[ A ] titles at Aquarius Records
search by:
view shopping cart

home
newest arrivals
about mailorder
catalog / list archive

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O
P Q R S T U V W X Y Z Other

20th century composers
compilation / split
country/folk/blues
country/folk/blues ("no depression")
dvd / video / film
electronic
exotica / novelty
experimental
finland
found sounds, field recordings, oddities
hip hop
hip hop (turntablism)
hiphop
hiphop (turntablism)
international
international (africa)
international (asia)
international (central / south america)
international (cuba)
international (europe)
international (french pop)
international (latin american psych/tropicalia)
international (middle east)
japan
japan (noise/free/psych)
japan (pop)
jazz
local
metal
metal (black metal)
metal (stoner rock)
metal (stoner/doom)
new zealand
print
reggae/dub
rock/pop
rock/pop ('60s psych/garage)
rock/pop (goth/industrial/darkwave)
rock/pop (krautrock)
rock/pop (prog rock)
rock/pop (punk/hardcore)
soul/funk
soundtracks
spoken word & comedy

Records of the Week
Alison's Favorites
Allan's Favorites
Andee's Favorites
Andrew's Favorites
Antaeus's Favorites
Ashley's Favorites
Byram's Favorites
Cameron's Favorites
Christine's Favorites
Cup's Favorites
Frank's Favorites
Harry's Favorites
Irwin's Favorites
Jenny's Favorites
Jill's Favorites
Jim's Favorites
Jon's Favorites
Kerry's Favorites
Lauren's Favorites
Matt's Favorites
Michael's Favorites
Nick's Favorites
Pam's Favorites
Sally's Favorites
Scott's Favorites



IMPORTANT (Please read to avoid confusion):
Some items below may be tagged with a bold, red, all-caps "out of print/unavailable" notice. This does NOT mean that all other items not so tagged are, in fact, in stock -- or for that matter, in print and available, though there's a good chance they are. Some folks get confused on this point, and we can see why, so please read this for further clarification and other important before-you-order information. Unlike some mailorder websites, we don't have an electronic inventory system linked to our site, so you can't be sure of what we actually have or don't have in stock at any given moment without asking us -- please email our mailorder department for availability status -- or better yet, just go ahead and place your order using our shopping cart function and we'll get back to you with the status of each item. If you have general non-mailorder questions, email the store.


album cover A s/t (Die Schachtel) cd 18.98
Previously the Die Schachtel label has brought us several very cool reissues of some very obscure '70s art/prog/avant music from Italy -- such as Luciano Cilio, Prima Materia and Insiememusicadiversa. Weird and wonderful stuff. Now, they've got a brand new band for us, not a reissue (though it totally seems to fit in with their "thing"). It's apparently the first in a new series called Zeit devoted to the current-day Italian underground, and comes from a trio calling themselves A (actually, an A with what looks a little circular diacritical mark above it, which we can't reproduce on our website easily. Maybe we should write Aa, that might be the correct way to do it. Furthermore, Wikipedia tells us that in Norwegian, Danish and Swedish it's a word meaning rivulet or stream.). They've got a lot in common with fellow Italians (and AQ faves) Larsen, 3/4hadbeeneliminated, and Sinistri/Starfuckers, playing a sort of mysterious, mostly instrumental, deconstructed, experimental post-rock music. No wonder in iTunes it comes up as genre = "unclassifiable". They're definitely carrying on the tradition established by those '70s artists Die Schachtel has documented.
The percussive beat-booming and crackling drone of the disc's longest track, the sixteen minute "Something A Long Time Ago. And There Are No Buttons Either, Because" brings to mind This Heat. There and elsewhere Aa also conjure suggestions of Village Of Savoonga, Richard Youngs, Dean Roberts, and even Bohren & Der Club Of Gore, among other good things. Additionally, we'll mention that this was mastered by Giuseppe Ielasi, which isn't a bad reference point either if you've heard his music. We just can't resist this sort of semi-abstract, organic post-rock, with its rainy day piano, meandering guitar, tinkling clock-ticking textures, dreamy violin sawing, wordless (?) floaty vocals, glitchy electronics, and birdlike horn warble... all woven together gorgeously and with a sense of the dramatic. Very very nice. As is the packaging too!
By the way, the wordy song titles are all sentence fragments taken from a paragraph belonging to Mark Haddon's novel The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-time.
MPEG Stream: "My Memory Is Like A Film. That Is Why"
MPEG Stream: "I Am Really Good At Remembering Things, Like The Conversation I Have Written Down In This Book, And What People Are Wearing, And What They Smelled Like, Because My Memory Has"
MPEG Stream: "A Smell Track Which Is Like A Soundtrack, And When People Ask Me To Remember Something I Can Simply"

album cover A BOLHA Um Passo A Frente (Lion Productions ) cd 14.98
Following the Tetragon highlighted here last list, and other recent releases like Sergius Golowin and Guru Guru, what treat does the meritorious and meticulous reissue label Lion Productions have for us THIS week? Another obscure, freaky gem of dusty vintage, yes, but this time not krautrock, instead it's from another wonderful subgenre, that of Latin American psychedelia!
This Brazilian band flourished circa 1965-1978, starting off as a Beatlesy dance pop group called The Bubbles, before changing their name to its Portuguese equivalent A Bolha in 1970 and going for a harder, more progressive rock sound, inspired in part by the bands they'd seen on a trip to England, at the Isle of Wight festival. All this according to the extensive liner notes in the thick, illustrated cd booklet, which provides plenty of info about the band and their career, including their stint as backing band for Tropicalia star Gal Costa. But history aside, what matters is the music, and even today A Bolha's lively grooves are pretty great!
This album, Um Passo A Frente, was recorded and released originally in 1973, and is rightly considered a Brazilian rock classic of the era. These tracks (7 from the album proper, plus fantastic 2 bonus cuts included on this reissue) range wildly across the spectrum of pop psych / hard rock / Tropicalia, incorporating laidback vibes, vocal harmonies (all songs sung in Portuguese), sudden prog rock changes (and song lengths, a couple up to 9 and 10 minutes), swirling organ, acid rock guitar soloing, honkytonk piano plinkery, frenetic percussion, countryish blues moods, bubblegum boogiewoogie, and even some free jazz squealing sax (such as during side two's epic "A Espera", which also has some really great freak out moments for all of us flute fanciers!). If we had to pick, our favorite track might be "Tempos Constantes", mixing fuzzy guitar riffage n' rippery with out-and-out uptempo sunshiney pop, but it's a tough call. And then there's the bonus cuts. If anything, those two tracks from A Bolha's debut 1971 single are heavier / druggier / jammier than the preceding cuts on this disc, the band apparently lightening up a bit for the album two years later. Worth it for those two alone, almost!
Definitely one for fans of South American psych all told, if you like the likes of later Os Mutantes, Los Dug Dugs, Bango, Embrujo, Som Imaginario, Color Humano, Miguel Cantilo, et. al. And in some weird way, we're even reminded a bit of recent Comets On Fire output!
NB Although what we said above about Lion Productions being meticulous with their reissues is generally true, we did discover that despite their best efforts, the track listing and disc programming here is screwed up, for one thing tracks 6 and 7 appear to be switched around. Whoops! Lion is quite chagrined and will post corrected information to their website asap.
MPEG Stream: "Tempos Constantes"
MPEG Stream: "A Espera"
MPEG Stream: "Sem Nada"

album cover A BOLHA Un Passo A Frente (Groovie Records) lp 32.00
Now, reissued on vinyl too!
This Brazilian band flourished circa 1965-1978, starting off as a Beatlesy dance pop group called The Bubbles, before changing their name to its Portuguese equivalent A Bolha in 1970 and going for a harder, more progressive rock sound, inspired in part by the bands they'd seen on a trip to England, at the Isle of Wight festival. They also spent some time as the as backing band for Tropicalia star Gal Costa. But history aside, what matters is the music, and even today A Bolha's lively grooves are pretty great!
This album, Um Passo A Frente, was recorded and released originally in 1973, and is rightly considered a Brazilian rock classic of the era. These tracks (7 from the album proper, plus fantastic 2 bonus cuts, which also appeared on the compact disc reissue we previously listed) range wildly across the spectrum of pop psych / hard rock / Tropicalia, incorporating laidback vibes, vocal harmonies (all songs sung in Portuguese), sudden prog rock changes (and song lengths, a couple up to 9 and 10 minutes), swirling organ, acid rock guitar soloing, honkytonk piano plinkery, frenetic percussion, countryish blues moods, bubblegum boogiewoogie, and even some free jazz squealing sax (such as during side two's epic "A Espera", which also has some really great freak out moments for all of us flute fanciers!). If we had to pick, our favorite track might be "Tempos Constantes", mixing fuzzy guitar riffage n' rippery with out-and-out uptempo sunshiney pop, but it's a tough call. And then there's the bonus cuts. If anything, those two tracks from A Bolha's debut 1971 single are heavier / druggier / jammier than the preceding cuts on this disc, the band apparently lightening up a bit for the album two years later. Worth it for those two alone, almost!
Definitely one for fans of South American psych all told, if you like the likes of later Os Mutantes, Los Dug Dugs, Bango, Embrujo, Som Imaginario, Color Humano, Miguel Cantilo, et. al. And in some weird way, we're even reminded a bit of recent Comets On Fire output!
(Oh, and unlike the slightly mixed-up cd reissue on Lion, this time around, the tracklisting appears to be correct regarding order and times.)
MPEG Stream: "Tempos Constantes"
MPEG Stream: "A Espera"
MPEG Stream: "Sem Nada"

album cover A BROKEN CONSORT Box Of Birch (Tompkins Square) cd 14.98
A Broken Consort is only one of the monickers under which UK sound artist Richard Skelton performs, and this, Box Of Birch, only one of many releases under various guises, but the first to receive any sort of widespread release.
Skelton started a private press after the passing of his wife, who was a visual artist. She left him all sorts of unfinished works, drawings and sketches, and the purpose of the press was to release her artwork posthumously, collaborating together, her art, his music, a tribute to her memory.
But it's not just the source of this music and the story behind it that makes Box Of Birch so dark and heartfelt and bittersweet, the music itself is a gorgeous tribute to a lost love, to sorrow and remembrance, moving forward but also to never forgetting.
Haunting and lush, the 4 long tracks here are epic and orchestral, long tones, layered drones, darkly minor key melodies, a muted blissed out sort of cosmic space drift. Dark dreamlike ragas constructed from softly strummed guitars, wheezing accordions, tinkling percussion, all manner of buzzing strings woven into deep gentle sonic swells, it's at once abstract and ethereal, but also subtly song based, the tracks feel composed, as much as they feel free. Strings saw out intensely emotional melodies over having soundscapes of dark dark shimmer. The music here is not at all tranquil, not new age-y or easy listening, no these are complex, emotionally charged sounds, these songs, or pieces, throb with passion and energy, they ooze sadness and misery, but also mange to evoke hope, the long slow burning drones seems to constantly drift heavenward, glowing and glistening, a timeless expanse of rumble and whir and buzz, effulgent and everbright, shrouded in darkness for now, but the warm heart within seems to grow with every listen, in every song, an organic living progression, as the record plays, it seems inevitable that the mysterious warmth, will undoubtedly overpower the dark.
Absolutely gorgeous. Lovely artwork too. Recommended for folks into blissed out drones, deep buzzing ragas and minimal abstract space rock: Lamp Of The Universe, Sunroof!, Expo '70, Emeralds, Astral Social Club, Golden Sores, Barn Owl, etc...
MPEG Stream: "A Sundering Path"
MPEG Stream: "Weight Of Days"

album cover A BROKEN CONSORT Box Of Birch (Tompkins Square) lp 16.98
NOW ALSO AVAILABLE ON VINYL!
A Broken Consort is only one of the monickers under which UK sound artist Richard Skelton performs, and this, Box Of Birch, only one of many releases under various guises, but the first to receive any sort of widespread release.
Skelton started a private press after the passing of his wife, who was a visual artist. She left him all sorts of unfinished works, drawings and sketches, and the purpose of the press was to release her artwork posthumously, collaborating together, her art, his music, a tribute to her memory.
But it's not just the source of this music and the story behind it that makes Box Of Birch so dark and heartfelt and bittersweet, the music itself is a gorgeous tribute to a lost love, to sorrow and remembrance, moving forward but also to never forgetting.
Haunting and lush, the 4 long tracks here are epic and orchestral, long tones, layered drones, darkly minor key melodies, a muted blissed out sort of cosmic space drift. Dark dreamlike ragas constructed from softly strummed guitars, wheezing accordions, tinkling percussion, all manner of buzzing strings woven into deep gentle sonic swells, it's at once abstract and ethereal, but also subtly song based, the tracks feel composed, as much as they feel free. Strings saw out intensely emotional melodies over having soundscapes of dark dark shimmer. The music here is not at all tranquil, not new age-y or easy listening, no these are complex, emotionally charged sounds, these songs, or pieces, throb with passion and energy, they ooze sadness and misery, but also mange to evoke hope, the long slow burning drones seems to constantly drift heavenward, glowing and glistening, a timeless expanse of rumble and whir and buzz, effulgent and everbright, shrouded in darkness for now, but the warm heart within seems to grow with every listen, in every song, an organic living progression, as the record plays, it seems inevitable that the mysterious warmth, will undoubtedly overpower the dark.
Absolutely gorgeous. Lovely artwork too. Recommended for folks into blissed out drones, deep buzzing ragas and minimal abstract space rock: Lamp Of The Universe, Sunroof!, Expo '70, Emeralds, Astral Social Club, Golden Sores, Barn Owl, etc...
MPEG Stream: "A Sundering Path"
MPEG Stream: "Weight Of Days"

album cover A BROKEN CONSORT Crow Autumn (Tompkins Square) cd 14.98
Crow Autumn is the second record by A Broken Consort, aka Richard Skelton. He conjured up ABC as a project dedicated to his late wife who passed away in 2004, leaving a collection of sketches and photos, unfinished artwork, all of which inspired him to keep her memory alive, via posthumous collaborations, as well as various works of his own created in her memory. The last ABC record, Box Of Birch, was all blissed out drones and slow burning ragas, whereas Crow Autumn is more organic, more like an abstract assemblage of strings, a string quartet loosed from its traditional moorings perhaps. The sounds here are warm and lush, mediative and melancholic, the drone and raga elements are certainly still present, but the vibe is more acoustic, more raw and immediate and emotional, less processed and assembled.
Opening with a hushed, minimal stretch of warm washed out shimmer, the slow scrape of strings wrapped in reverb, the record quickly blossoms into a dense layered sprawl of metallic, shimmering strings, all overlapping, and slowly shifting, the overtones drifting in and out, the chords lush and intertwined, the notes occasionally spinning off into the ether, the pace is patient, and serene. At points there are distant melodies played on what sounds like a tiny piano, nearly obscured by a swirl of ethereal glimmering haze, but it seems the strings are the focal point of Crow Autumn, the tracks always seeming to gravitate toward a weightless expanse of suspended strings, plucked, scraped, bowed, the tones stretched out into warm billowy clouds, all very cinematic and dramatic, and strangely repetitive and looped sounding, so evocative of faded memory, of old photographs, of abandoned houses, of sunlight through old yellowed windows, of trees swaying in afternoon breezes, of long walks under grey skies, of sadness, loss, and longing. So beautiful, and heartfelt, and hypnotic.
Essential listening for fans of Leyland Kirby, the Caretaker, William Basinski, the Skelton solo record we reviewed a while back, the last A Broken Consort, and anyone into darkly meditative dream-drift-drone music...
MPEG Stream: "A Mercy Kill"
MPEG Stream: "Like Rain"
MPEG Stream: "Mountains Ash"

album cover A BROKEN CONSORT Crow Autumn (Tompkins Square) lp 14.98
Crow Autumn is the second record by A Broken Consort, aka Richard Skelton. He conjured up ABC as a project dedicated to his late wife who passed away in 2004, leaving a collection of sketches and photos, unfinished artwork, all of which inspired him to keep her memory alive, via posthumous collaborations, as well as various works of his own created in her memory. The last ABC record, Box Of Birch, was all blissed out drones and slow burning ragas, whereas Crow Autumn is more organic, more like an abstract assemblage of strings, a string quartet loosed from its traditional moorings perhaps. The sounds here are warm and lush, mediative and melancholic, the drone and raga elements are certainly still present, but the vibe is more acoustic, more raw and immediate and emotional, less processed and assembled.
Opening with a hushed, minimal stretch of warm washed out shimmer, the slow scrape of strings wrapped in reverb, the record quickly blossoms into a dense layered sprawl of metallic, shimmering strings, all overlapping, and slowly shifting, the overtones drifting in and out, the chords lush and intertwined, the notes occasionally spinning off into the ether, the pace is patient, and serene. At points there are distant melodies played on what sounds like a tiny piano, nearly obscured by a swirl of ethereal glimmering haze, but it seems the strings are the focal point of Crow Autumn, the tracks always seeming to gravitate toward a weightless expanse of suspended strings, plucked, scraped, bowed, the tones stretched out into warm billowy clouds, all very cinematic and dramatic, and strangely repetitive and looped sounding, so evocative of faded memory, of old photographs, of abandoned houses, of sunlight through old yellowed windows, of trees swaying in afternoon breezes, of long walks under grey skies, of sadness, loss, and longing. So beautiful, and heartfelt, and hypnotic.
Essential listening for fans of Leyland Kirby, the Caretaker, William Basinski, the Skelton solo record we reviewed a while back, the last A Broken Consort, and anyone into darkly meditative dream-drift-drone music...
MPEG Stream: "A Mercy Kill"
MPEG Stream: "Like Rain"
MPEG Stream: "Mountains Ash"

album cover A CAMP Colonia (Nettwerk) cd 16.98
A Camp = 1 part Cardigans (Nina Persson), 1 part Shudder To Think (Nathan Larson) and 1 part Atomic Swing (Niclas Frisk).
Colonia = their long awaited sophomore album (their first, import only disc was way back in 2001!).
Sounds promising... enticing even, right? But we're sad to say that our hopes were snuffed fairly swiftly.
As with her main band the downy dewy loveliness of the songs mis-directs the listener from the biting social commentary of her lyrics. On many of the songs here, they come across considerably more heavy-handed than ever before, making the contrast with the mellow soft rock and retro pop backdrop seem a bit forced. We were a bit surprised to hear that the album was being released by Nettwerk (record label and management company to the stars - Avril Lavigne, Sarah Maclachlan, etc), but after hearing Colonia it does make a bit more sense. This is a very glossily produced affair, very palatable for mainstream AOR. Actually her voice could easily be mistaken for the former (which around here is only a good thing if your last name is Connors). Both it and the music as a whole sound strangely homogenized and faceless. Alas, A Camp, alas! Mark "Sparklehorse" Linkous, who produced and performed on the first A Camp album, is pretty much MIA here, and that might be a big part of the problem.
MPEG Stream: "Stronger Than Jesus"
MPEG Stream: "Here Are Many Wild Animals"

album cover A CAMP s/t (Stockholm) cd 27.00
Debut solo album from The Cardigans' Nina Persson produced / recorded by AQ fave Mark Linkous from Sparklehorse. Not as catchy and poppy as the Cardigans and not as delicate and hyper-produced as Sparklehorse, but still really really good. We loved the Cardigans and were completely bummed when they called it quits, but this just might fill the gap. The Cardigans were led by their guitarist, a metal obsessed pop songwriting genius, so his absence is quite noticeable. But what Persson lacks in songwriting skill she makes up for with -that- voice and a pretty great grasp of sparkly, shimmering, melodic and melancholic pop. Includes one of the best versions we've heard of Daniel Johnston's oft-covered 'Walking The Cow'. Unfortunately high priced import. No word yet on a domestic release.
RealAudio clip: "I Can Buy You"
RealAudio clip: "Walking The Cow (Daniel Johnston)"

A CERTAIN RATIO B-Sides, Sessions and Rarities (Soul Jazz) 2x10" 22.00
Essentially this limited double 10" set collects all of the tracks that didn't make it on the ACR "Early" vinyl but were featured on the cd.

album cover A CERTAIN RATIO Early (Soul Jazz) 2cd 25.00
Finally at long last REPRESSED AND BACK IN STOCK! Here's what we said about this cool collection when we first listed it way back in 2002...
A Certain Ratio, who took their name from a lyric off Brian Eno's flawless pop album Taking Tiger Mountain, began their career alongside fellow Mancunians Joy Division back in the late '70s, crafting a sound that evolved through the bleak references of punk into a groove-oriented, party-funk band by the mid-'80s. Strangely enough, the band's first ventures (including their first single "All Night Party" which is featured on this Soul Jazz compilation) were drumless, until the self-professed Funkadelic fan Donald Johnson filled in A Certain Ratio's rhythmic lack with an explosive prowess that matched the band's original proclivity for militant death disco grooves that were as good as anything on the first two Public Image Limited albums. A Certain Ratio rounded out their earliest incarnation with the eerie baritone vocals of Simon Topping, who shared more than a few of the theatrical affectations of Joy Division's Ian Curtis. Throughout the early '80s albums on Factory, Topping's vocals took a less central role, as A Certain Ratio began focusing upon the rhythmic dynamic of Jeremy Kerr's increasingly overactive use of slap bass and Johnson's explorations into jazz and Brazilian rhythms. Like Joy Division's transformation into New Order, A Certain Ratio re-created themselves within the context of the mid-'80s UK club culture.
In addition to the first disc which collects many of their best songs (although hardcore ACR fans might take issue with some of the selections), what's extra nice about this reissue are the B-sides and rarities that comprise the second disc. Those of us who missed out the first time around will be surprised to hear that the driving dance-iness of those tracks were balanced out by the decidedly more gloomy sound typical of Joy Division's dark and angular choppiness. Far more punk than dance. Another fine case of a band's demos and rarities being a valuable good listen, instead of being collected for collectors' sake. Highly recommended!
MPEG Stream: "Do The Du"
MPEG Stream: "Knife Slits Water"
MPEG Stream: "All Night Party (7" mix)"
MPEG Stream: "Choir"

album cover A CERTAIN RATIO Early (Soul Jazz) 2lp 27.00
Finally at long last REPRESSED AND BACK IN STOCK! Here's what we said about this cool collection when we first listed it way back in 2002...
A Certain Ratio, who took their name from a lyric off Brian Eno's flawless pop album Taking Tiger Mountain, began their career alongside fellow Mancunians Joy Division back in the late '70s, crafting a sound that evolved through the bleak references of punk into a groove-oriented, party-funk band by the mid-'80s. Strangely enough, the band's first ventures (including their first single "All Night Party" which is featured on this Soul Jazz compilation) were drumless, until the self-professed Funkadelic fan Donald Johnson filled in A Certain Ratio's rhythmic lack with an explosive prowess that matched the band's original proclivity for militant death disco grooves that were as good as anything on the first two Public Image Limited albums. A Certain Ratio rounded out their earliest incarnation with the eerie baritone vocals of Simon Topping, who shared more than a few of the theatrical affectations of Joy Division's Ian Curtis. Throughout the early '80s albums on Factory, Topping's vocals took a less central role, as A Certain Ratio began focusing upon the rhythmic dynamic of Jeremy Kerr's increasingly overactive use of slap bass and Johnson's explorations into jazz and Brazilian rhythms. Like Joy Division's transformation into New Order, A Certain Ratio re-created themselves within the context of the mid-'80s UK club culture. Highly recommended!
MPEG Stream: "Do The Du"
MPEG Stream: "Knife Slits Water"

album cover A CERTAIN RATIO Live - America 1985 (Melodic) cd 14.98

album cover A CERTAIN RATIO The Graveyard and the Ballroom (Universal Sound) cd 19.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Ah now this is more like it! The ACR retrospective that Soul Jazz / Universal Sound released a year or two ago was an honest, if partially flawed overview of ACR's occasionally problematic sound, developed during the height of the post-punk movement in the late '70s up through the mid '80s. Where I believe ACR really succeeded was in their earliest recordings documented here on The Graveyard and The Ballroom, which was originally released as a cassette on Factory and later through the Rev-Ola subsidiary of Creation. On these early recordings, A Certain Ratio struggled to balance the two dominant personalities of the group. On one hand there was Simon Topping with his grim poetry barked in a desperate baritone voice, on the other was self-professed Parliament fan Donald Johnson behind the drum kit. Johnson may have ultimately won whatever aesthetic battle took place ACR, but during these early recordings the band thrived on the tension between Topping's bleak vocals and Johnson's amazingly deft grooves. During that time period, ACR -- like many Factory bands including Section 25, The Wake, and Crispy Ambulance -- was accused of being Joy Division imitators. The skeletal Martin Hannent production and the similarity bewtixt Topping and Joy Division's singer Ian Curtis certainly enflame such accusations; yet the music of ACR with its choppy guitar angularity and percussive dexterity lent itself far closer to comparison with the post-punk grooviness of James Chance or ESG. Explosively groovy tracks like "Do The Du," "Crippled Child," and "All Night Party" put all the current roster of post-punk enthusiasts to shame.
This has long been one of my favorite recordings, and I'm very glad it's been reissued. That said, the choice of bonus tracks are a bit disappointing -- the first of which the excellent "And Then Again" appeared on The Old and The New, and the second of which "The Thin Boys" is a throw-away demo track.
MPEG Stream: "Crippled Child"
MPEG Stream: "All Night Party"
MPEG Stream: "Strain"

album cover A CERTAIN RATIO To Each... (Universal Sound) cd 19.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Originally released back in 1981 on Factory Records, A Certain Ratio's To Each was their first proper album, following their earlier recordings recently collected on the Graveyard and Ballroom album. For whatever reason, ACR decided to record this album in East Orange, New Jersey and brought resident Factory producer Martin Hannett with them for the session. In most circumstances, their choice of studios wouldn't really matter all that much; however, the band happened to catch ESG performing across the river in New York, took a liking to the band, and invited them to come back to the studio to record with Hannett, resulting in ESG's debut album!
As far ACR's time in the tri-state area goes, To Each showcased their greater push toward experimentation in their morose brand of punked out funk. The band's jagged guitars move further in the background while the rhythm section shares the center stage with Simon Topping's gloomy baritone and untrained trumpet blurts. At times, this album ventures into similar territory as Tones On Tails' skewed pop sensibilities and jet black moodiness; yet, ACR time after time returns to the funk. Strange as it may seem, ACR's debut begins to show their descent into the insipid sounds that dominated their mid to late '80s sound. To Each is certainly not as good as Graveyard and Ballroom, but has lots to write home about. This reissue also features two pretty solid dub tracks that they released back in the day under the pseudonym Sir Horatio.
MPEG Stream: "Felch"
MPEG Stream: "Forced Laugh"
MPEG Stream: "Winter Hill"

album cover A CERTAIN RATIO To Each... (Universal Sound) 2lp 23.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Originally released back in 1981 on Factory Records, A Certain Ratio's To Each was their first proper album, following their earlier recordings recently collected on the Graveyard and Ballroom album. For whatever reason, ACR decided to record this album in East Orange, New Jersey and brought resident Factory producer Martin Hannett with them for the session. In most circumstances, their choice of studios wouldn't really matter all that much; however, the band happened to catch ESG performing across the river in New York, took a liking to the band, and invited them to come back to the studio to record with Hannett, resulting in ESG's debut album!
As far ACR's time in the tri-state area goes, To Each showcased their greater push toward experimentation in their morose brand of punked out funk. The band's jagged guitars move further in the background while the rhythm section shares the center stage with Simon Topping's gloomy baritone and untrained trumpet blurts. At times, this album ventures into similar territory as Tones On Tails' skewed pop sensibilities and jet black moodiness; yet, ACR time after time returns to the funk. Strange as it may seem, ACR's debut begins to show their descent into the insipid sounds that dominated their mid to late '80s sound. To Each is certainly not as good as Graveyard and Ballroom, but has lots to write home about. This reissue also features two pretty solid dub tracks that they released back in the day under the pseudonym Sir Horatio.
MPEG Stream: "Felch"
MPEG Stream: "Forced Laugh"
MPEG Stream: "Winter Hill"

album cover A FASHIONABLE DISEASE s/t (My Pet Goat) 7" 4.50
Totally ass kicking and weirdly fucked brutality fills this little 7" from Santa Cruz's own, A Fashionable Disease! Another one of those what the fuck, seemingly impossible combinations of influences, synthesized in such a unique and successful way, that makes us kind of scratch our heads and lament that we haven't been turned on sooner. How do you describe this? Maybe filthyfreejazzcrustyfiedsatanicdamagedgrindpunkavantskronk? Or maybe just Crass meets Ayler meets Pig Destroyer meets Sun Ra meets Schoenberg meets Anal Cunt meets Mahavishnu. We don't fucking know, but it rules! Super demented, ultra damaged grind-jazz, complete with horn section! Putrid angular metallic guitar discordance, feculent terrorist manifesto screeched vocals, growling horns, blasting drums. The first cut, "Veal Medallions" starts with a blast of feedback before hurling into a psychotically chromatic guitar and piano line, ending up in a blasting tumult of throat tearing vocals and frenetically crazed drumming! Some of the lyrics from this number kind of sum up what these fellas are about... "skulls converge ruins/ rainbows ejaculate onto your face/ quiet in the piss-stained evening/ spring wind blows perfume of 1,000 rotting carcasses...". Fuck yes. The rest of the 7" is just as killer. Totally fucked and totally great! For fans of Zorn, Bathtub Shitter, Rudimentary Peni, Crass, Coltrane, Dystopia, Cecil Taylor, or anything filthy, proggy, grindy, avant-jazzy, and totally shredding! Recommended!

A FIELD IN ENGLAND OST (Rook Films) cassette 10.98

A GENDER self (en)titled (self-released) cd-r 4.98

A GUY CALLED GERALD Blueprint (Blueprint) 2cd 18.98
A straight mixed CD of '70s funk classics from the techno-boffin turned drum 'n' bass innovator A Guy Called Gerald, featuring Funkadelic, Marvin Gaye, James Brown, Bootsy's Rubber Band, Cymande, Slave, War, Phoebe Snow, Barry White, Mtume, Kool & The Gang, and many more. One of the discs is Gerald's mix, the other is an un-mixed selection of some of Gerald's favorite tracks.

A GUY CALLED GERALD Essence (Studio K7) cd 17.98
A drum & bass styled outing for this famed electronica producer-guy (David Bowie!).

A HANDFUL OF DUST Spiritual Libertines (Crank Automotive) cd 10.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Bruce Russell of the Dead C and Alastair Galbraith's improvised noise project, 2 tracks previously unreleased, the rest from out-of-print 7"s and cassettes...

album cover A HAWK AND A HACKSAW Foni Tu Argile (Leaf) 10" 10.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Further supporting their enchanting not-of-this-era aura, A Hawk And A Hacksaw have delivered a new 10" that is not only packaged in a beautiful vintage looking sleeve, but also plays at the olde tymey phonograph speed of 78rpm! So please keep in mind that if you want to listen to this record, you may not need a victrola, but you will need a turntable that is capable of spinning at 78rpm. "Foni Tu Argile" is a Greek urban folk song, a fiery instrumental number that graces their latest album Deliverance along with the two songs on the b-side (so if you are sans record player, you will still be able to get these tunes!). As always, so wonderful and passionate! Ultra limited pressing of 500!


album cover A JOURNEY TO HAPPINESS ISLAND s/t (Mutable Press) lp 12.98
A children's album of sorts! As its creators Malcolm Felder, Gabe Boyer and company envisioned it, A Journey... is "not so much a parody of children's music, as in fact an exploration of the style of production that goes into the creation of a children's album." That said, it features characters who go by names such as leading man Mr. Tadpole, narrator/dermatologist (?) Dr. Esophagus, Mr. Chipmunk, Mr. Jeebee and the Sunflower Cabaret. The sounds are playful and quirky. Fun for a wider age group than you might expect!
A side note: If you dig this lp you might wanna check out the cd called The Textbook Tapes which is a tweaked, lo-fi sci-fi concept album created by the same folks.

A KOMBI Music To Drive By (Dual Plover) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
As featured in the latest Bananafish magazine, this Australian artist created this cd using only the sounds made by a Volkswagen.

album cover A LILY Wake:Sleep (Dynamophone) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Ready to get all blissed out? A Lily (aka James Vella) craftily strings together pearly chiming droplet sounds that form lullaby-perfect melodies. Fittingly murmured indistinct vocals provide more of an atmospheric presence than a lyrical one. Along with some stuttery glitch and picked guitar, they drift in and out of the soothing gauzy washes. Wake: Sleep will surely also appeal to fans of Germany's Morr Music label (LaliPuna, Styrofoam, Piano Magic, etc.) as well as the dreamy pop-tronics of Dntel and Album Leaf. Very nice!
This is another of the uncommonly sumptuous array of releases from the young music label Dynamophone. As we mentioned earlier in the review of labelmates Balustrade Ensemble, they've only been around since mid-2006, but already have a bountiful catalog with many more on the way. Particularly if you've been enjoying the recent aquatic drone releases on the Mystery Sea label, you might wish to check out the seemingly likeminded, but more melodically inclined Dynamophone artists. An absolute treasure trove of shimmering and dewy listening delights. Delve in immediately (also see: Balustrade Ensemble, Halou, Po, Pornopop, Disinterested, Curium, and R/R Coseboom)!
MPEG Stream: "I Am To You"
MPEG Stream: "Arms Around Sleep"

album cover A MAGIC WHISTLE On A Magic Pulsewave (Ormolycka) cassette 5.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Another mysterious releases from the always awesome Ormolycka tape label, this time from a band/person called A Magic Whistle, whose sound is a weird hybrid of early electronic music, bleepy bloopy analog squelch and tripped out psychedelic processed vox, a heady concoction that sounds a bit like Bruce Haack by way of Animal Collective, or some lost sixties psych record performed by an army of automated synths and a bank of rhythm machines, spitting out crunchy motorik robotfunk grooves. Sprinkled throughout are warm swirls of harp like string shimmer, dubbed out operatic croons, thick swaths of rib cage rattling low end buzz, and soft focus clouds of glimmering FX. The flipside, recorded live in SF in 2010, offers up more of the same, but a bit more distorted, the sounds oozing and fuzzy, the low end thick and warm, the tempo dialed way back to something much more meditative and dreamily mesmeric. The perfect soundtrack to laying in the grass in the dead of night, wreathed in a warm breeze, watching the stars dance in the deep blue sky. The sound doesn't remain so sedate, instead, the sounds grow jumbled and chaotic, before once again settling into another stretch of looped, cyclical Reich / Riley style hypnogroove bliss out. Cool stuff. And like all the Ormolycka tapes, SUPER LIMITED (only 100 copies we think!)...
MPEG Stream: "On A Magic Carpet Live"

album cover A MIGHTY WIND: THE ALBUM (OST) (Sony) cd 17.98
Throughout their beloved mockumentary movies Spinal Tap, Waiting For Guffman, Best In Show and now A Mighty Wind, Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and co. have done a smashing job faithfully replicating musical styles right down to the most miniscule detail. You might even say that quite often it puts the 'real' thing to shame. Pssst... if you've yet to see AMW which focuses on three very different fictitious embodiments of folk music - the squaresville upstart New Main Street Singers, veteran trio The Folksmen and beloved duo Mitch & Mickey - what the heck are you waiting for?! Perhaps one of their most astute skills is in knowing when to apply humor (either subtle or over-the-top) and when to play things totally straight. They locate just the right moment to give your funny bone a wallop or tug gently at your heartstrings. The latter is so fully realized in Mitch & Mickey's bittersweet duet "A Kiss At The End Of The Rainbow". Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara's voices ring so clear and true as the former sweethearts. Sigh! It makes our ol' softie Ms Cup get all misty eyed. Of course, this is a must-have for those of you who've seen (and re-seen) the movie and/or the fabulous live production that came to the Warfield recently. Recommended!!!
MPEG Stream: "A Kiss At The End Of The Rainbow"
MPEG Stream: "Never Did No Wanderin'"

A MINOR FOREFST So were they in some sort of fight? (My Pal God) 2cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
A year or so after the demise of A Minor Forest, comes this, a fairly comprhensive collection of impossible-to-find tracks from 7s, 10s, and compilations, as well as unreleased tracks from way back (2 or 3 from the 1991 demo). Also includes remixes from Loren Chasse (Id Battery), Dave Cerf (sound artist/voice mail terrorist) and Lesser, a bunch of sound experiments, some practice space recordings, a rejected(!) score for a straight-to-video zombie nun movie, a kick ass version of the Little River Band's 'Lady', and more!

album cover A MINOR FOREST 2013 Reunion Show Poster poster 20.00
Got a handful of these left, a super cool, super limited silkscreened poster for the recent A Minor Forest reunion show at Bottom Of The Hill with Barn Owl, Andee and Co.'s first show in fifteen years! The poster is printed in purple, yellow-y green and metallic gold, featuring eye popping weirdo-wizard forest-orb magic-staff art by Alan Forbes.
LIMITED TO 100 COPIES, each one hand numbered and signed by Forbes himself! These are really nice and cannot be folded, so if you order one, they'll have to ship separately in a poster tube, and will thus incur a separate shipping charge...

A MINOR FOREST Flemish Altruism (Constituent Parts 1993-1996) (Thrill Jockey) cd 13.98
We asked beloved AQ-reader Douglas Mosurak to say a few words about Andee's band's new record:
"October 22, 1996: Bay Area rock trio A Minor Forest stop indie rock dead. Their new double LP on Thrill Jockey is so incredible, and subsequently so complete, that no other records of its kind need to be produced anymore. Lesser bands of their stripe are currently being petitioned to break up immediately to save embarrassment. And while some people will miss, like, June of 44 or the Archers of Loaf for a little while, with the proper exposure to Flemish Altruism, they'll forget all about it. AMF manage to piece together everything good about every post-Big Black and every post-Heroin outfit into a seamless, epic sound; fairly dense, deeply emotional and thoroughly human. They have the sense of humor required to lift it off, too. Some of their songs prefer to hide in the corner; some lunge for your throat. Their style is such that their original ideas fill in with ones borrowed from their rich lineage in such a manner that pays tribute without disrespect. It's a thoroughly engaging sound that I'd rank up there with the Bitch Magnet discography, with the Bastro LPs, with the Gore records, with the cream of the Gravity crop, even with the Shellac album. Best rock record of 1996, and currently outweighing all proposed rock concepts until the close of the millenium. Buy two. Wow."

A MINOR FOREST Flemish Altruism (Constituent Parts 1993-1996) (Thrill Jockey) 2lp 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
We asked beloved AQ-reader Douglas Mosurak to say a few words about Andee's band's new record:
"October 22, 1996: Bay Area rock trio A Minor Forest stop indie rock dead. Their new double LP on Thrill Jockey is so incredible, and subsequently so complete, that no other records of its kind need to be produced anymore. Lesser bands of their stripe are currently being petitioned to break up immediately to save embarrassment. And while some people will miss, like, June of 44 or the Archers of Loaf for a little while, with the proper exposure to Flemish Altruism, they'll forget all about it. AMF manage to piece together everything good about every post-Big Black and every post-Heroin outfit into a seamless, epic sound; fairly dense, deeply emotional and thoroughly human. They have the sense of humor required to lift it off, too. Some of their songs prefer to hide in the corner; some lunge for your throat. Their style is such that their original ideas fill in with ones borrowed from their rich lineage in such a manner that pays tribute without disrespect. It's a thoroughly engaging sound that I'd rank up there with the Bitch Magnet discography, with the Bastro LPs, with the Gore records, with the cream of the Gravity crop, even with the Shellac album. Best rock record of 1996, and currently outweighing all proposed rock concepts until the close of the millenium. Buy two. Wow."

album cover A MINOR FOREST Flemish Altruism / Inindependence (Thrill Jockey) 4lp 25.00
We ran out of the special Record Store Day limited tote bag version of the AMF reissues, but we just got the last remaining copies of the vinyl reissues (sans tote bag) direct from the band. Both lps are again sadly out of print. But while they last, we have a handful of the nice priced 4lp set which includes both Flemish Altruism and Inindependence... Here's our review of both when we listed this back around Record Store Day...
In the most recent issue of Entertainment Weekly (!), our very own Andee was asked about what Record Store Day Releases we were most excited about. He mentioned a bunch, but the two they actually included in the magazine, were the utterly hilarious music nerd classic Rock, Rot And Rule (now sadly out of print), and these two vinyl reissues, from recently reunited / reactivated nineties post/math/noise rock combo A Minor Forest, which as many of you know, is in fact Andee's band! He was kind of joking, and a bit embarrassed when THAT was one of the ones they picked to print, but really, we WERE pretty excited. These two records have been out of print on vinyl for a decade, and have been remastered, now come with digital downloads, and one has all new artwork! But instead of making Andee further toot his own horn, we figured we'd try to be more objective, and let some other folks weigh in. A couple reviews from the past, and a couple from the present. So when we first reviewed these back in the day, for AMF's debut, Flemish Altruism, we asked beloved aQ-pal Douglas Mosurak to say a few words about that record, here's that original review from years and years ago:
"October 22, 1996: Bay Area rock trio A Minor Forest stop indie rock dead. Their new double LP on Thrill Jockey is so incredible, and subsequently so complete, that no other records of its kind need to be produced anymore. Lesser bands of their stripe are currently being petitioned to break up immediately to save embarrassment. And while some people will miss, like, June of 44 or the Archers of Loaf for a little while, with the proper exposure to Flemish Altruism, they'll forget all about it. AMF manage to piece together everything good about every post-Big Black and every post-Heroin outfit into a seamless, epic sound; fairly dense, deeply emotional and thoroughly human. They have the sense of humor required to lift it off, too. Some of their songs prefer to hide in the corner; some lunge for your throat. Their style is such that their original ideas fill in with ones borrowed from their rich lineage in such a manner that pays tribute without disrespect. It's a thoroughly engaging sound that I'd rank up there with the Bitch Magnet discography, with the Bastro LPs, with the Gore records, with the cream of the Gravity crop, even with the Shellac album. Best rock record of 1996, and currently outweighing all proposed rock concepts until the close of the millennium. Buy two. Wow."
Then, the follow up Inindependence was reviewed thusly by us upon its original release (when aQ reviews were still concise and impossibly brief):
"Simply put, this may be the last bastion of rock on Thrill Jockey, before they devolve into a purely electronic/jazz label. Sure we may be boasting a little, because A Minor Forest is our very own Andee Connors' band. But this truly is a great record of delicate math rock instrumentations executed with violent precision!"
So here were are 15+ years later, and both records, now reissued and available as a swank 4lp / tote bag set, in honor of the just passed 2014 iteration of Record Store Day, are ripe for reassessment, a new listen to some old sounds, with fresh ears, a bit of distance, and years of subsequent music making in their wake. So, here's what the illustrious Pitchfork site had to say this week about both AMF records:
According to legend, the A Minor Forest song "Bill's Mom Likes to Fuck" - a high point of the post-rock group's 1996 debut album, Flemish Altruism - was swiped from an inside joke that had circulated for years among the punk kids of Rapid City, South Dakota. A Minor Forest wasn't from Rapid City; they hailed from far-off San Francisco. But the band toured extensively throughout the country during its 90s-spanning existence, playing many of the same DIY venues that hosted the burgeoning post-hardcore and emo bands of that decade. If there's one thing that brings people together, it's cruel humor - and A Minor Forest, brooding and abrasive as well as downright delicate, knew a good joke when they heard it.
Flemish Altruism was reissued on vinyl for this year's Record Store Day, alongside A Minor Forest's other studio album, 1998's Inindependence. The rollout has been humble one, and it can't help but be compared to Slint's deservedly lavish Spiderland box set this month. Slint blazed trails with its dour, eerie ominousness; A Minor Forest, on the other hand, neither innovated nor intimidated. That doesn't make Flemish Altruism any less tense. The shadow of Slint - as well of Slint's slower, icier cousin, Codeine - loom large over A Minor Forest's distended syllables and dangling chords. The group had been honing that sound on singles and EPs since 1994, but Flemish Altruism tracks like "...But the Pants Stay On" and "Jacking Off George Lucas" groped for a new vocabulary out of the fragments laying around after post-rock's early-'90s Big Bang. What resulted was pidgin Slint-but in that process of restructuring, A Minor Forest came damn close to inventing post-post-rock, where the subgenre's self-seriousness was wrestled with until it laughed, gasped, and collapsed.
Steve Albini and Bob Weston produced Flemish Altruism, and the nerve-tightening cello they'd previously captured on Nirvana's In Utero feels almost deliberately evoked on the album's most arresting song, "Perform the Critical Straw Transfer". Singer/guitarist Erik Hoversten opens it with a deadpan punch line: "Guess you really lucked outÉ" he begins, his numb voice trailing off as bassist John Trevor Benson screams bestially yet faintly in the background, "Éon this one." Sarcasm never sounded so black. Beneath them, cellist Dominique Davison saws with quiet strength, as if mocking and apologizing at the same time. The screaming gets pushed to the fore on thoroughly non-dainty "Dainty Jack and His Amazing Technicolor Cloth Jacket", an erratic spasm of dissonance that shows an affinity for San Diego screamo (A Minor Forest had previously recorded with Matt Anderson of Heroin), only broken up here and there with squibs of pinpoint jazziness. The balance is struck almost perfectly on "Bill's Mom Likes to Fuck", a 10-minute noise-cycle of mood swings, red herrings, and curdled blood.
The wiseass, scattershot racket of Flemish Altruism settles into a more predictable groove onInindependence. Concise and controlled by comparison, A Minor Forest's second and final album (not including their 1999 singles-and-EPs collection, ...So, Were They in Some Sort of Fight?) drags more algebra into the rhythm and more calculation into the off-kilter melody. It wouldn't be fair to say the band had begun to take itself either more or less seriously - but the music is more serious, and even the song titles are less crass. If "Erik's Budding Romance" is to be taken at face value, that relationship flip-flopped randomly and often between coy, candlelit dinners and table-flipping eruptions of lust. Drummer Andee Connors, an unsung hero of his instrument and era, is in top form, coaxing every shade of texture, dynamic, and emotion out of the kit. There are honest, unabashed hooks on the deliciously brief (that is, under four minutes) centerpiece, "ÉIt's Salmon!!!", as well as in "Michael Anthony", which skips a sweet melody across a minefield of disjointed changes and chords. At the same time, the album's 18-minute monster "The Smell of Hot" never fully jells; as A Minor Forest's recording career drew to a halt, patience-testing jams occupied one extreme of their spectrum, while a hint of pleasing pop teased at the other.
A Minor Forest's legacy is not a towering one. Most notably, Hoversten went on to play with Pinback, where he was able to indulge his love of angular melody much more avidly. The band never seemed to want to make bold statements, and it always punctured whatever atmosphere it crafted with wiry self-deprecation and perverse wit. When A Minor Forest reunited in 2013 after a 15-year hiatus, Hoversten said in a radio interview, "[This reunion is] sort of like, take an outfit you wore 15 years ago, then put it on today. Clearly you liked it at one point, but it's not exactly the outfit you would have chosen today. That being said, it's not like I'm being asked to put on a clown suit." Despite their crank titles and in-jokes, A Minor Forest was never a funny band. But they had fun, and that fun seeped into their music. And that makes Flemish Altruism and Inindependence two of the most endlessly rewarding albums of the 90s post-rock boom, if never the most monolithic.
And finally, here's a review of both Flemish Altruism and Inindependence from the always awesome Pop Matters:
The bare truth behind two classic albums from the 1990s.
I remember it clearly: the road was a hazy sequence of distant glares kept together by a dense, hazy lull immersed in the purest of mists. My friend, the proud owner of the CD, was holding the music artifact with one hand, while the other occasionally found its way up and down the wheel, now on this side; now on the other. I never knew how both hands also managed to offer such an accurate interpretation of the drumming, but his abilities ceased to amaze me when my side of the car hit a guardrail that seemed to have popped out from nowhere. My friend carefully placed the CD case in the glove compartment and met me outside the vehicle, where we assessed the damage. "That drumming! Oh boy, that drumming!", was all he had to say.
Not much has happened in the 16 years that followed that day. My friend got married, paid his way to a divorce and when we meet, I drive, so he can be Andee Connors and I can take good care of our lives. In the real world, the influence of a band like A Minor Forest - a scruffy bunch of lads from San Francisco - still echoes on both sides of the Atlantic. Inheritors of the legacy initiated by bands like Slint, Bastro, Gastr Del Sol and Shellac, A Minor Forest's name appears, rightly or wrongly, almost invariably as part of the American post-rock scene, as if their own legacy could not be singled out and stand on its own two feet. But while most people blame them, together with a whole bunch of Midwestern acts loosely located in the "Corn Belt", for the explosion of the math-rock plague, the impact this short-lived ensemble has had on indie rock is probably still far from being recognised.
Their two classic albums, Flemish Altruism and Inindependence, reissued on vinyl by Thrill Jockey for Record Store Day on 19 April, are both presented with an array of previously unpublished pictures in a special four-LP set that includes download cards. However, what matters the most is that these albums, which have been out of print for a decade, have been remastered from the original tapes. The sensuality of the naked, raw sound that was the core of that scene (and I hereby use this term in the artistic, rather than in the geographic sense) is therefore faithfully represented in all its purity and ingenuity. "The Dutch Fist", "So Jesus Was At the Last Supper" and "...But the Pants Stay On" are some of the finest representations imaginable of noise as the most spontaneous by-product of the deconstruction of rock grammar. This primary necessity regulated by tradition - Erik Hoversten (guitars and vocals) and John Trevor Benson (bass) had both studied music at Berkeley - found its champions in Steve Albini (who else?) and Bob Weston (he too of Shellac fame), whose uncompromised affection for stripped-down sounds and total lack of artificiality constituted the perfect match for the band.
Flemish Altruism is the result of this formula, and tunes like "Jacking Off George Lucas" or "Ed Is 50" betray an improvisational approach which heavily relies on the dichotomy between the extreme unpredictability of noise and the discipline usually behind melodic patterns. The almost mandatory (at least back then) tour of most of the US would lead, two years later, to the recording of Inindependence: an album that followed the path traced by its predecessor, perpetuating the angularity and eclecticism that would make A Minor Forest easily recognizable years after their dissolution.
Flemish Altruism and Inindependence are the band's only full-lengths and it could not be otherwise. Although a collection of much of their out of print material, plus a couple of new tracks made it onto the Were They in Some Sort of Fight? CD on My Pal God Records in 1999, these two albums vouch for an incredibly inspired band which disbanded once they realized that the traditional rock instrumentation was starting to restrict their enormous potential and creativity. Does this awareness affect these two records? Not at all. A Minor Forest didn't live long enough to see their craft surpass their inspiration, and for this reason their legacy is definitely safer now than it was 20 years ago!
As mentioned above, both Flemish Altruism and Inindependence have been remastered, both include digital downloads, and are housed in swank full color gatefold jackets, Flemish Altruism has all new artwork!!
MPEG Stream: "But The Pants Stay On"
MPEG Stream: "So Jesus Was At The Last Supper..."
MPEG Stream: "Speed For Gavin"
MPEG Stream: "Erik's Budding Romance"
MPEG Stream: "Michael Anthony"
MPEG Stream: "The Dutch Fist"

album cover A MINOR FOREST Flemish Altruism / inindependence (Thrill Jockey) 4lp + tote bag 31.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
In the most recent issue of Entertainment Weekly (!), our very own Andee was asked about what Record Store Day Releases we were most excited about. He mentioned a bunch, but the two they actually included in the magazine, were the utterly hilarious music nerd classic Rock, Rot And Rule, which you'll find reviewed elsewhere on this week's list, and these two vinyl reissues, from recently reunited / reactivated nineties post/math/noise rock combo A Minor Forest, which as many of you know, is in fact Andee's band! He was kind of joking, and a bit embarrassed when THAT was one of the ones they picked to print, but really, we WERE pretty excited. These two records have been out of print on vinyl for a decade, and have been remastered, now come with digital downloads, and one has all new artwork! But instead of making Andee further toot his own horn, we figured we'd try to be more objective, and let some other folks weigh in. A couple reviews from the past, and a couple from the present. So when we first reviewed these back in the day, for AMF's debut, Flemish Altruism, we asked beloved aQ-pal Douglas Mosurak to say a few words about that record, here's that original review from years and years ago:
"October 22, 1996: Bay Area rock trio A Minor Forest stop indie rock dead. Their new double LP on Thrill Jockey is so incredible, and subsequently so complete, that no other records of its kind need to be produced anymore. Lesser bands of their stripe are currently being petitioned to break up immediately to save embarrassment. And while some people will miss, like, June of 44 or the Archers of Loaf for a little while, with the proper exposure to Flemish Altruism, they'll forget all about it. AMF manage to piece together everything good about every post-Big Black and every post-Heroin outfit into a seamless, epic sound; fairly dense, deeply emotional and thoroughly human. They have the sense of humor required to lift it off, too. Some of their songs prefer to hide in the corner; some lunge for your throat. Their style is such that their original ideas fill in with ones borrowed from their rich lineage in such a manner that pays tribute without disrespect. It's a thoroughly engaging sound that I'd rank up there with the Bitch Magnet discography, with the Bastro LPs, with the Gore records, with the cream of the Gravity crop, even with the Shellac album. Best rock record of 1996, and currently outweighing all proposed rock concepts until the close of the millennium. Buy two. Wow."
Then, the follow up Inindependence was reviewed thusly by us upon its original release (when aQ reviews were still concise and impossibly brief):
"Simply put, this may be the last bastion of rock on Thrill Jockey, before they devolve into a purely electronic/jazz label. Sure we may be boasting a little, because A Minor Forest is our very own Andee Connors' band. But this truly is a great record of delicate math rock instrumentations executed with violent precision!"
So here were are 15+ years later, and both records, now reissued and available as a swank 4lp / tote bag set, in honor of the just passed 2014 iteration of Record Store Day, are ripe for reassessment, a new listen to some old sounds, with fresh ears, a bit of distance, and years of subsequent music making in their wake. So, here's what the illustrious Pitchfork site had to say this week about both AMF records:
According to legend, the A Minor Forest song "Bill's Mom Likes to Fuck" - a high point of the post-rock group's 1996 debut album, Flemish Altruism - was swiped from an inside joke that had circulated for years among the punk kids of Rapid City, South Dakota. A Minor Forest wasn't from Rapid City; they hailed from far-off San Francisco. But the band toured extensively throughout the country during its 90s-spanning existence, playing many of the same DIY venues that hosted the burgeoning post-hardcore and emo bands of that decade. If there's one thing that brings people together, it's cruel humor - and A Minor Forest, brooding and abrasive as well as downright delicate, knew a good joke when they heard it.
Flemish Altruism was reissued on vinyl for this year's Record Store Day, alongside A Minor Forest's other studio album, 1998's Inindependence. The rollout has been humble one, and it can't help but be compared to Slint's deservedly lavish Spiderland box set this month. Slint blazed trails with its dour, eerie ominousness; A Minor Forest, on the other hand, neither innovated nor intimidated. That doesn't make Flemish Altruism any less tense. The shadow of Slint - as well of Slint's slower, icier cousin, Codeine - loom large over A Minor Forest's distended syllables and dangling chords. The group had been honing that sound on singles and EPs since 1994, but Flemish Altruism tracks like "...But the Pants Stay On" and "Jacking Off George Lucas" groped for a new vocabulary out of the fragments laying around after post-rock's early-'90s Big Bang. What resulted was pidgin Slint-but in that process of restructuring, A Minor Forest came damn close to inventing post-post-rock, where the subgenre's self-seriousness was wrestled with until it laughed, gasped, and collapsed.
Steve Albini and Bob Weston produced Flemish Altruism, and the nerve-tightening cello they'd previously captured on Nirvana's In Utero feels almost deliberately evoked on the album's most arresting song, "Perform the Critical Straw Transfer". Singer/guitarist Erik Hoversten opens it with a deadpan punch line: "Guess you really lucked outÉ" he begins, his numb voice trailing off as bassist John Trevor Benson screams bestially yet faintly in the background, "Éon this one." Sarcasm never sounded so black. Beneath them, cellist Dominique Davison saws with quiet strength, as if mocking and apologizing at the same time. The screaming gets pushed to the fore on thoroughly non-dainty "Dainty Jack and His Amazing Technicolor Cloth Jacket", an erratic spasm of dissonance that shows an affinity for San Diego screamo (A Minor Forest had previously recorded with Matt Anderson of Heroin), only broken up here and there with squibs of pinpoint jazziness. The balance is struck almost perfectly on "Bill's Mom Likes to Fuck", a 10-minute noise-cycle of mood swings, red herrings, and curdled blood.
The wiseass, scattershot racket of Flemish Altruism settles into a more predictable groove onInindependence. Concise and controlled by comparison, A Minor Forest's second and final album (not including their 1999 singles-and-EPs collection, ...So, Were They in Some Sort of Fight?) drags more algebra into the rhythm and more calculation into the off-kilter melody. It wouldn't be fair to say the band had begun to take itself either more or less seriously - but the music is more serious, and even the song titles are less crass. If "Erik's Budding Romance" is to be taken at face value, that relationship flip-flopped randomly and often between coy, candlelit dinners and table-flipping eruptions of lust. Drummer Andee Connors, an unsung hero of his instrument and era, is in top form, coaxing every shade of texture, dynamic, and emotion out of the kit. There are honest, unabashed hooks on the deliciously brief (that is, under four minutes) centerpiece, "ÉIt's Salmon!!!", as well as in "Michael Anthony", which skips a sweet melody across a minefield of disjointed changes and chords. At the same time, the album's 18-minute monster "The Smell of Hot" never fully jells; as A Minor Forest's recording career drew to a halt, patience-testing jams occupied one extreme of their spectrum, while a hint of pleasing pop teased at the other.
A Minor Forest's legacy is not a towering one. Most notably, Hoversten went on to play with Pinback, where he was able to indulge his love of angular melody much more avidly. The band never seemed to want to make bold statements, and it always punctured whatever atmosphere it crafted with wiry self-deprecation and perverse wit. When A Minor Forest reunited in 2013 after a 15-year hiatus, Hoversten said in a radio interview, "[This reunion is] sort of like, take an outfit you wore 15 years ago, then put it on today. Clearly you liked it at one point, but it's not exactly the outfit you would have chosen today. That being said, it's not like I'm being asked to put on a clown suit." Despite their crank titles and in-jokes, A Minor Forest was never a funny band. But they had fun, and that fun seeped into their music. And that makes Flemish Altruism and Inindependence two of the most endlessly rewarding albums of the 90s post-rock boom, if never the most monolithic.
And finally, here's a review of both Flemish Altruism and Inindependence from the always awesome Pop Matters:
The bare truth behind two classic albums from the 1990s.
I remember it clearly: the road was a hazy sequence of distant glares kept together by a dense, hazy lull immersed in the purest of mists. My friend, the proud owner of the CD, was holding the music artifact with one hand, while the other occasionally found its way up and down the wheel, now on this side; now on the other. I never knew how both hands also managed to offer such an accurate interpretation of the drumming, but his abilities ceased to amaze me when my side of the car hit a guardrail that seemed to have popped out from nowhere. My friend carefully placed the CD case in the glove compartment and met me outside the vehicle, where we assessed the damage. "That drumming! Oh boy, that drumming!", was all he had to say.
Not much has happened in the 16 years that followed that day. My friend got married, paid his way to a divorce and when we meet, I drive, so he can be Andee Connors and I can take good care of our lives. In the real world, the influence of a band like A Minor Forest - a scruffy bunch of lads from San Francisco - still echoes on both sides of the Atlantic. Inheritors of the legacy initiated by bands like Slint, Bastro, Gastr Del Sol and Shellac, A Minor Forest's name appears, rightly or wrongly, almost invariably as part of the American post-rock scene, as if their own legacy could not be singled out and stand on its own two feet. But while most people blame them, together with a whole bunch of Midwestern acts loosely located in the "Corn Belt", for the explosion of the math-rock plague, the impact this short-lived ensemble has had on indie rock is probably still far from being recognised.
Their two classic albums, Flemish Altruism and Inindependence, reissued on vinyl by Thrill Jockey for Record Store Day on 19 April, are both presented with an array of previously unpublished pictures in a special four-LP set that includes download cards. However, what matters the most is that these albums, which have been out of print for a decade, have been remastered from the original tapes. The sensuality of the naked, raw sound that was the core of that scene (and I hereby use this term in the artistic, rather than in the geographic sense) is therefore faithfully represented in all its purity and ingenuity. "The Dutch Fist", "So Jesus Was At the Last Supper" and "...But the Pants Stay On" are some of the finest representations imaginable of noise as the most spontaneous by-product of the deconstruction of rock grammar. This primary necessity regulated by tradition - Erik Hoversten (guitars and vocals) and John Trevor Benson (bass) had both studied music at Berkeley - found its champions in Steve Albini (who else?) and Bob Weston (he too of Shellac fame), whose uncompromised affection for stripped-down sounds and total lack of artificiality constituted the perfect match for the band.
Flemish Altruism is the result of this formula, and tunes like "Jacking Off George Lucas" or "Ed Is 50" betray an improvisational approach which heavily relies on the dichotomy between the extreme unpredictability of noise and the discipline usually behind melodic patterns. The almost mandatory (at least back then) tour of most of the US would lead, two years later, to the recording of Inindependence: an album that followed the path traced by its predecessor, perpetuating the angularity and eclecticism that would make A Minor Forest easily recognizable years after their dissolution.
Flemish Altruism and Inindependence are the band's only full-lengths and it could not be otherwise. Although a collection of much of their out of print material, plus a couple of new tracks made it onto the Were They in Some Sort of Fight? CD on My Pal God Records in 1999, these two albums vouch for an incredibly inspired band which disbanded once they realized that the traditional rock instrumentation was starting to restrict their enormous potential and creativity. Does this awareness affect these two records? Not at all. A Minor Forest didn't live long enough to see their craft surpass their inspiration, and for this reason their legacy is definitely safer now than it was 20 years ago!
As mentioned above, both Flemish Altruism and Inindependence have been remastered, both include digital downloads, and are housed in swank full color gatefold jackets, Flemish Altruism has all new artwork, and while they last, available ONLY at aQ (or from the band on their upcoming tour, which begins a few days after this week's list!), both records are bundled together (4lps!), for a special low price, and housed in a silkscreened tote bag, with a killer new AMF logo by none other than Christoph Szpadjel, the Lord Of The Logos!
MPEG Stream: "But The Pants Stay On"
MPEG Stream: "So Jesus Was At The Last Supper..."
MPEG Stream: "Speed For Gavin"
MPEG Stream: "Erik's Budding Romance"
MPEG Stream: "Michael Anthony"
MPEG Stream: "The Dutch Fist"

A MINOR FOREST Inindependence (Thrill Jockey) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Simply put, this may be the last bastion of rock on Thrill Jockey, before they devolve into a purely electronic/jazz label. Sure we may be boasting a little, because A Minor Forest is our very own Andee Connors' band. But this truly is a great record of delicate math rock instrumentations executed with violent precision. AMF again spared no expense with the exquisite packaging!

A MINOR FOREST Inindependence (Thrill Jockey) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Simply put, this may be the last bastion of rock on Thrill Jockey, before they devolve into a purely electronic/jazz label. Sure we may be boasting a little, because A Minor Forest is our very own Andee Connors' band. But this truly is a great record of delicate math rock instrumentations executed with violent precision. AMF again spared no expense with the exquisite packaging!

A MINOR FOREST Inindependence (Thrill Jockey) 2lp 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Simply put, this may be the last bastion of rock on Thrill Jockey, before they devolve into a purely electronic/jazz label. Sure we may be boasting a little, because A Minor Forest is our very own Andee Connors' band. But this truly is a great record of delicate math rock instrumentations executed with violent precision. AMF again spared no expense with the exquisite packaging!

album cover A PERFECT CIRCLE Emotive (Virgin) cd 16.98

MPEG Stream: "Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie"
MPEG Stream: "Let's Have A War"

A PERFECT CIRCLE Mer de Noms (Virgin) cd 16.98
Almost everyone I know loves Tool. Whether it's a guilty pleasure, never spoken of, or something one listens to in the store all the time tormenting my co workers. Err.. I mean *one's* coworkers...
Anyway Tool managed to barely avoid that whole Korn/Limp Bizket/Rage Against the Machine, by writing truly fucked, totally catchy and totally heavy epics, complete with jaw dropping musical prowess and bizarre Quay Brothers style videos.
That said, this is Tool frontman Maynard's interim project while killing time before the next Tool record. And like you would expect, it sounds a bit like Tool. But a lot of the bombast and pummel is absent, replaced with a meandering gothy moodiness. It's a good record, just not a great one. So if you're tired of waiting for a new Tool record, pick this up and it'll tide you over for a while. If you've never heard Tool, or are a fan or weird heavy music and just always assumed Tool were a bunch of MTV pussies, try Aenima (which we also carry) and I'm pretty sure you'll be blown away.
RealAudio clip: ""

album cover A PERFECT CIRCLE Thirteenth Step (Virgin) cd 16.98

A PERFECT MURDER Rehearsal (Cyclop Media) cd 10.98

A PLACE TO BURY STRANGERS And I'm Up (Dead Oceans) 7" 6.98

album cover A PLACE TO BURY STRANGERS Exploding Head (Mute) cd 14.98
The return of 'the loudest band in New York' as A Place to Bury Strangers are constantly touted, and it's hard to say, just based on recordings if that's true or not, since generally, the louder a band is, the harder it is to record them and not lose the power that comes with volume. But APTBS's first record was indeed loud, and heavy, and fuzzed out and shoegazey and we totally loved it. Rumor was that this new record ditched much of the volume for more concise songwriting and a focus on melody, which had us a bit worried, but apparently for naught, since the first track "It Is Nothing" is a total amp melting Bailter Space style dream fuzz blowout, looped mantra like vocals, massive washes of blurred guitar, hypnotic drumming, in fact, somehow we ended up listening to that song about 5 times in a row before we bothered going any deeper into the record.
But the rest of the record is just as dense and noisy and heavy and blown out. The same sonic touchstones still apply, Jesus And Mary Chain, Loop, My Bloody Valentine, Spacemen 3 and especially Bailter Space. The vocals washed out and weary, the drums a solid propulsive pound the bass wiggly and melodic, but a band like this, it's all about the guitars, and they are a monster, seemingly always on the verge of careening out of control, throbbing and buzzing, soaring and screeching, grinding out thick chunks of caustic crunch, or unfurling a gauzy sheet of glimmery haze.
If anything, the new record seems more focused, the first one dipped its toes into all sorts of different sounds and moods, but this one is way more cohesive, the songs all sound like they belong together, albums like the way albums used to be, each song flowing into the next, the sequence sticking in your head as much as the songs themselves, and that too this time around, these songs are pure pop, they may be spikey and jagged on the surface, but the hooks are undeniable, and even the first time through we found ourselves humming bits throughout the day.
Not sure what else to say, other than: this record rules, maybe even more than the first one, anyone into all of the above mentioned noisemakers needs this big time, and who among the aQ faithful can resist a gorgeous chunk of blissed out drone rock shoegaze heaviness? Exactly.
MPEG Stream: "It Is Nothing"
MPEG Stream: "Exploding Head"
MPEG Stream: "I Lived My Life To Stand In The Shadow Of Your Heart"

album cover A PLACE TO BURY STRANGERS Onwards To The Wall (Dead Oceans) cd ep 11.98
Brand new ep from this NY band, who as we mentioned in past reviews, were constantly being touted as 'the loudest band in New York', but as we also mentioned, that sort of thing rarely translates to record. Take NZ outfit Bailter Space, whose records ruled, and were definitely heavy, but didn't even begin to hint at that band's sheer power live, and their infamously ear destroying volume. These guys may very well be loud as fuck, but over the last few records, regardless of volume, they definitely seem to have been honing their songwriting chops, with each record sounding more and more focused and less an exercise in bash and pound, and more about wreathing their shoegazy jangle pop in plenty of blissed out shimmer and blurred space-y roooaaaar.
That said, the opening track here is MASSIVE, and DOES sound like maybe these guys could be the loudest band around, the bass thick and buzzy, the drums a reverby pound, the production spacious and epic, the vocals an echo drenched croon, drifting over the soaring guitar melodies, and churning rhythm, with the song exploding into some serious psychedelic sections, so blown out and in-the-red it totally sounds like it's doing damage to your speakers, or your eardrums, or both! The rest of the record dials back the crush a bit, getting a bit more moody and atmospheric, but that buzzing bass drives everything, whether it's the almost Interpol-ish sounding garage rock-y drift of "So Far Away", or the hazy washed out shuffle of the title track, or the frenetic new wave noise of "It'll Be Alright", which does match the intensity of the opener in places, until finally, the band wind down with the almost industrial sounding "Drill It Up", with it's muted guitar harmonics, THAT gorgeous noisy, buzzy bass, some galloping drum pound, more gauzy vox, all wound up into a killer blast of new wave shoegaze garage bliss.
MPEG Stream: "I Lost You"
MPEG Stream: "Onwards To The Wall"

album cover A PLACE TO BURY STRANGERS Onwards To The Wall (Dead Oceans) 12" 15.98
Now here on vinyl! Brand new ep from this NY band, who as we mentioned in past reviews, were constantly being touted as 'the loudest band in New York', but as we also mentioned, that sort of thing rarely translates to record. Take NZ outfit Bailter Space, whose records ruled, and were definitely heavy, but didn't even begin to hint at that band's sheer power live, and their infamously ear destroying volume. These guys may very well be loud as fuck, but over the last few records, regardless of volume, they definitely seem to have been honing their songwriting chops, with each record sounding more and more focused and less an exercise in bash and pound, and more about wreathing their shoegazy jangle pop in plenty of blissed out shimmer and blurred space-y roooaaaar.
That said, the opening track here is MASSIVE, and DOES sound like maybe these guys could be the loudest band around, the bass thick and buzzy, the drums a reverby pound, the production spacious and epic, the vocals an echo drenched croon, drifting over the soaring guitar melodies, and churning rhythm, with the song exploding into some serious psychedelic sections, so blown out and in-the-red it totally sounds like it's doing damage to your speakers, or your eardrums, or both! The rest of the record dials back the crush a bit, getting a bit more moody and atmospheric, but that buzzing bass drives everything, whether it's the almost Interpol-ish sounding garage rock-y drift of "So Far Away", or the hazy washed out shuffle of the title track, or the frenetic new wave noise of "It'll Be Alright", which does match the intensity of the opener in places, until finally, the band wind down with the almost industrial sounding "Drill It Up", with it's muted guitar harmonics, THAT gorgeous noisy, buzzy bass, some galloping drum pound, more gauzy vox, all wound up into a killer blast of new wave shoegaze garage bliss.
MPEG Stream: "I Lost You"
MPEG Stream: "Onwards To The Wall"

album cover A PLACE TO BURY STRANGERS s/t (Killer Pimp) cd 13.98
We'd been hearing about this band quite a bit, often touted by reviewers as being "the loudest band in New York", which is all well and good, but that sort of thing generally doesn't translate very well on record. What we can tell you, is that more than any band we've heard in ages, these guys have their My Bloody Valentine, Loop, Spacemen 3, Jesus And Mary Chain chops down pat. But before you get all exasperated as we would be likely to do, we do realize that the bands who actively rip off some or all of those bands couldn't be counted on your fingers even if you had a thousand hands. And most of those bands steal the sound, but then have no idea what to do with it anyway. And most of them don't even get the sound right.
So it's definitely saying a lot, when we can say that, yes, these guys owe EVERYTHING they have to MBV and Jesus And Mary Chain and Loop and Spacemen 3 but still manage to totally rule. And somehow, they manage to make all of this borrowing sound totally fresh and original and exciting, and loud and heavy and like they just might have made our new favorite record.
From the first track these guys have it nailed. Murky, fuzzy, lo-fi, super blown out, with a weird buzzy guitar sound, wrapped around an almost gothy Interpol-ish bassline and keyboard melody, but when the vocals came in we were immediately transported to Psychocandy era Jesus And Mary Chain, the vocals and melodies and even the drums buried beneath clouds of billowing crumbling distortion. The second track is even more in-the-red and distorted, a crashing wave of dissonant guitars, that gives way to some almost Stereolab like Neu!-worship, and some sing songy indie boy vocals, which of course are summarily crushed by the moaning massive bursts of guitar fury and what sounds like bleating horns in the chorus.
"To Fix The Gash In Your Head" begins with sputtering drum machine and is quickly ensconced in thick minor key swells all dramatic and gothy, and the other distinct side of the band is revealed, a sort of super charged extra heavy Depeche Mode, which is in no way a bad thing. But on this track especially, the vocals are super Dave Gahan, with some industrial Skinny Puppy-isms thrown in for good measure, but still the heart of the song is a throbbing synthy new wave. And it sounds amazing!
Later tracks veer from swirling washed out wall of sound dronerock, to murky doom pop, to super eighties John Hughes soundtrack electro-pop, to grungy distorted Grebo, to throbbing Joy Division miserablism, to rocking Swervedrivery shoegaze, to shimmering glimmering M83 blisspop, but always liberally doused with waterfalls of coruscating white light guitars, sheets of roiling feedback, massive walls of buzz and hiss. Noisy and chaotic and furious and epic but always with a heart of pure pop and a halo of washed out guitar shimmer. So great.
MPEG Stream: "Missing You"
MPEG Stream: "Don't Think Lover"
MPEG Stream: "To Fix The Gash In Your Head"
MPEG Stream: "The Falling Sun"

album cover A PLACE TO BURY STRANGERS s/t (Important) lp 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Now on vinyl!
We'd been hearing about this band quite a bit, often touted by reviewers as being "the loudest band in New York", which is all well and good, but that sort of thing generally doesn't translate very well on record. What we can tell you, is that more than any band we've heard in ages, these guys have their My Bloody Valentine, Loop, Spacemen 3, Jesus And Mary Chain chops down pat. But before you get all exasperated as we would be likely to do, we do realize that the bands who actively rip off some or all of those bands couldn't be counted on your fingers even if you had a thousand hands. And most of those bands steal the sound, but then have no idea what to do with it anyway. And most of them don't even get the sound right.
So it's definitely saying a lot, when we can say that, yes, these guys owe EVERYTHING they have to MBV and Jesus And Mary Chain and Loop and Spacemen 3 but still manage to totally rule. And somehow, they manage to make all of this borrowing sound totally fresh and original and exciting, and loud and heavy and like they just might have made our new favorite record.
From the first track these guys have it nailed. Murky, fuzzy, lo-fi, super blown out, with a weird buzzy guitar sound, wrapped around an almost gothy Interpol-ish bassline and keyboard melody, but when the vocals came in we were immediately transported to Psychocandy era Jesus And Mary Chain, the vocals and melodies and even the drums buried beneath clouds of billowing crumbling distortion. The second track is even more in-the-red and distorted, a crashing wave of dissonant guitars, that gives way to some almost Stereolab like Neu!-worship, and some sing songy indie boy vocals, which of course are summarily crushed by the moaning massive bursts of guitar fury and what sounds like bleating horns in the chorus.
"To Fix The Gash In Your Head" begins with sputtering drum machine and is quickly ensconced in thick minor key swells all dramatic and gothy, and the other distinct side of the band is revealed, a sort of super charged extra heavy Depeche Mode, which is in no way a bad thing. But on this track especially, the vocals are super Dave Gahan, with some industrial Skinny Puppy-isms thrown in for good measure, but still the heart of the song is a throbbing synthy new wave. And it sounds amazing!
Later tracks veer from swirling washed out wall of sound dronerock, to murky doom pop, to super eighties John Hughes soundtrack electro-pop, to grungy distorted Grebo, to throbbing Joy Division miserablism, to rocking Swervedrivery shoegaze, to shimmering glimmering M83 blisspop, but always liberally doused with waterfalls of coruscating white light guitars, sheets of roiling feedback, massive walls of buzz and hiss. Noisy and chaotic and furious and epic but always with a heart of pure pop and a halo of washed out guitar shimmer. So great.
MPEG Stream: "Missing You"
MPEG Stream: "Don't Think Lover"
MPEG Stream: "To Fix The Gash In Your Head"
MPEG Stream: "The Falling Sun"

A PLACE TO BURY STRANGERS Strange Moon (Dead Oceans) 12" 17.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.

album cover A PLACE TO BURY STRANGERS Worship (Dead Oceans) cd 14.98
Often touted as the "loudest band in New York," A Place To Bury Strangers has lived up to the billing with their Jesus & Mary Chain worship, played out through squalls of guitar noise, post-punk rhythmic propulsion, and the laconic vocal delivery of frontman Oliver Ackerman, who gives a spot-on impersonation of JAMC's Jim Reid. Over the course of their discography, they've experimented more and more with Ackerman's handmade effects pedals that give their incendiary guitar noise a pretty distinct crackle and buzz. But, on Worship, A Place To Bury Strangers seems to be parting ways with the band that's been the object of their own worship since the beginning. Well, at least a little bit! The Reid brothers presented their jet-black surf noise with a sneering fuck you, and their punk attitude was never too far away from canonical rock 'n' roll posturing; and A Place To Bury Strangers doesn't entirely embrace that JAMC too cool for school aura. They are expressionists at heart, and they want to connect with their audience through the dynamics of noise, even if that expression is accompanied with bleeding ears! The JAMC structural template may remain, but the guitar noise here is all the more explosive, twisted, darkly psychedelic, dynamic, and downright fucked-up. As a song, "You Are The One" isn't much to write home about with its Simon Gallup basslines and a semi-whispered narrative; but the guitars blast around the song in so many directions, rocketing through a constant barrage of distorted explosions, punctured by short, gated pauses at which the noise rapidly change directions due less to melody and more to a stomp on yet another pedal. "Mind Control" warps the underlying song through a heady tremolo pattern and flanging, tight delays that launch into a form-destroying crescendo at the end of the track. Amidst all the infernal noise, A Place To Bury Strangers exhibits a considerable amount of subtle, deftly rendered dynamics that would totally be lost in their conquest of the title "loudest band in New York." Maybe they're becoming a two-headed beast, with the studio work becoming more intricate, while the live side remains bloodthirsty for that sonic destruction.
MPEG Stream: "You Are The One"
MPEG Stream: "Why I Can't Cry Anymore"
MPEG Stream: "Leaving Tomorrow"

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 »

top of page