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Aquarius Records
New Arrivals #325
07th August 2009



Beloved Customers and Friends:

Hello everybody! Surprise! Not only is it before 10:00pm, it's also only been a week since our list #324. Folks who keep up with our blog already know, we had to bump the list up a week 'cause Allan's flying to the East Coast for a wedding (no, not his) next week when we'd normally have being doing this list. Our friends Matty and Suzi are tying the knot (congrats to them!!) and Allan has to be there to represent AQ. So, here we are, doing a list THIS week. A bit hectic for us, but hey, at least y'all are gonna be able to get these goodies a week earlier than you would have otherwise. Our next list is back on the usual 2-week schedule, so look out for it not next Friday but the week after, August 21st. However, at some point soon we'll have to bump things up again, 'cause otherwise we'll end up having one come out on Dec. 25th. We'll try to keep you informed of any impending list schedule shifts, but of course checking our website and blog 24-7 is always recommended...

Despite having half the usual time to get our reviews together, it's another extensive list, with we think LOTS of crucial stuff. Starting with the Records Of The Week, there's FOUR of 'em, as follows...

CIRCLE: A lost (sort of) Circle record finally available in the US. Heavy and heady and hypnotic, repetitive and mesmerizing, wild vocals, motorik drumming, flute, c'mon IT'S CIRCLE!!!
SYLVESTER ANFANG: Brand new album of electronic flecked tribal spaced out druggy free folk krautrock weirdness from this Belgian Funeral folk collective.
NOMEANSNO x 2: Two classic slabs of mathy proggy post punk from these Canadian legends, remastered, repressed, available again, heavy and far out and catchy, and two of our favorite records EVER.

Plus a plethora of Highlights...

ALICE COOPER: One of our favorite psychpop hard rock classics, and a former ROTW, now on vinyl!
AMON DUUL 2: One of THEE most legendary krautrock jams of all time, available again on VINYL!
ANAAL NATHRAKH: Latest from these filthy grinding UK black metallers.
ANVIL: METAL. ON METAL. An essential slab of '80S heaviness from these legendary Canadian metalheads, you might have seen them in ANVIL the movie!
ARMPIT: Killer disc of psychedelic blissed out noise from New Zealand.
AVARUS: Live on WFMU session, released as a super limited deluxe lp from these Finnish free folkers.
BILLY BAO: Earlier record from this maniacal Basque noismaker, after we made the new one our Record Of The Week last week. Sludge-y downtuned heaviness.
JEAN BAUDRILLARD: Strange cassette release featuring a text by French thinker Jean Baudrillard read by a mysterious female duo.
BLOODY PANDA: Harrowing atmospheric doom with Yoko Ono like vocals, includes a bonus dvd.
NICK BUTCHER: Gorgeous collection of live ambience created using old tapes and broken guitars.
BUTTHOLE SURFERS: The legendary debut from these drug addled Texan noiserock legends, available again on vinyl!
DEAN CARTER: Wild, weird, way out '60s garage reissue, kinda like outsider '50s rock n' roll.
CAVE: Another past Record Of The Week, long out of print, available again, swirling tripped out psychedelic hypnorock.
CAVE IN: New 12" of bombastic metallic arena pop heaviness from these long long long time aQ faves.
CIRCLE OF OUROBORUS: Metal record of the year? Maybe, if you like your metal twisted and stumbling and poppy and moody and gloomy and genius.
CULTURAL DECAY: Another killer post punk minimal wave reissue!
GREG DAVIS: Fantastic disc of extended cosmic minimalism.
DUCKTAILS: Collection of early out of print cassette releases from this one man tropical lo-fi garage rock gloom pop combo.
EAGLE TWIN: Gentry from Iceburn returns with a new guitar/drums duo, heavy and intense and complex and LOUD.
FRUIT BATS: More perfect countrified, twang flecked pop from these aQ faves, features members of Red Red Meat, Loftus and Califone.
GLASS CANDY: Brand new 12" from this sassy nu-disco duo.
GREY MACHINE: Aaron Turner from Isis joins the dudes from Jesu, for some crushing Godflesh like industrial pummel.
HAMMEMIT: Second record of medieval minimalism from the band that used to be Emit. Dark and haunting and ritualistic.
HARVEY MILK / WILDILDLIFE: Killer tag team match up, HM offers up dream pop sludge, Wildildlife give us their trippiest poppiest jam yet. SUPER limited 7".
ROBERT HENKE: A gorgeous bit of drone-y minimalism from an installation, hushed and mysterious.
ARVE HENRIKSEN: Dark sampled trumpet driven chill out moodiness one of the Supersilent guys.
HORSEBACK: This former drone combo kick out the repetitive, blackened, post rock jams, heavy and dark and loud and evil!
INH HALENTROPY / DULL KNIFE: Cd-r split of cinematic new age-y black ambient doom!
BERT JANSCH x 3: Three reissues of mid-seventies Charisma folk classics from this ex-member of Pentangle.
PHILIP JECK: Super limited tape of solo bass works that sound remarkably like his gauzy hazy blurred turntable compositions. SO GOOD.
MAUS HAUS: Experimental synth driven pop from this kick ass SF combo.
DEE MULLINS: Some killer lost country, one of our favorite country reissues ever, featured on the Plantation Gold comp, a past ROTW!
NISENNENMONDAI: Latest disc from this Japanese all-girl, uber rhythmic skronk rock group, totally hypnotic!
NOMEANSNO: The very first release from these genius post punk rockers, when they were still just a rhythm section! (Yes, a third NMN reissue reviewed in addition to the two ROTW's!)
PESTE NOIRE: First full length from these freaky black metal weirdos available on vinyl! SUPER LIMITED.
PETIT MAL: Bowed bicycle wheel dronology on this ultra limited 3" cd-r.
JULIAN PLENTI: Debut solo record from Interpol vocalist, and it RULES, we dig it even more than the last Interpol disc!
TERRY RILEY: We listed the lp reissue last week, so why not now the cd, in case for some reason you don't own this dreamy blissed out minimal classic.
OUMOU SANGARE: Gorgeous sounds from this legendary singer from Mali.
SA-RA CREATIVE PARTNERS: Psychedelic soul and futuristic hip hop, some serious leftfield soul /hip-hop / funk!
SHEVALREQ: Second record from one of the most bizarre bands ever. The Record Of The Week for the truly twisted and tin eared!
SLAUTER XSTROYES: Cult 80's metal from these bombastic Midwestern maniacs, finally available again.
PEKKA STRENG: Legendary Finnish prog-folk from this underground legend, first record from 1970 available on cd with bonus tracks.
TARENTEL + PAUL CLIPSON: Super8 films by Clipson, moody minimal soundtracks by Tarentel, dvd-r limited to 100 copies.
TERMINALS: Record number three from these legendary NZ gloom rockers, reissued, still sounds fantastic!
THOR: More bad ass eighties metal from he-man rocker Thor, reissued on Jussi from Circle's Ektro label.
24 CARAT BLACK: Oft sampled soft psychedelic soul rarity, deluxe reissue on Numero.
TYVEK: First 7" single from these lo-fi garage poppers. Maybe their best track!
V/A (Kurt Vile / Jack Rose / Meg Baird / US Girls): Killer Philly comp, on Kraak, from folky flutter, no dreamy noise drenched pop.
V/A Raks Raks Raks: Amazing collection of vintage garage psych pop from IRAN!
V/A Rocky Mountain Low: Killer collection of seventies pop, and punk, and post punk from Colorado, 2lp AND cd, comes with a massive magazine sized booklet.
WARHAMMER 48k: Another long out of print aQ fave returns from the grave, psychedelic heaviness from this pre-Cave combo.
WITCH TRIALS: Cool, minimal, subversive post-industrial sounds from Jello Biafra, recorded in an apartment in the eighties.
O.V. WRIGHT: Legendary deep Mepmphis soul!
ZOLA JESUS: Now on cd too, this latest full length of female powered brooding bedroom psychedelia.

And more, including a beloved Beastie Boys reissue, Britfolk vinyl from Anne Briggs, the new Casiotone, a new Antony single, some good magazine readin', more cool stuff now-on-vinyl, and like we said, more!

Ok, thanks again for reading all this, and for your continued business, we really appreciate it. Sorry if we messed anybody up by bumping this list forward like we did. If when next Friday night rolls around and you find yourself bummed that there's no AQ list then, well, just go back and pore over the last couple lists for stuff you missed!

No dawdling in the intro this time, short and sharp, looks like everything was covered, so let's go!!!!!!!

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And as always, thanks for reading the list, passing it on to all your friends who love weird music, shopping at our store, turning -us- on to all sort of great stuff, and helping us spread the word and get all this great music to the people who love it. YOU!! And as always, please realize that we work really hard on the list, so if you find out about stuff through us, please try to buy your records from us. That way we can keep on doing what we do, and we'll always be here with our ears to the ground, and with cds full of metalcore pitbulls, death metal parrots, gamelan playing elephants, recordings of glaciers cracking, ice melting, zamboni's, life support systems, drag races, audience applause, and of course self flagellating Norwegian dwarves, moaning telephone wires, recorded exorcisms, acapella straight edge metalcore, high school battles of the bands, movie theater organ music, Christian psychedelic folk, Bhangra Black Sabbath as well as all the metal, indie rock, electronica, punk rock, reggae, dub, sixties psych, krautrock, classic rock, country and anything else your heart may desire. So thanks. A bunch!

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Remember, give our STREAMING NEW ARRIVALS RADIO THING a try! (mp3 stream)

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----* Records of the Week :
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album cover CIRCLE Taantumus (Ektro) cd 14.98
A long lost Circle album??! Sort of. One of Circle's best albums?! Definitely. The deal with Taantumus is that it came out on the Finnish label Bad Vugum back in 2001, falling betwixt Prospekt and Sunrise (approximately, it's hard to keep track) in the ever-expanding Circle discography. At the time, there was talk of Taantumus getting a domestic release in the US, so we never imported any copies from overseas. Well, that domestic release never ever happened, but thankfully, years and years later, this amazing "lost" (to most folks outside of Finland, anyway) Circle album has been reissued by the band's own Ektro label, now crowned with the 9:21 bonus track "Veitsi"!
Now, you should already be aware we LOVE this hypnotic Finnish space/prog/psych/metal/kraut band. If we could marry them, we would! So of course we're excited by any release of theirs. However, this one is definitely extra-deserving of Record Of The Week honors, as it's really one of their best efforts (though we'd be hard pressed to agree upon a definitive Circle top ten, let's not get sidetracked).
One listen should convince. To one track, even. The first track, "Kultaa", that's IT. Right there. Damn. Hit Circle song, in the universe where Circle could have hit songs, which is our universe, as far as we're concerned. Boom boom on the floor tom, the guitars hitting the same chord over and over again. Repetition, repetition, repetition. But utterly energizing and maddeningly catchy. And then, the vocals - Meronian monks whooping it up.
Track two, "Kekkone", tick tock drums and electronic flutter, with melodic guitar lines tiptoeing across the stereo field... utterly exquisite! Track three, "Valtaisa Hahmo", another monster motorik HIT. With whistling FLUTE, well maybe it's a recorder, and droning synths. Track four... well heck we're not gonna go through 'em all. What's the point, you already know you want this, right?? So get it and listen for yourself, at home, cranked up LOUD. (Not that this is loud music, per se, some of it sure is, but lots of it is subtle, stuff that if listened to at volume will simply allow one to more easily bask in its glory). That way you can find out about the kick ass harmonica jam of track 9, "Morn", all on your own. (Shades of Itavayla there.)
Rest assured, Taantumus is stocked with plenty of Circle's trademark mantric riffs, throbbing bass, precision timekeeping, cosmic shimmer, and curious noise. OK, we'll mention a few more of the many treats to be found on this 66 minute disc... Track 5, "Suopea", brings in extra distortion and heaviness, contrasted with a haunting vocal choir that floats over, of course, a tight percolating rhythm. Track 7, "Lyhytaallosta", is a slab of bass heavy angular postpunk, Circle style, with chiming no-wavey guitars and deepvoiced Viking vox - plus weird glitch and gurgle. Into the more "metal" side of Circle? Try track 10, "Siivet", a killer "speedkraut" cut foreshadowing their later Panic disc, albeit with piano. And Mika's operatic vocals, something first unleashed on the preceding Prospekt disc. Heavier still is "Pelqton", which sounds like Circle doing abstract Isis... but, again, with piano. Oh, and yeah the bonus track is awesome too. Droning density that skitters into deep grooves with some near spoken singing. Actually, elsewhere on the album there's mysterious vocal bits in the background that somehow sound like they could be a song from The Mighty Boosh, if you are familiar with that British TV comedy you'll be scratching your head too.
So, wow. This is the sort of album that leaves us puzzled - why isn't Circle the biggest band in the world? (Maybe they really HAVE hypnotized us.) But really, aside from being really WEIRD, and not widely released, you'd have thought that an album like this would have made Circle megasuperduper stars. I mean really, what do they gotta do, besides being one of the best bands ever? You think that'd be enough. You'd think Taantumus would be enough. Well whatever, in our universe it is.
MPEG Stream: "Kultaa"
MPEG Stream: "Suopea"
MPEG Stream: "Rautasilta"

album cover SYLVESTER ANFANG II s/t (Aurora Borealis) cd 17.98
Brand new album of electronic flecked tribal spaced out druggy free folk krautrocky weirdness from the Belgian "Funeral Folk"collective known as Sylvester Anfang (now spelled with a 'Y' instead of an 'I' for some mysterious reason) who have continued to evolve with every record.
The now out of print Satanische Vrede lp introduced us to these guys, with a garish lp sleeve featuring the band shirtless, wearing white hoods, holding goats on leashes, an image that somehow reflected the music inside disturbingly accurately. A primitive, ritualistic, orgy of abstract percussion, tripped out psychedelia, wandering free folk, some serious space rock, and a hint of something blacker and much more sinister.
This is only technically the second proper full length, but things have somehow gotten even more space-y, more druggy, more krautrocky, and thus more ROCKING. The record does start off with a strange sonic ritual, all mysterious spoken word, squiggly electronics, chaotic noise guitar backdrop, tons of effects, streaks of feedback, long swirling tendrils of whirring shimmer, but then BANG, the record launches right into "Na Regen Komt Sondvlred" mid-jam, as if someone just walked in on the band and pushed record without the band even noticing, locked as they were in full on transcendental space psych jam mode, relentless motorik skeletal beat, warm warbly low end pulse, and guitar, LOTS of guitar, distorted and wah wah'd the fuck out, flitting from moaning croonsome melodies to dense tangles of freaked out chaos, the whole sound and vibe so druggy and trippy and divine. The first band we thought of was German Oak, as this also sounds like it could have been recorded in some massive underground stone bunker, then Hawkwind, then some mix of the two, a seemingly endless mind expanding, speaker melting ur-jam, and we're only two songs in!
The two part "The Devil Always Shits In The Same Graves" is a massive twenty minute songsuite, that seriously smolders, the guitars twangy and Morricone-esque, the vocals a distorted scowly growl, the guitars spidery and sitar like, buzzing lazily, the melodies Eastern sounding, the drums laid waaaaay back, like listening to the Wooden Shjips at 16 rpm, but turned way down, for some late night bliss out. The second half is almost like a mirror of the first, but doused (dosed?) in noise and delay and distortion, a blurred lysergic Hawkwind outro rendered in effulgent streaks of buzz and fuzz, even more abstract and drone-y and space-y than the first part.
The four tracks in between cover a lot of ground, although never straying too far from that psychedelic buzz drenched krautrock that forms their core, from warm languid muted dronescapes, a thick smear of undulating effects laden warble over what sounds like a buried pop song, to still more white hot (outer) space rock dirge-ery, thick ropy basslines supporting swirling garage fuzz organs and tangles of psychguitar as well as dense clouds of malfunctioning electronics and haywire effects, to dense swells of super intense spacekrautdronegroove that could/should go on forever, to long stretches of glistening high end guitar shimmer and moaned sorrowful vocals, all wrapped in soft billows of dreamlike delay, to woozy garage kraut dirges, all detuned riffage, and pounding machinelike pulse, blurred buzz and otherworldly effects.
The whole record seems to melt together into one oozing organic meta-sound, a glorious extended space jam with a trajectory set somewhere in the distant future, a dizzying journey through innerspace, a slow burning series of sounds, fragments of the whole, sent spinning into the ether, streaked with starlight and glimmering reflectively in the muted glow of distant suns, a glorious bit of space rock, beamed to earth, into a clearing, in the middle of a forest, lit by firelight, channeled through the figures gathered there, surrounded by a stone circle that on closer inspection is revealed to be a haphazard assemblage of amplifiers, the cords running along the dirt of the clearing like black vines, the various figures hunched over, each wielding some sort of implement, their movements downright demonic in the firelight, and the sounds that come drifting out of the clearing even moreso....
Try as we might (and see above, we are obviously trying!), words hardly do these sounds justice. One of the best records of the year so far for sure...
MPEG Stream: "Satan Like Mijn Hielen"
MPEG Stream: "Na Regen Komt Sondvlred"
MPEG Stream: "The Devil Always Shits In The Same Graves Pt1"

album cover SYLVESTER ANFANG II s/t (Aurora Borealis) 2lp 24.00
Brand new album of electronic flecked tribal spaced out druggy free folk krautrock weirdness from the Belgian Funeral folk collective known as Sylvester Anfang (now spelled with a 'Y' instead of an 'I') who have continued to evolve with every record.
The now out of print Satanische Vrede lp introduced us to these guys, with a garish lp sleeve featuring the band shirtless, wearing white hoods, holding goats on leashes, an image that somehow reflected the music inside disturbingly accurately. A primitive, ritualistic, orgy of abstract percussion, tripped out psychedelia, wandery free folk, some serious space rock,and a hint of something blacker and much more sinister.
This is only technically the second proper full length, but things have somehow gotten even more space-y, more druggy, more krautrocky, and thus more ROCKING. The record does start off with a strange sonic ritual, all mysterious spoken word, squiggly electronics, chaotic noise guitar backdrop, tons of effects, streaks of feedback, long swirling tendrils of whirring shimmer, but then BANG, the record launches right into "Na Regen Komt Sondvlred" mid jam, as if someone just walked in on the band and pushed record without the band even noticing, locked as they were in full on transcendental space psych jam mode, relentless motorik skeletal beat, warm warbly low end pulse, and guitar, LOTS of guitar, distorted and wah wah'd the fuck out, flitting from moaning croonsome melodies to dense tangles of freaked out chaos, the whole sound and vibe so druggy and trippy and divine. The first band we thought of was German Oak, as this also sounds like it could have been recorded in some massive underground stone bunker, then Hawkwind, then some mix of the two, a seemingly endless mind expanding, speaker melting ur-jam, and we're only two songs in!
The two part "The Devil Always Shits In The Same Graves" is a massive twenty minute songsuite, that seriously smolders, the guitars twangy and Morricone-esque, the vocals a distorted scowly growl, the guitars spidery and sitar like, buzzing lazily, the melodies Eastern sounding, the drums laid waaaaay back, like listening to the Wooden Shjips at 16rpm, but turned way down, for some late night bliss out. The second half is almost like a mirror of the first, but doused in noise and delay and distortion, a blurred lysergic Hawkwind outro rendered in effulgent streaks of buzz and fuzz, even more abstract and drone-y and space-y than the first part.
The four tracks in between cover a lot of ground, although never straying too far from that psychedelic buzz drenched krautrock that forms their core, from warm languid muted dronescapes, a thick smear of undulating effects laden warble over what sounds like a buried pop song, to still more white hot (outer) space rock dirgery, thick ropy basslines supporting swirling garage fuzz organs and tangles of psychguitar as well as dense clouds of malfunctioing electronics and haywire effects, to dense swells of super intense spacekrautdronegroove that could/should go on forever, to long stretches of glistening high end guitar shimmer and moaned sorrowful vocals, all wrapped in soft billows of dreamlike delay, to woozy garage kraut dirges, all detuned riffage, and pounding machinelike pulse, blurred buzz and otherworldly effects.
The whole record seems to melt together into one oozing organic meta-sound, a glorious extended space jam with a trajectory set somewhere in the distant future, a dizzying journey through innerspace, a slow burning series of sounds, fragments of the whole, sent spinning into the ether, streaked with starlight and glimmering reflectively in the muted glow of distant suns, a glorious bit of space rock, beamed to earth, into a clearing, in the middle of a forest, lit by firelight, channeled through the figures gathered there, surrounded by a stone circle that on closer inspection is revelaed to be a haphazard assemblage of amplifiers, the cords running along the dirt of the clearing like black vines, the various figures hunched over, each wielding some sort of implement, their movements downright demonic in the firelight, and the sounds that come drifting out of the clearing even moreso....
Try as we might (and see above, we are obviously trying!), words hardly do these sounds justice. One of the best records of the year so far for sure...
MPEG Stream: "Satan Like Mijn Hielen"
MPEG Stream: "Na Regen Komt Sondvlred"
MPEG Stream: "The Devil Always Shits In The Same Graves Pt1"

album cover NOMEANSNO The Day Everything Became Isolated And Destroyed (Wrong Records) cd 13.98
When reviewing a record you've had and treasured and loved for years, or decades, the pressure to do it justice is immense, so much so, that it seems almost impossible. But once in a while you gotta try. So here we go. Two of the MOST essential punk rock / post punk records ever, recently remastered and reissued, which gives us the opportunity to not only gush about records that have been on constant rotation since we were in our early twenties, records that totally changed the way we listened to music, but to also hopefully turn on the few folks who may have missed out, or who may not have even been alive when these records came out.
Nomeansno, from Canada, most folks know the name, but not everyone has actually heard these guys, but almost every single person we know who has, was never the same. The sound is super rhythmic and mathy, punk rock, but totally proggy as well, the focal point is on the bass and drums, manned by two brothers, Rob and John Wright, one of, if not THEE, tightest rhythm sections ever, the bass lines thick and throbbing and distorted, the drums chaotic but so tight and precise, the guitar, handled by a member who always remained unnamed - "Someone (but we're not sure who)" credited with "other things" on one record, or "none of your fucking business" on another - which is ironic cuz the guitar playing besides being BAD ASS was also so integral to the sound, they were a punk rock band after all. And the vocals, super high in the mix, dramatic, howled, crooned and yelped, melodic but raw and rough, sometimes sort of spoken, but always sharp tongued, spewing some of the best and funniest and intense lyrics. And as always, none of that would mean shit if the songs weren't great, and these songs are GREAT, so hooky and heavy and weird, a testament to these guys is that even the most obtuse tangled whatthefuck jam will stay lodged in your head forever.
Then there's the funky aspect, which we had planned to discuss at length, but listening to this again, the funkiness is implied, subtle, based entirely on the fact that almost all the songs are bass driven, and some are weirdly stripped down to just bass and drums and vocals, but this is not bullshit funky, this is elements of funk used the way they were meant to be, mixed into a churning, super complex, angular, jagged set of songs that manage to be both heavy and crushing and confusionally complex while still being poppy and hook filled and so goddamn catchy.
We tried to pick just one of these reissues to focus on, but eventually could only get it down to two, so both seemed like ideal candidates for Record Of The Week, especially considering that at least half of the folks here freaked the fuck out when we got these back in. We'll talk about each separately, but we have to suggest just buying both, you won't regret it, they're equally classic and timeless and heavy and catchy and far out and freaking awesome!
The Day Everything Became Isolated And Destroyed is a compilation of sorts, collecting the album Small Parts Isolated And Destroyed from 1988 and The Day Everything Became Nothing 12" from that same year, but for most of us, these two have always been bundled together so The Day Everything Became Isolated And Destroyed plays like one long, surprisingly cohesive record. And right out of the gate it's a killer, with the manic bass heavy groove of "The Day Everything Became Nothing", with crunchy guitar and over the top vocals, and a dense super tangled arrangement, and seconds after hearing it for the first time, we knew these guys were gonna be our new favorite band, and other punk rock bands were gonna have to step it up a notch. We could seriously go track by track, it's been long enough now that every single track here is seared into our brains, the kind of record where even the spaces between songs are part of the flow of the album, but we can definitely pick out a few highlights.
"Dark Ages" might just be one of our favorite songs ever, from its super mathy freaked out intro, to the loping hooky bass groove, the minimal guitar flourishes, the killer chorus, the super weird drum part, it's like some insane progged out punk rock opera crammed down into 5 minutes, just listen to the sound sample, if you're not smitten after this one, we might just have to give up on you! "And That's Sad" is a looping super complex rhythmic workout, with some cool, moody minor key breaks, that all gradually build right back up to the frenetic freakout that opened the track. If you slowed down "Small Parts Isolated And Destroyed", it would probably sound like Harvey Milk, a super spare, sludge-y stop start work out, that sounds like no other band at the time, or hell even now. "Victory" is a brooding drift of low slung bass, and muted tribal drumming, but as with all NMN, these long passages are separated by unbearably catchy choruses and here too, some tangled mathiness, that never seems showy or flashy or unreasonably complex, it's how these songs needed to sound, every part, no matter how weird or superfluous seeming, is perfectly places, and a few listens in no one could disagree. "Teresa, Give Me That Knife" is about as punk as these guys get, furious, frenetic, blasting drums, frantic guitars, with an insanely technical chorus, and a haunting creeped out prechorus, that is just as catchy as any other part of the track. And then there's "Real Love", most folks' favorite, a weird sort of heavy punk rock doom ballad, big crunchy guitars, long sprawling breakdowns, some crushing drumming, the chorus a lumbering almost waltz, with dramatic howled vox, which switch to a spoken croon in the 'verses', finishing off with a massive blown out super heavy sprawling outro, and again, the song, as unlikely as it maybe sounds on the surface, or with a glancing listen, is impossibly catchy, and somehow having heard it maybe hundreds of times, we're still not anywhere close to being sick of it.
Easily an all time, lifetime, desert island top 10 favorite for sure. And thus, just about as recommended as a record can be!
MPEG Stream: "Dark Ages"
MPEG Stream: "Dead Souls"
MPEG Stream: "Forget Your Life"
MPEG Stream: "Teresa, Give Me That Knife"
MPEG Stream: "Small Parts Isolated And Destroyed"

album cover NOMEANSNO Wrong (Wrong Records) cd 13.98
When reviewing a record you've had and treasured and loved for years, or decades, the pressure to do it justice is immense, so much so, that it seems almost impossible. But once in a while you gotta try. So here we go. Two of the MOST essential punk rock / post punk records ever, recently remastered and reissued, which gives us the opportunity to not only gush about records that have been on constant rotation since we were in our early twenties, records that totally changed the way we listened to music, but to also hopefully turn on the few folks who may have missed out, or who may not have even been alive when these records came out.
Nomeansno, from Canada, most folks know the name, but not everyone has actually heard these guys, but almost every single person we know who has, was never the same. The sound is super rhythmic and mathy, punk rock, but totally proggy as well, the focal point is on the bass and drums, manned by two brothers, Rob and John Wright, one of, if not THEE, tightest rhythm sections ever, the bass lines thick and throbbing and distorted, the drums chaotic but so tight and precise, the guitar, handled by a member who always remained unnamed - "Someone (but we're not sure who)" credited with "other things" on one record, or "none of your fucking business" on another - which is ironic cuz the guitar playing besides being BAD ASS was also so integral to the sound, they were a punk rock band after all. And the vocals, super high in the mix, dramatic, howled, crooned and yelped, melodic but raw and rough, sometimes sort of spoken, but always sharp tongued, spewing some of the best and funniest and intense lyrics. And as always, none of that would mean shit if the songs weren't great, and these songs are GREAT, so hooky and heavy and weird, a testament to these guys is that even the most obtuse tangled whatthefuck jam will stay lodged in your head forever.
Then there's the funky aspect, which we had planned to discuss at length, but listening to this again, the funkiness is implied, subtle, based entirely on the fact that almost all the songs are bass driven, and some are weirdly stripped down to just bass and drums and vocals, but this is not bullshit funky, this is elements of funk used the way they were meant to be, mixed into a churning, super complex, angular, jagged set of songs that manage to be both heavy and crushing and confusionally complex while still being poppy and hook filled and so goddamn catchy.
We tried to pick just one of these reissues to focus on, but eventually could only get it down to two, so both seemed like ideal candidates for Record Of The Week, especially considering that at least half of the folks here freaked the fuck out when we got these back in. We'll talk about each separately, but we have to suggest just buying both, you won't regret it, they're equally classic and timeless and heavy and catchy and far out and freaking awesome!
Wrong, from 1989, was the follow up to the life changing Small Parts album and The Day Everything 12" from the year before, and guess what, it too was life changing, managing to take the sounds and songs from the records before and make them heavier, more complex, more intense. The opener "It's Catching Up" is just so heavy and intense and brutal, the bass about as thick and distorted as it can get and still nail the flurry of rapid fire notes, the drums are devastating, not sure why this guy wasn't a drum god to all the aspiring drummers out there (although he was to Andee, who did get his autograph way back in the day), the guitars sharp and jagged, all wrapped around an insanely catchy hook, and somehow they manage to make it sound punk as fuck at the same time. "The Tower" might be our favorite here (amongst a record full of favorites), with its dirgey Black Flag vibe, more impossibly thick and distorted bass, and a weird staccato chorus, with one of the strangest and most anguished vocal parts ever, but so hooky, which leads right into a killer tangle of head spinning mathiness. Another favorite (like we said, they ALL rule), is "Rags And Bones", with easily one of the best bass lines ever, and some tangled complex drumming to go with it, some bizarre lyrics and a total pure pop chorus, of course doused in distortion and punked up a bit. "Brainless Wonder" is impossibly dense and heavy, like a skipping Black Flag record, before it slips into something a bit more groovy. "Two Lips, Two Lungs And One Tongue" is a short sharp blast of weird vocal / instrumental tangle, with the band locked into the repeated titular phrase. And then there's "All Lies" which is sort of the "Real Love" of Wrong, an epic punk rock prog rock sort-of-ballad, long sprawling moody breakdowns set between dense tribal math rock workouts, moving and emotional and dramatic, all building slowly to a killer super catchy stop start chorus.
Phew, we're just about gushed out. If you can't tell, we love this record A LOT, and The Day Everything Became Isolated And Destroyed, both are easily all time favorites, desert island discs for you list making nerds, essential listening for anyone into punk rock, post punk, pop punk, heaviness, hookiness, great music... as we were listening to this again, Allan asked me why bands weren't good anymore, and I couldn't really think of an answer. Absolutely and totally and utterly recommended.
This remastered reissued has two bonus tracks from a 7" released by Mr Wrong, aka NMN bassist Rob Wright, which sound a whole lot like the record proper!
MPEG Stream: "It's Catching Up"
MPEG Stream: "The Tower"
MPEG Stream: "All Lies"
MPEG Stream: "Rags And Bones"
MPEG Stream: "Two Lips, Two Lungs And One Tongue"

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album cover 24 CARAT BLACK Gone: The Promises Of Yesterday (Numero Group) cd 14.98
An amazing kind of soft-psychedelic breeze must be blowing over whatever strange and mysterious land Numero Group call home as their two most recent recent deep vault discoveries have both sizzled in a soft psychedelic glow of vibrant color. Last time we heard from this always amazing reissue/rediscovery label it was the late 60's psych-pop delights offered by Pisces. This time out it's the early '70s soft psychedelic soul of 24 Carat Black. Conceived, produced and orchestrated by the amazingly talented Dale Warren whose delicate touch can be heard on various records released on Motown and Stax including choice cuts from Isaac Hayes, The Staple Singers, Eddie Floyd and Albert King. As seductive and rich in his orchestration and production as fellow soul magic makers like Charles Stepney and Norman Whitfield, Warren also had a kind of vivid imagination and singular vision much like aQ fave David Axelrod. He took a little known Cincinnati group called The Ditalians under his wing and had them change their name to 24 Carat Black and released their 1973 album Ghetto: Misfortune's Wealth on Stax. A record that has become big time fodder for rare groove lovers and was sampled by hip-hop artists like Digable Planets and Young Disciples.
While that record has enjoyed cult-status by a new generation, it was, sadly, a commercial flop, so the follow up record was never released. Luckily Numero Group has given this deeply satisfying record the day in the sun it so rightly deserves. This is a record filled not only with a soft psych-soul vibe but also such intense emotional weight and an overall feeling which should speak loudly to fans of What's Going On era Marvin Gaye, Rotary Connection and Ramp. We also get the feeling that if she hasn't already, Erykah Badu would find so much inspiration here, and these guys would for sure be kindred soul spirits. Truly a lost classic. Thank you once again Numero Group!
MPEG Stream: "I'll Never Let You Go"
MPEG Stream: "Gone The Promises Of Yesterday"
MPEG Stream: "I Want To Make Up"

album cover ALICE COOPER Easy Action (Warner Bros) lp 12.98
Not long ago we made the recent cd reissue of this (and Alice Cooper's debut as well) a Record Of The Week, and now it's been reissued as it once was, on vinyl! Hopefully Alice Cooper's debut Pretties For You, which we also made a ROTW, will also soon be back on vinyl, haven't heard though.
Anyway, here's more or less what we said about Easy Action:
Ok, we know what you're thinking (maybe). Alice Cooper? Aquarius Record Of The Week? If you're not familiar with these albums, you might be wondering... and while we know that many loyal AQ customers are of course extremely knowledgeable about all sorts of cool music, just as much or more so than any of us who work here, we also wouldn't be surprised if more than a few of you had never been exposed to the first two Alice Cooper albums before. Which is why we HAVE to list them and make them Records Of The Week!! 
So, when most people think of Alice Cooper, what comes to mind? The big '70s shock rock act, up there with KISS, the guy who was the Marilyn Manson of the '70s, or maybe the regular on Hollywood Squares, or even the early '90s hairmetal Alice, of Wayne's World "we're not worthy" fame. Campy and kitschy and scholocky and alcoholic, with snakes and blood. All good things of course. But even if you are a fan of the Alice Cooper classics from the '70s, albums like Love It To Death, Killer and Billion Dollar Babies, the Alice Cooper Band's 1969 debut Pretties For You and its 1970 follow up Easy Action are often overlooked, and underrated. Originally released on Frank Zappa's Straight label (and whatever you might think of Frank Zappa, he had a good track record for releasing freaky music by other folks, Captain Beefheart ferinstance!) this early Alice Cooper stuff is NOT the heavy metal hard rock you might be expecting. That was a direction AC went in really only after moving from LA to Detroit and hooking up with producer Bob Ezrin. There's hints of heaviness, of course, but this is waaay more psychedelic and poppy and proggy. And weird. If you think you know what to expect, think again. You're in for a bizarre treat indeed. (Some Alice Cooper fans might not agree, but we hope most open minded AQ customers will!)
Alice Cooper's swaggering second effort, Easy Action, is just a bit more straightforward than Pretties (which we said would likely be regarded by psych lovers as an obscure cult classic of late '60s freakdom, like 50 Foot Hose or West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band or something, if only it wasn't by Alice Cooper). It's more of a "rock" album, proto-glam in fact, AC maybe trying to take on T-Rex? On it, with some wicked lyrics, Alice starts to develop his better known, "mentally ill" or "evil" sick humor persona, in a wittier way though than the cartoonishness that later took over in later years. His ever-so-slightly-raspy, steeped-in-decadence voice, of course, always had star power from the very beginning, but here he occasionally breaks out a snarl that never surfaced on Pretties, amidst more melodic crooning. And one of the tracks, the spasmodic tour de force "Still No Air", foreshadows Alice Cooper's later West Side Story obsession on School's Out.
And Easy Action proves to be still pretty darn trippy and weird, with plenty of progtastic twists, just like Pretties. Heck, "Lay Down And Die, Goodbye" is 7+ minutes of pretty much just sound FX laced freakishness. This album boasts several more glorious psychedelic pop gems like "Laughing At Me", the piano ballad "Beautiful Flyaway", and the very Beatlesy "Shoe Salesman", alongside the harder rockin' likes of "Return Of The Spiders"... Oooh so many good tunes. Compared to the debut, it's perhaps a more confident, slightly less confusional record, that set them up for major label success of their next album, another huge favorite of ours, Love It To Death, recorded with Ezrin after their relocation to Detroit - a move that made sense, considering they did have a lot in sonically common with The Amboy Dukes and even the MC5. You'll also hear parallels to very early Blue Oyster Cult and David Bowie...
While Alice Cooper (both the man and the band) made a lot of classic music in their career(s), no other Alice Cooper records were ever quite as arty and bizarre, with the unique one foot in the psychedelic sixties mix of throbbing manic energy and melancholic moodiness that's found on both Pretties For You and this one, Easy Action.
MPEG Stream: "Mr. & Misdeameanor"
MPEG Stream: "Refrigerator Heaven"
MPEG Stream: "Laughing At Me"

album cover AMON DUUL II Yeti (Revisited) 2lp 25.00
Yes, now reissued on vinyl!!! It's been reissued on cd again and again, as well is should 'cause this is one of the best albums EVER everyone at AQ agrees, and should always be in print, and you should even own more than one copy it's that good. This is the first vinyl reissue we've seen though, released by the same outfit that did the most recent cd digipack reish. Four sides of Yeti's genius, in a gatefold sleeve bearing that iconic krautrock cover image of Shrat with his scythe.
Anyway, maybe you're wondering what the heck the big deal is with Yeti, so here's our review we wrote the last time it got reissued:
The absolute hardest albums to write about are those we hold in the highest esteem and though we have an aversion to the general notion of a "desert island selection", this Amon Duul II disc is one of those albums that we could see as an definite inclusion on a short list of "must have" rock records! 1970's Yeti is the second album of Amon Duul II, succeeding Phallus Dei, and captures these krautrockers at their zenith. The album opens with the four movement opus "Soap Shop Rock", an amazing 13+ minute track that encompasses the gamut of psychedelia. It begins as an uptempo number with driving bass and drums in which vocals, guitars and amplified fiddles swirl around in a multitude of melodic variations in counterpoint before breaking down into one of the most kick ass tempo changes ever performed in rock; a heavy dirge that never fails to knock my knee caps loose, and it's got a guitar line that certainly must have been held in immense reverence by Kramer at some formative point in his career. The song doesn't settle down there, but continues in its focused meanderings for another ten minutes, retaining enough of an anchor of its beginnings to give it coherence as a unified whole. The rest of the album is equally amazing, touching everything from blasted proto-punk psych ("Archangels Thunderbird" and "Eye-Shaking King") to spacey drone improv (the fifteen minutes of "Yeti Talks To Yogi" and "Sandoz In The Rain"). Essential krautrock. In fact, one of the best records EVER.
It's one of those albums, like First Utterance by Comus and Satori by Flower Travellin' Band, that when it's playing, we think, why listen to anything else again??
MPEG Stream: "Soap Shop Rock - Halluzination Guillotine"
MPEG Stream: "Archangels Thunderbird"
MPEG Stream: "Soap Shop Rock - Flesh-Coloured Anti-Aircraft Alarm Clock"

album cover ANAAL NATHRAKH In The Constellation Of Black Widow (Candlelight) cd 14.98
Anaal Nathrakh isn't just "extreme" metal. It's extremely extreme metal. And only an extremely extreme metal band could manage to combine all the stuff that AN do, ferinstance just in the vocal/vokill dep't, everything from necro black metal shrieks to death metal grunts to, yes, clean majestic melodic singing too. And the vocals are only ONE of the insane things about this album. We can't really classify this UK band, they're part hyperspeed grindcore blurr, part black metal mayhem, part power metal majesty (but that part is buried and rotting under even more blasting black/death brutality). Let's just say our extreme metal needs have always been met by a session of Anaal Nathrakh abuse, and THIS album is definitely doing the trick as expected... A dense, chaotic, utterly over the top assault of very very extreme, very very metal. Yet amidst all the intensity, Anaal Nathrakh somehow can cram in a catchy chorus or melodic hook (or weird electronically glitched out part) alongside each ultra distorted, utterly outrageous throat-torn scream or chunk of crushing grind frenzy. Fans familiar with their last few albums know the score. For those new to Anaal, we could say maybe imagine old Carcass mixed with Watchmaker mixed with Immortal mixed with something with actual singing, sometimes. But nothing you can imagine will really quite prepare you... you've been warned. The liner notes say it best: "We will fucking kill you."
MPEG Stream: "In The Constellation Of The Black Widow"
MPEG Stream: "I Am The Wrath Of Gods And The Desolation Of The Earth"
MPEG Stream: "More Of Fire Than Blood"

album cover ANVIL Forged In Fire (Unidisc / Attic) cd 16.98
Ok, you've seen the documentary by now, haven't you? Anvil: The Story Of Anvil (we blogged about it, c'mon... plus it was huge, all over VH-1 and everyplace). And if so, you know you now need some Anvil in your collection - if you didn't have it already, like us longtime Anvil fans.
This one is about our favorite. No, it doesn't have "Metal On Metal" on it (that's on the album Metal On Metal, naturally), but after watching the movie you've heard THAT song like 1,000 times on the soundtrack and don't need to hear it again for a while anyway. Forged In Fire has a lot of other Anvil gems on it, however, including the crushing title track, "Motormount", "Winged Assassins" and "Hard Times - Fast Ladies" among others. Also the unfortunately titled "Butter-Bust Jerky", hmm, which is as heavy as it is sleazy.
While in the movie Anvil might seem like delusional, washed up, emotionally fragile (though still quite scrappy and charismatic) old rocker dudes way past their sell-by date, THIS early material will help to confirm why thrashers like Metallica used to look up to these Canadians as being the fastest and fiercest of underground metal bands in the land. The back of the album proudly proclaims: "If it's too loud, you're too old. Get the hell out cause you've been told". Obviously they had no idea they'd still be headbanging in 2009! And with a surprise second wind thanks to a fantastic documentary film, that's like a combo of Some Kind Of Monster, The Wrestler, and of course Spinal Tap.
It's funny, right after we first saw the Anvil movie, we tried to get copies of the NEW album, the one they're working on in the documentary, to sell here. Y'know, just to support 'em. We contacted the band directly, they were nice but wanted WAY too much money per cd. We'd have to have sold 'em for like $25 each. So, we said forget it, and anyway we'd rather stock their classic '80s albums - but couldn't, 'cause those weren't available at all in the States, either... but now with the success of the movie, we noticed our regular, non-metal suppliers carrying 'em! Cool. So here you go, Anvil's Forged In Fire, it's their third album, from 1983, and the apex of their musical career if you ask us.
MPEG Stream: "Forged In Fire"
MPEG Stream: "Hard Times - Fast Ladies"
MPEG Stream: "Winged Assasins"

album cover ARMPIT Tron (Last Visible Dog) cd 11.98
Latest from this NZ noisemaker, and only the second actual cd release (the other one Butta Days is out of print) after a ton of cd-r's. Armpit is the work of one Clayton Noone, who also plays in CJA and the Futurians, but unlike the minimal droney drift of CJA and the fractured new wave of the Futurians, Armpit, is, as the name might suggest, dank and dark and sweaty and, well you get the picture, Armpit is all free noise and abstract sonic experimentation, we've been blown away by pretty much every Armpit record we've heard, including a massive 5cd-r set, so we were super psyched to get our ears around this one. And it's another sprawling expanse of strange sounds and mysterious noises, expertly woven into thick layered soundscapes and abstract clattery anti-songs.
The title track, on first listen, sounds like a soft cacophony of clink and clank, but soon rhythms emerge, a strange minimal lo-fi industrial loop, laid over a strange moaning foghorn melody, and lots and lots of tape hiss, soon the clatter dissipates leaving a warm hissy expanse of drone-y murmur and distant electronics, that eventually coalesce into a bit of skittery drum programming. Weird. "Rainy Romm To Room" is a warped organ driven slow jam, all mumbled vocals, atonal melodies, detuned guitar, woven into a sort of Wreck Small Speakers kind of ballad. "Whiskey Bottle" is like a low tech stab at some sort of SUNNO)))-like sludge, almost pulled off except for the fact that any noises near the microphone reveal that the recording is from the back of the room on a handheld recorded, which only makes it sound cooler, not to mention the mysterious drop outs, and occasional voices. "You & I" is another sort of ballad, all aggressively strummed acoustic guitar, and weary crooned vocals, muted percussive thumps, and a sweet sad melody. "Hung Burning" is another live one, and is another HEAVY one, a noisy feedback drenched Dead C like chaotic noise jam, which quickly gives way to album proper closer "A Strange Girl", a brief lo-fi bedroom folk, plastic pail percussion dream jam, all hazy and warm and washed out. So nice.
As a bonus, tacked on to the end is an 8 track, nearly 20 minute ep collecting various recordings from the late nineties up until 2001, featuring more of the same, a dizzying mix, of fractured lo-fi anti-pop, dense collaged soundscapes and thick swirling soft focus noise...
MPEG Stream: "Tron"
MPEG Stream: "Rainy Room To Room"
MPEG Stream: "Anaru I"

album cover AVARUS Toosassa (Ultra Eczema) lp 30.00
Yeah, it's a bit price-y, but then for some reason Ultra Eczema lps always are. The thing is though, they're generally also gorgeous looking, deluxe sleeves with wild wacked out eye popping covers, ultra thick vinyl, and in most cases, especially this one, the grooves are packed with sounds to match. That is to say wild and wacked.
The newest record from forefathers of the Finnish free folk scene Avarus, is not in fact a new record, but instead a document of Avarus' recent trip to the states, in particular a live on the radio session for Brian Turner's show on WFMU. Two side long jams, the ever fluctuating collective trimmed down to a mean lean trio, on the first, they capture here their most primitive side, lots of rattles and percussion, thumps and clicks and creaks and moans, all accompanied by strange inhuman vocalizations, sounding like humans discovering speech for the first time, howling, crooning, mewling, grunting, all that tangled up with some super abstract free jazz drum skitter, some detuned string plucking, which builds to something much more substantial, a cacophonous squall of horns and even more strange vocalizations, a garbled transmission of alien folk free jazz confusion, that manage to some still sound hypnotic and cohesive. The final few minutes are an awesome skittery croaking looped outro, that we sort of wish would have gone on for longer.
The flipside starts off with more caveman jazz, strings scraped and plucked, drums splattered here and there, those alien vox, but peppered with warm reedy buzz and all manner of other abstract sounds. After a brief bit of garbled gurgling, the song sprawls into a gorgeous super skeletal, percussive workout, this too with the feel of proto-humans discovering rhythm, primal, primitive, tribal, super spare and spacious and weirdly mesmerizing.
The sleeve as mentioned above is indeed eye popping, green on orange eye torture, a killer super tripped out psychedelic illustration, mirrored in black and white on the lp labels, and of course extremely limited. ONLY 300 COPIES!!!!

album cover BAUDRILLARD, JEAN Le Xerox et L'Infini (The Tapeworm) cassette 7.98
Second of two releases on the newly launched UK label Tapeworm, the other being a killer solo bass record from long time aQ fave and turntablist, Philip Jeck, while this one, well, this one is a bit harder to describe. A spoken word record by two mysterious ladies called Patrica And Ellen, reading a work by legendary (anti) post modernist Jean Baudrillard. Recorded By Vicki Bennet of People Like Us, these readings are riveting, due in no small doubt to Baudrillard's tangled wordplay, but also due to the strange delivery of the two women, who take turns, in their thickly accented voices, reading the texts, sounding like they're perhaps seeing those words for the first time, struggling through pronunciations, little giggles and asides, brief breaks as one hands the text to the other. We'll be the first to say, that we're not much for 'spoken word' records, but somehow this transcends, becoming some sort of art, or sound poetry, especially when the two are reading together, those moments are fantastic, playful, silly, and the delivery of the two, slightly off, with both randomly dropping out, or stopping for a breath, makes the reading sound less 'read', and more weirdly musical.
Obviously, this won't be everyone's cup of tea, but it's definitely fun, and interesting, and quite strange! Like the Jeck tape, LIMITED TO 250 COPIES, we got about a dozen...

album cover BILLY BAO Dialectics Of Shit (Parts Unknown) lp 12.98
We made the brand new record by Spanish noise rocker and audio experimentalist Billy Bao our Record Of The Week last list, a dizzying collision of sludgey filthy Brainbombs like dirge, howling Whitehouse styled invective, and weirdest of all, a flurry of Fela-ish highlife horns, all tangled up with sheets of feedback, squalls of effects, and whatever else BB could whip up. The result was transcendent, and well worthy of ROTW status, managing to be punishing and heavy as fuck, but still catchy and blown out and super fun.
So here we have BB's preceding release, the wonderfully titled Dialectics Of Shit, and we're happy to report, that while the horns seem to be M.I.A here, everything else is present and accounted for, BIG TIME. A gloriously filthy, in-the-red, sludge fueled noise drenched monster. Weirdly produced, super chaotic, rife with sharp angular skree, pounding Neanderthal drums and a growled phlegmy vocal that seethes maniacally. All that stuff is locked around single, KILLER riffs, each track, a looped hypnotic crush, that riff pounded out over and over and over and over, while the various other elements swirl and careen all around it.
Insane bursts of grinding crunch, thick sheets of Merzbowian hiss, long stretches of brittle jangle and thump that will suddenly get swallowed up by a blown out wave of sub sonic low end, or a cloud of white noise will well up obliterating everything in its path, all the while the bass and drums 'groove' churns away, often emerging from one of those disruptions a whole different beats, a sort of muted murky bit of surf guitar, some weird twang, everything off kilter and woozy and noisy and INTENSE. The guitars are sharp and jagged and rough edged, slippery and warped, the riffs seem to be melting, or crumbling to pieces before your ears, the whole record a stumbling, lurching, blackened dirge noise behemoth. All the while, little hooks, and insanely catchy flourishes surface here and there, keeping the record weirdly catchy, and almost poppy occasionally, the sound is schizophrenic, about faces all over the place, sudden edits, overlapping sounds that don't seem to fit (but somehow do), voices all tangled up in guitar melodies tripping over struggling drum pound, everything on the very edge of total collapse, somehow held together in one massive speaker destroying chunk of tweaked and twisted heaviness.

album cover BLOODY PANDA Summon (Profound Lore) cd+dvd 14.98
New York doommongers Bloody Panda return with full length #2, this one courtesy of the always rad Profound Lore label. The band specializes in a style of glacial doom sounding like it was recorded in an enormous cathedral in the dead of night. Funereal keyboards and subsonic bass run alongside lumbering drums that put everything into a spiraling trance as the downtuned guitars puke out overwhelmingly negative sounding riffs. Then, there's the kicker, Bloody Panda's unassuming vocalist Yoshiko Ohara, whose beautiful and clear voice can just as easily switch from sweet croon to Yoko Ono howl to a throat ripping banshee scream to a guttural demon bark. Her super bleak lyrics focus on all the various aspects of mental instability that doom bands know and love, like a fever induced nightmare where Bloody Panda is the house band. Ohara's awesome and disturbing artwork perfectly mirrors the sounds within Summon, with lots of black space and faceless figures shrouded in slivers of hazy color. There are certainly some similarities to Neurosis' more, ahem, "tribal" moments, while the band's almost goth sensibility, not to mention the female vocals and organ, bring to mind Asva, but there is enough other stuff going on to make Bloody Panda stand out. This is only made clearer by the accompanying dvd, featuring a video for the 21 minute motherfucker of a song, "Miserere". Filmed by the band members themselves in various parts of Brooklyn in addition to shots taken in Indonesia, the dvd offers a stunning visual enhancement to Bloody Panda's sonic assault.
MPEG Stream: "Gold"
MPEG Stream: "Pusher"
MPEG Stream: "Miserere"

album cover BUTCHER, NICK Guitar Machine (West Main Development) cd-r 9.98
We're a sucker for folks who make their own instruments, for musicians who customize machines and noisemakers, who use instruments in exactly the way they were never meant to be used, extra turntable arms on a record player, loudspeakers made from car radiators, all sorts of stuff used for percussion, guitars made from steel strings and tin cans, vacuum cleaners, dental tools, if it sounds good, we're all for it.
Amongst those instrument builders and sonic experimentalists, we're partial to those who gravitate toward the discarded, toward junk, old broken records, busted up guitars, malfunctioning electronics, tape players with dying batteries, one string guitars, NO string guitars, so we were pretty sure that this Nick Butcher guy would be right up our alley.
He only uses broken and found things to make sounds, not even instruments necessarily, old busted up keyboards, crappy tape players, old guitars missing strings, and coolest of all, cassette tapes that have been taken apart, cut up, looped, reassembled and played again on said crappy tape players. He also does a sort of primitive real time multitracking, playing one tape and recording it on another, making a loop, then re-records those to make another loop and so on, and so on, using the various loops, room sound, broken instruments and whatever else, to create gorgeous haunting mysterious soundscapes.
These 4 tracks were recorded live, in a big room, you can tell from the echo, the footsteps, the bits of shuffling, every little creak or scrape, magnified and wreathed in natural reverb, but even knowing what we know about the process, just listening, it's hard to imagine how he makes these sounds. Dark minimal gorgeous drone-y drifts, hushed and melodic, like Basinski or something, looped, but subtly so, the tones overlapping into subtle harmonies, the sound of the room and much of a presence as the music itself, gauzy and hazy and so so divine. The second track begins similarly, but almost sounds like some sort of modern microdub, Pole or something, the loop stuttering and allowing small bits of empty space in sort of like anti-beats, a softly propulsive ultra minimal minor key krautdrone, like the hushed shadowy, whispery side of a group like Expo 70, except made with busted tapes and broken tape recorders!
The third track is the first with guitar, a couple strums a few plucks, it seems like maybe he was recording them, cuz fragments of those first guitar scrabbles return in fuzzy, fractured loop form, and again are assembled into a warm woozy series of soft swells, that are eventually overwhelmed by another soft loop, this one swirly and softly psychedelic, finishing off with a brief bit of, yep, warm, weary, dreamy, softly looped washed out drone-y ambient bliss. So so so so so nice.
MPEG Stream: "Pewter Image"
MPEG Stream: "Motorsport Park"

album cover BUTTHOLE SURFERS Brown Reason To Live (Alternative Tentacles) lp 9.98
The debut recording by these legendary Texan drug punks, finally available again on vinyl! Brown Reason To live was the Surfers' first record, a seven song ep, originally released in 1983, and reissued later bundled onto a cd with their live PCPP ep, but as good as that live stuff was/is, these tracks all on their own constitute one of THEE legendary punk rock records EVER. And we say punk rock knowing full well that the Buttholes' version of punk rock had almost nothing in common with what the rest of the world at the time considered punk.
These songs are damaged and disturbing, wild and chaotic, extended stumbling lysergic blowouts, as likely to erupt into a strange woozy sea shanty or a bit of twangy gallop as a blown out blast of pounding punk, moreso really. And while the sound here is not as overtly whatthefuck as the records that would come right after, it's weird enough that you could tell something freaky was going on, and you can hear the seeds that would blossom into that the Surfers eventually became. The Buttholes merged the punk sounds that surrounded them, with their own twisted take on DIY music making, not to mention lots and lots and lots and lots of drugs. All of these songs are timeless, total classics, but "The Shah Sleeps In Lee Harvey's Grave" is practically a punk rock anthem, or no less than the genre's swan song. Depending on how you look at it, maybe both. For the band anyway, the track was every bit a standard as "Free Bird" was for Skynyrd. Listening to this again now, it seems insane that a band like this - who at one time seemed destined to a life of cult obscurity - achieved such enormous mainstream success. It's all urine under the bridge now though, we try to ignore the last few releases and focus on the years when the Butthole Surfers were untouchable ('83-'88?), and this is where it all started, a ferocious fucked up chunk of drug addled genius called Brown Reason To Live.

album cover CARTER, DEAN Call Of The Wild (Big Beat) cd 16.98
This is not new, but we only just discovered this head spinning slab of totally demented fifties style (recorded in the sixties) rockabilly genius (or madness!) thanks to our pal Brian Turner at WFMU. And holy crap are we kicking ourselves for missing this. You'd never know from the cover, featuring Carter in a zebra striped jacket mugging with his guitar behind big colored letters, what freakiness lurks inside. And freaky it is. Not all of it. There are of course some straight up old school garage rockabilly jams, but some of the songs are soooooo far out, Carter was a bit like a rockabilly Joe Meek, always after new sounds, on the hunt for new equipment, anything to realize the twisted sounds in his head. He also reminds us of Michael Yonkers!
Take for example the cover of Elvis' "Jailhouse Rock" which opens up this collection, a totally twisted off kilter take on the original, with way more aggressive vocals, some weird high end tones over almost the whole thing, and a completely over the top insanely psychedelic guitar freakout (made by grinding the neck of the guitar against a mic stand) right in the middle, which was meant to sound like an actual jailhouse riot going on. As if that weren't enough, besides the usual rock instruments, Carter gathered up various friends and family members to contribute ukulele, accordion, and clarinet, played by a neighbor's 12 year old daughter!! But that's only the tip of the iceberg, the second track is a super rocking garage jam that sounds like early MC5, but then the third "I Got A Girl" is all buzzy garage stomp, with super raw vocals, and a weird looped female "ahhh" that repeats non stop throughout the entire song. Weird? Oh yeah, and it only gets weirder. "Rebel Woman" is a super heavy organ driven Screamin' Jay Hawkins style workout, and then there's the killer cover of "Fever", a classic jam for sure, but made a little bit more creepy with Carter's occasional croak, and his yelped vox throughout, as well as a droney looped sounding main guitar part. "Run Rabbit Run" is a lurching weirdo bit of gloomy garage pop, with growled vox, an amazing main guitar riff, that sounds almost metal at times, some awesome tribal drumming, and a weirdly innocent sounding female chorus.
But "Midnight Sun" might just be our favorite, after a spoken intro, the main guitar riff seems to slow down, the guitar creating a woozy dizzying seasick loop, the vocals dramatically crooned, some warm warbly organ, and a hook to die for, we've been listening to this track EVERY DAY. But heck, we end up playing this whole disc over and over and over. A perfect mix of outsider experimentation, classic rockabilly garage rock jamming, sixties psychedelia, and that Joe Meek like kitchen sink inventiveness, plus, it's SUPER rocking, suprisingly heavy, killer stuff for sure.
Lots of liner notes and tons of pix too. WAY RECOMMENDED.
MPEG Stream: "Midnight Sun"
MPEG Stream: "Jailhouse Rock"
MPEG Stream: "Mary Sue"
MPEG Stream: "Fever"

album cover CAVE Hunt Like Devil (Permanent Records) lp+cd 14.98
Cave are one of our few multiple Record Of The Week honorees, for the recent Psychic Summer, and this one, Hunt Like Devil from a little while back. Makes perfect sense, these guys push all our buttons, whipping up a heavy, crunchy, hooky looped sounding post / math / kraut rock hybrid that just totally kicks our ass. And your asses too considering how many Cave records we well.
Hunt Like Devil disappeared in no time when we first listed it, we got it back in one or two times since, but it has remained out of print and unfortunately unavailable for quite a while. Until now. Repressed for Europe, with slightly different artwork, this past Record Of The Week, is available again here, while they last, so if you somehow never grabbed one of these, now's your chance. Maybe your last...
Just like the first press, it might be difficult to know what this record is all about. The sleeve is just a photo of trees and leaves, a dense overgrown forest with a big hand sewn eyeball thing right in the center. Pull out the cd, that too is cryptic, just some random letters on the disc, there's no insert this time, just a little scrap of paper with the song titles, but by now, we all know what this is all about, and who this is... CAVE! The spacerock krautrock dronerock riff heavy jam band side project (now MAIN project it seems) of the now defunct Warhammer 48K, who were already spacey and krauty and droney to begin with, so needless to say this is some seriously kick ass, aQ freakout worthy shit.
For the attention span impaired, howabout some Hawkwind, Can, Circle, Lightning Bolt, Pharaoh Overlord? Sounds good huh? Well, it's easy to hear bits and pieces of all of those bands in the sound of Cave, a dual drummer-ed riff heavy psych rock, that takes single riffs and hammers at them, pounding and pummeling, repetitive and mesmerizing, a sort of kraut flecked hypnorock, but with all sorts of strange twists and turns, bizarre arrangements, baffling breakdowns, but woven into longform jams that should have anyone into the above mentioned bands frothing at the mouth.
The opening track is a gorgeous little tangle of minor key melodies, looped and repeated, over a tense distant drone, thick swaths of keyboard whir over soft tangles of acoustic guitar and space-y backwards guitar swoops, but then the opening riff of the second track kicks in, and it's all fuzzy and feral, the greatest riff Pharaoh Overlord never wrote, and they just hang on it, way longer than any normal band would, FOREVER, before the drums kick in, and they're off, a relentless and hooky groove, with brief blasts of super dynamic chaos, before slipping right back into it. Keyboards lay still more hypnotic melodies over the top, vocals, when there are any, are shouted way down in the mix, or are wordless falsetto la-la-la's, adding more texture and sonic complexity than anything. The dual drummers mix it up spitting out occasional tribal squalls, sometimes thick swirls of staticky fuzz wash over the proceedings, but their propulsive fortitude never falters. The first two tracks would almost be enough. Nearly 12 minutes of heavy freaked out space jam nirvana. You can practically feel the walls heaving and the sweat dripping through the speakers. You'll probably need a lie down afterwards. But there's no time, cuz hell, there's 6 more tracks to dig through. The sound is punk rock, lo-fi, but lush and epic, damaged and delirious, like garage rockers raised on Magma and Faust, there's plenty of Neu! in there, Stereolab too then, but it's way heavier than that, the guitars crunchy and thick, occasionally opening up into wailing psychrock blowouts, the drums getting more and more distorted and frenzied. Imagine an amphetamine fueled Circle or Can, but via the basement, the sound a sweat soaked drug drenched mostly instrumental kraut groove
Mathy, murky, like the fucked up younger brother of Yes, a Neanderthal krautrock, laced with awesome grinding space rock riffage, blown out squalls of ur-psych, flurries of percussive splatter, chanting cult vocals, bits of what the fuck vocoder (!), but for all the weirdness, the core sound of Cave is THE RIFF. Whether it's a warbly synth, or a superdistorted guitar, or tra-la-la vocals, they all align themselves with that riff, the mission, to entrance, to ensorcel, a heaving, pulsing, throbbing mass, the sound magnetic and irresistible. Endless jams that aren't really, but feel like they should be. Like they are anyway. Transcending the laws of time and space, dragging us kicking and screaming, bouncing and bobbing, into some blissed out basement at the end of the universe, where we subsist of nothing but riffs, drums and FX. We never want to leave.
MPEG Stream: "HLD 2"
MPEG Stream: "Hunt Like Devil"
MPEG Stream: "Seans Inner Ear"

album cover CAVE IN Planets Of Old (Hydra Head) 12" 16.98
The return of Cave In. Or maybe more accurately, ANOTHER return of Cave In. We might be some of the only folks who never stopped loving this band. From their crushing metallic early years, to their epic pop prog Radiohead style flirtation with major label years, to their return to indie label / heaviness, to Cave In front man Stephen Brodsky's curious but totally compelling jangly psych pop solo records, and now this, another return that sounds a lot like the under appreciated Perfect Pitch Black record from a while back, the band melding their two disparate sides, the poppy polished side, and the chugging metal side. And fuck if it doesn't still sound great. In fact, it's the sort of thing that could, or maybe SHOULD find it's way on to commercial radio. As the climate is way more accepting of metal, and heaviness in general, and Cave In have a sort of Muse only more metal thing going on, with the right push, as we've said before, these guys cold be huge.
"Cayman Tongue" opens up with some soaring guitars, big stadium drums, and Brodsky's soaring croon, and some serious chug. We're definitely hearing some Muse, but with that distinct Cave In vibe and way with melodies, before it gets seriously crunchy and the gruff vocals come out, and things get mathy and gloriously chaotic, and then for MINUTES, the band get all spaced out and doomy, letting their guitars feedback and buzz, interrupting the tangled guitar gnarl every few seconds with a big metallic crush, before a seriously grinding intense Coalesce-style outro.
"Retina Sees Rewind" has a killer main riff, all tangled Maiden-y squiggles and crunchy chug, wild psychedelic leads, and a chorus that sounds a bit like Torche meets Rush meets Queens Of The Stone Age. "The Redtrail" is all frantic punk rock with shrieked vox and tangled guitars, Greg Ginn-ish riffage and a total old school punk rock breakdown right in the middle. And "Air Escapes" finishes things off with another perfect blend of mathy metallic heaviness and quirky psych pop, Brodsky's nimble vocals draped over angular guitars and tribal drumming, that gets more and more Voivod-ish as the track progresses which is never a bad thing.
We still love these guys, hard to understand why everyone doesn't. One of the few bands as adept at pummeling metal as they are at crafting epic arena pop, and the fact that they can somehow do both at once, only makes them that much more special.
Incredible packaging as with most Hydra Head stuff, gorgeous metallic printing on the jacket and on the inside sleeve, pressed on ultra thick vinyl, and most likely very very limited.

album cover CIRCLE OF OUROBORUS Tree Of Knowledge (Hospital Productions) cd 13.98
We've always held a special place in our darkened hearts for Finnish black metal weirdos Circle Of Ouroborus. The duo churns out a very strange brand of metal that would appear to share just as much, or maybe even more, with melancholy gloom merchants like Joy Division (who they have covered) and Dead Can Dance, as it does with black metal. They definitely share some of the influences of groups like Lifelover and Amesoeurs - you know, a gothy 4AD shimmer, cleanly arpeggiated guitar melodies, and vocals that don't rely exclusively on shrieks or growls - but to compare Circle Of Ouroborus to those bands, or anyone else really, is to neglect just how unique these guys are. For one, an ever present murkiness permeates all COO recordings, giving their songs a weird dreamy quality that seems to exist completely out of any time or place. The vocals, which have garnered understandable comparisons to the off kilter approach of Mark E. Smith, are hardly what you would expect from a "black metal" band, but there is obviously an acute awareness of the bleak realities of life that is TOTALLY black metal. Maybe more than anything, Circle Of Ouroborus have completely sidestepped any expectations of what a black metal band is supposed to be, and redefined it for their own purposes. In doing so, they have carved out a unique place in the metal underground and never failed to blow our minds with their bizarre sound. Now, after the completion of their Shores/Streams/Islands trilogy of records (we're still trying to track down Islands for y'all!), COO have progressed way beyond the awesome but at times amateur practice space sonics of some of their earlier work and delivered Tree Of Knowledge, not only their most accomplished and well thought out work to date, but certainly one of the best and most interesting metal releases we have heard this year.
The album begins with "A Root Casket", and it pretty much sounds like a more beefed up (and better) version of the COO we originally lost our shit over. The band sounds full and spacious, but still raw and lo-fi, like a ninth generation cassette dub of a lost Factory Records band. A catchy keyboard melody carries the song majestically, while murky guitars spin a sustained droniness that works perfectly with the vocals. At the same time, it manages to give a glimpse into their weird folky side. The seasick queasiness of the band's past releases endures, it just seems like they've better grasped how to work with their limited recording technology. "Demon In Iron" is a slightly atonal piece that makes perfect use of the band's cyclical guitar riffs and shimmery keyboards. It's so melodic and sad, but just BEAUTIFUL and even a bit punky, and you'd be forgiven if you mistook this one for some gloomy as hell indie band from the early '90s. "Show Me The Way To The Wishing Wall" is a midtempo downer with more cool circular guitar and steady, midtempo drumming. The singer's croon goes perfectly with the hazed out nature of the songs, and the natural overdrive on the otherwise clean guitars definitely help to make COO sound unlike most metal bands. Of course, around the 4 minute mark a Xasthurian black metal croak reminds you that, yes, this is some evil shit and not just another shoegazey black metal band. "Dead Eyes, Dead Soul" (how's that for further Joy Division comparisons?) follows another beautifully sad melody with phased out guitars and a discordant chorus that offers a cool transition to the tunefulness of the rest of the song. Instrumental number "Summer Graves" features sustained synth strings and an exotic touch with guitars that, at moments, *almost* brought to mind Polvo... Weird, but not quite as weird as the addition of a trumpet on the closing song, "Through My Fingers". Slow picked guitars and a chorus that manages to throw in some metal as fuck pinch harmonics with the contemplative dreaminess are accompanied by the sustained trumpet melodies that seem almost hopeful. Of course, the lyrics prove otherwise...
Like all COO releases, Tree Of Knowledge features totally amazing artwork, with 8 unique icons (each corresponding to a different song, it would seem) wrapped in the roots of a broken tree. It's rare that a band is able to achieve such a unique and perfectly realized vision, especially within a genre known for its dogmatically orthodox bullshit. But Circle Of Ouroborus are hardly just another band, and with Tree Of Knowledge, they have made that abundantly clear.
MPEG Stream: "A Root Casket"
MPEG Stream: "Demon In Iron"
MPEG Stream: "Show Me The Way To The Wishing Wall"

album cover CULTURAL DECAY, THE Eight Ways To Start A Day (Singles & Demos) (Sacred Bones Records) cd 14.98
We could probably be forgiven for missing out on The Cultural Decay from a couple years back. After all, there are eighty-gazillion lost and recently rediscovered post-punk, minimal-wave, and art-rock obscurities from all around the world getting reissued all the time; but this short-lived Belgian post-punk group from the early 80s is something special and fortunately, Sacred Bones did take notice and should be commended for finally making this available.
From 1980 to 1982, The Cultural Decay only played a handful of gigs, all in Belgium; and they released two singles, one of which was produced by the Revolting Cocks founder Luc Van Acker. From the onset, it's pretty clear that Joy Division was the favorite band of The Cultural Decay, as the guitar and bass interplay of jagged rhythmic guitar chops coupled with loping low-end bass melodies mirrors that of Bernard Sumner and Peter Hook. To be fair, this Belgian band did not have Ian Curtis as a front-man; and they relied more on a snarled monotone delivery similar to those found in the Buzzcocks and Crisis. For those who know fellow Belgian post-punkers Siglo XX, the sound of The Cultural Decay will be very familiar and arguably better! The songs are all darkly tinged post-punk tunes clouded by a dour atmosphere that the band urgently pushes against. Given that this collection features the two studio produced singles and a bunch of 4-track demos, the production quality is a bit uneven; but hey, that's DIY for you! It certainly doesn't detract from the songs themselves, which just get a little rough around the edges.
FYI, The Cultural Decay ran a small label themselves, and were the the original home of that incredible AA single that we reviewed not that long ago. Recommended, for sure!
PS: The cd features FIVE extra tracks not on the lp!
MPEG Stream: "Brave New World"
MPEG Stream: "Business Business"
MPEG Stream: "Thin Rope"

album cover CULTURAL DECAY, THE Eight Ways To Start A Day (Singles & Demos) (Sacred Bones) lp 17.98
We could probably be forgiven for missing out on The Cultural Decay from a couple years back. After all, there are eighty-gazillion lost and recently rediscovered post-punk, minimal-wave, and art-rock obscurities from all around the world getting reissued all the time; but this short-lived Belgian post-punk group from the early 80s is something special and fortunately, Sacred Bones did take notice and should be commended for finally making this available.
From 1980 to 1982, The Cultural Decay only played a handful of gigs, all in Belgium; and they released two singles, one of which was produced by the Revolting Cocks founder Luc Van Acker. From the onset, it's pretty clear that Joy Division was the favorite band of The Cultural Decay, as the guitar and bass interplay of jagged rhythmic guitar chops coupled with loping low-end bass melodies mirrors that of Bernard Sumner and Peter Hook. To be fair, this Belgian band did not have Ian Curtis as a front-man; and they relied more on a snarled monotone delivery similar to those found in the Buzzcocks and Crisis. For those who know fellow Belgian post-punkers Siglo XX, the sound of The Cultural Decay will be very familiar and arguably better! The songs are all darkly tinged post-punk tunes clouded by a dour atmosphere that the band urgently pushes against. Given that this collection features the two studio produced singles and a bunch of 4-track demos, the production quality is a bit uneven; but hey, that's DIY for you! It certainly doesn't detract from the songs themselves, which just get a little rough around the edges.
FYI, The Cultural Decay ran a small label themselves, and were the the original home of that incredible AA single that we reviewed not that long ago. Recommended, for sure!
PS: The cd features FIVE extra tracks not on the lp!
MPEG Stream: "Brave New World"
MPEG Stream: "Business Business"
MPEG Stream: "Thin Rope"

album cover DAVIS, GREG Mutually Arising (Kranky) cd 14.98
It seems Kranky has taken a break from their steady output of psychedelic pop to make room some cosmic minimalists. Which we're excited about considering how much we dug Gregg Kowalsky's Tape Chants (which we reviewed a few lists ago). This time Kranky delivers Mr. Davis's second effort on the Chicago based label, titled Mutually Arising. The aptly named disc is as minimal as it gets, two long form tracks, one 28 minutes and the other 20 minutes, of mind liquefying, analog synth hypnosis. Mr. Davis, who has been known to work with a variety of instruments and experiment with folk stylings in the past, has restrained himself to a Korg Mono/Poly synth, a Crumar Stratus synth, various effects pedals and a computer. Though a fairly amorphous figure in the experimental music community, having collaborated with the likes of Keith Fullerton Whitman and Sebastien Roux, it seems Davis has locked into some cosmic wavelength. Mutually Arising begins with a faint distant ring and builds into a tidal wave of shimmering bliss, offering up soaring, slow shifting chords and long form tones to create two beaming compositions of fluttering overtones and radiant textures. Having studied music at Chicago's De Paul university, it's no wonder Mr. Davis has taken a rather academic approach to Mutually Rising, a slight reach from his more organic compositions usually involving gongs, guitars or exotic reed instruments. What makes Mutually Arising so killer is the slow creeping subtly of small details that slowly evolve in and out of the analog hum, it's a gradual process like clouds shifting shape, distant buzz and hum, radiating overtones, the movement is there but incremental and delicate. A true gem of modern minimalist composition, a must have for drone heads and long time Kranky fans alike, highly recommended!

album cover DUCKTAILS Backyard (Release The Bats) cd 14.98
Another missive of gloriously murky tropical lo-fi garage surf pop from Ducktails, aka Matt Mondanile, this cd collecting tons of older out of print material from cassettes: the '1992' demo, recorded in 2007, a split tape from a little later on and the way out of print Ducktails II.
Even more warped and warbly than the Not Not Fun full length, these tracks drift and float through a hazy sonic dreamworld, slipping from looped cassette tape psychedelic calypso, to moody, sludgey bedroom balladry, to fuzzy proto garage rock, to dizzying super distorted sonic collages, to far out glistening new wave sparkle, to disembodied otherworldly Appalachia, to lonely sun dappled country twang, to lush lo-fi drum machine driven power pop, to dark brooding minimal indie jangle, to cinematic, almost Morricone sounding soundscapery, to super distorted GBV sounding fractured fragmented ADD pop, to hushed spaced out new age shimmer, all held together by that weird warped production, which wreathes everything in a washed out muted glow, like someone turned down the treble, or cut up the tweeters in your speakers with an exacto knife, the result is muddy and blurry and smeary and so gorgeous.
And be sure to stick around for the 12+ minute closing track, merely an excerpt of a much longer track, but it could be our favorite, an extended slow burning space drone, layered and textured, super distorted and effected, growing more so as it unfurls, eventually the sound begins to blow out, the notes begin to crumble, revealing a warm glowing center, surrounded by slowly decaying buzz and crunch!
MPEG Stream: "Crystal Vision"
MPEG Stream: "Why Am I Here?"
MPEG Stream: "Tropical Heat"

album cover EAGLE TWIN The Unkindness of Crows (Southern Lord) cd 15.98
When Andee and Allan were in Austin last spring for SXSW, they stumbled into a record store (the very cool End Of An Ear) only to be unexpectedly pummelled by two scruffy dudes set up in the corner, guitar and drums, kicking up a head splitting ear shredding low end racket, that was so powerful it almost made record shopping impossible, but then who wants to record shop when you can immerse yourself in an avalanche of sound so thick and viscous that it was almost a physical presence in the room? The guy with the axe seemed familiar too, and it wasn't until afterwards that we realized it was Gentry Densley of Iceburn fame, and we had just witnessed a live performance by his new duo project, Eagle Twin!
So, here we have the full length, and it's just as dark, and heavy and sprawling as it was live, not nearly as terrifying or ear drum destroying but records rarely are. What it is, though, is HEAVY AS FUCK, downtuned and massive, if we didn't know Densley was guitar player we would have almost assumed this was another one of those rhythm section only bands (a la Om).
Not sure if we're hearing too much Iceburn in Eagle Twin, it's definitely twisted and proggy, with lurching abstract arrangements, so in that it's similar, but this is more of the new slow n' low school, a la SUNNO))), Earth, Corrupted, Moss, Bunkur, etc.
The album begins by confusing the hell out of you. Opener "In The Beginning Was The Scream" sounds like some strange doom/free jazz hybrid, or maybe like a metal version of the Stooges song "LA Blues". You might notice that the vocals flow with a similar eccentricity to someone like Attila Csihar, but more than likely, you'll be blown away by what you soon realize is Tuvan throat singing and tons of gong-laden percussion. This is some weird and intense stuff for sure, and there is a peculiar aggressiveness to the instrumentation that many doom bands unintentionally eschew by trying to be slower than everyone else. Eagle Twin understand the power of built up tension and negative space, while never neglecting to utilize a heavy groove when necessary. The subsonic distortion and raspy spoken vocals on songs like "Storytelling Of Ravens" stir up plenty of blackened negative vibes for sure, but elsewhere, like on "Crow Hymns", Eagle Twin actually rock out pretty hard with boatloads of fuzzed out harmonic distortion and some awesome tom-heavy drumming. Densley's raspy voice, which at times carries a bit of a country drawl, works perfectly on "Carry On, King Of Carrion", which blends the sounds of both early and modern day Earth with doomed out Southern rock riffage.
The vocals sort of sound like dude in Scissorfight (if anyone gives a shit), or even like Wino, the songs are surprisingly catchy at times, Southern rock sounding even here and there, but then there's also all kinds of weird exotic shit and definitely some themes that show an Eastern influence, and some incredible riffing, as Densley is a fucking shredder, and even in downtuned minimal mode, he SLAYS. This is definitely about the heaviest record you may here all year, and totally puts to shame pretty much every other heavy duo we can think of, except maybe early godheadSilo...
MPEG Stream: "In The Beginning Was The Scream"
MPEG Stream: "Murder Of..."

album cover FRUIT BATS The Ruminant Band (Sub Pop) cd 13.98
These guys are tough to pin down, in the past they've been described as "Gram Parsons meets Pavement" or "The Shins meets Califone", both applicable to the albums they were describing, we were of course first interested in these guys because of their pedigree, featuring as they do members of long time faves like Califone, Red Red Meat and Loftus, and their sound tended to feel like an extension of all those bands that came before.
As they've progressed, they've gotten more and more lush and sprawling, their sound still identifiable by the above shorthand comparisons, but more and more distinctly the Fruit Bats. The vocals are clear and crystalline, reminding us of Death Cab and the Shins, the music though remains rooted in country, plenty of jangle, little curlicues of twang, smooth slippery slide, but also infused with plenty of vintage pop as well, the sound a strange hybrid of old time bluegrass, modern downer country, classic FM radio pop (we're hearing Supertramp a bit on the title track!) and hushed minimal folk. Some songs are delicate and quiet and heartfelt, others are playful and rambunctious, frontman Eric Johnson has such a stunning voice, haunting and intense, delicate but still powerful, and the songwriting is classic sounding, plenty of nods to the Wings, Emmit Rhodes, Nick Drake, the Beatles (of course), the Jayhawks... Fantastic classic sounding ultra lush countrified pop! The Ruminant Band, just like with Spelled In Bones, the last FB record, has us once again trying to figure out why these guys aren't WAY more popular than they are!
MPEG Stream: "Primitive Man"
MPEG Stream: "Being On Our Own"
MPEG Stream: "Tegucigalpa"

album cover FRUIT BATS The Ruminant Band (Sub Pop) lp 14.98
These guys are tough to pin down, in the past they've been described as "Gram Parsons meets Pavement" or "The Shins meets Califone", both applicable to the albums they were describing, we were of course first interested in these guys because of their pedigree, featuring as they do members of long time faves like Califone, Red Red Meat and Loftus, and their sound tended to feel like an extension of all those bands that came before.
As they've progressed, they've gotten more and more lush and sprawling, their sound still identifiable by the above shorthand comparisons, but more and more distinctly the Fruit Bats. The vocals are clear and crystalline, reminding us of Death Cab and the Shins, the music though remains rooted in country, plenty of jangle, little curlicues of twang, smooth slippery slide, but also infused with plenty of vintage pop as well, the sound a strange hybrid of old time bluegrass, modern downer country, classic FM radio pop (we're hearing Supertramp a bit on the title track!) and hushed minimal folk. Some songs are delicate and quiet and heartfelt, others are playful and rambunctious, frontman Eric Johnson has such a stunning voice, haunting and intense, delicate but still powerful, and the songwriting is classic sounding, plenty of nods to the Wings, Emmit Rhodes, Nick Drake, the Beatles (of course), the Jayhawks... Fantastic classic sounding ultra lush countrified pop! The Ruminant Band, just like with Spelled In Bones, the last FB record, has us once again trying to figure out why these guys aren't WAY more popular than they are!
MPEG Stream: "Primitive Man"
MPEG Stream: "Being On Our Own"
MPEG Stream: "Tegucigalpa"

album cover GLASS CANDY Geto Boys (Italians Do It Better) 12" 9.98
Brand new super sizzling 12" from everyone's favorite sultry and sassy nu-disco duo Glass Candy. With two songs from the cd-only Deep Gems collection, "Geto Boys" and "Animal Imagination", each getting a side of wax for not only the original version, but in true '80s 12" fashion, each song is given multiple reworkings. You get the vocal/drums version of Geto Boys as well as the instrumental. And there is the "Soft Boundaries" version of "Animal Imagination" as well as the instrumental. And those instrumentals really serve to further demonstrate to how damn well Johnny Jewel uses his synths to create such icy and infectious moods and melodies. Always a great thing to have more Glass Candy on wax!

album cover GREY MACHINE Disconnected (Hydra Head) cd 13.98
Finally, the full length has landed, a killer collection of industrial, electronic flecked, dubbed out metallic pummel from Grey Machine, three parts Jesu, one part Isis, the long anticipated team up of Justin Broadrick and Aaron Turner. We were treated to a teaser in the form of a super limited 12". We still have a few copies left, actually, with an exclusive super rad dubby remix B-side. The A-side, "Vultures Descend" is found on Disconnected as well, we described it thusly:
"A wild cacophonous chaotic noise jam, that features crunchy post industrial rhythms wrapped around a thick blown out blast of dubstep style bass, the vocals fuzzy and lo-fi buried way down in the mix, some woozy dark descending riffage, the timbre prickly and abrasive, but beneath all the churning and roiling heaviness (and it IS heavy) are some awesomely melodic guitar lines and some tripped out spacerock FX draped over the almost jungle bass and drums (or should we say drum + bass)."
Sounds good huh? Cuz it IS good. Really good. Although the whole record isn't quite as chaotic and abrasive, every song is pretty dense and sprawling, much of it sounding quite a bit like Broadrick's former outfit Godflesh, but with way more weirdness mixed in, be it extra programmed beats, layered guitars, explosions of thick oozing psych buzz, whatever. The opening track is the perfect example, with its low slung bass and industrial drumming, weaving trancelike through clouds of electronic hiss, mysterious creaks and groans, the vocals processed and chopped up, the song a lurching, unstoppable beast, but all around it, strange sounds are surfacing, transforming, becoming tangled up in that lumbering crush, as the guitars get thicker and more distorted, but seem to be twisting and warping... Eventually the drums drop out leaving just a sky full of high end streaks and a feedback skree drone drift.
So yeah, the sound here is Godfleshy, definitely not as blissy as Jesu, although some of those elements still remain, wrapped around a dense rigid industrial framework, with some surprising bits of modern electronic music (dubstep!) deftly woven into GM's sound without sticking out or sounding forced.
"When Attention Just Isn't Enough" begins life as another gloriously plodding dirge, but chiming guitars and fat fuzzy dubby bass transform it into something much more moody and groovy. "Wasted" begins with that sort of super heavy synth bass that defines most dubstep jams, but here it's laced over skittery metallic percussion and squiggly psychedelic leads, and lots and lots of noise. But it does rear up and buzz wildly every few measures, making it almost feel like some sort of industrial metal dubstep. But the wah guitars and squalls of freaked out FX also give it a distinctly Loop / Hawkwind sort of drug jam vibe as well. A killer combination for sure.
"Sweatshop" is the only really electronic sounding track, still thick ropy basslines, but with a killer loping programmed beat, super distorted and sort-of-funky, the whole thing super skeletal and dubby, with tons of texture and ambience, before giving way to the final track, probably the most blissed out of the bunch, still industrial and murky and washed out sounding, but everything is wreathed in a warm haze, the guitars muted, the drums minimal, the bass rumbling and fuzzy, lots of tape hiss and amp buzz, almost dreamy, but still appropriately ominous and intense.
Killer packaging too, blacks and greys and metallic silvers, printed on transparent vellum, with the other pages of the booklet visible through the cover, inside all sorts of high contrast video stills, a look both modern and reminiscent of the old Earache / Godflesh days. Cool.
MPEG Stream: "Wolf At The Door"
MPEG Stream: "Vultures Descend"
MPEG Stream: "...Just Isn't Enough"

album cover HAMMEMIT Nature Mystic (Todestrieb) cd 14.98
Second record from these mysterious medieval liturgical soundscapers, who at one time were members of the awesomely avant black metal horde Emit. As we mentioned in the review of the first Emit record, that band was only tangentially 'black metal', choosing instead to take black metal elements and weave them into something more ritualistic and abstract. Well, Hammemit is the logical extension, ejecting all the black metal elements, minus some ominous black ambience, focusing more on mood and texture, creating a song suite that sounds like a collection of ancient hymns, the sounds of haunted cathedrals, the crumbling spires and broken stained glass, still imbued with the spirits and souls that had passed through before.
It's not hard to imagine wandering through some ruined stone church, at dusk, the moon bringing the shadows to life, the splintered pews in small bonfire ready piles, pages from hymnals scattered like dead leaves, when suddenly strange sounds come wafting down from the choir, shards of detuned guitar, deep rumbling drones, monk like chants, the occasional raspy whisper, warm whirling off kilter chordal whirs, washed out reverb drenched drifts of buzzing steel strings and moaned ghostlike voices, soft flutters of out of tune piano tumbling over soft crystalline shimmers, dark heaving slabs of ominous buzz, shot through with growled vocals and more spidery detuned warble and thick swirls of church organ. Gorgeous and ancient and haunting and mystical. Mood music for ruin'd cathedrals, a soundtrack for midnite pagan rituals, or as the legend on the cd sleeve reads: "Mediaeval Music For Modern Sensibilites"!
MPEG Stream: "Storms"
MPEG Stream: "Nature's Beautiful Ugliness"
MPEG Stream: "How Small They Must Have Felt"
MPEG Stream: "Dreamstate Hagioscope"

album cover HARVEY MILK / WILDILDLIFE split (Volcom) 7" 4.98
All most folks will need to know about this, is BRAND NEW HARVEY MILK TRACK. And maybe LIMITED TO 550 COPIES and ALREADY ALMOST OUT OF PRINT. If you're a long time aQ New Arrivals list reader, then the deal will no doubt be further sealed by these words: BRAND NEW WILDILDLIFE TRACK. Okay, that's enough all caps for one review. But that's it in a nutshell, killer new super limited split 7" from the gods of epic slow motion majestic sludge, and the up and coming masters of chaotic tripped out psychedelic metallic noise pop. Both bands bringing their A game, with tracks that sound like they could have come off either of their kick ass last albums.
So Harvey Milk, if you need an introduction, have a gander at the multitude of gushing reviews elsewhere on the aQ website, needless to say, there are a handful of bands who practically define aQ, who embody everything we love about music, and Harvey Milk is definitely one of those bands. And even in one side of a 7" it's easy to understand why. Even at 45, it still almost sounds too slow. And while it most certainly is sludgey and doomy and drone-y and dirgey it's also super catchy, with killer vocal harmonies, but those weird harmonies only HM can pull off, rough and raw and howled but still somehow harmonious, the sound and song majestic and epic, slow burning and emotional, like some classic rock staple slowed waaaaaaaaay doooooooown. So good.
Wildildlife counter with probably their poppiest song ever, still with that lysergic Butthole Surfers vibe, but WAY more hooky and bubblegummy, this track too has a classic rock vibe, but also a little Janes Addiction, sludgey guitars (that also sound a bit Aerosmith-y), chaotic drumming, tangled vocal lines, some clean and clear and crooned, others processed and sped up, all a little tripped out, with some killer squiggly guitar leads, lots of effects, delay and reverb all over the place, a dense, heavy, catchy hook filled pop psych jam that totally slays. Produced by Jennifer Herrema of Royal Trux btw (she's also producing their forthcoming full length).
LIMITED TO 550 COPIES. Each one hand numbered. Weird cover art: HM dude eating toast on one side, corpse painted cat on the other, some tripped out illustrations and liner notes inside. Will be gone before you know it.

album cover HENKE, ROBERT Indigo_Transform (I/CM) cd 12.98
Henke - software engineer for Ableton and one time Chain Reaction recording artist - had been approached by the Swedish installation artist Fredrik Wretman to use his track Indigo, which Henke had offered as a free download on his own website. This was a softened piece of nocturnal ambience that Henke had sourced from the drips of his own bathtub! Out of that original material, Henke stretched out a Brian Eno meets Thomas Koner driftscape of rumbling tones, sustained washes of dark, grey/blue sounds, and occasional interjections of the dripping water itself. While Henke did not feel it was appropriate for Wretman's installation to merely broadcast a stereo feed of Indigo, he recontextualized the composition through six-channels (i.e. three cds with different mixes, all in stereo); and as he instructed that those three cds would be started at different times, the loops of the cd would thus warrant a constantly evolving composition to match the rippling pools of water and light which Wretman had installed in the Fargfabrieken Gallery in Sweden. Yeah, this is pretty commonplace for a sound installation strategy; but the sounds that had come together for this re-re-composed stereo mix is pretty entrancing. Certainly for fans of Koner, the darker Brian Eno records, and Bass Communion.
MPEG Stream: "Excerpt"

album cover HENRIKSEN, ARVE Cartography (ECM) cd 17.98
Ooooh. Muted jazz trumpet. Breathy and gentle. Improvising melodically o'er shimmering background ambience... Well that's certainly part of what Supersilent's Arve Henriksen brings to this new "solo" album for the legendary German new music label ECM. But he's not really solo here, rather the bandleader of a (virtual?) ensemble that includes percussion, sampling, strings, double-bass, guitar, synth, field recordings, etc. Many folks are credited with sampling, programming, and "treatments", with vocals contributed by Trio Medieval and David Sylvian (whose fans will most likely enjoy this record). The twelve tracks here include much in the way of mysterious, somnolent electronic textures, crackling Philip Jeck style loopings, layered and effected spoken word interludes, and of course the gorgeous, feathery caresses of Henriksen's trumpet. It's all very moody, and certainly soundtrack-ready, a Scandinavian chill-out album that's part Miles Davis, part Portishead, part Djivan Gasparyan... Imagine an "easy listening" edition of Supersilent, a lot of the same sorts of sounds and glitchery but all on the mellow side. Also this would be easy to imagine, if you've heard any of Henriksen's previous lovely soundscapey solo discs on Rune Grammofon (which featured several of the same collaborators). And we'd recommend this too, for those who dig stuff on the Type and Miasmah labels.
MPEG Stream: "Poverty And Its Opposite"
MPEG Stream: "Assembly"

album cover HORSEBACK The Invisible Mountain (Utech) cd 14.98
Something very strange must have transpired since the last Horseback disc. Something traumatic maybe? Some spiritual crisis of sonic faith? Where that record was a glistening, glimmering, dreamy, drifty drone record, this one is, well, much heavier, and more rocking, and WAY more intense and EVIL sounding. So much so that it almost sounds like a different band. That said, we dig it. A LOT.
Super intense, and super heavy psychedelic twang flecked metallic post rock. The guitars buzz, and drone, and occasionally twang, the drums are powerful, tight, the instruments locked into slow burning build ups, some strange hybrid of newer Earth, Godspeed, Circle, the Necks and maybe a little Scenic. There's a sort of krautrock vibe going on too. Sun baked, a little lysergic, space-y hypnotic, repetitive, the tracks looooooong, with mostly a single part, that gradually builds and builds. The cool thing is it never explodes into a metal coda, a la Isis or Neurosis or a million other bands, it's all about the journey not the destination, and the journey is riveting enough without tacking on an explosive blow out.
But then there's the vocals, a harsh demonic rasp totally at odds with the music beneath, which in some ways makes the combination sound that much more intense and evil. Especially when the rasps are locked in a sort of call and response with the guitars, really strange but definitely compelling.
The first three tracks are variations on a theme, each an incredible slab of brooding, mesmerizing hypno-rock, lush and layered, with tons of cool little extra guitar flourishes, the drums busy enough to be interesting, but still locked tight into the groove, those vocals, adding menace for sure, but also a strange element that as mentioned above changes the whole feel. A track will be moody and woozy and will suddenly sound a bit evil, or at least a little ominous, before slipping back into the loping, pounding crush of the main riffs.
The strangest thing about this record is that the track with the most overtly evil title, the closer "Hatecloud Dissolving Into Nothing", is the least heavy or evil of the bunch, and the only track that sounds like the first Horseback record. A 16+ minute drift of soft focus new age-y ambience, of dreamy drift, sun dappled guitars draped over long stretches of gauzy whir, the sound delicate and crystalline, definitely dreamy and blissed out, the only remnant of the tracks that came before, are some barely audible harsh vokills, way way way down in the mix, that almost sound like a slow shifting layer of hiss or buzz, beneath the kaleidoscopic shimmer of blurred guitar hum and melancholic melody, another strange combination, but similar to the vocals on the first three tracks, they lend a very subtle hint of menace to the otherwise tranquil proceedings.
Gorgeous packaging, black on maroon, oversized vellum sleeves, inside, another vellum sleeve housing the disc and a printed poster with lyrics, liner notes and a strikingly detailed and garish ink drawing of a horse being attacked by wolves!
MPEG Stream: "Invokation"
MPEG Stream: "Tyrant Symmetry"

album cover INH HALENTROPY / DULL KNIFE Split (Metalhead Mind Control) cd-r 9.98
The long anticipated return of Inh Halentropy, a band we know very little about, other than they make a sound like almost nothing we've EVER heard before. A band who introduced themselves to us with a random package in the mail, containing a cd-r, and these simple words: "Dark Greetings. For your grimnatious becryptlementŠ" as well as the similarly mysterious sign off: "In ancient solemnity, none so grimmŠ".
We expected black metal, and that's what we got. sort of. Their sound was most definitely black, but not metal in any way we were familiar with, instead they unfurled a cinematic new age-y black ambient doom, equal parts Esoteric, Goblin, and Low, a sort of mysterious blissed out yet grim slowcore. Or something. Their cd-r release disappeared in no time, and no word from the band until recently, a new cd-r just showed up one day, that familiar two part band name, an owl and all sorts of strange symbols, we were soooo excited. We originally thought it was a record called Dull Knife, but soon discovered Inh Halentropy were sharing the cds with another like minded horde CALLED Dull Knife.
So what has changed in the last two years, if anything? Well, the sound is still grim, and haunting, a swirling slo-mo mix of atmospheric doom and creepy crawly slowcore, an eighties horror movie soundtrack vibe infused with a shimmery drifty bit of new age ambience, two tracks, the first a plodding cinematic sprawl, with abstract programmed drums, dark swells of distant rumble, smears of almost cheesy sounding synths, what sounds like faux horns (also probably synths), deeeeeeep bass that throbs underneath, all wrapped up with super lyrical, haunting minor key melodies, definitely like the soundtrack to some lost 30 year old European horror film.
The second Inh Halentropy jam is even trippier and more spaced out, beginning with heavily effected falsetto vocals, that almost sound like wild animal calls or that little 'cooo' sound from Serge Gainsbourg's "Bonnie & Clyde" albeit way more evil, some woozy detuned guitars, and some shimmery squalls of warped warble, eventually spreading out into a slow burning sprawl of spidery guitars, hushed whir and glistening tinkles, and some seriously disturbing slowed down samples. So creepy and kick ass. Hate to think we might have to wait 2 more years for another full length.
Inh Halentropy set the bar pretty high, but Dull Knife are undeterred, and offer up their own sort of creepy ambience, deep warped low end tones, unfurling grimly in an expanse of muted buzz and crumbling distortion, reminding us quite a bit of Trollmann, in its minimal low end heaviness, over the course of the track, the low end grows more abrasive, and more active, fluctuating more wildly, like some weirdly distorted symphony for foghorn and black buzz. The second DK track's another bleak bit of minimal grimness, this time even more harrowingly dense, the sounds thick and corrosive, the swells coming faster and faster, eventually blurring into a single oozing slab of blackdrone, shot through with shards of crunch and strange bits of glitch. Wow. Guess we need to hear more from these guys as well.
Needless to say, anyone into sounds slow, low, grim and black, spaced out and atmospheric, haunting and heavy, should grab one of these right quick.
SUPER LIMITED of course. Each one hand screened, different colored ink, on different colored textured paper, every one different.
MPEG Stream: INH HALENTROPY "Hobgoblin's Oracle"
MPEG Stream: DULL KNIFE "A Plan For Reverse Reaping"

album cover JANSCH, BERT L.A. Turnaround (Drag City) cd 14.98
One of three simultaneous reissues of the mid-seventies records Bert Jansch made for the Charisma label. Never before issued on cd, each one remastered under Jansch's personal supervision with extensive liner notes, bonus tracks and extras.
L.A. Turnaround from 1974 came out of a free-fall period between Pentangle's long-time-coming break-up and a label shake-up at Reprise records that found Jansch looking for new digs. He signed to the "Famous Charisma Label" (home of Genesis, Van Der Graaf Generator and Lindisfarne) whose boss Tony Stratton Smith sought to reinvigorate Jansch's solo glory from what he considered the din of the Pentangle years. Legend has it that Jansch was invited to stay at Smith's Sussex country house where he arrived after an all-night bender with John Martyn. When he awoke the next morning, he was introduced to Mike Nesmith (of Monkees fame), O.J. "Red" Rhodes (a renowned slide guitar session player) and Klaus Voorman at breakfast. Noticing a mobile recording studio set up outside as well as a small film crew, Jansch quickly realized he was supposed to start recording right then with Nesmith brought in to produce. Half-recorded in Sussex and then finished in Los Angeles, L.A. Turnaround is the rarest and most sought after of the Charisma recordings, as well as the freshest, and is most linked to Jansch's Brit folk heyday, yet with a warm rootsy sheen evoked by Rhodes' stellar slide guitar. Jansch even reworks one of his most popular songs, "Needle of Death", with an earthy production that adds an edge the original lacked. The bonus tracks include many alternate version of songs plus "In The Bleak Midwinter", a Christmas single produced by Ralph McTell. There is also a film included on the enhanced cd of the recording sessions documenting four of the songs. Beautiful!
MPEG Stream: "Open Up The Watergate"
MPEG Stream: "Of Love and Lullaby"
MPEG Stream: "Cluck Old Hen"

album cover JANSCH, BERT Santa Barbara Honeymoon (Drag City) cd 14.98
One of three simultaneous reissues of the mid-seventies records Bert Jansch made for the Charisma label. Never before issued on cd, each one remastered under Jansch's personal supervision with extensive liner notes, bonus tracks and extras.
British Folk meets West Coast folk-rock on this 1975 follow-up to L.A. Turnaround. Recorded in L.A. with a full on back-up band on a solo record for the first time, Santa Barbara Honeymoon is one of Jansch's more curious efforts. Perhaps that was due to the change in production crew (Nesmith didn't return to produce), but also may be due to the unlikely inclusion of a Dixieland Jazz ensemble on "Dance Lady Dance" as well as steel drums on "Baby Blue" (not the Dylan song!). While this was a financial and critical disappointment at the time, the quality of the songs still shine through, especially in the stripped down versions performed live at the Montreaux festival, included here as bonus tracks. It's one of those records that is very much of its time, but still a worthy touchstone in the context of bands like Vetiver, Fleet Foxes, and Two Gallants who continue to mine those warm seventies sunshine sounds.
MPEG Stream: "Blues Run The Game"
MPEG Stream: "Dynamite"
MPEG Stream: "One for Jo (live)"

album cover JANSCH, BERT A Rare Conundrum (Drag City) cd 14.98
One of three simultaneous reissues of the mid-seventies records Bert Jansch made for the Charisma label. Never before issued on cd, each one remastered under Jansch's personal supervision with extensive liner notes, bonus tracks and extras.
A Rare Conundrum from1977, sees Jansch returning to England and back to a more stripped down acoustic sound after the ambitious folly of Santa Barbara Honeymoon. Charisma at the time was focussed on the new Phil Collins-led Genesis era and gave Jansch lots of room to find a new band and record a new record. Focusing on more traditional, personal, and back-to-basics material ("Pretty Faro", "The Curragh of Kildare"), A Rare Conundrum feels like the most lost and overlooked of the three Charisma records. The backing band Jansch put together for the recording (including members of Dire Straights, Lindisfarne, and Dando Shaft) couldn't obligate themselves to touring, so the album didn't get promoted at all. That's no surprise since it's rather anachronistically out of step with where popular music was heading (punk being the driving musical force at the time), and Charisma's year long delay on its release sealed the record's fate as well as Jansch's stint on the label, which dropped him without notice a couple of years later. The bonus tracks include three song that were included on the European releases of the record under another title before Charisma officially released this record to US markets. A lovely record that is finally getting its much deserved due!
MPEG Stream: "One To A Hundred"
MPEG Stream: "Doctor, Doctor"
MPEG Stream: "Lost Love"

album cover JECK, PHILIP Spool (The Tapeworm) cassette 7.98
First release from this mysterious new tape only label, and it comes from long time favorite, turntablist Philip Jeck! If you're anything like us, you'll buy ANYTHING with Jeck's name on it, his record is that solid, his records are, well, that solid, every single release is gorgeous and expansive and dark and otherworldly, multiple aQ Records Of The Week, maybe more than any other artist. But that makes perfect sense as his sound, and his technique, his aesthetic is so amazing, and so demonstrates what we love about music. The unrestrained creativity, the recontextualiation of other sounds, the physicality of his performances, but mostly the sound, at once warm and crackly and familiar, at the same time, otherworldly and alien and fantastical.
Needless to say, a new record by Jeck was a no brainer, we got as many as we could of the 250 copy run, only to discover that there were in fact no turntables, that Spool instead featured Jeck on solo bass! Hmmm. Well, any trepidation we had lasted all of 5 seconds, as Spool seems to explore the exact same sonic space as Jeck's turntable records, the bass rendered unrecognizable, more a soundscaping tool than a rock instrument, run through a bank of effects, had we not been told that this was a bass record and not a turntable record we might never have known. Gorgeous hazy swirls of deep textured rumble, soft scrapes and distant keening shards of feedback, dark buried melodies, layered and textured expanses of warm fluid drift, occasionally building into an almost cacophonous squall, but always managing to settle into some sort of raga like buzz or epic glacial whir. Haunting and so beautiful. We'd love to see what this guy could do with a whole band, especially a whole band of Jecks!
WAY RECOMMENDED. And be warned, we only got about 30 of these, of the only 250 made, which means most likely these will be the only copies we can get.

album cover MAUS HAUS Lark Marvels (Pretty Blue Presents) lp 13.98
We've been getting tons of requests for this, and after many attempts at contacting the band, we've finally got copies of their full length vinyl debut!! Maus Haus is a local San Francisco experimental pop six piece group, whose analogue synth-driven sounds lend themselves to comparisons to bands like Hot Chip, Stereolab, Black Moth Super Rainbow, Aavikko and Grizzly Bear. They're sure garnering a popular following with floor-filling live club gigs and word-of-mouth buzz!! But Maus Haus also mine a more off-kilter chamber pop sound that often forays into adventurous noirish British jazz territory that set the group apart from their perhaps better known contemporaries and influences. Whipsmart lyrics, soulful harmonies and tightly shifting musical arrangements (pensive harpsichords, far-off flutes and hypnotic saxophone hooks weave throughout) aptly display the group's fine-tuned musicianship and makes this local band definitely one to watch! Each LP comes with a mp3 download card for those who are vinyl-impaired! Very Recommended!
MPEG Stream: "We Used Technology (But Technology Let Us Down)"
MPEG Stream: "Radio Dials Die"
MPEG Stream: "Million Volt Lights"

album cover MULLINS, DEE The Continuing Story (Omni Recording Company) cd 16.98
Omni has been kicking our asses with weird and wonderful outsider country reissues, one of our favorites so far was that awesome Plantation Gold collection we made a Record Of The Week, and if you remember, one of our favorite tracks on that double cd (and there were tons of contenders) was "I Am The Grass" by Dee Mullins, who we had never heard, nor even heard OF, before the release of that comp.
"I Am The Grass" did seem on the surface like a straightforward country classic, if it weren't for the strange percussion, the wah wah guitar, the haunting spoken word intro, the lyrics about literally being the grass - especially the part about being the grass over someones's grave, dark. And of course the weird super effected metallic buzz of the chorus. But this was no gimmick, Mullins had an incredible voice, and his songs were catchy, and fantastically arranged. Lush, and heartfelt and bittersweet. Listening to this collection, it seems criminal that he wasn't HUGE. "Texas Tea" sounds like it could have been a hit for Kris Kristofferson or Willie Nelson, "Guilt Box" is total classic honky tonk, with an awesome main riff, and some incredible vocals, "War Baby" is an intense anti war track which incorporates passages from "Wild Blue Yonder" (or whatever that song is called), as well as some cool processed E.L.O.-like background vocals. Then there's the slide guitar laced gospel of "The Next Face I See" about a prisoner facing death (the next face he sees will be the Lord's, get it?), and telling tales of how he got there (murder!). And that's the thing with Mullins, these songs on the surface are gorgeous, classic sounding country, slippery slide, shuffling drums, lots of twang, and Mullins' voice which is incredible, but these songs are dark, really dark sometimes, and a little bit twisted, but that's also what makes this stuff so special.
Mullins only had one hit, a sort of novelty track, "The Continuing Story Of Harper Valley P.T.A.", a response to the original, and it's a shame really, since almost ALL of the others could have and should have been even bigger hits.
Of all the Omni reissues, this might just be the best one so far, a perfect combo of twisted and dark, and total classic country, with some of the best and catchiest country songs we've heard, maybe ever.
As with all the Omni releases, tons of rare photos, and lots of liner notes in a big full color booklet.
MPEG Stream: "I Am The Grass"
MPEG Stream: "Texas Tea"
MPEG Stream: "Guilt Box"
MPEG Stream: "Beers"

album cover NISENNENMONDAI Destination Tokyo (Smalltown Supersound) cd 16.98
Last year the Smalltown Supersound label clued a lot of lucky listeners outside of Japan into the wonders of the all-girl, uber rhythmic skronk rock groop Nisennenmondai, by reissuing the trio's Tori and Neji eps together on one cd (Heartworm then doing an lp version). That sure whet our appetite for more, and here it is!
Destination Tokyo starts off with a real choo-choo train of a track, "Souzousuru Neji", the crazy choo-choo threatening to go off the rails, propelled by nervous no wavey percussive jitter, feedback scraping around the edges of the beat. It's super repetitive, incessant, awesome. Part This Heat, part Liquid Liquid, part Children Coup d'Etat (a Japanese avant-rock band from the '90s, anyone remember 'em? We mention them 'cause of what sounds like a violin in the mix here). The track builds and builds for about 13 minutes, the bass pulsations protruding, the beats pounding harder, the whole thing getting denser and denser, intensifying until the sudden stop on a dime suck the air out of the room ending at about the 13 minute mark. Whew. Though then the Nisennenmondai girls pick it up again right quick with the chicken scratch groove of "Disco", another seemingly endless build up. That's their formula, and we sure dig it! Relentless high-hat, chiming and chirping guitars, layered and looping...
On this full-length, Nisennenmondai's music is still mostly instrumental (with the exception of the brief, a capella babytalk of track 3, "Miraabouru") but is presented with quite a bit LESS noise and distortion than on those two early eps, Nisennenmondai this time going for more of a spare, skeletal, minimalist sound, though still one that effortlessly builds and builds and builds to juggernaut proportions. It is much more "dancefloor" friendly, with song titles like "Disco" and "Mirrorball", not to mention the cover art, that must be the intention, but in a very motorik, krautrocky way. While "Souzousuru Neji" is probably the heaviest cut here, at the opposite end of the disc, the kosmiche synth wooshes and melodic loveliness that adorn the final, title track display Nisennenmondai at their calmest and krautrockiest, it's definitely one for fans of Neu! and Harmonia and the like. Heck this track could be Circle or Salvatore, playing at an ambient airport with planes and helicopters blissfully buzzing around. What is not to love???!
MPEG Stream: "Souzousuru Neji"
MPEG Stream: "Mirrorball"
MPEG Stream: "Destination Tokyo"

album cover NOMEANSNO Mama (Wrong Records) cd 13.98
Elsewhere on this list you'll find our two favorite Nomeansno records, Wrong and The Day Everything Became Isolated And Destroyed, both Records Of The Week, as they were destined to be, considering lots of us here consider those to be ALL time favorites, which makes it even weirder that some of those very same people had never even HEARD of Mama, also newly reissued.
Mama turns out to be the very first recordings from the brothers Wright, before they added a guitar player, total proggy mathy poppy rhythm section genius, even back then, in 1982! If you think Nomeansno sound weird by early nineties punk rock standards, imagine a band like that in Canada in the early eighties, playing local clubs or bars, people must have been very very confused. Cuz even in these early recordings, the band is pretty much fully formed, pulsing sinewy basslines, mathy complex drumming, and the same sort of strange sung spoken vocals, the same snarky vocals, but back then there was also a bunch of keyboards, which added another strange vibe to their sound. And the funk element was way more in play, a few tracks are definitely flat out funky, but even then, the band twist it all up into something unique, although nothing here is really punk rock exactly. It's a cool glimpse into the sounds and songs that would eventually get transformed into the post punk math prog juggernaut that NMN would eventually become.
We weren't sure what to think at first, but the more we listen to this, the more we're digging it. Tripped out, stripped down, sort of new wave. At least one of the tracks does get pretty fierce, and sounds like it could maybe be a demo for a track from the first record, "No Rest For The Wicked", fast and furious, buzzy, a little bit heavy, the bass already a force to be reckoned with, but then the track after sounds like some twisted cruise ship lounge band whatthefuck. Definitely confusing, but that's part of their charm.
The four bonus tracks are from a 7" that preceded the release of Mama, and feature guitar finally, as well as sax on one song, and an early version of "Forget Your Life" which would later show up in a different version on The Day Everything Became Nothing, but this is the raw, original lo-fi version, and again, it sounds surprisingly true to the final version, except for some wonky keyboards, that we almost wish they had included in the new version.
Cool stuff for sure, but definitely only for fans, mere dabblers should first pick up Wrong and The Day Everything Became Isolated And Destroyed, but trust us, you shan't remain dabblers for long.
MPEG Stream: "Living Is Free"
MPEG Stream: "Rich Guns"
MPEG Stream: "My Roommate Is Turning Into A Monster"
MPEG Stream: "No Sex"

album cover PESTE NOIRE K.P.N. / La Sanie Des Siecles - Panegyrique De La Degenerescence (Ahdistuksen Aihio / De Profundis / Rosenkrantz) lp 21.00
For a super limited time, the killer debut full length from these weirdo black metal masters (featuring members of Alcest, Amesoeurs and Valfunde) is available ON VINYL!!! Here's our review from when we first got it in last year:
A while back, it seemed like everyone, ourselves included, was totally obsessed with a French black metaller called Neige. Doesn't ring a bell? How about his shoegazey post-black metal outfit Alcest? Or his fuzzy black metal gone bliss pop combo Amesoeurs? His fractured new wave black metal combo Valfunde? Or even his more 'traditional' black metal outfit Peste Noire? Yep, you got it now.
Been a while since we've heard from Neige, since then, he joined another 'dark metal' band, and he's also joined long time aQ faves Forgotten Woods. While that's pretty exciting, and we're always up for hearing more of what Neige has to offer. We also sort of wish he'd just cut down on the various side projects, so we wouldn't have to wait nearly as long for a new Amesoeurs, Alcest or Peste Noire record.
But while we wait patiently, we can now revisit the first Peste Noire full length, with the unwieldy title La Sanie Des Siecles - Panegyrique De La Degenerescence, finally reissued! We've been dying to list this, but until now we haven't been able to get enough. Above we call Peste Noire Neige's more traditional black metal group, but that designation is really relative, as the music of Peste Noire, while being black and buzzy and heavy and grim, is also totally tweaked, fractured and fucked up, rife with all manner of whatthefuck, from gorgeous sweeping melodies, to strange samples, so completely confusional arrangements, to bits of liturgical music mixed into the buzz, to some serious pop tendencies. But somehow it all works. That is if by works, you mean, constitutes one of the most awesomely fucked up lo-fi melodic outsider black metal records ever!! We raved about the latest Peste Noire a while back, the awesomely titled FolkFuck Folie, and everything we loved about that record (also just reissued) is present here as well, but if anything, all of those things are just, well, MORE. More fucked up, more freaked out, more melodic, more lo-fi.
Just take the opener, "Nous Sommes Fanes", begins with some record crackle, before the band lurches into a weird drunken waltz, sounding more like the Reeks And The Wrecks than any black metal. The guitars and drums swing woozily, the drums and cymbals super blown out, over the top, an ultra distorted guitar spins a web of damaged leads, before slipping into a strange moody post rocky drift, replete with big boomy reverb drenched chords. But then the second track kicks in, and we're back in more recognizable black metal territory, and even though it's buzzy and black, it is incredibly melodic, poppy almost, the melodies soaring and epic, the track is peppered with blasts of blasting grimness for sure, a bit of a crusty punk vibe all tangled up with the buzzing blackness, but even when the song is blasting blackly, close listening reveals all manner of melodic weirdness going on beneath the surface, and it doesn't stay below the surface for long, as the song shifts into loping minor key almost-dirge, before finish up how it started, with that strangely emotional super melodic soaring blackened buzz.
And so it goes, the band lurching from midtempo lope to roaring furious blast, to almost doomy plod, all strangely muddy and murky, the various parts twisted and gnarled into something totally unique. The guitars are incredibly varied, going from Ved Buens Ende like Slint-worship, to filthy Darkthrone-d crunch, to gorgeous almost folky finger picking, some serious moments of Opeth-y flutter peppered amidst the crusty blackness.
The second to last track "Dueil Angoisseus (Christine De Pisan, 1362-1431)" is all gorgeously bleak and buzzy, midtempo and melancholy, but then draped over the top is super clean, classical guitar, way up in the mix, that gives the track the strangest vibe, makes it sound strangely pretty. Finally, the disc finishes off with "Des Medecins Malades Et Des Saints Sequestres", which begins with a tangle of effects drenched hammer-ons, unfurling a haunting, off kilter melody, the drums a distant lo-fi pound, when the song kicks in, it's almost eighties metal, albeit filtered through a grim French black metal lens, but the riffing, so classic, and so cool sounding when cloaked in a filthy production and that demonic rasp. But this song too, shifts into some strange other space, and is suddenly infused with what sounds like a wall of whirring organs, those hammer-ons return, and the song is some strange minor key doom pop epic, that flits back and forth between that eighties riffing, super distorted, and that sprawling metallic poppiness, before transforming into a blaze of super effected metallic chug, finishing off with a strange super distorted almost-jig (!), the drums huge and pounding, while the guitar plucks out a strange distorted melody, much like the opening track.
Needless to say (funny how we always say that after SAYing it for several thousand words), this is one of our favorite black metal records ever. Fucked up, but black and heavy, poppy and hook filled, but still grim and buzzy, if you loved FolkFuck Folie, you'll love this, if you dig Amesoeurs and Alcest but want to hear that sound dipped in filth and painted black, well then this will definitely do the trick. If this was brand new and had just come out, it would be, without a doubt, one of our records of the year (not just black metal either), but as it is, this is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL AND RECOMMENDED!
MPEG Stream: "Nous Sommes Fanes"
MPEG Stream: "Le Mort Joyeux "
MPEG Stream: "Laus Tibi Domine"

album cover PETIT MAL Ascetics (self released) 3" cd-r 5.98
Ascetics is probably the best thing we've heard from Jim Kaiser's Petit Mal project or any of the various collaborations he's done with like-minded Bay Area improvisers and noise tacticians. There's long been a dourness to his junkyard concoctions, but that attitude really seems to click on this short program 3". An overlapping drone from what could be generated from Kaiser's ever-present bicycle wheel, which he has bowed and banged for many years now. The strategy here seems to be less banging and more bowing, or at least extracting the resonant hues from that commonplace object and working those sounds into a thickened drone. On the first piece, Kaiser couples this with a downtuned acoustic guitar strumming, which harkens back to those few records on which Zoviet France sent acoustic guitar chords through their mottled bank of tape delay mechanics. At the same time, there's something sorrowfully doom-y about this track. The second piece lightens things up, but only a little bit, as the predominant tone is of an oppressive haze congealed out of tape hiss, distant amplifier destruction, and traffic noise. On top of this, Kaiser situates a melancholy slow-motion score for piano for a much grittier re-interpretation of Brian Eno's classic Thursday Afternoon. Fantastic stuff here, and super limited to boot!
MPEG Stream: "Levitation"
MPEG Stream: "Optum"

album cover PLENTI, JULIAN Is... Skyscraper (Matador) cd 13.98
Interpol were always a little sleazy. Their slicked back hair and skinny moustaches and black suits. That whole vibe. But hell, it suited them, and it didn't matter all that much cuz the songs were so fucking great. Even though officially the identity of Julian Plenti is a big secret, only the truly dense won't have figured out that this is in fact Paul Banks from Interpol. There is after all a picture of him on the cover, and his voice is pretty unmistakable, and the songwriting too, definitely reminiscent of Interpol. This was supposedly his "sexy" and "sleazy" record, by his sexy sleazy alter ego, but disregard all the pretentious bullshit, what this is, is a pretty bad ass dark pop record, laced with plenty of electronics, nods galore to classic Interpol, and some awesome songs. The last Interpol record was a bit of a let down for a lot of folks, so while this is not necessarily a return to form, and not really an Interpol record, it does for us, function as something to tide us over until Interpol get their shit together and come up with another record to rival Turn On The Bright Lights.
Opener "Only If You Run" is total Interpol right out of the gate, with some extra electronic flourishes, but a loping gloomy bass line, Banks's recognizable croon, a killer hook, some weird production, some chiming guitars and big drums, synths too, and a little bit of skittery programming. Track two, "Fun That We Have" is even better", some crunchy guitar, a moe menacing vibe, yet another very Interpol sounding melody, some glitchy electronics, some weird lyrics, and some lush production. "Games For Days" is another killer, muted electronic percussion, brittle guitar chug, dense dark minor key chorus, some big crunchy guitars and yes, yet another Interpol sounding vocal line. Don't hold it against him, Banks is a huge part of Interpol, so Interpol is of course a big part of him, and thus informs his songwriting, which as we mentioned before doesn't bother us one bit. We're digging this a LOT.
MPEG Stream: "Only If You Run"
MPEG Stream: "Skyscraper"
MPEG Stream: "Games For Days"

album cover PLENTI, JULIAN Is... Skyscraper (Matador) lp 16.98
Interpol were always a little sleazy. Their slicked back hair and skinny moustaches and black suits. That whole vibe. But hell, it suited them, and it didn't matter all that much cuz the songs were so fucking great. Even though officially the identity of Julian Plenti is a big secret, only the truly dense won't have figured out that this is in fact Paul Banks from Interpol. There is after all a picture of him on the cover, and his voice is pretty unmistakable, and the songwriting too, definitely reminiscent of Interpol. This was supposedly his "sexy" and "sleazy" record, by his sexy sleazy alter ego, but disregard all the pretentious bullshit, what this is, is a pretty bad ass dark pop record, laced with plenty of electronics, nods galore to classic Interpol, and some awesome songs. The last Interpol record was a bit of a let down for a lot of folks, so while this is not necessarily a return to form, and not really an Interpol record, it does for us, function as something to tide us over until Interpol get their shit together and come up with another record to rival Turn On The Bright Lights.
Opener "Only If You Run" is total Interpol right out of the gate, with some extra electronic flourishes, but a loping gloomy bass line, Banks's recognizable croon, a killer hook, some weird production, some chiming guitars and big drums, synths too, and a little bit of skittery programming. Track two, "Fun That We Have" is even better", some crunchy guitar, a moe menacing vibe, yet another very Interpol sounding melody, some glitchy electronics, some weird lyrics, and some lush production. "Games For Days" is another killer, muted electronic percussion, brittle guitar chug, dense dark minor key chorus, some big crunchy guitars and yes, yet another Interpol sounding vocal line. Don't hold it against him, Banks is a huge part of Interpol, so Interpol is of course a big part of him, and thus informs his songwriting, which as we mentioned before doesn't bother us one bit. We're digging this a LOT.
MPEG Stream: "Only If You Run"
MPEG Stream: "Skyscraper"
MPEG Stream: "Games For Days"

album cover RILEY, TERRY A Rainbow In Curved Air (Columbia) cd 12.98
We reviewed the vinyl reissue of this dreamy minimal classic last list, so we figured we might as well list the cd as well, so those sadly turntable deficient don't miss out on this classic...
A Rainbow In Curved Air is pretty much the ultimate in hypnotizing cosmic bliss out. Two long tracks in which Riley used electric organ, harpsichord, rockischord, dumbec, saxophone and tambourine, to create a sound in which his minimalist background served as a launching pad for him to really reach the outer limits of sound, a sound that is about as perfect as a soundtrack to sunrise we could ever imagine.
A Rainbow In Curved Sky was originally released in 1969, it was the first album Riley made for Columbia records and it's still so baffling and amazing to think there was a time when major labels would release such brilliant, noncommercial transcendent music like this. After doing some digging around we realized that one of the main reasons that Riley amazingly ended up on Columbia was because fellow electronic pioneer David Behrman had landed a job at the label, so he brought Riley into the land of Columbia and produced this amazing album.
Forty years after it's genesis, these are still sounds that make us stop in our tracks and suck us in, allowing us to get lost in the most amazing sonic daydreams one could imagine. A Rainbow In Curved Air has proven to be a model for several generations of cosmic music makers. It's safe to say that without this record there wouldn't be folks like Arp, Growing, Emeralds, White Rainbow, etc. Beyond recommended and totally essential!
MPEG Stream: "A Rainbow In Curved Air"
MPEG Stream: "Poppy Nogood & The Phantom Band"

album cover SA-RA CREATIVE PARTNERS Nuclear Evolution: The Age of Love (Ubiquity) 2cd 16.98
After the amazing job they did with production on last year's Erykah Badu record New Amerykah Pt.1, we were really anxious to hear what the Sa-Ra Creative Partners would brew up on this new album of their own. Taking the best of psychedelic soul's past and placing it into a kaleidoscopic vision of hip-hop's future this ambitious double disc proves that Sa-Ra really are at the forefront of modern day leftfield soul/hip-hop/funk. You can for sure hear the aesthetic they laid down on Erykah Badu's latest as well as healthy hints of De La Soul, J Dilla, and lots of nods to funk luminaries like Prince, Zapp, Cameo and Parliament. This is the kind of record you can blast out loud for late night hang sessions or through headphones for an ultra stylish, personal and intimate, interstellar psychedelic soul experience.
MPEG Stream: "He Say She Say"
MPEG Stream: "Spacefruit"
MPEG Stream: "Hangin By A String"

album cover SANGARE, OUMOU Seya (Nonesuch) cd 17.98
One of the most treasured voices in Mali's musical landscape, Oumou Sangare has been making rich and rewarding music for over twenty years now. She is really one of those rare examples of someone who is respected and loved so deeply by her neighbors all throughout West Africa, as well as having the good fortune to see her music spread throughout the rest of the world in more recent years, to equal fanfare. Drawing upon the influence of folks like Ali Farka Toure and Youssou D'Nour in her ability to inject so much melody and passion into her songs, and with over forty amazing musicians playing on the record, the sound and instrumentation is beyond lush, and serves as an equally strong force to counter Sangare's beautiful and timeless voice. This is true soul music!
MPEG Stream: "Sukunyali"
MPEG Stream: "Iyo DJeli"
MPEG Stream: "Donso"

album cover SHEVALREQ Siege Of Albraca (Hekaloth) cd 16.98
Record number two from these practically indescribable musical miscreants, er, GENIUSES. Where to begin? There's a label called Hekaloth, who in their own way are championing what they consider to be the most important musical advancement in recent history, the guitar synthesizer! And how do they do that? By making these insane records of warped warbly atonal synthesized guitar, accompanied by raw demonic sounding black metal rasps. And if that weren't enough, each record is a concept record, about some historical battle, and each one has some sort of theme: guitar synths mixed with jazz, or mixed with world music instruments, or Asian folk instruments. Did we mention the record covers? They generally feature statues or action figures piled atop and around guitar synth modules, which look just like stereo components, often laid out so the synth modules look like landscapes upon which some medieval battle just so happens to be taking place. In the past we've raved about the first Shevalreq record, as well as discs by Gluttony, Thursar and Xynfonica, to read more wild raving and hyperbolic ranting about these amazingly fucked up records check the website, needless to say, this upholds the high standards set forth by those curious collections of freaked out and fucked up weirdness.
The guitar synth sounds a little like a weird cheap organ, the melodies atonal and warped, there are different modules the player can install in the guitar synth, so out of nowhere some weird melody will surface that SORT of sounds like a koto or something. As far as we can tell this newest Shevalreq is meant to be a little Asian, but once we decided that, in swoops another track that sounds like the sound track to a Nintendo 64 Dungeons And Dragons game, all Renne Faire tinkle and lilting melody, and of course that deep ominous rasp. Some folks here are driven INSANE by this stuff, but some of us LOVE it, this shit is absolutely nuts. Totally bonkers. It appears to be serious, which only makes it more insane and impossibly awesome. Read the other reviews, listen to the sound samples, this is absolutely essential listening for folks into freaky outsider sounds and any sort of fractured fucked up musical weirdness.
MPEG Stream: "Agrikhan's Embassy To Angelique"
MPEG Stream: "In The Dungeons Of The Castle Cruel"
MPEG Stream: "The Rescue Of Marfisa"
MPEG Stream: "The Minotaur"

album cover SLAUTER XSTROYES Winter Kill (Rockadrome / Forged In Fire) cd 12.98
Seems like Texas's Rockadrome label could keep themselves pretty darn busy by simply reissuing stuff they already reissued a decade ago when they were called Monster Records, and we're glad they have been! Recently Rockadrome's Vintage imprint (all about the '70s hard rock) made the Poobah and Cain albums available again, and now it's time that their Forged In Fire division (devoted to '80s American metal obscurities) finally reissued the Slauter Xstroyes discs!! What's that, funny name? SLAUTER XSTROYES. All hail.
This is one we'd actually reviewed the first (or rather, second) time around, when it was reissued by Monster. Here's roughly what we said so long ago (over the years we've grown to appreciate Winter Kill even more, so we pumped it up a little bit):
Yeah, yeah, another obscure '80s cult metal band reissued. We'd heard about this group and how amazing they were supposed to be for a long time, but when we first got the cd reissue of their only album, 1985's Winter Kill, it sounded just like we expected: high pitched vox, widdly guitar solos, Maiden-esque songwriting... cool, yeah, but nothing special. BUT, then we listened to it again. And again. Something about this, some X-factor, makes it VERY special. Rather than sounding like they're derivative of Maiden, Priest, and a host of mid-'80s Metal Blade bands, Slauter Xstroyes somehow do what they do so perfectly that THEY sound like the Platonic ideal of '80s true heavy metal, the template for every other band, the originators rather than imitators. Of course this isn't actually the case, yet a few listens into it, Winter Kill was having that effect: while it's on your stereo, it's the ultimate in metal. We bow down. Fans of the likes of Manilla Road, Cirith Ungol, Warlord, Omen, Attacker, and Brocas Helm should add this to their collections for sure. Classy, slightly eccentric, skilled, and - the kicker - full of actual emotion. Absurd as it sounds - and the vocalist's squeals do sometimes sound absurd - this metal is for real and meaningful. From the heavy droney keyboard intro, through the album's intervening moments of galloping attack, doomy riffing, and acoustic bliss, to the closing anthem "Mother, Mother Fucker", these guys RULE. If you can listen to Spinal Tap for more than purely comedic value, as we can, you'll certainly agree. Seriously, this is a bombastic, almost prog, metal classic. And this new edition includes a bonus video for "Black Rose And Thorns" playable on your computer (though we haven't gotten it to work, yet).
We've also got Free The Beast (a posthumous collection of SX tracks) back in stock, Forged In Fire reissued it as well. And, there's a new band called Energy Vampires starring the SX singer, worth checking out, we have it too and hopefully will get to doin' a review someday.
MPEG Stream: "Winter Kill"
MPEG Stream: "The Stage"
MPEG Stream: "Black Rose And Thorns"

album cover STRENG, PEKKA & TSAVALLAN PRESIDENTTI Magneettimiehen Kuolema (Love) cd 17.98
On my visit to Finland a few years back, I (Andee) was lucky enough to have Jussi from Circle as a host and guide. Which meant our three priorities were: recording/jamming, eating Finnish pizza (the BEST pizza IN THE WORLD), and of course record shopping (when Jussi was visiting HERE recently, he insisted on record shopping every single day!!). The record shopping was a blast, as it always is in a new city, especially in a new country, but it wasn't all just browsing, there were a bunch of Finnish records I was dying to get my hands on, and would probably never be able to find outside of Finland. But there were also a bunch of bands that I had never heard, but that Jussi insisted I NEEDED to hear, bands that informed his music, and most of the underground Finnish music we were into. One was a band called Mano Mano, a killer classic Finnish rock band, another was Motelli Skronkle, a totally twisted sort-of-pop/folk band (whose records will hopefully be reissued soon on Jussi's Ektro label), and the other was Pekka Streng, in fact Jussi insisted I buy ANYTHING on Love Records, a legendary underground Finnish label, but especially Pekka Streng. We did eventually manage to track it down, and it was just as good as promised, but somehow even weirder and more idiosyncratic, especially for a record that came out in 1970.
Love Records seems to have been reactivated recently, having released those Arctic Hysteria compilations, as well as the super rad Psychedelic Phinland collection, and now, Streng's only two releases, from the early seventies, both released in the years before he died tragically at 26.
Magneettimiehen Kuolema was his debut, and finds him with famous Finnish prog rockers Tasavallan Presidenttii as his back up band. But don't be expecting full on prog, no this is way more folky, tinged with psychedelic rock, and yeah, a little prog. While the sounds on Magneettimiehen Kuolema are not that overly strange, you have to remember this was 1970, and much of the sounds here were WAY ahead of their time. At its core, this is a dreamy folk rock record, a bit of twang, fluttery flutes, acoustic guitar, some spidery psych guitar, a little whistling and of course Streng's soft dreamy vocals. Think Nick Drake or Pugh Rogefeldt or Joakim Skogsberg, but then mix in field recordings, lush piano, dramatic crooning, skittery Indian sounding percussion, buzzy sitar like guitar drones, some wild psychedelia, strange glitchy electronics and analog synths and some seriously strange arrangements, but ultimately, all wrapped around Streng's simple heartfelt folky pop. So good. And it's easy to see how influenced ALL your various Finnish faves were and are by Streng... Es, Circle, Avarus, Kemialliset Ystavat, Anaksimadros, Kiila, Islaja...
Reissued with three bonus tracks, and new liner notes, which are unfortunately (for us at least) all in Finnish.
MPEG Stream: "Gilgames"
MPEG Stream: "Kylma Kaupunki"
MPEG Stream: "Olen Erilainen"
MPEG Stream: "Pitka Kieli"

album cover TARENTEL & PAUL CLIPSON Over Water (Root Strata) dvd-r 12.98
Yet another collaboration between local filmmaker Paul Clipson, and musician and Root Strata co-head honcho J.C. Ledesma (although the first three of the previous collaborations were with Ledesma solo, so technically this is the first one with the whole band) and it's another fantastic feast for the eyes and the ears.
Clipson is a master of Super 8, his films more about light and shadow than the particular images, street lights, lit buildings, reflections of the moon or the sun on bodies of water, all become streaks and blurs, trains racing by, escalators, street signs, are examined close up and become textures, moving designs, Clipson often layers image upon image creating lush tapestries of dense visuals, sometimes high contrast, sometimes colorful and saturated, here, the first film is a nighttime cityscape, but rendered city-less in Clipson's able camera, instead a series of shapes and lights and textures, visuals that play like a score to some late night symphony, Tarentel offer up an equally busy sonic backdrop, mostly percussion, a tribal wash of toms and the occasional flurry of snare, shrouded by soft distant shimmers, looped guitars, also blurred and smeared, all very abstract and ethereal, a perfect match for the visuals.
The second film, Over Water, begins with shots of rivers reflecting the sunlight, photographed from a plane, clouds, edged by sunlight, a constantly shimmering slideshow of water in its various forms, already gorgeously abstract, with no help from Clipson, although he edits them and occasionally superimposes to create even more abstract impressions of water, the music this time around is equally hushed, no drums, just shimmery guitars, distant loops, lots of textural buzz, and warm barely there whirs, super delicate and dark. Finally, Tuolumne finishes off the program, the visuals impressionistic, close ups of what seems to be leaves and water, slow moving streams filmed with bubbles and a strange white scum that makes gorgeous patterns as it floats atop the nearly black water, branches offer a high contrast foreground, Tarentel counter with the most active of their scores, a muted insectoid buzz, drifting atop a deep thick smoldering thrum, which builds to a gorgeous almost metallic crescendo.
Gorgeous packaging too, sort of mimicking Clipson's films, light dappled vellum, yellow on a warm brownish backdrop, that folds over and into itself, a small Xeroxed insert inside, and like the first three installments, LIMITED TO 100 COPIES!

album cover TERMINALS, THE Little Things (Last Visible Dog) cd 11.98
We've always loved the Terminals, one of the originators of the NZ sound that once was the specialty around aQuarius. Their early nineties albums were so fantastic, moody and dramatic, epic and dark, lo-fi, but sprawling and expansive. It's been a while since we revisited these guys, and this, their 3rd album, from 1995 just got reissued so we've been immersing ourselves once again, and holy shit does this stuff still sound fantastic. Wild buzzing distorted guitars, thick synths, dense driving drumming, but it's the vocals that seal the deal. We had sort of forgotten how over the top and dramatic they were. Like a punk rock, lo fi, rougher rawer Antony maybe? It's a wonder, without it, the music is swirling and chaotic, a sort of dark gothic pop, intense and emotional, slipping from woozy laid back drift to frenetic almost psychedelic freakout, but then mix in those vocals, and we're talking some nineties noise rock cabaret, some Antony, a little Michael Gira, a bit of Nick Cave, some hints of Paul Banks from Interpol, heck, listening to this again, we realize a whole bunch of new bands who have been mining the goth pop and new wave past owe a LOT to these guys, even if they don't realize it. Driving, moody, intense, infusing their more straightforward dour pop with the noise rock of their NZ brethren, creating a charged hybrid that smolders intensely, even at it's most minimal and mysterious, but which becomes evident when the band lets loose and explodes into freaked out blasts of grinding guitar and splattery drum chaos, only to reel it right back in and slip back into some brooding jangle or lurching clanging doom pop dirge.
Includes two bonus tracks and liner notes from aQ customer and pal Jon Dale!
MPEG Stream: "Coasts Of The Shrunken"
MPEG Stream: "Mekong Delta Blues"
MPEG Stream: "Medication"

album cover THOR Unchained (Ektro) cd 14.98
What just-released reissue on Circle's Ektro label do you think the Circle guys are most excited about right now? No, not their own Taantumus (one of our Records Of The Week). It's more likely this, the 1983 ep from Jon-Mikl Thor, Canadian bodybuilding champion and tongue-in-cheek (???) he-man heavy metaller extraordinaire. It's been slickly repackaged with bonus tracks, for a total of eleven songs in all. The first six are from the original 12" ep, followed by four additional tracks taken from a 1986 soundtrack album Thor did called Recruits - Wild In the Streets (though these, for some reason, aren't noted as such), plus there's one more bonus cut, "Muscle Rock (The Vulcans Arrive)".
Right from thunderous opener "Lightning Strikes", this disc is a triumphant (and, we'll certainly admit, goofy) '80s metal assault, of course... but also essentially POP music. Which part of what's cool about Thor, is the idea that back in the day, you could make music like this with hopes of becoming an actual pop star. So he's somehow simultaneously the most metal thing ever, we mean, he could kick sand in Manowar's collective faces and get away with it, but also totally, totally poppy. Thor wasn't doing this stuff to be a cult metal icon, not originally, he was trying to "make it" in the world of commercial rock/pop music. Let's not forget he performed on the Merv Griffin show! It just so happened that back then, metal (and sci-fi / fantasy too) was on the rise, and a guy with Thor's barbarian physique was ideally suited to exploit those new pop culture phenomena to the max, whether through music or in the movies. Although Thor never did get that huge (other than in terms of muscle, of course!) he did well enough to still have a career today, one now that survives more on irony and nostalgia, of course, but is still all about entertainment.
As is Unchained, throughout which you'll find catchy choruses, heavy riffage, brawny vocals, and flashy guitar work. But also lots of new wavey synths, laid on thick on the likes of "Lazer Eyes" and "Anger", the latter being probably the least actually angry sounding song about anger we've ever heard, though it does rock nicely. Rock is what Thor does, for sure, from the swinging chug of "Rock The City" to the galloping "When Gods Collide".
We figure this combo of utter absurd over the top metal-ness AND the not-so-brutal pop elements are why our favorite Finns are so into Thor. The silliness of their self-proclaimed subgenre "NWOFHM" (New Wave Of Finnish Heavy Metal), which is as much pop it is metal, definitely had a precursor in the heavy metal vaudeville of Thor. Also, of course, Thor is quite literally one of their gods, right? (His use of Nordic mythological references done in a much more upbeat fashion that most Viking black metal does it today.)
Definitely for fans of Steel Mammoth, Krypt Axeripper, another other NWOFHM favorites. Also for fans of Manowar (duh), old Cirith Ungol (have you ever heard their demos with the excess synth??), and we'd recommend this to anyone who was into that '80s Joe Hasselvander disc we highlighted not long ago, too.
MPEG Stream: "When Gods Collide"
MPEG Stream: "Lazer Eyes"
MPEG Stream: "Warhammer"

album cover TYVEK Mary Ellen Claims (X! Records) 7" 5.98
Originally released in 2006, the debut 7" from these lo-fi noise pop garage punk rockers is available again. And anyone into the current crop of noisemakers like Ty Segall, Waaves, Oh Sees, Crocodiles, and all that stuff, should not sleep on Tyvek, their full length we reviewed a while back is a killer, and these two songs destroy as well.
In fact, the A side, "Mary Ellen Claims" might be their best jam ever, all short sharp jagged guitar jangle, yelped vocals, total eighties punk rock vibe, we hear a more lo-fi scrappy Jam actually, cool catchy new wave melodies all over the place, frenetic drumming, and as catchy as all get out. This track will become so lodged in your head guaranteed. The flipside is more of a trifle, but still pretty cool, the vocals spouting absurdist lyrics about different makes and models of cars among other things, delivered in a very Mark E. Smith like drawl, but underpinned by fuzzy bass, and slashes of angular guitar. Rad stuff. And apparently originals of this go for crazy cash on eBay, so now's your chance...

album cover V/A Raks Raks Raks: 17 Golden Garage Psych Nuggets From The Iranian 60's Scene (Raks Discos) cd 26.00
At this point, sixties psych reissues are a dime a dozen. We have a whole section in the store, packed with good ones, and those are only a tiny fraction of what gets released. We've groused about it before, but just cuz it's old and rare, doesn't make it worth reissuing. Though sometimes, wow, is it ever!
The one thing we had never seen though, was a collection of sixties garage and psych from Iran. Then again, we had probably never wondered about the garage psych scene in Iran at all, but Raks Raks Raks has set us straight, and has us wishing we had.
As one might imagine, playing in a psychedelic rock band in the Middle East in the sixties was no cake walk, although according to the liner notes, it was maybe not as bad as we in the West might imagine, but amidst the various restrictions, political and personal, folks were of course still expressing themselves, and making music, and the results speak for themselves. Odds are, like us, you won't recognize a single band here, but it hardly matters, every track here is a winner, from Asian sounding grooves, to Ventures like surfy twang, to distinctly Middle Eastern sounding melodies, to fuzzy fifties-ish vocal doo wop, to twisted Monkees-like catchy pop, to Ethiopiques-ish jazzy funky grooves, to jangly psych folk, to fuzzy organ driven Joe Meek like grooviness, all infused with a distinctly Middle Eastern vibe, not just the language, the sound itself. Lo-fi, but so bursting with life and color and energy, classic sounds but imbued with elements and twists that make the tracks on Raks Raks Raks stand WAY out from the ordinary sixties psych reissue crowd BIG TIME! Expensive maybe, but so so worth it!
Massive booklet with extensive liner notes, as much about the history of the era and the politics of the region as the music and the artists.
MPEG Stream: LITTLES "Fatemah Sultan"
MPEG Stream: MOHA JAMIN "Sheesh Va Hesht Moha Jamin"
MPEG Stream: FLOWERS "Meekshi Manoo"
MPEG Stream: GROUP TAKHALA HA "Dkhtar E Darya"
MPEG Stream: ZIA "Man Kiam?"
MPEG Stream: OJOOBE HA "Sartegar Nakesh Chen"

album cover V/A Raks Raks Raks: 17 Golden Garage Psych Nuggets From The Iranian 60's Scene (Raks Discos) lp 33.00
At this point, sixties psych reissues are a dime a dozen. We have a whole section in the store, packed with good ones, and those are only a tiny fraction of what gets released. We've groused about it before, but just cuz it's old and rare, doesn't make it worth reissuing. Though sometimes, wow, is it ever!
The one thing we had never seen though, was a collection of sixties garage and psych from Iran. Then again, we had probably never wondered about the garage psych scene in Iran at all, but Raks Raks Raks has set us straight, and has us wishing we had.
As one might imagine, playing in a psychedelic rock band in the Middle East in the sixties was no cake walk, although according to the liner notes, it was maybe not as bad as we in the West might imagine, but amidst the various restrictions, political and personal, folks were of course still expressing themselves, and making music, and the results speak for themselves. Odds are, like us, you won't recognize a single band here, but it hardly matters, every track here is a winner, from Asian sounding grooves, to Ventures like surfy twang, to distinctly Middle Eastern sounding melodies, to fuzzy fifties-ish vocal doo wop, to twisted Monkees-like catchy pop, to Ethiopiques-ish jazzy funky grooves, to jangly psych folk, to fuzzy organ driven Joe Meek like grooviness, all infused with a distinctly Middle Eastern vibe, not just the language, the sound itself. Lo-fi, but so bursting with life and color and energy, classic sounds but imbued with elements and twists that make the tracks on Raks Raks Raks stand WAY out from the ordinary sixties psych reissue crowd BIG TIME! Expensive maybe, but so so worth it!
Massive booklet with extensive liner notes, as much about the history of the era and the politics of the region as the music and the artists.
MPEG Stream: LITTLES "Fatemah Sultan"
MPEG Stream: MOHA JAMIN "Sheesh Va Hesht Moha Jamin"
MPEG Stream: FLOWERS "Meekshi Manoo"
MPEG Stream: GROUP TAKHALA HA "Dkhtar E Darya"
MPEG Stream: ZIA "Man Kiam?"
MPEG Stream: OJOOBE HA "Sartegar Nakesh Chen"

album cover V/A Rocky Mountain Low: The Colorado Musical Underground Of The Late 1970's (Hyperpycnal) 2lp+cd 29.00
Every city in every state, every country, has its own little musical scene, one that has grown and changed over the years, bands playing gigs, recording records, breaking up, moving on to other gigs, finally getting real jobs and settling down and having families, those records and gigs and bands forgotten. But think about all the places, all the cities, all the years and decades, and how many bands and records that we've never heard or heard of must be lurking out there. Records that were given to friends, consigned at the local store, or just stashed in the garage or basement. Rare record reissues are nothing new, and there's enough that they can't all possibly be good. In fact it's gotten to the point where if a record is old, and nobody heard it, it suddenly becomes a rarity worth unearthing. Which is not always the case. But with all those records out there, all those forgotten bands, some with only a song or two legacy, it's worth digging though all the rest, on the off chance of stumbling on to something amazing. And scenes have always fed off themselves, often where there was one good band, there was two, and where there was two, there was a whole bunch. Which brings us to Rocky Mountain Low. A killer collection of seventies rock and punk rock and power pop from Colorado, which is a place we're pretty familiar with, at least from the eighties onward, but we didn't know a single band here, and some of these groups are amazing. AND, for such a sprawling varied collection, there's very little chaff. In fact, this could very well have been a Numero Group reissue, super well researched, incredible song selection, a totally unknown lost scene, a bunch of amazing bands, and tons of killer tracks, maybe a bit more punk rock and lo-fi, but then, that's fine with us.
The Ravers are crunchy and jangly and sound like they're from Minneapolis, Radio Pete might be our favorite, effortlessly creating some gloriously rough edged reverb drenched garage pop, the sort of thing all those new groups are desperately emulating, sounds like Ariel Pink or the Oh Sees or Ty Segall if they were from the early seventies, the Front are snarly almost metallic sounding punk rock, Defex kick out the muddy murky bass heavy jams, all squiggly angular leads, wild drumming and killer pop hooks, the Cells are total Romantics style new wave power pop, the Profalactics are all yelpy Riot Grrl sounding lo-fi punk rock three chord lo-fi crunch, the Instant are woozy low fidelity punk pop psych, a lot of this reminds us of Guided By Voices too, that sort of British sound filtered through a US punk rock aesthetic, and it goes on and on. So many kick ass bands, so many amazing tracks, a double lp AND a cd, with a massive full color magazine sized booklet, jam packed with extensive liner notes on EVERY band here, cool stuff for sure, and an awesome glimpse of yet another lost and forgotten scene...

album cover V/A (KURT VILE, JACK ROSE, MEG BAIRD, US GIRLS) Meet The Philly Elite (Kraak) 7" 7.98
Pretty killer 4 way match up on this super limited 7": Kurt Vile, Jack Rose, Meg Baird and US Girls. But what do all 4 of these acts have in common? They all call Philadelphia home. Released to commemorate a show the folks at Kraak set up earlier this year in Philly, each of these 4 bands offers up a brief little blast of the glorious sounds they make. Blast might be too strong a word to describe the tracks here, as evidenced by garage noise popper Kurt Vile who starts things off on a surprisingly sweet and folky note with his "I Wanted Everything", all minor key guitar and sweetly crooned vox, plenty of reverb, a dark woozy almost traditional sounding ballad, which leads perfectly into Rose's "Mr. Rose Visits Washington D.C.", yet another gorgeous tangle of buzzing steel string modern Appalachia, replete with the usual bleary blur of frenetic melody and warm languid raga like buzz.
On the flipside, Meg Baird (of Espers) offers up a sweetly melancholy folky drift, a cover of a track by obscure sixties Christian folkies Felt, delicate crystalline guitar, her voice ethereal and angelic, the whole thing very dreamy and timeless, but definitely looking back to the classic era of seventies British female folk. And finally US Girls finish things off with the only real 'blast' here, a glorious noisy lo-fi looped chunk of warm swirling garage pop, repetitive and buzzy and totally mesmerizing but WAY too short. Left us dying for more for sure...
Comes in a simple printed black and white cover, adorned with a crazy high school binder drawing of wolves and buildings and melty hands and floating heads and fat people and ghosts and teeth and all kinds of super detailed weirdness. And this is most likely crazy limited, these things most always are.

album cover WARHAMMER 48K An Ethereal Oracle (Permanent) lp 16.98
Another longtime aQ fave, which has unfortunately been out of print for ages, is available again!
Just like the original version, a super deluxe gatefold sleeve, eye popping full color psychedelic art inside and out, ultra thick 180 gram vinyl and a massive fold out full color insert! Here's our review of the record when we first listed it way back in 2007:
Well, "Columbodia, Missouri's" own Warhammer posse showed up not too long ago here at aQ en route to all corners of the country and they stopped in long enough to rock the asses of the San Francisco scene in a wickedly intimate "bus show" (AQ pal and former A Minor Forest-er has a huge mobile venue, IN A BUS, with a stage, a solar powered generator and an engine that runs on vegetable oil!) and to hand us off a a big pile of their new self-released second record entitled An Ethereal Oracle.
By the looks and sounds of it, the title holds true to the old adage "what you see is what you get". That is if you can figure out what an ethereal oracle is -musically- speaking.
While the mind-melting debut Uber Om was more of a big loud thud upside your melon, An Ethereal Oracle is more like some forbidden fruit. That something or someone, you've been warned about, you know it's dangerous, potentially deadly, but you just can't resist. It's the temptation of the darkside, the dangerous, you know you're in for it, you know you're done for, you just can't ever be sure when. Or how!
The record starts off with a long scary radio broadcast track, you know, like one of those Emergency Broadcast System things warning you about "the big storm approaching", and just when you start feeling REALLY nervous, you start to get dizzy, everything becomes blurry, your head is spinning, your ears are ringing, you feel flush, you start to sweat, goosebumps, the hairs on the back of your neck standing on end, you try to resist, fight it off, but it's too much, you are completely under its spell.
You let the jagged guitar lines, birds chirping in the distance, strange what-the-fuck acoustic folk fuckery, drugged out laid-back droned-out blissful warmness and full on red-line space jam experimental shredding pummelry drag you into the darkness. Before you know it, you're bruised and bloody, naked and tied up with broken guitar strings, ears ringing and bleeding, you have strange WH48K images burned into your flesh, laying atop a pile of bloodstained broken drumsticks, surrounded by a Stonehenge like circle of towering totem like amps, in front of which stand the mysterious members of Warhammer, smiling wickedly as they prepare to do it all over again.
And that's only the first half!
MPEG Stream: "Two"
MPEG Stream: "Five"

album cover WITCH TRIALS s/t (Alternative Tentacles) cd ep 10.98
A couple years after he started the Dead Kennedys, Jello Biafra recorded a project called the Witch Trials, with a distinctly proto-industrial bent, primitive drum machines and of course Biafra's spoken vocal front and center, as political, satirical, and theatrical as ever. Recorded in a friend's apartment in London, the record found Biafra taking aim at the Los Angeles police years before NWA and Ice-T would, and in so many ways we're reminded how Biafra's fiercely political voice and ability to inhabit characters in his songs was really a precursor to much of the voices that would emerge in hip-hop in years to follow.
Witch Trials also demonstrates that while many others who were identified in the punk movement subscribed to narrow views of what punk could sound and look like, Biafra never had time for that. Instead he found many outlets to express his dystopian rage. The first two tracks of this ep are almost like full on performance art pieces with Biafra's immediately recognizable vocals speaking/singing over primitive drum machines and crumbling instrumentation that at times even echoed the sound of Public Image Ltd. The strength of the record really shines through on the last two songs which are the most musical of the bunch, especially the record's closer "Meat Beat", which we would guess was the song that inspired Meat Beat Manifesto, and is truly a classic fucked up almost dancefloor ready song that would sound right at home on records by synth outsiders of today like John Maus. Fans of Biafra and fucked up industrial sounding soundtracks to Orwellian nightmares must have this!
MPEG Stream: "Meat Beat"
MPEG Stream: "Trapped in the Playground"
MPEG Stream: "Humanoids From the Deep"

album cover WRIGHT, O.V. Memphis Unlimited (Reel Music) cd 14.98
The ultimate in deep Memphis soul, O.V. Wright possessed a voice as smooth as it was strong. Memphis Unlimited featured a legendary band backing him up, including the likes of Leroy, Charles and Teenie Hodges, Howard Grimes, James Mitchell, as well as The Memphis Strings, and immaculate production by the legendary Willie Mitchell. Originally released in 1973, Memphis Unlimited is a truly immaculate deep hitting soul album that slow burns and hits every mark from start to finish. While he never reached the same kind of mainstream fame, his records and voice really do remind us of the great Al Green. No doubt, Cat Power has listened to this record MANY times as she recruited many of the same players to join her all star back up band to record The Greatest. This has become a permanent Sunday afternoon record for us with its perfect mix of Southern breeze and deep soul stirring conviction.
MPEG Stream: "You Must Believe In Yourself"
MPEG Stream: "Are You Going Where I'm Coming From"
MPEG Stream: "I've Been Searching"

album cover ZOLA JESUS The Spoils (Sacred Bones) cd 13.98
Sacred Bones is turning into the go-to-label for rad vinyl (and cd's!) from both up and coming bands s well as a bunch of way deserved obscure reissues. In the last year they've put out stuff by Blank Dogs, Gary War, Cultural Decay, 13th Chime, and a whole bunch more. We first heard Zola Jesus on a split with Burial Hex but with this full length we've been fully engrossed with her much needed female take on warped bedroom psychedelia. You can't just sight one easy reference for the sound of Zola Jesus and that's a good thing. From the dark and brooding elements of Siouxsie & The Banshees, the haunting spirit of Lydia Lunch, hints of the mystical world of a way lo-fi Kate Bush, layers of haze and echo that would be at home on records by folks like Valet and Pocahaunted. She offers up a much needed scuzzier, moodier, more dense version of what slicker folks like Bat For Lashes and Cocorosie have gotten quite famous for recently. The Spoils is a record filled with dark psychedelic explorations that are able to manifest that aura into really compelling songs that we find ourselves coming back to again and again.
MPEG Stream: "Six Feet (From My Baby)"
MPEG Stream: "Sink The Dynasty"
MPEG Stream: "Clay Bodies"

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album cover ALTZ MEETS ROLAND P. YOUNG Escape: The Reconstruction of Isophonic Boogie Woogie (EM) cd 19.98
Most aQ customers are familiar with Roland P. Young, whose Isophonic Boogie Woogie album, reissued a while back on EM from Japan, blew our minds sky high. The ultimate culmination of Young's quest to create what he called "Afro spiritual minimal electronic space music" which is exactly what it sounded like, minimal free jazz, but cobbled together out of strange unlikely instruments, woven into long stretches of dronemusic, or freaked out almost psychedelic sounding swirling murkiness, the whole record was an otherworldly mind expanding avant jazz masterpiece for sure.
So somehow it makes perfect sense, that Altz, an electronic musician and DJ from Japan, who we know mostly from remixing the Boredoms, wanted a crack and remixing this records and creating his OWN isophonic boogie woogie. So here you go.
It's kind of a tall order since the original is pretty awesome, and way wacked already, but what the heck, Altz does his thing, chops and edits, adds effects, loops flutes and introduces fuzzy synths and skittery bits of buzz, distant voices, but what he does mainly is add beats, it's definitely cool and groovy, but does tend toward the cheesy here and there. The best moments are weirdly enough the most beatless, where the free jazz is matched with some seemingly free drum freakouts, or when the original drums are somehow looped into a fragmented beat, or when the various elements are blurred into a weird buzzy drone, rife with buried horns, and rumbling bass. A lot of the more beat heavy tracks chop up and recontextualize the originals so much, that if you weren't familiar with the Young original, you might not even know they were samples, you might just assume they were some cool weird sounds. Which they most definitely are. Check out the sound samples. This won't necessarily appeal to the same folks who loved the original, but if you're in the market for some twisted up free jazz avant beatmaking, then this might just hit the spot.
MPEG Stream: "Crystaliquid Sky"
MPEG Stream: "Magenta Loops"
MPEG Stream: "Velvet Dreamin'"

album cover ALTZ MEETS ROLAND P. YOUNG Escape: The Reconstruction of Isophonic Boogie Woogie (EM) lp 22.00
Most aQ customers are familiar with Roland P. Young, whose Isophonic Boogie Woogie album, reissued a while back on EM from Japan, blew our minds sky high. The ultimate culmination of Young's quest to create what he called "Afro spiritual minimal electronic space music" which is exactly what it sounded like, minimal free jazz, but cobbled together out of strange unlikely instruments, woven into long stretches of dronemusic, or freaked out almost psychedelic sounding swirling murkiness, the whole record was an otherworldly mind expanding avant jazz masterpiece for sure.
So somehow it makes perfect sense, that Altz, an electronic musician and DJ from Japan, who we know mostly from remixing the Boredoms, wanted a crack and remixing this records and creating his OWN isophonic boogie woogie. So here you go.
It's kind of a tall order since the original is pretty awesome, and way wacked already, but what the heck, Altz does his thing, chops and edits, adds effects, loops flutes and introduces fuzzy synths and skittery bits of buzz, distant voices, but what he does mainly is add beats, it's definitely cool and groovy, but does tend toward the cheesy here and there. The best moments are weirdly enough the most beatless, where the free jazz is matched with some seemingly free drum freakouts, or when the original drums are somehow looped into a fragmented beat, or when the various elements are blurred into a weird buzzy drone, rife with buried horns, and rumbling bass. A lot of the more beat heavy tracks chop up and recontextualize the originals so much, that if you weren't familiar with the Young original, you might not even know they were samples, you might just assume they were some cool weird sounds. Which they most definitely are. Check out the sound samples. This won't necessarily appeal to the same folks who loved the original, but if you're in the market for some twisted up free jazz avant beatmaking, then this might just hit the spot.
MPEG Stream: "Crystaliquid Sky"
MPEG Stream: "Magenta Loops"
MPEG Stream: "Velvet Dreamin'"

album cover ANTONY & THE JOHNSONS Aeon / Crazy In Love (Secretly Canadian) cd ep 8.98
Antony's most recent live appearance in San Francisco transpired earlier this year at the Nob Hill Masonic Center, and it will most likely go down as one of THE concerts of the year for many of us who witnessed it. Besides having William Basinski as his opener and then playing an incredibly rich, intimate and moving set, one of the highlights came when Antony and his band did an amazing version of the Beyonce hit "Crazy In Love". After they played it someone in the audience yelled out, "You are so much better then her" to which Antony immediately replied "Excuse me?! She is extremely talented!" Haha. We totally agree and that made us love Antony even more, if that was even possible. This single offers up a studio recorded version of that amazing cover as well as "Aeon" from the latest album The Crying Light.
MPEG Stream: "Aeon"
MPEG Stream: "Crazy In Love"

album cover BEASTIE BOYS Ill Communication (Remastered Edition) (Capitol) 2cd 19.98
All these Beastie Boys reissues are reminding us just how damn good and timeless this stuff sounded and STILL sounds. With the utmost love and respect for classic hip-hop culture, the Beastie Boys managed to be pioneers as well, infusing elements of punk, rare groove, Latin music, and even Tuvan influences into their sound, resulting in this classic album, originally released in 1994.
In an age where bands seem to release a new record every few months, one of the strengths of the Beastie Boys, and no doubt a key component to their incredible sound, was that they've always given themselves ample time to really hash out and construct their records, with always at least a couple years in between releases. And that time and care definitely shows, the sound so layered and lush, so catchy and so totally unique. It had been ages since many of us had listened to Ill Communication but once we threw it on again we were all immediately transported back, to a time where this was all some of us listened to. Hearing it again with fresh ears, it still sounds fantastic, groundbreaking even. A rare example of a group with big time mainstream success but with their musical integrity fully intact.
The cd version of this comes with a bonus disc of remixes and a few live tracks. The vinyl version is a double lp, remastered and pressed on 180 gram vinyl.
MPEG Stream: "Root Down"
MPEG Stream: "Flute Loop"
MPEG Stream: "Shambala"
MPEG Stream: "Sure Shot (European B-Boy Mix)"

album cover BEASTIE BOYS Ill Communication (Remastered Edition) (Capital) 2lp 28.00
All these Beastie Boys reissues are reminding us just how damn good and timeless this stuff sounded and STILL sounds. With the utmost love and respect for classic hip-hop culture, the Beastie Boys managed to be pioneers as well, infusing elements of punk, rare groove, Latin music, and even Tuvan influences into their sound, resulting in this classic album, originally released in 1994.
In an age where bands seem to release a new record every few months, one of the strengths of the Beastie Boys, and no doubt a key component to their incredible sound, was that they've always given themselves ample time to really hash out and construct their records, with always at least a couple years in between releases. And that time and care definitely shows, the sound so layered and lush, so catchy and so totally unique. It had been ages since many of us had listened to Ill Communication but once we threw it on again we were all immediately transported back, to a time where this was all some of us listened to. Hearing it again with fresh ears, it still sounds fantastic, groundbreaking even. A rare example of a group with big time mainstream success but with their musical integrity fully intact.
The cd version of this comes with a bonus disc of remixes and a few live tracks. The vinyl version is a double lp, remastered and pressed on 180 gram vinyl.
MPEG Stream: "Root Down"
MPEG Stream: "Flute Loop"
MPEG Stream: "Shambala"

album cover BRIGGS, ANNE Nottinghamshire Tales (Lilith) lp 26.00
When we first saw this, we were excited that perhaps more lost recordings of UK folk singer Anne Briggs had been discovered, but this is actually the first vinyl release of Sing A Song For You, Briggs' final recording from 1973 that wasn't properly released until 1996 on The Fledg'ling label. Why this has a new title and new artwork is curious, but the record's liner notes give some insight to the singer's ambivalence about this recording and why she retired at such an early age. She was pregnant with her second child at the time and wasn't satisfied with the quality of her singing. Plus playing the bouzouki with its convex back against her pregnant belly was difficult! When the original photo session for the album cover didn't work out and she was asked to do it again while she was preparing for a move to Scotland, it pretty much sealed the final rejection of the project. She finally allowed it to be reissued in 1996 and now we have the 180 gram vinyl version with much better artwork than the cd! As much as we love Anne Briggs, we never paid much attention to that cd, thinking it was older recordings of more traditional material, never really knowing the back-story. But after listening to this, we were wrong to dismiss it! It's definitely a continuation of the much fuller sound from her last officially released record, The Time Has Come. Ten songs here, half she wrote, half traditional interpretations played mostly with Ragged Robin as the back-up band, the only time she has ever worked with a full band, and it really sounds amazing, like a true lost folk record should!

album cover CASIOTONE FOR THE PAINFULLY ALONE Vs. Children (Tomlab) cd 15.98
Hooray for our dear pal Owen Ashworth! Over the years his instrument palette has expanded a good deal beyond the keyboard named in his moniker. As well, his music production has flourished out of the bedroom and into a much broader arena; and his songwriting delves deeper into darker subject matter than the beloved lighthearted musings and unrequited crushes of years past. And yet, his music still embodies a beautiful intimate earnestness, sweet tart romantic yearnings and a biting sense of humor. Though he's still the gallant knight of indie pop, his fifth full length is definitely far less twee and far more composed than his early recordings. It might seem that this is more of a 'serious' CFTPA, but then again there has always been a subtle undercurrent of gravity to his music. On Vs. Children, he incorporates organ, Mellotron and piano, which makes for a nicely rounded, enveloping listen. That said, although the music might get you in a cozy mood, his lyrics will keep you on your toes. He continues to prove what a really really good storyteller he is! Ever endearing and engaging!
MPEG Stream: "Tom Justice, The Choir Boy Robber, Apprehended At Ace Hardware In Libertyville, IL"
MPEG Stream: "Killers"
MPEG Stream: "Natural Light"

album cover CHEN SANTA MARIA & LUUSE s/t (self released) cd-r 5.98
If you live in the bay area and don't know who George Chen is, we can safely say you've been locked in a windowless room for the past decade, surviving only on bread crust and lint. For those of you who fall under the above condition and have not had the pleasure of knowing Mr. Chen, he is a huge organizer of all kinds of all ages events and get togethers in the bay area, and has been on the road with all kinds of people from Grey Daturas to Common Eider King Eider. He also makes some seriously awesome music under the name Chen Santa Maria, usually of the noise freak-out persuasion. And this collaboration between Chen Santa Maria and Luuse is no exception, almost an hour of live sonic exploration from these dudes, relentless and all the while totally immersive and huge. Recommended!
MPEG Stream: "A"
MPEG Stream: "B"

album cover DECIBEL #59 Sep 2009 magazine 4.95
Along with Terrorizer, this magazine is our monthly metal must-read. This issue has Nergal of Polish black/death metallers Behemoth on the cover, a cool photo of him looking like a surly member of the Blue Man Group who overdosed on Rogaine. Also, there's interviews with / features involving the likes of Anvil, The Gates Of Slumber, Voivod, Church Of Misery, Yob, Dysrhythmia, Gorod, Suffocation, and more. Including an interview with "pirate metal" band Swashbuckle conducted by Waldo the Parrot from Hatebeak! And if that's not enough humor for you, there's the usual John Darnielle column at the back of the magazine too, among other chuckles throughout.

album cover DIDDLEY, BO Bo Diddley Is A Gunslinger (Checker) lp 12.98
NOW REISSUED ON VINYL!
Almost 50 years after its release and still as raw, pleasing, and perfect sounding as ever. In lots of ways it seems as though Bo Diddley never really got his due. Besides being an electric guitar pioneer and rock n' roll forefather, Diddley knew something about soul, bare-bone execution, and smiling-with-purpose delivery that made his best records able to stand the test of time. You can't listen to Bo Diddley is a Gunslinger without your foot constantly bouncing up and down. You can't listen to his rendition of "Sixteen Tons" without your eyebrows raising in pleasant curiosity. You can't listen to him do the crawdaddy without wanting to join right along. Bo Diddley knew about that totally pure and raw space where you can feel music hit you in the greatest and most physical way. One of those timeless records that belongs in any music lovers collection. Whether your stereo is usually filled with the sounds of Japanese noise or no wave intensity or singer songwriter statements; this is a record that you can turn to and get refreshed by all the time. Diddley is an amazing example of someone who had the gift of making music that could ooze into our bodies and under our skin and next thing you know your whole body is moving your face is grinning and it feels so damn good. Thank you Mr. Diddley!
MPEG Stream: "Gun Slinger"
MPEG Stream: "Doing The Crawdaddy"

album cover DIRTY PROJECTORS Bitte Orca (Domino) lp 21.00
Also now in on vinyl...
A strange mixture of soaring vocal harmonies and odd rhythms, the Dirty Projectors genius lies in surprise. Surprising rhythms, surprising changes, surprising harmonies, some of which can take a few listens to really understand. What gets stuck in your head, though, is a vocal line here, an "oooohhhh-ahhhhh" there. The musical backdrop, at times, is almost Shaggs-like in its jerky stagger and serves as a counterpoint to the chorus of female vocal layerings. There's a lot of great guitar work in the quieter moments, sort of a what-if-Devendra-Banhart-played-in-Animal-Collective vibe. "Two Doves" takes the band on a Nick Drake guitar-and-strings trip, except with female vocals. Dirty Projectors have been compared to the Talking Heads and there is definitely some similarity in both band's artistry and skewed takes on traditional pop.
MPEG Stream: "Cannibal Resource"
MPEG Stream: "Temecula Sunrise"
MPEG Stream: "Two Doves"

album cover FIERY FURNACES, THE I'm Going Away (Thrill Jockey) cd 14.98
Eleanor and Matthew Friedlander are back with their eighth full length, and they've got Sebadude Jason Lowenstein on board, both engineering and playing bass on the album. For some reason the band and/or the label chose to use a somewhat unfortunate point of reference in their press release which has cast a distracting pall across our listening experience. Normally the whimsically strange and elliptical music of Fiery Furnaces exist in a realm all its own, free from current trends and pop culture references. The irksome comment was an obtuse mention of the TV show Taxi and the movie Titanic. We quote "All rock music is a sort of dramatic music. And since the times are tough, it makes sense to have that "drama" be something more like a version of Taxi than something like a version of Titanic. We like Taxi better than Titanic anyway. So we hope that some of the songs on this record can be used as theme songs to folks' own personal versions of Taxi." WTF?! Well, at least it's been successful in getting us to talk about the release a few moment longer, although not necessarily about what is most important, the music itself! So how is this new FF anyways? Well, although it comes tearing out of the gate all rapid fire, a lot of the songs seem remarkably tame in delivery! For instance on "The End Is Near" Ms Eleanor verges on '70s Helen Reddy "Delta Dawn" territory. While there are fleeting moments of the delirious abandon that's been their trademark for years, many times it seems like they were reaching for unbridled soulfulness, but ended up sounding over-arching and awkwardly white. For a duo whose songs can take impossibly loop-de-loopy acrobatic flips or clever twists and still land 'em on their feet, this album occasionally suffers from two left feet. Don't want to totally heave-ho though. We all know FF albums are an acquired taste, but perhaps this one is a bit more so? Give 'er a listen and see what your taste buds tell you!
MPEG Stream: "Drive To Dallas"
MPEG Stream: "Cups And Punches"

album cover FIERY FURNACES, THE I'm Going Away (Thrill Jockey) lp 17.98
Eleanor and Matthew Friedlander are back with their eighth full length, and they've got Sebadude Jason Lowenstein on board, both engineering and playing bass on the album. For some reason the band and/or the label chose to use a somewhat unfortunate point of reference in their press release which has cast a distracting pall across our listening experience. Normally the whimsically strange and elliptical music of Fiery Furnaces exist in a realm all its own, free from current trends and pop culture references. The irksome comment was an obtuse mention of the TV show Taxi and the movie Titanic. We quote "All rock music is a sort of dramatic music. And since the times are tough, it makes sense to have that "drama" be something more like a version of Taxi than something like a version of Titanic. We like Taxi better than Titanic anyway. So we hope that some of the songs on this record can be used as theme songs to folks' own personal versions of Taxi." WTF?! Well, at least it's been successful in getting us to talk about the release a few moment longer, although not necessarily about what is most important, the music itself! So how is this new FF anyways? Well, although it comes tearing out of the gate all rapid fire, a lot of the songs seem remarkably tame in delivery! For instance on "The End Is Near" Ms Eleanor verges on '70s Helen Reddy "Delta Dawn" territory. While there are fleeting moments of the delirious abandon that's been their trademark for years, many times it seems like they were reaching for unbridled soulfulness, but ended up sounding over-arching and awkwardly white. For a duo whose songs can take impossibly loop-de-loopy acrobatic flips or clever twists and still land 'em on their feet, this album occasionally suffers from two left feet. Don't want to totally heave-ho though. We all know FF albums are an acquired taste, but perhaps this one is a bit more so? Give 'er a listen and see what your taste buds tell you!
MPEG Stream: "Drive To Dallas"
MPEG Stream: "Cups And Punches"

album cover HIGH PLACES / SOFT CIRCLE Split (PPM) 12" 10.98
Nice tripped out split from these two New York outfits who both venture into psychedelic sonic realms in their own compelling ways. High Places is a duo that we've heard in passing before but we didn't remember them sounding like this. Their side is one long, really spaced out and percussive slow burner with early Throbbing Gristle like textures, infused with an underlying dubbed out and hypnotic groove. We realized that the first few times we played this we had it on the wrong speed but we have to say whether you slow it down (and the vocals start sounding like some cool mixture of Arthur Russell and Panda Bear) or you play it at the correct speed, it sounds pretty awesome either way, so you kind of get two rad long High Places tracks instead of just one.
Soft Circle is the project of Hisham A. Bharoocha, well respected visual artist and a former member of Black Dice (who in our opinion have never been quite as good since he left their fold). His debut as Soft Circle from a couple years ago was a great exercise in warm exploratory percussive bliss. This outing finds him gravitating more towards a drugged out pulsating dancefloor sound, in fact one of the songs "Don't Just Stand There" was remixed on the latest Milky Disco compilation. It's really cool to see folks finding refreshing new avenues to reach such soaring psychedelic heights.

album cover MOJO August 2009 magazine+cd 9.99
The UK magazine for music both classic and indie is back with another big issue. On the cover, Mojo's "band of the year", Fleet Foxes. Also they honour a bunch of other of their faves, including Yoko Ono, ZZ Top, and Johnny Marr. Then there's stuff on Tinariwen, TV On The Radio, Blur, and a rare interview with Bob Dylan. And there's more, the usual ton of reviews and news and stuff. Also there's a look back at the Rolling Stones' famous 1969 Hyde Park concert. AND as always there's a cd (in jewel case!) stuck to the cover, this time a comp called New Harvest of "modern North American song" including tracks by Fleet Foxes, Bill Callahan, The Dodos, Iron & Wine, and others.

album cover PHOENIX Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (Glass Note) lp 21.00
Now available on vinyl!
You probably already heard a lot of the hype surrounding this record, and you know what? It's all totally true! Phoenix have created one of the best and most infectious pop records to come around in a very long time. We're talking start to finish every single song having hooks and melodies that sound so fucking great and are both breezy and catchy as well as so totally immaculately crafted.
This is one of those rare pop records that is both so smart and so fun. Imagine Saturdays=Youth era M83 covering the Strokes!!! Although comparisons seem a bit silly here as Phoenix have really made a super unique record, that kind of perfect summer pop jam that most bands only dream of and often spend their whole lives trying to make, only to fall flat over and over again. No matter where you are or what you're doing, when you listen to this record you're totally transported, it's a refreshing rush, the world seems sunshinier, the skies bluer, everything just sparkles and glistens. So cool and suave and slick in the best way, it's impossible to not fall in love with Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. So many folks we know, who are into experimental music or electronica or other branches of more esoteric minded sounds, have just fallen head over heels for this new Phoenix record which is truly a testament to its undeniable universal appeal.
While past Phoenix records always had at least a few totally standout tracks, none of those records can possibly compare. Some of us here, pop fanatics for sure, were pretty skeptical, having not been that impressed with past record, and not believing the hype, but after hearing just the opening track, naysayers were silenced, and almost immediately transformed into rabid fans, playing this to death, in the store AND at home. Sparkling, hook laden, well produced power pop bliss. This one's gonna be a bigtime contender for pop record of the year!
MPEG Stream: "Lisztomania"
MPEG Stream: "Fences"
MPEG Stream: "Lasso"

album cover RIGOR SARDONICOUS Vallis Ex Umbra De Mortuus (Paragon Records) lp 21.00
Back in stock...
It's been a while, but it's time to haul out all those extra doom 'o's we've been saving for an occasion just like this. The return of ultra doomlords Rigor Sardonicous, they of the monstrous glacial downtuned crawl, the 'evil' cymbal (more on that in a second), the growled demonic vox, the lugubrious slow motion trudge, all that stuff we love, and all the stuff that can usually only be described by a whole handful of extra 'o's in doooooooooom.
But the opening track threw us for a bit of a loop. All weirdly folky, with chanted vocals, and fluttering flutes, some haunting almost Renn Faire court music, which quickly gives way to clean mournful minor key clean guitar, could this be the same Rigor Sardonicous? All doubts are wiped away moments later when the whole sound shifts down about a hundred octaves, the crumbling super distorted guitar spreads out like a black fog, the drums pounding, the cymbals still way up in the mix (beginning to think it's their trademark), and then the vocals. WOAH. Impossibly gurgly rumbles, like a frog croaking from the bottom of a tarpit, perfectly complimenting the band's murky plod. Weirdly the band does speed it up, but everything is so muddy and blurred that it almost makes no difference. You can hear what sounds like a little girl way off in the distance, as if she's locked in the dungeon of some great black beast. This is some awesomely creepy, heavy, and fucked up dooooooooooomy shit for sure.
If it's even possible, this is the most extreme Rigor record yet. The guitars more dense, heavier, even more downtuned, the vocals absolutely inhuman, it does almost sound like some super slow dooooom record, slowed down even more. And when the band do 'rock', they still out-doom most of their slow motion contemporaries.
Nothing else to say really. Been digging the most recent Moss, the Corrupted reissue? Still loving those Monarch records, the recent Trees disc? Fancy yourself a doomlord? Well strap on your armor, your headlamp, some industrial strength ear protection, and crawl headfirst into this black tarpit of sound, Rigor Sardonicous take even the heaviest and slowest sounds somewhere even slower and lower and so much doooooooooooooooooooooooomierŠ
MPEG Stream: "Silens Somnium"
MPEG Stream: "Incompertus Quod Anon"

album cover SKULL DEFEKTS, THE Magnetic Skulls & Intense Sound Stimulations (Conspiracy) lp 18.98
Last copies of these, still at the super reduced price!
Couldn't be more perfect timing. As the world at large catch on to the fractured musical beauty of the Skull Defekts, with their Skulll cd, reviewed last list, flying off the shelves, we discovered a little stash of these super limited and now long out of print lps. Only a handful though, so act fast or be prepared to be disappointed. Here's our review from when we originally reviewed it a while back:
Our pals at Conspiracy Records, a label/distro based in Belgium, who in the past have brought us records by Boris, Jesu, Shora and more, are this year celebrating their 10 year anniversary. A decade of amazing music. From a bedroom based punk rock label, to one of Europe's most important and influential labels and distros, all we can say is HURRAY! And HUZZAH! It's always so exciting, when a bunch of folks get together to spread the word about great music, great WEIRD music, and survive, even thrive. Such is the case with Conspiracy. And as if that weren't already enough, just knowing that some great people were selling some amazing music, those sweeties at Conspiracy have decided to share the love with us. And you.
To celebrate their 10th anniversary, they've decided to do a super limited subscription series, 12 records over 12 months, each limited to somewhere between 200-500 copies, ONLY available to series subscribers. EXCEPT, they've decided to let AQ have copies of each, we're the only store with copies of these subscriber only lps, and for a brief moment, we can offer them to you, our loyal AQ customers. Needless to say we are thrilled, as the series lineup reads like a who's who of AQ faves, as well as including a handful of lesser knowns. All pressed on super thick vinyl, and packaged in killer hand screened original art sleeves.
We haven't heard much from Sweden's Skull Defekts, but what we have heard we like. A lot. In fact, if there was any justice in the world, these guys would be battling Wolf Eyes for the hipster noise rock crown for sure. It's not that these guys sound like Wolf Eyes, although they do a bit, it's more that they are exploring the same territory, but without the goofy in your face vibe of Wolf Eyes, instead choosing to open up their sound a bit more, make it lighter, more abstract, and in the process a whole lot more compelling.
The A side is a side long drift through a wondrous world of noise and noises, atmosphere and ambience. A heady ambient buzz, disrupted by little whorls of distorted crumble, endlessly shimmering, the sound twisting and mutating, changing color and texture, sometimes sounding blissful and serene, but just as quickly becoming damaged and dangerous. An epic exploration of a multi-layered glacial drift, not so much 'noise' as noisy in parts, not so much brutal as intense and dark.
Side B is split into three tracks, the first features a simple cavemen pound, around which swirl and streak stretched out sheets of grinding guitar noise and abstract sonic fields. A slowly shifting soundscapes of layer after layer of buzzing fuzzed out noises. And again, not 'noise' just dreamily noisy. The second track is the most Wolf Eyes sounding, although it's a much more blissed out spaced out version, not so aggressive, a roiling landscape of damaged electronics, abused guitars, and abstract percussion, all twisted into a slithering sonic beast. The final track is the most mellow, but even then, the sound is harrowing and ominous, the perfect blend of low end buzz and rumble, and coruscating upper register psych guitar shimmer. Very hypnotic and leaves us wanting to hear a LOT more from these guys.

album cover SLAUTER XSTROYES Free The Beast (Rockadrome / Forged In Fire) cd 12.98
More from this cult Illinois '80s metal combo. We highlighted their actual album reissue of 1985's Winter Kill up above on this week's list. This disc collects the previously unreleased tracks from the sessions for their aborted second album, 1987's Free The Beast, along with some early demo material circa 1981-'84. The first, title track starts off with some Satanic backwards vocals and things just get more evil and metal from there! Crazy stuff, super long songs, screechy vocals, well you know if you've heard Winter Kill...
Get Winter Kill first, and if you want more of this band's very '80s over-the-top metal onslaught, which you will, then pick this up. This new edition also includes a bonus video clip but we haven't checked it out yet.
MPEG Stream: "Free The Beast"

album cover SOUVENIRS YOUNG AMERICA / CITY OF SHIPS Split 12" (The Perpetual Motion Machine) 12" 12.98
Back in stock!!!
We went a little nuts for the debut release from Anduin a while back, the project of Souvenir's Young America keyboardist Jonathan Lee, taking SYA's Western tinged post rock doom, and stretching it out into something much more subtle and ambient. But SYA is back to remind us just why we were so into Lee and his crew in the first place, with two brand new tracks of sweeping epic, spacious and cinematic post rock, rivaling and perhaps surpassing any of their more well known contemporaries.
The guitars chime and ring out, the drums propulsive and subtly mathy, lots of deserty ambience, moody melodic swoon, crunchy almost metal guitars here and there, haunting blissed out stretches of soft strummy drift, slippery slide guitar and pulsing electronics. There are some haunting processed vocals, distant and heavily effected, tribal rhythms, lots of space, little bits of glitch here and there, slightly doomy, with a distinct twang, gorgeous and dark, but always mysterious and hauntingly dreamy. Can't wait for the next full length.
The flipside features a new (to us at least) group called City Of Ships, who prove to be a pretty good match for SYA, starting their side with some washed out ambience, glimmering guitar harmonies, shimmery cymbal washes, all before the band kick in and get all mathy with tangled squiggly guitar leads and hard hitting complicated drumming. And unlike SYA, City Of Ships are NOT instrumental, the vocals a raspy croon that get more and more wild eventually veering into almost emo territory, the sound a mix of June Of 44 and a mellower Neurosis. Long stretches of mellowy meandering peppered with jagged bursts of crunch and pound, the tracks building to seriously epic climaxes with grinding metallic guitars, angular and sharp, with howled vocals and wild chaotic drums. Good stuff.
Packaged in a super swank fold over 2 color hand screened gold colored sleeve, each one hand numbered, with a photocopied insert, and LIMITED TO ONLY 300 COPIES!!!

album cover STUNT ROCK Regret Instruction Manual Issue 03 (Addict / CLFST) 10" / book / sticker / poster / button / cd-r 24.00
BACK IN STOCK!!
Holy crap those suicidal black metallers have nothing on Stunt Rock. At least in terms of pure self loathing misery. They talk a good game, and the music is appropriately miserable and melancholy, but their depression is so abstract, so much so that in some cases, it sounds as much like a gimmick as 'Satanism'. But this is indeed depression. Misery. REGRET. Past Stunt Rock releases didn't really give any idea that all this lurked below the surface, but this release more than hints at it, it takes his Stunt Rock heart, and pins it open, like a high school dissected frog, letting us poke and prod, and examine all the blackness inside.
It's also pretty funny too, if you think folks like Ivan Brunetti are hilarious, which we do. In fact, this is totally the record we could imagine Brunetti releasing. And it is in fact a sort of instruction manual, covering such topics as to how to choose a new mate, and to avoid the mistakes you made in past relationships. A page of little tags to place on your belongings for after you die when people dig through your stuff (for your pornography stash, for your box of old love letters, etc.), a very Brunetti like comic detailing a botched suicide attempt among other things.
The Prescreening A Potential Love Interest multiple choice form is amazing, it goes on for pages and pages, and is so gloriously black hearted. The there's the Learning To Forget & Adjusting To Living Alone section, also pages and pages, teaching you to do just as the title says, try different routes to work, repaint, get a new social circle, new wardrobe, but it's super well written, wry and bitter, fucking brutal here and there. There's also an activity section, with a form to write down all the songs you want played at your funeral (the first is filled out for you, Creed's "My Own Prison" haha), as well as a sort of last will style form, with spaces for things you want to leave for folks, as well as spaces for the people you want to make sure DON'T get anything (and the specific things you want to make sure they don't get. There's also an amazing section called Upsetting Things You Wrote When You Were Young. Poems, letters, lists of people who wronged you. But they're all blacked out CIA document style, leaving just the caustic comments by the author. All of this is gorgeously hand drawn and printed in a 10" book housed in a super nice cardstock screen printed hand numbered cover, each one hand numbered, the front a three color illustration of a blood splattered sink.
And there's a record. a 2 song 10", two parts of the same piece, titled somewhat cryptically "Dear Christian Girl (Parts One And Two)", a DJ Shadow style indie rock soundscape, lots of amazing (and amazingly depressing) samples, funny, fucked up, sad, melancholy, the song simple and hooky, but stretched out into a more electronic sort of groove, with thick buzzing synths wrapped around the Slint-y guitars, loping rock drumming, subtle hooks, no proper vocals, instead, the tale of the mysterious Christian Girl and Stunt Rock's saga of regret is told in a continuous mix of voices and sounds, of vignettes and fragments, in shuffling beats and melancholy melodies. Pretty great. And the perfect companion for the book. And as if that weren't enough, you also get a cd-r, with the same music as on the 10". All told, you get a 10" vinyl record, a 32 page book with hand silk screened covers, 3 Stickers, 1 Button, a cd-r and 1 of 4 different hand silk screened posters.
And we know all those forms are jokes, but we're really tempted to fill them out. Fun and funny, but only if you're a twisted bitter old crank, like us!

album cover TENHORNEDBEAST / MARZURAAN split (Aurora Borealis) cd 15.98
This long time doom / drone / dirge favorite back in stock again...
Every once in a while, someone will release a record, and we can't help but feel like it was made specifically for us. And for you. Some records just perfectly speak to the aQ aesthetic, as undefinable as that seems to be. This is another one of those cases. Someone thought it would be a perfect combination to match up UK one man ambient drone outfit Tenhornedbeast, with UK slow motion doomlords Marzuraan. And it is perfect. And a fantastic idea, but just because something is a great idea, doesn't always mean someone thinks of it. And we're not saying we had been thinking someone should get these two bands together specifically, we're just glad they did, and we sort of wish we HAD thought of it. But that's neither here nor there. The important thing is that it happened, and now we can all luxuriate in the deep dark heaviness both of these bands explore. And while the bands are indeed different, their aesthetics are not all that far removed. The both exist in some blackened nether region, haunting sonic realms, where heaviness can be expressed in both utter darkness and extreme force, sometimes both, and once in awhile neither.
Tenhornedbeast offer up a nearly 30 minute long sonic ritual, beginning as a bit of swirling black minimalism, but slowly building to a truly intense wall of doomdrone, the sound thick and textured, a churning cauldron of low end buzz and downtuned disembodied riffs, all brought to a boil and poured out in a viscous black torrent, left to flow like some subterranean river. But these deep drones are laced with melodies, and keening high end shards, allowed to shine forth occasionally, but often swallowed up before they can fill those caves with their unnatural light. The track continually changes shape, sound and timbre, various shades of grey and black, lightening and darkening as the landscape changes, a haunting journey through some lost world, where sound replaces sight, allowing us to navigate ever deeper.
Marzuraan counter with what must be one of their prettiest tracks ever. It's still sludgey and doomy, but the notes ring out, the melodies almost soar, the sound fuzzy and glimmering, almost like these guys have caught the shoegaze bug as well. Washed out and blissy, super melodic and melancholy, but the coolest part is that the track seems to warble and waver, almost like someone is manually adjusting the tape speed, so the notes sound drunken and drugged, the track lurches and weaves drunkenly, only adding to the haunting and off kilter beauty. Part way through, the riffs get a little more riffy, and then the vocals come in, a moaning distant croon, and we're most definitely in serious Jesu territory, but that weird speed shifting hitch, keeps it from sounding too pretty, or two blissy. But if these guys keep heading in this direction, they could definitely give Jesu, and Nadja and other metallic shoegazers a run for their money.
The packaging is super swank, a three panel gatefold, each of the front panels diecut with each band's symbol, printed inside and out, housed in a thick plastic sleeve with a sticker affixed to the front.
MPEG Stream: TENHORNEDBEAST "Law Of The Needle"
MPEG Stream: MARZURAAN "Into Countless Battles"

album cover VAINIO, MIKA Aineen Musta Puhelin / Black Telephone Of Matter (Touch) cd 15.98
More and more quiet goes the solo album for Mika Vainio, the Finnish electronic wizard who has brought us such feats of techo-minimalist intensity as the Kesto 4cd boxset set in Pan Sonic and the Metri album recorded as an O with slash through it. But under his own name, Vainio's recordings shrink from existence in the wake of gasping, nocturnal bouts of silence. That said, comparisons to the very-special-nothing-music of Bernhard Gunter (whatever happened to that guy?) or Richard Chartier don't really apply to Vainio's work. There's much more in common here with the 2009 release Vectors from Robert Hampson (also released through Touch), as a revamped interpretation of INA-GRM concrete / electronic compositions from the '60s and '70s. Vainio's palette of sound rotates between chorales of electrical static, snarls of sawtooth buzzings, and cold sinewave generation with a few field recordings thrown in for good measure; and Vainio composes these elements by way of the razor-cut more often than not. Thus, Aineen Musta Puhelin is a fragmentary collage, at times marked by sharpened, Tesla-coil bursts of engorged electricity only to snap to a blackened frame of silence or at least prolonged inactivity.
MPEG Stream: "Roma A.D. 2727"
MPEG Stream: "Bury A Horses Head"

album cover WET HAIR Dream (Release The Bats) cd 14.98
If you were sad to hear the end of Iowa City's Raccoo-oo-oon, have no fear, for Shawn Reed and Ryan Garbes have returned to the trance-punk altar with a new band, Wet Hair. With two synths, a drum kit, and some hazy distorted vocals the duo offer up Dream, their debut lp, a krauty punk offering of free synth meanderings and cosmic filth, all thrown together in some dusty garage. Pretty cool sunny day avant-punk improv for the deep dreamers.

album cover WOLF Ravenous (Century Media) cd 12.98
This week's entry into the NWOOSHM (New Wave Of Old School Heavy Metal, we've dubbed it) comes from Sweden's Wolf. This traditional metal band (in the tradition of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Mercyful Fate, specifically) are almost not even the new wave anymore, as this is their fifth album! Hard to believe it, we remember like it was yesterday when we first heard their 1999 debut and were like, wow, this band sounds so much like it's 1983, and these dudes probably were toddlers back then! Well now here we are 10 years later and Wolf are still cranking out the true metal like it's, well, no later than 1989.
Ravenous is a good title for this disc, 'cause they sound hungry again, regaining the spark that seemed somehow lacking on their last effort The Black Wind. Singer/guitarist Niklas "Viper" Stalvind's distinctive high pitched vocals scream out lyrics inspired (but not THAT inspired, if you know what we mean) by horror and history, backed by chunky riffs, shredding leads, and galloping rhythms. Nothing incredibly original, but quite metallically solid, indeed, exceedingly ass kicking. Which is pretty much all you can ask from a band called Wolf who write songs with titles like "Whiskey Psycho Hellions", eh?
"Love At First Bite" is another song here, and we're pretty sure it's not about the '70s Dracula comedy starring George Hamilton, but it would be cool if it was. Oh, and in case you were wondering, the current lineup of Wolf all have nicknames, the others besides "Viper" are: "Raptor", "Axeman" (no prizes if you guess what instrument he plays), and "Tornado". We can see -maybe- calling somebody Viper on a regular basis, but do you really think their buddies say, "Yo, Tornado, let's grab a beer?" Or, "Dude, did you see that chick Axeman was hanging out with?" No, we don't think so...
Don't think we're making FUN of Wolf though, we think it's all part of their plan. Likewise with the fact that the Wolf logo on the Ravenous cd itself is, for some reason, pink!
MPEG Stream: "Curse You Salem"
MPEG Stream: "Voodoo"

album cover XLR8R #127 June / July 2009 magazine 4.99
Dancehall's Mavado on the cover. Inside, Girl Talk, Labtekwon, Meanderthals, Tanya Morgan, and producer Xrabit talking 'bout Paul's Boutique. Plus lots more, reviews, columns, stuff about music, tech, video games, places to buy stuff in various urban centers... also comes with a free download card for an mp3 mix by Drop The Lime.







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ALVA NOTO & RYUICHI SAKAMOTO WITH ENSEMBLE MODERN "UTP_" (Raster Norton) cd+dvd 32.00
AMBER ASYLUM "Bitter River" (Profound Lore) cd 13.98
ASTRA "The Weirding" (Rise Above) cd 13.98
BIBLE OF THE DEVIL / BLADE OF THE RIPPER "split" (Scarey Records) 7" 5.98
BIRDS OF AVALON "Uncanny Valley" (Volcom Entertainment) cd/lp 14.98/13.98
BLIND BLAKE "Bahamian Songs" (Megaphone) cd 17.98
BLOOD FOUNTAINS "Floods" (Utech) cd 14.98
BLOODLINE "Hate Procession" (Canonical Hours) cd 13.98
CARETAKER, THE "Persistent Repetition Of Phrases" (Install) cd 16.98
CARY, TRISTRAM "Trios For Synthi VCS3 Synthesizer And Turntables" (AKA) lp 27.00
CASH, TOMMY "Rise And Shine" (Omni Recording Corporation) cd 16.98
DESOLATION WILDERNESS "New Universe" (K Records) cd 14.98
DESTROYER 666 "Defiance" (Season Of Mist) cd 14.98
DIDDLEY, BO "Have Guitar Will Travel" (Chess) lp 12.98
DIDDLEY, BO "The Black Gladiator" (Checker) lp 12.98
ENERGY VAMPIRES "s/t" (Shadow Kingdom) cd 12.98
FENNESZ / DAFELDECKER / BRANDLMAYR "Till The Old World's Blown Up And A New One Is Created" (Mosz) 2cd 16.98
FENRIZ' RED PLANET / NATTEFROST "Engansgrill" (Indie Recordings) cd 21.00
GOES CUBE "Another Day Has Passed" (The End) cd 14.98
HABOOB "s/t" (Long Hair) cd 27.00
HARBOURS "No Souvenirs" (HR) lp 14.98
HERCULES & LOVE AFFAIR "Sidetracked" (Renaissance) 2cd 22.00
HIGH RISE "Psychedelic Speed Freaks Live 1986" (PSF) dvd 27.00
HOOD, ROBERT "Minimal Nation" (M-Plant) 2cd 17.98
ILL WIND "Flashes" (Sunbeam) 2cd 25.00
IRON MONKEY "Iron Monkey / Our Problem" (Earache) 2cd 15.98
JAFFE, SARA & MIA CLARKE "The Art of Touring" (Square Root Books) book + cd 19.95
JANDEK "Helsinki Saturday" (Corwood Industries) cd 8.98
JAPANDROIDS "Post-Nothing" (Polyvinyl) cd 13.98
JOHANNSSON, JOHANN "And In The Endless Paus There Came The Sound Of Bees" (NTOV Phonoautogram) cd 10.98
JOHN'S CHILDREN "Jagged Time Lapse" (Vinyl Lovers) lp 24.00
KELETIGUI ET SES TAMBOURINIS "The Syliphone Years" (Sterns Africa) 2cd 24.00
KUTI, FELA & HIS KOOLA LOBITOS "S/t" (Klimt) lp 27.00
LA NUEVA BANDA DE SANTISTEBAN "Sabor A Fresa" (Vampi Soul) cd 22.00
LIGHTNING DUST "Infinite Light" (Jagjaguwar) cd 14.98
MAGNOLIA ELECTRIC CO. "Josephine" (Secretly Canadian) cd/lp 12.98/14.98
MAHER SHALAL HASH BAZ "C'est La Derniere Chanson" (K) 2cd 13.98
MARTINEZ, SABU "Burned Sugar" (Mellotronen) cd 17.98
MAYER, NATHANIEL "Why Won't You Let Me Be Black" (Alive) cd 15.98
MODEST MOUSE "No One's First, And You're Next" (Epic) cd ep 8.98
MONTY PYTHON'S FLYING CIRCUS "The Infamous TV Soundtrack 1969-1974" (De Wolfe) cd 17.98
MUELLER, JON "Physical Changes" (Radium) lp+cd+dvd 25.00
MUTANTES, OS "Dios Mil E Nove (including Os Mutantes #1, Os Mutantes #2, & A Divina Comedia)" (Lilith) 3lp 62.00
ON "Your Naked Ghost Comes Back At Night" (Type) cd/lp 15.98/23.00
P.H.O.B.O.S. "Anoedipal" (megaton) cd 28.00
PACHA, FEDAYI "The 99 Names Of Dub" (Hammerbass) cd 14.98
PEEBLES, ANN "Part Time Love" (Fat Possum / Hi Records) cd 13.98
PERSISTENCE IN MOURNING "Undead Shall Rise" (At War With False Noise) lp 15.98
REATARD, JAY "Watch Me Fall" (Matador) lp 14.98
REIGNING SOUND "Love And Curses" (In The Red) lp 10.98
ROCHE, JEAN C & BILL H. GUNN "Wailing Wolves From Canada And France" (Fremeaux & Associes) cd 17.98
ROYHKA JA RATTO JA LEHTISALO "Hiekkarantaa" (Ektro) cd 14.98
SALLY, ZAK "Why We Hide" (Sub Pop) 7" 4.98
SARKE "Vorunah" (Indie Recordings) cd 21.00
SIGH "Scorn Of Defeat" (Enucleation) cd 13.98
SKYGREEN LEOPARDS "Gorgeous Johnny" (Jagjaguwar) cd/lp 12.98/14.98
SON VOLT "American Central Dust" (Rounder) cd 15.98
STRENG, PEKKA "Kesamaa" (Love) cd 17.98
SUN RA "Nidhamu & Dark Myth Equation Visitation" (Art Yard) cd 22.00
SYLVESTER & THE HOT BAND "Blue Thumb Collection" (Geffen) cd 17.98
TREE PEOPLE, THE "Human Voices" (Guerssen) cd 17.98
TRETTIOARIGA KRIGET (30 YEARS WAR) "War Years" (Mellotronen) 2cd 27.00
V/A "An Anthology Of Chinese Experimental Music" (Sub Rosa) 4cd 34.00
V/A "Dub Echoes" (Soul Jazz Films) dvd 21.00
V/A "Porno Groove" (Secret Stash) lp 22.00
V/A "String Of Pearls: International 78s" (Mississippi / Canary) lp 14.98
V/A "Take Me To The Water: Immersion Baptism In Vintage Music And Photography 1890-1950" (Dust To Digital) book + cd 34.00
V/A "The Midnite Sound Of The Milky Way" (Big Beat) cd 16.98
VAGUSNERVE "Lo Pan" (Utech) cd 14.98
VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR "Time Vaults" (Abstract Sounds) cd 13.98
VOIVOD "Infini" (Relapse) cd 14.98
WARDRUNA "Runaljod - Gap Var Ginnunga" (Indie Recordings / Fimbullijod) cd 21.00
XYX "s/t" (Skulltones) 7" 7.98
YACHT "See Mystery Lights" (DFA) cd 14.98

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Please place your order via our website.

[1] We will contact you to verify your order and let you know when it will be shipped. Please note that occasionally it may take a day or two for us to reply. We are not a faceless bunch of computers replying to your order -- we are human beings!

[2] If we are out of some of your items and we think we will get them within the same week, we can wait to ship. Or... If it's going to be more than a few days to complete your order, we will ship what we have and then will contact you as the remainders arrive.

[ note ] Due to the everchanging nature of the independent record business, we are not responsible for listed price changes (due to supplier price changes) and often cannot update our site fast enough to reflect these changes, but we will always try to let you know of any differences.


DOMESTIC SHIPPING :
--------------------------------

1-2 items    $5.00 USPS Priority Mail
3+ items    $7.50 UPS Ground

Further Explanation (Please Read!):
Within the USA, an order of 3 or more items will be shipped via UPS ground for a flat fee of $7.50. These packages are automatically insured and trackable.

However, if your package contains just 1 or 2 items, we will ship your order via USPS Priority Mail, and charge you $5.00 for shipping. These packages are NOT insured or trackable, sorry. So if you desire those safeguards, please request UPS delivery at the $7.50 rate. You must mention this in the comments field of our online order form.

Also, please note that UPS will not ship to PO Boxes. If you only have a PO Box, we can ship packages of 3+ items via US Postal Service at the $7.50 rate. Special shipping needs (e.g. UPS Next Day) are also do-able, just ask.

Another important note: box sets DON'T (usually) count as one item. Sorry. A box set will generally bump you up into the "three or more items" category. Y'know, they're big. Boxes.


INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING :
-------------------------------- For foreign customers we ship via US AIRMAIL ("First Class International"). Your price is based on the actual cost of shipping plus $1. You can check the US Postal Service international rate calculator: http://ircalc.usps.gov/. (Use the "Package" category and see the price for "First Class International". 1-3 cds is usually 1 pound.)

We highly recommend insurance for your international package, but it is very expensive! You can check the US Postal Service international rate calculator: http://ircalc.usps.gov/. (Use the "Package" category and see the price for "Priority Mail International". 1-3 cds is usually 1 pound. 1 lp is usually a little over 1.5 pounds.)


INTERNATIONAL INSURANCE :
-------------------------------- You are hereby forewarned that Aquarius is not responsible if your international package gets lost in the mail. Insurance is your only recourse if your records never show up. Since the terrible events of 9/11, mail service has been slow and undependable... and while we haven't experienced any *confirmed* permanently lost mail, insurance might provide some additional piece of mind in this time of upheaval. We strongly recommend it. But yes, it is very expensive. It's your choice. Again: Aquarius is not responsible for lost mail, so if you aren't willing to take a (slight but real) risk, please buy the insurance.

International insurance is very expensive! In fact often the insurance costs more than the value of your package, in which case it obviously does not make sense to insure it. You can check the US Postal Service international rate calculator: http://ircalc.usps.gov/. (Use the "Package" category and see the price for "Priority Mail International", which is the way insured packages are sent. 1-3 cds is usually 1 pound. 1 lp is usually a little over 1.5 pounds.)

For example: for a one-pound package worth $18 going to England, shipping without insurance is about $11.00. But with insurance, the shipping / insurance total is over $26.00!

It is your reponsibility to check the international rate calculator in order to determine whether or not you want international insurance. If you tell us you want international insurance, we will add it to your order no matter how much it costs!


PAYMENT :
-------------------------------- We accept the following credit cards: Visa, MC, Discover, and Amex. We will not charge your credit card until your order is ready to ship.

Money orders are accepted, but only in $USD. International customers please note that they must be international postal money orders purchased at a post office. Additional processing fees may apply. 

If you wish to pay by money order, you must confirm the order with us through email or phone BEFORE you send any payment. It's best to just use the secure order form on the website, and when checking out mark money order as your payment choice. We will then process your order and respond with all the crucial payment info.

We also accept payment by Paypal. If you opt for this payment method, we will send you a paypal total and payment instructions as soon as we've confirmed your order with you. Please do not send payment until you have received human contact from our mailorder department.

Unfortunately, we cannot take personal checks for mailorder, sorry!


QUESTION?
-------------------------------- Email the mailorder department: mailorder@aquariusrecords.org
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SOME SELECTED UPCOMING RELEASES

----} on the way
Gareth Williams & Mary Currie "Flaming Tunes" cd on ReR

----} August 18th or perhaps sooner in some cases
Six Organs Of Admittance "Luminous Night" cd/lp on Drag City
Pissed Jeans "King Of Jeans" cd/lp on Sub Pop
Steven R. Smith "Cities" lp on Immune
Final "Reading All The Right Signals Wrong" cd on No Quarter
Jay Reatard "Watch Me Fall" cd on Matador
Dock Boggs "Legendary Singer And Banjo Player" lp on Folkways
Elisabeth Cotten "When I'm Gone" lp on Folkways
John Fahey "America" lp reissue on Four Men With Beards
Roscoe Holcomb "High Lonesome Sound" lp reissue on Folkways
Robert Pollard "Elephant Jokes" cd/lp on Guided By Voices Inc.
Sic Alps "A Long Way Around" lp edition on Drag City
Helena Espvall & Masaki Batoh "Overloaded Ark" cd/lp on Drag City

----} August 25th
16 Horsepower "Secret South" cd+dvd/lp+dvd on Alternative Tentacles
Cloudland Canyon "Silver Tongue Sisyphus" lp version on Holy Mountain
Jega "Variance" cd/2lp on Planet Mu
Liturgy "Renihiliation" cd on 20 Buck Spin
Laudanum "Coronation" cd on 20 Buck Spin
Sic Alps "L Mansion" 7" on Slumberland
Yoga "Megafauna" cd on Holy Mountain
Hunt & Turner "Magic Landscape" cd reissue on Lion
The Sun Also Rises "s/t" cd reissue on Lion

----} September 8th
Yo La Tengo "Popular Songs" cd/2lp on Matador
Times New Viking "No Time, No Hope" 7" on Matador
Taken By Trees "East Of Eden" cd/lp on Rough Trade

----} September 22nd
Times New Viking "Born Again Revisited" cd/lp on Matador
Kurt Vile "He's All Right" 7" on Matador

----} October 6th
Kurt Vile "Childish Prodigy" cd/lp on Matador
Mission Of Burma "The Sound, The Speed, The Light" cd/lp on Matador

----} also upcoming sooner or later or sooner or later
Gösta Berlings Saga "Detta Har Hant" cd on Transubstans Records
Lord Vicar "Fear No Pain" lp+book version on The Church Within
Om "Live Conference" lp on Important
v/a "Kompakt Total 10" 2cd/3lp on Kompakt
v/a "The Electric Asylum Volume 3: Rare British Acid Freakrock" cd on Past & Present
Black Boned Angel "Verdun" lp on Riot Season
Shit And Shine "229 2299 Girls Against Shit" lp on Riot Season
Ocean "Pantheon Of The Lesser" 2lp version on Important
Bunkur "Nullify" cd on Displeased
Grumbling Fur (Guapo + Jussi from Circle) cd
Der TPK (Teenage Panzerkorps) "Games For Slaves" lp on Siltbreeze
Oxbow "Fuckfest" cd reissue on Hydrahead
Combat Astronomy "Earth Divided by Zero" cd
Rosetta "Wake/Lift" vinyl version
Anton Batagov "Passionate Desire To Be An Angel" cd on Long Arms Records
Japancakes "If I Could See Dallas"
Sean Smith "Eternal" cd on Ultra Hard Gel
Jazzfinger "The Sun's Golden Blood" cd on Beta-Lactam Ring
v/a "Noise Room" cd on Soniq
Country Teasers / Ezee Tiger split lp on Holy Mountain
Erase Errata TBA cd on Kill Rock Stars
Xiu Xiu TBA cd on Kill Rock Stars
The Black Heart Procession TBA cd/lp on Touch And Go
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists TBA cd/lp on Touch And Go
Rodan TBA cd/lp on Quarterstick
Deftones "Eros" cd on Warner Bros.
Swell Maps "International Rescue" clear vinyl LP reissue on Alive
Black Lips "We Didn't Know..." green vinyl LP on Bomp!
Loss "Despond" cd on Profound Lore


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Lots of love from your devoted AQ staff

Andee Cup Jim AllanIrwinScottNickSallyJonandAndrew


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