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Records of the Week
DE LA SIERRA, JORDAN Gymnosphere: Song of The Rose (Numero Group) 2lp 25.00
Boy, has this reissue been a long time coming! Seeing that it's been a holy grail for new age collectors and long-form music heads long before the new age revival began revving up nearly a decade ago, it's surprising how long it has actually taken. We in fact have been listening to our ripped mp3's for the past few years courtesy of Greg Davis's incredible (and deeply missed) new age tape music blog, Crystal Vibrations. But now Jordan De La Sierra's masterpiece from 1977 has been given the deluxe reissue treatment it deserves, and for the very first time has been released as it was meant to be. Four gloriously long form well-tuned piano tracks (one per side for the lp, 2 for each cd), that hypnotically spiral and cascade in delirious transcendent clouds of chordal clusters and glacial repetitions. Recorded and edited from hours of sessions, the subsequent tape recordings were then taken to Grace Cathedral in San Francisco and taking advantage of the space's unique acoustics and 30 second natural delay, played back and rerecorded as they transmitted throughout the deep resonant space.Hailing from California's Central Valley and later influenced by Terry Riley, La Monte Young, and Pandit Pran Nath as well as teachings from his spiritual explorations in India, De La Sierra wanted to take his classical music training to a different place when he was granted a scholarship at San Francisco's Conservatory of Music where he immersed himself in the avant garde and performed works by John Cage, Robert Ashley, and Earl Brown. He eventually moved into Project Artaud right here in our own Mission District where he worked with small ensembles of like minded artists and musicians. His spiritual curiosity led him everywhere and under the tutelage of Pandit Pran Nath, to composing music in India. But he eventually worked his way back to the Bay Area, where he met up with Stephen Hill who ran the legendary radio program Hearts in Space on KPFA, who championed De La Sierra's music and led him to the fledgling Bay Area label Unity Records, which released Gymnosphere, but not without a few hiccups. Poorly managed and hemorrhaging money, the label ditched the planned release of a double lp by De La Sierra complete with booklet of Indian inspired drawings and poems and instead only released the first half on one lp. The process had taken so long that by the time of the release, De La Sierra had moved onto other projects, one of them forming the Dylanesque folk ensemble The Jemstone Band. Gymnosphere sank into obscurity.So now The Numero Group has restored the original release to its originally intended glory, including a full catalog of drawings, poems and liner notes, housed in an embossed outer sleeve with a tantric design. Beautifully packaged, this long awaited reissue has long influenced many modern day soundmakers like James Blackshaw, Jefre Cantu-Ledesma and Gregg Kowalsky. Fans of Iasos, Lubomyr Melnyck, Ariel Kalma, Anton Batagov or any of the musicians mentioned above, this is essential!
MPEG Stream: "Temple of Aesthetic Action"
MPEG Stream: "Sphere of Sublime Dances"
FOGG Death (Play Pinball) lp 17.98
Folks hankering for their seventies psychedelic biker doom fix need look no further than these Texas downer rock scuzzlords, who it seems took all the time and effort they DIDN'T put in to the cover art of this lp, and instead devoted it to maximizing the amount of FUZZ found on here. Fogg traffic in the same sort of drug fueled, garage-bound heaviness as outfits like Satan's Satyrs and Uncle Acid. The guitars appropriately fuzzy, the wailing Ozzyish vocals a perfect compliment, but unlike the punked out heaviness of the Satyrs, or the bell bottomed doominess of Uncle Acid, Fogg somehow sound more wasted and washed out, the sound less heavy, a bit brittle and tinny, extremely lo-fi, but it suits their mesmerizing heavy hippy psych punk swagger. Opener "Time Ride" sets the scene, right down to the lurching stop start bridge, and some scuzzy guitar shred would around the murky main riff, that's as Sabbathy as can be, but decontextualized into something a bit more ramshackle and loose. And while seventies biker rock might be the core of their sound, they also get pretty sixties, "Rainbow" finds the guitar and bass playing strange harmonies, over a wildly groovy shuffle, laced with still more shred, lysergic and laid back, but on the verge of exploding into full on headbanging at any moment. And yet for all that, when need be, these guys can conjure up the ghost of doom past, just check out the massive lumbering "Fried Cheer", which does actually sound like some especially acid fried take on Blue Cheer, the song lurching from swagger lumber to furious punky pound and back again. The more we listen to these guys, the more we hear outfits like Earthless and Hot Lunch, that sort of skate shred, woven into Fogg's Sabbathy swing. They also stretch out (way out) on a handful of tracks, locking into almost krautrock-like stretches of hypnomesmer, as well as meandering space rock/jam rock, the song unfurling into waves of heady/heavy mesmer, tripped out and sinister, and downright sludgy, like on the appropriately titled "Sludgemother", that sounds like a downer Uncle Acid, a glorious slab of wasted skater doom, or witchy downtuned zoner psych, whatever you call it, it's heavy and tranced out and freaky as fuck (oh and there's a DRUM SOLO). Oh yeah, and of course stick around for the closer, another awesomely titled jam, "Womb To The Tomb", that sounds like a more poppy, way more brain damaged Electric Wizard, dirgey and droney and totally messed up and mesmeric, and just about the best thing we've heard in ages. This is a record that no doubt will be right at home right wedged between that played to death lp of Blood Lust, and that scratched up vinyl version of Die Screaming, or next to your copy of the Darkscorch Canticles compilation.Vinyl-only, and sorry, no download.
MPEG Stream: "Fried Cheer"
MPEG Stream: "Tongue Melts "
MPEG Stream: "Sludgemother"
HAMBURGER, NEIL Great Phone Calls (Ipecac) lp 13.98
OMG! Automatic Record Of The Week. Hands down. Such a nice surprise, that Ipecac has just reissued this all-time aQ fave on vinyl, originally released back in 1992. Great Phone Calls lives up to its title, it's one of the funniest prank call albums ever made, up there with Kathy McGinty and the best of Longmont Potion Castle. Heck, it's one of the funniest records we've EVER heard, period. Then again, maybe something is wrong with us. In any case, stuff from this album has entered our personal lexicon, catch phrases, you know, like they way people pick up on stuff from SNL.When Great Phone Calls came out so many years ago (1992) it quietly marked the first appearance on record of the now-infamous Neil Hamburger, sad sack comic who has since gone on to great heights of "humor" (or perhaps the term is anti-humor) recording for the Drag City label.The collection of calls here ranges from the aggro bass player who answers a musicians-wanted ad (and insists, "I'm in your band!"), to a fat guy who went to college at "Yaoo" (not Yale) trying to order a low-fat pizza, to a computer giving away tickets to a Bette Midler movie called Hijinx (and its sequel, Hijinx II: Sodom). Some of the calls are borderline offensive, and some jump right over that line, so be forewarned, but it's so worth it anyway. The Hamburger-as-Hamburger tracks are among his best stuff, 'cause unlike later recordings of his live paying-gig performances, here on Great Phone Calls he's trying so desperately just to get a gig, calling comedy clubs and harassing the bookers with his "jokes". The unique brand of comedy on display here really takes things to a demented, ridiculous level, Hamburger essentially delivering extemporaneous monologues to the poor saps on the phone more akin to performance art than anything else. The shaggy dog story of a joke Hamburger tells on the track "A Nationally-Known Comedian" goes on for, like, six minutes. Why his victims don't hang up sooner, we'll never know. He's brilliant, if you've ever doubted it, this is the proof.Originally out on Amarillo, this was reissued on cd - and now on lp - by Mike Patton's Ipecac label, and he makes an uncredited sneak appearance on the record too.
MPEG Stream: "I'm In Your Band"
MPEG Stream: "Hijinx"
MPEG Stream: "(Write My) Name On The Toilet"
VISITORS s/t (Lion) lp 21.00
Merci beaucoup, Lion, for reissuing this on wax! We sold a ton of these five or six years ago when we had a cd reissue version. Now this, in all its sci-fi freaky glory, can be a Record Of The Week on vinyl, kind of a good follow-up to the La Planet Sauvage soundtrack we made ROTW last time!!Not sure when/where/how we first found out about Visitors and their cult 1974 self-titled album, but for the prog lovers here at Aquarius, it was love at first sight - literally, check out that cover art! A hyperencephalic space alien standing in a glowing doorway, the open door labeled "Sesame". The back cover is pretty bizarre too: the disembodied heads of members of Visitors floating in front of an atomic mushroom cloud that's exploding out of a giant egg! And, yes, the music lived up to these silly-strange images. The album's heavy opener, "Dies Irae", with backwards effects, faux-Gregorian chant, wild synth flourishes, and wailing psych guitar, among other outre ingredients, is a grand(iose) introduction to the Visitors' over-the-top, apocalyptic prog pleasures, coming off like a hybrid of Magma and an Ennio Morricone soundtrack. The tracks that follow maintain the same majestic/eccentric momentum. Imagine our favorite, craziest '70s Italian prog (Osanna, Area, Museo Rosenbach, etc.) meeting up with groovy orchestrations of a Serge Gainsbourg or Jean-Claude Vannier album. Visitors being in fact French, hence the latter comparisons. A lot of AQ customers might be interested in this for another, specific, reason - Visitors was an exploitation-prog project of musical mastermind Jean-Pierre Massiera, whose surreal pop productions were the subject of a number of other collections and reissues that have proven quite popular at aQ.Now's your chance to hear, from start to finish, an entire cult sci-fi concept album as envisioned by Massiera, unabashed prog bombast that's often haunting yet groovy at the same time. Although, at the time of its release, Visitors was a one-off album intended a cash-in on the progressive rock fad of the early '70s, and the UFO fad too, its sci-fi concept probably not meant to be taken seriously either, nowadays it seems as valid, and certainly as enjoyable, as any other of the fabulous prog excesses of its era. So recommended!!Includes insert with liner notes and an interview with Massiera himself!
MPEG Stream: "Dies Irae"
MPEG Stream: "Terre-Larbour"
MPEG Stream: "Visitors"
BISHOP, SIR RICHARD & BILL ORCUTT Road Stories (Unrock) lp 28.00
New split LP from guitar wizards and warriors Bill Orcutt and Sir Richard Bishop. Strangely enough, the first album these two have done together (although they have toured together, which we assume was the catalyst for this release). On the "Kali" side, Sir Richard Bishop unleashes his usual brand of psyched-out guitar elegance, constantly drifting between hypnotic strums and chaotic stabs, always returning to a common melodic line, a sort of chorus that keeps the 17-minute piece cohesive and, dare we say, structured. Like an internationally-trained and DMT-dosed John Fahey, Bishop deviantly picks apart, plays with, and stitches together all sorts of traditional music schools, all while playing a style so uniquely himself. Echoes of his Sun City Girls days are always present; the whole piece is constantly on the precipice of falling apart and devolving into harsh nonsense (we mean this as a complement), but stays together enough to make it to the end.What Sir Richard Bishop does with an electric guitar is mesmerizing, and what Bill Orcutt does with a 4-string wooden guitar is shocking (again, a compliment). While Bishop lives in a world of technicality and proficiency that occasionally dips into free-form noise, Orcutt lives in the opposite world. An assault of acoustic stabs and possibly some atonal singing (?), the five pieces on his side only occasionally give you a hint of something melodic, and it's only for an instant, before it once again falls apart into cacophony. The climax here is "Always Already Reissued," an unrelenting assault that finally settles into an almost peaceful ending that shows that Orcutt has a little bit of peacefulness somewhere inside him.A beautiful release physically and musically, act fast and get these before we run out!
MPEG Stream: "Zurvan"
BLOOD FARMERS Headless Eyes (Patac) lp 17.98
NOW AVAILABLE ON LIMITED EDITION VINYL!!!Here's what we said about the cd version that we got direct from the band last spring...Appropriately enuff, back from the dead it would seem. Bear witness to the long, long awaited return of psychedelic doomsters the Blood Farmers! After almost twenty years, the cult is alive. Still unhealthily obsessed with Z-grade schlock horror films - we'd love to dig into the the insane VHS collection we figure these guys must have - this NYC stoner/sludge/doom trio hit us here with only their second proper full-length album since their self-titled debut from 1995! (There's been just one other Blood Farmers cd, Permanent Brain Damage, previously reviewed by us, containing an earlier demo + live tracks). It's been worth the wait, for those of us who love fuzzed-out downer psych trudgery with oodles of heavier-than-thou atmosphere, yep. Not much has changed over the years, Blood Farmers still sounding beholden to Black Sabbath, Saint Vitus, and that aforementioned vintage VHS collection - this album's title track, ferinstance, is inspired by the 1971 film The Headless Eyes, about a one-eyed, eye-gouging serial killer/artist. Fans of some bands that have become popular more recently, like Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats, and Satan's Satyrs, definitely ought to check this out, they'll appreciate the synthesis of '70s exploitation cinema subject matter and Sabbatherian riffery that Blood Farmers dish out here. Part psych, part metal, it's a stripped down, garagey, lumberingly groovy sort of sound they have, embellished with some sinister synths, and the use of samples from the old movies they reference. Imagine The Heads, jamming with Electric Wizard. Or early Monster Magnet, but much more doom, with a huge horror vibe. There's plenty in the way of moody, spaced/nodded out, almost-ambient interludes betwixt the more punishing fare, lots of this largely instrumental - however, the deep voiced holler of singer Eli Brown (often treated with underwatery FX) is definitely heard from, alongside the slo-mo six-string wizardry of guitarist Dave "Depraved" Szulkin, whose blown out riffs and acid rock leads have a hypnotic effect, abetted by the thumping rhythms of drummer Tad Leger (formerly of '80s technical thrashers Toxik, not that that has much to do with anything you'll hear here, nor does the further trivia that he also played with The Great Kat too at one time). Blood Farmers do an amazing job of creating a heavy MOOD as well as making heavy sounds, a mood in keeping with their cinematic inspirations, but actually much more affecting and less ridiculously kitschy than a lot of those low-budget movies actually are. Speaking of mood, one of our favorite tracks here is the final one, an especially doomed-out cover of a beautiful song called "The Road Leads To Nowhere" from the David Hess soundtrack to The Last House On The Left (the vinyl reissue of which was reviewed by us not loo long ago). It's real nice, taking that song and turning it (after an acoustic guitar intro) into a heavy rock track, quite different from the original, but retaining the melodiousness of it, Eli's vocals also more restrained and melodious here as well.We're really digging that song, and the rest of this, A LOT, and just hope they don't take another 19 years to make their next album!Includes insert with vintage horror movie artwork not found in cd version, plus a sticker.
MPEG Stream: "Headless Eyes"
MPEG Stream: "The Creeper"
MPEG Stream: "The Road Leads To Nowhere"
CRACKED VESSEL Paths I & II (self-released) cassette 6.98
We had a super deluxe version of this a few months back but only got a tiny handful of copies, which disappeared in a flash. Well for anyone who missed out, this killer slab of 'bicycle black metal' is available again, this time as a single cassette, with less over the top packaging. Conceptually, this has aQ written all over it. The artwork adorned with various bicycles and cyclists, the song titles appropriately grim and frosty, cuz yep, Cracked Vessel is in fact something we've never encountered before, BICYCLE BLACK METAL. To be fair, listening to this, you might not immediately pick up on the bicycle connection, but knowing it's there, only makes it that much cooler. And weirder. And by the same token, if you had no idea there was a bicycle theme, the music itself is fucking furious and frenzied, a wild, chaotic, blast of punky blackness, whirling and wild, lurching from impossibly frantic blasts to punky pound, the arrangements intricate and downright proggy, feedback everywhere, the drumming insane, the songs super short, but crazy catchy crammed with parts and time signatures, killer riffs, all blown out heaviness, the sort of buzzing black rawness that would put most non bicycle black metal to shame.
MPEG Stream: "Bitten By The Hand Of Winter"
MPEG Stream: "The Atmosphere Is A Glass Ceiling"
CRACKED VESSEL Paths IV (self-released) cassette 6.98
Elsewhere on this list you'll find the repress of the double cassette from this bicycle black metal outfit (yeah, you read that right), now combined onto one tape and at a nicer price, but we also got the new tape, and like the first, you wouldn't necessarily know that Cracked Vessel was all about bikes, but believe us, it is, which for us, only makes it that much cooler/weird, but if bicycles aren't grim and trve enough for you, just pretend their singing about Satan and you'll be just fine, cuz sonically, these guys kick up a seriously ruling black metal din, with blown out fast picked insectoid riffing, furious blast beats, harsh shrieking vokills, and all that good stuff, but they also temper the buzz and blast, with plenty of melody, hints of shoegaze, some post rock, math rock too, with the five songs here cycling (get it?) through multiple permutations, from frenzied ferocity, to loping moodiness, from punked out crush to almost Deafheaven-like tripped out black buzziness, not to mention some weird angular bits that remind us of classic screamo, and some lumbering downer dirges that sounds like classic post punk, all of those seemingly disparate elements all tangled up into a fantastically gnarled collection of fucked up experimental heaviness that manages to be brutal and catchy, pretty buzzy and black, but also strangely poppy, not sure why these guys aren't more well known, we can't imagine that'll be the case much longer. Fans of the various strains of modern black metal, would do well to check these guys out. And hell, as long as you're buying this one, you might as well by the first one too, they both RULE.
CRETIN Stranger (Relapse) lp 21.00
The eagerly-anticipated second full-length (but the first since 2006) by the gutter-crawlers in Cretin sees an essentially brand new line-up since their last album, Freakery. The brainchild of Marissa Martinez, former guitarist of Repulsion, Cretin crawls out of the same sewer as those grind/death pioneers. The overall atmosphere and structure is remarkably similar to Repulsion's opus Horrified and other early death/grind outfits like Carcass, Terrorizer, and maybe even fellow Bay Area masters Autopsy, but the riffs on Stranger are tighter, more technical, and perhaps even gnarlier. The lyrics, too, go above and beyond, telling intricate, albeit dark and twisted, stories. On "Mr. Frye, the Janitor Guy," for example, Martinez really packs in the putridity, taking on the perspective of a lazy-eyed janitor who hangs himself in front of school children to get back at them for laughing at him. If you're looking for optimism, you'll not find it here. Even given how composed and thought out this album feels, the songs never overstay their welcome. The focus is always on quick assaults and punishing riffs, never giving the listener a chance to breath. Believe us, Cretin wants you to suffocate. Recommended!
MPEG Stream: "We Live In A Cave"
MPEG Stream: "It"
D'ANGELO AND THE VANGUARD Black Messiah (RCA) cd 14.98
We thought the last few weeks of 2014 would be spent just compiling our year end best of lists and revisiting our favorite records of the year. Little did we know one of the best records of the year would be released in those final days of the year which grabbed us on first listen and has had us hooked ever since.It had been 14 years since his last album was released and while we knew he had started to play live again we didn't know when a new record would emerge. The timing for the release of Black Messiah couldn't have been more perfect and much needed. In the aftermath of the grand jury decision in Ferguson, and the choking death of Eric Garner, the nation and our collective psyche were in desperate need of some healing and deeply conscious music that could lift our spirits while being steadfast to its awareness of the reality of the times. Musically this is the most forward and left-field leaning of D'Angelo's releases. Psychedelic soul drenched in warmth, reverb, and unpredictable twists, turns, and instrumentation. This is one of those records that unites music lovers of all variations. Whether your a soul fanatic or a psych rock lover this is a record that breaks down barriers and digs into the skin with deep impact. There is so much to take in from the dense recording, so repeated listens become ever so rewarding.There's no doubt with Black Messiah, D'Angelo has created a musical masterpiece that will stand next to legendary works by folks like Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, Prince, and Sly & The Family Stone.
MPEG Stream: "Ain't That Easy"
MPEG Stream: "Back To The Future (Part I)"
MPEG Stream: "Sugah Daddy"
DUNNOCK / INTERGALACTIC HOLOCAUST split (Temptations Of Resonance) cd-r 8.98
Darkness hath descended upon aQ HQ for here we have found ourselves ensnared by a truly abyssal double helping of murky space-themed black metal hurled shrieking from the The Lightless Void. One who has (dis)graced our ears already several times before in the form of one man local BM despair merchant / overlord of Acephale Winter Productions, Dunnock (although joined here by a co-conspirator on electric viola!), and one an entirely new prospect to us: the bleak cosmic terrornaught that is Australia's Intergalactic Holocaust. Dunnock contributes two tracks of in-the-red plodding black metal (along with two dark ambient tracks - one of which even reminds us of some nightmarish reinterpretation of the intro to the Star Trek: The Next Generation theme!), the sort of sound that lurches onto the listener's back, dragging them closer to the dirt with every measure. Lamenting synth pads and barely audible muttered samples drift over the dirge, hazy and surreal. Thematically the tracks both deal with the USA/Soviet Cold War space race - "Jan 28th" regarding the Challenger disaster, and "Kudryavka" the death of Russia's space dog Laika. Intergalactic Holocaust's contributions are comparatively a bit easier on the ear, but no easier on the psyche! Less blown out than Dunnock, and instead murky and expansive - the effect of IH's sound is more ominous, engulfing and maybe a touch Lovecraftian: The drums a forgotten thud in the distance, the guitars seeming to writhe in slow motion like an oily leviathan, the synths and vocals oozing over everything like Burzum gone interstellar. A nightmarish gauntlet through pitch black oxygenless infinity from both artists, and proof perhaps that in space at least some screaming can be heard!
GHIMP, GAIL Fire / Failure Soundtrack (Soft Corridor) cassette 11.98
There's very little known about the British born artist Abigail Ghimp, other than that she died in 2012 of a heart attack at the age of 30. The recordings on this cassette are presumably the only remaining traces of her artistic career, as her belongings and artwork seemed to have vanished after her death. But when she was living in Belgium and working on a series of experimental films, she handed out a number of cassettes to colleagues and to some experimental labels around Belgium and Germany of the soundtracks to the unfinished films. One of these tapes ended up at garage sale of some dude who used to run a record shop only to be discovered by proprietor of Soft Corridor records, who was smitten by the mysterious looping collages of slow-motion chants, decontextualized tribal rhythms, and tape-delay aggregation worthy of comparisons to Robin Storey-era :zoviet*france:. In the quest to find the "Gail Ghimp" who had penned scant information on the hand-dubbed cassettes, Soft Corridor discovered that Abigail Rosa Ghimp had recently died. Keeping the recordings on a micro-edition cassette is a pretty perfect homage to this strangely poetic and morose tale. Ghimp's soundtracks are narcotized collages of Dada appropriation, some of which presumably came from the African recordings she grew up with in London. She snaps those samples into monochromatic patterns of chiming guitar, distantly dreamy chants, and eerie rhythms are as evocative and profound as those haunted turntable collages from Phillip Jeck or even those interstitial fragments that dot the Demdike Stare recordings. So very nice.
MPEG Stream: "Failure"
MPEG Stream: "Fire"
GRAVE WALKS, THE She's A Suicide (Windian) 7" 8.98
We were pretty heartbroken when San Diego garage-surf, new wave, gloom poppers Mrs. Magician called it quits recently. In fact when Andee went down to LA to play some shows with A Minor Forest, Mrs. Magician was the first band AMF asked to play with. But alas, it was already too late. And while we were placated with a lp of B-sides and demos (also pretty goddamn great), we kept hoping we'd eventually get more Mrs. Magician someday. This is not that, but it's about as close as we're gonna get it seems. Jacob Turnbloom from Mrs. Magician here teams up with garage rocker Dan Sartain for a sound that sits about right in the middle of their two respective approaches. It's not nearly as rambunctious and punky as MM, but it is still a little bit surfy and jangly and psychedelic and garagey, although also more dark and dour, a bit more gloomy and gothic, I mean come on, they're called The Grave Walks. So yeah, instead of whatever inspirations MM was born out of, this stuff is more slithery and swampy, gloomy and gothy, shades of the Cramps, the Birthday Party, old Leaving Trains, Flesh Eaters, that kind of thing, all filtered though a little bit of that residual MM surfy jangle. Great stuff that definitely has us hankering for more!
HUTCHINSON, HAL Wreckage Installations And Metalworks (Crucial Blast) cd 13.98
All scrap metal, all the time. Hal Hutchinson's sound demolition begins and ends with a piece of metal being dragged, bent, hammered, twisted, thrown, crushed, and generally abused within a relatively enclosed space. Industrial culture has long been enamored with abandoned warehouses rich with concrete reverberation and the transgressive thrill of breaking and entering into such a space to wreak havoc on an unsuspecting air-conditioning duct. Einsturzende Neubauten, Test Dept., Z'ev, The New Blockaders, Organum, Merzbow, and many others have collected the detritus from the urban wasteland and turned those tools into a rich vocabulary of muscularity, guttural exuberance, and violent expressionism. The British noise sculptor Hutchinson takes this obsession to the extremes in building his entire musical language on the aggregation of acoustic noise from scrap metal. In the lengthy essay mapping out the aesthetic progression of his work, Hutchinson describes a goal of occupying the space between heavily structured forms of industrial music (e.g. Test Dept., Vivenza, etc.) and the more freeform approach to noise, seeking "a kind of 'ordered chaotic' state." Hutchinson is not one for the metal-bashed rhythms, and more inclined to repeat cyclical textures into a dense miasma that is equal parts controlled symphony and demolition site collapse. Strangely meditatively in delving into this throng of metal machine music for close to 60 minutes of tumbling car-crash frenzy.
MPEG Stream: "Wreckage Installation I"
MPEG Stream: "Metalwork Installation I"
MPEG Stream: "Metalwork Installation III"
IRR. APP. (EXT.) I Made This For Someone Else, But They Didn't Want It, So I'm Giving It To You Instead (Errata In Excelsis) cd-r 14.98
Who is that "someone" who didn't want this album is not made known, but we have to wonder if he / she / it / they had any clue as to what irr. app. (ext.) was all about in the first place. We're delightfully baffled as the next when it comes to the sounds of irr. app. (ext.) and the overarching artforms from its principal, Matthew Waldron; but would be even more confused as to why anybody would commission something from Waldron and then reject it, as this album clearly falls well within his signature aesthetic of psychic turmoil, United Dairies assemblage, freeform radiophonic splutter, and primordial noise tumbling between the gaps of industrial bad trips and psychedelic wooliness. Of course, there are those albums from irr. app. (ext.) which could be considered more sensible than others - the Wilheim Reich trilogy comes to mind - and there are those which stretch against the boundaries of delirium and discomfort. I Made This For Someone Else lands in the latter category with Waldron collaging broken sounds, crippled song-fragments, and grotesquely inelegant fumblings into a portentous bombast that finds Waldron looking less to Steven Stapleton as the beacon of outre genius and more towards Igor Wakhevitch, himself a '70s prog-occultist who was a big influence on Nurse With Wound. Waldron willfully follows pretty much any and every idea that germinates within any given psychic landscape, crashing those ideas into one another, and crafting ugly hybrids that speak in completely foreign tongues. The cd-r editions from Errata In Excelsis tend towards editions of just about 100 copies, with many of them already out of print. We expect the same, here.
MPEG Stream: "Devonian Lungpower Anniversary Promenade"
MPEG Stream: "Magnetospirillum Instigate A Non-Specific Mechanical Failure (Above Sea Level)"
MPEG Stream: "Vindicated By The Mountain Beavers: A True Story"
KALMA, ARIEL An Evolutionary Music (Original Recordings 1972-1979) (RVNG Intl.) 2cd 15.98
The RVNG Int'l label has been killing it lately with 3 incredible archival releases in a row highlighting the marginal worlds of second generation avant-garde ambient electronic auteurs. The first two were the spacey electro-industrial "folk" productions of Craig Leon and the blithely elusive Eno-worship of Seattle's K. Leimer. But it's this third release that we have been most excited about and that is the rare early recordings of France's Ariel Kalma, a polymath musician and spiritual explorer whose sonic endeavors cross-pollinate multiple genres of music including free jazz, minimalism, musique concrete, experimental tape music, long-form ragas and proto-new age devotional ambience.We made Kalma's 1978 masterwork of rainforest field recordings and atmospheric horn and organ textures, Osmose, Record of The Week when it was finally reissued back in 2006. There his interest in the correlations of sound and nature culminated brilliantly after years working with avant-garde musique concrete titan Pierre Henry at the legendary Institut National Audiovisuel, Groupe de Recherches Musicales (INA GRM) studios – the same sound laboratory that spawned masterpieces by members Luc Ferrari, Iannis Xenakis, and Bernard Parmegiani. But Kalma's restless wanderlust led him to travel, first to India, where he mastered circular breathing to be able to play the saxophone in continuous looping repetitions, then to New York where he briefly joined the mysterious musical spiritual collective, Arica, meeting one of his heroes, Don Cherry along the way.Evolutionary music spans a fertile period of little heard recordings between 1972 and 1979 that were culled mostly from private press lps and rare cassette releases. Terry Riley-ish organ repetitions, Percussive pieces, Experimental vocal tape recordings, ragas, interplanetary jazz motifs and spacious gorgeous ambient drones. A beautiful collection of head music that comes of course highly recommended!!!!
MPEG Stream: "Almora Sunrise"
MPEG Stream: "Ecstasy Musical Mind Yoga"
MPEG Stream: "Rainy Day"
MPEG Stream: "Les Mots de Tous Les Jours (Rźves Etranges)"
KATO, MASAYA Trace Of Voices [Regular] (Time Released Sound) cd 14.98
Trace Of Voices by Japanese composer Masaya Kato is the latest collection of blissful ambience from local label Time Released Sound, who most readers of the aQ list should now most likely be well familiar with, their near monthly release schedule overflowing with all manner of hushed experimentation and dreamily atmospheric psychedelia. This new one might be the most pensive and minimal of the bunch, mostly piano, draped over all manner of field recordings, the sound cinematic, but not sweeping or grandiose, instead, intimate and contemplative, chimes tinkle delicately over the sound of whipping wind, motorcycles drive by in the distance, sounds rumble and murmur, conjuring up some overcast, autumnal otherworld. The piano delicate and crystalline, drifting hauntingly through a haze of hum and thrum, sometimes fading into the ether, leaving the listener lost in this other soundworld, but soon those sounds surface again, unfurling aching melodies, and fluttering chords, airy and ephemeral. Here and there the sound does grow more animated, and distinctly Eastern, others sound like broadcasts from another time, another world, but even then, it all happens beneath a patina of crackle and thrum, everything hazy and gorgeously washed out. The bulk of the record though is spent wandering empty streets, lit by guttering flames, the backdrop a broken toothed smile of skyline, or laying on grassy hilltops, in the shadows of storm clouds, yet to let loose, the sky stretched out in endless smears of slate grey, all of these sounds crumbling, decaying before our very ears, from elegy to threnody, a dreamlike melancholia that is easy to get lost in. A perfect rainy day record, that sounds like it was actually recorded on a rainy day. So lovely. And as always, the packaging is lovely as well. The deluxe version, limited to just 65 copies, is presented as handmade, Japanese style scroll and calendar, with beautiful photos by photographer Irina Urumova. Made from cloth book binding paper and sporting a sheet of Japanese wallpaper, there's a string, so it can be hung on the wall, and features a pocket housing the disc, a hand printed insert, in a sleeve crafted from an antique Japanese book of floral drawings. The calendar comes in a hand stamped/sealed envelope made from block printed wallpaper, and inside is all sorts of extra goodies including gingko leaves. And fear not, there's also a handsome standard version, limited to 150 copies, which comes in a full color digipak.
MPEG Stream: "Trace Of Voices VIII"
LAUBE s/t (Small Doses) 2cd 17.98
Slow, low, creeped out ambient experimental Teutonic jazz-noir dronescapes, with brush-stroked drums, sparse, placid piano and deep, deep bass… huh, hmm, remind you of anything? Bohren And Der Club Of Gore, perhaps?? For sure, this is for fans of Bohren And Der Club Of Gore!! Laube are another band, also German, trafficking in a similar, slow-moving style of darkness and drone, equally (or even more) ominous, sinister, and spare. If they hadn't ever heard Bohren before, it's a crazy coincidence. In any case, it's really great stuff, if you're into the Bohren brand of totally atmospheric, downbeat, jazz-tinged "heaviness". Three-piece Laube take that sound to, perhaps, a further extreme, even more stripped down, nodded off, and glacially paced - and, we don't think they never bring in any saxophone, as Bohren are sometimes wont to do, so the sax-adverse might prefer Laube for that reason alone! The last track on disc one breaks the Bohren mold with some scattershot percussion and buried, distorted vocals (or voices, anyway); and there are some other differences to be found as well of course, but overall the inky black moodiness and less-is-more "doom jazz" aesthetic is very, very Bohren-esque. (Oh, and if YOU haven't heard Bohren, well, needless to say we recommend 'em.)FYI, this double cd on Small Doses brings together Laube's two previously cassette-only releases, Ausmerzen and Schwach Gerkerbt, limited editions that came out on Justin "Expo 70" Wright's Sonic Mediations label, circa 2009 and 2013, respectively.
MPEG Stream: "III"
MPEG Stream: "Tapestry Red Sunfire Metallic"
LOPEZ, FRANCISCO Untitled (2011) (Nefryt) cd 17.98
Francisco Lopez has long proposed his work under the banner of "absolute music" - a conceptual framework through which his processed field recordings shed their symbolic, metaphoric, or iconic meaning and become the raw material for compositions that push to the transcendent realms of the sublime through radical erasure, muscular amplifications, and / or slippery minimalism. There was a time some 20 years ago when Lopez released a handful of near, mostly, or wholly silent records as conceptual endgames to these theories; which left us with a bit trigger shy when it came to fully embracing the Lopez oeuvre. Fortunately, Lopez exhausted that line of thought quite a while ago, meaning that with every Francisco Lopez album, we can be assured of discovering strata of sound from the natural, the industrial, and the microcosmic. Untitled (2011) collects a eight compositions of variable strategies that opens with a placid chorus of insects buzzing pleasantly alongside the ritualized strikes of a temple gong and the distant call from some deep-throated Japanese raven. Lopez does explain the origins of the sound sources, but little else allowing the Byzantine swells, bursts, and gasps of environmental sound to stand on their own as discrete elements. The second track speaks to this with its peculiar resonance that sounds like it was entirely recorded, edited, and mixed from within an exhaust pipe attached to a slaughterhouse. Elsewhere, Lopez composes a piece entirely using the digital clipping and wind distortion that is the bane of every sound ecologist for a disturbing piece of brut-noise; and then there's the strange Luc Ferrari like whispering of an uncredited female speaker layered amidst his boiling metal drones.
MPEG Stream: "Untitled 279"
MPEG Stream: "Untitled 288"
MPEG Stream: "Untitled 291"
MANTLER, KAREN Business Is Bad (ECM / Watt Works) cd 17.98
Karen Mantler has been quietly carving her own unique niche in the New York jazz world since the mid-to late eighties. The daughter of famous New Jazz stalwarts Carla Bley and Michael Mantler, Karen is an altogether different kind of offbeat jazz performer, one that should be much more wider known. She recorded several albums in the eighties and nineties with her band, Her Cat Arnold (yes, that was the name of the band taken after her beloved cat), that combined pop musical structures and noir-ish cabaret jazz with a defeatist deadpan black humor. One of our all time favorite Christmas songs is her wonderfully dreary tune "I Love Christmas" from her second album. Her sound is sort of like if Peggy Lee (especially her song "Is That All There Is?") or Blossom Dearie were scoring an early Jim Jarmusch film like Stranger Than Paradise, or even Scorsese's After Hours. Off-kilter, slightly arty, but altogether extremely listenable and relatably funny.That same dark humorous tone permeates through her latest release on ECM, a suite of charmingly hapless complaints that range from the plights of homeless people, the aftermath of breakups, the expensiveness of lawyers, the malaise of winter, poor business and stupid volcanos that ground her at airports. The arrangements are stripped down to just piano, bass and guitar with occasional harmonica and clarinet that traverse a middle ground of lyrical rhythm of bummed out resignation without being too maudlin or too upbeat. You don''t hear jazz songwriters like this anymore. One that has incredible musical chops but is not afraid to be straight up at the expense of laughing at herself. She's a goddamn treasure!
MPEG Stream: "Catch As Catch Can"
MPEG Stream: "Wintertime"
MPEG Stream: "I Can't Afford My Lawyer"
MELVINS Eggnog / Lice-All (Boner) 2lp 25.00
Well, they're here. Melvins fans, giddyup. Seriously, what to say? The four classic early Melvins records newly reissued on these two double lp sets (why'd they do it like that? dunno) are all ESSENTIALS. Back on (remastered) vinyl for the first time in 15 years, they're too old to have much in the way of reviews from us previously, when originally released, so we figured we'd have to write new ones, and we could, heck we could go on and on about 'em. But really, most folks who are likely to buy these already know what they're all about, right? And if for some reason you are a fan of sheer heaviness, and buy records, and these AREN'T in your collection, then, well, all we can keep it simple and say YOU MUST BUY THESE! This paring brings together the Melvins' "holiday" record (at least, we always put in in our holiday music section when that time of the year came 'round, and it always sold!!), a four song ep from 1991, originally released on 10" vinyl, that featured three short rippin' tracks on the A-side (including the mighty "Hog Leg"), and an epic sludge drone fest on the B-side, "Charmicarmicat", over 12 minutes long, that sounds more or less like the blueprint for the first Earth album (though that was released the same year, so it can't really be). Meanwhile, 1992's Lysol, excuse us, for legal reason they're now calling it Lice-All, another fucked up Melvins classic, that features, along with several originals, covers of both Flipper (they do "Sacrifice") and Alice Cooper (not one but two songs!) all sounding perfectly Melvins-y.Includes download!
MELVINS Ozma / Bullhead (Boner) 2lp 25.00
Well, they're here. Melvins fans, giddyup. Seriously, what to say? The four classic early Melvins records newly reissued on these two double lp sets (why'd they do it like that? dunno) are all ESSENTIALS. Back on (remastered) vinyl for the first time in 15 years, they're too old to have much in the way of reviews from us previously, when originally released, so we figured we'd have to write new ones, and we could, heck we could go on and on about 'em. But really, most folks who are likely to buy these already know what they're all about, right? And if for some reason you are a fan of sheer heaviness, and buy records, and these AREN'T in your collection, then, well, all we can keep it simple and say YOU MUST BUY THESE! Ozma, from 1989, is the one that first turned us on to the genius of this band. Nonsensical lyrics, Black Sabbath meets Black Flag heavosity like nothing heard before (yeah, Flipper, yeah Gore, sure but Melvins took it to another level). Dale's drumming, Buzz's vocals, sheer brilliance. Bullhead, from 1991, was maybe even better, and heavier, really, somehow. Among other great tracks, it's got the song "Boris", which inspired a certain band from Japan. 'Nuff said.Includes download! Which has a bonus track!
MUSHROOM EATERS, THE s/t (Emperors Of Eternal Evil) board game 75.00
Attention gamers! (We know some of you are gamers, yep, don't deny it.) Also, perhaps, attention druggies! We've been waiting for this. From the same crazed minds that brought us the "Necro-Demonic dungeon crawl" board game Cave Evil, comes this REALLY bizarre design. It's an "adventure board game" for 2 to 5 players, simulating a psychedelic magic mushroom trip! Each player is, like, supposed to be an apprentice shaman, competing to become the next chief shaman by having the most intense and enlightening experiences while high on 'shrooms. (Note, the rule book explicitly states that "this game is absolutely unplayable on Mushrooms!", which would indicate that they tried…) Even the veteran gamers here at aQ have never seen anything quite like it. It's nothing if not unique. And very elaborate. And truly psychedelic.Our copies of The Mushroom Eaters just showed up in the mail a few days ago, so this is not a 'playtest' review. It says it takes "90-120 minutes" to play, but we're pretty sure our first session, learning how to play, will take way longer than that; we're looking forward to finding some time soon though to give it a try! Especially since Cave Evil, which have played, is great. While this is a very different sort of game, we're pretty sure it's going to be awesome too. It certainly LOOKS fantastic, the colorful, psychedelic artwork found on every part of the game being super strange and trippy - AND, get this, the board is printed in 3-D, and the game comes with rainbow prismatic 3-D glasses for each player to wear!! (Though, it's not required.)We're still not quite sure how it all works, we'll have to read through the 16 page rulebook a few more times before we attempt playing it, but we're pretty intrigued by the concepts involved. To give you some idea (or perhaps scare you off), the game includes such components as "Player Mood Cards", "Personal Path Octagons", "Breathe Tokens", "Large Focus Cubes", "Small Nervous System Cubes", a "Shaman Drum Board", "Wisdom Tokens", "Paradox Tokens", and "Mantra Answer Tokens" among many other things. Uh, wow!Like Cave Evil, it's a fairly DIY production, but an impressive one. You get a LOT in the large box, all of it as we said covered with weird, trippy artwork, by a whole bunch of artists, some of whom also worked on Cave Evil, though that was all black and white and this, as we said, is quite the opposite, very colorful indeed. There's a thick game board that unfolds, several other separate smaller boards, a die, a pawn ("representing the mushroom"), various cardboard tokens, two decks of cards, lots of wooden cubes, and of course, five sets of 3-D glasses! Our minds are blown just looking at it, so playing must be some kind of trip. We don't know if it's a good way, or not, to see what it's like to "get high" without actually taking any drugs, but even attempting to play it does seem likely to create an altered state of consciousness…By the way, while Cave Evil had the black metal connection, this one's not as directly music-related (though a lot of the folks who did the art are also musicians) - but we're sure any aQ customer interested in this would have plenty of appropriate music in their collection to use as a soundtrack.And as with Cave Evil, it's a limited edition. We have just 3 copies in stock. We get 'em direct from the designer/publisher, Nate Hayden, and he says we can probably get a few more if we need 'em, but maybe not for long, fyi.
NOTS We Are Nots (Goner) lp 15.98
We Are Nots is the super-fucking catchy debut for this synth-punk quartet from Memphis. The Nots could be the kid sisters of Jay Reatard's Lost Sounds, cranking out similar tension of sci-fi campiness, black lipstick frowns, and full-throttle punk propulsion. Originally, Nots were a two-piece comprised of Natalie Hoffmann (guitars / vocals) and Charlotte Watson (drums), with the former yelping out epithets in lockstep staccato with the non-stop THUMP-THUMP-THAP from Watson. Bass, synths, and the occasional backing vocal were brought in to wisely color the primitive songs with radioactive neon and black leather grime. The opening cut "Insect Eyes" girds on a B-movie synth-line diving back to the Damned's Black Album for inspiration, with an air-raid siren of a guitar lead that bends neatly around the anthemic barking from Hoffmann. Her voice is so classically punk in its untrained sneer, rhythmic delivery, and upturned scratchiness of every final syllable on the lyrics - which taken to the extreme would become the emphatic slurs from Mark E. Smith or the sandpaper abrasiveness of Poly Styrene. Hoffmann may not yet have the charisma and magnanimity of those two punk iconoclasts; but she more than makes up for it with smash 'n' grab enthusiasm and urgency. Eleven tracks the rip through their monotone riffs with scabbed knees, bruised elbows, and sugar-high mania, coming to screeching halt some 25 minutes after blasting out of the gates. A great introduction to a band for which we've got high hopes!
MPEG Stream: "Insect Eyes"
MPEG Stream: "Strange Rage"
MPEG Stream: "White Noise"
PINK VOID / KNIFECREAM split (Hanged Man) cassette 6.98
Killer new split tape from these two Seattle outfits, up first is Pink Void, who unfurls some low slung bass thrum, all reverbed and echo drenched, and laced with samples, a minimal slowcore doom creep, pocked with bits of electronic glitch, and rhythmic pulsations, slowly building to something more metallic, a heaving wall of blackened sound, that morphs into a swirling field of guitarnoise that instead of splintering into Merzbowian brutality, swirls and shimmers hypnotically, quickly settling into a murky background for another set of strange samples, the whole thing very harrowing and haunting. Knifecream counters with a sidelong sprawl of his own, opening with a bunch of clatter, almost as if some caveman is trying to figure out how to get the cassette in the tape player, you can hear voices, breathing, it's pretty creepy in its own way if not strictly musical, it's not really until about 3 minutes in that it gets, well at least MORE musical, with some string scraping, some mutated melodies, but still all wound around that weird plastic on plastic scraping, those sounds more agitated and intense, eventually it all comes together into some weird bit of parlor music, suddenly all those bizarre sounds seem like they were in fact just some alien mechanism being wound up or stretched out and now the machine, or instrument, is let loose to warbly and woozily unwind, some sort of clockwork automaton made from the guts of a piano, and the strings of an old guitar, all manner of working parts plucking and bowing and scraping, the vibe of this imaginary machine strangely mesmeric, think like Strotter Inst or Pierre Bastien, but with the machines now the masters, or better yet, hundreds of years from now, some unsuspecting explorer discovers these dusty machines, winds them up, and then falls back aghast at what manner of sonic oddness he's brought to life, soon fluttery flutes enter the fray eventually. the vibe almost like some alien cyborg folk, like Avarus or No Neck Blues Band made of machines, it's chaotic and frenzied but then when the singing comes in, it's even creepier, the clattery cacophony a dementedly beautiful backdrop for some seemingly out of place crooning, the mix doesn't seem like it should work, but it somehow reveals itself as some damaged sort of clockwork torch song, that is dementedly beautiful in its own, odd, and frightening way.LIMITED TO 100 COPIES!!
RADIAN & HOWE GELB Radian Verses Howe Gelb (Trost) lp 24.00
NOW ON VINYL TOO! One of our faves from the end of last year...Huh, now this is a pretty cool, totally unexpected collaboration! Austria's Radian, longtime aQ faves who specialize in their own unique strain of instrumental, improvised, computer-processed post rock, have teamed up here with Tuscon-based indie singer-songwriter Howe Gelb of Giant Sand fame (both artists are Thrill Jockey alumni, that's probably the connection). So you get the desert-country-folk-Americana stylings of Gelb, set amidst the abstract, electronic, glitch-and-distortion infused, fractured soundscapery of Radian. Aesthetically & methodologically, this record is definitely Radian's; yet Gelb's acoustic guitar, piano, and especially voice are crucial components, spiced and edited into Radian's atmospheric, oddly rhythmic sonic constructs. It works really, really well, Gelb adding a very human, ghost-in-the-machine element to the proceedings, with his melodies, hushed spoken commentary and non-sequitur storytelling. Always intriguing, often moodily beautiful, with a sometimes-sinister undercurrent, this reminds us a bit of mysterious UK post rockers Reigns at times, also a bit of Bill Callahan's recent dub album, in a way. Highly recommended!!
MPEG Stream: "Saturated"
MPEG Stream: "From Birth To Mortician"
MPEG Stream: "Pitch And Sway Again"
SAME SEX DICTATOR Open The Coffin (Hanged Man) cassette 6.98
The band with history's most intriguing combination of band name and genre tag returns! Yes, it's Seattle's self proclaimed "deep space power violence" two-piece Same Sex Dictator, rearing its hideous two heads once more to inflict maximum eye-bulging agony and crushing, rib-splitting suffocation upon feeble fleshbags the world over! Open The Coffin is an album length cassette bursting with ideas - heaving and bubbling over with punishing d-beat hardcore aggression, lurching scorch-earth doom, rank agonized vocal howls, and lush alien synthesizers. The ritual pummel of tribal toms roll into a swaying drug-haze of a jam. Throbbing John Carpenter ambience gives way to grinding uptempo blackened punk. The martial shuffle of a militaristic snare crumbles under the weight of a limping minimal nausea-groove which builds into a riotous double bass flurry. And all the while, whether at their most furious or most ominously minimal, there is a constant undercurrent of murky dread, like the shadow of a leviathan beneath the waters, not to mention a wholly unhealthy dose of violent misanthropy. And with song titles like "Obviously Dead", "God Is Not Here" and "Run Into Knives" would you expect/want any less?? Of course not. Highly recommended for musical masochists everywhere.
SEARCH PARTY, THE Montgomery Chapel (Lion) lp 21.00
Hell, whoops, ach eee double hockey sticks yeah! Or should we just say hallelujah!? This obscure Xtian '60s psych fave has now been nicely reissued on VINYL, by the same folks who did the fancy expanded double cd reissue back in 2013 (whereas this vinyl contains the tracks from the original lp release only). Here's what we said about Montgomery Chapel when we first encountered it, some years ago:Fans of psychedelic sixties rock n' roll might be a little concerned about what they're getting when a peek at the album cover shows that two of the band members are men wearing clerical collars. Priests who rock? And these are no long-haired Jesus Freaks, either. The four men and one woman in this band look pretty straight. But, have no fear, their music is plenty far-out. This self-released 1968 album is the sole recorded legacy of The Search Party, a Christian folk-psych combo masterminded by the Reverend Nicholas Freund of Mount Saint Paul College in Waukesha, Wisconsin, but recorded at the San Francisco Theological Seminary's Montgomery Chapel (hence the title). They were definitely hip to the sixties West Coast vibe, with female vocals that remind us a bit of both Grace Slick and Linda Perhacs. Much of this is quite ethereal and haunting, full of organ drone-tones and dreamy, downer atmosphere. The album's centerpiece, the nine-minute "So Many Things Have Got Me Down" could be a lost acid-krautrock jam. While The Search Party are at their best on the slower, moodier numbers, the more uptempo songs, though, go to some amazing extremes with over-the-top vocals and searing fuzz guitar - as in "You And I" which stands in stark contrast to the gentle, somber sounds of much of the rest of the record, whose original liner notes include the statement that "this album...is a demonstration of these five people's concern for you." Now how often do bands today say things like that? Bless' em. The New Creation and the Concrete Rubber Band - a couple other lost '60s Christian rock reissues we reviewed here previously - have nothing on this!Nicely packaged, with liner notes, photos, etc. So let's say it again, hallelujah!
MPEG Stream: "Speak To Me"
MPEG Stream: "So Many Things Have Got Me Down"
MPEG Stream: "The News Is You"
SEGALL, TY Mr. Face (Famous Class) 2x7" 16.98
Grab one while you can, the latest from psychedelic garage pop phenom Ty Segall, who now calls LA home, but remains near and dear to our musical hearts, and on Mr. Face, he doesn't mix up his formula too much, just another batch of fantastically catchy, glammy garage, the title track mostly acoustic (minus some distorto leads), sounding like it was transported straight from the sixties, not that far removed from the last couple records. "Circles" cranks up the volume a bit, with noisy guitar, some wild drumming, and a hook to die for, a song that would have been right at home on any of Segall's recent records proper. no throwaways here, just crunch, catchy, fuzzy, groovy, garagey glam psych. And that's just the first 7".Single number two starts out with the awesomely titled "Drug Mugger", a slinky groover, with some funky drumming, some falsetto vox, slithery basslines, but like most of Segall's jams, tethered to an impossibly catchy chorus. And finally there's "The Picture", a sweet slab of psychedelic soul, that almost sounds like it could have been on that Forge Your Own Chains comp, hiking guitars, a slow groove shimmy, jangly and hazy and dreamy and so good.The packaging is pretty over the top too. The whole full color gatefold sleeve might look blurry at first, but that's cuz it's in 3-D, and it just so happens that one of the singles is clear red vinyl, and the other clear blue, so by holding them both up to your face, and looking through the parts of the singles with no grooves, they act like a giant set of 3-D glasses! So cool! And of course, this is SO LIMITED!! Also includes a download code as well!
SHRINE, THE Waiting For The War (Tankcrimes) 12" 14.98
We'd be into a new release from SoCal skate punk metal blasters The Shrine in any case, 'cuz they kick ass, but this new 12" maxi-single of theirs on Tank Crimes is extra-awesome, as The Shrine prove themselves to be the coolest kids in skool by doing a cover of "Waiting For The War" by obscure early '80s French punk rawkers SOGGY!! If you've been with us for a while, maybe you remember when we had the limited vinyl reissue of the Soggy album, we sold a ton of those while they were briefly available some years ago. The awesomely Stooges-y "Waiting For The War" was Soggy's best, heaviest jam. You should check out Soggy's live-on-TV version of it on YouTube if you've never heard it - and/or pick up this, The Shrine doing a killer cover, it's a brilliantly perfect choice for them. (They have a good taste in covers, having done a Wicked Lady tune on their debut album.)The A-side also includes an original by the Shrine, the rollicking stoner rocker "Rare Breed", while on the B-side, you gets an instrumental version of "Waiting For The War". Colored vinyl, and it comes with a download card!
MPEG Stream: "Waiting For The War"
SYSTEM MORGUE Feu (Zhelezobeton) cd 14.98
There's curious piece of artwork adhered to the debut album from this Russian one-man-drone-band, with stylized arms slashing at each other with knives, keys, and barbed knuckles, exposing blood, muscle, bone, and tendon with cartoonish detachment of the human body. This sort of imagery would seem suitable for The Ex in terms of allegorical punk ideology about the failures of war and capitalism; but no, it ain't punk found within, but rather an all-encompassing gloom that lurks through bowed, looped, and layered bass guitar. Peter L. is the Muskovite protagonist for System Morgue. He's one who can conjure a somber, wintery ambience like the best of any of black metal magician, and the extreme droned-out minimalism is chock full of static buzz, sacred/profane intonations, and indeterminant velocity offering graceful crescendos of existential numbness. These pieces are ground upon variable bass riffs mostly bowed but occasionally picked with piles of effects and looping techniques that create an entire symphony of deeply ominous tones and pregnant sound suspension. The most obvious references would be Nadja and Maeror Tri in terms of density and darkness, with an equally impressive ability to shape subtle melodies that ripple through the album. The drone-heavy Russian industrialists have been producing some very high caliber work in recent years, and System Morgue is another very impressive project.
MPEG Stream: "Gardien De La Porte Des Tenebres"
MPEG Stream: "Miroir Du Vide"
MPEG Stream: "Tranquille"
THOABATH Through Smoke and Feathers (Black Horizons) cassette 8.98
Thoabath is the solo project of Sutekh Hexen's A.C. Way - the barrel-chested vocalist and black magic specialist for Sutekh Hexen. His tranced-out incantations of heavily processed incantations work against the grain of black metal vocals, coming across like a highly chemically altered take on La Monte Young's extended vocal techniques. The method-acting trance-induction is no fucking joke for Way, who actively pursues those moments of out-of-body experience during performance. These vocals do work their way into the mix of his output as Thoabath, but with those pushed behind a series of drum machine explorations into industrial demolition and occult ritual hypnosis. The tinny replication of the electronic rhythm on the opening "On Her Smokey Chariot" builds from a micro-robot jig tapped on a shopping cart into a pounding march in the tradition of TG's "Discipline" all the while swarmed with diabolus in musica drones and insectoid electrical mayhem. The slinking breakbeat of the short programmed "T.'.T.'" has the overdriven torpor of some of those Clipping productions joined by some microphone swallowed vocals instead of tongue-twisted lyricism. Clocking in a hair under 30 minutes, Through Smoke and Feathers could be filed next to Dissecting Table, Contagious Orgasm, and Master/Slave Relationship for some sicktone references to chew on. Limited to 100 copies.
MPEG Stream: "On Her Smokey Chariot"
MPEG Stream: "M.I.T.A."
V/A Frozen In Time II (Black Horizons) 3xcassette 19.98
The second volume to Black Horizons' tribute arrangements for the films of Ingmar Bergman sports the same oversized jewel case as the first. So, we'll reiterate what we mentioned about the packaging on the first volume: Black Horizons has packaged this in an extra-large oversized plastic clamshell that fits all three cassettes comfortably inside. Yeah, it looks really sharp, but the problem with this plastic housing is that if you break this case, you will NEVER find a replacement.Onto the musical program, Black Horizons has commissioned a number of artists to score particular scenes from Bergman films, which are annotated with the specific time from said films so you could scrub through Passion Of Anna or The Seventh Seal and sync up the tape. Nope, we're not going to do that... instead we'll dig into the tapes themselves. Micromelancolie & Sindre Berje are sporadic collaborators from the Northern regions of Europe, offering an industrial meditation of grey din and emptiness pocked with incidental squalor and threatening avian calls. The Southern Californian outfit German Army churns a hypnotic set of voodoo rhythms and esoteric chants. L'Acephale seems to actually use the Swedish dialogue from The Seventh Seal alongside a melancholy neo-folk strum that slips from one depressive motif to another before launching into a burst of wintery black metal for one of the highlights on this compilation. We're gonna have to assume that the hauntological / grimly cinematic cello thrum of Head Dress is an entirely different project than the one who crafted acid-fried excess for No Quarter and Mexican Summer. Nice stuff, though! The enigmatic Spettro Family swirls synths, spells, and spooky FX that have much more of giallo / Goblin feel than anything else on these tapes. And the final entry comes from Night Worship, a thoroughly unknown drone project that grafts luminous tones from voice and trombone to bunker quality drones and rumble. Limited to 150 copies!