AA batteries (not included).

album cover FM3 Buddha Machine 5 (White) (FM3) battery powered soundbox 26.00
These showed up on Friday last week and we were so excited we made a whole "in-between" list out of 'em! If you didn't happen to see that, well, we got more in this week and here's that 'first impressions' review again (yeah, we sold out so fast last weekend that none of us here have even gotten a chance to pick one up yet!):
Hey, it's like Christmas in March! The new Buddha Machines are here! We wanted to let you all know, since it's been three long years since the last one - and ten years, believe it or not, since the FM3's original Buddha Machine appeared. Hence, the release of Buddha Machine 5 marks "a decade of drone." If you're not familiar with the Buddha Machine, well... we're very surprised. We've sold SO many of Buddha Machine I, II, III and IV.
But in case you haven't seen one yet, it's basically a small, handheld device - a "battery powered sound box" or, as some would have it, "pocket sound system" - that plays a discrete set of loops of ambient music. Kind of a Zen alternative to the iPod, in a way. Ever since the FM3 created their first iteration of the Buddha Machine, they've been extremely popular, with artists remixing the loops, museum shows, copy-cat sound boxes, and whatnot. Brian Eno was a famous early adopter. You could take a look at our earlier Buddha Machine reviews if you wanna get more info on what they're all about.
So, fans have been hankering for a new Buddha Machine, we were hoping it would be here for Xmas last year (they're the best stocking stuffers for music/sound geeks), but better late than never. We'll let you know the basics about it now - but really you know you want one (or more) already, right?
Buddha Machine 5 contains nine blissful, beautiful new loops by the Beijing-based experimental duo FM3 (Christiaan Virant & Zhang Jian), featuring, among other things, "deep, orchestral drones, a Steinway grand piano, and the ambient washes of a vintage monosynth". It's got the usual volume and pitch controls, and a line out so you could plug it into a stereo or whatever, although of course it's self contained with it's own little speaker. In a departure from the many neon hues of the Buddha Machine 4, there are two colors available for the Buddha Machine 5, a Black one and a White one (this one), each with "a special five-layer silicon coating", providing "a warm and fuzzy handfeel", which sounds kind of kinky. We'll be trying it out tonight.
And oh yeah, requires two AA batteries (not included).

album cover FUSSELL, JAKE XERXES s/t (Paradise Of Bachelors) lp 19.98
Debut full-length from Jake Xerxes Fussell (yes, his real name), a collection of rearranged and re-imagined traditional folk and blues songs. It should come as no surprise once you hear it that this came out on Paradise of Bachelors, the Southern-fixated label that has released other aQ faves Hiss Golden Messenger and Steve Gunn.
It's easy to think you know what you're getting when you first turn this record on - these songs feel familiar and ancient, something you've heard in movie soundtracks and Ken Burns documentaries. The songs themselves may be traditional, but the arrangements and atmosphere are fully modern. Fussell (and his crew of musicians which features members of Bonnie Prince Billy's band and Silver Jews) has a remarkable ability to not forget what makes the original versions special and to simultaneously inject his own cosmic twist into them. The result is a dreamy, drifting trip down a new tributary of a familiar river, both adventure and nostalgia.

album cover GRISATRE Paroxystique (Dusktone) cd 11.98
Don't be filed by the opening track on Paroxystique, full length number three from this French one man black metal band. It's appropriately titled Meditation, and is indeed a dolorously dour and depressive slab of almost shoegazey post black metal, thick, shimmery guitars, chiming melodies, echo drenched drumming, it's druggy and hypnotic and darkly lovely, with even the more metal moments washed out and woozy. But Grisatre get down to blacker business on the second track, a sprawling 17+ minute epic that while still technically post black metal, is more furious and frenzied, plenty of buzz and blast, a galloping chugging churn with harsh vokills, and frantic riffing, but even here, the song is laced with minor key melodies, and the production is a bit soft focus, and three quarters of the way through, things slow down to a doomy dirge, all anguished wailing and downtuned thrum. The rest of the record plays out like a sonic palindrome, a short bit of moody, sinister ambience, gives way to another massive buzzing black epic, and then the whole thing is bookended by another almost dream poppy black metal closer, swirling and almost post rocky in places, fans of Ameseours and Alcest and Deafheaven and the rest, probably already dig these guys (this guy?) but if not, now's definitely the time to right that wrong.
MPEG Stream: "Meditation"
MPEG Stream: "Contemplation"
MPEG Stream: "L'Astre Gris"

album cover IRON DOGS Free & Wild ( Dying Victims Productions) cd 12.98
Since we're making the debut by Zex, the more punky/poppy sister band to Canuck metallers Iron Dogs, our Record Of The Week this week, we figured it'd be cool to also relist this, the Iron Dogs album that was a Record Of The Week here in 2013. Here's what we said (raved) about it then:
As promised, these brilliant Canadian metalpunks are now back with their second full-length album. Like their debut Cold Bitch, it's another "single-coil assault" of rollicking, punked-out, '80s influenced speed metal that's absolutely unfuckwithable. No, not in the sense that it's the most technically advanced musically, or super high in fidelity, no, we're talking about the sheer spirit of it. And it's the sort of thing that's just kind of perfect in its DIY imperfection. Not by any means a tired, unimaginative exercise in emulating the past that we hear from so many retro thrash bands, instead the Iron Dogs fashion inspiration from their '80s faves - the likes of early Iron Maiden, English Dogs, Exciter, Cirith Ungol, and Tank - into something newly vibrant and alive. Proudly old school while still sounding 'young'. Delightfully loose and exuberant, ready to rock right off the rails, but not careless or half-assed, despite the raw garaginess of it all.
As hopefully you well remember, we freakin' raved about Cold Bitch last year, likening it to a cross between Speedwolf and Slough Feg, and this new one takes the sound of that album and runs with it, delivering the goods with another batch of songs just as good or better than the first, if anything. So while Free & Wild isn't super different than Cold Bitch, that's just fine with us! Some bands are about 'progression', you want 'em exploring new sounds and ideas from record to record; others, you don't want anything to change, you just want MORE, new killer songs in the same style, which is what you get here. And since we loved Cold Bitch so much and spun it so often, we HAD to make Free & Wild a Record Of The Week. Free & Wild even sports a similar cover concept - a photo of a sword wielding, blood-drenched naked lady. She's being "Free & Wild" we guess, taking men's heads and putting them on stakes (or perhaps this tableau is inspired by track six here, "Cannibal Death Cult"). Cold Bitch's cover was a bit more clever but this one is no less striking.
One change with this album, not that you would notice it, is that Iron Dogs are no longer a trio, but a duo, with Dan Lee on on drums and Jo Capitalicide on vocals, guitar, bass, and even some synth. And as a two piece, Jo and Dan are now our favorite metal duo since Fenriz and Nocturno Culto - and we'd imagine that those two Darkthrone dudes would highly approve of what the Iron Dogs are up to, the mix of NWOBHM gallop and crusty punk fervor is right up their alley.
Now, some other, less enlightened people might find fault with the production (solid but certainly not slick), or not be on board with Capitalicide's untrained rough-and-tumble vocal holler (with Dan Lee's backing vox adding even more jubilance). But those folks are obviously not punk rock enough - and/or cult metal enough - to 'get it'. To us what makes this so special comes through loud and clear in each of this album's eight tracks, all of 'em exploding with energy, catchy hooks and epic feel, crammed full of delicious bits of metallic goodness. Opener "Firebird" (for which they've made an entertaining low-budget video, perhaps inspired by Benny Hill as much as the videos of Canadian antecedent Thor, see it here: is a melodic, motivational speedy anthem to get things going. From there, the half-hour run time of this album rips by with highlight after highlight, Jo singing of fighting, freedom, and fantasy. We love every bit of this. The heartracing riffage. The majestic Moog moments. The up-and-down cascade of wordless vocal woah-oh-oh-ohs in the middle of "Island Of The Dead". The way Jo's voice cracks on that one verse in "Storm Warning". The folky fast picked guitar motif on "Adversity" - indeed all the melodic guitar licks bursting out everywhere. This rousing Iron Dogs album, non-ironic but not over-serious, epitomizes the positive power of metal in a shitty world.
Ok, so we're hopeless Iron Dogs fanboys... but there's a reason for that! Listen and learn. If it's not your thing, it's not your thing. We won't call you a poseur. But we'll still feel sorry for you. 'Cause Iron Dogs RULE!
(Note: this is the handsome cd digipack edition - the lps and cassettes are now long gone.)
MPEG Stream: "Adversity"
MPEG Stream: "Evil In The Keep"
MPEG Stream: "Storm Warning"

album cover IRR. APP. (EXT.) The Jennies Made Me Do It [1] (Errata In Excelsis) cd-r 14.98
One of the more sensible irr. app. (ext.) records to come across the counter of aQuarius; but this being an irr. app. (ext.) record, any qualification of 'sensible' needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Irr. app. (ext.) is the long-standing project for the Oregonian recluse M.S. Waldron, who does venture out from time to time as one of the touring minstrels in Nurse With Wound. His own work shares much of the NWW surreal tactics, queasy humor, and industrially girded psychedelia with tentacles and rhizomes that offer a parallel and equally visionary voice. The Jennies mentioned in the title refer to At Jennie Richie, a thoroughly enigmatic and anonymous project of equally obtuse sound designs.
A couple years back, the exemplary label Black Horizons released what may or may not have been a collaborative album between irr. app. (ext.) and At Jennie Richie, including an art edition boxset with a piece of vinyl and two cassettes. We had these in briefly, and they disappeared in a snap with the cassettes being split releases of like-minded work. All of the irr. app. (ext.) material from those Black Horizons split cassettes is featured here alongside another split cassette published in 2013 on Dead Accents. Originally, Waldron had released these simply as digital versions, but there was enough of a demand for physical copies, that he capitulated... and here, we have it. The first of three lengthy track finds Waldron sitting behind the drum kit, tapping out a mid-tempo motorik rhythm as an unusually stable presence for a variety of unkempt guitar buzzes, raven choruses, and kaleidoscopically liquid FX-laden glossolalia. The suitably named "Foregone and Ungotten" laces satellite beacon chirps with ur-drone purr, seasickened currents of electrical feedback and a variety of arachnid prickly textures. Subaquatic percussive phrases accompany the slow ringing of a temple bell, whose ritual solemnity is undone by a parade of assorted crumbles, rakishly skewed horror-score design, and ignoble horn blarings. Not sure how many of these Waldron has printed up, but his cd-r editions do have a way of disappearing from the physical plane rather quickly.
MPEG Stream: "The Monsters Are Due On Alder Court"
MPEG Stream: "Studio Backflow"

album cover JONES, FERN The Glory Road (Numero) 2lp 19.98
Numero did a cd of this about ten years ago, now at last they've put it out on vinyl, too. One of Numero's many great reissues/anthologies, with their usual well-considered packaging and extensive liner notes that provide a great sense of what went on behind the music. This one's devoted to Fern Jones, a gifted gospel singer, whose voice carries similar croon power and soul-fire intensity as Patsy Cline or a young Elvis.
Fern's career was bittersweet, however. Early on, Fern and husband played/sang their hearts out through Evangelical tent tours all over the South, selling a vanity recording (The Joneses Sing) out of the back of their sedan. Dot Records soon released Singing A Happy Song in 1959, for which Fern had acquired a stunning backing band: Hank "Sugarfoot" Garland on guitar (Roy Orbison, Marty Robbins, Conway Twitty, Hank Williams Sr., Everly Brothers), Floyd Cramer on piano (Bobby Bare, Patsy Cline, Wings, Johny Cash, Chet Atkins), Joe Zinkan on bass (Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn), and Buddy Harman on drums (Reba McEntire, Hank Snow, Willie Nelson) - all of whom were fresh off a 1958 session with Elvis.
Despite several tours (without a single to promote), Fern's "rockabilly gospel style" songs never caught on with a conservative buying public. Fern soon stopped performing all together and found it impossible to gain back the rights to her songs after the label's lease was up. After constant threat that the master tapes might be destroyed (as were all others from that era of Dot) and a fifteen-year letter-writing campaign, Dot Records' second owners, MCA, finally awarded her the rights to these songs once again. And thankfully so. They're amazingly powerful devotionals. If you're a fan of Patsy Cline, and who isn't, you'll love love love these Fern Jones songs!
MPEG Stream: "By And By "
MPEG Stream: "Be Thankful You're You"

album cover LEVIATHAN Scar Sighted (Profound Lore) cd 13.98
Back in 2011 when we reviewed Leviathan's last full length, True Traitor, True Whore, we called it one of the meanest, darkest, heaviest Leviathan albums yet. We don't want to get lazy with our reviews but we'll just go ahead and repeat that line for Scar Sighted: THIS is one of the meanest, darkest, heaviest Leviathan records yet. Anyone who reads our lists or follows extreme metal in any way is surely familiar with most of the Jef Whitehead discography, right? Tons of demos, EPs, and splits, a few full lengths, some controversy, but always dedicated to making some of the most heavy, crushing, bleak, twisted black metal in the U.S. and perhaps the world. Scar Sighted is a absolutely massive record - both in sound and atmosphere. When it's not crushing you with absolute freight-train force from the riffs, its somber, bleak atmosphere takes over, reminding us of our favorite Whitehead side project, Lurker of Chalice. The first track, "The Smoke of Their Torment", is maybe the most death metal sounding Leviathan track ever recorded. Pitch-shifted growls over chunky, chuggy riffs, but still an atmosphere and twisted approach that makes it so uniquely Leviathan. Like Deathspell Omega covering Incantation (or the other way around?). From there, the album, somehow, only gets better, twisting and turning through labyrinthian riffs, rain-soaked doom trudges, and industrial wastelands. The climax of the album is surely the title track; nearly seven minutes of slow, wall of sound madness before the blast beats come back and the song falls apart into a somber outro. Seriously, going through these tracks one-by-one won't even do it justice!
Comes in a beautiful oversized cardboard cd box with tons of Whitehead's twisted artwork, as if you needed another reason to buy this. Whether you buy one metal album or hundred this year, this one is not to be missed. No-shit contender for black metal album of the year.
MPEG Stream: "The Smoke Of Their Torment"
MPEG Stream: "Wicked Fields Of Calm"
MPEG Stream: "A Veil Is Lifted"

album cover LFA (LIABLE) MG Inzpirator (Nostilevo) cassette 6.98
Reduce. Reduce. Reduce. It makes for a very tactile process for LFA, or Liable, the nom de guerres that Hagen K. Reins alternates between. Liable's cryptic electronics lend themselves to an engorged excess of noise and dusted obliteration; but that's not the case for MG Inzpirator through an interesting reductionism that applies to what otherwise would have become the harsh, brutal electronics akin to those by Wolf Eyes. These sequences appear scrubbed of the bulk of the sonic grit, leaving the roughly sequenced passages of drum machine and minimally programmed electronics with a crust, a film, a scab of what had previously been layered on top. This self-eradication process seems to go through multiple iterations - the xerox of a xerox, the telescoping murk of a eighth generation tape dub, the nubbly bits of gum erased all blackened with graphite from that crappy high school drawing that was wisely scrubbed. What we're getting at is that all of the weird bits of gristle and stain that hang from Liable's electronics don't seem like an effect, but the result of some subtractive process. What that may be is hard to say, and that mystery make everything all the more intriguing. Further that with septic minimalism, dumpster scraped noise, asynchronous sequencing. Deaf. Dumb. Blind. Limited to less than imagined existed in the first place.

album cover MANII Kollaps (Avantgarde Music) cd 15.98
Manii might have to be one of the more confusing black metal bands going. These Norwegians began life as Manes, releasing some seriously black buzz, before transforming into something altogether NOT black metal, keeping the name, but delivering a sound that mixed electronica, goth, trip hop, even some rapping, into something that at the time we described as sounding a little bit like Duran Duran. Manes are still a going concern, having released a similarly non black metal record in the from of 2014's Be All End All, another dizzyingly abstract collection of crooned electro pop, wild bombastic experimental sort-of-metal, churning modern rock, and other un-metal sounds, but for several years now, there apparently exists an alter ego, in the form of the similarly monikered Manii, which it seems, is where much of the old Manes' metal ended up. Kollaps is indeed a suffocatingly grim proposition. But gone here too for the most part is the buzz and blast, and in its place some slow-mo dirginess, a synth swaddled creepy crawl, that slithers and churns, a lumbering blackened doominess that is harrowingly atmospheric, while remaining extremely heavy, a hauntingly melodic slab of melancholy black miserablism, with brief bursts of more metallic fury, but with just as much moody ambiance, long stretches of mysterious shimmer give way to keening minor key murk, before mutating into heaving swells of epic metallic majesty, the usual drums and guitars bolstered by all manner of synths and keyboards, minimal electronics, making Kollaps sound almost proggy in places, a swirling and psychedelically transcendent songsuite that would be a contender for metal record of the year, if it hadn't come out in 2013!!!
MPEG Stream: "Liv-Oydar"
MPEG Stream: "Ei Sjael Som Sloknar"
MPEG Stream: "Endelaust"

album cover MOON DUO Shadow Of The Sun (Sacred Bones) lp + 7" 16.98
The hypnotically throbbing sound of Moon Duo might seem deceptively simple (but effective!) and yeah, we kinda knew we would know what to expect on this, Moon Duo's third full-length studio album, which boasts a cool cover painting that looks like it belongs on some '70s psychology textbook. The checklist: steady, mesmerizing rhythms (this time, involving a live drummer in lieu of their previous drum machine, making the Duo now in fact a trio), lots of tripped out guitar (from the Wooden Shijps saijlor in the band, Ripley Johnson, a past master of psychedelic guitar soloing), dueting angelic/stoned male and female vocals, and glorious droning keyboards, all bringing back memories of the likes of Neu!, Suicide, and the Spacemen 3.
But that doesn't make it any less enjoyable, and actually Shadow Of The Sun, while keeping to the successful Moon Duo formula, offers a range of pleasurable variants, some tracks like "Wilding" highlighting the meandering hippie guitar element, others like "Zero" honing in on a post punk, cold wave vibe - which gets even more intense on the urgent, uptempo "Animal" (that's the album-closer on the cd edition, and the song on the 7" single that comes with the vinyl version). And earlier in the set, "Free The Skull" brings out Moon Duo's modish '60s organ groove for go-go dancers side, kind of, amidst the hypno-jamming. Plus there's great melodies to be found on here, all over the place. So chalk another one up for Moon Duo, long may they vibrate!
Note: LP is limited edition red vinyl while they last, and comes with that "Animal" 7", and a digital download. The cd includes "Animal" too, and doesn't need a download.
MPEG Stream: "Wilding"
MPEG Stream: "Zero"
MPEG Stream: "Slow Down Low"

album cover OCTAGRAPE Major Mayor Maxion Marble (Sounds Familyre) 12" 11.98
We've never listed anything by SoCal psych ensemble Octagrape before, but we sure couldn't pass this one up! How cool is it, that they've made the alliterative choice to cover songs by these four quasi-obscure bands: Major Stars ("Syntoptikon"), Mayyors ("Ghost Punch"), Dymaxion ("Verfremdungseffekt"), and Marble Sheep ("Melted Moon")?! Now that's some big indie garage psych collector geek taste cred right there. Not sure which is the most surprising choice, who has covered any of those bands before? I guess we're most impressed with the choice of the Mayyors, good to be reminded of that short-lived, utterly amazing fuzz punk noise rock combo from Sacto (who played one of the SXSW showcases we did with WFMU a few years back). The Mayyors, damn.
And Octagrape do a 'grape' job on all these tracks, getting wild and woolly as necessary to live up to the originals; their cover of the Mayyors is appropriately loud and distorted (the lo-fi recording on Octagrape's "little 4-track" of course helps here), their take on Japan's Marble Sheep is perfectly plodding and howlingly spaced out, the Dymaxion one nicely quirky-jerky, and Major Stars are also done justice, their howling riff-fest bathed in hella distortion too. It's pretty freaking epic (all 15 minutes of it, outdoing the original by almost 5 minutes). Was the Major Stars' version even this good? This 12" this makes us want to check out some of Octagrape's own songs too, someday...
MPEG Stream: "Syntoptikon"
MPEG Stream: "Verfremdungseffekt"

album cover POLES Pamplemoustique (self-released) cd-r 5.98
It's been ages since we'd heard from these French math/noise/post rockers, but thankfully very little has changed in their sound world, still trafficking in a style of music woefully underrepresented these days as far as we're concerned. We'd still cite the same list of bands we did in our review of their first cd-r: Dazzling Killmen, Don Caballero, Bastro, Breadwinner, Rodan, Drive Like Jehu, Laddio Bolocko, you get the drift. Each song here is dizzying in its scope, sometimes locking into tense tightly wound grooves, other times obliterating structure entirely, the guitars churning and chugging, jagged and sharp, flitting easily from chiming melody to skull caving bombast, before unexpectedly unfurling weird bent notes, or strange detuned melodies, the drums don't hold everything together so much as make it even more frenzied, a constant cascade of wild, loose limbed fills, sometimes even slipping into total blastbeats, the guitars following along, the instruments doing some wild dance, lurching and stumbling, leaping and swaggering between styles and sounds, but somehow, the whole goddamn thing holds together like some musical math problem made flesh. It's short too, just 4 songs, but they cram as much into these 4 songs as most other math rock bands manage in their whole life span. Super limited too, and we get them direct from the band in Europe, so when we run out, it might take us a while to get more.
MPEG Stream: "Puy Des Goitres"
MPEG Stream: "Suissesse"

album cover POP GROUP, THE We Are Time (Freaks R Us) lp 24.00
We Are Time is a collection of odds and ends from The Pop Group, first issued on Rough Trade in 1980. All of the material was recorded around the same time as their seminal album Y from 1979, though nothing except for the title track and "Thief Of Fire" had appeared on their two albums from that time period. With the exception of those two tracks and an obscure B-sides (all of which appear here in live, demo, or alternate forms by the way), everything else is unique to the compilation. The recording sources are all different, making the entire album a bit uneven in terms of sound quality; but that criticism is pretty fucking minor, when it comes to a reissue of this fairly obscure album from this incredible Pop Group. Always an adventurous proposition, The Pop Group took the feral energy of punk to dub production techniques and a self-immolating funk sending limbs and legs in too many directions at once. We Are Time - with its much more raw sessions - tends towards the dislocating rhythmic aspect of The Pop Group's sound and less of the dub-punk delirium. Frontman Mark Stewart is a much of a madman as he's ever been, very much on par with his contemporaries of Nick Cave then of The Birthday Party and James Chance. His yelps and barks punctuated the jittery guitar spangles and that rhythm section that seems always on the verge of coming unhinged. Very nice to have this work in print!
MPEG Stream: "Trap"
MPEG Stream: "Colour Blind"
MPEG Stream: "Sense Of Purpose"

album cover PORTION CONTROL I Staggered Mentally (Dark Entries) lp 17.98
Portion Control were always an obscure proposition despite their longevity. This British trio started in the early '80s crafting a hyper minimal form of claustrophobic electronica that proved to be a huge influence on the work of Skinny Puppy and Depeche Mode; but their influence on these acts never trickled down to bring them greater acclaim over the duration of their career. During the '80s, they issued a handful inventively reductivist / muscular electronics girded by proto-techno rhythms and fleshed out through filtered and flanged electronics. The monotone barked vocals have been hyper compressed and shoved way in the back of the mix are pretty much the same technique that Nivek Ogre brought to Skinny Puppy a few years later. Portion Control were never intending on making poptunes of the shock-horror model or angsty youth model that those bands they influenced became so known for; instead, Portion Control's skeletal, hard rhythms thrusts immediately to the foreground with the metallic-flanged vocals, idiosyncratic / disjointed sequencing, and unidentifiable police scanner activity muffled at the background. When a melody comes along as on the strident "He Is Patriotic" or on the jittery death-dub of "Mass Disorder" or the proto-acid squelchiness of "Fiends", it can be quite a shocking juxtaposition given the calculated minimalism throughout the rest of this work. Imagine an even more stripped down DAF or Liaisons Dangereuses, with those Skinny Puppy vocals! The Portion Control back catalogue has gone through various reissue campaigns, including a ponderous 7lp boxset on Vinyl On Demand; and an even more comprehensive 5cd boxset, with I Staggered Mentally featured prominently on both sets. But here, we get another excellent reissue from Dark Entries, who give it a great remastering job, a booklet with tons of information, and a bonus track!
MPEG Stream: "He Is Patriotic"
MPEG Stream: "Plateau Stage"
MPEG Stream: "Mass Disorder"

album cover RITUAL HOWLS Turkish Leather (Nostilevo) cassette 6.98
The gloomy post-punk monochromaticism of Ritual Howls has its antecedents - the ominous decadence of the Red Lorry Yellow Lorry and Sisters Of Mercy, meshed with the low-slung swagger of the Lynch / Badalamenti incidental musics from Lost Highway or Wild At Heart. Yes, those are very welcome things for the black-clad denizens of the world; and Ritual Howls makes good in their application of these references. Turkish Leather follows a handful of suitably sub-underground cassettes, including several on the cult industrial-noise publishing house Nostivelo. On those cassettes, Ritual Howls thrived in the catacomb murk of overblown production with a single microphone picking up a thunderously loud session a la Les Rallizes Denudes. Here on Turkish Leather, Ritual Howls did find themselves in a studio, which allows them plenty of room to breath in all of the asbestos, nuclear fallout, or swamp gas, depending on what post-apocalyptic scenario you'd want to locate Ritual Howls. Of course, their home town of Detroit all serves them well in that regard, though there's very much a southwestern tremolo-laden twanginess that echoes through these propellant goth-punk tunes. Had these lads been from Los Angeles gigging at the Scream in the '80s, they would have been right at home.
MPEG Stream: "The Taste Of You"
MPEG Stream: "My Friends"
MPEG Stream: "Turkish Leather"

album cover SIOBHAN Nothing But Trouble (Awakenings) cassette 6.98
Not much to go on here other than a title scrawled in shaky pen as the artwork for this tour-only mixtape from Siobhan - the grimy techno-savant from Detroit. His studio work on Chondritic and Opal Tapes have mined the motor-city futurism that brought forth so many great producers of techno from that city; but he's also got ample chops with low-rent guttural noise. There's probably some cuts that from his other tapes on Nostivelo that are making their way onto this weird mix that features a chopped and screwed version of "Mystere Dans Le Brouillard" by Liaisons Dangereuse followed by some equally murky Houston sizzurp laden production. These are just two of the few things we could recognize in this post-Cabs, post-Aphex, post-witchhouse, post-everything confabulation of dark rhythms and smoldering noise. Very limited stock with an unlikely possibility of us getting any more copies.

album cover TAROT The Warrior's Spell (Heavy Chains Records & Tapes) cd 10.98
The wizened seer tentatively flips the last card, her eyes illuminated by the dancing firelight. Her eyes widen as she gasps, before letting out a croaking grotesque cackle. "In your future... I see... MUSTY TASMANIAN WIZARD ROCK!" Well, congratulations! It must be your (Magician's) birthday, because no finer fate can await gods nor men than the prospect of delving into this arcane helping of mystical, mythical, organ-driven heavy folk prog from far off Tasmania. The Warrior's Spell comes hurtling across the astral plane courtesy of Tasmania's Heavy Chains Records (undoubtedly one of our fave new sources for weird & wonderful heavy rock and metal, along with Minotauro, having recently brought us the Outcast ep and latest The Wizar'd album), and conjures all of the torchlit corridor mystery & dusty crumbling aroma of some of our favorite proto-metal, proto-doom & witchy folky proggy rock bands, all swirling Hammond organ, plucked acoustic strums, seriously epic heavy riffing, plaintive flutes & distant nasal vocal prophecies. Uriah Heep is obviously a major touchstone here, the album title and cover clearly paying homage to the technicolor fantasy wonder-realm of Heep's 1972 opus The Magician's Birthday specifically. But just us clearly one can hear the sepia-toned Medieval echoes of Rainbow and the crackly mournful dirge of Pagan Altar. Tarot also shares their vocalist with another one of our favorite obscure quirky heavy acts, The Wizar'd! And while here he sounds significantly less theatrical and maniacal than in his other wilder doomed project, his more restrained approach in Tarot lends the music a much more sombre, majestick, archaic air. Very highly recommended for fans of all of those aforementioned groups as well as anything from early Wishbone Ash to Witchcraft to Comus to The Lamp Of Thoth to the Darkscorch Canticles compilation. Consider us well and truly... under the spell!!!
MPEG Stream: "The Watcher's Dream"
MPEG Stream: "Street Lamps Calling"
MPEG Stream: "Dying Daze"

album cover VAN KAYE & IGNIT A Slight Delay (Dark Entries) 2lp 24.00
Those Vinyl On Demand boxsets are a very tempting proposition. Some are no brainers - SPK, The Hafler Trio, and John Duncan all offered up utter classics of unreleased or impossible to find recordings spanning multiple pieces of wax and housed inside handsome packaging. But others are a bit too obscure to fork over well over a hundred bucks for an unknown quantity. Van Kaye & Ignit were one of those terminally obscure minimal wave projects whose collected works had been anthologized through a massive 5lp boxset on Vinyl On Demand. It came and went as too much of an expense for us to invest in. Thankfully Dark Entries has extracted a good chunk of that material in the form of this 2lp set, plus the tracks from the duos first seven inch not found on that VoD set. Van Kaye & Ignit (nee Ed Van Kasteren and Ignatine Bekken) began their fruitful collaborations in the late '70s with the former hailing from more of a punk background and the latter from the realm of performance art, with both sharing an infatuation with DIY electronics. A Slight Delay was a cassette release the band self-published on their own Ding Dong Records, which later would go on to release works by the Legendary Pink Dots, Bene Gesserit, and that amazing Andre De Saint-Obin album. The idiosyncratic melding of experimental modelling, pop-song naivete, and inventive use of electronics found in all of those other bands is something that Van Kaye & Ignit share. Given a spacious Martin Hannett production, the turbine electronic stabs and spry drum programming of "Beach" could have been a Hacienda hit for Factory Records, but as it stands, it's just one of many deft synth-wave / mutant-disco / synth-punk tunes on A Slight Delay. While that track's an instrumental along with about half of those found on this 2lp set, Van Kaye and Ignit do share the vocal duties when called for, with Ignit being the stronger of the two with her Nina Hagen theatricality and Van Kayen adopting the untrained approach of Genesis P-Orridge. Along with the Belgian comrades of Bene Gesserit, Pseudo Code, and the rest of the Insane Music network, Van Kaye & Ignit have a sympathetic sound to those antipodean malcontents Severed Heads. Another great find from Dark Entries; and we gotta wonder if there's going to be a cottage industry of somebody going through the Vinyl On Demand catalogue to reissue those reissues in more economical chunks.
MPEG Stream: "Negroe In N.Y."
MPEG Stream: "Beach"
MPEG Stream: "Excerpt From Toys"

album cover VISIGOTH The Revenant King (Metal Blade) cd 14.98
Get your true metal fix for this week, with the Metal Blade full-length debut of Salt Lake City's truest metal horde, Visigoth! They charge forth to do battle with a triumphant metal gallop that's both barbarically heavy and super EPICK, soaring but dark, powerfully produced. Most definitely invisible-orange-gesture worthy stuff, kind of like some unholy, brawny melding of Twisted Tower Dire and Grand Magus, it's solid, stirring, sometimes quite speedy stuff with clean, commanding vocals (hitting the highs but never sounding wimpy) and plenty of power in the guitars department, unleashing both doomy riffs and shredding solos. The lengthy but memorable opening number and title track, "The Revenant King" deserves special mention not just because it's likely get stuck in your head but also 'cause the band made a pretty impressive low-budget video clip for it, you should watch it here:
Not bad, eh? A lot of drama in that little one-act-play, with just three characters out in the snow someplace, like a mini-Game Of Thrones. The king in the video is played by the singer for another US underground epic metal outfit, Eternal Champion, btw, but it's the Wormtongue-like scheming adviser who steals the show, the dude who plays him is scarily great!
Anyway, there's lots of cool songs on there for anyone into true, epic, power metal that will rock yer socks off - Allan here of course especially likes the track "Dungeon Master", with the refrain "He's a dungeon master!", Visigoth clearly unashamed of their D&D habit. Oh, and props for the kickass cover of Manilla Road's classic "Necropolis", yeah we said they were epick. All in all, damn enjoyable and impressive. Visigoth could be the American answer to Falconer. Quality stuff, we can imagine a TV ad with that old guy saying "I don't always headbang, but when I do, I headbang to Visigoth."
MPEG Stream: "The Revenant King"
MPEG Stream: "Mammoth Rider"

album cover WATTS, ALAN This Is It (Numero) lp 17.98
Out of all the proto-new age records that have become available again this one is quite unique and utterly weird. Often stated as the very first psychedelic album, it is more a document of of the intermediary space when beatnik bohemian sensibilities were beginning to transform into hippie communal expression.
British born philosopher Alan Watts, who popularized Eastern philosophy for Western audiences from his base in the San Francisco Bay Area of the late fifties and early sixties, emphasized the link between the practices of Zen Buddhism and psychotherapy, and proposed that if the sane man couldn't let himself lose control every once in awhile, he wasn't truly sane. So what we have here are freeform recordings from 1962 of wordless group chants, drum circles and primal scream therapy tempered instrumentally by circular repetitions of out of tune piano, percussion and flutes. Babbling call and response, vocal trills and whistles over caveman rhythms with occasional spoken philosophical passages by Watts himself, it has early influential links to later communal psych records like Parson Sound, Amon Duul and Taj Mahal Travellers. Though its outright and blatant freakiness may be an acquired taste for some, those who have a penchant for the sort of recordings featured on the famous Nurse With Wound list, especially Alan Sondheim's group Ritual ALL-770, this may be right up your alley!
MPEG Stream: "Love You"
MPEG Stream: " Umdagumsubudu"
MPEG Stream: "Metamatic Ritual"

album cover WEAVER, JANE The Silver Globe (Bird / Finders Keepers) lp 27.00
Contemporary British psych/folk singer Jane Weaver has never had a proper aQ review, though she has appeared on many of our reviews of various Finder's Keepers comps such as Bearded Ladies and Bird Songs, and she is part of the Pre-Cert label super group Neotantrik with husband Andy Votel and members of Demdike Stare. Her sixth full length, The Silver Globe, has finally got our undivided attention, largely because it's a wild departure from the pastoral folk-psychedelia of her previous solo efforts and embraces a heavier cinematic electronic kraut-rock sensibility akin to Lorelle Meets The Obsolete, The Sound Carriers, and Death and Vanilla.
Named after the polish filmmaker Andrzej Zulawski's (Possession) incomplete sci-fi masterpiece from 1988, On The Silver Globe, whichin turn was based on a 1901 polish sci-fi novel (written by Zulawski's granduncle Jerzy Zulawski) about an ill-fated moon expedition. The epic drama of grand fantastical desire and ruinous failure that mars both the fictional narrative and the actual real-life circumstances surrounding the making of both the book and film seems to be a perfect foil for Weaver's emotive vocals that are both cool and dreamy but have the ability to drive us through the various peaks and valleys of atmospheric lows and electric transcendent highs. Beautiful!
MPEG Stream: "Mission Desire"
MPEG Stream: "Electric Mountain"
MPEG Stream: "Your Time in This Life is Just Temporary"

album cover ZEBULON PIKE Nostalgia For The Unreal (Unfortunate Music) cd 11.98
Zex isn't the only exciting release in the 'Z' section this week! We've also got the new album from longtime aQ faves, Zebulon Pike, instrumental post-metallers extraordinare from St. Paul, Minnesota. Zebulon Pike seem to be one of those bands that we love and think should be bigger than they are, but never seem to hear about except via our own reviews (another example: Combat Astronomy). It's been four years since this quartet's previous opus, Space Is The Corpse Of Time. That one we made a Record Of The Week (so they SHOULD have gotten huge, right?!?) and even in that review we were apologizing for having pretty much exhausted all our superlatives in our previous hyperbolic raves about the band's other albums. So once again we have to fall back on the old standby - if you are a Zebulon Pike fan, you already KNOW you want this; if you aren't, well what part of super heavy epic progressive spacey post rock instrumental metal do you not like??? These guys are the masters!
This new disc features four new, and also of course quite long, tracks. Well, actually the last one, billed as an epilogue, is actually short, a mere two and a half minute ripper, but the others make up for it length-wise, especially the penultimate one, "A Fragile Portal", 18+ minutes long, which is also a ripper (in parts), and furthermore gets extra-fancy with the addition of two saxophones and a contrabass, sparingly deployed - but that arty chamber rock element doesn't stop it from being ultra-lumberingly-heavy, don't you worry, and neither does the eerie lullaby music box chiming part about six minutes in.
As always, anybody with any ZP experience knows to expect perfectly executed, exquisitely crafted, compositions combining minimalist repetition, sheer thundering riffage, complex shifting song structures, super tight instrumental interplay, exciting dynamics, and massive amounts of majestic feeling. Once again, Zebulon Pike compare favorably with a bunch of other big aQ faves... "The White Leopardess" sounds like Stinking Lizaveta on steroids; while opener "Nostalgia (For The Unreal)" immediately reminds us of The Fucking Champs when ZP's dual guitar harmonies arrive, but soon it's like The Champs playing atonal 20th Century classical. Mammatus, Pelican, Pharoah Overlord, Yob, Broughton's Rules and a bunch of others could be namechecked too, though really at this point ZP should be a band we could namecheck alone.
Grab this, strap your instru-metal heaviosity crash helmet on, crank it up, and get ready do some heavy duty loop-de-loops!
MPEG Stream: "The White Leopardess"
MPEG Stream: "A Fragile Portal"

red dot See all the NEW ARRIVALS List #470...