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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.


ACID BATH Paegan Terrorism Tactics (Rotten) cd 14.98
Man, does this record rule! Not entirely sure how we all managed to miss this one when it came out a few years back. It was actually (re)discovered on the recommendation of a not-so-entirely-trustworthy source. Go figure! But now that we know, so must you...Imagine the sheer brutality of Eyehategod, the bluesy grind of fellow bayou residents Soilent Green, the stoned Sabbathy swing of Trouble, and the melodic flair of late era Corrosion of Conformity or Alice In Chains, all forced onto one cd. Sound confusing? It is. But somehow, it gels perfectly, striking a pefect balance between catchy and heavy. This has become an absolute favorite of Andee, Allan, Elisabeth, and a handful of customers who have seen the light. Interesting non-music related facts: amazing cover art by Dr. Jack Kevorkian, one band member dead, one in jail...HIGHLY recommended!

BENIGHTED LEAMS Astral Tenebrion (Supernal Music) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Wow. Possibly the most fucked up, ridiculous black metal "band" ever, with their (his, actually, it's one guy) newest disc, some kind of pseudocerebral spacemetal epic with *amazing* songtitles like "Aurora of Despondence on Valles Marineris" and "Hermetically Leering As Frigid Blores Obumber" and "Sinister Demurral Estranged The Seductive Looming". Seemingly produced at home by someone probably not entirely familiar with how to work his four-track, and definitely struggling to operate his drum machine properly! Thus, so great that both Andee and Allan have purchased one. Also, recommended by Josh from the Champs.

BLIND GUARDIAN Nightfall In Middle-Earth (Century Media) cd 15.98
Wow. This first domestic release by veteran German pomp-prog-power-metallers Blind Guardian kinda blew us away (Andee and Allan that is). Expecting ultra cheese in the vein of Hammerfall, we instead found this to be immense, amazingly produced (like, 124 track) epic concept album, at once lush, melodic and aggressive. Imagine a more metallic Queen doing a record about J.R.R. Tolkien's The Silmarillion, and that's what you get here! No wonder they're so huge overseas.

BRUTAL TRUTH Sounds Of The Animal Kingdom (Relapse) cd 13.98
NYC grindcore kings newest full-length. Features a Sun Ra cover (!) plus 20 so more blasts of metallic mayhem.

BUNN, NIGEL Index (Emperor Jones) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
First heard on the seminal Killing Capitalism With Kindness compilation 7", this musical misanthrope from New Zealand unleashed his first proper album some 10 years later! Beautiful guitar plucks and muted trumpets amidst waves of buzz and hypnotic swirl, with occasional processed warbles of wisdom. Odd yet highly recommended by all the AQ-staff.

CAVE IN Until Your Heart Stops (Hydra Head) cd 12.98
Brutal but occasionally beautiful metallic hardcore, for fans of Coalesce, Deadguy and that ilk. This has been described as a mixture of Slayer and Radiohead (!) and I can almost see why. Andee approved.

CAVITY Drowning (Bacteria Sour) cd 11.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
There's a fancy, shiny die-cut Pushead artwork cover on this disc, thanks to it being on Pushead's label - that's the first thing you'd notice. Put it on, and the visuals are obliterated by the seriously heavy south Florida sludgecore the band kicks out, ala EYEHATEGOD meets early Corrosion of Conformity. This gets the Andee seal of approval.

CAVITY Somewhere Between The Train Station And The Dumping Grounds (Rhetoric Records) cd 11.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Second album of heaviness from these Florida sludge punk metallers, for fans of EYEHATEGOD, Deadguy, etc. Classy.

CHESNUTT, VIC Is the Actor Happy? (Texas Hotel) cd 14.98
This is Vic's fourth album, and the one we think oughta be a big hit. Some of the most bittersweet heartfelt songs you'll ever hear.

CHESNUTT, VIC Is the Actor Happy? (Texas Hotel) lp 11.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
This is Vic's fourth album, and the one we think oughta be a big hit.

CONSOLE Rocket in the Pocket (Payola) cd 15.98
Jim: I really hope that Console gets some contacts in Hollywood, as they would certainly make a lot of money scoring soundtracks for 'hip' romantic comedies staring Nick Nolte and Reese Witherspoon. Happy go lucky electronica that blatantly, delightfully rips off New Order on one track (an unusual referent that took me a while to peg... at first I thought Bola's first 12" on Skam, then early Aphex Twin, and then the 80's electro greats popped into my head...) for a pleasant if a little too accessible album.
Andee: Jim is very mysterious. For me, this is just a really cool electronic record with nods to Aphex Twin and Autechre. But it also has a definite post rock feel, having been spawned from the same scene that gave us Village of Savoonga, the Notwist, To Rococo Rot, etc...But I do like Reese Witherspoon.
Jim: Reese went to my sister's high school, so there.

CONSOLE Rocket in the Pocket (Payola) lp 11.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Jim: I really hope that Console gets some contacts in Hollywood, as they would certainly make a lot of money scoring soundtracks for 'hip' romantic comedies staring Nick Nolte and Reese Witherspoon. Happy go lucky electronica that blatantly, delightfully rips off New Order on one track (an unusual referent that took me a while to peg... at first I thought Bola's first 12" on Skam, then early Aphex Twin, and then the 80's electro greats popped into my head...) for a pleasant if a little too accessible album.
Andee: Jim is very mysterious. For me, this is just a really cool electronic record with nods to Aphex Twin and Autechre. But it also has a definite post rock feel, having been spawned from the same scene that gave us Village of Savoonga, the Notwist, To Rococo Rot, etc...But I do like Reese Witherspoon.
Jim: Reese went to my sister's high school, so there.

CREEPS ON CANDY Wonders of Giardia (Alternative Tentcles) cd 10.98
Super ass kicking angular new wave. Heavy like you would expect from ex-members of Dead and Gone, but with generous helpings of The Fall, Pere Ubu, Television, Voidoids. Fans of the following should check out Creeps on Candy: VSS, Calculators, Slaves, Jesus Lizard, Neurosis, and East Bay crust-core as well as Chicago no-wave.

CREEPS ON CANDY Wonders of Giardia (Alternative Tentcles) lp 7.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Super ass kicking angular new wave. Heavy like you would expect from ex-members of Dead and Gone, but with generous helpings of The Fall, Pere Ubu, Television, Voidoids. Fans of the following should check out Creeps on Candy: VSS, Calculators, Slaves, Jesus Lizard, Neurosis, and East Bay crust-core as well as Chicago no-wave.

DAWNBREED Aroma (Trans Solar) cd 14.98
Superheavy jagged post-math-metal with trumpet, from Germany. Like Jesus Lizard crossed with Brasil 66!

DEADGUY Screaming With The Deadguy Quintet (Victory) cd 14.98
Truly heavy hardcore/metal. Andee, for one, believes that this band rules and/or kicks ass.

DEADGUY Screaming With The Deadguy Quintet (Victory) 10" 10.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Truly heavy hardcore/metal. Andee, for one, believes that this band rules and/or kicks ass.

album cover DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE Something About Airplanes (Elsinor/Barsuk) 2cd 15.98
Here's there review we wrote about Death Cab's debut way back when (we made it Record Of The Week in 1998), we don't want to change a word, it's funny though since they're so huge now....
At the risk of slipping into hyperbole, which we try avoid at all costs (snicker...), this is hands down, one of the best (and possibly most overlooked - we almost missed it ourselves, gasp!) indie rock records ever. Landing somewhere between There's Nothing Wrong With Love and Perfect From Now On, Death Cab craft a Built-to-Spill-ian universe, full of lazy sad pop, intricate compositions, jangly melodies, shifting structures, odd time signatures, and haunting cellos (and none of that solar malevolence that Doug Martsch and our very own Jim are so fond of.)
This record has been an unbelievable hit in the store. We don't think it's ever been played without at least one person buying it, sometimes 2 or 3!
The version we have now, is the limited, numbered, slipcased 10th anniversary edition, with expanded booklet and bonus disc of DCFC's first show in Seattle, on February 25th, 1998, titled Live At The Crocodile Cafe. Nice!!
MPEG Stream: "Bend To Squares"
MPEG Stream: "President Of What?"
MPEG Stream: "Your Bruise"

DESTINY'S CHILD The Writing's On The Wall (Columbia) cd 16.98
We actually toyed with the idea of making this 'record of the week' (indie-rock cred be damned!) on the strength of their top-ten single 'Bills Bills Bills' alone (I saw the video for this at a friend's house and it was almost enough to make me want to sign up for cable! I mean the music, not just their outfits). That song, and a couple of others like it certainly make this a record that all those down with the the last, ex-cel-lent TLC disc will love. Indeed, the intro to TLC's 'No Scrubs' is all over this album. True, there's a few of those obligatory urban r&b slow jams that you'll probably want to fast forward past (unless you're in the right 'mood'), but the rest is well worth it. Guest appearance from Missy Elliott.

DRONE (Freek) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Well we've had this for a while but I don't think it ever got listed before, and it should have, 'cause these New Zealanders (based in London UK though) create some beautiful music, not altogether drone-y despite their name. Chamber art rock with seeming influences ranging from Dead Can Dance to This Heat.

FALKNER, JASON Can You Still Feel? (Elektra) cd 15.98
Perfect pop material from this ex-Jellyfish member. For fans of Zumpano, Zombies, Beatles.

FEVER Too Bad But True (DHR) cd 12.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Andee's favourite hip hop record of 1998, which originally came out on Alec Empire's Digital Hardcore label in Germany, has been released here in the States at domestic prices!
After a year of disappointment from big name hip hoppers (RZA, Method Man), DHR surprises us all with what may be the weirdest and best hip hop record of the year. Deep, dark, and disturbingly distorted. Murky, monotone, and menacing. Sort of like Sensational and Alec Empire having a fist fight in a dark alley!

GORGUTS Obscura (Olympic) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Rarely do bands completely reinvent themselves, especially metal bands. But Canada's Gorguts have done it (firing all but one member of the band in the process...) on this, their third album. Nobody was expecting it (nobody was really expecting a new Gorguts record at all, to be honest), but on Obscura generic deathmetal becomes super aggressive, completely unmelodic, stop/start math metal with the most bizarre guitar playing (totally "no-wave", like they have the guitarist from the Scissor Girls or something!) possibly ever heard in a "metal" band. Highly recommended!

HARVEY MILK Courtesy and Good Will Toward Men (Reproductive) 2lp 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Brutally heavy, painfully slow, and heartbreakingly beautiful! Amazing double lp of slow motion dirge and obfuscated experiments in rhythmic tension swaddled in old school Melvins style pummel, interspersed with the occasional whisper of a song, delicate and lilting. Beautiful double lp (cd to be released on our very own Andee's tUMULt label in a few months) in a die cut, hand colored, letter pressed, hand assembled sleeve. Even at it's intended speed (33), it almost sounds like you've accidentally set a 78 on the turntable and set the controls for 16rpm. Epic and absolutely essential.

HAWD GANKSTUH RAPPUHS MCS WID GATZ s/t (Black Hoodz/Wordsound) 10 7.98
The history of rap will forever change with Guy Albino, Dook Crapmore, and Flybot Van Damn, a trio that is easily the most retarded hip hop outfit ever to grace the earth. Self deprecating, bombastic lyrics proclaim themselves as the mythical 'Sucker MCs' ridiculed throughout hip hop since the beginning of time, while shouting about being stupid white kids high on crack... loaded with scatalogical rhetoric that we really want Snoop Dogg to utter, through an exemplary rhythmic if wholly caucasian delivery... the ultimate transmutation of African-American culture into a suburban nightmare via Phoenix, Arizona. Absolute.
So highly recommended by Andee...

HEAVY VEGETABLE Mondo Aqua Kitty (Cargo/Headhunter) cd 14.98
Another one of the world's most amazing bands that somehow always seems to be overlooked and underappreciated. A complete collection of 28 songs from singles, compilation tracks, unreleased songs and studio embarassments, most clocking-in at about a minute and a half. Each contain unbelievable harmonies, ridiculous time-changes, baffling musical prowess, stupidly profound lyrics and head-splitting pop hooks.

IN EXTREMO Weckt Die Toten! (Metal Blade) cd 15.98
In our continuing tradition of bringing you the weirdest metal around, we now present to you: In Extremo! Nobody describes a band better than their press release: "Menacing and enraged, the band performs dressed in historically correct costumes from the middle ages. Dancing and wildly carousing, presenting their songs, you can imagine how our ancestors must have celebrated. Bagpipers tread madly back and forth across the stage in front of head-banging guitarists. Wildly manic tribal drum rhythms enhance the happenings." Essentially, In Extremo are an above average power metal band (ala Blind Guardian or Hammerfall) fronted by bagpipers and a vocalist that sounds like either Popeye or a Tuvan throat singer. Pretty excellent actually.

KEEP OF KALESSIN Through Times Of War (Avantgarde Music) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Norwegian black metal, very much in the style of heavyweights Emperor, Enslaved, Immortal, and Satyricon (the later most of all). A very impressive debut, very heavy stuff indeed. Recommended! (Allan and Andee both took one home...)

KIX Midnight Dynamite (Atlantic) cd 11.98
Kicks ass is more like it! Super catchy high energy hard pop. This is their third record, from 1985 and is the perfect blend of Cheap Trick's pop hooks and AC/DC's heavy groove. Allan and Andee both love this band. In fact, if you buy this record and love it, we will have no problem ordering you their other three records, all amazing. Oh yeah, Allan wants me to make sure you realize we aren't joking. Because we aren't.

KIX s/t (Atlantic) cd 11.98
Look, people, we really weren't kidding about how much we (Andee and Allan to be precise) love Kix! The response to our listing of their Midnite Dynamite on the last AQ-list was less-than-overwhelming (although Brian at WFMU did email to let us know that his covers band does a Kix song--way to go Brian!), so we're trying again. This is Kix's first album, from 1981, and it is also quite representative of their blend of Cheap Trick and AC/DC (no Def Leppard-ish ballads to be found on this one, although they're good at those too). Someone, anyone, take a chance, take our word on it and order one. A great hard pop record with even some new-wavish moments (it being 1981 and all). Don't you wanna rock? C'mon!

LANEGAN, MARK I'll Take Care Of You (Sub Pop) cd 14.98
Absolutely breathtaking new record from the ex-Screaming Trees' vocalist performing an entire album of covers (by Fred Neil, Buck Owens, O.V. Wright, Tim Hardin, Leaving Trains, The Gun Club, ...). Dark and languid and completely captivating, from one of the best voices in rock (as per the gospel of Andee who actually is pining for a world devoid of vocalists). Fans of Calexico, Scenic, and perhaps Low should give this one a try.

LANEGAN, MARK I'll Take Care Of You (Sub Pop) lp 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Absolutely breathtaking new record from the ex-Screaming Trees' vocalist performing an entire album of covers (by Fred Neil, Buck Owens, O.V. Wright, Tim Hardin, Leaving Trains, The Gun Club, ...). Dark and languid and completely captivating, from one of the best voices in rock (as per the gospel of Andee who actually is pining for a world devoid of vocalists). Fans of Calexico, Scenic, and perhaps Low should give this one a try.

LESSER Gigolo Cop (Vinyl Communications) cd 11.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
One of the most innovative and most overlooked electronic musicians... Intense jagged soundscapes that alternately slip in and out of beat heavy dance, painful noise, tranquil ambience, and occasional jungle. For fans of Aphex Twin, Merzbow, Scanner, Photek, Oval, Gate, Locust, Dead C, Autechre... it's that good!

MASADA (JOHN ZORN) Bar Kokhba (Tzadik) 2cd 29.00
Small ensembles of strings, keyboards, and clarinets playing klezmer/jazz tunes. This brief description must be augmented with the declaration that this is an ALL TIME AQUARIUS FAVE!!!

album cover MODEST MOUSE This Is A Long Drive For Someone With Nothing To Think About (Up) cd 12.98
One of my favorite records. A little Pixies, a little Violent Femmes, lyrics that make you want to cry, and a whiny cute singer boy with a lisp. (--Andee)
MPEG Stream: "Dramamine"
MPEG Stream: "Breakthrough"

MODEST MOUSE This Is A Long Drive For Someone With Nothing To Think About (Up) lp 9.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
One of my favorite records. A little Pixies, a little Violent Femmes, lyrics that make you want to cry, and a whiny cute singer boy with a lisp. (--Andee)

OLD 97'S Fight Songs (Elektra) cd 12.98
Long awaited record from the country rockers that brought us the much loved Too Far To Care (yes, a year is a long wait for a follow-up to that great record, believe you me!). Perhaps not as immediate as Too Far, but still delightful, Fight Songs again shows the Old 97's making some of the best twang pop around!!

OLD 97'S Too Far Too Care (Elektra) cd 15.98
When this came out in 1997 Andee and Byram played this at least three times a day. With hook laden, lyrically shrewd song-writing, the Old 97's are the only band of the "no depression" movement to capture the intensity of early Uncle Tupelo without losing the earnestness or twang. The first song alone, "Timebomb," will get stuck in your head forever. Plus, the final track on the album, a singularly kick-ass number, features a duet with Exene from X.

OPETH My Arms, Your Hearse (Century Black) cd 10.98
Third & perhaps best (yet) album from this Swedish band worshipped the world over for its combination of heavy death/black metal and epic progrock (i.e. they're no strangers to ten-minute plus song lengths). Note title derived from a Comus lyric!

PHELPS, JOEL R. Warm Springs Night (El Recordo) cd 12.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Ex-Silkworm guitarist's haunting solo album drips with emotion. For fans of Mark Eitzel.

PROSCRIPTOR The Venus Bellona (Cruel Moon) cd 17.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Incredible, Magickal, Historickal ritual soundscape new-wave solo concept album, created by the drummer for the Texas occult metal band Absu. A beautiful digipak with music unlike anything else. It tells a story set in Medieval Scotland but is influenced less by Black Metal than by the Art Bears (so Proscriptor claims) and Flock of Seagulls (the album closes with a cover of their hit "I Ran", paradoxically the most metal moment on the disc...) Highly recommended! Listen to this alone at night with candles burning.

PROSCRIPTOR The Venus Bellona (Cruel Moon) lp 18.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Incredible, Magickal, Historickal ritual soundscape new-wave solo concept album, created by the drummer for the Texas occult metal band Absu. Red vinyl with music unlike anything else. It tells a story set in Medieval Scotland but is influenced less by Black Metal than by the Art Bears (so Proscriptor claims) and Flock of Seagulls (the album closes with a cover of their hit "I Ran", paradoxically the most metal moment on the disc...) Highly recommended! Listen to this alone at night with candles burning.

PUZZLE PUNKS BuduB (Time Bomb) lp 21.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
We can never get enough Boredoms. But unfortunately, there's never enough Boredoms. We hate waiting years between releases. Thankfully there are plenty of side projects and offshoots to hold us over. One such Boredoms related outfit is Puzzle Punks, featuring Eye from the Boredoms, along with his PP partner Shinro Otake. We carried the limited picture disc of this release years and years ago, but for some reason were never able to get the cd. We recently discovered that there is a NEW Puzzle Punks record (we're not sure if it is indeed new, or just a new collection of old material, but we'll hopefully have it in time for the next list) and at the same time we discovered we could finally get this, the cd version of the Puzzle Punks' 2nd album Budub.
And we forgot just how great this stuff was. Even after a decade the sounds on Budub sound fresh. Weird and fucked too (it is Eye after all) but fresh enough that you could be forgiven for thinking this was some weird Excepter record or No Neck side project. Which just goes to show you how much influence Eye and his gang had and still have on modern music.
The sound of Budub is less caustic and spastic than the first Puzzle Punks records, or the Boredoms records released around the same time. Instead it's a series of experiments in rhythm, maybe hinting at the direction Eye would take the Boredoms on late albums.
Imagine some impossible jam session between the Boredoms and This Heat, or a lobotomized Hawkwind left to jam with the infant versions of the No Neck Blues Band. Or even a room full of musical toys, possessed and allowed to run amok. Dark and deliriously playful. Sometimes creepy and dark, but more often sort of strange and hypnotic. And always some bizarre world of rhythm and rhythmic wonder. Every track a strange sonic trip: analog synth squelches over dreamy chimes and tinkles, processed fuzzy krautrock grooves beneath strange chanted and muttered vocals, murky percussive plod and thud, over which a tiny sped up voice drenched in reverb mews and warbles, haunting vocal and percussion duos, very tribal and mysterious, thick washed out expanses of fuzzy spacerock FX and distant feedback, skittery almost techno shuffles, with bizarre vocalizations, deconstructed melodies played on a toy guitar, accompanied by a slowly wound jack in the box, a grinding wash of super thick distorted throb, a wall of low end whir, a murky world of jungle sounds like a lo-fi Perry And Kingsley and every random rhythmic stop in between.
Boredoms freaks who never picked this up NEED THIS BAD. And all you modern free folks and random rock weirdos into No Neck, Excepter, Sunburned Hand and the like might just dig this a lot!
MPEG Stream: "Ouck Nuff"
MPEG Stream: "Unlimited Toothpicker"
MPEG Stream: "Pep & Kep"
MPEG Stream: "Xicotepecker"

SILVER SUN Neo Wave (Polydor UK) cd 24.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
At last, we actually have these back in stock again!! Unfortunately, the high import prices are still in effect. But, if you have ever loved the Zombies, Queen, Weezer, Cheap Trick, Jellyfish, Zumpano, the Beach Boys, etc. -- you will LOVE this band, and find these discs well worth the dough. The best take on kick ass power pop in years! Really loud and melodic, with amazing three part harmonies (this last element so beautifully displayed at their all-acoustic Aquarius instore performance). Both records rule! And still no word on a US release, goshdarnit. When will America get a clue?

SILVER SUN Too Much, Too Little, Too Late (Polydor) cdep 9.99
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Yes, this is our favorite britpop band covering an REO Speedwagon song. Also covers of Rush's "Xanadu", My Bloody Valentine's "You Made Me Realize" and The Muffs' "I'm a Dick".

SLOAN 4 Nights At The Palais Royale (Murderecords) 2cd 15.98
Sloan make amazing pop records, but live is where they shine, and boy do they shine on this live double cd culled from 4 nights of shows in Canada (where they are HUGE, opening tours with Alanis Morrisette, as opposed to the U.S. where they are constantly ignored by audiences and constantly dropped by labels that should know better). Perfect versions of songs spanning their whole career, faithful enough to the originals to not be frustrating, but different enough to be interesting. Just like being at a Sloan show; lots of sing alongs, stage banter, audience interaction, and amazingly beautiful complex pop songs!

SOULED AMERICAN Frozen (Moll) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
We love this band so much we took it upon ourselves to import mucho copies of their two most recent albums, and as far as we know, we are the ONLY store in the country to care enough to carry them. Think Joel Phelps (in the voice) with a dour Palace twang, also Red House Painters-ish 'slow-core' but these guys have been doing it for over a decade, having put out several hard-to-find records on Rough Trade. Very bare and wintry. Oh yeah, they're from Chicago and have a rabid cult following (can't believe I just wrote that); people far and wide, including Jim O'Rourke and our own Andee Connors, just WORSHIP them. This is kind of a big deal.

album cover SPARKLEHORSE Good Morning Spider (Capitol) cd 16.98
Containing beautiful, heart wrenching, lush country-ish rock with meaty, satisfying guitars and lonely-guy vocals that will twist yer heartstrings, the new Sparklehorse record is MILES ahead of their No Depression contemporaries. If you like Vic Chestnut, Lambchop, Neutral Milk Hotel, Palace/Will Oldham/Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, or Windy's current favorites Wisdom of Harry, we strongly suggest that you give Sparklehorse a shot! An "enhanced' portion of the disc includes four pretty cool videos for yous with computers.

V/A Subterranean Hitz Volume 2 (WordSound) cd 14.98
Sequel to excellent first volume of Crooklyn's best...Spectre, Rob Swift, Sensational, the inimitable Hawd Gankstuh Rappuh Emsees Wid Ghatz, Prince Paul, others.

YAHOWHA 13 God and Hair (Captain Trip) 13cd 140.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
For 13 discs you better get the complete recordings... and here on God and Hair that is what you get. [well, this was true until recently when The Operetta was released...but you do get plenty!] Led by the late, legendary Father Yod (who supposedly died in a hang-gliding accident in the late 70s... just like Icarus!) YaHoWha 13 "epitomize the insanity of highly-personalized psychedelic exploration via the fringes of rock music and its subsequent private documentation better than anything else produced by the human race to date." (a glorious if over the top description from the fine folk at Forced Exposure)... This collection ranges from the tribal acid pound with weird noises floating in and out of aural spaces alongside Yod's megalomaniacal vocal output (as on the unbelievable masterpieces "Penetration" and "I'm Gonna Take You Home") to the cult-guru sermons over simple acoustic guitar (which give the uncanny resemblance to Charles Manson's folk). Warning: it's VERY hippie. The huge 13" x 13" heavy duty box houses the 13 discs and a 50 page booklet (which is unfortunately only in Japanese). So fucking cool.
(If anyone out there has any more information about this band (in English) please direct us to it.)
Please Note: Due to the sheer cost of this thing, AQ will only have 1 or 2 in stock at any given time. We will certainly do our best to fill any orders that come in, but please be patient with us! And it's a limited edition, too, of course, so don't delay...

album cover MOUNT CARMEL Get Pure (Alive) lp 21.00
We're really gonna have to reassess our stance (that means, Andee's stance) on 'blues rock', cuz this is the THIRD record from these Ohio hard rocking blooze blasters, and the third of their records that we're CRAZY into, even though it seems like we really shouldn't be. It's not super psychedelic, not crazy weird, not experimental, not very metal, not avant, not even noisy or lo-fi or anything, it's really just seriously kick ass, hook heavy, hard blues rock, and it kills. Imagine a way more hard rocking Black Crowes, or modern Southern rockers Antler, or all time aQ faves Raging Slab, these guys definitely fit somewhere in there, we're hearing a lot of psychedelic hard rock and proto-metal too, but they kind of fall closer to straight up blues rock, but still, there's just something about these guys, that even the most blues rock phobic here at aQ, i.e. Andee, maybe even especially, ends up flipping out over every record. And this new one is no different. Shit kicking hard rocking psychedelic blooze, with big killer riffs, muscly drumming, a killer production, raspy whiskey and cigarettes, Chris Robinson like vocals, hooks like crazy, and some kick ass shredding leads, it's hard to resist, but it's also easy to see these guys being the perfect match for groups like Howlin' Rain and the Chris Robinson Brotherhood, the kind of thing fans of those bands would and should be losing their shit for. But by the same token, there's still plenty here for folks into the current crop of retro psych heaviness, all those Rise Above bands, Sir Admiral Cloudsley Shovell, Uncle Acid, etc.
So yeah, if you like hard rocking psychedelic blues, and count bands like Jerusalem, Blue Cheer, Budgie, Captain Beyond, Leaf Hound, Ten Years After, Humble Pie, Zeppelin and cream among your faves, might as well add Mount Carmel to the list. If you haven't already!
MPEG Stream: "Gold"
MPEG Stream: "Back On It"
MPEG Stream: "Whisper"

album cover MOLINA, TONY Dissed And Dismissed (Slumberland) cassette 6.98
Finally reissued and available once again, thanks to the fine folks at Slumberland, this time on colored vinyl [whoops, almost all gone already, being repressed though], and CASSETTE!!
Fans of local pop geniuses the Ovens, which are a whole lot of you, but should really be ALL of you, rejoice, and enjoy another incredible blast of noise pop songsmithery courtesy of Ovens mainman Tony Molina, whose solo sound is essentially, and really EXACTLY like the Ovens, fuzzed out pop, metallic chugging, soaring harmonized guitars, a dreamy croon, and ridiculous self deprecating lyrics, INCREDIBLE hooks, and the sort of poppiness that will get lodged in your head forEVER. SO yeah, anyone who bought and loved the Ovens cd Andee released on his tUMULt label, well, you're gonna want, nay, NEED this. As always, Molina's songs (and by extension, the Ovens' as well) are equal parts Weezer, Thin Lizzy, the Beatles, Guided By Voices, Dinosaur Jr, Teenage Fanclub, and pretty much every other fuzzy jangly pop band you ever loved, but all that boiled down and rendered into ultra brief, fragmented blasts of micro pop brevity, and we're talking boiled down as in thirteen songs in twelve minutes! One of those records you'll no doubt play over and over and over.
There are tracks like opener "Nowhere To Go", which sounds like it could have been plucked right off the Ovens cd proper, so much crammed into so little time, soaring harmonized guitars, the occasional metallic chug, the fuzzy main riff, the laid back vox, the melodies impossible to resist, and like many Ovens songs, blink and you'll miss it. None of that verse chorus verse shit, if you're lucky, you'll get verse chorus. Sometimes just verse! Like on tracks like "Sick As Riff", where you don't even get a riff, more like a dreamy little acoustic guitar interlude. Check out "Change My Ways", which should most definitely have J Mascis looking over his shoulder, the Dinosaur Jr vibe HUGE, right down to the guitar tone. And like we've said before, if Tony wasn't so brilliantly ADD, and could make a song longer than 90 seconds, he and the Ovens could/would/should be HUGE. But we're not complaining, it's part of their charm, the barrage of crazy hooks, perfect melodies, definitely pushing a lot of the same buttons Guided By Voices do.
So yeah, needless to say, these 12 minutes the probably gonna be our favorite 12 minutes of pop music this year, so grab one of these before they're gone, and leave a little space at the top of your 2013 year end lists, cuz even only two months in, and we're pretty sure, unless there's a new Ovens record that somehow pops up, this one's gonna be tough to beat.
MPEG Stream: "Nowhere To Go"
MPEG Stream: "Change My Ways"
MPEG Stream: "Can't Believe"
MPEG Stream: "Spoke Too Soon"
MPEG Stream: "Walk Away"

album cover A PLACE TO BURY STRANGERS / CEREMONY split (LAMC #1) (Famous Class) 7" 8.98
After reviewing parts #11 (Mikal Cronin / Wand), #10 (Fuzz / CCR Headcleaner), #7 (Ty Segall / Chad & The Meatbodies) and #3 (Thee Oh Sees / The Mallard) of this 7" series where some of our favorite bands offer up an exclusive A side jam, and introduce us on the B side to one of their favorite up and coming groups, we've finally started getting a bunch of the other installments in the series, and this one is the very first, #1, featuring 'the loudest band in New York', A Place To Bury Strangers, who dial back their usual psychedelic squall for something a bit more skittery and shuffly. It's a gloomy, druggy ditty driven by drums that sound programmed, beneath deep crooned, echo drenched vocals, and spidery almost surfy sounding guitars, a gorgeous, weirdly propulsive bit of gloom-kraut garage that aligns itself sonically with other outfits like Moon Duo or Spacemen 3.
APTBS's choice for the B side is Ceremony, who we only just realized has never been featured on the aQ list/site, which is weird, cuz lots of aQ-ers are big fans - and their track here makes it easy to see why, as it's a noise drenched shoegaze post punk dirge that blurs guitars into sheets of shimmery buzz, the drums buried in the mix, the vocals a hushed whisper, a gloomy pop song wrapped in layer after layer of swirling guitarnoise and blown out psychedelic skree. So good. And a good reminder that we definitely need to give some love to their albums proper.
And yeah, like the others in the series, very, very LIMITED!
MPEG Stream: A PLACE TO BURY STANGERS "Burning Plastic"
MPEG Stream: CEREMONY "Send Me Your Dreams"

album cover ULAAN PASSERINE Byzantium Crow (Worstword) cd 11.98
Two new releases this week from aQ pal, and longtime favorite Steven R. Smith, in his latest Ulaan guise, the other is a reissue of a long out of print double cassette originally released on Brave Mysteries, and this one, which is a brand new recording, two sprawling, nearly twenty minute tracks. The first opens with a soft cacophony of bells, before some mournful fiddle, wreathed in reverb, and set atop soft billows of low end thrum, a gorgeous, haunting threnody, which gradually blossoms into a sort of swampy folky dirge, immediately reminiscent of Woven Hand / Sixteen Horsepower. But soon, the strum dissipates, leaving, long tones, lushly layered atmospheres, abstract percussion, and soft shimmers, the vibe dusky and windblown, a little bit twangy, easy to imagine, a landscape painted in reds and oranges from the setting sun, and the slowly encroaching shadows. Soon the strings sweep back in, and the sound is transformed into an almost baroque sounding darkfolk drift, underpinned by swoonsome chordal swells, and sitar like drones, giving the sound an almost raga like vibe. After a bit of distorted psychedelia, the sound settles into a strummy, drifty finale, again, lots of twang, and some crackling electric guitar buzz. Moody and mesmeric. The second track starts off all campfire Appalachian folk, before quickly mutating into a droned out tribal drift, muted pulsing rhythms, beneath soft swirls and layered drones, another sort-of-raga, but with some psych-kraut like propulsion, which gives way to some broody gypsy folk, still wreathed in drones, washed out and woozy, a hazy sprawl of dark dream-drone psych folk ambience, that gradually becomes more and more Appalachian again, lots of buzzy twang, long tones, and lush overtones, all over a bed of softly roiling rumbles, and a hushed, distant, slow fading soft psych finale, before those opening bells return...
Housed in super swank, silkscreened Stumptown cardstock sleeves. LIMITED TO 300 COPIES!! Each one hand numbered.
MPEG Stream: "Untitled"

album cover ULAAN PASSERINE s/t (Worstword) cd 11.98
Originally released as an ultra limited (just 100 copies) double cassette on Brave Mysteries in 2013, this sprawling songsuite from longtime fave and aQ pal Steven R. Smith, gets new life in the form of this not so limited cd, and finds Smith, slightly altering his constantly in flux Ulaan monicker, conjuring up 4 side long (at least on the original tape) sprawls of haunting, contemplative, abstract, psychedelic drift. Fans of Smith's other recordings will immediately feel right at home, plaintive piano, soft shimmering swells, chiming bells, softly moaning strings, the sound slowly unfurling and blossoming, moving from a freeform psychedelic dronescape, to a brooding dark folk balladry, to a murky minimal softnoise drift, to hushed droned wreathed steel string strum, a sort of droned out Appalachia, to lush string swaddled epic psych folk majesty and finally to a lush, layered raga-like ambience, that gradually fades into silence. And that's just the first side/track! The other three tracks are equally epic and mesmerizing, darkly melodic, hauntingly psychedelic, lush and lovely, the sort of endless epic psychedelia that is so easy to get swept away by, a few minutes into any of the tracks here, you'll find yourself gloriously lost in Smith's mysterious soundworld, drifting weightlessly above fields of Appalachia flecked droned, or softly submerged beneath dreamlike billows of serene psychedelia, or propelled by heady sprawls of minimal psych-kraut mesmer. As always, FANTASTIC!
Housed in super swank, silkscreened Stumptown cardstock sleeves. LIMITED TO 300 COPIES!! Each one hand numbered.
MPEG Stream: "Side 1 (excerpt)"
MPEG Stream: "Side 4 (excerpt)"

album cover COHEN, CHARLES A Retrospective (Morphine) 2cd 28.00
Never heard of Charles Cohen? Neither had we. Which is really not surprising, considering this composer and master of the Buchla Music Easel synthesizer (he's one of the few Buchla masters in the world), managed to remain largely unknown outside of Philadelphia, where he spent the late seventies and eighties composing for dance performances and art installations, famously refusing to record, concerned with the 'ephemerality' of his music, and being somewhat of a recluse outside of his music making. But oh the music he made! In a world and time where pretty much any unheard record is considered reissue-able, very little of it truly is, and yet Cohen's music is so well deserving of a wider audience, especially considering how sonically prescient his music truly was.
A mix of musique concrete, kosmische new age, electronic krautrock, alien exotica and layered dronemusic, the sounds collected here are at once all over the map and unpredictable, but also all somehow also sonically linked. It's impossible to describe two discs' worth of Cohen's music in shorthand, but too daunting two go through each of the 22 tracks, one by one, but imagine, a fluid soundscape in constant flux: murky, lo-fi flurries of percussion wreathed in swirling electronics, almost like some alien gamelan - weird abstract dub, all glitchy and spaced out, almost industrial, but also sort of dreamy and ambient - very Kraftwerk sounding propulsive electro grooves, squelchy and shimmery, but hazy and psychedelically cosmic - Les Baxter like electro-exotica, maybe as envisioned by Nurse With Wound, and that's just the first four tracks. From there on out, it just gets cooler and weirder, more mysterious and even more abstractly beautiful.
"Sonomama" sounds almost like Asian folk music, again as re-envisioned by someone like the Residents, especially the second half when the sounds become more frantic and chaotic. Some tracks almost sound like eighties Carpenter soundtracks, check out the "Velcro Dance", which totally sounds like it could be playing as the credits roll on some old VHS tape, but then seconds later, there's the darkly delicate "Sunrise Women-Men", which almost sounds like Morricone, a wistful, cinematic sprawl, laced with muted melody and occasional percussion, before transforming surprisingly into something way more futuristic! At this point, we essentially are going track by track through the whole collection, but it's hard not to. Every track here is a mysterious gem, sonic surprises lurk around every corner, some short bursts, others, long, slow building epics, some playful and almost goofy, others somber and haunting, even sinister, but again, every second of sound here is utterly stunning.
There's tons more info in the liner notes, lots of rare photos and different writers and fellow composers offering their impressions of Cohen and his music, much of it truly fascinating, but like all great music, even knowing nothing about its provenance, doesn't take away from the magic and power of the sounds here. A truly fantastic discovery, and no doubt a contender for reissue of the year!
MPEG Stream: "Club Revival Performance"
MPEG Stream: "Tubs"
MPEG Stream: "Ukip2"
MPEG Stream: "Blue Krishna"
MPEG Stream: "Sonomama"
MPEG Stream: "Velcro Dance"

album cover SEA KNIGHT Where Are You (self-released) cd ep 5.00
Where Are You is the first we've heard from local outfit Sea Knight, but it's a stunner, dreamy, and strummy, and psychedelic, moody and melancholic, the traditional guitar/bass/drums augmented by violin, which gives the sound a sweeping, epic and emotional vibe, not to mention the powerful vocals. All it takes is about two minutes of opener "Chasm", and you'll be sold, equal parts Pixies / Breeders pop smarts, and shoegaze-y Mazzy Star haze, simple steel string strum, chiming melody, a spidery guitar, the vocals dreamy and ethereal, the sound laid back and soft focus, slow building to something much more epic, maybe like a girl pop Godspeed if that makes any sense. It's definitely indie pop, but with a lush sonic palette, and a propensity for epicry that definitely makes Sea Knight something special. And is often the case, it took about 10 listens of the first track before we were able to dig any deeper. Which is always a good sign. The rest of the record holds up just as well, a perfect mix of folky strum, a little twang, classic old school indie rock, heavy on the nineties, with plenty of noisiness and unexpected mathiness mixed in, check out the sweetly melodic "Concrete", which blossoms into something much noise poppier, or the heavy droned out modern rock-ish "Crows Came And Spoke Of New Beginnings", with its smoldering buzzguitars, and haunting soaring vocals, again the Godspeed as indie pop band definitely comes into play, and apparently, as a live proposition, these songs all get a lot heavier and noiser, which is something we definitely wanna hear!
MPEG Stream: "Chasm"
MPEG Stream: "Concrete"
MPEG Stream: "Crows Came And Spoke Of New Beginnings"

album cover MILLIE & ANDREA Drop The Vowels (Modern Love) cd 19.98
When we first heard about Millie & Andrea, the duo of Miles Whittaker aka Miles, whose brilliant Faint Hearted record we raved about here a while back, and Andy Stott, whose gorgeous, ultra minimal techno we've been raving abut forever, we were expecting this collaboration to be some fusion of the two - skeletal, abstract, ambient, hauntological, ultra minimal. For the first few seconds, our guess was pretty much right on, the first track beginning with a field of reverb heavy clattery rhythm, deep bass pulses, but with something lurking just below the surface, as if the sound could take off in any direction. The sound grew more dense, more secondary rhythms surfaced, the results super hypnotic almost trancey, but still plenty spaced out and abstract... So, we were settling in for an extended occultic electro bliss out, when track two kicked in and BAM, suddenly, we're transported directly from our insular listening space, to some nineties dancefloor, the duo laying down some skittery, swirly, crunchy, clattery techno, with super distorted synth sweeps, and stuttery hiccuping beats, the vibe hovering right between old school ravery, and something more modern and freaky, some heavy IDM influences too, as well as jungle, drum and bass, garage, but the production changes everything, fantastically blown out and in the red, which gives every sound a weird psychedelic feel, like some weird sonic halo, transforming what could have been straight up dance music into something noisy and trippy and fucking awesome! The next few songs offer up variations on this way back electronic time trip, with "Temper Tantrum" getting straight up jungle, pretty sure that's a mutated 'Amen' break, but again Whittaker and Stott fuck it up big time, adding all sorts of rhythmic filigree, and part way through, some swoonsome synth swirl. "Spectral Source" is another fantastic throwback, with a stuttery vocal snippet peppered amidst synth squelch, hand claps, gristly bass buzz, and a murky pulse, all transformed by the gloriously cheesy late night chill out synths, which like much of the record, finds its niche in this weird push and pull between avant electronic experimentation, and pure, sweat soaked dancefloor groove from back in the day.
"Corrosive" begins all robotic electro draped over a background of blooping bleeping melodies and gurgling low end before exploding into full on No U-Turn style tech-step, a killer blast of distorted noisy jungle that no one makes anymore, but we still LOVE. The title track two, a churning bass heavy slab of classic jungle/drum & bass, albeit plenty fucked up, and of course midway through, they fuck it up even more, pulling it apart, and cranking up the bass, thick buzzing, undulating rumbles and whirs.
Nearing the end of the record, things seem to start drifting closer to the sounds we were expecting from Whittaker and Stott, albeit fused to the jungliness that came before. "Back Down" is all murky swirling melodies, hazy vocal harmonies blurred into black smears, churning, grinding bass, skittery rhythms, all wreathed in a dense sonic murk, sounding almost industrial, industrial via Huperdub maybe, and finally, the closer, wraps things up with a gorgeous bit of haunting ambience, swirling Basinski like loops beneath weird bits of rhythmic clatter, gristly tape hiss, static and glitch, all washed out, hazy, druggy, dreamy and divine.
MPEG Stream: "Gif Riff"
MPEG Stream: "Stay Ugly"
MPEG Stream: "Temper Tanturm"
MPEG Stream: "Corrosive"

album cover SPIES, THE The Battle Of Bosworth Terrace (Siltbreeze) lp 15.98
Siltbreeze continue to dig deep into the New Zealand underground, and it doesn't get more underground than this, a band who never released ANYthing, as in if you weren't in Wellington, in the late seventies, or knew someone who was, you literally never heard or heard of The Spies. Which is a shame, as The Battle Of Bosworth Terrace is a NZ pop gem, one that is seeing the light of day now for the first time ever! Featuring a few NZ luminaries, members of the Puddle, and the recently reviewed here Shoes This High, The Spies deliver a sort of noisy, jangly, lo-fi pop that wrapped jagged shards of guitar, around loose drumming, buzzing primitive synths, and alternating sweetly crooned high vox, and more swaggery, yowled gruff vocals, the guitars occasionally erupting into psychedelic tangles, but just as often unfurling spidery melodies, or groovy post punk jangle. The brief opener is a gorgeous little lo-fi pop gem, all busy blooping bass, carnivalesque keyboards, and judiciously employed almost Marc Ribot like guitar melodies, all beneath some angelic ethereal vocals. The second track though is more gritty, mush mouthed sung/spoken vocals over a bed of crunchy, brittle guitar, and swirling psychedelic keyboards, the rest of the record balancing a mix of the two, some like laid back Velvets inspired druggy drifts, others like warped reinterpretations of some alien classic rock sound, and still others, seriously tripped out and experimental, reverb drenched stretches of bedroom dub via NZ noise rock, sprawls of bleating horns over gristly buzz and woozy, minor key jangle, or twisted loner, folk pop, all 4-track warble and druggy Jandekian croon. For every bit of brilliant classic pop inspired tunesmithery, there's some seriously drug addled, WTF avant pop deconstruction or druggy home brewed psychedelia. The most minimal tracks here reminds us a bit of the legendary Wreck Small Speakers On Expensive Stereos, while much of the rest of this sonically aligns the Spies with the rest of the Flying Nun / Xpressway regulars. NZ nerds are in for a treat!
LIMITED TO 500 COPIES!! Includes a download card.
MPEG Stream: "Egyptian Bird Song"
MPEG Stream: "Collided And Collected"
MPEG Stream: "Wait Don't Wait"
MPEG Stream: "Teenage Lightning"

album cover SMALL WORLD OF SAMMY LEE (KENNY GRAHAM) OST (Trunk Records) lp 19.98
Another fantastic lost score rescued from obscurity by Trunk Records, this one a fantastic batch of flute driven jazziness, the score to The Small World Of Sammy Lee, a British classic we're told, but also one that's fairly racy, receiving an 'X Certificate', which is maybe similar to an X rating in the US, we haven't seen the movie, but the liner notes tell us it involves lots of pimps and strippers and thugs. Although the music is actually anything but racy, instead, it's dreamy and melodic, soft focus and serene. We had reviewed another Kenny Graham release on Trunk, which we described as sounding like Moondog recorded by Joe Meek, but this is much more traditional. Playful at times, lilting and lovely at others, occasionally tense and brooding, once in a while with a bit of an exotica vibe, those moments rife with wild percussion, tangled guitars, wild drumming (check out "Four O'Clock Hop"), definitely the most overtly soundtracky number here, one track has some melancholic violin, which gives that song a sort of gypsy folk vibe, but the bulk of the record is slow and smokey, lots of flute, and vibes, skittery percussion, understated bass lines, plenty of horns, subtle strings, all woven into some dreamy, sixties jazziness, that besides getting played on repeat quite a bit, has us really wanting to check out the film!
MPEG Stream: "Soho At Dawn"
MPEG Stream: "Thoughts At Home"
MPEG Stream: "Sammy 4"
MPEG Stream: "The Hustling Starts"
MPEG Stream: "Four O'Clock Hop"

album cover TELLUSIAN Collision (Pillowscars) lp 13.98
First full length from these Swedish metalheads, after a 7" we reviewed a few lists back that kicked our asses, and like that 7" Tellusian, featuring members of late great grinders Crowpath, while still plenty grindy, are way more melodic metal, and it totally suits them. The songs heavy and furious and fast, but crazy catchy, epically hooky.
A long time ago, we reviewed a grind comp, and on it, a seriously sick grind band did a cover of an old track by pop punks Propaghandi, a it was the best, an impossible fix of incredible poppiness, and frantic heaviness, and we remarked, how come bands don't just SOUND like that, it's only when a band is doing a cover of another band, but that's the first thing we thought of when we heard these guys, and this record especially, it's exactly THAT, a super heavy grind metal band, not at all afraid of melody, who manage to merge those two elements seamlessly, without taking away from either. Check out opener "Rivalry", a sub two minute blast of everything that makes these guys so great, frenzied lightning fast riffing, impossibly chaotic mathed out drumming, loads of metallic chug, but killer harmonized guitars, crazy catchy melodies, a little churning downtuned doom, and heck even an extremely brief bit of (very) surprising almost funk bass, literally a second or two, before it's right back into the chug and churn. And it continues like that, dizzyingly flitting from tangled math metal, to churning metallic grind, to soaring melodic epicry, and usually some killer mix of all of those. But for a metal/grind band, the melodies and arrangements are pretty goddamn stunning, and the sound not as grind or metal as you might expect, instead, almost like a metallized noise rock band, or a super heavy, slightly grindy math rock band, so much so, that with a slight tweak, even with a proper clean singer, it would be a whole different kind of band, but as it is, Tellusian deliver some seriously addictive, and ultra catchy pop flecked, melodic grind metal, that KILLS, and that we've been listening to pretty much nonstop since we got this in. WAY recommended!
MPEG Stream: "Rivalry"
MPEG Stream: "The Collyer Brothers"
MPEG Stream: "The Saw Collector"
MPEG Stream: "In The Wake Of Cicruses And Parades"

album cover BODY, THE (& HAXAN CLOAK) I Shall Die Here (RVNG Intl.) cd 14.98
We discovered experimental doomlords The Body via their 2004 self titled debut, a crushing slab of slo-mo dirgery, that at the time we compared to other sonically like minded bands like Conifer, The Ocean, Pelican, and Isis. It was all pounding moody mathiness and churning downtuned doom chaos. But it was really on 2010's All The Waters Of The Earth Turn To Blood, where the Body transformed into something way more than doom-dirge knuckle draggers, expanding their sound to include multiple drummers, electronics and samples, and a full female choir. That record definitely set a benchmark for avant-doom, and with each release since, the band seem dead set on continuing that drift into the outer realms, although odds are you won't find a more twisted and sonically abstract corner of the doomworld than I Shall Die Here, which finds the Body submitting to a serious sonic makeover from Haxan Cloak, who transforms the sound into something bleak and abstract, the resulting sound something that seems like it might be more at home on Tri Angle or Blackest Ever Black, so no surprise we're flipping out big time.
The opener sets the template, with fragments of the original sound recast in a whole new context the big crashing drums, super distorted and blown out, laying down a mesmeric tarpit groove, the guitars muted and muddied, and blurred into a soft swirling, distorto churn, at this point, it could still be a proper doom record, the weird shrieked vokills swoop in, howl abjectly in the background, buried in the mix, and then suddenly, a cloud of digital glitchery erupts, the guitar churn peels back, those shrieked vocals become a disembodied loop, in come deep bass pulsations, and the song settles into a super minimal electronic creep, skittery, and glitchy, and staticky, and so heady and hypnotic. It ends way too soon, would have loved to see that final part stretch out for another 10-15 minutes of moody electro-murk, but instead, the process begins again, distorto drums, this time dubbed out a but, more buzzing riff-blur, wailed high pitch screeches, and then right back into another sprawl of electro-doom minimalism, this time eventually erupting into a wild, gristly squall of blown out tribal drumming, and layered drones, sounding a bit like a million copies of Tusk being played at 16 rpm.
And so it goes, some tracks are dirgey stretches of oozing black riffage, spread out into slowly churning landscapes of crumbling distortion, others fuse warped psychedelic techno with grim, gristly buzz, and still others actually sound a bit like the recent Coil / Nine Inch Nails 'collab', heaving industrial weirdness and fractured electronic experimentation, here of course fused to gargantuan black doom crush. The final track spends most of its time drifting moodily, a spare stretch of dreamily divine ambience, peppered with hushed pulsations, before it too eventually explodes into one final burst of pounding, howling, blown out electro-doom pummel. Awesome.
MPEG Stream: "To Carry The Seeds Of Death Within Me"
MPEG Stream: "The Night Knows No Dawn"
MPEG Stream: "Hail To Thee, Everlasting Pain"

album cover BODY, THE (& HAXAN CLOAK) I Shall Die Here (RVNG Intl.) lp 16.98
We discovered experimental doomlords The Body via their 2004 self titled debut, a crushing slab of slo-mo dirgery, that at the time we compared to other sonically like minded bands like Conifer, The Ocean, Pelican, and Isis. It was all pounding moody mathiness and churning downtuned doom chaos. But it was really on 2010's All The Waters Of The Earth Turn To Blood, where the Body transformed into something way more than doom-dirge knuckle draggers, expanding their sound to include multiple drummers, electronics and samples, and a full female choir. That record definitely set a benchmark for avant-doom, and with each release since, the band seem dead set on continuing that drift into the outer realms, although odds are you won't find a more twisted and sonically abstract corner of the doomworld than I Shall Die Here, which finds the Body submitting to a serious sonic makeover from Haxan Cloak, who transforms the sound into something bleak and abstract, the resulting sound something that seems like it might be more at home on Tri Angle or Blackest Ever Black, so no surprise we're flipping out big time.
The opener sets the template, with fragments of the original sound recast in a whole new context the big crashing drums, super distorted and blown out, laying down a mesmeric tarpit groove, the guitars muted and muddied, and blurred into a soft swirling, distorto churn, at this point, it could still be a proper doom record, the weird shrieked vokills swoop in, howl abjectly in the background, buried in the mix, and then suddenly, a cloud of digital glitchery erupts, the guitar churn peels back, those shrieked vocals become a disembodied loop, in come deep bass pulsations, and the song settles into a super minimal electronic creep, skittery, and glitchy, and staticky, and so heady and hypnotic. It ends way too soon, would have loved to see that final part stretch out for another 10-15 minutes of moody electro-murk, but instead, the process begins again, distorto drums, this time dubbed out a but, more buzzing riff-blur, wailed high pitch screeches, and then right back into another sprawl of electro-doom minimalism, this time eventually erupting into a wild, gristly squall of blown out tribal drumming, and layered drones, sounding a bit like a million copies of Tusk being played at 16 rpm.
And so it goes, some tracks are dirgey stretches of oozing black riffage, spread out into slowly churning landscapes of crumbling distortion, others fuse warped psychedelic techno with grim, gristly buzz, and still others actually sound a bit like the recent Coil / Nine Inch Nails 'collab', heaving industrial weirdness and fractured electronic experimentation, here of course fused to gargantuan black doom crush. The final track spends most of its time drifting moodily, a spare stretch of dreamily divine ambience, peppered with hushed pulsations, before it too eventually explodes into one final burst of pounding, howling, blown out electro-doom pummel. Awesome.
MPEG Stream: "To Carry The Seeds Of Death Within Me"
MPEG Stream: "The Night Knows No Dawn"
MPEG Stream: "Hail To Thee, Everlasting Pain"

album cover LOVE CULT TAKE DRUSS Yr Problems (Trensmat) lp 21.00
Another transmission from the strange sonic universe of UK psychedelic space rock weirdos Gnod, this one from a particular member of the group and his friends, a twisted offshoot of the mothership's sound, we first heard via the Gnod record Presents Dwellings & Druss, and at the time, we had yet to realize, that both Dwellings and Druss were in fact each single members of the group. Which in retrospect is a bit obvious considering how freaked out and UNlike Gnod that record really was. Well Druss returns, this time teamed up with a mysterious Russian duo called Love Cult, and the three of them craft a truly creepy soundscape of drones and psychedelic collages, of twistedly rhythmic anti-grooves, and wild experimental FX drenched noise. Apparently the tracks are split up between the groups, some Druss, some Love Cult, some both, but really you'd be hard pressed to tell, as all the songs bleed into one constantly shifting whole.
Deep rumbles ooze ominously out of the speakers, before a voices is chopped up and layered into a maddeningly looped pulse, wrapped in streaks of hiss and static, peppered with abstract percussive thwacks, eventually coalescing into a sort of abstract, drugged out alien house music maybe? From there the sound darkens and drift even further into the shadows, the vibe distinctly hauntological, fans of Demdike Stare will find much to dig, dense pulsations, synth squelch blurred into chordal thrum, multiple voices whispering ominously, a strange fractured rhythm anchoring the proceedings, a softly churning, ritualistic, blackened electronica that gradually grows more and more tweaked and twisted.
Elsewhere, the sound slips into a hazy almost Pop Ambience, all washed out and ethereal, a motorik throb, buried beneath layers of shimmer and softly gristly gauze, the sound disappearing beneath a cascade of blurry, bleary low end, before blossoming into some spaced out electro. The record fragments into wild psychedelic soundscapery, jittery and frenetic, before devolving into a weird retro electronica, that sounds like a super creepy, damaged take on Paul Hardcastles's "19", the final trilogy of tracks slips from grim, rib cage rattling buzz, wreathed in cinematic swirls, to another batch of electro, but something more akin to John Carpenter electro, with a little witch house mixed in, and then finally, some super minimal dubbed out electronica, all blurred voices, wobbly almost dubstep bass, and a hazy voice like melody, the vibe simultaneously tense and intense, washed out and dreamy!
As always, includes a download with the whole record, as well as two extra digital tracks. And as always, very very limited!
MPEG Stream: " Black Pines"
MPEG Stream: "Yr Problems"
MPEG Stream: "Landing On Fires"
MPEG Stream: "The End"

album cover MANIAC (ROB) OST (Death Waltz) lp 37.00
Finally available again, the Death Waltz soundtrack to Frank Khalfoun's remake of the 1980 slasher/exploitation classic Maniac! The new version stars Elijah Wood, as the demented owner of a mannequin shop, who scalps women and attaches the purloined hair to his mannequins. The movie itself is interesting for how it was shot, so you never see the main character except in reflections, and you see his hands, via the killer's POV as he does his dirty work. Not nearly as gritty and grimy as the original, it's still pretty intense, and the soundtrack is fantastic. Definitely harkening to the soundtracks of old, John Carpenter of course, each track a mini epic, swirling, soaring synths, dark haunting melodies, pulsing motorik rhythms, shimmering crystalline chords, all blurry and gauzy, and hauntingly harrowing. The single named Rob who did the soundtrack is rumored to be one of the guys from Phoenix, although we couldn't find any definite corroboration. Some tracks, like "Haunted" sound a bit like a creepier, moodier M83 too, but the bulk of the tracks are very cinematic, minor key piano melodies, nestled amidst swirling synthscapes, some are super stripped down, and minimally kosmische, others are sort of new wave-y, very eighties style, as if an homage to the original film/era, and still others are weird assemblages of swirling FX and arpeggiated synth shimmer, all of them are fantastic, including a surprising closer, complete with female vocals, a sort of modern re-envisioning of eighties new wave pop, the sort of song that seemed to play under the credits of pretty much every movie in the eighties.
Definitely one of our favorite of the Death Waltz releases, so much so, that some aQ-ers tracked down copies overseas when the original disappeared and it seemed like maybe no more copies would make it to the US. So grab one while you can.
And like all Death Waltz releases, the packaging is exquisite, the cover a super striking and disturbing shot of mannequin heads (a still from the movie?), pressed on thick vinyl, the sleeve an old school heavy tip-on style jacket, includes a poster and liner notes, including notes from Rob himself. And yeah, as always, very limited as well! (If we thought it would be easy to get more of these, we'd have made it a Record Of The Week, by the way.)
MPEG Stream: "Doll"
MPEG Stream: "Haunted"
MPEG Stream: "Double Trouble"
MPEG Stream: "Bells"
MPEG Stream: "Headache"
MPEG Stream: "Haunted Sequence"

album cover MEN OF FORTUNE Time Lovingly Bled (Bird Dialect) lp 14.98
Some bands are considered 'punk' or 'underground' or even 'alternative' based more on lineage, their record label, or membership than actual sound. And weirdly, we find ourselves often digging more mainstream sounds made by those underground bands. Not sure if it's a lifelong aversion to 'the man' and his 'corporate rock', or maybe more likely, it's that popular music is popular for a reason, but when an artist makes 'popular' music and comes at it from a whole different direction, with a whole set of non-popular sonic references and resources, that just makes for something more original and compelling and interesting. A perfect example is the recent Orange record from Diamond Youth. A record we originally bought cuz it was on the same label as another band we love, one that's super punk and noisy and screamo, but the fact that Diamond Youth sounded like something you could hear on the radio, maybe SHOULD hear on the radio, only made it that much cooler.
Which brings us to Men Of Fortune, who we've raved about on the list before, and who are on a cool weird underground label, and who play shows with all sorts of heavy rock and punk bands, but whose sound is maybe closer to outfits like Kyuss or Queens Of The Stone Age. Or at least it was last time we heard em. But this time around, the label references Santana and King Crimson as well. Which at first blush we thought was sorta ridiculous, but the more we listen to Time Lovingly Bled, the more the weirdness, and proginess, and tripped out jamminess shine through. The split we first heard these guys on, they came across more as a sort of stonery noise rock outfit, but here, the band have stretched WAY out, and transformed their sound into a kind of sprawling stoner prog psychedelic space rock. Churning riffs and pounding drums give way to epic droned out psych-dirge drifts, the sound slipping sometimes into near metallic crush, but just as often, getting super spacey and abstract, meandering post rock psychedelia, the kind of thing that wouldn't be out of place on Agitated or Rocket or Cardinal Fuzz. And it's sorta funny, all that talk above about weird underground bands playing popular music, well, with every spin of this record, the actual sound becomes more and more tripped out, proggy, tangled and fucked up, which maybe speaks to the power of MoF's vision, cuz really, some of the moments here are catchy as hell, lots of moments in fact, but those moments are surrounded on all sides by strange swirls of buzzing synths, or tranced out hypno-rock blowouts, or brooding post-rock creeps, the arrangements dense and intricate, the prog vibe looms large, as does the sort of Isis / Neurosis style post metal, although these guys are less about bombast as they are about mood and vibe, texture and tone, some of the jams here, we could get lost in for hours, the band laying down dense tribal rhythms beneath skies full of swirling spidery melodies, and blurred chordal shimmers, the bass thick and sinewy, but the songs always seem to coalesce into proper songs, and in places, those songs verge on classic DOOM, just check out "The Passing Shame", which sounds like modern day Cave-In playing doom metal, and as unlikely as that may sound, the actual SOUND of it is pretty fucking excellent.
We definitely dug the previously reviewed split, but this full length has won us over big time. If you dig progged out heaviness, droney space rock, and all strains of psychedelia, and aren't averse to a little poppiness and proper songcraft, Time Lovingly Bled should push all your musical buttons. Pressed on 180 gram, 100 percent virgin vinyl. Includes a download of the whole record, as well as tracks from MoF side project Leaves Aflame!!
MPEG Stream: "Voices From The Void"
MPEG Stream: "Some Crystal Dawn"
MPEG Stream: "The Passing Shame"

album cover DOLLFACE Corvette Summer (Bird Dialect) lp 14.98
Herzog! Weed! Swearin'! Milk Music! You've probably been noticing us freaking out over a whole mess of new bands heavily influenced by the sound of the nineties underground, so we figured it was the perfect time to heap some serious praise on a couple actual records from the nineties, and not just the underground, the WAY WAY underground, in fact, if you didn't live in central Illinois, you likely had never heard, or even heard OF these guys, but goddamn, now that we have, we're kind of obsessed! And we were warned. The guys at the Bird Dialect label had been talking up this nineties Chicago grunge/noise/power pop outfit for ages, we had never heard of them, and hadn't heard a lick of music, and were thus a bit skeptical, cuz really, what label DOESN'T hype their next release? But holy shit, these guys are amazing. It's hard to imagine a band like this not making it big. Cuz they had it all, heavy and hooky, killer songs, a vocalist with a seriously rad raspy yowl, the band whipping up a sort of grungy, glammy power pop, but with shades of classic Twin/Tone bands, and early Homestead Records, if we had heard these guys in the nineties, no doubt they'd be one of our favorite bands. Swaggery glam punk meets garage pop, fuzzy grunge meets ramshackle noise rock. The label calls them Peoria's answer to Urge Overkill, and we can definitely hear that, but imagine UO without all the kitsch and smarm, and add WAY more grit and punk rock swagger, we also hear tons of early/classic Aerosmith, there's a huge Seattle grunge vibe a la Green River/Mudhoney or actually more like grunge lesser knowns like Swallow, we also hear lots of Skunk (pre-Chavez), and heck maybe some Chavez too, definitely Soul Asylum as well, back when they were AWESOME (which they were, for a long time), not to mention Finnish grunge/glam wastoids Smack, and heck, if we're going totally obscure, they reminded some of us of the band Clumsy, whose Center Of Attention Deficit Disorder is a mostly unheard nineties classic. So yeah, these guys, at least sonically, seemed poised for the big time, and listening to this now, it's almost criminal that more people haven't heard (of) these guys.
Their 1994 debut Corvette Summer is a stone cold classic, opener "Kick The Ball" opens with a grungy, blown out riff, the sound is sort of power pop in punk rock clothing, like a meaner, noisier Cheap Trick, it's the sort of jam you can imagine inspiring some seriously sweaty crowds to go apeshit, the song lurching from chugging noise pop, to tangly noise rock and back again. "Timi Yuro Song" ups the pop ante, but that grunge vibe still shines through, especially when it slips into a low slung chug/dirge/swagger, and that voice, cigarettes and whiskey definitely played a part, and here we're definitely hearing some Love Battery, which is most definitely a good thing. "Half A Chance" is total Aerosmith worship, all woozy guitar shimmer, a total slow build ballad, like Dollface's "Dream On", and yeah, we don't make that comparison lightly, and we should mention the part where the vocalist sings "make them scream" and in the background, you can suddenly hear the sound of a wildly screaming crowd. Brooding, intense, minor key, some serious pathos heavy hard rock for sure. We could go track by track, but odds are you know by now if this is your thing, and if you're ANYthing like us, it most definitely is. The band do mix it up - there's the the power pop bounce of "Opportunities", the fuzzy almost psychedelic jangle of "Valentines Day", the playful pop punk of "No Duh No Doi", there's even hand claps on a few tracks, not to mention some seriously anthem worthy choruses, as well as some goofy, but pretty funny lyrics, all of which is well balanced by the bands grungier, more hard rocking side. This is fast becoming a new favorite, and definite contender for reissue of the year!
MPEG Stream: "Kick The Ball"
MPEG Stream: "Timi Yuro Song"
MPEG Stream: "Half A Chance"

album cover DOLLFACE Lights The Pilot!!! (Bird Dialect) lp 14.98
Herzog! Weed! Swearin'! Milk Music! You've probably been noticing us freaking out over a whole mess of new bands heavily influenced by the sound of the nineties underground, so we figured it was the perfect time to heap some serious praise on a couple actual records from the nineties, and not just the underground, the WAY WAY underground, in fact, if you didn't live in central Illinois, you likely had never heard, or even heard OF these guys, but goddamn, now that we have, we're kind of obsessed! And we were warned. The guys at the Bird Dialect label had been talking up this nineties Chicago grunge/noise/power pop outfit for ages, we had never heard of them, and hadn't heard a lick of music, and were thus a bit skeptical, cuz really, what label DOESN'T hype their next release? But holy shit, these guys are amazing. It's hard to imagine a band like this not making it big. Cuz they had it all, heavy and hooky, killer songs, a vocalist with a seriously rad raspy yowl, the band whipping up a sort of grungy, glammy power pop, but with shades of classic Twin/Tone bands, and early Homestead Records, if we had heard these guys in the nineties, no doubt they'd be one of our favorite bands. Swaggery glam punk meets garage pop, fuzzy grunge meets ramshackle noise rock. The label calls them Peoria's answer to Urge Overkill, and we can definitely hear that, but imagine UO without all the kitsch and smarm, and add WAY more grit and punk rock swagger, we also hear tons of early/classic Aerosmith, there's a huge Seattle grunge vibe a la Green River/Mudhoney or actually more like grunge lesser knowns like Swallow, we also hear lots of Skunk (pre-Chavez), and heck maybe some Chavez too, definitely Soul Asylum as well, back when they were AWESOME (which they were, for a long time), not to mention Finnish grunge/glam wastoids Smack, and heck, if we're going totally obscure, they reminded some of us of the band Clumsy, whose Center Of Attention Deficit Disorder is a mostly unheard nineties classic. So yeah, these guys, at least sonically, seemed poised for the big time, and listening to this now, it's almost criminal that more people haven't heard (of) these guys.
Lights The Pilot!!! was the band's second record, originally released in 1996, and like Corvette Summer, it's a hard rocking doozy, just give a listen to "Destiny, Oh Destiny", which sounds like some lost Nirvana B-side, right down to the vocalist's inflection, and the weird chugging grunginess, in fact, anyone who digs Nirvana (and modern Nirvana worshippers like Roomrunner) will lose their shit for this. It's like the weirder, darker, noisier side of Nirvana, which was sort of always our favorite, super melodic busy basslines, crumbling distorted guitar jangle and crunch, two and a half minutes that you'll likely find yourself playing over and over and over. But the rest of the record is not too shabby either, slipping from the pogo-y punk pop of "Rods And Cones", to the fuzzy, noisy, grunged out power pop of "I Breakdown And Cry", with its killer woozy bridge, and the awesome, about-to-crack vocals, and from the crazy catchy, chugging jangle pop of "Atlantis", to the the twisted experimental new wave weirdness of "I Light The Pilot, and so it goes. We hear some Rocket From The Crypt, some Hot Snakes (especially on "Monkey House"), lots of familiar sounds for sure, but all wound up into a pretty unique package, one that pushes pretty much all our nineties rock buttons, and along with Dollface's Corvette Summer debut, these are getting played around here like crazy!
MPEG Stream: "Destiny, Oh Destiny"
MPEG Stream: "Rods And Cones"
MPEG Stream: "I Breakdown And Cry"
MPEG Stream: "I Light The Pilot"

album cover MOUNT CARMEL Get Pure (Alive) cd 16.98
We're really gonna have to reassess our stance (that means, Andee's stance) on 'blues rock', cuz this is the THIRD record from these Ohio hard rocking blooze blasters, and the third of their records that we're CRAZY into, even though it seems like we really shouldn't be. It's not super psychedelic, not crazy weird, not experimental, not very metal, not avant, not even noisy or lo-fi or anything, it's really just seriously kick ass, hook heavy, hard blues rock, and it kills. Imagine a way more hard rocking Black Crowes, or modern Southern rockers Antler, or all time aQ faves Raging Slab, these guys definitely fit somewhere in there, we're hearing a lot of psychedelic hard rock and proto-metal too, but they kind of fall closer to straight up blues rock, but still, there's just something about these guys, that even the most blues rock phobic here at aQ, i.e. Andee, maybe even especially, ends up flipping out over every record. And this new one is no different. Shit kicking hard rocking psychedelic blooze, with big killer riffs, muscly drumming, a killer production, raspy whiskey and cigarettes, Chris Robinson like vocals, hooks like crazy, and some kick ass shredding leads, it's hard to resist, but it's also easy to see these guys being the perfect match for groups like Howlin' Rain and the Chris Robinson Brotherhood, the kind of thing fans of those bands would and should be losing their shit for. But by the same token, there's still plenty here for folks into the current crop of retro psych heaviness, all those Rise Above bands, Sir Admiral Cloudsley Shovell, Uncle Acid, etc.
So yeah, if you like hard rocking psychedelic blues, and count bands like Jerusalem, Blue Cheer, Budgie, Captain Beyond, Leaf Hound, Ten Years After, Humble Pie, Zeppelin and cream among your faves, might as well add Mount Carmel to the list. If you haven't already!
MPEG Stream: "Gold"
MPEG Stream: "Back On It"
MPEG Stream: "Whisper"

album cover PERFECT PUSSY Say Yes To Love (Captured Tracks) cd 15.98
There's hype, and then there's HYPE. And we can't really remember a band as hyped as Perfect Pussy. Most folks had heard all about them, read all about them, knew way more than they had any right to before hearing a single lick of music. The risk with that sort of hype, is that the actual music could never ever live up to the expectation, and how PP stacks up is really pretty subjective. Assuming for one second, PP wasn't a ubiquitous news item on Pitchfork every day for the last year, hearing Say Yes To Love is kinda revelatory, the sort of record that could easily knock you on your ass. One thing we can say, is it's weird that a record this noisy and abrasive and UNcommercial is getting so much popular approval, but all we can say to that is hell yeah!
So yeah, but what the hell does it sound like? Well imagine classic Riot Grrl, nineties noise rock, all wound up in wild squalls of psychedelic shoegaze, with frantic bleated vocals that are a dead ringer for Melt-Banana, and you'd be getting close. The opening one-two punch of "Driver" and "Bells" might as well be one song, four minutes of keening high end ferocity, and in fact high end is where PP spend much of their time, would be surprised to discover there was no bass player, cuz really, it's all sharp and jagged, slashing noiseguitar, crunchy jangle, it's not until the third track "Big Stars" that things slow down, but even then, it remains fierce and feral, a little more aligned with that classic nineties era, but wreathed in feedback and noise, and the end of the track tapering off into some tripped out psychedelic drift. But hold up, some bass pops up on the beginning of "Work", before being quickly swallowed whole by a cloud of swirling guitar skree, and then weirdly, midway through, are those synths, somehow, the song becomes all cosmic and celestial, just for a minute, before stumbling back into more jagged noise pop / noise punk pound.
This is the sort of record, that squares will claim sounds like 'noise', and really they're not far off, this is some seriously noisy stuff, so much so, that on the shitty stereos this stuff was meant to be listened to on, it's really impossible to differentiate nuance, in the store it sounds almost like a Merzbow remix of Melt-Banana (not a bad thing mind you), but strap on some headphones, or blast it through a killer sound system at deafening volume, and PP's master sonic craft reveals itself for sure.
Our favorite moment might be right at the end, with the two minute blast of "Advance Upon The Real", which fills up it's remaining 3+ minutes with a barely audible bit of strange industrial ambience, buried melodies, blurred shimmers, the perfect intro to the weirdo experimental closer "VII" which IS noise, vocals drifting through fields of grinding distorted crunch, blooping synth melodies hovering amidst sheets of caustic gristle, rhythmic and blown out, a weirdly beautiful bit of extreme noise punk, and the perfect way to finish things off.
The cd comes in a cool glittery slipcase, with ultra minimal artwork, and while we did have the lp (back in soon, hopefully), it's not the oft remarked upon menstrual blood infused vinyl. Sorry.
MPEG Stream: "Driver"
MPEG Stream: "Bells"
MPEG Stream: "Work"
MPEG Stream: "VII"

album cover BURNT ONES Gift (Castle Face) lp 15.98
Finally! A new full length from these psychedelic sixties style garage murk masters, the first in fact we've actually managed to get (it's their third apparently), and it's a doozy, washed out and warped, drowsy and druggy, but super catchy, and impossibly lush and psychedelic. The opener "Pulse" sounds like the Kinks, albeit a way more wasted version, the sound fabulously muddy and murky, melodic and catchy as all get out.
We first discovered these guys on the second Group Flex flexi-book on Castle Face, then on the Castle Face Velvet Underground tribute, and most recently, on the I Need You Bad comp on Polyvinyl. In each case, we inevitably found ourselves going straight to the Burnt Ones' tracks, and then playing them over and over. So, Gift is totally hitting the spot, a gloriously prismatic and cracked collection of paisley pop doused in LSD and sent sprawling through fields of slow motion motorik marches, hazy organ wheeze whirls, and blurred guitar shimmer, the sound super amorphous and abstract, and then without warning, the sound will suddenly come together into a blast of practically perfect baroque pop, albeit still swaddled in fuzz and buzz and hiss, in fact "Money Man" does just that, spending its first two minutes in a sort of bleary suspended animation, before erupting into a riffy, psychedelic stomp, equal parts Kinks, Beatles and Bee Gees, but then roughed up and sent careening wildly into the fray, replete with a final burst of falsetto crooning. And so it goes, the whole record lurching druggily from woozy psychedelic gem to warped dirge pop ditty, every song blossoming like some prismatic sonic flower, revealing more and more as the sounds unfurl and unwind, melodies swoop in from nowhere, hooks hover, fade out, and then suddenly pop up minutes later, lilting, chiming loveliness wrapped in grunge and gristle, there's some crazy primitive drum machine weirdness, some glammy swagger, some 8-bit bleep bloop, plenty of fuzzy synth swirl, FX all over the place, but none of the noisiness or damaged sonic weirdness can disguise the perfect poppiness lurking within pretty much every single of of these twisted psych-garage gems.
MPEG Stream: "Pulse"
MPEG Stream: "Money Man"
MPEG Stream: "Submarine"
MPEG Stream: "Bye Bye Floating Charm"
MPEG Stream: "New Heroes Of Subscription Services"

album cover FORTRESS s/t (self-released) lp 19.98
We were pretty much already sold before hearing a single note from this new Bay Area metal horde, based almost entirely on the record cover, a super bad ass D&D style drawing of a compliment of orcs (we presume, nerds feel free to correct us), wielding axes, shrunken heads on pikes, weird bird dragon things, not to mention a hot naked human female, no doubt the spoils of whatever metal war these guys were waging, and they're called Fortress, the band logo like some stone hewn castle, and of course there's the description of the band on their website: "Fortress are ancient battle sorcerers, who, for one thousand sun cycles, have cheated death and dealt blistering heavy metal thunder upon the known and unknown worlds. They are also nerds." Both of which are true, they most certainly do rain down heavy metal thunder, the sounds classic metal riffery, harmonized guitar leads, the sound epic and supremely majestic! And they are also most definitely nerds, check out the song titles: "Goblin III", "Rad Racer", "Kevin Bacon", "Huxtability Verified" and of course opener "Jumanji", complete with the bellowed chorus: "Robin Williams, you're full of shit!". So yeah, already you can tell, these guys have tongue firmly in cheek, but their metal is no joke. With a slightly different cast these guys could find themselves sonically aligned with Slough Feg instead of Hot Fog, but hell, we digging this, inside jokes and all. The vocals might be the one thing that keep Fortress from being true metal masters, unlike the majestic metal croon of someone like Slough Feg's Mike Scalzi, the vocals in Fortress are more of a raspy punk rock bellow, which had us thinking of bands like Karp or Godheadsilo, but for folks who dig both classic metal and metallic punk, these guys definitely kill it, lacing their sonic epicry with the appropriate sound effects (thunder, rain, etc.), and mood music, and interludes, and even with the punkish bellow, and some straight up joke tracks, the second their sound soars into some majestic metal moments, all fist pumping, head banging, harmony guitars, or power metallized pummel, your metal heart would have to be dead for you not to dig it.
180 gram black vinyl with blood red splatter, the aforementioned killer cover art, and includes a digital download too!
MPEG Stream: "Jumanji"
MPEG Stream: "Tough Tommy Thompson"
MPEG Stream: "Goblin III"

album cover WEN Signals (Keysound) cd 17.98
Not sure if the distinctive arrow-in-a-circle on the cover is meant to reference legendary label No U-Turn, but it had us expecting some sort of throwback jungle, some dense tech-step style drum & bass, but instead, Signals is a modern take on classic dubstep and grime, sounding a bit like a slightly less minimal Burial, if that makes any sense, it's still all slo-mo and murky, but the beats are a lot heavier, and there are a lot more vocals, mostly fragmented snippets, which are all over the brief intro, but when "Galactic" kicks in, it's a fierce fucker, all stuttery skitter, beneath weird monk like chants, a twisted little metallic melody, the various sounds and samples in constant flux, slowing down, speeding up, the whole thing a lurching, lumbering, woozy creep, that mysterious little Close Encounters melody will stick in your head like crazy, and then in swoop some strings, and suddenly it's some sort of symphonic dubstep epic, and it's so good. Listen to the sample, if that doesn't do it for you, we don't know what will.
Much of the rest of the record is a bit more low slung, more blissed out, the electro-drift of "Lunar", adds a sort of washed out kosmische vibe, while "You Know" adds some female vox to the mix, but then "Persian" kicks in, all electro-murk, laced with cool Middle Eastern melodies, the result is haunting and mysterious, almost like a dubstep Muslimgauze. A bunch of the tracks have a hip hop vibe, big beats and serious swagger, albeit run through a cracked techno/dubstep filter, but others, like "Time", remains stripped down and skeletal, laced with brief bits of vocals, and weirdly psychedelic atmospheres, or the title track which is straight up grime, wound around a seriously jungly groove, the vocals chopped up and swirled into a dizzying beat heavy mix, which reminded us how much we love grime! Speaking of which, record closer "Play Your Corner" is a serious sick slab of classic grime, with some killer vocals over a sinister bed of strings, draped over tangled rhythms and wound up with a dizzying production. Love it!
MPEG Stream: "Galactic"
MPEG Stream: "Persian"
MPEG Stream: "Signal"
MPEG Stream: "Play Your Corner"

album cover BURNT ONES Gift (Castle Face) cd 13.98
Finally! A new full length from these psychedelic sixties style garage murk masters, the first in fact we've actually managed to get (it's their third apparently), and it's a doozy, washed out and warped, drowsy and druggy, but super catchy, and impossibly lush and psychedelic. The opener "Pulse" sounds like the Kinks, albeit a way more wasted version, the sound fabulously muddy and murky, melodic and catchy as all get out.
We first discovered these guys on the second Group Flex flexi-book on Castle Face, then on the Castle Face Velvet Underground tribute, and most recently, on the I Need You Bad comp on Polyvinyl. In each case, we inevitably found ourselves going straight to the Burnt Ones' tracks, and then playing them over and over. So, Gift is totally hitting the spot, a gloriously prismatic and cracked collection of paisley pop doused in LSD and sent sprawling through fields of slow motion motorik marches, hazy organ wheeze whirls, and blurred guitar shimmer, the sound super amorphous and abstract, and then without warning, the sound will suddenly come together into a blast of practically perfect baroque pop, albeit still swaddled in fuzz and buzz and hiss, in fact "Money Man" does just that, spending its first two minutes in a sort of bleary suspended animation, before erupting into a riffy, psychedelic stomp, equal parts Kinks, Beatles and Bee Gees, but then roughed up and sent careening wildly into the fray, replete with a final burst of falsetto crooning. And so it goes, the whole record lurching druggily from woozy psychedelic gem to warped dirge pop ditty, every song blossoming like some prismatic sonic flower, revealing more and more as the sounds unfurl and unwind, melodies swoop in from nowhere, hooks hover, fade out, and then suddenly pop up minutes later, lilting, chiming loveliness wrapped in grunge and gristle, there's some crazy primitive drum machine weirdness, some glammy swagger, some 8-bit bleep bloop, plenty of fuzzy synth swirl, FX all over the place, but none of the noisiness or damaged sonic weirdness can disguise the perfect poppiness lurking within pretty much every single of of these twisted psych-garage gems.
MPEG Stream: "Pulse"
MPEG Stream: "Money Man"
MPEG Stream: "Submarine"
MPEG Stream: "Bye Bye Floating Charm"
MPEG Stream: "New Heroes Of Subscription Services"

album cover NOISE, JOHNNY The Day Is Coming (Siltbreeze) lp 15.98
When the Siltbreeze label isn't digging up archival rarities from the golden age of New Zealand underground rock, they're still delivering plenty of modern day murk, including this dark and dingy gem from Johnny Noise, a member of Mexican garage dirge weirdos Los Llamarada (who we've somehow never reviewed on the aQ list before). His solo joint The Day Is Coming is a glorious sprawl of creeping sonic ooze, fuzzy primitive guitar gristle, motorik, robotic rhythms, a sort of slowed down psych rock, melting before your very ears into something sludgey and druggy, while Johnny's wasted croon drifts above in a cloud of hazy reverb and crumbling FX, sounding a bit like Suicide or Chrome by way of some sweaty, poorly ventilated dive bar, total DIY what-the-fuck drug-dirge, garage-punk, alien-psych weirdness of the highest order. Lots of the tracks unwind like freaky alternate universe karaoke blooze, others are dense tangles of experimental avant garage wooziness, and still others sound like homemade mad scientist caveman psych, bedroom-brewed, drug fueled, lo-fi, droned out and dementedly damaged. Fucked up and confusionally fantastic. WAY recommended for fans of weirdo outsider avant psychedelia, and twisted, experimental garage rock damage.
Includes a download code as well!
MPEG Stream: "Empty Words"
MPEG Stream: "The Day Is Coming"
MPEG Stream: "Help Me God"
MPEG Stream: "We Don't Care The Political Forces"
MPEG Stream: "Man Vs.Umbrella"

album cover SPITS, THE Kill The Kool (In The Red) cd 13.98
After five self titled releases, Kalamazoo Ramones/Black Flag worshipping mongoloid sci-fi garage punks the Spits offer up Kill The Kool, not a new full length obviously, cuz then it would be self titled AGAIN, but instead, KtK is a reissue of a super limited tour only release, now all gussied up, with a whole mess of bonus material, the vinyl a double lp cut at 45rpm, but both the cd and lp versions overflowing with the Spits's twisted mix of knuckle dragging caveman space punk and creepy synthy weirdness, a collection of singles, B-sides, outtakes and demos, and as always, even a collection of odds and sods from these guys is totally and impossibly catchy, playing like a record proper. Opener "2018" sets the stage, the band playing what is essentially three chord punk rock, but something about it transforms dumb punk into something twisted and warped and catchy as fuck. "Atom Age" is another gem, all droney and sorta psychedelic, but ultimately just a pounding punk rock anthem. Oh yeah, then in swoops one of the most retarded/genius 'solos' ever, and you sort of get what these guys are capable of. Sure they may sound like classic punk rock on the surface, but it's all just sort of tweaked and off kilter, enough that even the simples blast of bash and pound is something sorta next level. And as mentioned above, lots of the tracks are laced with weird sci-fi synthiness, often just buzzy tripped out intros, but just as often woven into the fabric of the song, and then there are the true oddities, which tend to be our favorites. The lo-fi psychedelic freakout of "Take Pleasure In Someone Else's Pain" that sounds like it could be Simply Saucer, the druggy, dirgey "Chem Trails", the whole song laced with coughing, and weird heavily effected alien vox, the synth heavy "The Liars", which sounds like Gary Numan by way of the Ramones, and then there's the ridiculous freaked out final track, "Spend The Night In A Haunted House w/ The Spits, which is essentially a drum machines, some synth buzz, weird swirling psychedelic ambience, and what sounds like super distorted field recordings of an actual haunted house, people screaming and freaking out, but also 'characters' growling and shrieking and trying to scare the regular folks. Makes for some seriously genius WTF weirdness, which is pretty much why we love these guys as much as we do!
MPEG Stream: "2018"
MPEG Stream: "Atom Age"
MPEG Stream: "Kill The Kool"
MPEG Stream: "Rip Up The Streets"
MPEG Stream: "Autobahn"
MPEG Stream: "Spend The Night In A Haunted House w/The Spits"

album cover SMALL WORLD OF SAMMY LEE, THE (KENNY GRAHAM) OST (Trunk Records) cd 17.98
Another fantastic lost score rescued from obscurity by Trunk Records, this one a fantastic batch of flute driven jazziness, the score to The Small World Of Sammy Lee, a British classic we're told, but also one that's fairly racy, receiving an 'X Certificate', which is maybe similar to an X rating in the US, we haven't seen the movie, but the liner notes tell us it involves lots of pimps and strippers and thugs. Although the music is actually anything but racy, instead, it's dreamy and melodic, soft focus and serene. We had reviewed another Kenny Graham release on Trunk, which we described as sounding like Moondog recorded by Joe Meek, but this is much more traditional. Playful at times, lilting and lovely at others, occasionally tense and brooding, once in a while with a bit of an exotica vibe, those moments rife with wild percussion, tangled guitars, wild drumming (check out "Four O'Clock Hop"), definitely the most overtly soundtracky number here, one track has some melancholic violin, which gives that song a sort of gypsy folk vibe, but the bulk of the record is slow and smokey, lots of flute, and vibes, skittery percussion, understated bass lines, plenty of horns, subtle strings, all woven into some dreamy, sixties jazziness, that besides getting played on repeat quite a bit, has us really wanting to check out the film!
MPEG Stream: "Soho At Dawn"
MPEG Stream: "Thoughts At Home"
MPEG Stream: "Sammy 4"
MPEG Stream: "The Hustling Starts"
MPEG Stream: "Four O'Clock Hop"

album cover AXEMEN Derry Legend (Luxury) cd 14.98
ALSO ON CD!!!
A while back we reviewed Three Virgins, the 1986 debut from NZ pop weirdos the Axemen, and as a frame of reference for what sort of deviant pop to expect, we mentioned Strapping Fieldhands, Guided By Voices, Sebadoh, Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments and older outfits like Captain Beefheart, the Velvet Underground, we also posited that these guys would have sounded right at home on legendary label Shimmy Disc. Well by 1989, very little had changed when the Axemen unleashed their second long player, Derry Legend. If anything, the songwriting was better, with some crazy catchy poppiness tucked amidst the sonic chaos, but otherwise, the sound was as ramshackle and al over the map as ever. The sound has definitely got some Flying Nun DNA running through it for sure. But those genes were mutating big time, and whatever similarities these guys shared with their fellow 'Nuns, the Clean, the Chills, the Bats, in the Axemen, those sounds were all twisted and tangled up into warped and warbly shapes, the sounds melty and druggy, loose and wild, and on the edge of total collapse. No surprise that Derry Legend was one of Kurt Cobain's favorite records, cuz it definitely has much in common with lots of his other faves: The Vaselines, Half Japanese, the Shaggs, etc. From snarly, snotty, swaggery jangle glam pop, to noisy, stumbly, fuzz drenched post punk, to hazy, drugged out fug-pop balladry (replete with Velvets style 'do-do-do-do' background vox), to damaged twee pop warble, to organ driven garage rock crunch, to almost fifties sounding rock and roll, to ominous, brooding drug folk, these guys tied all these disparate sounds into one ever-shifting, outsider mutant pop that will have weirdo pop obsessives freaking the fuck out!
MPEG Stream: "Disc To Disk"
MPEG Stream: "You Gave Me The Power Of the Gangbusters"
MPEG Stream: "Hey Alice!"
MPEG Stream: "Mounring Of Youth"

album cover CARSICK CARS / FLAVOR CRYSTALS split (Mpls Ltd. / Genjing) 7" 9.98
Killer new split 7" featuring one of our favorite Chinese indie rock outfits, Carsick Cars, teamed up with a Minneapolis psych rock band we'd heard of, but hadn't actually heard until now. The Carsick Cars side is super bubbly, poppy, and sunshiney, fuzzy guitars, fizzy melodies, effervescent almost power pop, crunchy and jangly in equal measure, maybe the best sounding jam we've heard from these guys, which makes sense as it's an outtake from the sessions for their newest record 3 (which we'll review on the next list, and it's great! And we DO have them in stock, cd and vinyl, both kinda different too!), produced by NZ legend Hamish Kilgour and Pete Kember, aka Sonic Boom. It's kind of hard to figure out why this was an OUTTAKE, cuz it's a scorcher, and the Hamish Kilgour connection makes a lot of sonic sense, cuz this totally sound like it could be some lost Flying Nun rarity, which is high praise indeed!
The Flavor Crystals side is a bit more downcast, moody and broody, with gothy guitar shimmer over a lowslung bassline and motorik drumming, the vocals a reverby whispery croon, Moon Duo fans will definitely flip. Soon the surrounding sounds build, pulsing and pulsating, adding a dark sonic swirl to the proceedings, as the song proper follows suit, growing more dense and driving, heavy and hypnotic, before launching into some serious spaced out psych for the last few minutes, that will definitely hit the spot for fans of White Hills, The Heads, Moon Duo, etc. Definitely need to hear more from these guys.
Gorgeously packaged, super eye popping, over the top cartoon art sleeves, each with a different, equally eye popping postcard inside, and pressed on dark red vinyl! Oh, and probably pretty limited as well!
MPEG Stream: CARSICK CARS "Yoko"
MPEG Stream: FLAVOR CRYSTALS "Mirror In My Mind"

album cover DEADBEAT & PAUL ST HILAIRE The Infinity Dub Sessions (Blkrtz) 2lp 26.00
We've long loved Paul St Hilaire, aka Tikiman, THEE voice of minimal dub geniuses Rhythm And Sound, his gorgeous, otherworldly croon adding some serious soul to R&S' darkly digital world of gristly dubbed out, slow skitter creep, and really, if there was ever one of those 'could sing the phonebook' voices, it's St Hilaire's. Years back, St Hilaire performed with Deadbeat, aka Scott Monteith, another aQ fave, a dub scientist in Berlin by way of Canada, whose sound was and is equal parts Rhythm & Sound skeletal dig-dub, and Pole style click and pop minimalism. Over the years, Monteith and St Hilaire stayed in touch, even playing the occasional show, but this is the first proper recording the two have made together, and it's a total stunner. And as you might imagine from the above, it's pretty much just what you'd expect, a sprawling collection of gorgeous super spare electro dub, a lot like Pole crossed with Rhythm & Sound. But that sound is stretched way out, some of the tracks here almost house-y, some very Kompakt sounding, but regardless of the sonic influence or inspiration, Monteith and St Hilaire make the sound totally their own, conjuring up some spiritual musical magic that makes The Infinity Dub Sessions totally divine. Especially the first track, which is worth the $18 price tag all on its own. Maybe the most perfect, and perfectly mysterious and moody modern dub track we've heard, all woozy, thick bass rumbles, wreathed in static, deep mesmeric swells, laced with dubbed out upstroke chordal thrum, as well as the occasional dubstep style bass wobble, little bits of glitch and squelch scattered throughout, super minimal melodies drifting like bongsmoke in the background, even instrumental, this would be totally hypnotic and irresistibly mesmerizing, but add St. Hilaire's gorgeous croon, and it becomes something even more transcendent.
Nothing else is quite as dark and bass heavy, but all the tracks are tranced out, softly swirly and psychedelic, the sound simultaneously minimal and skeletal, but also deeply lush and layered, ranging from the super percussive churn of "Dopa", with some seriously twisted, echo drenched vox, to the more reggae sounding "What The Heck Them Expect", St Hilaire's vocals the focal point, the background music a dark, languorous groove. "Working Everyday" is a dubby, dreamy sprawl, all soft focus and prismatic, billowy chords drifting atop a lazily propulsive rhythm, while "Rock Of Creation" is a hazy techno-dub ballad, a field of gristly and crackle the framework for shimmery synths and hushed melodies, St Hilaire crooning seductively amidst ethereal clouds of sound. The final three tracks have a huge Kompakt vibe, but imagine if Kompakt was headquartered in Kingston, Jamaica, with The Infinity Dub Sessions a chronicle of St Hilaire and Monteith's mobile sound system, the streets of Jamaica sonically transformed into some otherworldy dream-dub dancehall.
MPEG Stream: "Hold On Strong"
MPEG Stream: "Dopa"
MPEG Stream: "What The Heck Them Expect"
MPEG Stream: "Working Everyday"

album cover PRIZEHOG Re-Unvent The Whool (Eolian Empire) lp 16.98
We were heartbroken when our pals, the local weirdo boy-girl-boy doom crush psych sludge trio Prizehog, decided to leave San Francisco, but we understood - hell, SF is a harsh place to live these days if you're not rich, and ultimately, we weren't surprised to see Prizehog settling in Portland, a city arguably much more hospitable to struggling musicians and artists, but listening to the sonic results of this move, you'd think they were transported to some alien planet, transmitting this new record via some sort of futuristic technology. Cuz holy fuck, if this band was one of our favorites already, they somehow still managed to up the musical ante, taking everything we loved about them before, and making it, well, more. More heavy, more noisy, more psychedelic, more warped, more twisted, more confusional, more proggy, more what-the-fuck, and really just more ridiculously, mindblowingly next level doom-sludge genius. We may be prone to hyperbole, but it still feels like we might be understating just how goddamn good Re-Unvent The Whool really is.
Imagine a warped doom-prog, like some alternate universe metal Magma, processed vocodered vox, tangled up in churning spaced out riffage, underpinned by droning rumbles, and laced with twisted fragmented melodies, launching occasionally into full on sludge-pop creep, like some killer Torche jam spinning in slow motion, a gloriously glacial single digit rpm onslaught, that definitely makes the usual the Harvey Milk comparisons still pretty apt, but imagine HM if they were somehow slower, druggier, proggier and more totally and confusionally WTF. Songs explode some furious grinding metal, squalls of chugging riffage, barraged by machine gun drumming, all wrapped around the bellowed alien vox. But this is doom or sludge, or some twisted avant version, so songs inevitably slow down to a tarpit crawl, swirls of sparkling sci-fi FX surround the proceedings like glittery clouds of malevolent sonic fairy dust. And that's just one song in! And it only gets more gloriously fucked up and next level from there. It's hard to describe what's even going on, cuz some of the music here is literally so unlike anything else out there. These hairy weirdos are channeling some twisted alternate universe sonic garble, and transmuting it into fucking blown out, twisted genius ultra doom, noise pop, prog-sludge nirvana.
The record seems to blackly blossom in stop motion, flitting from near stasis, to frenzied crush and back again, tribal drumming avalanches over thick, coruscating chords, synths spitting out symphonies of klaxons and alarms, the backdrop for the unfurling of an impossibly downtuned, droned out slab of multiple o'd doooooooooom dreaminess, that manages the impossible feat of being crushingly, punishingly heavy, but also, kinda pretty too. Some seriously lovely 'oooooohs' will surface in the midst of a wild chaotic squall of churning blacktar throb, or a cascade of harmonics will rain down like shooting stars over a field of grinding, corrosive crunch, it's goddamn musical alchemy, the sort of musical magic almost no bands are capable of. And then out of fucking nowhere, Prizehog will get all twangy, offering up some sort of country doom, that sounds like it should be ridiculous, and it sort of is, but it's also just about the goddamn greatest thing you'll ever hear, like Earth, Barn Owl, Morricone, Scenic, all melted down, and spit out as a creepy massively metallic Wall Of Voodoo sort of campfire crush, sounds bizarre, and it totally is, but it's a bizarre brilliance that once again, should convince pretty much any doom lover with a penchant for sonic weirdness, that these three are the sludge saviors we've been waiting for, written about in some forbidden text, a fragment from the lost metallic scriptures, and Re-Unvent The Whool, their second coming, signalling some musical rapture, where we're all engulfed in fields of musical flames, but fuck, if this is what the end sounds like, and we can only hope it is, then we say bring it on, and what a way to go.
It's hard to know what else to say, other than repeat what we've always said, Prizehog should be adored, they should be worshipped the way Harvey Milk and Boris and the Melvins are, cuz maybe at one point, Prizehog were simply kids aping their heroes, aspiring to the sludge-y genius and twisted outsider metal of those other groups, but as hard as it may be for some folks to believe, Prizehog, might have outheavied, and outweirded, and outgeniused those masters, and become masters themselves, masters of fucking alien prog-doom, long haired, psych sludge, dirge-drone, damaged art pop. Fuck yeah.
Super striking, full color, eye popping, Wildildlife-worthy cover art, swank spot varnish printed jackets, and includes a download too...
MPEG Stream: "Parradiggum"
MPEG Stream: "Whoady"
MPEG Stream: "Shed"
MPEG Stream: "Gnumskull, The Ruler"

album cover V/A Warfaring Strangers: Darkscorch Canticles (Numero Group) 2lp 28.00
Documenting the sound of Middle American hippie rockers heavying it up and heading to Middle Earth, singing songs about wizards, sorcerers, Sauron, and Satan, this is just so up our alley. Heck, there are several of us here, who by virtue of our particular, peculiar subcultural enthusiasms, were primed to flip out HARD over this. So if anything was ever meant to be a Record Of The Week, this sure was! Man, those nerds over at Numero have outdone themselves. It's not like Numero hasn't brought us some great compilations of long lost gems before - heck that's what they DO - they've got a well deserved rep for digging up truly obscure vintage soul music that's also totally top notch stuff. But as you've surmised, this ain't no soul. In the past, Numero have unearthed some wonderful rarities in other genres, from folky female singer-songwriters to Southern rock to power pop. But now, with this latest entry in their Wayfaring Strangers, er, WARfaring Strangers, series of comps, entitled Darkscorch Canticles, they've entered another dimension entirely, a dark and mystical hard rockin' realm of fuzzed-out, bellbottomed, pot-scented, proggy proto-metal basement jams!!
There are 16 tracks of fantastical garage rock from the depths of the '70s to be savored here, rescued from one-off, privately pressed 45 singles done by sub-sub-sub-Sabbath acts that seriously nobody has ever heard of before. That's kind of what's most amazing about this, that these tracks are so great, and yet also so unknown. We've talked to a few friends who consider themselves proto-metal experts, some of whom were rather incredulous about this, halfway suspecting it must somehow be a fake just cuz they didn't already know of ANY of these bands! By the way, we're convinced it's not a hoax - though if it were, that would actually be even more amazing - especially considering there's a densely-packed cd booklet / lp insert filled with vintage band photos, original 45 label graphics, and in-depth, highly detailed liner notes provided about each artist in tiny, tiny print (backgrounded by graph-paper dungeon drawings).
Last year Numero put out a vinyl-only archival collection of tracks by one of the bands found here, Chicago's Medusa, that we thought was pretty cool, and really should have reviewed but for some reason never did (we do still have a copy in stock, in all its black velvet glory!). At the time, Numero told us that release was a teaser for an entire compilation of obscure "D&D" rock of the same ilk that they planned to do, and they spoke the truth. Through the mastery of the dark arts, presumably, they somehow assembled this, digging up an outrageous assortment of over-the-top tunes from all these forgotten bands, whose names alone conjure vibes of myth and magic, sword and sorcery: Wrath, Triton Warrior, Stone Axe, Stonehenge, Dark Star, Stoned Mace, Hellstorm, Wizard, Arrogance, and more - including not just the aforementioned Medusa but also another band from Chicago called Gorgon Medusa. The earliest entry is from 1970, the latest from 1980, but they're all equally ancient-sounding. More like rickety sixties-ish heavy psych really, than anything metallic from the '80s or beyond, the stress here being on the "proto" side of the proto-metal tag. Stuff in the vein of Iron Butterfly and Bloodrock and Bubble Puppy and Captain Beyond.
You get low-budget occult organ prog epicry, and uber-distorted riff-rockin', and spaced out downer rock balladry, and badass boogie in Satan's service. We won't go track-by-track, though we're tempted, but a few of the standout faves for us include Wrath's "Warlord", especially due to the zombified vocals from someone who sounds like a brainwashed adolescent girl / cult victim (the guitarist's wife, apparently) intoning the scary lyrics about "living in lust as Satan must"; Inside's "Wizzard King", a blown-out, lo-fi rocker that asks the musical question: "Don't you wanna be a wizzard king, don't you wanna be free? / Don't you wanna be a wizzard king, don't you wanna be me?"; and Stone Axe's "Slave Of Fear", which sounds like Arthur Brown fronting a very early Black Sabbath or Blues Creation. But there's so much good stuff on here, enough to require a saving throw vs. acid rock or else become completely addicted, spinning this repeatedly.
The art and design deserve a mention as well. Both formats come in slipcased cover art consisting of newly-rendered stylized logos (embossed, in metallic ink!) for each band on the comp, like some artistically-inclined burnout teen doodling on a school binder. In terms of packaging, this really couldn't be any cooler - oh, wait, well, maybe it could - we should tell you, that if you wait a couple months, Numero will be selling (direct mailorder only, not in stores, grrrr!) a special edition of this consisting of the lp, the cd, AND a vaguely D&D-esque BOARDGAME, where the players take on the roles of these rock bands competing with each other in the fantastic realm of Darkscorch. Even if you never actually play the game we're pretty sure it will be an amazing artifact just to look at. It's gonna be, like, $100 though.
Ok, to wrap up: trying to explain why this comp is so rad is kind of like trying to explain the appeal of The Lord Of The Rings to someone who hasn't read it. Or D&D to someone who hasn't played. So just trust us, and we recommend trying those two things as well if you haven't!
MPEG Stream: WRATH "Warlord"
MPEG Stream: JUNCTION "Sorcerer"
MPEG Stream: STONE AXE "Slave Of Fear"
MPEG Stream: INSIDE "Wizzard King"

album cover CONAN Blood Eagle (Napalm) cd 14.98
Someone at aQ commented recently, when they discovered there was a stoner doom / sludge outfit called Conan, that it was just too easy, too obvious. But we're not sure they realized this horde of UK stoner sludgelords play "caveman battle doom", and thus, what else could you call your, band really? Especially when it sounds exactly like what Conan evokes. Shirtless warriors, painted up for battle, marching in formations to destroy and decimate, personally, we add a sort of futuristic twist, so they're actually cyborg warriors, trudging across the scorched surfaces of alien planets, onward into battle, but onward very very very very slowly.
The sound of these battles, or at least the music these cyborg warriors march into battle to, is all downtuned riffery, knuckle dragging caveman drum plod, churning tarpit death march creep, lumbering, stumbling heaviness, slow and low that is most definitely the tempo, tranced out and droney, psychedelic for sure, like an even more zoned out Electric Wizard, the vocals though are a bit surprising, not metallic shrieking, or cookie monster gurgles, instead it's bellowed and a little operatic, a sort of epic croon, that reminds us a lot of Harvey Milk, and gives Conan a whole different vibe than their doom/sludge brethren, more musical in a way, but also just more strange, and strangely more epic. Some of the tracks crank up the tempo a bit, others get sort of mathy and noisy, some get sort of Sabbathy, adding a bit of stonery swing, and still others get super psychedelic, adding swirls of FX, but ultimately, and inevitably, the sound always settles back into a gloriously head nodding, gut churning, rib cage rattling, riffy plod. The song titles ("Gravity Chasm", "Altar Of Grief", "Horns For Teeth", "Crown Of Talons", "Foehammer", "Total Conquest") and the smoke shrouded demon warrior cover art just seals the deal.
MPEG Stream: "Crown Of Talons"
MPEG Stream: "Total Conquest"
MPEG Stream: "Foehammer"

album cover CVBE OV FALSEHOOD II (Hangedman) cassette 6.98
First release from the oddly named Cvbe Ov Falsehood, the new project from one of the guys in aQ faves Servile Sect, and like that group, whose connection to black metal is tenuous at best, CoF deliver some seriously avant blackness, to sidelong 15 minute tracks that combine drifting drones, with symphonic fragments, layered strings, pizzicato melodies, churning blurred riffage, swirling psychedelic FX, what sounds like field recordings, the first track/side begins with what sounds like an orchestra tuning up, while in the background, the earth begins to rumble and the crust of the earth collapses into subterranean caverns. But that tectonic/Teutonic rumble, is soon smoothed out into a glorious bit of black drone drift, laced with all manner of subtle sonic fluctuations, buried industrial rhythms, the whole thing coalescing into a sort of murky kraut-psych, wreathed in dense black ambience. Soon the sound is wreathed in hiss and static, a cloud of swirling sibilant shimmer, that gradually becomes more and more caustic, before transforming into a strange staticky rhythm, churning machinelike to the end of the side.
The flipside begins with the sounds of a gamelan (we think), lush, lustrous, resonant tones, ringing out, the sky filled with the ripples of subtle overtones, mysterious samples surface from the murk, the low end becomes more active, a strangely muted melody, pulsing, super distorted, over another barely there industrial rhythm, the result a pulsing sprawl of blackened kosmische, that gradually becomes more and more abstract and tranquil, before beginning another slow build, beginning with a burbling thrum, laced with cricket like chitter, and distant keening melodies, all draped in a black sonic gauze, suddenly erupting into some serious caustic crunch, grinding and corrosive, but somehow also weirdly melodic and psychedelic, the burst brief, soon settling back into a final stretch of deep tones, and hushed ambient dronemusic.
Gorgeous packaging too. A clear tape in a black and white J-card adorned with black and white space diagrams, the whole tape then housed in a black on black embossed, textured cardstock slipcover. LIMITED TO 100 COPIES. Some of which include a Tarot card!
MPEG Stream: "Upon The Stillness Manifest"

album cover VOLTAIC OMEN Grand Fornicator Ov Stigmatics (OCSR) cassette 5.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
It's been long enough since we've had anything new from this mysterious one man black metal band, that probably most of you out there have no idea who VO are, and thus, would very likely appreciate the Voltaic Omen origin story, so here it is, one more time...
It all began with two unidentified mp3's sent via email, no message, no anything, just two HUGE files. We were wondering if there was something wrong with our email, and then POW. Two songs, identified only by title, but nothing about what they were, the name of the band, where they came from. Our first impulse was to just trash 'em, but we thought what the heck? And holy shit were we immediately floored. Exactly the sort of buzzing warped blackness we love around these parts, lo-fi, tripped out, druggy, heavy, space-y, we had to figure out who the heck this band was and how to get MORE!! After a few emails back and forth, we discovered this filthy black chaos was the work of a one man band from the Northwest called Voltaic Omen, a little more digging revealed than not only did that one man have the most bad ass corpse paint, but his corpsepainted visage was an integral part of one of the VO logos, one of the best black metal logos ever by the way. So we were smitten, if one can be smitten by something as grim and fucked up and blown out as Voltaic Omen, and thus, ever since, we've done our best to track down every single goddamn thing we could get our hands on, which so far, has been a handful of tapes and cd-r's. To which we can now add this one, another chunk of twisted WTF outsider blackness, which if it's even possible, might be the weirdest thing we've heard from him yet.
Opening with a weird sort of orchestral fanfare, all bells and horns, and strings, weirdly warbly, and growing more and more atonal as it goes, speeding up too, before disappearing beneath a blast of weird mid-tempo lo-fi black buzz, lurching rhythm, belched vokills, wild shredding leads, stumbling and chaotic, the vocals echo drenched and WAY up in the mix, especially the weird goat grunts, which get all dubbed out and black out all the other sounds, before fading right back into the churning chug. The leads too, sore over the top, it's the twisted mix, that makes this as weird as it is. Dizzying and druggy and seriously demented, the two relatively short sides here delivering more than enough to overload your feeble brain, from galloping punked out blackness, beneath bellowed monster vox, wreathed in relentless metallic shred, to murky almost D-beat sounding pound, muddy and washed out, blurry and black, to weird soundscapes of samples and sinister pitch shifted laughter, chugging downtuned riffage, and more squiggly leads, to wild grinding over the top black buzz dementia, crooned demon vocals, over insectoid guitars, and loping drum pound, the whole thing twisted all up into some of the weirdest black metal you'll ever hear. WAY recommended for fans of twisted, outsider black metal, including such WTF geniuses as Benighted Leams, Goat Thrower, Furze, Necrofrost, Vondur, etc...
EXTREMELY LIMITED!!! As in 20 or 25 copies maybe, which means these are likely the last copies ever...
MPEG Stream: "Side One (excerpt)"
MPEG Stream: "Side Two (excerpt)"

album cover RANGER Knights Of Darkness (Full Contact / Ektro) 12" 19.98
Another entry in the NEW WAVE OF FINNISH HEAVY METAL, aka NWOFHM, comes modern Finnish thrashers Ranger, who not unsurprisingly, don't sound modern at all, and in fact, even though the label describes them as thrash, a lot of the time, they almost sound more like classic eighties true metal, the title track opens with the sort of epic harmonized guitar majesty, you just don't hear anymore, and then the band launches into some ridiculously over the top drumming, a barrage of pick slides, and BAM, chugging riffage, blasting beats, soaring divebomb leads. At this point, the sound is definitely thrash, we're hearing lots of early Anthrax for sure, even a little Slayer too, but Ranger are way poppier, the grunted sung/spoken vox punctuated with wild falsetto wails, the eighties vibe is huge, the drums all reverbed and boomy, the song flitting from lightning fast punked out thrash, to chugging classic metal and back again, and then of course some wild soloing, dueling epic shreddery, for folks our age, this is like musical manna from heaven (or hell?). And as yet always, especially with Finnish bands, and from the Ektro camp in particular, we're faced with the nagging possibility, that these guys could be taking the piss. But really, even if they are, they're so good, it hardly even matters, total eighties heavy metal radness, that really sounds like it could be from back in the day. The serious metal majesty and fierce metallic fury balanced by plenty of hooks and some serious poppiness, as well as some serious goofiness (but then what great metal bands didn't have some of that? Venom anyone?). The vocal delivery is awesome and ridiculous, more spoken than sung, but delivered like a true metal warrior, you can almost imagine both his hands holding up the invisible oranges, and of course lots of trilled 'r's, and let's not forget the sound effects, like the revved car engine when the vocalist sings the line "V8 engine screams!!"
But fuck it, metalheads who treasure the golden age of metal (that's the eighties btw) and can't get enough of that sound, this is about as good, and ridiculous, and amazing as it gets. Especially what might be the most epic track here, the closer "Knights Of Darkness" (featuring the aforementioned revving engine sound effects), a galloping tour-de-force, with some amazing harmonized guitars, killer shredding leads, and a vocal performance, that had us once again, thinking it could be Mika from Circle in metal drag. So goddamn great. Death to all but metal!
MPEG Stream: "Ranger"
MPEG Stream: "Knights Of Darkness"

album cover AXEMEN Derry Legend (Luxury) lp 25.00
A while back we reviewed Three Virgins, the 1986 debut from NZ pop weirdos the Axemen, and as a frame of reference for what sort of deviant pop to expect, we mentioned Strapping Fieldhands, Guided By Voices, Sebadoh, Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments and older outfits like Captain Beefheart, the Velvet Underground, we also posited that these guys would have sounded right at home on legendary label Shimmy Disc. Well by 1989, very little had changed when the Axemen unleashed their second long player, Derry Legend. If anything, the songwriting was better, with some crazy catchy poppiness tucked amidst the sonic chaos, but otherwise, the sound was as ramshackle and al over the map as ever. The sound has definitely got some Flying Nun DNA running through it for sure. But those genes were mutating big time, and whatever similarities these guys shared with their fellow 'Nuns, the Clean, the Chills, the Bats, in the Axemen, those sounds were all twisted and tangled up into warped and warbly shapes, the sounds melty and druggy, loose and wild, and on the edge of total collapse. No surprise that Derry Legend was one of Kurt Cobain's favorite records, cuz it definitely has much in common with lots of his other faves: The Vaselines, Half Japanese, the Shaggs, etc. From snarly, snotty, swaggery jangle glam pop, to noisy, stumbly, fuzz drenched post punk, to hazy, drugged out fug-pop balladry (replete with Velvets style 'do-do-do-do' background vox), to damaged twee pop warble, to organ driven garage rock crunch, to almost fifties sounding rock and roll, to ominous, brooding drug folk, these guys tied all these disparate sounds into one ever-shifting, outsider mutant pop that will have weirdo pop obsessives freaking the fuck out!
Includes two massive newsprint inserts, one a poster, the other a sort of collage of old clippings and photos, and there's a download code too!
MPEG Stream: "Disc To Disk"
MPEG Stream: "You Gave Me The Power Of The Gangbusters"
MPEG Stream: "Hey Alice!"
MPEG Stream: "Mounring Of Youth"

album cover DEADBEAT & PAUL ST HILAIRE The Infinity Dub Sessions (Blkrtz) cd 17.98
We've long loved Paul St Hilaire, aka Tikiman, THEE voice of minimal dub geniuses Rhythm And Sound, his gorgeous, otherworldly croon adding some serious soul to R&S' darkly digital world of gristly dubbed out, slow skitter creep, and really, if there was ever one of those 'could sing the phonebook' voices, it's St Hilaire's. Years back, St Hilaire performed with Deadbeat, aka Scott Monteith, another aQ fave, a dub scientist in Berlin by way of Canada, whose sound was and is equal parts Rhythm & Sound skeletal dig-dub, and Pole style click and pop minimalism. Over the years, Monteith and St Hilaire stayed in touch, even playing the occasional show, but this is the first proper recording the two have made together, and it's a total stunner. And as you might imagine from the above, it's pretty much just what you'd expect, a sprawling collection of gorgeous super spare electro dub, a lot like Pole crossed with Rhythm & Sound. But that sound is stretched way out, some of the tracks here almost house-y, some very Kompakt sounding, but regardless of the sonic influence or inspiration, Monteith and St Hilaire make the sound totally their own, conjuring up some spiritual musical magic that makes The Infinity Dub Sessions totally divine. Especially the first track, which is worth the $18 price tag all on its own. Maybe the most perfect, and perfectly mysterious and moody modern dub track we've heard, all woozy, thick bass rumbles, wreathed in static, deep mesmeric swells, laced with dubbed out upstroke chordal thrum, as well as the occasional dubstep style bass wobble, little bits of glitch and squelch scattered throughout, super minimal melodies drifting like bongsmoke in the background, even instrumental, this would be totally hypnotic and irresistibly mesmerizing, but add St. Hilaire's gorgeous croon, and it becomes something even more transcendent.
Nothing else is quite as dark and bass heavy, but all the tracks are tranced out, softly swirly and psychedelic, the sound simultaneously minimal and skeletal, but also deeply lush and layered, ranging from the super percussive churn of "Dopa", with some seriously twisted, echo drenched vox, to the more reggae sounding "What The Heck Them Expect", St Hilaire's vocals the focal point, the background music a dark, languorous groove. "Working Everyday" is a dubby, dreamy sprawl, all soft focus and prismatic, billowy chords drifting atop a lazily propulsive rhythm, while "Rock Of Creation" is a hazy techno-dub ballad, a field of gristly and crackle the framework for shimmery synths and hushed melodies, St Hilaire crooning seductively amidst ethereal clouds of sound. The final three tracks have a huge Kompakt vibe, but imagine if Kompakt was headquartered in Kingston, Jamaica, with The Infinity Dub Sessions a chronicle of St Hilaire and Monteith's mobile sound system, the streets of Jamaica sonically transformed into some otherworldy dream-dub dancehall.
MPEG Stream: "Hold On Strong"
MPEG Stream: "Dopa"
MPEG Stream: "What The Heck Them Expect"
MPEG Stream: "Working Everyday"

album cover MORBUS CHRON Sweven (Century Media) cd 15.98
Sleepers In The Rift, the full length debut from Swedish death metallers Morbus Chron, was a fantastically gnarled collection of murky, muddy, old school, with a decidedly outsider/avant bent, one that seemed barely kept in check throughout that record. But on Sweven, it seems like those avant tendencies have taken over, and it's clear from the very first few seconds, that what's in store is most definitely not more of the same. Backwards effected guitar swoops, give way to a loping, clean guitar figure, mildly melancholic and simplisitc, which is soon joined by some shimmery filigree, and when the song kicks in proper, it's not a blast of thrashing blackness, instead, it's some almost Godspeed sounding flourishes, all haunting shimmer, and slow build smolder, and even when again, it seems like the song will explode into death metal pound, it just sort of blossoms further into some sort of post metal epicry. Now to be fair, it is essentially an intro, but even the first 'proper' song starts out similarly, all shuffle and strum and shimmer, sort of mathy and proggy; and even when it does explode into metal, it's more Voivod than death metal, the vibe and sound sort of sci-fi prog, technical, but super melodic, the only real nod to proper death metal are the raspy anguished vokills, which sound even stranger, when paired with the group's new more polished sound. But it's a pretty excellent combination, one that gives the sound a more psychedelic and prog metal cast. It's not really until the third track, that anything resembling proper death metal comes into play, but then, as another reviewer stated, it seems these guys just don't give a fuck, cuz here, and really every time the sound nears death metal, they do something to subvert it, and they transform it into something else entirely. For a death metal record, there are lots of mellow parts, tons of clean guitars, and again, even the 'death metal' parts, sound to these ears not much like the death metal that came before, or even the death metal these guys used to play! Instead, Sweven is a twisted, futuristic, next level post-death, sci-fi-prog metal masterpiece, that should have fans of avant psychedelic metal, math metal, and future-tech, progged out metallic weirdness wondering just how high in their year end top ten to put this record. We're guessing pretty close to the top...
MPEG Stream: "Berceuse"
MPEG Stream: "Chains"
MPEG Stream: "Towards A Dark Sky"
MPEG Stream: "Terminus"

album cover REAL ESTATE Atlas (Domino) lp 23.00
The return of these dreamy jangle poppers finds them sounding even dreamier, their retro sound drifting ever further back to the days of Sarah Records, all crystalline guitar shimmer, swirling softly psychedelic jangle, reminding us once again of the late great Field Mice. And with every record, their 4-track home recorded beginnings seem further and further away, the group's polished pop landing positioning them closer to say, Belle And Sebastien, than Ducktails or Woods or any of their other former label mates.
The opener "Had To Hear" might be the darkest (and maybe best) of the bunch, adding just a bit of darkness, some sonic pathos, that had us thinking of Scud Mountain Boys (or the Pernice Brothers), the above mentioned Woods, and for some reason pre-New Pornographers power poppers Zumpano, but it's a gem, all minor key melodies and a verse as catchy as its chorus. That said, it's still plenty ethereal and shimmery and dream poppy. But not nearly as much as the rest of the record, which dials back most of that shadow leaving just pure, lush, shimmer-pop dreaminess. Some folks around aQ are finding Real Estate a bit too twee for their taste, but really, if you love the Field Mice, Belle And Sebastien, Heavenly Beat, the Go-Betweens, the Pastels and the like, this will definitely be right up your alley.
MPEG Stream: "Had To Hear"
MPEG Stream: "Past Lives"
MPEG Stream: "Talking Backwards"

album cover SLEAFORD MODS Austerity Dogs (Harbinger Sound) lp 25.00
ALSO NOW ON VINYL!!
Despite the name, don't think parkas and scooters. Think, well, white rap. White rap by a pair of clever & cranky British blokes, who kinda sound like if Mark E. Smith from the Fall listened to a lot of Sensational or Kool Keith and decided to make a really WTF? electronic rap album of his own. Except there's two of him (seems to be one main guy, and a kind of a sidekick).
We got turned on to the Sleaford Mods thanks to a really cool record shop over in England, Norman Records, who put this album at the top of their Best of 2013 list, an apparently controversial choice even among the shop's own staffers. Some unconventional, outside of the box thinking there! So we figured we ought to check it out. And guess what? We can see why they picked it, though we can also see why it was a bold choice. Had we heard it last year, we might have been tempted too. It's addictive! And we don't always even understand half of what these geezers are on about, that's part of the charm - the thick accents (lots of "fookin'") and the British slang, only makes more wonderfully confusional their own weird brand of free-association wordplay, resulting in plenty of cryptic non-sequiturs that may or may not be intentional, though there's plenty of obvious witticisms too. The lyrics, near as we can tell, are mainly complaints about life and society and shitty music business stuff, full of references to wankers and "donkeys".
Here's some lines from the track "Shit Streets Runny" (that is, if we managed to transcribe it correctly): "Attention to detail / attention to detail / fookin' email / wap! mp3 / I need a fookin' bath / you ain't no roadrunner / you ain't no shoot shoot the runner / shit take on it / meanwhile back in the crap cave / I trod on my cape by mistake / and fell into the fridge mate / I fookin' hate Northern Soul / it's like Motown on the dole". Then the sidekick guy gets some good bits in too, like the one about "Brain Eno / what the 'ell does 'e know?"
And all that, their ranting and rhyming, and even a little bit of singing, sort of, comes on top of quite catchy minimalist hiphop backing tracks, with ticktocking drum machines and laid back grooves, simple and hypnotic, making for an oddly humorous and headnodding listen indeed, full of sing-song bits that will get stuck in your head, catchphrases too - we're all going "Wobble wobble wobble" ferinstance. Maybe it's even more amusing to us since we're American, and whatever we're lacking in context is made up for in sheer absurdity. Anyway, diggin' this a lot!
MPEG Stream: "Shit Streets Runny"
MPEG Stream: "Mcflurry"
MPEG Stream: "Showboat"

album cover KOSMONAUT Future Machines (These Are No Records) lp 14.98
What might one expect from a band called Kosmonaut, and a record called Future Machines? Some serious psychedelic space synth obviously. A kosmiche songsuite beholden to the early masters: Froese, Schnitzler, Pinhas, etc. And aligned with present day practitioners like Umberto, The Slasher Film Festival Strategy, Zombi, Majeure, Expo 70, M. Geddes Gengras, Roll The Dice, etc., as well. But for all the sonic similarities Kosmonaut shares with his space synth brethren, he's managed to conjure up a sound that is nothing like any of them. Sure there are pulsating arpeggiated synths, shimmery celestial swirls, motorik rhythms, but Kosmonaut's sounds are dirtier, gristlier, noisier, opener "City Deterioration", is like a crumbling Carpenter score, especially part way through when the sound shifts and becomes a churning low end buzz, laced with swirling faux strings and jagged melodic shards. And that's just the beginning, the albums trajectory swinging wildly from the furthest reaches of deep space ("Prime Meridian"), to a 2am chase through rain slicked back alleys in some seedy big city ("Haus Maschine"). The synths employed get totally abused, and often instead of dreamy cosmic shimmer, the sounds are garbled and crunchy, distorted and dirty, check out "Wings Of The Sun", the first two minutes of which, sound like Sun Ra going apeshit on the synths, and trying to conjure up some celestial deity, that is before in swoop the shimmers, but even then the shimmers are soon swallowed up, but layer upon layer of sci-fi zoner synth buzz and roiling rhythmless pulses. For all the more 'easy listening' synth music out there, the music of Kosmonaut is actually quite challenging, dark and twisted, off kilter and experimental, avant and abstract, the various space/synth tropes utterly subverted and transformed into something urgent, dangerous and dark, at times frantic and frenetic, and at others brooding and wreathed in shadow, and only occasionally bathed in the prismatic glimmer of deep space starlight.
LIMITED TO 250 COPIES. Housed in screen printed fold over sleeves, includes a printed insert, as well as a download card, that includes not just a digital version of the whole record, but also six download only bonus tracks. Warning to anal record collector nerds, all of the sleeves came slightly damaged, mostly just rumpled corners, and there are no more sleeves in existence with which to replace them, thus, all the copies we got, have slightly bumped / rumpled corners, so if that sort of thing bothers you, steer clear, if not, grab one of these beauties before they're sold out and gone for good!
MPEG Stream: "City Deterioration"
MPEG Stream: "Prime Meridian"
MPEG Stream: "Haus Maschine"
MPEG Stream: "Wings Of The Sun"

album cover ALPINE DECLINE Go Big Shadow City (Genjing) lp 17.98
As regular readers of the aQ list no doubt know by now, the current underground indie rock scene is China is blowing up, tons of amazing bands, in both Shanghai AND Beijing, killer record labels, so many incredible records, loads of shows and tours (in fact, Carsick Cars, White+ and others are touring the US right now!), but there are also a ton of American, European and Australian ex-pats in the scene, who have popped up in some aQ faves like Pairs, and now Alpine Decline, two Americans from Los Angeles now living in China, and making some sweet sounds as Alpine Decline. Hard to say where they fit in sonically, but it's definitely a sound we dig. Sort of hazy and druggy, a bit like a slo-mo shoegaze slowcore, loping, droned out noise rock ballads, wreathed in gristly distortion, simple motorik drumming, and wasted zoner vox, ethereal and drifty, the songs slipping from hushed creep, to swirling explosive psychedelia and back again. Just give a listen to opener "Mid-Level Functionary In A Criminal Syndicate", a gorgeous heavy brooder, that should definitely appeal to fans of True Widow and the like, dark and hypnotic, hushed and dreamy, but laced with some dense tripped out noisiness. Some of the tracks are a bit more propulsive, sounding a bit like old Sonic Youth, or some lost Homestead / Touch And Go band, a little bit gloomy and gothy, the guitars jagged and angular, swirling synths underpinning the urgent crush of these brooding jams, the vocals buried in the mix, and doused in reverb and delay, plenty of swagger too, the sound shifting from churning noise rock crunch, to woozy slowcore drift, to spaced out, dream-drone ambience (check out the gorgeous "Hang Around The Creases"), to fuzzy krautpop ("The Transmission Comes Apart"), with plenty of stops in between. We hear hints of other pretty disparate influences too, like Animal Collective, the Wipers, Galaxie 500, a weird concoction, but one that works, and makes AD a good fit with their newly adopted Chinese underground rock brethren, while displaying a distinctly American sonic lineage, that goes all the way back to some of the darker nineties stuff that we loved back then, and still love now.
Includes a download code!
MPEG Stream: "Mid-Level Functionary In A Criminal Syndicate"
MPEG Stream: "The Visions Run "
MPEG Stream: "Walk With Mask"
MPEG Stream: "Hang Around The Creases"

album cover WEED Deserve (Couple Skate) lp 14.98
The opening minute or so of "Heal", the first track on Deserve, at first blush seems like it could give very much the wrong impression of these Canadian noise poppers, although the more we listen to Deserve, the more it seems like maybe it was in fact ultimately the all together RIGHT impression. The record opens with a squall of swirling feedback, what sounds like multiple guitars unfurling layer upon layer of feedback, and even when the song kicks in proper, it's mostly a crumblingly distorted single chord, over pounding caveman drumming, until all of a sudden, that noisiness coalesces into some impossibly perfect pop, a twisted chunk of nineties style indie rock jangle, wistful and super melodic and crazy catchy, albeit, plenty noisy and fuzzy, distorted and blown out, and from there on out, the song swings deliriously from lilting, loping, Sebadoh-style lo-fi pop, to a full bore, buzzing psychedelic sort-of-chorus/refrain, howled vocals over one of those chord changes that gives you chills, the sort of thing most bands struggle to come up with, but throughout the course of Deserve, these guys seem to toss off those moments like there was some limitless supply, and who knows? Maybe for these guys there is. Deserve gives us no reason to think otherwise. But before we can get to more of those moments, the band finish off "Heal" with a full two minutes worth of abstract psychedelic feedback noise drenched drift, almost as if in the studio, they just leaned their guitars against the amps, and stepped out for a smoke. But it's that willful, listener baiting noisiness, and the fact that of "Heal"s six and a half minutes, less than three is proper 'song', that helps balance the group's popsmithery, with a sort of sneering punk rock energy, that as you might imagine, finds its way into even the poppiest moments here. And there's something about two minutes of droned out noise, that when the second track "Set Me Back" finally explodes, there's a sense of sonic relief, that only adds to what is yet another glorious slab of blown out fuzz pop, big guitars, deep crooned vocals buried in the mix, melodies to die for, and another one of those choruses, that sounds like it was plucked right out of some classic Dinosaur Jr jam, but Weed's sound is more muddy and murky, and all the better for it, swirling and psychedelic, every song here, sounds like one of those songs or one of those bands that should have been huge, but instead, stayed your little secret, the best band nobody else knew about, understood, or in most cases had ever even heard, or heard of. And that totally taps into something most music nerds hold near and dear, and positions Weed, no matter how popular they get, as the sort of band, that could easily become YOUR band.
And while there's nothing nearly as chaotic and freaked out as the opener, there is most definitely no shortage of fuzz pop bliss. "Gun Shy" is rollicking and punky, but again, crazy catchy, mixing droned out guitar, furious buzz, tangled melodies, and some super heavy, almost emo sounding noiserock blowouts. "Silent Partner" almost sounds like a slightly punkier, more youthful Swervedriver, and that shoegaze vibe surface throughout, giving all of Deserve a fantastically dreamy, druggy vibe, a sound that shifts easily from hazy, fuzzy drift, to grinding punkish pound and back again, often settling somewhere right in between, and again, amidst all this noisiness and sonic chaos, all this crunch and fuzz, blast and pound, is some of the craftiest popsmithery we've heard in ages, the sort of thing, that recast, and super polished, could have the potential to be the next big thing, thankfully, these guys seem to have no interest in that at all. The poppiness of these jams more like some sonic artifact, the seemingly random result of nothing but loud guitars, sweaty, bloody basement shows, lots of booze, youthful exuberance, and just fucking rocking, it's the perfect mix of that classic nineties indie rock sound that we can't ever seem to get enough of STILL, home brewed fuzz pop, and wild, chaotic noise rock crunch, all woven into something more fresh and and raw and punk and poppy, and it's just about the best thing we've heard in forever.
MPEG Stream: "Heal"
MPEG Stream: "Set Me Back"
MPEG Stream: "Gun Shy"
MPEG Stream: "Silent Partner"

album cover DARK AGES / FROM THE BOGS OF AUGHISKA Holodomor / An Gorta Mor (Werewolf) cd 14.98
Even though this split release is from a few years back, it really couldn't be more timely. Two groups, two songs from each, both dedicated to the loss of their countrymen. Up first is Dark Ages, the medieval dark ambient project of Roman Saenko (Hate Forest, Drudkh, Blood Of Kingu, etc.), who hails from the Ukraine, which is, as we write, in political and social turmoil, so these two haunting elegies are even more moving. Unlike past Dark Ages recordings, that conjured up visions of ruined villages, and crumbled cathedrals, the first track here is achingly melancholic, brooding and moody, and truly haunting, soft swirls of string like synths, drift beneath delicate piano, the sound laced with delicate percussion, the sound cinematic and darkly sweeping, the sort of heartbreaking instrumental you would expect in the denouement of some bittersweet drama. The second track though slips back into the Dark Ages of old, unfurling a gristled expanse of crackle and deep chordal thrum, strange industrial percussion, and tranced out synth drones, but over the top, more aching melodies, strings this time, like some gypsy folk troubadours, playing for their fallen, the static almost like the sound of rain. So so lovely.
Dark ages share the split with a duo from Ireland, with the mouthful moniker From The Bogs Of Aughiska, and whose sound, while ambient, is a much different beast, murky and muffled, thick, rib cage rattling tones, smeared into tectonic rumbles, rife with buried shadows of melodies, a rich, churning thrum, peppered sporadically with scraping, groaning tones, and what sounds like mutated slowbuzz guitars, transformed into grinding hums, the whole thing is closer to SUNN0))) or Phurpa or Mohammad. The second From The Bogs track cranks everything up, building a wall of sound, that seems to be constructed from white noise, but that white noise has been blackened and curdled, a suffocating grey wash of sound, laced with subtle slivers of melancholy melody, softly swirling and darkly psychedelic, there's a brief bit of sampled voices, and then the sound seems to blackly blossom into more sinister noisiness, still murky, but with some grim black heft, that at the very last minute, seems to peel back, and reveal a little bit of choral dreaminess beneath the roiling black surface.
MPEG Stream: DARK AGES "Requiem On That Black Autumn"
MPEG Stream: FROM THE BOGS OF AUGHISKA "Mass Starvation"

album cover IRON CLAW s/t (Vintage / Rockadrome / Lion) 2lp 27.00
NOW ON VINYL!! Substantial gatefold packaging and vinyl pressing as is appropriate for this "HEAVY ROCK" (as it says, quite rightly, on the cover sticker). Here's what we said about the cd version released a while back:
Rockadrome's Vintage label has been on a roll of late, delving into the misty, musty, mystic proto-metal past to find some heavy holy grails - first and foremost, a popular aQuarius Record Of The Week, 1972's self-titled album by Jerusalem! Also a reissue from New Zealand heavies Human Instinct, and now this, the eagerly awaited yet ultra obscure collection of previously unreleased tracks from a '70s Scottish band called Iron Claw. Well, previously unreleased except for bootlegs, which accounts for the anticipation with which we looked forward to this fully authorized, carefully compiled disc. Iron Claw never managed to put out an album in their lifetime, but they did record quite a few studio demos circa 1970-1974, which is what you'll hear here. And yes the Claw is HEAVY.
We've heard plenty of bands over the years who have tried to sound like Black Sabbath in various ways. A lot of our favorites in fact, being as into doom metal as we are. But before Witchfinder General and Saint Vitus and Trouble, before Candlemass and Cathedral, before Sleep and Sheavy and Electric Wizard and Witchcraft... there was Iron Claw. They didn't grow up listening to Black Sabbath albums. No, this is a band who fell under Black Sabbath's spell after seeing 'em play... in 1969! That was *before* the first Sabbath album came out, please note. (Which brings up another interesting story - apparently Iron Claw's bassist had actually recorded that Sabbath gig - and not long ago made a pretty penny selling the tapes to Ozzy and Sharon, it being the earliest known live Sabbath material extant.)
Pretty soon after this "revelation" of seeing Sabbath, the mostly teenaged blues rock combo Iron Claw became what must have been the world's first Black Sabbath tribute band, doing Sabbath covers, while simultaneously working on original material for the first time. So the influence of Sabbath over Iron Claw's own songs is pretty strong, especially in the guitar dep't, less so with the vocals. But for heaviness and a general doomy vibe, Iron Claw are clearly indebted to Iommi & Co., while also reminding us of such bands as T2, May Blitz, Nazareth, and Budgie. Maybe some Grand Funk Railroad too. This was heavy stuff, especially for the era. Heck you've got to admit that the band name (which comes from the lyrics to King Crimson's "21st Century Schizoid Man") is pretty darn metal. IRON CLAW!!! Plus, good grief, they did a song called "Skullcrusher" in 1970 when everybody else (except for Sabbath) was all peace and love and flowers and beads. Inspired by Sabbath they sure were, but they get credit for being one of the first, taking it (down?) to the next level of underground downer rock worship and metallic menace. Later on when bands like Judas Priest and then the whole NWOBHM thing took over, these guys must have known they'd been ahead of the curve.
The sixteen tracks here span several years and several slightly differing Iron Claw lineups, and we were impressed by all of 'em, from their earliest, rawest recordings like the lumbering, blown-out "Clawstrophobia" (about the mental breakdown of someone stuck in an elevator!) to the riffy blitz of "Crossrocker" to their occasional attempts at something more 'pop' (but still heavy, even with horns, as on "Loving You").... all the way to the proggier final phase of Iron Claw's existence, on tracks like "Winter", with flute, yay! There's also a bit o' harmonica on "Strait Jacket" (a la "The Wizard"). But mostly, the Claw is all crunching guitar distortion, pounding drums and wailing vocals. Plus, psychedelic freakiness abounds in interludes (like the backwards Mellotron at the start of "Pavement Artist" and the spooky tripped out FX going into "Devils" - a song inspired by the band seeing the premiere of the Ken Russell movie of the same name at the Edinburgh Film Festival).
It's all pretty badass early doom action. Seriously we think folks into Sabbath (of course), Witchcraft and suchlike are gonna be blown away by a lot of this.
Sound-wise, it varies, generally lo-fi but pretty decent for demos, and not nearly so rough as that Bedemon disc ferinstance. No complaints there. Way to go Rockadrome, again! Now that they've unearthed the Claw, perhaps we can look forward to a sequel second album of archival live material - we'd love to hear Iron Claw's cover of "War Pigs" with complete with their use of Ozzy's original, alternate lyrics....
MPEG Stream: "Skullcrusher"
MPEG Stream: "Sabotage"
MPEG Stream: "Rock Band Blues"
MPEG Stream: "Winter"

album cover REAL ESTATE Atlas (Domino) cd 14.98
The return of these dreamy jangle poppers finds them sounding even dreamier, their retro sound drifting ever further back to the days of Sarah Records, all crystalline guitar shimmer, swirling softly psychedelic jangle, reminding us once again of the late great Field Mice. And with every record, their 4-track home recorded beginnings seem further and further away, the group's polished pop landing positioning them closer to say, Belle And Sebastien, than Ducktails or Woods or any of their other former label mates.
The opener "Had To Hear" might be the darkest (and maybe best) of the bunch, adding just a bit of darkness, some sonic pathos, that had us thinking of Scud Mountain Boys (or the Pernice Brothers), the above mentioned Woods, and for some reason pre-New Pornographers power poppers Zumpano, but it's a gem, all minor key melodies and a verse as catchy as its chorus. That said, it's still plenty ethereal and shimmery and dream poppy. But not nearly as much as the rest of the record, which dials back most of that shadow leaving just pure, lush, shimmer-pop dreaminess. Some folks around aQ are finding Real Estate a bit too twee for their taste, but really, if you love the Field Mice, Belle And Sebastien, Heavenly Beat, the Go-Betweens, the Pastels and the like, this will definitely be right up your alley.
MPEG Stream: "Had To Hear"
MPEG Stream: "Past Lives"
MPEG Stream: "Talking Backwards"

album cover V/A Warfaring Strangers: Darkscorch Canticles (Numero Group) cd 16.98
Documenting the sound of Middle American hippie rockers heavying it up and heading to Middle Earth, singing songs about wizards, sorcerers, Sauron, and Satan, this is just so up our alley. Heck, there are several of us here, who by virtue of our particular, peculiar subcultural enthusiasms, were primed to flip out HARD over this. So if anything was ever meant to be a Record Of The Week, this sure was! Man, those nerds over at Numero have outdone themselves. It's not like Numero hasn't brought us some great compilations of long lost gems before - heck that's what they DO - they've got a well deserved rep for digging up truly obscure vintage soul music that's also totally top notch stuff. But as you've surmised, this ain't no soul. In the past, Numero have unearthed some wonderful rarities in other genres, from folky female singer-songwriters to Southern rock to power pop. But now, with this latest entry in their Wayfaring Strangers, er, WARfaring Strangers, series of comps, entitled Darkscorch Canticles, they've entered another dimension entirely, a dark and mystical hard rockin' realm of fuzzed-out, bellbottomed, pot-scented, proggy proto-metal basement jams!!
There are 16 tracks of fantastical garage rock from the depths of the '70s to be savored here, rescued from one-off, privately pressed 45 singles done by sub-sub-sub-Sabbath acts that seriously nobody has ever heard of before. That's kind of what's most amazing about this, that these tracks are so great, and yet also so unknown. We've talked to a few friends who consider themselves proto-metal experts, some of whom were rather incredulous about this, halfway suspecting it must somehow be a fake just cuz they didn't already know of ANY of these bands! By the way, we're convinced it's not a hoax - though if it were, that would actually be even more amazing - especially considering there's a densely-packed cd booklet / lp insert filled with vintage band photos, original 45 label graphics, and in-depth, highly detailed liner notes provided about each artist in tiny, tiny print (backgrounded by graph-paper dungeon drawings).
Last year Numero put out a vinyl-only archival collection of tracks by one of the bands found here, Chicago's Medusa, that we thought was pretty cool, and really should have reviewed but for some reason never did (we do still have a copy in stock, in all its black velvet glory!). At the time, Numero told us that release was a teaser for an entire compilation of obscure "D&D" rock of the same ilk that they planned to do, and they spoke the truth. Through the mastery of the dark arts, presumably, they somehow assembled this, digging up an outrageous assortment of over-the-top tunes from all these forgotten bands, whose names alone conjure vibes of myth and magic, sword and sorcery: Wrath, Triton Warrior, Stone Axe, Stonehenge, Dark Star, Stoned Mace, Hellstorm, Wizard, Arrogance, and more - including not just the aforementioned Medusa but also another band from Chicago called Gorgon Medusa. The earliest entry is from 1970, the latest from 1980, but they're all equally ancient-sounding. More like rickety sixties-ish heavy psych really, than anything metallic from the '80s or beyond, the stress here being on the "proto" side of the proto-metal tag. Stuff in the vein of Iron Butterfly and Bloodrock and Bubble Puppy and Captain Beyond.
You get low-budget occult organ prog epicry, and uber-distorted riff-rockin', and spaced out downer rock balladry, and badass boogie in Satan's service. We won't go track-by-track, though we're tempted, but a few of the standout faves for us include Wrath's "Warlord", especially due to the zombified vocals from someone who sounds like a brainwashed adolescent girl / cult victim (the guitarist's wife, apparently) intoning the scary lyrics about "living in lust as Satan must"; Inside's "Wizzard King", a blown-out, lo-fi rocker that asks the musical question: "Don't you wanna be a wizzard king, don't you wanna be free? / Don't you wanna be a wizzard king, don't you wanna be me?"; and Stone Axe's "Slave Of Fear", which sounds like Arthur Brown fronting a very early Black Sabbath or Blues Creation. But there's so much good stuff on here, enough to require a saving throw vs. acid rock or else become completely addicted, spinning this repeatedly.
The art and design deserve a mention as well. Both formats come in slipcased cover art consisting of newly-rendered stylized logos (embossed, in metallic ink!) for each band on the comp, like some artistically-inclined burnout teen doodling on a school binder. In terms of packaging, this really couldn't be any cooler - oh, wait, well, maybe it could - we should tell you, that if you wait a couple months, Numero will be selling (direct mailorder only, not in stores, grrrr!) a special edition of this consisting of the lp, the cd, AND a vaguely D&D-esque BOARDGAME, where the players take on the roles of these rock bands competing with each other in the fantastic realm of Darkscorch. Even if you never actually play the game we're pretty sure it will be an amazing artifact just to look at. It's gonna be, like, $100 though.
Ok, to wrap up: trying to explain why this comp is so rad is kind of like trying to explain the appeal of The Lord Of The Rings to someone who hasn't read it. Or D&D to someone who hasn't played. So just trust us, and we recommend trying those two things as well if you haven't!
MPEG Stream: WRATH "Warlord"
MPEG Stream: JUNCTION "Sorcerer"
MPEG Stream: STONE AXE "Slave Of Fear"
MPEG Stream: INSIDE "Wizzard King"

album cover AM Dragonfly (Trensmat) lp 21.00
It used to be, not a New Arrivals list would go by without some wonderful, weird new music from aQ pal Antony Milton, but lately, those release have been fewer and further between, so we've begun to treasure each one just a little bit more, not knowing how long it'll be 'til the next. We've long been fans of Milton's mercurial soundmaking, whether it be abstract ambience under his own name, or in any number of outfits making dark, psychedelic heaviness. So we weren't sure what to expect this time around, but Dragonfly ends up being a good fit for the Trensmat label, and their shift toward electronic music, albeit, of the noisier and more abstract/avant variety. Much like countryman Campbell Kneale (Our Love Will Destroy The World, Birchville Cat Motel), Milton has added beats to his sonic palette, creating a strange hybrid of NZ noise, and twisted techno, or warped house music? It doesn't mater what you call it really, and it's much different than Kneale's more electronic noise, the sound here still seems to be rooted in guitar, and has a distinctly krautrock feel, while the opener is all gristly high end, and loping rhythm, a sort of noisy kosmische space noise, it's on the title track where things seem to coalesce, the sound like some weird Sublime Frequencies style desert blues, that sort of looped buzzy riffage, wreathed in billowing clouds of FX heavy electric noise, soaring gouts of raga-like skree, and psych shred tangles, we're hearing hints of Gunter Schickert for sure, and as we say all the time, we would have been perfectly happy if the 5 minute title track was stretched out to full up the whole record. Total kraut-noise space-raga bliss out.
But fear not, there's plenty more where that came from. "Glassworld" is all dubby and abstract, a buried rhythm pulses beneath looped layers, and soft focus shimmers, muted sonic squalls, blurred into gauzy chordal washes, heady and hypnotic. "Helioscope" ditches the beats almost entirely, transforming the sound into something closer to Pop Ambience, hazy swells, over distant pulsations, dreamy, drifty and druggily drowsy. The final proper track is a grinding field of low end buzz and crunchy sci-fi lazer-pulses, all wrapped in fields of Geiger counter crackle, briefly ditching all the skree and leaving just muted minimal bass thrum, only to have the sound erupt again in a flurry of swirled FX and blurred buzzy noise. The final track is live, and stretches out over 13 minutes, and returns to the kraut-psych sound of the title track, the synths gristly and granular, peppered with swirls of smoother shimmer, all draped over a heartbeat like pulse, dreamily cosmic, before a mid song/set shift transforms the sound into something much darker, and noisier, a gritty minimal noise-techno that explodes into one final burst of white noise howl.
Includes a download code!!!
MPEG Stream: "Dragonfly"
MPEG Stream: "Glassworld"
MPEG Stream: "Eight To Eight"

album cover ECHOLOGIST Storming Heaven (Prologue) 3x12" 34.00
We continue to be obsessed with the darker side of techno and house music, the strains that are all murky and shadowy and mutated, the four on the floor beats slowed down to a dying-heartbeat pulse, most of the dancefloor sucked out of the sound, leaving just the twisted skeletal remains. Elsewhere on this week's list you'll find a new record from Lucy, whose sound is just that sort of dubbed out techno-murk we can't get enough of, but this new one from Echologist is something else all together. We just discovered this is the TENTH record by Brendon Moeller, aka Echologist, but the first one we've heard, and we are totally smitten. Not nearly as murky and dark as much of the stuff we dig, what Moeller does is, is something similar to The Field, creating super lush, layered repetition, little blurts and pulsations, bits of glitch and static, sculpted and woven into deep undulating electronic soundscapes, that only sound tangentially like proper techno, and instead, sound super tripped out and psychedelic, almost like some sort of avant experimental noise music, but in the guise of techno.
The opener here "Frequency Of Love" pretty much lays it all out, exactly what is so amazing abut Echologist and why we knew this had to be Record Of The Week. A dense field of pulsing squelch, all hazy and gauzy, some alien machine language transformed into sound, a glorious blend of droned out raga-shimmer, and percolating electro, droney and trancey, and less about the rhythm, as the texture created by the rhythm, and when the low end drops out, as it occasionally does, the sound becomes some sort of airy drift, before the low end swoops back in and the sound gets, well heavy again, for lack of a better word. But then heavy is the word for what happens next, when the sound begins to thicken, the tones all gradually descending in pitch, those sounds suddenly coalescing into a thick, buzzing drone, which grinds away malevolently, before dropping out completely, leaving just a field of glimmering chiming melody, and a hazy keening high end drone. Fuck! We say it a lot, but that track, could easily have been the whole record, and we still would have made it Record Of The Week. We're guessing it'll take some serious will power to keep from setting that track on repeat play. But you know, fuck it, go for it. Still worth the price of admission if you never make it any further in.
But if you do, you'll be rewarded with more of Echologists, haunting, propulsive and mesmeric machine music, from churning industrial crunch, to loping tranced out techno, and from squelchy and cinematic low end deep dub, to gristly static drenched skitter, and from lush, almost poppy, drone-gaze electro, to stuttery sci-fi glitch-buzz groove. But those thumbnail descriptions are only part of the equation, cuz once Moeller sets the scene, lays down the beat, loops the sample, whatever electronic voodoo he does, it's all about how the sounds develop, and pro/re-gress, tone and timbre in constant flux, the background sounds a dizzying, hyperactive soundworld all their own. The sound impossibly immersive, the sort of rare electronic music that manages to be weirdly dancefloor appropriate, while still the perfect bliss out / chill out / come down soundtrack, and equally rare in that sonically, it's way more than 'dance music' or 'techno', it's a fantastically next level mutant strain of electronica, or even more specifically, some modern minimalist avant electronic experimental soundscapery, that just happens to involve elements of techno and house music, and that we find utterly and endlessly addictive. We're guessing most of you will too...
MPEG Stream: "The Frequency Of Love"
MPEG Stream: "Next Exit"
MPEG Stream: "Storming Heaven"
MPEG Stream: "Deep Fried"
MPEG Stream: "M13 + DPO"

album cover SULTAN BATHERY Sultan Bathery (Slovenly) cd 13.98
This is the debut full length from Italian psychedelic garage pop combo Sultan Bathery, and if you can disregard the punny band name (that some of us didn't even notice), you'll be treated to a heaping helping of everything we love about that 'sound', a lot of fuzz, a little bit of jangle, a loy of poppiness, a little surf rock, some tripped out Spacemen 3 drugginess, all wound up into some seriously addictive, crazy catchy surf garage fuzz pop pound, that falls sonically somewhere between local garage rock heroes Thee Oh Sees, and the now sadly defunct San Diego surf pop geniuses Mrs. Magician, there's even a bit of swampy swagger that reminds us of another more obscure aQ fave, the late great Railroad Jerk, which for us is high praise indeed! And to be honest, on first listen, we weren't totally blown away, SB sounded great, but sounded a lot like so many other bands, but repeated listens has revealed this to be a serious garage rock gem, with some fucking great songs, and we find ourselves listening to this like crazy, which as always, is about the best recommendation we can give... WAY recommended for fans of the above mentioned bands, as well as other aQ faves like the Liminanas, Lorelle And The Obsolete, Davila 666, etc.
MPEG Stream: "Satellite"
MPEG Stream: "Mirror"
MPEG Stream: "Purple Moon"

album cover 3+ Kazesarai [Deluxe Version] (Time Released Sound) cd 60.00
Another list, another fantastic new release from local label Time Released Sound. By now, regular readers of the aQ list are no doubt familiar with the musical focus of TRS: gorgeous field recording flecked ambience, pastoral dream folk, hushed, haunting dronemusic, gentle electronic soundscapery, lush cinematic shimmers; each record another glimmering facet in TRS's prismatic world of sound. Their latest melancholy musical missive comes from Japanese pianist/soundscaper Masashi Shiraishi, aka 3+, who sets his delicate crystalline piano pieces amidst the rustle of crashing waves, letting his softly reverbed notes drift through fields of ephemeral electronics, or settle gracefully like leaves falling from Autumn trees. Imagine Ryuichi Sakamoto, set up on a grassy hilltop on the coast, above a grey sea, the waves crashing on the rocks far below. Occasionally strings drift in, adding a bit of near symphonic gravitas. In places, this blissed out melancholia is threatened by swaths of deep resonant buzz, or alternately flecked with the distinctive twang of a mouth harp, or even woven into a brooding dark jazz reminiscent of The Necks or Bohren & Der Club Of Gore. There are moments of soundtrack like mood music, heart wrenching and dreamlike, there are moments where the piano is wrapped in a dense fog of modern minimalism, all rib cage rattling low end, and gristly, glitchy static, and there are moments where the individual notes seem to bleed and blur into woozy swaths of sound, but throughout it all, Shiraishi proves a master of mood and melancholy, the sounds here grey and cloudy and windswept, darkly dreamy and really quite divine.
As always, there are two versions, the standard, which comes in a full color digipak and is limited to 200 copies, and the ultra fancy, meticulously handmade, deluxe version, limited to just 90 copies, of which we have a tiny handful, housed in a 6" square collaged green envelope, which in turn is wrapped in a hand stamped and tagged, translucent vellum outer envelope, held shut by a full tissue 'obi' made from the pages of a 50 year old book on Bonseki (tray landscape art, a little like Bonsai). The 'obi' can be removed, and wrapped around a votive candle to make a miniature paper lantern. There's also a second inner sleeve made from the pages of a vintage book of Japanese flower and pattern design! Phew!
Fans of Anton Batagov and Lubomyr Melnyk, this comes HIGHLY recommended!!
MPEG Stream: "Kazesarai - Enchained Dark And Blink"
MPEG Stream: "Myou Getsu"
MPEG Stream: "Tentolori"
MPEG Stream: "Hiltosarai"

album cover 3+ Kazesarai [Regular Version] (Time Released Sound) cd 14.98
Another list, another fantastic new release from local label Time Released Sound. By now, regular readers of the aQ list are no doubt familiar with the musical focus of TRS: gorgeous field recording flecked ambience, pastoral dream folk, hushed, haunting dronemusic, gentle electronic soundscapery, lush cinematic shimmers; each record another glimmering facet in TRS's prismatic world of sound. Their latest melancholy musical missive comes from Japanese pianist/soundscaper Masashi Shiraishi, aka 3+, who sets his delicate crystalline piano pieces amidst the rustle of crashing waves, letting his softly reverbed notes drift through fields of ephemeral electronics, or settle gracefully like leaves falling from Autumn trees. Imagine Ryuichi Sakamoto, set up on a grassy hilltop on the coast, above a grey sea, the waves crashing on the rocks far below. Occasionally strings drift in, adding a bit of near symphonic gravitas. In places, this blissed out melancholia is threatened by swaths of deep resonant buzz, or alternately flecked with the distinctive twang of a mouth harp, or even woven into a brooding dark jazz reminiscent of The Necks or Bohren & Der Club Of Gore. There are moments of soundtrack like mood music, heart wrenching and dreamlike, there are moments where the piano is wrapped in a dense fog of modern minimalism, all rib cage rattling low end, and gristly, glitchy static, and there are moments where the individual notes seem to bleed and blur into woozy swaths of sound, but throughout it all, Shiraishi proves a master of mood and melancholy, the sounds here grey and cloudy and windswept, darkly dreamy and really quite divine.
As always, there are two versions, the standard, which comes in a full color digipak and is limited to 200 copies, and the ultra fancy, meticulously handmade, deluxe version, limited to just 90 copies, of which we have a tiny handful, housed in a 6" square collaged green envelope, which in turn is wrapped in a hand stamped and tagged, translucent vellum outer envelope, held shut by a full tissue 'obi' made from the pages of a 50 year old book on Bonseki (tray landscape art, a little like Bonsai). The 'obi' can be removed, and wrapped around a votive candle to make a miniature paper lantern. There's also a second inner sleeve made from the pages of a vintage book of Japanese flower and pattern design! Whew!
Fans of Anton Batagov and Lubomyr Melnyk, this comes HIGHLY recommended!!
MPEG Stream: "Kazesarai - Enchained Dark And Blink"
MPEG Stream: "Myou Getsu"
MPEG Stream: "Tentolori"
MPEG Stream: "Hiltosarai"

album cover B-TONG Hostile Environments (Greytone) cd 14.98
We first discovered Chris Sigdell, aka B-Tong (which, by the way, is usually written with a little circle, you know, the degrees sign, not a dash, but our website doesn't like it, so hence the hyphen), via a four way split called One Man Drone, which as you may have surmised, was a collection of one man drone-groups, and our favorite of the bunch happened to be B-Tong, whose sound was weirdly cinematic, and fantastically and psychedelically noisy and chaotic. We compared the sound to Philip Jeck mixing Goblin and Wolf Eyes! We later discovered that Sigdell played in NID, another group who utilized drones, but wove those drones into something much more cacophonous, and expansive and lushly layered. But still, ultimately, it was all about the drone.
We had always hankered for more B-Tong, and while apparently there have been a bunch of full lengths, this is the first we've managed to get our hands on, and it's just as good as we remember; and yeah, if there was ever any doubt, Sigdell firmly establishes himself as an aQ-pantheon-worthy dronelord.
The opener, is ominous and cavernous, laced with weird crackles and gritty crunch, kindred spirits with our own Jim Haynes for sure. The sounds oozing a sort of sonic decay, and some deft and subtle sample placement, makes the opener even more chilling. It's almost like some industrial doom, stripped down to its skeletal core. A moody, muted melody, playing out like foghorns in the distance, echo drenched chimes, and tinkling percussion, buried under grey washes of softly undulating thrum, lots of constantly shifting textures, and some seriously harrowing sound design reminiscent of Ben Frost. And the sound continues to drift southward as the record progresses, a virtual journey through dark caverns, toward whatever lurks below, fields of deep resonant rumbles, dripping water, distant billows of thunder, stretched out into weird glossolallic shimmers, thick chordal blurs that ooze and bleed ominously, splashing water doused in FX and transformed into a sort of garbled alien language. Plenty of barely there lowercase ambience, but also super active sprawls of electro static gristle, ultra creepy moans and gasps, sonar pings that disappear into the abyss, short wave broadcasts from beyond, lumbering behemoth beats, dulled into barely perceptible pulsations, smears of almost dub like throb, and keening high end tones dulled into bleary shimmery sonic ripples, all locked in a sort of hazy stasis, while all around, billowing clouds of black hum drift malevolently, and beneath this black soundworld, hushed melodies, and dreamlike sonic coloration, shift constantly creating an ethereally prismatic sonic backdrop. Fantastic. Essential dronemusic for sure!!
MPEG Stream: "Stasis Field"
MPEG Stream: "Processed"
MPEG Stream: "Estrus"

album cover PHOBONOID Orbita (Dusktone) cd 14.98
Holy mission to Mars! What a fantastic discovery, the first we've heard from Phobonoid, a one man black metal / industrial / noise outfit from Phobos, and yep, that's one of the moons of Mars, and the music on Orbita is a high concept soundtrack to the end of civilization on Mars, as viewed from Phobos, and also BY the god Phobos, culminating in the eventual meeting between Phobos and his brother Deimos, on the scorched surface of the ruined red planet. And sonically, that's sort of what it sounds like, opening with a dense cloud of blacknoize, darkly billowing, ominous and sinister, eventually frenzied riffing begins to emerge from the blackness, a roiling sonic chaos, that instead of bursting into blasting black buzz, blurs and swirls into a grinding, almost orchestral buzz, a lurching doom-drone creep, wreathed in electronic fuzz and glitched out crumbling distortion, before erupting into a blown out Godflesh style industrial dirge, the sounds mutated and on the verge of collapse, electronic flecked heaviness, that buried blackness bleeding over the mechanized rhythms and the insectoid riffing. And that's just the first track! From there on out, Phobonoid paints a bleak sonic picture of Mars' ruination, achingly melancholy guitar buzz blossoms into blackened industrial blasts, the vocals a demonic rasp, the programmed drums relentless and robotic, inhumanly fast at times, but constantly slipping back into a monstrous, crushing plod, the sound almost psychedelic, dense and lushly layered, noisy and super distorted. Throughout the 7 songs here, the sound is in constant flux, a dizzying barrage of black tarpit creep, churning atonal blasts, mechanized metallic buzz, with one gorgeously austere stretch of blurred, almost blissed out industrial ambience, before one final blast, of majestically epic mechanoid black buzz. So good!
MPEG Stream: "Phobos"
MPEG Stream: "Ex"
MPEG Stream: "Vuoto"
MPEG Stream: "Deimos"

album cover DAMAGED BUG Hubba Bubba (Castleface) cd 13.98
We had been hearing about this for a while, John Dwyer of Thee Oh Sees' 'electro synth pop' solo record, and while we were envisioning lots of things, it wasn't this. It's definitely electro pop, lots of synths, and programmed rhythms, but there's still plenty of the fuzzy, jangly garage pop of Thee Oh Sees, and Dwyer's songwriting is in fine form, so much so, that this is fast becoming our favorite set of Dwyer jams in ages. Listen to opener "Gloves For Garbage" and you'll know just what we mean. Ostensibly, it could really have been an Oh Sees song proper, just with more synths, but it reveals itself as something else entirely, a gorgeous chunk of gloomy pop, with some of the catchiest hooks we've yet heard from Dwyer, the vocals delivered in an uncharacteristically deep, dramatic croon, plenty of clean guitar jangle and simple drumming, surrounded by pulsing, fuzzy synths, not to mention an end of song breakdown where things crumble into a cool churning sprawl of motorik kosmische, Dwyer's vocals draped over the top, totally blissed out electro-gloom, goth pop that we can't stop listening to. So much so, that it took 4 or 5 listens before we even made it to the next song. And if you need more clues as to what Damaged Bug is all about, the most telling is probably the inclusion of a painting of Brian Eno included in the record's futuristic psych-ship cockpit cover art, cuz if you can imagine Eno as a SF garage rocker / synth wrangler, you wouldn't be that far off the mark.
And the rest of the record, maybe unsurprisingly, is just as good. "Eggs At Night" sounds like a more lo-fi version of something you could hear on the radio. Instead of the swoonsome moody distorted vocals, you can almost imagine some overproduced diva, but instead, it remains a quirky little electro pop gem, with some mid-song synth swirl that transforms the song into some alternate universe John Hughes misunderstood-teen movie anthem.
There's another side to Damaged Bug, which is a serious krautrock obsession, which first pops up via the unabashed Neu! / Kraftwerk worship of "SS Cassidinea", all motorik pulse and psych-kraut throb, but continues to surface throughout. There's plenty of Radiophonic Workshop style bloop and bleep, often wound around woozy primitive electro pop creep, the result strangely dark, all moody and broody, but that's balanced by plenty of spaced out, synth driven fuzz pop, with awesome swaths of thick, rib cage rattling low end, but before you know it, the sound swoops back into some warped electronic kraut-pop, complete with some weirdly effected vocals that sound almost Germanic, and remind us of a certain infamous Dwyer project of old, Zeigenbock Kopf, but this isn't nearly so leather-y and Teutonic, instead, Damaged Bug slips easily from billowy and dreamy in places, like on the super spaced out sonic fever dream of "1/2 An Airplane", to gurgly, rumbling synth-doom dirgery like on "Metal Hand", the dirge-y doominess somehow blossoming into another gorgeous tranced out sprawl of kraut-synth mesmer. And yeah, it's an electro pop record, so there are of course some vocodered vox, but they're usually all tangled up in sounds not so distinctly electro pop, whether it's spaced out rhythmic skitter, fuzzy, garage-y jangle, or shimmering, pulsing drones. The record finishes off with a heady, hypnotic blast of wild, chaotic, non-programmed, actual drumming, pounding away through fields of lazer zap squiggles and thick, fuzzy, squelches, almost like some free-synth freakout, but not noisy, just sorta swirly and psychedelic and totally hypnotic, and then the vocals come in, and the song quickly takes the shape of yet another practically perfect. dreamily dour electro pop gem, but only briefly, before disappearing in one final swirl of electronic starburst swirl...
MPEG Stream: "Gloves For Garbage"
MPEG Stream: "Eggs At Night"
MPEG Stream: "Hubba Bubba"
MPEG Stream: "1/2 An Airplane"

album cover DAMAGED BUG Hubba Bubba (Castleface) lp 15.98
We had been hearing about this for a while, John Dwyer of Thee Oh Sees' 'electro synth pop' solo record, and while we were envisioning lots of things, it wasn't this. It's definitely electro pop, lots of synths, and programmed rhythms, but there's still plenty of the fuzzy, jangly garage pop of Thee Oh Sees, and Dwyer's songwriting is in fine form, so much so, that this is fast becoming our favorite set of Dwyer jams in ages. Listen to opener "Gloves For Garbage" and you'll know just what we mean. Ostensibly, it could really have been an Oh Sees song proper, just with more synths, but it reveals itself as something else entirely, a gorgeous chunk of gloomy pop, with some of the catchiest hooks we've yet heard from Dwyer, the vocals delivered in an uncharacteristically deep, dramatic croon, plenty of clean guitar jangle and simple drumming, surrounded by pulsing, fuzzy synths, not to mention an end of song breakdown where things crumble into a cool churning sprawl of motorik kosmische, Dwyer's vocals draped over the top, totally blissed out electro-gloom, goth pop that we can't stop listening to. So much so, that it took 4 or 5 listens before we even made it to the next song. And if you need more clues as to what Damaged Bug is all about, the most telling is probably the inclusion of a painting of Brian Eno included in the record's futuristic psych-ship cockpit cover art, cuz if you can imagine Eno as a SF garage rocker / synth wrangler, you wouldn't be that far off the mark.
And the rest of the record, maybe unsurprisingly, is just as good. "Eggs At Night" sounds like a more lo-fi version of something you could hear on the radio. Instead of the swoonsome moody distorted vocals, you can almost imagine some overproduced diva, but instead, it remains a quirky little electro pop gem, with some mid-song synth swirl that transforms the song into some alternate universe John Hughes misunderstood-teen movie anthem.
There's another side to Damaged Bug, which is a serious krautrock obsession, which first pops up via the unabashed Neu! / Kraftwerk worship of "SS Cassidinea", all motorik pulse and psych-kraut throb, but continues to surface throughout. There's plenty of Radiophonic Workshop style bloop and bleep, often wound around woozy primitive electro pop creep, the result strangely dark, all moody and broody, but that's balanced by plenty of spaced out, synth driven fuzz pop, with awesome swaths of thick, rib cage rattling low end, but before you know it, the sound swoops back into some warped electronic kraut-pop, complete with some weirdly effected vocals that sound almost Germanic, and remind us of a certain infamous Dwyer project of old, Zeigenbock Kopf, but this isn't nearly so leather-y and Teutonic, instead, Damaged Bug slips easily from billowy and dreamy in places, like on the super spaced out sonic fever dream of "1/2 An Airplane", to gurgly, rumbling synth-doom dirgery like on "Metal Hand", the dirge-y doominess somehow blossoming into another gorgeous tranced out sprawl of kraut-synth mesmer. And yeah, it's an electro pop record, so there are of course some vocodered vox, but they're usually all tangled up in sounds not so distinctly electro pop, whether it's spaced out rhythmic skitter, fuzzy, garage-y jangle, or shimmering, pulsing drones. The record finishes off with a heady, hypnotic blast of wild, chaotic, non-programmed, actual drumming, pounding away through fields of lazer zap squiggles and thick, fuzzy, squelches, almost like some free-synth freakout, but not noisy, just sorta swirly and psychedelic and totally hypnotic, and then the vocals come in, and the song quickly takes the shape of yet another practically perfect. dreamily dour electro pop gem, but only briefly, before disappearing in one final swirl of electronic starburst swirl...
MPEG Stream: "Gloves For Garbage"
MPEG Stream: "Eggs At Night"
MPEG Stream: "Hubba Bubba"
MPEG Stream: "1/2 An Airplane"

album cover GUIDED BY VOICES Motivational Jumpsuit (GBV) lp 15.98
What can we say? We LOVE Guided By Voices. we love the old records, and the new records too. And nearly all of the millions of side projects. GBV mainman Bob Pollard is a twisted pop genius, and somehow, manages, even after hundreds and hundreds of songs released, out of thousands and thousands written, to churn out GBV records that are crazy good. Great even. A dizzying collection of little blasts of crunchy, fuzzy, jangly perfect pop, equal parts British Invasion and US bedroom 4-track popsmithery, hooks galore, every song impossibly catchy, wry and goofy and often WTF? Never shying away from damaged sonic experimentation, but even at the most obtuse and experimental, the sounds somehow manage to STILL be infused with some sort of pop core. You can check our reviews of the last few records for more on the GBV story, there are maybe, 5 or 6 or 8 records at this point, who really knows, and that's just POST break up and reunion, go further back and dig into the true GBV classics, Bee Thousand, Alien Lanes, Vampire On Titus, etc. But really, that's the strange thing, is Bee Thousand THEE Guided By Voices classic? Is Alien Lanes? Or is Guided By Voices a never ending work in progress? And maybe those aren't even really albums, but simply songsuites, in Pollard's epic life-long GBV micro-pop symphony? And when you think about it like that, it's actually pretty fantastic to have such a massive body of work to dig through. And to trace the development of the band's sound, progressions, regressions, and yet through it all, multiple lineups, different productions, varying fidelity, the hit to miss ratio is astronomical. We can't really think of another songwriter with that kind of record. Cuz even the misses, in the context of whatever record they're a part of, are just that, a part of the whole, and in their own slightly off way, still 'work', and often reveal themselves, less as proper songs, and more as sonic coloration for the stone cold classics, of which there are MANY.
So yeah, you might be sick of GBV by now, and we'd definitely understand, but we're always happy for more. And while we might still love Bee Thousand or Alien Lanes the best, this recent batch of albums are pretty much nearly as good, and of all of those, this new one might be the best yet.
MPEG Stream: "Littlest League Possible"
MPEG Stream: "Until Next Time"
MPEG Stream: "Writer's Bloc (Psycho All the Time)"
MPEG Stream: "Planet Score"
MPEG Stream: "Alex and The Omegas"

album cover WARM SODA Young Reckless Hearts (Castleface) cd 13.98
Record number two from local retro garage power pop geniuses Warm Soda, fronted by none other than Mr. Matthew Melton, who avid readers of the aQ list no doubt remember from his previous outfits, the equally genius Bare Wires and Snake Flower 2. But with Warm Soda, Melton and crew continue to hone a practically perfect strain of Yellow Pills style power pop, that sounds, right down to the production, and the songwriting, straight out of the seventies. In fact, if this was 1978, we can only imagine these guys would be HUGE, playing with Dwight Twilley and Cheap Trick, and heck, it's not hard to imagine a Warm Soda Live At Budokan record, cuz holy shit, if we dug the first Warm Soda record, this one is even better. In fact, EVERY time we play this in the store, someone comes up to see what we're playing, and often ends up surprised that it's in fact actually a NEW band. But it's easy to see why, Warm Soda's sound is pitch perfect, jangly fuzzy guitars, woozy super melodic basslines, simple propulsive drumming, and Melton's whispery croon, and of course the SONGS, which are amazing, so catchy, the sort of songs, that even on first listen, sound like you've heard them before, and get immediately lodged in your head, and even after only hearing them a couple times, you'll find yourself humming them days later. Assuming it was something you might have just heard on the radio. The production too, somehow manages to sound modern, while still sounding exactly like some classic vintage recording from back in the day. And the way the choruses are all fuzzy and washed out and reverb drenched, it's hard to explain, but they seem to just soar. We could go on and on and on, as we like to do, and describe this record song by song, but why bother, if you dug the first record, or any of Melton's other projects, you NEED this, and if you've never heard anything, all it should take is a couple of the samples below to convince you, that like us, you might have just found your new favorite retro-garage power pop record!!!
MPEG Stream: "Going In Circles"
MPEG Stream: "Postcards"
MPEG Stream: "Someday You Will Understand"

album cover WARM SODA Young Reckless Hearts (Castleface) lp 15.98
ALSO NOW AVAILABLE ON LP!!!!
Record number two from local retro garage power pop geniuses Warm Soda, fronted by none other than Mr. Matthew Melton, who avid readers of the aQ list no doubt remember from his previous outfits, the equally genius Bare Wires and Snake Flower 2. But with Warm Soda, Melton and crew continue to hone a practically perfect strain of Yellow Pills style power pop, that sounds, right down to the production, and the songwriting, straight out of the seventies. In fact, if this was 1978, we can only imagine these guys would be HUGE, playing with Dwight Twilley and Cheap Trick, and heck, it's not hard to imagine a WARM SODA LIVE AT BUDOKAN record, cuz holy shit, if we dug the first Warm Soda record, this one is even better. In fact, EVERY time we play this in the store, someone comes up to see what we're playing, and often ends up surprised that it's in fact actually a NEW band. But it's easy to see why, Warm Soda's sound is pitch perfect, jangly fuzzy guitars, woozy super melodic basslines, simple propulsive drumming, and Melton's whispery croon, and of course the SONGS, which are amazing, so catchy, the sort of songs, that even on first listen, sound like you've heard them before, and get immediately lodged in your head, and even after only hearing them a couple times, you'll find yourself humming them days later. Assuming it was something you might have just heard on the radio. The production too, somehow manages to sound modern, while still sounding exactly like some classic vintage recording from back in the day. And the way the choruses are all fuzzy and washed out and reverb drenched, it's hard to explain, but they seem to just soar. We could go on and on and on, as we like to do, and describe this record song by song, but why bother, if you dug the first record, or any of Melton's other projects, you NEED this, and if you've never heard anything, all it should take is a couple of the samples below to convince you, that like us, you might have just found your new favorite retro-garage power pop record!!!
MPEG Stream: "Going In Circles"
MPEG Stream: "Postcards"
MPEG Stream: "Someday You Will Understand"

album cover ARTIFICIAL BRAIN Labyrinth Constellation (Profound Lore) cd 13.98
With a name like Artificial Brain, and a record title like Labyrinth Constellation, when coupled with the crazy seventies van / alien war / D&D / Frazetta style cover art, you knew this was gonna be some sort of epic metal, but we were even more pleased to discover it was in fact a twisted strain of complex sci-fi death metal, gnarled and blackened, obtuse and avant, sorta like Nocturnus crossed with Portal, the sound shifting constantly from blasting, thrashing metallic crush, to grinding, confusional psychedelic metallic chaos, to tranced out black-drone-buzz, intricate and proggy, and furiously mathy. This NY horde features dudes from technical death metal outfit Revocation and and pre-Castevet death-grind combo Biolich (who we LOVE but never managed to review anything by), and really in a way, the band math adds up perfectly to Artificial Brain, a dizzying onslaught of death metal murk, and blackened math metal, sci-fi grind, laced with all sorts of subtle sonic flourishes, cool swirls of shimmering harmonics here, lush layered almost shoegazey moments there, but all settled amidst a blurred and smeared soundscape of impossibly frantic blasts, roiling clouds of monstrous Deathspell style black-buzz churn and furiously fluctuating fields of lumbering stop/start math metal lurch. Fucking fantastic. WAY recommended for fans of Portal, Wold, Dodecahedron, Timeghoul, Gorguts, diSEMBOWELMENT, Abyssal, Cremation, Mitochondrian and other purveyors of twisted, outsider, avant death metal murk.
MPEG Stream: "Brain Transplant"
MPEG Stream: "Absorbing Black Ignition"
MPEG Stream: "Wire Opposites"

album cover LORELLE MEETS THE OBSOLETE Chambers (Captcha) cd 11.98
The return of this aQ beloved Mexican fuzzed out, druggy, dreamy garage rock duo, Lorelle Meets The Obsolete, made up of, if you hadn't guessed already, Lorelle, who plays guitar, organ and sings, and her partner The Obsolete, who plays drums and does everything else. And like the two records that came before, Chambers is another killer collection of droned out psychedelic garage-kraut noise pop, like a heavier, fuzzier Moon Duo, or a creepier crawlier (old) Dum Dum Girls, the songs here are stretched out and trance-y, heavy and hypnotic, there's definitely a sort of classic sixties pop vibe, reminding us at times of another aQ fave, the Liminanas, but where that band went the full Gainsbourg, Lorelle and The Obsolete, take a similar sound, and run it through a bank of FX, a wall of distortion, adding some seriously drugged out Spacemen 3-isms to the proceedings. Just give a listen to the opening track "What's Holding You", with its fuzzy bass, crunchy guitar, ethereal female vox, whirring organ drones, super dark and dreamy and mesmerizing, the sound seesawing between moody stripped down verses, and blown out fuzz drenched 'choruses', but the real pay off for psych-heads, is the whole second half of the song, where the duo lock into a total Hawkwind worthy space rock blowout, delivering the sort of heady heart-of-the-sun heaviness, that should have fans of the Heads and White Hills and the like frothing at the mouth. The rest of the record follows suit, the band displaying a brilliant knack for murky noise-pop soundcraft, transforming clouds of chaotic sound into dreamy, lilting, hook laden jangle garage, the sound effortlessly straddling the line between drone-pop mesmer, swirly psychedelic garage, and full on, unhinged heavy psych, the magic being that the songs are GREAT, and just get greater as more sounds are piled on, fantastically noisy, but again, impossibly catchy and melodic, and so goddamn good. Some of the songs do slow down, and get sort of balladic, some are all swaggery and Stooges-y, and still others tap into the sound favored by the current crop of garage rockers, Ty Segall, Mikal Cronin, Thee Oh Sees, etc. and fans of those bands, if you don't know this band already, you're in for a treat, but really, Lorelle and Mr. The Obsolete, have managed a rare feat, and taken the sound of a million other bands all seemingly trying to do the same thing, and made it ALL their own, truly unique and special, still pushing all of our garage pop buttons, as well as some of our space and psych rock buttons, but most importantly, revealing a whole bunch of other musical buttons we never even knew we had!!
MPEG Stream: "What's Holding You?"
MPEG Stream: "The Myth Of The Wise"
MPEG Stream: "Dead Leaves"

album cover LUCY Churches Schools And Guns (Stroboscopic Artefacts) cd 17.98
And here we go, further into the shadows, down the black hole of minimal mutant techno. We've become downright obsessed with this twisted, grim, bleak strain of electronic sound, as is evidenced by recent Record Of The Weekers Akkord and Basic House and this week's Echologist, also killer releases by Vatican Shadow, Silent Servant, Prurient, Haxan Cloak, Terrence Dixon, Shed, we could go on, but needless to say, even the former technophobes here at aQ, have been fully converted and indoctrinated into the cult, now we find ourselves on a mission to dig up the darkest of blackened house, the wooziest, warped techno, the sound of spare skeletal skitter and haunting electro-creep mood music, all that we crave. Our latest discovery is provocatively titled Churches Schools And Guns comes to us from Lucy, who is not in fact a woman named Lucy, but some mysterious guy, who is a master and crafting suffocatingly sinister techno, pulsing sprawls of blurred murk, looped and layered rhythms, opener "The Horror" is indeed horrifying, a grim field of glitch and gristle, laid over a field of rumbling swells and wreathed in grinding black static, super tense and intense, an intro maybe, but the sound oozes ominously into the rest of the record, which plays out like some alien mutant dub, long stretches of muted thrum, peppered with fractured beats, and swirling synths, bizarre samples, geiger counter like sputter, all blurred into something hazy, and dreamily druggy. "Leave Us Alone", sounds like a more blissed out Silent Servant, or a Kompakt track gone very very bad. "The Self As Another", buries its beats under ethereal swaths of chordal shimmer, the whole thing gauzey and ephemeral, as if being listened to from a great distance.
"Human Triage" is like electro-dub melted down to its very essence, laced with weird bits of crumbling FX, and gradually growing more and more frenetic, but simultaneously, the sounds getting more and more indistinct, as of the whole thing would eventually blur into a single smear of sound. "Follow The Leader" is all gristly slo-mo house, throat singing, record crackle, and muted pulsations, fashioned into something hauntingly hypnotic, while "Catch Twenty Two" might be the grooviest of the bunch, but its still all crackle wreathed minimal murk. The rest of the tracks, deliver fantastic variations of Lucy's crumbling, crackly, techno-dub creep, culminating in the surprisingly blissful closer "Falling", which stretches ethereal female vocals, into a spectral chorale, all over soft focus flurries of glistening finger picked guitars, and swirling clouds of prismatic glimmer, wreathed in fuzzy barely there shimmer, and crafted into gentle swells, the end result sounding almost like a Grouper track, produced by The Field!
MPEG Stream: "The Horror"
MPEG Stream: "Leave Us Alone"
MPEG Stream: "The Self As Another"
MPEG Stream: "Follow The Leader"
MPEG Stream: "Catch Twenty Two"

album cover RAINBOWS ARE FREE Waves Ahead Of The Ocean (Guestroom) cd 10.98
Second full length blast of psychedelic stoner rock heaviness from these hippy heavies (we can only assume they're hippies with a name like that right?), and like their first, this is another batch of swaggery, Sabbath-y, pounding stoner psych riffery, with even more dramatic vocals that first time around. Give a listen to the awesomely titled "Speed God And The Rise Of The Motherfuckers From A Place Beyond Hell", which displays the band at their bad ass best. The main riff, a stone cold killer, with some seriously wailing leads over the top, the drums, bombastic and beefy, and when those vocals swoop in, totally over the top. Somewhere between the near operatic metallic howl of Mika from Finnish hypno rockers Circle, the classic metal vox of Judas Priest's Rob Halford, and the space lord motherfucker himself, Dave Wyndorf from Monster Magnet. And actually Monster Magnet is probably the best band to compare these guys too. While not quite as space-y, they have the same massive musical balls, every second here oozing major attitude, and maybe most importantly of all, they don't take themselves too seriously. It may be metal, and it may be heavy, but it sounds like these guys are having the times of their lives, and that sort of vibe is seriously infectious, and gives this a bit of a party rock vibe, which helps keep Rainbows from devolving into generic stoner rock, instead, the sound and the songs are loose and wild and wooly and fun as fuck, totally headbangable, groovy and crazy catchy too, there's also some Southern rock going on throughout, which of course reminds us of all time aQ faves Raging Slab, not to mention all the bands we mentioned in our review of the first Rainbows Are Free record (Kyuss, Reverend Bizarre, Skin Yard, Goatsnake, Freedom Hawk, etc.), and fuck, any band that lands somewhere between Monster Magnet and Raging Slab, gets a BIGtime aQ seal of approval!
MPEG Stream: "Speed God and the Rise of the Motherfuckers from a Place Beyond Hell"
MPEG Stream: "The Botanist"
MPEG Stream: "Waves Ahead Of The Ocean"

album cover RAINBOWS ARE FREE Waves Ahead Of The Ocean (Guestroom) lp 18.98
Second full length blast of psychedelic stoner rock heaviness from these hippy heavies (we can only assume they're hippies with a name like that right?), and like their first, this is another batch of swaggery, Sabbath-y, pounding stoner psych riffery, with even more dramatic vocals that first time around. Give a listen to the awesomely titled "Speed God And The Rise Of The Motherfuckers From A Place Beyond Hell", which displays the band at their bad ass best. The main riff, a stone cold killer, with some seriously wailing leads over the top, the drums, bombastic and beefy, and when those vocals swoop in, totally over the top. Somewhere between the near operatic metallic howl of Mika from Finnish hypno rockers Circle, the classic metal vox of Judas Priest's Rob Halford, and the space lord motherfucker himself, Dave Wyndorf from Monster Magnet. And actually Monster Magnet is probably the best band to compare these guys too. While not quite as space-y, they have the same massive musical balls, every second here oozing major attitude, and maybe most importantly of all, they don't take themselves too seriously. It may be metal, and it may be heavy, but it sounds like these guys are having the times of their lives, and that sort of vibe is seriously infectious, and gives this a bit of a party rock vibe, which helps keep Rainbows from devolving into generic stoner rock, instead, the sound and the songs are loose and wild and wooly and fun as fuck, totally headbangable, groovy and crazy catchy too, there's also some Southern rock going on throughout, which of course reminds us of all time aQ faves Raging Slab, not to mention all the bands we mentioned in our review of the first Rainbows Are Free record (Kyuss, Reverend Bizarre, Skin Yard, Goatsnake, Freedom Hawk, etc.), and fuck, any band that lands somewhere between Monster Magnet and Raging Slab, gets a BIGtime aQ seal of approval!
MPEG Stream: "Speed God and the Rise of the Motherfuckers from a Place Beyond Hell"
MPEG Stream: "The Botanist"
MPEG Stream: "Waves Ahead of the Ocean"

album cover SWEARIN' Surfing Strange (Salinas) lp 14.98
We'd been hearing a lot about this band, lots of folks calling them the 'next big thing' which tend to make us pretty skeptical. But the descriptions made us think we'd actually probably dig it, and we do. Like a lot of recent faves, Swearin' channel that while nineties indie/college rock sound (Nirvana, Dinosaur Jr., the Pixies, Pavement, etc.), and sound like they would have been our favorite band back in the day, and since it seems folks our age, never really got over THAT sound, they definitely have potential to be a new favorite. The sound is definitely derivative, but that's the point right? To these ears, sometimes Swearin' sound like a super charged Blake Babies, with Dinosaur Jr. guitars, and at others, like Pavement crossed with Sebadoh, and really, we'd be hard pressed to think of better band math than that. And although aping a sound is pretty easy, with the right gear, and the right recording, it's not nearly as easy to come up with the sort of SONGS to go with the sound. But Swearin' have it dialed in. With multiple vocalists, boy AND girl, they kick out the nineties indie rock jams, like, well, like it was still the nineties, swaggery and slackery, noisy and a little bit shoegazey, fuzzy and distorted, loose and ramshackle, jangly and hooky as hell, it's hard not to love, and really why try not to. A BIG TIME new favorite around here for sure. For fans of the Pixies, the Swirlies, Pavement, Dinosaur, Liz Phair, Superchunk, Sebadoh, Built To Spill, the Breeders, the Silver Jews and all the rest...
MPEG Stream: "Dust In The Gold Sack"
MPEG Stream: "Watered Down"
MPEG Stream: "Mermaid"

album cover NADLER, MARISSA July (Sacred Bones) lp 14.98
For her first record for Sacred Bones, Marissa Nadler has put together a pretty heavy hitting band, one that features folks like Steve Moore of Zombi, and Eyvind Kang, but really, Nadler doesn't need anyone but her own bad self, her gorgeous, haunting vocals, and delicate guitar playing are practically perfect. Just check out opener "Drive (Fade Into)", the first two minutes of which are just Nadler singing and playing guitars, spare and sparse, ethereal and so lovely, lush, lustrous harmonies, the Mazzy Star vibe which was always present, is huge here, in the phrasing, the timbre of Nadler's voice, occasionally layered into gorgeous multi-tracked harmonies, and while we would have been happy with a solo acoustic record, the band deftly, and quite subtle, add perfect sonic colorations, soft streaks of feedback, shimmery swells of pedal steel, the final stretch all twang flecked and dusky.
From there on out, Nadler and her band deliver one gorgeous song after another, some funereal and somber, dark, dolorous torch songs, others dark slowcore dirges, others darkly dreamy psychedelic country. A few favorites include "1923", laced with Kang's lilting strings, the track peppered with bits of effects dusted guitar swirl, all driven by some gorgeously languid, muted percussion, gloomy downer pop bliss via classic old time songsmithery, or "Dead City Emily", with Nadler's vocals soaring over a tangle of steel string buzz, everything wreathed in echo and reverb, with some surprising bits of piano and synth, the song blossoming into something impossibly expansive and lush, or the haunting dark country of "Desire", which sounds like it could have been performed by Mark Lanegan or David Eugene Edwards from Woven Hand, but at the same time, it couldn't have been anyone but Nadler.
We've loved pretty much everything we've heard, and have raved about almost all of her records, but July definitely takes Nadler's sound, her voice, her songs, to the next level, and positions her as one of this generations most stunning songwriters. Certainly fans of Chelsea Wolfe and Zola Jesus will no doubt love Nadler, if they don't already, but Nadler's sound is much more pure, more classic, some of the songs here do of course have moments of gothiness, and gloominess, but it definitely transcends any micro genre classification, and manages to arrive at something truly timeless, and will definitely be vying for top spots on lots of folks best of 2014 year end lists, even though it's only February.
Fantastic!
MPEG Stream: "Drive (Fade Into)"
MPEG Stream: "1923"
MPEG Stream: "Dead City Emily"
MPEG Stream: "Desire"
MPEG Stream: "Anyone Else"

album cover DIAMOND YOUTH Orange (Top Shelf) cd ep 8.98
This is the first we'd heard from these guys, but holy shit were we thrown for a loop. The fact that the record is on Top Shelf, home to former Record Of The Week-ers Piano Become The Teeth, had us expecting some sort of frenzied post-metal screamo heaviosity, but when we threw it on, it was anything but. Total catchy as fuck, super produced heavy pop that RULES. In fact the first track here, "Cannonball" is one of those rare jams, that immediately become the only thing we wanted to listen to (full disclosure, we being mostly Andee, but you probably figured that out). And thus, we've listened to that song, and this ep, 5 or 6 times a day, every day, for the last two weeks, basically since we first discovered it. And while this is not the group's newest (a new ep JUST came out), it is the first we heard, and it's still just about all we can listen to. Somewhere between the bombastic prog pop of Muse, the fuzzy post-stoner arena rock of Queens Of The Stone Age, and the poppiest parts of later Cave-In records (or maybe more accurately, any of CI frontman Stephen Brodsky's solo records), but maybe more than anything, we're reminded of a long ago aQ fave and previous Record Of The Week from a band called Open Hand, and like that band, Diamond Youth manage the impossible task of balancing impeccable, super polished pop-smithery, with some serious metallic heft, and hard rocking punk rock bombast. But metalheads and punks will most likely find Orange WAY too poppy, the rest of us though, just might have ANOTHER new favorite band. Every song here practically perfect, from the aforementioned opener, to the woozy, softly psychedelic, insanely catchy "Come Down", to the fuzzed out crunch of the title track, that almost sounds like Rocket From The Crypt, given a power pop makeover, to the broody, lilting minor key closer, that sounds like it could have been a Posies B-side. So good.
And we're psyched there's another new Diamond Youth record to obsess over once we've finally played this one to death... which doesn't seem likely to happen anytime soon!
MPEG Stream: "Cannonball"
MPEG Stream: "Separator"
MPEG Stream: "Come Down"

album cover DIAMOND YOUTH Orange (Top Shelf) 12" 16.98
This is the first we'd heard from these guys, but holy shit were we thrown for a loop. The fact that the record is on Top Shelf, home to former Record Of The Week-ers Piano Become The Teeth, had us expecting some sort of frenzied post-metal screamo heaviosity, but when we threw it on, it was anything but. Total catchy as fuck, super produced heavy pop that RULES. In fact the first track here, "Cannonball" is one of those rare jams, that immediately become the only thing we wanted to listen to (full disclosure, we being mostly Andee, but you probably figured that out). And thus, we've listened to that song, and this ep, 5 or 6 times a day, every day, for the last two weeks, basically since we first discovered it. And while this is not the group's newest (a new ep JUST came out), it is the first we heard, and it's still just about all we can listen to. Somewhere between the bombastic prog pop of Muse, the fuzzy post-stoner arena rock of Queens Of The Stone Age, and the poppiest parts of later Cave-In records (or maybe more accurately, any of CI frontman Stephen Brodsky's solo records), but maybe more than anything, we're reminded of a long ago aQ fave and previous Record Of The Week from a band called Open Hand, and like that band, Diamond Youth manage the impossible task of balancing impeccable, super polished pop-smithery, with some serious metallic heft, and hard rocking punk rock bombast. But metalheads and punks will most likely find Orange WAY too poppy, the rest of us though, just might have ANOTHER new favorite band. Every song here practically perfect, from the aforementioned opener, to the woozy, softly psychedelic, insanely catchy "Come Down", to the fuzzed out crunch of the title track, that almost sounds like Rocket From The Crypt, given a power pop makeover, to the broody, lilting minor key closer, that sounds like it could have been a Posies B-side. So good.
And we're psyched there's another new Diamond Youth record to obsess over once we've finally played this one to death... which doesn't seem likely to happen anytime soon!
MPEG Stream: "Cannonball"
MPEG Stream: "Separator"
MPEG Stream: "Come Down"

album cover TEMPEL On the Steps of the Temple (Prosthetic) cd 13.98
On The Steps Of The Temple is the debut from this Arizona duo, who offer up a killer slab of instrumental post-black metal, their sound thick and downtuned, the guitars MASSIVE, slipping easily from buzzing blast, to something more churning and mathy, the songs laced with soaring melodies, subtle swirling synths, grinding and metallic one second, with lots of stop/starts and tangled almost progged out arrangements, soaring and majestic the next, with a serious post rock vibe running throughout, at times sounding a bit like a blackened, more metallic Godspeed, and at others, ditching the metal completely, and unfurling some fantastically brooding musical moodiness that manages to be tense and intense without ever exploding into actual metal. That said, the bulk of the record IS spent in metal mode, somewhere between the doomy bombast of Neurosis, the epic slow build of Isis, mixed with some serious metallic mathiness and some furious blackened blasting, with much of the record mixing being a dizzying mix of all of those, the end result something melancholy and mesmerizing, moody and metallic, atmospheric and HEAVY.
MPEG Stream: "Mountain"
MPEG Stream: "Rising From The Abyss"
MPEG Stream: "Final Years"

album cover TEMPEL On the Steps of the Temple (Prosthetic) lp 19.98
ALSO AVAILABLE ON LP!!
On The Steps Of The Temple is the debut from this Arizona duo, who offer up a killer slab of instrumental post-black metal, their sound thick and downtuned, the guitars MASSIVE, slipping easily from buzzing blast, to something more churning and mathy, the songs laced with soaring melodies, subtle swirling synths, grinding and metallic one second, with lots of stop/starts and tangled almost progged out arrangements, soaring and majestic the next, with a serious post rock vibe running throughout, at times sounding a bit like a blackened, more metallic Godspeed, and at others, ditching the metal completely, and unfurling some fantastically brooding musical moodiness that manages to be tense and intense without ever exploding into actual metal. That said, the bulk of the record IS spent in metal mode, somewhere between the doomy bombast of Neurosis, the epic slow build of Isis, mixed with some serious metallic mathiness and some furious blackened blasting, with much of the record mixing being a dizzying mix of all of those, the end result something melancholy and mesmerizing, moody and metallic, atmospheric and HEAVY.
MPEG Stream: "Mountain"
MPEG Stream: "Rising From The Abyss"
MPEG Stream: "Final years"

album cover DHAMPYR Withdrawals & Candy Heavens (Acephale Winter Productions) cassette 4.98
Not sure how we had gone this long without hearing this weirdo Rhode Island black metal / metalgaze / depressive ambient horde, especially considering that a quick check on the Metal Archives site reveals that these guys (this guy?) have released SIX full lengths, and about 20 or 30 demos and splits and eps. But this latest, Withdrawals & Candy Heavens, didn't take long to convince us that we have been seriously missing out. Based on the title alone, you might envision this as something that easily could have ended up on Khrysanthoney or Starlight Temple Society, and you'd be right. Dhampyr's sounds as much blissed out shoegaze jangle, and trancey blackened buzz pop as black metal, the anguished, tortured vokill mewlings, the main tether tying the sound to actual black metal. Otherwise, the sound soars and shimmers, dreamily stumbling through sundappled post rock, and spidery minor key clean guitar buzzscapes, the opener, a sprawling near 18 minute epic, is all you really need, heady and hypnotic, droning and dirgey, trance-y and hypnotic, darkly poppy, and moodily melancholy, the first ten minutes, pure post-black metal bliss out, and then the song collapses into a sonic black hole of gnarled, tangled buzz, all blurred and smeared into a hazy psychedelic ambience, buried samples add a strange garbled alien vibe to the proceedings, all the while, the guitars unfurl achingly melodic peals, buried beneath the strange sampled softnoise dronescape, emerging on the other side, a lumbering dirge, replete with deep dramatic vox, and more wails, and a black buzz fade out finale. The rest of the tracks are much shorter, but no less dramatic or twisted, the second track, delivers a raga-like blast of fast picked soaring guitar riffs, the sans drums or vocals, almost sound like some strange avant garde experimental guitarnoise, and when the rest of the instruments swoop in, it only gets weirder, with some strange fractured rhythms, distorted drumming, and more of those wild whooping vocals, the sound blown out and on the verge of crumbling. The last two tracks split their time between, murky lo-fi drones, noisy post rock mathiness, tranced out black-psych mesmer, the final track impossibly melodic, sounding like it could be some lost demo from some obscure math/post rock outfit from North Carolina in the nineties, albeit a bit more blackened, and with some wild double bass drum blasting.
EXTREMELY LIMITED!!! Only FIFTY COPIES!!! We have a bunch, but they won't last long, and once they're gone, that's probably IT!
MPEG Stream: "Charred At A Stake In Younger Times Than Ours"
MPEG Stream: "The Belching Back Of Flowers"
MPEG Stream: "Je T'adore A L'egal De La Voute Nocturne"

album cover FUNERAL FORNICATION Fornography: A Compendium Of Decadence And Defilement (Acephale Winter Productions) cassette 4.98
One of several new tapes on this week's list from local label Acephale Winter Productions, and another group new to us despite, as the title explains, having been around for a more than a decade, this tape being a sort of best of from this Canadian horde. And seeing as it's a best of, drawn from multiple releases, spread out over years, the sound, and sound quality varies greatly, but we have to say, we're digging pretty much all of it. The opener is furious drum machine driven slab of epic black metal, with a distinctly post-BM vibe, soaring and epic, with chiming guitars, the production lush and HEAVY, some cool weird breakdowns too with woozy, fretless sounding bass, and strange percussion, some foresty folk here and there, but for the most part, it's just epic and majestic, frosty, wintry black buzz. But the second track is totally different, way more lo-fi, and super symphonic, gnarled black buzz, and crumbling distortion wedded, to majestic orchestral pomp, with some classic metal chug, more weird bass, and some serious shreddery, we almost like this even more than the first track. And FF continues to confound, the third track sounding like a slightly more lo-fi Dimmu Borgir, retaining that symphonic sound, but adding dramatic spoken word, swirling synths, the results are pretty fantastic. From there on out, it seems like we're digging deep, with some tracks sounding like demos, super lo-fi, but with the same aspirations of metallic grandeur, which translates pretty well, even with the obvious recording limitations, the band also delving into blackened doom, as well as some sonic surprises like "Riding In The North", that seems to channel Borknagar, plenty of midtempo black buzz, but with dramatic piano, and some gothy crooned clean vocals, before the tape finishes off with two blasts of frosty black grimnity, one with some almost Queen sounding harmonized leads!! Killer stuff, that will definitely have us tracking down some of FF's full lengths!
LIMITED TO 50 COPIES!!! Guessing these won't be around for long...
MPEG Stream: "The Weeping Tree"
MPEG Stream: "Cold Colossus"
MPEG Stream: "No One Has The Right To Exist"
MPEG Stream: "Riding In The North"
MPEG Stream: "Sorrowspell"

album cover MOLOCH Depressive Black Metal Plague (Acephale Winter Productions) cassette 3.98
These two most recent release from Ukrainian one man black metal band had us seriously confused. We originally reviewed the OTHER one that wasn't out yet, thinking it was this one, then did properly review that one, and are now finally reviewing THIS one, a 4 song, 20 minute ep that was originally released as a super limited lp on Prison Tatt records. Not surprising we'd be confused, as we mentioned in out other review of the OTHER new Moloch tape, these two come on the heels of over ONE HUNDRED releases! And yet, every time we hear something new, we immediately remember why we've always dug Moloch so much, and Depressive Black Metal Plague is no different, a loping, dirgey, depressive black metal that is thick with crumbling buzz, primitive stumbling drumming, sung/spoken vocals, the first track a slo-mo creep, that lumbers along before the sound grows gradually more and more noisy and buzzy, building to an almost psychedelic blackened squall before the guitars and drums drift away, leaving just the bass to wind down to the end. Somehow the second track cranks up the distortion even more, thick swirls of blown out crumbling buzz, the vocals too, and anguished wail way up in the mix, those two elements almost entirely obscuring the haphazard drumming below, harsh and lo-fi, grim and melancholically black, that sound oozing into the next track, droned out and trancey, the biggest sonic shift coming in the final track, which sounds almost freeform by comparison, the guitars cranked and in-the-red, the drums total free jazz freakout mode, a dense dizzying blast of black buzz dirgery, before everything drops out, leaving the final few minutes to just stately synths, and mournful melodies.
LIMITED TO 100 COPIES!!!
MPEG Stream: "Plague I"
MPEG Stream: "Plague IV"

album cover ARGENTINUM ASTRUM Malleus Maleficarum (Forcefield/Inherent/Anti Corp) lp 13.98
Besides having possibly the coolest, and most illegible metal logo ever, these Knoxville Tennessee blackened doomlords unleash some seriously sick sludge, that is after an extended stretch of ominous ambience, more than a quarter of the opening 12 minute track. It begins with a dark swirl of field recordings, the sound of the forest, or the swamp, insects, splashing water, all underpinned by an ominous low end rumble, the sound getting more industrial and noisy as it goes, with strange percussion, looped fractured rhythms, all over a churning collage of layered nature sounds, the whole thing seriously psychedelic... The track finally settles into a hushed stretch of clean guitar shimmer, before erupting into what is essentially slo-mo black metal, lumbering, and downtuned, the sound then shifting from that blackened buzz, to some seriously knuckle dragging doom-ic crush, eventually building to something a bit more frenzied and propulsive, the same creeping riffage, but with wilder, more chaotic drumming, before the guitars amp up too, the band getting sort of chugging and almost math-metally for the last couple minutes, finishing off with some shrieked, feedback drenched, FX-flecked, Eyehategod-worthy ultra-doom. Whew! The second track begins with some furious fast pick riffing, sheets of feedback, and then the sound explodes into some blasting blackness, a murky, noisy, chaotic black buzz blowout, rife with gnarled riffage, some true metal chug, plenty of noise, and some seriously tangled arrangements. The third track, the shortest of the bunch, again starts off with some soaring, almost Orthrelm style black-shred, before being swallowed up by another cloud of shrieking feedback, erupting into a final furious sprawl of frantic black buzz and harrowing hellish howl.
MPEG Stream: "I"
MPEG Stream: "II"

album cover BE FOREST Earthbeat (We Were Never Being Boring) cd 9.99
They say a lot of things, whoever they might be. They've said that the '60s are back. They've said that '70s are back. They've LONG said that the '80s were back (beginning in 1992 or so); and now, they say that the '90s are back. Whatever. A good sound and a good tune are universal, and timeless, and Be Forest harken back to the best parts of the 4AD / Creation sound from the late '80s / early '90s, doing so with great songwriting, and not just the beautiful patina of that sound. This Italian band has studied their history quite well, picking up many of the songwriting tropes of the era they so adore. It's easy to hear in Be Forest all the things that Budgie did right in terms of creating that rollicking, ritualistic backbeat for Siouxsie & The Banshees. There's plenty of the bright sparkling guitar lines that harken back to what Johnny Marr brought to the Smiths as well as the spiralling melodies that could spin out of the shoegazing miserablism of Slowdive and Ride. And yes, all of these things in and of themselves are worthy of investigating. How many times have we jumped up and down for the dreamy gloom pop of any given Slumberland / Captured Tracks band (e.g. Heavenly Beat, Girls Names, Violins, Diiv, etc.)? But in Earthbeat, Be Forest has added to the equations, some impossibly memorable tunes, which is really at the core of what makes this band so great, lead by the chanteuse Costanza Delle Rose, who helps push the group's sound slighty more toward a more modest version of the swoonsome torch songs of Beach House. Great stuff!
MPEG Stream: "Airwaves"
MPEG Stream: "Colours"

album cover BE FOREST Earthbeat (We Were Never Being Boring) lp 17.98
They say a lot of things, whoever they might be. They've said that the '60s are back. They've said that '70s are back. They've LONG said that the '80s were back (beginning in 1992 or so); and now, they say that the '90s are back. Whatever. A good sound and a good tune are universal, and timeless, and Be Forest harken back to the best parts of the 4AD / Creation sound from the late '80s / early '90s, doing so with great songwriting, and not just the beautiful patina of that sound. This Italian band has studied their history quite well, picking up many of the songwriting tropes of the era they so adore. It's easy to hear in Be Forest all the things that Budgie did right in terms of creating that rollicking, ritualistic backbeat for Siouxsie & The Banshees. There's plenty of the bright sparkling guitar lines that harken back to what Johnny Marr brought to the Smiths as well as the spiralling melodies that could spin out of the shoegazing miserablism of Slowdive and Ride. And yes, all of these things in and of themselves are worthy of investigating. How many times have we jumped up and down for the dreamy gloom pop of any given Slumberland / Captured Tracks band (e.g. Heavenly Beat, Girls Names, Violins, Diiv, etc.)? But in Earthbeat, Be Forest has added to the equations, some impossibly memorable tunes, which is really at the core of what makes this band so great, lead by the chanteuse Costanza Delle Rose, who helps push the group's sound slighty more toward a more modest version of the swoonsome torch songs of Beach House. Great stuff!
MPEG Stream: "Airwaves"
MPEG Stream: "Colours"

album cover DEAD MOON Defiance (M'Lady's) cd 14.98
One of three reissues from garage rock legends Dead Moon, part of a comprehensive campaign reissuing ALL of their records on cd, most for the first time EVER. Defiance was originally released in 1990, hot on the heels of their debut In The Graveyard, and the follow up Unknown Passage (both also reviewed on this week's list), and like those two, Defiance is another collection of impossibly catchy, raw garage rocking classics, with Fred and Toody Cole delivering the sort of songs that sound totally timeless, and crafting the sort of sound most contemporary garage rockers are still emulating today. Opening with a public domain blues classic, the band deliver a serious blast of fuzzed out, swaggery, distorted garage blooze that kills. And from there on out, it's just more classic Dead Moon, the buzzy, hypnotic crunch of "Not The Only One", which just oozes pathos, super anguished emotional vocals over dark minor key jangle, some tracks are all twangy and croony, like the dark torch songy "Dagger Moon", and when Toody takes over on vocals, like on "Johnny's Got A Gun", the sound is total sixties girl group radness, but still plenty raw and stripped down, crusty and fuzzy, and the AC/DC comparisons that we never really got before, still apply here, on tracks like "Kicked Out / Kicked In", with Fred's Bon Scott like vox perfectly complimenting the stripped down heavy blues stomp.
We've been playing these three reissues to death, and we're already chomping at the bit for the next three!!!
MPEG Stream: "Milk Cow Blues"
MPEG Stream: "Not The Only One"
MPEG Stream: "Crystal Is Falling"
MPEG Stream: "Revenge"

album cover DEAD MOON In The Graveyard (M'Lady's) cd 14.98
Finally, for the first time EVER on cd, the debut from garage rock legends Dead Moon, part of a comprehensive reissue campaign that will find all the classic Dead Moon records reissued. But for now, the first three are ready for digital consumption, housed in fancy digipaks, that belie the grungy, fuzzy, wailing jangle genius within. Fronted by Fred and Toody Cole, the sound of Dead Moon is at once raw and ragged, hooky and catchy, that catchiness due maybe in part to Fred's previous stints in various psych/garage pop combos, including The Lollipop Shoppe, but Dead Moon, while poppy and catchy, are not anything like a proper pop band. Instead, they craft a sort classic garage rock sound, beholden to lots of early rock and roll, but definitely sonically more aligned with groups like AC/DC, the Wipers, Blue Cheer, 13th Floor Elevators - killer riffs, simple drum pound, stripped down and totally rocking, with Fred's super distinctive vocals, keening over the top (which is where much of the AC/DC comes from for sure), with occasional vox from Toody, making for killer harmonies, as well as some lead vocals, like on their cover of "Can't Help Falling In Love", and really, every song here pretty much as tone cold classic. It's not hard to understand why Dead Moon have such a massive cult following, hopefully with these long overdue reissues, that cult will grow and grow.
MPEG Stream: "In The Graveyard"
MPEG Stream: "Out On A Wire"
MPEG Stream: "Parchment Farm"

album cover DEAD MOON Unknown Passage (M'Lady's) cd 14.98
The Dead Moon compact disc reissue campaign is upon us, the first three records from these legendary garage rockers now available on cd for the first time EVER, and while most folks are probably well aware of Dead Moon's sonic legacy, there are no doubt legions of potential fans who will be discovering this stuff for the first time, and whose minds will most likely be thoroughly blown!
To us, Dead Moon was always sort of THEE quintessential garage rock bands, Fred and Toody Cole delivering plenty of fuzzy jangle and raw, stumbling lo-fi bash and pound, but we'd always seen people comparing them to AC/DC which for some reason didn't make much sense, but holy shit, opener "Dead Moon Night" is a dead ringer for those Aussies, the opening riff, the stripped down swagger, the ridiculous lyrics, right down to Fred Cole's distinctive Bon Scott like yowl, not to mention a chorus that kills. And the rest of the tracks are just as good, with some of the tracks getting broodier, others channeling classic early rock and roll, like the heartfelt duet "A Miss Of You", with Fred and Toody, crooning together over simple drum pound, and twang flecked jangle. But then it's right back into it, with the classic "54/40 Or Fight", a ragged stumbling garage rock blowout.
This album has another great cover, this time the Chambers Brothers' "Time Has Come Today", which finds Dead Moon almost sounding like a noiser, more ramshackle Creedence Clearwater Revival. So good. We had sorta forgotten how much we love Dead Moon, but these records are just so goddamn great, long time fans will find themselves RE-obsessed, and if you're hearing Dead Moon for the first time, man are you in for a treat!
MPEG Stream: "Dead Moon Night"
MPEG Stream: "My Escape"
MPEG Stream: "Time Has Come Today"

album cover GUIDED BY VOICES Motivational Jumpsuit (GBV) cd 13.98
What can we say? We LOVE Guided By Voices. we love the old records, and the new records too. And nearly all of the millions of side projects. GBV mainman Bob Pollard is a twisted pop genius, and somehow, manages, even after hundreds and hundreds of songs released, out of thousands and thousands written, to churn out GBV records that are crazy good. Great even. A dizzying collection of little blasts of crunchy, fuzzy, jangly perfect pop, equal parts British Invasion and US bedroom 4-track popsmithery, hooks galore, every song impossibly catchy, wry and goofy and often WTF? Never shying away from damaged sonic experimentation, but even at the most obtuse and experimental, the sounds somehow manage to STILL be infused with some sort of pop core. You can check our reviews of the last few records for more on the GBV story, there are maybe, 5 or 6 or 8 records at this point, who really knows, and that's just POST break up and reunion, go further back and dig into the true GBV classics, Bee Thousand, Alien Lanes, Vampire On Titus, etc. But really, that's the strange thing, is Bee Thousand THEE Guided By Voices classic? Is Alien Lanes? Or is Guided By Voices a never ending work in progress? And maybe those aren't even really albums, but simply songsuites, in Pollard's epic life-long GBV micro-pop symphony? And when you think about it like that, it's actually pretty fantastic to have such a massive body of work to dig through. And to trace the development of the band's sound, progressions, regressions, and yet through it all, multiple lineups, different productions, varying fidelity, the hit to miss ratio is astronomical. We can't really think of another songwriter with that kind of record. Cuz even the misses, in the context of whatever record they're a part of, are just that, a part of the whole, and in their own slightly off way, still 'work', and often reveal themselves, less as proper songs, and more as sonic coloration for the stone cold classics, of which there are MANY.
So yeah, you might be sick of GBV by now, and we'd definitely understand, but we're always happy for more. And while we might still love Bee Thousand or Alien Lanes the best, this recent batch of albums are pretty much nearly as good, and of all of those, this new one might be the best yet.
MPEG Stream: "Littlest League Possible"
MPEG Stream: "Until Next Time"
MPEG Stream: "Writer's Bloc (Psycho All the Time)"
MPEG Stream: "Planet Score"
MPEG Stream: "Alex and The Omegas"

album cover UNCLE TUPELO No Depression (Sony) 2cd 15.98
One of our favorite records, by one of our favorite bands EVER, gets another reissue, this one even more deluxe than the last, but really, Uncle Tupelo's No Depression is the sort of record that doesn't need any bonus tracks or demos or rarities, a record that's practically perfect all on its own, and for fans, who tend toward the obsessive, we'll buy it again and again and again, bonus material or no, if only to give back to a band that has given us so much. This time however, there's plenty of extra radness for rabid fans, well worth buying again, more on that at the end of the review, but here's more or less what we said, last time this record was reissued, back in 2003:
Belleville, Illinois' favorite sons almost single handedly made it okay for indie rockers to don sparkly jean jackets and publicly profess their love of all things Byrds and Gram Parsons, creating in the process a genre that would carry on their proud tradition to this day. From the gorgeously-twangy-country-intertwined-with-raucous-punk-rock of their early days to the lush-and -perfect-Nashville-via-Midwestern-backwater-country/bluegrass of their final years, no one can hold a candle to Farrar and Tweedy, the dynamic duo whose different (but equally compelling) songwriting styles and dramatically disparate voices helped form the foundation for one of the greatest rock bands (or country rock bands) of the last decade.
And this is the record that started it all. Alt-country, No Depression or whatever it's called. Named for a Carter Family song and influenced as much by punk rock as folk and bluegrass, No Depression is a wild, rollicking, twangy, thrashy record full of amazing hooks, mournful melodies, and kick ass rock and roll. Never had a rock band managed to make country so cool (the Byrds came close, but I mean a ROCK band, a PUNK ROCK band!), opening up the ears of indie rockers everywhere. Perfectly captures the teen angst and dreary hopelessness of rural midwestern farm life, that no-way-out resignation mixed with just a dash of maybe-I-won't-end-up-like-my-folks-poor-and-miserable. It also introduced us to the amazing songsmithery of Farrar and Tweedy, whose tumultuous partnership would only last a few more years, but who would separately continue on (Wilco, Son Volt) to define the genre they practically invented.
And even all these years later, this record sounds so fresh and alive and kick ass, if you've somehow made it this far without hearing No Depression, you're gonna have your mind blown. Whether you think you like country or not, this will convince you that you DO. Twangy and melancholic, supercharged, hooky as hell, nearly headbangable at times, country rock that is just so goddamn good, easily one of our all time top ten records. And any chance to revisit this gem, or to turn other folks onto it, we'll take it!
Like the previous reissue, this new version also includes the vinyl only bonus track "Left In The Dark" from the Anthology 2lp, "Won't Forget" from the A Matter Of Degrees soundtrack (terrible movie, great soundtrack!), a kick ass cover of the Byrds' "Sin City" from an old 7", but also tacks on (on the second disc), the band's 1989 Not Forever Just For Now demo, with alternate versions of all the No Depression songs, and then some, as well, as well as some live acoustic tracks, and a bunch of tracks from their Colorblind And Rhymeless 1987 demo. Deluxe packaging, tons of liner notes, rare photos, and yeah, you bet your ass we bought it again!!!
MPEG Stream: "Graveyard Shift"
MPEG Stream: "Factory Belt"
MPEG Stream: "Whiskey Bottle"

album cover PONTIAK Innocence (Thrill Jockey) cd 14.98
The last Pontiak record, 2012's Echo Ono, seriously threw us for a loop. Not only was it the group's seventh record (and yet the first one we'd heard), but it was also sonically, at the time at least, totally removed from what we normally expect from Thrill Jockey. Some seriously heavy, riffy, psychedelic, stoner rock, massive fuzzed out guitars, bombastic drumming, wild whooping vocals, but whatever it was, we dug it BIG TIME. So here's the follow up, and from track one, it's more of the glorious same. The first track a short sharp blast of crunchy riffage, spidery psychedelic leads, everything doused in fuzz and echo, a little bit mathy, seriously stonery, it's the sort of stuff that should appeal to underground heavy rock nerds as much as more mainstream folks into Queens Of The Stone Age and the White Stripes. In fact, spun correctly, it's not hard to imagine this being Pontiak's breakout record, and if some band like the Black Keys took them on tour, their big-rock-success fate would be sealed. But for now, they're still ours, and they're still plying their sweaty, bloody knuckled, hard rawking wares in tiny clubs and spitting out darkly psychedelic, eminently headbangable stoner groove, hard psych records like this one, and we seriously can't get enough. Fans of Golden Void, Dead Meadow, Comets On Fire, Bardo Pond, Burning Brides, will flip their lids. Swirling organs underpin some tracks, sounding straight up seventies psych prog ("It's The Greatest"), others like "Ghost", sound almost like Dutch instru-metallers Gore given a serious heavy fuzz makeover, the band locked into cyclical tranced out hypno-rock grooves. Other tracks are laid back, Southern rock slow jams, channeling the Allman Brothers or the Outlaws ("Noble Heads"), and still others are seriously slithery heavy rock dirges, with some of the fuzziest guitars since Kyuss (check out the chugging, churning "Surrounded By Diamonds") and a bunch are just awesomely noisy, psychedelic garage blowouts, swirling clouds of FX, the band kicking out the jams, swaggery, stomping hard rocking, hooky heaviness that just KILLS.
MPEG Stream: "Innocence"
MPEG Stream: "Ghosts"
MPEG Stream: "Surrounded By Diamonds"
MPEG Stream: "Beings Of The Rarest"

album cover PYE CORNER AUDIO Black Mill Tapes Volumes 1-4 (Type ) 3cd 26.00
It is a red letter day for us here at aQ, in that we finally actually get to write about and sell you a Pye Corner Audio release instead of lamenting the fact that our supplier for PCA recordings only sent us a fraction of what we had initially wanted - or is more often the case, that it sold out completely before we could get our hands on ANY. To be sure, over the past couple of years, a few of Pye Corner's releases have slipped in and out of the shop, leaving just an ectoplasmic stain of picture-perfect electronic retro-futurism on our collective minds; and it also seems fitting that Pye Corner Audio released an album of his hauntological disco on the Ghost Box label, which again we've never gotten enough of to list. But now, hurrah, we have this!! As the title specifies, this triple cd set collects the first four volumes of Pye Corner Audio's Black Mill Tapes, which were originally released on vinyl as a couple of double lp sets which are (as noted) long gone.
Pye Corner Audio is the work of audio wizard Martin Jenkins, who is one of the in-house engineers at Miloco Studios in London where he works alongside the likes of Alan Moulder, Flood, and Trevor Jackson - yeah, top flight producers for sure. It's obvious that the work of Pye Corner Audio did not develop in a bubble, as there are very clear ideas and a fully formed sound language that is very savvy in its references to Delia Derbyshire's sci-fi electronics, the autobahn precision of Kraftwerk's songwriting, John Carpenter's bold synth melodies, and the bad-ass swagger of Detroit techno. In a rare interview, Jenkins described the working methods of PCA as being quickly sketched-out variations onto quarter inch tape and even four-track cassettes with a couple of no-name Japanese monosynths and a drum machine. He continues that "I definitely embrace imperfection. In my days as an engineer, I spent so much time polishing performances and correcting mistakes that I realised it made for pretty sterile recordings. I also felt extremely liberated after coming to the realisation that there is no absolute final version of a song. There are just alternative interpretations. Once I stopped chasing that elusive perfection, things eased massively."
Through those monosynths and simple step sequencers, Jenkins builds a unique, forgotten sound of alien ambient passages made foggy through an almost Basinski-like approach to tape disintegration punctuated with crackingly good Italo-disco jams. These rhythms are where Pye Corner Audio really shines, presenting a whipcrack / leather-glove seduction that comes straight out of the Throbbing Gristle playbook for "Hot On The Heels Of Love", but if those four somehow had an imagined electronic music summit with John Carpenter at the other side of the table trying to score a soundtrack for Cronenberg with none of those super-egos getting in the way of each other. Yeah, this stuff is timeless. Just fucking timeless.
MPEG Stream: "We Have Visitors"
MPEG Stream: "Electronic Rhythm Number Seven"
MPEG Stream: "Hexden Channel"
MPEG Stream: "Void Bounds"
MPEG Stream: "Evil Surrounds"

album cover MR. PETER HAYDEN We Fly High (Doognad / Ramekuukkeli / Mikrofoni) 7" 12.98
A while back we made the most recent record from these Finnish spaced out psych-kraut drone-rockers our Record Of The Week, a single song, spread out over a whole record, rife with pretty much everything we love, crumbling distortion, swirling FX, motorik rhythms, lush swirling textures, heavy, heady, hypnotic, the kind of sound that should never end, even one record length song is not enough, total kosmische hypno-rock heaviness that we, and most of you, can't seem to get enough of. Sadly it seems like that record is no longer available, and word is, the band is working on a new record, a new SONG actually, that will fill up TWO whole cds, but until then, we got this new 7" to tide us over, and as is there want, it's just one song, about 13 minutes long, and another epic psychedelic space rock sprawl, one that sort of ups the sonic ante, taking the sound of that last full length, and pushing it even further out, a dark distorted field of slo-mo riffing, shimmering billows of blurred FX, and then the sound explodes into some seriously heavy, spaced out dirgery, echo drenched vox, simple Teutonic drum pound, everything hazy and prismatic, the sound shot through with swirls of synth buzz and spidery guitar melodies, gloriously epic and majestic, fans of Godspeed style bombast will flip for sure. Totally tranced out, transcendent, psychedelic, space-drone, hypno-rock bliss. Not sure how limited these are, but guessing they won't be around for too long...
MPEG Stream: "We Fly High (Part 1)"

album cover JUTE GYTE Vast Chains (Jeshimoth Entertainment) cd-r 6.98
Another blast of twisted microtonal black metal from this long time aQ fave, and as we mentioned in our review of the last JG, this might be his 20th record, of which we've only managed to review a handful. But like that last one, Vast Chains, takes all the tropes of black metal, and transforms them into something super psychedelic and avant, the tunings, the arrangements, the melodies, fans of groups like Deathspell Omega, Blut Aus Nord, who traffic in woozy, slippery riffage, and blurred blackness, Jute Gyte takes that experimentalism a step further, black metal fragmented, split into jagged shards, and somehow reconstituted into something at once heavy and harsh, but also weirdly melodic and mesmerizing, but also, totally batshit WTF, Ocrilim / Orthrelm worthy avant-shred, but that shred here is more about texture, as the guitar parts and riffs are so odd, so damaged and atonal, sometimes they conjure utter beauty, lush lovely sonic swells, other times, they're so warped they almost make your eyes water. Opener "Semen Dried Into The Silence Of Rock And Mineral", lays it all out, sounding a bit like a slow motion Mesuhuggah, or a super spare, 20th century Deathspell, the sound chugging and churning, creeping and slithering, the vibe more doomy really than black, the arrangement confoundingly mathy, intricate and constantly shifting, and the guitars, holy shit, even when the heaviness is peeled back, leaving just some haunting clean guitar shimmer, those parts somehow sound even MORE strange and alien.
There is definitely plenty of black buzz, the dizzying Voivod meets Deathspell fury of "Endless Moths Swarming", is so dense and droned out, it almost seems to smear into something beyond black metal, a sort of avant drone-buzz blackness. There's also weird poppiness, like the clean chiming guitar melodies woven into "The Inexpressible Loneliness Of Thinking", that at times almost sounds like some sort of blackened cold wave / gloom pop, but is laced with some impossibly catchy melodies, that seem to slip out of the microtonal tuning, just for a second, before collapsing back into a swirling black hole of avant sonics.
Holy shit this stuff is amazing and bafflingly brilliant. We're kind of shocked that this guy is still self-releasing it. It's really about time a label like Relapse, or Season Of Mist, or Profound Lore, finally step up and expose Jute Gyte's twisted blackness to the masses.
Packaged in a DVD style case with a full color cover, and a printed insert/lyric sheet.
MPEG Stream: "Semen Dried into the Silence of Rock and Mineral"
MPEG Stream: "Endless Moths Swarming"
MPEG Stream: "The Inexpressible Loneliness of Thinking"

album cover FLOOR s/t (Robotic Empire) lp + 7" 24.00
Long before the crushingly catchy sludge pop of Torche, there was, well, the crushingly catchy sludge pop of Floor, whose first record has just gotten a fancy vinyl reissue, complete with a bonus 7". Even way back in 2002, frontman Steve Brooks was beginning to craft an impossibly fuzzed out heavy pop, that would eventually morph into the glorious Torche. But listening to this again, he didn't have very far to go. Opener "Scimitar" could easily be a Torche song, with it's gut rumbling downtuned metallic chug, and soaring pop-song vox, a twisted combo that sounded (and still sounds!) so goddamn good. At the time, Floor had only released tracks on compilations and seven inches. And in a scene crowded with misanthropic heavies, instead of wallowing in their underground-basement-split-seven-inch past and rehashing their slow motion grind (in the style of Cavity and Eyehategod), they made THIS, adding LOTS of clean vocals and a surprising amount of melody, ending up with a sound somewhere between your favorite pop punk emo band, the Melvins, late period Fudge Tunnel, and Nirvana, but way, way heavier. Seriously. Even all the way back then, they had already basically turned into an honest to goodness pop band, but a downtuned, amps-on-11, super-distorted, kick-in-the-guts pop band. Great production too with super distorted low end that makes their huge bursts of guitar sound like the end of the world! Way recommended. Fans of Torche who missed out on Floor, you are in for a treat!
This reissue includes three bonus tracks NOT on the original release!!!
MPEG Stream: "Scimitar"
MPEG Stream: "Return To Zero"
MPEG Stream: "Downed Star"

album cover HAVE A NICE LIFE The Unnatural World (Enemies List / Flenser) lp 17.98
The first release from this twisted avant shoegaze, black-doom, new wave, industrial psych pop duo, Deathconsciousness, was a sprawling double disc, complete with a huge book filled with lyrics and obscure text, strange illustrations, sonically and conceptually it was utterly stunning, we had been getting emails about that band and record for months before we got our hands on copies, and in our review of that record, we proclaimed that it really SHOULD have been a Record Of The Week, but the band decided to stop making copies, and we had the last copies ever. We were so obsessed with the record that at one point it was even slated to be reissued on Andee's tUMULt label too, but sadly, that never came to fruition either, and we hadn't heard much from Have A Nice Life since, a tape, a cd-r of outtakes, a few live performances, we began fearing the worst, that Deathconsciousness was the first and final proper record we'd hear from these guys.
But now, six years later, local label The Flenser continues their shift from black metal to twisted dark pop and avant heaviness, and reveal a brand new Have A Nice Life record, and we get to right that old wrong, and finally make Have A Nice Life our Record Of The Week, cuz the new record is really damn near as good as the first. And sonically a good fit for The Flenser too, their new even less metal sound settling somewhere right between outfits like Aussie black-jangle noise poppers Loss Of Self and math-doom electro-sludge goth rockers Wreck And Reference. And yeah, HANL were really never metal, and now, they seem to have settled into a sound that's equal part gloomy death rock, noisy jangle pop and nineties style shoegaze, with a weird lo-fi production, almost entirely clean vocals, lots of angular guitars, reverb heavy goth rock drumming, and huge thick swirls of crumbling distortion and psychedelic freakout guitars. The record opens with "Guggenheim Wax Museum", a heady blast of fuzzy, super distorted dirge pop, blown out and shoegazey, with deep, dramatic vocals, and wild squalls of swirling psychedelic noise, like a slo-mo Godspeed fused to a blackened My Bloody Valentine, which bleeds right into "Defenestration Song" a super melodic, gloomy, goth pop gem, all thick fuzzy bass, a little Joy Division, molded into a sort of post industrial doom-gaze death rock with some super dramatic, almost emo vox.
"Burial Society" sets moody pianos amidst a slowly skittering drum machine, beneath crooned hushed vocals, buzzing guitars, sounding almost like a darker, meaner, more underground Deftones (which is a VERY good thing by the way), the same sort of goth informed, dramatic metallic pop, but filtered through a much more fractured and fucked up sonic filter, laced with some surprising vocal oooh's and aaah's that add even more poppiness. "Music Will Untune The Sky" unfurls as a creepy raga like drone, keening, wailing vox, heaving low end swells, lush and layered, slowly blossoming into something darkly melodic and prismatic, before slipping into the confusionally chaotic opening to "Cropsey", a tangle of overlapping samples, buried muted rhythms, chiming barely there melodies, before the song finally explodes in a frenzy of tribal drumming, swirling strings, and more strident death rock vox. "Unholy Life" is some serious, total eighties style goth pop, a little bit new wavey, echo drenched drums, minor key melodies, but with some cool angular metallic guitars, and a wild noisy, psychedelic shoegaze second half, which gets gloriously blown out and blissed out. "Dan And Tim" cranks up the mathy post punk, sinewy and slithery, before transforming into more hazy gloom pop shimmer, the mathiness of the opener continually churning away beneath ethereal swaths of fuzzy guitar and heavily reverbed vocals, blurry and bleary. And finally, closer "Emptiness Will Eat The Witch" is all hushed and dreamlike, buried melodies and muted shimmer, all beneath a hypnotic drone, that shifts subtly, changing timbre and tone, vocals surfacing, the sound coalescing into some dour pop dreaminess, but still darkly droney, it's not until 5 minutes in that the song truly takes off, but instead of exploding into something heavy, the vocals soar and swirl, thick clouds of dreamy, droney vocal harmonies, pulsing and pulsating, peppered with strange abstract percussion, before settling into one final drift, haunting, and hypnotic, and darkly and dreamily mysterious.
So goddamn great, and while it was totally worth the six year wait, let's hope we don't have to wait that long for more...
MPEG Stream: "Guggenhein Wax Museum"
MPEG Stream: "Defenstration Song"
MPEG Stream: "Burial Society"
MPEG Stream: "Unholy Life"
MPEG Stream: "Emptiness Will Eat The Witch"

album cover KUBIN, FELIX Zemsta Plutona (Gagarn / ZickZack) 2lp 28.00
Brand new music from German outsider sci-fi pop weirdo / visionary, whose "particle accelerator pop" positions somewhere between a sort of naive, alien Gary Numan, and a time traveling Brian Wilson cyborg, his pop music meticulously crafted from the detritus of classic pop music past, fused into some impossible space aged future pop, Kubin a Joe Meek like studio mad scientist, transforming pop music into something strange and wondrous, even when working with someone else's music, just check out the opening track, a killer and fantastically confusional cover of Lou Christie's "Lightning Strikes", which turns the original into a near operatic robotic future funk, channeling the spirit of Klaus Nomi (who also does a killer version of the song), but Kubin has no shortage of his own mini masterpieces, beginning with "Atomium Vertigo", which sounds like Serge Gainsbourg played by an all robot band, a krauty drum machine kraut-groove beneath fields of FX and static, while Kubin delivers his sultry spoken word, oh yeah, and of course there's the bleepy bloopy vocodered chorus. And so it goes, every track here a twisted future pop gem, from the avant electro-kraut exotica of "Nachts Im Park", to the 8-bit skitter of "Flies Without Memory", to the garbled electronic jazz collage that is "Restez En Linge", to the banging synth hop of "Piscine Ressonenzi", which has us envisioning Kubin as a producer and beat maker for the current crop of pop stars like Ke$ha, or Beyonce, or Britney... if only! And Kubin never lets up, the second half of Zemsta Plutona as chock full of electro future pop weirdness as the first, flitting from plunderphonic style forties jazz to maniacal alien electro, and from murky minimal avant-kraut weirdness to Perry & Kingsley style electronic experimentation, and beyond!
MPEG Stream: "Lightning Strikes"
MPEG Stream: "Atomium Vertigo"
MPEG Stream: "Nachts Im Park"
MPEG Stream: "Flies Without Memory"

album cover SHOES THIS HIGH Straight To Hell (Siltbreeze) lp 15.98
Another super obscure New Zealand post punk rarity dug up by the fine folks at Siltbreeze, this one from a band most folks had never heard, or even heard of, and we mean even folks who fancy themselves New Zealand underground rock experts, hell even the NZ obsessives around here who have pretty much every Flying Nun and Xpressway record, had never heard these guys (and gal) before, which maybe makes sense, when you consider the fact that they only ever recorded one 7" in 1981, and this is actually a live recording, which was discovered in the possession of famed NZ archivist Bob Sutton (although the 4 tracks from that 7" are included on the digital download, or we can order you the 7", which Siltbreeze also just reissued, just ask!). But based on this live recording, these guys were a pretty fierce proposition, propulsive frenetic drumming, angular, guitar crunch and scrape, snarly snotty vox, the songs twisty and tangly, lurching from tribal churn, to super poppy and melodic, to mathy and punky and back again, the vibe a bit gloomy and a little gothy too, a few of the tracks are stripped down and minimal, but for the most part the sound is frantic and jittery, and the sound blown our and vicious, reminds us a bit of 100 Flowers or the Urinals, the Fall too, but with a distinctly NZ bent, we'd heard them compared to pre Bailter Space outfit the Gordons, which is pretty close, but we also hear a lot of Aussie post punk like the Scientists, Celibate Rifles, etc. Really though, these guys are their own special thing, noisy and hooky, jangly, angular and pretty goddamn wild, and listening to this live set, we can't help but wonder why these guys didn't get as big as some of their countrymen, cuz this is fast becoming one of our favorite archival NZ discoveries!!
LIMITED TO 500 COPIES, includes the above mentioned download code, complete with the bonus tracks from the original 7"!
MPEG Stream: "Mental Whiff"
MPEG Stream: "Christian Song"
MPEG Stream: "Shouting Eat Shit"
MPEG Stream: "Sop Pong"
MPEG Stream: "Ain't Half Right"

album cover THOMAS EDISUN'S ELECTRIC LIGHT BULB BAND The Red Day Album (Gear Fab Records) cd 13.98
Holy moly, this is quite a discovery. A hitherto unknown album of wonderful Sgt. Peppery (flower) power pop, that ought to make fans of the Beatles, early Bee Gees, The Kinks, Big Star and so forth very, very happy indeed.
We admit were a bit skeptical when we first heard about it, 'cause there's so many reissues and whatnot these days that claim to be lost classics, but as soon as we put this on we were hooked! And more amazingly, while we'd certainly consider this a lost classic, it isn't even technically a reissue (despite the blurb saying "Original 1967 Release" on the back). Except for two songs here that appeared on a 7" single, this material was never actually released to the public, until now! Recorded in 1967, yes, but the tapes languished forgotten all these years, which is hard for us to understand - how could this gem stay unknown for 46 years?! These songs are so great! As always, makes you wonder what else is out there... And, at first, it also made us wonder if this was even really a group from the sixties - we suspected it could be a more modern-day band (a really good one!) emulating the sounds of yesteryear, a la The Dukes Of Stratosphear, The High Llamas, or Jellyfish. Especially since the production job, while vintage-sounding, is also so top notch (even though the liner notes tell us the whole thing was recorded and mixed in merely a weekend). Heck, a modern band trying to put one over could have added the analog tape hiss. But no, our skeptical conspiracy theories are all wrong, we have it from trusted sources that this is indeed for real, from 1967, the work of a bunch of talented, Anglophilic youngsters from Louisiana. But the vocals here are often (but not always) delivered in a lilting faux English accent, a common practice amongst the paisley-clad syke popsters of the day, wherever they were from, wanting to sound like they too were a part of the British Invasion. So, definitely Beatles-esque; as with Peru's We All Together, there's quite a few tunes here, like "Marigold", that sound like they were written by Paul McCartney - and the band name is an obvious homage to a certain Sgt.'s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Though this is sometimes more White Album than Sgt. Pepper's, really, the band even pushing into edgier sounds like the rather manic "Have You Been To The Light" - that's a weird one, and great. "Hope" is another of the album's harder, garage rockin' tunes.
But so much of this just delightfully sunshiney stuff, sometimes quite melancholic too. There's super melodic, energetic toe tappers and dreamy blissouts both, stuff that will get stuck in your head immediately, sounding so lovely and familiar right from the get go. There's the gentle, hushed intimacy of "Merlin", the lively, layered "Alexander Graham Bell", the heartfelt grandeur of the ELO-ish "Walk Out With Your Heart", the sweet & mellow soft pop of "Common Attitude" (which reminds us of Curt Boettcher's Millennium), and so many, many more highlights, that we can't possibly detail them all (and deciding which ones to make sound samples of was tough!). Oh, and the album's final track, a brief "outro" of druggy, tape-manipulated studio trickery, is titled "Dream Me Up Snotty"!!!
The only real complaint we have at all about this is that it's kind of too bad the prolific reissue label Gear Fab got to be the lucky ones to put this out, 'cause their attention to detail in terms of the physical product borders on shoddy. The crappy graphics they came up with for the cover of this digipack don't do justice to the music within; the quasi-informative liner notes (printed on the inside cover, there's no booklet) were written by someone who couldn't decide (or care to be consistent) between using all caps, bold face, or quotation marks to set off the various proper names mentioned; some proofreading could have helped in other areas too; and there's a strange one page, one sided insert with a thanks list on it that you don't really know what to do with once you've torn off the shrink wrap. Well, at least there ARE liner notes (from which we did learn, that the group's guitar prodigy Richard Orange went on to write music for the likes of Cyndi Lauper, Jane Wiedlin and even Terry Bozzio!). But there's many labels out there that would have done this a lot better, oh well.... perhaps someone else will eventually get to do a vinyl release...
We just hope this album isn't overlooked as a result of its Gear Fab-ness, it would be a shame if after 46 years it still went unnoticed. If people HEAR it, though, it won't - another reason we're doing our part by making it a Record Of The Week. So please grab this and get in on the ground floor with the first ever release of an unheard, utterly obscure '60s artifact that ought to be way up there in the psych power pop pantheon!!
MPEG Stream: "Red Day"
MPEG Stream: "Have You Been To The Light"
MPEG Stream: "No One's Been Here For Weeks"
MPEG Stream: "Walk Out With Your Heart"

album cover WOMB C s/t (Bestial Burst) cd 12.98
Dark, ritualistic, blackened ambience, and experimental psychedelic black metal from members of Dead Reptile Shrine, Ride For Revenge, Will Over Matter, Blutleuchte and Cloama, all of whom we've raved about separately on the aQ list before, and who have all come together to create this hour long songsuite, that fuses twisted electronics, shimmering kosmische drift, minimal percussive post industrial murk, and tranced out hypno-psych mesmer. Separated into four movements, and given titles like "Satan Universe Moloch", "Bug Humanity", "She male Vegetarian" and "Neptunean Crystal Rain", at first blush, the sound seems to fall closest to the weirdo minimal electronics of Will Over Matter, the opener laying down a gristly sprawl of glitched out electronic buzz, but bolstered by some dreamy, almost krautrock sounding guitar, a twisted kosmische / avant electronic hybrid, those guitars soon dropping out, leaving a wild tangle of damaged FX and mutated synths, a darkly chaotic blacknoise, that eventually resolves into some dark, almost John Carpenter sounding cinematic dronemusic. Those hazy soundtracky atmospherics bleed into the second track, this time accompanied by some twisted vocalizations, wreathed in static and distortion, and drifting beneath thick undulating sheets of synth, everything peppered with bursts of glitch and crackle, moody and ominous, haunting but weirdly tranquil. Soon industrial rhythms surface and enter the fray, they remain muted and in the background, while once again, the electronics take over, this time drifting atop mutated vocals, pitch shifted and heavily effected, not to mention fluctuating fields of woozy melodies and strange, damaged samples.
It's not until track three ("She Male Vegetarian") that there's any actual black metal, and even then, there's a buzzing blackened main riff, but instead of exploding into a furious blast, that riff lumbers ominously through fields of chaotic murky drumming, the result much more trancelike and weirdly hypnotic, and quickly that riff splinters into a weird stretch of chiming distorted harmonics, and tangled sonic skree, before slipping back into the black churn, now joined by more guitars, the sound more lush and expansive, but still woozy and stumbling, you can definitely hear the Dead Reptile Shrine here, but before you know it, the sound shifts, transformed into a lovely bit of soft synth ambience, before once again, exploding into a field of blackened power electronics, smeared into something droned out and murkily mesmerizing, finishing off with what sounds like a bit of sampled Finnish folk. Finally, the close is announced by the sound of thunder, which is quickly subsumed by some bleak, blurry, tinny black metal riffage, smeared into staticky swaths of blacknoise, laced with moaning, anguished vokills, the sound growing gradually less and less noisy and buzzy, another barrage of alien electronics soon taking over, the record finishing off with a weird bit of black ambient electronic ritualism, that grows more hushed and haunting, before fading out completely.
Twisted and lovely, bleak and black, mysterious and bizarre, minimal and murky, fans of any / all of the members' other projects will no doubt dig. But best be quick, this is LIMITED TO 200 COPIES!!!! These are the ONLY copies we will ever be able to get, and once they're gone, they are gone for good!!!
MPEG Stream: "Satan Universe Moloch"
MPEG Stream: "Bug Humanity"
MPEG Stream: "She Male Vegetarian"

album cover RIDE FOR REVENGE Disturbances 2001-2013 (Bestial Burst) 2cd 14.98
Finnish experimental black metal weirdos Ride For Revenge, might be one of our favorite groups going right now. We've raved wildly about every one of their records so far, and then there's RfR electronic offshoot Will Over Matter, who we dig just as much. And it's not surprising, Ride For Revenge don't traffic in grim black buzz, they're not sonically similar to classic Norwegian black metal, or Swedish, or French - if anything, they're much more in the tradition of all the WTF? music we love from Finland, from Circle to Keukhot, Dead Reptile Shrine to Circle Of Ouroborus, their music is murky and dirgey, mathy and rhythmic, repetitive and hypnotic, and if you thought their records proper were fucked up and far out, this new double cd of singles and comp tracks and live jams will blow your mind.
The first track alone is worth the price of admission, RfR getting all Will Over Matter, and unfurling a 21 minute electronic/black buzz hybrid, the first 6 minutes of which, is just weird squelches and bleeps and bloops, with some creepy voice intoning over the top. And when the riffing finally comes in, the song doesn't explode into metallic gallop, or burst into furious blasting, instead, that riff, just sort of buzzes in the background, while the bleeping and squelchy blooping continue, the whole thing a sort of damaged black buzz kosmische or something. And then at about 9 minutes in, another guitar (or is that a synth?) comes in, all thick and crumbling and corrosive, drums too, plodding and spare, and again, no blasting or galloping, now it's just a woozy, murky creep, still spaced out and cosmic, but now buzzy and blurry lumbering, and then vocals come in, raspy and sinister, over a bed of what is essentially blackened power electronics, the vocals mutating gradually, until they sound robotic and alien, a little like Cylons from the old Battlestar Galactica!!! What the fuck? And that's just part one. Part two of the 32+ opening jam, finds the band slipping back into a field of blooping FX and electronics, that again, are eventually subsumed by some damaged drumming, and crumbling distorted guitar buzz, noisy and chaotic and fucking demented. This time, the sound does get fast and buzzy, but it's a loping, stumbling blackened mess, that eventually resolves in a tangle of buzzing, glitched out electronics. Phew! Only two other tracks on the first disc, but they're lengthy WTF? workouts. One's an old track from 2009, that is freaked out NOISE, sounding very Japanese, or Japanoise. Total skree and screech, howl and throb, feedback, and gristly grinding crunch, howled vokills, some seriously brutal blacknoise. The other's a 20 minute epic, recorded in 2013, the same time as those first two tracks, this one ditching the electronics, and unfurling a murky rumbling ambience, which soon turns into some weirdly dubbed out black dirge murk, sounding a bit like Aluk Todolo, a sort of black-kraut hypno-rock, totally mesmerizing, and if those first two tracks didn't make it worth it for you, this one definitely will...
The second disc is much more 'metal', the first few tracks live, the band sounding a bit more conventional, but only a bit, the sound distorted and blown out and lo-fi, but still tranced out and minimal, very much in the vein of Aluk Todolo, some dirge-y occult rock, with some sick, howled vox, loping, lumbering, minimal black murk, that veers from churning almost-doom, to stumbling metallic frenzy and back again, with at least one guitar doing nothing but spraying thick crumbling black drones over the proceedings, either that or the riffs, just blur into blackened smears, either way, it's plenty tripped out and hypnotic. There's a few awesome demo tracks, super brittle and muddy, with weirdly clean guitar riffing, distant drumming, rumbling vokill rasps, all smeared into some minimal black metal murk. There are some other rarities, a fantastic 10 minute ambient creepfest, all grinding low end, mumbled vox, pipe fight percussion, spare and SUPER creepy, laced with some electronic flecked guitar buzz, and some seriously tripped out production, and a second track, that's cut from the same cloth, but then adds a shit ton of furious blackened guitar-noise to the proceedings, not to mention some super fucking creepy vocals, making it sound like some blackened bastard offspring of Whitehouse and Suicide! Then finally, more old demos, these the most metal of the bunch, epic riffing, simple drumming, the first of the three almost sounding like 'true' metal, old school lo-fi crusty filthy blackness, raw and fierce and pretty fucking rad.
MPEG Stream: "Disturbing The Dream Pt. 1"
MPEG Stream: "Disturbing The Dream Pt. 2"
MPEG Stream: "The Privilege"
MPEG Stream: "Morning Won't Bring A Twinkling Star"
MPEG Stream: "Declaration Of Darkness"

album cover AURORA DOREY ALICE Inside Outside (Sygil) cassette 5.50
From the same label that brought us the blackened atmospheric doom of Charnel House, the abstract doom-ed black metal of OS, the psychedelic industrial dronescapes of Agakus, the fuzzy, droney, cosmic weirdness of Sky Projection and the tranced out black metal minimalism of Avakr, comes this gorgeous collection of dreamy avant psych folk, from the oddly named Aurora Dorey Alice.
But this is very likely not the psych folk you might have been expecting, which shouldn't surprise you considering the label it's on, it's not strummy or croony, it's WAY more abstract and minimal, skeletal percussion suspended in fields of barely there shimmer, lots of abstract sound, scrapes and creaks, mysterious percussion, rhythmic and murky, prismatic and crystalline, the sounds blurred and hazy and gauzey and washed out, the music is gorgeously lush, but somehow also druggy and minimal and abstract, the music is reminiscent of outfits like Avarus, and No-Neck Blues Band at times, but at others the sound is some alien electronica, all swirling and pulsing, ADA's voice throaty and powerful, at times fluttery and ethereal, wreathed in echo and delay, not always singing, sometimes blending into the sonic backdrop, all shimmery streaks of vocal sound, very haunting and psychedelic and lovely, but also strangely sinister. And when she does sing, it's gorgeous and powerful, transforming the experimental drifts, and glitched out distorted dronescapes, into dark, brooding gothic torch songs, albeit, far out, experimental, avant ones. Fans of Chelsea Wolfe, Zola Jesus, Marissa Nadler will find it easy to get lost in ADA's twisted subterranean electronic flecked goth-psych drone-folk soundworld. So great!!!
MPEG Stream: "Master / Apprentice"
MPEG Stream: "Change The Old For The New"
MPEG Stream: "Alice, Little Alice"

album cover NADLER, MARISSA July (Sacred Bones) cd 14.98
For her first record for Sacred Bones, Marissa Nadler has put together a pretty heavy hitting band, one that features folks like Steve Moore of Zombi, and Eyvind Kang, but really, Nadler doesn't need anyone but her own bad self, her gorgeous, haunting vocals, and delicate guitar playing are practically perfect. Just check out opener "Drive (Fade Into)", the first two minutes of which are just Nadler singing and playing guitars, spare and sparse, ethereal and so lovely, lush, lustrous harmonies, the Mazzy Star vibe which was always present, is huge here, in the phrasing, the timbre of Nadler's voice, occasionally layered into gorgeous multi-tracked harmonies, and while we would have been happy with a solo acoustic record, the band deftly, and quite subtle, add perfect sonic colorations, soft streaks of feedback, shimmery swells of pedal steel, the final stretch all twang flecked and dusky.
From there on out, Nadler and her band deliver one gorgeous song after another, some funereal and somber, dark, dolorous torch songs, others dark slowcore dirges, others darkly dreamy psychedelic country. A few favorites include "1923", laced with Kang's lilting strings, the track peppered with bits of effects dusted guitar swirl, all driven by some gorgeously languid, muted percussion, gloomy downer pop bliss via classic old time songsmithery, or "Dead City Emily", with Nadler's vocals soaring over a tangle of steel string buzz, everything wreathed in echo and reverb, with some surprising bits of piano and synth, the song blossoming into something impossibly expansive and lush, or the haunting dark country of "Desire", which sounds like it could have been performed by Mark Lanegan or David Eugene Edwards from Woven Hand, but at the same time, it couldn't have been anyone but Nadler.
We've loved pretty much everything we've heard, and have raved about almost all of her records, but July definitely takes Nadler's sound, her voice, her songs, to the next level, and positions her as one of this generations most stunning songwriters. Certainly fans of Chelsea Wolfe and Zola Jesus will no doubt love Nadler, if they don't already, but Nadler's sound is much more pure, more classic, some of the songs here do of course have moments of gothiness, and gloominess, but it definitely transcends any micro genre classification, and manages to arrive at something truly timeless, and will definitely be vying for top spots on lots of folks best of 2014 year end lists, even though it's only February.
Fantastic!
MPEG Stream: "Drive (Fade Into)"
MPEG Stream: "1923"
MPEG Stream: "Dead City Emily"
MPEG Stream: "Desire"
MPEG Stream: "Anyone Else"

album cover ACTRESS Ghettoville (Ninja Tune) cd 15.98
We described the 2012 R.I.P. album from Actress, aka Darren Cunningham, like this: "subtly detailed, psychedelic sonic prisms drip playfully onto murky haunted fuzz-drones, other worldly squelches and squiggles interplay with analog drum machines, and science fiction melodies get tangled up with hazy, half remembered samples, creating an electronic alchemy that of which this world has never seen!" Tall praise for sure, but that record, was a unanimous store fave, and got played to death in the shop. So the prospect of a new record had us all pretty excited. And while we were expecting, maybe even hoping for, more of the same, the sound on Ghettoville is much darker and more minimal. Which if you know anything about us, is most definitely not a bad thing AT ALL.
Things do still get woozy and alien and psychedelic, the sounds are in constant flux, but at least for the first half of the record, the vibe is super chill, low slung, and washed out. "Forgiven" sets the tone, with a sprawling, slo-mo slither, a gorgeous bit of downtempo slowcore, laced with field recordings, and little bits of gristle and rumble, but all anchored by a glitchy skeletal rhythm, and bolstered by some thick low end swells, it's the sort of dreamlike dirgery that could have stretched out for the entirety of the record, and we would have dug it just as much. If not even MORE!!! But this is Actress after all, so sonic restlessness manifests itself in the form of constant sonic shifts, although as we mentioned, things stay pretty murky in the early stages, so "Street Corp." is more of the same, an almost jazzy skitter, wreathed in crunchy crackle, a submerged bass pulsation, eventually, some soft billowy shimmer surface in the background, but again, a track that ends WAY too soon. "Corner" adds a bit of lo-fi hip-hop swagger, but casts it like those first two tracks in shadow, the edges blurred and smeared, everything sort of hazy and darkly druggy. "Contagious" is another beauty, almost metallic, industrial, a heaving distorted dirge, heavy and haunting, still super lo-fi, but with a different production, it could rival outfits like Nadja or the Angelic Process, bleary metalgaze churn that takes the dubbed out murk of Burial, and adds some serious heft.
It's right around here, that Actress starts sonically drifting into less shadowy spaces, with some chiming, almost Pop Ambient shimmer, some dreamy prismatic electro, even some almost new wave-y sounding house music, but even then, the sound remains gorgeously woozy and washed out, a little bit alien, and for every moment like that, there's another one like "Frontline" near the end of the record, that takes some groovy house, and submerges it in thick, tarpit murk, gristly static, hazy thrum, and again recasts it as something swirly and shadowy and sublime!
MPEG Stream: "Forgiven"
MPEG Stream: "Street Corp."
MPEG Stream: "Contagious"
MPEG Stream: "Frontline"

album cover ACTRESS Ghettoville (Ninja Tune) 3lp 44.00
ALSO AVAILABLE ON VINYL!
We described the 2012 R.I.P. album from Actress, aka Darren Cunningham, like this: "subtly detailed, psychedelic sonic prisms drip playfully onto murky haunted fuzz-drones, other worldly squelches and squiggles interplay with analog drum machines, and science fiction melodies get tangled up with hazy, half remembered samples, creating an electronic alchemy that of which this world has never seen!" Tall praise for sure, but that record, was a unanimous store fave, and got played to death in the shop. So the prospect of a new record had us all pretty excited. And while we were expecting, maybe even hoping for, more of the same, the sound on Ghettoville is much darker and more minimal. Which if you know anything about us, is most definitely not a bad thing AT ALL.
Things do still get woozy and alien and psychedelic, the sounds are in constant flux, but at least for the first half of the record, the vibe is super chill, low slung, and washed out. "Forgiven" sets the tone, with a sprawling, slo-mo slither, a gorgeous bit of downtempo slowcore, laced with field recordings, and little bits of gristle and rumble, but all anchored by a glitchy skeletal rhythm, and bolstered by some thick low end swells, it's the sort of dreamlike dirgery that could have stretched out for the entirety of the record, and we would have dug it just as much. If not even MORE!!! But this is Actress after all, so sonic restlessness manifests itself in the form of constant sonic shifts, although as we mentioned, things stay pretty murky in the early stages, so "Street Corp." is more of the same, an almost jazzy skitter, wreathed in crunchy crackle, a submerged bass pulsation, eventually, some soft billowy shimmer surface in the background, but again, a track that ends WAY too soon. "Corner" adds a bit of lo-fi hip-hop swagger, but casts it like those first two tracks in shadow, the edges blurred and smeared, everything sort of hazy and darkly druggy. "Contagious" is another beauty, almost metallic, industrial, a heaving distorted dirge, heavy and haunting, still super lo-fi, but with a different production, it could rival outfits like Nadja or the Angelic Process, bleary metalgaze churn that takes the dubbed out murk of Burial, and adds some serious heft.
It's right around here, that Actress starts sonically drifting into less shadowy spaces, with some chiming, almost Pop Ambient shimmer, some dreamy prismatic electro, even some almost new wave-y sounding house music, but even then, the sound remains gorgeously woozy and washed out, a little bit alien, and for every moment like that, there's another one like "Frontline" near the end of the record, that takes some groovy house, and submerges it in thick, tarpit murk, gristly static, hazy thrum, and again recasts it as something swirly and shadowy and sublime!
MPEG Stream: "Forgiven"
MPEG Stream: "Street Corp."
MPEG Stream: "Contagious"
MPEG Stream: "Frontline"

album cover ECHOLOGIST Storming Heaven (Prologue) cd 17.98
We continue to be obsessed with the darker side of techno and house music, the strains that are all murky and shadowy and mutated, the four on the floor beats slowed down to a dying-heartbeat pulse, most of the dancefloor sucked out of the sound, leaving just the twisted skeletal remains. Elsewhere on this week's list you'll find a new record from Lucy, whose sound is just that sort of dubbed out techno-murk we can't get enough of, but this new one from Echologist is something else all together. We just discovered this is the TENTH record by Brendon Moeller, aka Echologist, but the first one we've heard, and we are totally smitten. Not nearly as murky and dark as much of the stuff we dig, what Moeller does is, is something similar to The Field, creating super lush, layered repetition, little blurts and pulsations, bits of glitch and static, sculpted and woven into deep undulating electronic soundscapes, that only sound tangentially like proper techno, and instead, sound super tripped out and psychedelic, almost like some sort of avant experimental noise music, but in the guise of techno.
The opener here "Frequency Of Love" pretty much lays it all out, exactly what is so amazing abut Echologist and why we knew this had to be Record Of The Week. A dense field of pulsing squelch, all hazy and gauzy, some alien machine language transformed into sound, a glorious blend of droned out raga-shimmer, and percolating electro, droney and trancey, and less about the rhythm, as the texture created by the rhythm, and when the low end drops out, as it occasionally does, the sound becomes some sort of airy drift, before the low end swoops back in and the sound gets, well heavy again, for lack of a better word. But then heavy is the word for what happens next, when the sound begins to thicken, the tones all gradually descending in pitch, those sounds suddenly coalescing into a thick, buzzing drone, which grinds away malevolently, before dropping out completely, leaving just a field of glimmering chiming melody, and a hazy keening high end drone. Fuck! We say it a lot, but that track, could easily have been the whole record, and we still would have made it Record Of The Week. We're guessing it'll take some serious will power to keep from setting that track on repeat play. But you know, fuck it, go for it. Still worth the price of admission if you never make it any further in.
But if you do, you'll be rewarded with more of Echologists, haunting, propulsive and mesmeric machine music, from churning industrial crunch, to loping tranced out techno, and from squelchy and cinematic low end deep dub, to gristly static drenched skitter, and from lush, almost poppy, drone-gaze electro, to stuttery sci-fi glitch-buzz groove. But those thumbnail descriptions are only part of the equation, cuz once Moeller sets the scene, lays down the beat, loops the sample, whatever electronic voodoo he does, it's all about how the sounds develop, and pro/re-gress, tone and timbre in constant flux, the background sounds a dizzying, hyperactive soundworld all their own. The sound impossibly immersive, the sort of rare electronic music that manages to be weirdly dancefloor appropriate, while still the perfect bliss out / chill out / come down soundtrack, and equally rare in that sonically, it's way more than 'dance music' or 'techno', it's a fantastically next level mutant strain of electronica, or even more specifically, some modern minimalist avant electronic experimental soundscapery, that just happens to involve elements of techno and house music, and that we find utterly and endlessly addictive. We're guessing most of you will too...
MPEG Stream: "The Frequency Of Love"
MPEG Stream: "Next Exit"
MPEG Stream: "Storming Heaven"
MPEG Stream: "Deep Fried"
MPEG Stream: "M13 + DPO"

album cover GUARDIAN ALIEN Spiritual Emergency (Thrill Jockey) cd 14.98
The first record from this strange outfit was a single sprawling, psychedelic raga, all spaced out and trance-y, and driven, as unlikely as it may seem, by the wild metallic drumming of Greg Fox, formerly of transcendental black metallers Liturgy. We described that record as sounding like Liturgy meets Sunroof!, a furious raga-blast, all droned out and ritualistic, it's a record that didn't seem like it should work, but maybe because of that, became a unanimous store fave (and Record Of The Week).
So we were pretty excited to hear this new one, and it does not disappoint, although it does definitely confound. We were expecting maybe raga-blast part two, but instead, the record opens with a twisted sprawl of faux world music, Fox's drumming here a tangled, and relentless skitter, all hand drums and tablas, and other percussion, all tangled up with some super busy melodic bass, some spidery guitars, and processed female vocals, go from ritualistic chant, to chopped up stuttery garble, the whole track very No Neck Blues Band-ish, albeit a bit more Eastern influenced. A little Boredoms too. But it only gets weirder from there on out. Two brief blasts of metallic drone, the first all weird vocal samples buried beneath buzzing guitars and pounding drums, a swirling psychedelic freakout that gives way to the second, a weird Dada-ist cut up of clipped vocals, peppered by cool syncopated exotic percussion, bummer it's only a minute long, would have loved to have that stretch out forever! That gives way to a heady droney sprawl of crumbling distortion, chanted vox, all blurred into heaving swells, a little bit spacey, and doomy, but all of this seems to be leading up to the 20+ minute title track, sampled spoken word which quickly disappears in a cloud of impossibly dense and octopoidal drumming, everything wreathed in a cloud of bleeping and blooping electronics, and drifting on a bed of sitar like buzz, gradually settling into a dense mathed out raga-rock groove, the drums relentlessly churning away, the sound building to a blasting almost black metal frenzy, before fading back into that tribal, rhythmic groove, only to gradually transform into some strange strain of psychedelic krautrock, motorik and mesmerizing, and again building slowly to the super intense finale, which sounds like multiple Boredoms playing at once, noisy and swirling, and dizzying, and wildly chaotic, electronics, and guitar buzz, and Fox's impossibly wild drumming, all whipped into a tranced out squall, which locks into a skipping digital stutter, before finally sputtering to a halt. Exhausting, inspiring, and truly, sonically transcendental!
MPEG Stream: "I. Tranquilizer"
MPEG Stream: "III. Vapour"
MPEG Stream: "V. Spiritual Emergency"

album cover GUARDIAN ALIEN Spiritual Emergency (Thrill Jockey) lp 17.98
The first record from this strange outfit was a single sprawling, psychedelic raga, all spaced out and trance-y, and driven, as unlikely as it may seem, by the wild metallic drumming of Greg Fox, formerly of transcendental black metallers Liturgy. We described that record as sounding like Liturgy meets Sunroof!, a furious raga-blast, all droned out and ritualistic, it's a record that didn't seem like it should work, but maybe because of that, became a unanimous store fave (and Record Of The Week).
So we were pretty excited to hear this new one, and it does not disappoint, although it does definitely confound. We were expecting maybe raga-blast part two, but instead, the record opens with a twisted sprawl of faux world music, Fox's drumming here a tangled, and relentless skitter, all hand drums and tablas, and other percussion, all tangled up with some super busy melodic bass, some spidery guitars, and processed female vocals, go from ritualistic chant, to chopped up stuttery garble, the whole track very No Neck Blues Band-ish, albeit a bit more Eastern influenced. A little Boredoms too. But it only gets weirder from there on out. Two brief blasts of metallic drone, the first all weird vocal samples buried beneath buzzing guitars and pounding drums, a swirling psychedelic freakout that gives way to the second, a weird Dada-ist cut up of clipped vocals, peppered by cool syncopated exotic percussion, bummer it's only a minute long, would have loved to have that stretch out forever! That gives way to a heady droney sprawl of crumbling distortion, chanted vox, all blurred into heaving swells, a little bit spacey, and doomy, but all of this seems to be leading up to the 20+ minute title track, sampled spoken word which quickly disappears in a cloud of impossibly dense and octopoidal drumming, everything wreathed in a cloud of bleeping and blooping electronics, and drifting on a bed of sitar like buzz, gradually settling into a dense mathed out raga-rock groove, the drums relentlessly churning away, the sound building to a blasting almost black metal frenzy, before fading back into that tribal, rhythmic groove, only to gradually transform into some strange strain of psychedelic krautrock, motorik and mesmerizing, and again building slowly to the super intense finale, which sounds like multiple Boredoms playing at once, noisy and swirling, and dizzying, and wildly chaotic, electronics, and guitar buzz, and Fox's impossibly wild drumming, all whipped into a tranced out squall, which locks into a skipping digital stutter, before finally sputtering to a halt. Exhausting, inspiring, and truly, sonically transcendental!
MPEG Stream: "I. Tranquilizer"
MPEG Stream: "III. Vapour"
MPEG Stream: "V. Spiritual Emergency"

PONTIAK Innocence (Thrill Jockey) 2cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
The last Pontiak record, 2012's Echo Ono, seriously threw us for a loop. Not only was it the group's seventh record (and yet the first one we'd heard), but it was also sonically, at the time at least, totally removed from what we normally expect from Thrill Jockey. Some seriously heavy, riffy, psychedelic, stoner rock, massive fuzzed out guitars, bombastic drumming, wild whooping vocals, but whatever it was, we dug it BIG TIME. So here's the follow up, and from track one, it's more of the glorious same. The first track a short sharp blast of crunchy riffage, spidery psychedelic leads, everything doused in fuzz and echo, a little bit mathy, seriously stonery, it's the sort of stuff that should appeal to underground heavy rock nerds as much as more mainstream folks into Queens Of The Stone Age and the White Stripes. In fact, spun correctly, it's not hard to imagine this being Pontiak's breakout record, and if some band like the Black Keys took them on tour, their big-rock-success fate would be sealed. But for now, they're still ours, and they're still plying their sweaty, bloody knuckled, hard rawking wares in tiny clubs and spitting out darkly psychedelic, eminently headbangable stoner groove, hard psych records like this one, and we seriously can't get enough. Fans of Golden Void, Dead Meadow, Comets On Fire, Bardo Pond, Burning Brides, will flip their lids. Swirling organs underpin some tracks, sounding straight up seventies psych prog ("It's The Greatest"), others like "Ghost", sound almost like Dutch instru-metallers Gore given a serious heavy fuzz makeover, the band locked into cyclical tranced out hypno-rock grooves. Other tracks are laid back, Southern rock slow jams, channeling the Allman Brothers or the Outlaws ("Noble Heads"), and still others are seriously slithery heavy rock dirges, with some of the fuzziest guitars since Kyuss (check out the chugging, churning "Surrounded By Diamonds") and a bunch are just awesomely noisy, psychedelic garage blowouts, swirling clouds of FX, the band kicking out the jams, swaggery, stomping hard rocking, hooky heaviness that just KILLS.
And while they last, which won't be long by the way, the copies we have will come with a bonus cd, featuring 44 minutes of exclusive material called "Heat Leisure", recorded on the band's farm in Virginia with Greg Fox from Guardian Alien and formerly of Liturgy, as well as a dude from Arbouretum and Beach House, and originally featured in a short film. The bonus cd is only available direct from Thrill Jockey, the band, and a tiny handful of stores, one of which is OURS!
MPEG Stream: "Innocence"
MPEG Stream: "Ghosts"
MPEG Stream: "Surrounded By Diamonds"
MPEG Stream: "Beings Of The Rarest"

album cover INDIAN From All Purity (Relapse) lp 23.00
ALSO ON VINYL!!
We started our review of the last Indian record with the words "It's been a long time since we've heard from these Chicago heavies", which had we not checked first, was exactly how we were gonna start this one, cuz once again, it seems like ages since that Guiltless record, and it has actually been a little over three years. Thankfully, very little has changed since Guiltless, as From All Purity is another crushing, abject, slab of shrieking, downtuned doom sludge crush, with some of the sickest, filthiest distortion we have ever heard. The guitar tone on track two, "The Impetus Bleeds", sounds like they're playing through cabinets full of blown speakers, huge riffs that devolve into rapidly decaying crumble, while elsewhere, like on "Directional", that crumbling distortion becomes something else entirely, sounding a bit like malfunctioning electronics (which to be fair it actually could be), but it sounds killer, and it gives the track a weird sci-fi, zoner-psych vibe, which when mixed with the churning riffage, and tarpit stoner doom swagger, transforms the doomy sludge into something way more next level. A few tracks crank up the tempo, but even then, the arrangements are such, that the sound swings and lurches and lumbers more than blasts or pounds. And when the sound collapses into serious psychedelic churn, it's easy to see why these guys are so special. Check out the end of "Rhetoric Of No", sure it's dirgey and filthy and brutal, but the roiling black sludge is wreathed in swirling electronics that seem to swing wildly from speaker to speaker, in fact, it's mixed so that when you have headphones on, that weird insectoid buzz seems to be circling your head, it's totally disorienting, the group locked into some serious hypno-sludge mesmer, the vocals too a strange mush mouthed demonic incantation, fucked up and twisted avant doom genius for sure. The second to last track is all noisy, feedback drenched, shrieking, power electronics, but then the record closes with the epic doom crush of "Disambiguation", which drops in a few little black metalisms right at the end, each burst a frantic salvo of blackened riffage, shrieking vokills, and furious double kick drumming, the sound lurching back and forth, between that black buzz, and a more lugubrious creep, before a surprisingly sudden finish, the sound almost just cutting out. A twisted, unexpectedly dramatic end to a record that's definitely one of the coolest, weirdest, doom / sludge records we've heard in a while. And for a genre that can definitely sound same-y, and can so easily end up being boooooring, Indian will make your avant-doom loving head spin. Awesome!
MPEG Stream: "Rape"
MPEG Stream: "The Impetus Bleeds"
MPEG Stream: "Rhetoric Of No"
MPEG Stream: "Disambiguation"

album cover DEMDIKE STARE Symbiosis (Modern Love) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
If you can imagine a black metal DUB record, released on Chain Reaction, then this debut from Demdike Stare might be just what you're looking for. A collaboration between one half of the group Pendle Coven, and one of the guys who helps run the amazing Finders Keepers label, the duo craft suffocatingly dark drones, and stark skeletal minimal house music, fusing the two into some sort of mysterious rhythmic black beast. The sound dense and dark, grim and frosty, but infused with all sorts of world music elements, Middle Eastern folk, Indian soundtracks, Turkish psych, the result is really hard to pin down, super stark and dubby a la Pole one minute, then lush and Middle Eastern sounding a la Muslimgauze the next, but just as often, something much more spare and harrowing, buzzy and drone-y, and very very very dark.
The record opens with "Suspicious Drone", which is just that, a dense, deep, throbbing chunk of low end rumble, but shot through with undulating synth pulses, and laced with muted effects, before, a super skittery rhythm is introduced, all wreathed in a haze of Goblin-y synth. The second track, "Haxan Dub", is as you might have surmised super dubbed out, spacious and spare, the beats clipped and minimal, until about halfway through when a second beat joins in, creating a strange stuttery offbeat, very darkly groovy. And then there's "Regressor", a super abstract sprawl of rhythmic clicks, echo reverbed ambience, and very little else, bar the occasional synth squiggle or disembodied sample, the result is truly haunting and weirdly gorgeous. And so it goes, the second half of the record is a bit heavier on the world music, with much of the music being made up of chopped and looped samples, or recontextualized motifs, like on "Trapped Dervish, where a fragment of fiddle and a reverb drenched snippet of female vocals, are blurred into a gorgeous expanse of murky rhythmic ambience, but "Haxan" gets all Chain Reaction heroin house-y, while "Conjoined" is all tangled rhythms, and layered drums, until "Ghostly Hardware" finishes things off in appropriately ominous fashion, a long buzzing low end dronescape, all whirring synths, crackling textures, and pulsing bass, never truly locking into a rhythm, instead drifting and floating ghostlike. So good. One of our favorite new electronic records for sure.
MPEG Stream: "Suspicious Drone"
MPEG Stream: "Haxan Dub"
MPEG Stream: "Regressor"

album cover DEMDIKE STARE Symbiosis (Modern Love) cd 15.98
REISSUED! After being out of print for over a year or more, all three compact disc format releases by these aQ fave hauntologists have been repressed, two of the three now in new packaging (jewel cases instead of elaborate digi-sleeves) and at a lower prices! So, needless to say, if you somehow missed out on any of these before, two of which have been aQ Records Of The Week, we're very happy to present 'em to you now. All three - Symbiosis, Tryptych, and Elemental - are highly recommended. Read on...
This was the first Demdike we encountered, and we've been big fans ever since. If you can imagine a black metal DUB record, released on Chain Reaction, then this debut from Demdike Stare might be just what you're looking for. A collaboration between one half of the group Pendle Coven, and one of the guys who helps run the amazing Finders Keepers label, the duo craft suffocatingly dark drones, and stark skeletal minimal house music, fusing the two into some sort of mysterious rhythmic black beast. The sound dense and dark, grim and frosty, but infused with all sorts of world music elements, Middle Eastern folk, Indian soundtracks, Turkish psych, the result is really hard to pin down, super stark and dubby a la Pole one minute, then lush and Middle Eastern sounding a la Muslimgauze the next, but just as often, something much more spare and harrowing, buzzy and drone-y, and very very very dark.
The record opens with "Suspicious Drone", which is just that, a dense, deep, throbbing chunk of low end rumble, but shot through with undulating synth pulses, and laced with muted effects, before, a super skittery rhythm is introduced, all wreathed in a haze of Goblin-y synth. The second track, "Haxan Dub", is as you might have surmised super dubbed out, spacious and spare, the beats clipped and minimal, until about halfway through when a second beat joins in, creating a strange stuttery offbeat, very darkly groovy. And then there's "Regressor", a super abstract sprawl of rhythmic clicks, echo reverbed ambience, and very little else, bar the occasional synth squiggle or disembodied sample, the result is truly haunting and weirdly gorgeous. And so it goes, the second half of the record is a bit heavier on the world music, with much of the music being made up of chopped and looped samples, or recontextualized motifs, like on "Trapped Dervish, where a fragment of fiddle and a reverb drenched snippet of female vocals, are blurred into a gorgeous expanse of murky rhythmic ambience, but "Haxan" gets all Chain Reaction heroin house-y, while "Conjoined" is all tangled rhythms, and layered drums, until "Ghostly Hardware" finishes things off in appropriately ominous fashion, a long buzzing low end dronescape, all whirring synths, crackling textures, and pulsing bass, never truly locking into a rhythm, instead drifting and floating ghostlike. So good. One of our favorite new electronic records for sure.
MPEG Stream: "Suspicious Drone"
MPEG Stream: "Haxan Dub"
MPEG Stream: "Regressor"

album cover GLORIOR BELLI Gators Rumble, Chaos Unfurls (Agonia) cd 17.98
French black metallers Glorior Belli continue down the lefthand path, moving ever further away from the Deathspell style angular black buzz that defined their early sound toward something that sounds more, well, like Pantera maybe, or Down? Crazy we know, but their last record, The Great Southern Darkness paired the aforementioned black buzz, with some serious rocking, as in Southern rock, as in shit kicking, skull stomping, BIG riff, hard RAWKing heaviness. And c'mon, this new one is called, Gators Rumble, Chaos Unfurls, how can you not expect more of that blackened heavy rock? Which is precisely what you get on opener "Blackpowder Roars", with a killer main riff, totally Sabbathy, spidery stoner rock leads, bellowed vox, that veer dangerously close to Phil Anselmo territory, there's even some total wailing super rock clean vocals, that get a little Alice In Chains, and this is all fucking awesome, imagine those bands but heavier and blacker, and this is IT, and it sounds killer. But maybe it seems like they've yet to commit wholly to this new sound, cuz the second track slips right back into gnarled black metal buzz, and these guys are still masters, the sound fierce and fucked up and furious, fans of DSO, Katharsis, Funeral Mist, this is your shit, oh wait, at least until the swinging kick ass Southern rock breakdown a minute or so in, and then it's right back into more atonal black buzz. What the fuck! So killer. The new sound so much more seemingly integrated into their old sound, the shift between the two, as natural as anything, the songs eminently more headbangable, the grooviness not at all taking away anything from the black fury, if anything, it seriously just makes it that much more ROCKING. And then they go whole hog balls out stoner groove, like on "Ain't No Pit Deep Enough", it's like the heaviest stoner rock EVER. And so it goes for the rest of the record, with the blackness more serving the stoner rock than the other way around, check out "A Hoax, A Croc" - a jam later day Corrosion Of Conformity would have killed for, like a supercharged ultra heavy Allman Brothers blowout, that eventually erupts into something blacker and buzzier, only to slip right back into that main riff. Holy fuck, this is fast becoming our new favorite records. Troo grim hordes be damned, this shit KILLS, so catchy, so heavy, so groovy, stoner metallers who never gave black metal a second glance, this is THEE record that will change your mind. And if you like the idea of blackened groovy stoner metal heaviness, this might be your new favorite too.
MPEG Stream: "Blackpowder Roars"
MPEG Stream: "Wolves At My Door"
MPEG Stream: "Ain't No Pit Deep Enough"
MPEG Stream: "From One Rebel To Another"

album cover INDIAN From All Purity (Relapse) cd 14.98
We started our review of the last Indian record with the words "It's been a long time since we've heard from these Chicago heavies", which had we not checked first, was exactly how we were gonna start this one, cuz once again, it seems like ages since that Guiltless record, and it has actually been a little over three years. Thankfully, very little has changed since Guiltless, as From All Purity is another crushing, abject, slab of shrieking, downtuned doom sludge crush, with some of the sickest, filthiest distortion we have ever heard. The guitar tone on track two, "The Impetus Bleeds", sounds like they're playing through cabinets full of blown speakers, huge riffs that devolve into rapidly decaying crumble, while elsewhere, like on "Directional", that crumbling distortion becomes something else entirely, sounding a bit like malfunctioning electronics (which to be fair it actually could be), but it sounds killer, and it gives the track a weird sci-fi, zoner-psych vibe, which when mixed with the churning riffage, and tarpit stoner doom swagger, transforms the doomy sludge into something way more next level. A few tracks crank up the tempo, but even then, the arrangements are such, that the sound swings and lurches and lumbers more than blasts or pounds. And when the sound collapses into serious psychedelic churn, it's easy to see why these guys are so special. Check out the end of "Rhetoric Of No", sure it's dirgey and filthy and brutal, but the roiling black sludge is wreathed in swirling electronics that seem to swing wildly from speaker to speaker, in fact, it's mixed so that when you have headphones on, that weird insectoid buzz seems to be circling your head, it's totally disorienting, the group locked into some serious hypno-sludge mesmer, the vocals too a strange mush mouthed demonic incantation, fucked up and twisted avant doom genius for sure. The second to last track is all noisy, feedback drenched, shrieking, power electronics, but then the record closes with the epic doom crush of "Disambiguation", which drops in a few little black metalisms right at the end, each burst a frantic salvo of blackened riffage, shrieking vokills, and furious double kick drumming, the sound lurching back and forth, between that black buzz, and a more lugubrious creep, before a surprisingly sudden finish, the sound almost just cutting out. A twisted, unexpectedly dramatic end to a record that's definitely one of the coolest, weirdest, doom / sludge records we've heard in a while. And for a genre that can definitely sound same-y, and can so easily end up being boooooring, Indian will make your avant-doom loving head spin. Awesome!
MPEG Stream: "Rape"
MPEG Stream: "The Impetus Bleeds"
MPEG Stream: "Rhetoric Of No"
MPEG Stream: "Disambiguation"

album cover MOGWAI Rave Tapes (Sub Pop) cd 14.98
AT LAST ALSO HERE ON CD! While the title of the new full length from these longtime aQ faves had us secretly hoping for a record of straight up, ACTUAL rave music, the first track quickly reveals that Rave Tapes is in fact simply more of the Mogwai we know and love. So after the brief bit of inevitable no-rave let down disappointment, it's impossible to not get immediately swept up in Mogwai's lush loveliness, the opener a fantastically dreamy sprawl of blissy drifty post rock majesty, hushed, and melancholically brooding, darkly dynamic, expansive and layered. But fear not, this is not just Mogwai by the numbers, or maybe it is, but those numbers have been getting progressively less predictable over the last few albums, just check out "Simon Ferocious" with its buzzing synths, driven by a hypnotic, loping slow-mo, post rock groove, the guitars bordering on metallic, settling eventually into a cool buzzy bit of krauty post rock mesmer. Or the awesomely titled "Remurdered", which is all low slung throb, muted chug and Tortoise-y rhythms, in fact, it sounds a bit like a less jazzy, more skittery electronica flecked, synth heavy komsiche hypno-rock. There's one track with a hilarious sample of anti-Satanic ranting, which is fun the first time, but doesn't have a whole lot of replay value, but that hardly detracts from the rest of the record which slips effortlessly from Godspeed like instrumental epicry, to synthy, almost Circle sounding mathiness, to sweeping moody cinematic drifts, and to murky piano driven balladry, complete with vocals, a haunting bit of slowcore that sounds a bit like Codeine / Low / Galaxie 500, but it is Mogwai, so it eventually erupts into a soaring soft-focus squall of swirling psychedelic beauty.
The final two song salvo, begins with some classic Mogwai, spidery minor key melodies, over chiming harmonics, buzzing bass, shuffling rhythms, slowly building from hushed shimmer to fuzzy muted bombast, before finishing off with the weirdest of the bunch, all programmed drums, vocodered vox, swirling synth wrapped guitars and fields of prismatic shimmer, the whole thing sounding more like Zombi or Umberto, albeit mixed with Mogwai's epic smoldering post rock tendencies, which is just as good as it sounds.
Both the lp and the cd come housed in super striking, retro-futuristic, psychedelically geometric, eye popping, die cut sleeves! LP includes a download code too...
MPEG Stream: "Heard About You Last Night"
MPEG Stream: "Simon Ferocious"
MPEG Stream: "No Medicine For Regret"
MPEG Stream: "The Lord Is Out Of Control"

album cover MOGWAI Rave Tapes (Sub Pop) lp 16.98
While the title of the new full length from these longtime aQ faves had us secretly hoping for a record of straight up, ACTUAL rave music, the first track quickly reveals that Rave Tapes is in fact simply more of the Mogwai we know and love. So after the brief bit of inevitable no-rave let down disappointment, it's impossible to not get immediately swept up in Mogwai's lush loveliness, the opener a fantastically dreamy sprawl of blissy drifty post rock majesty, hushed, and melancholically brooding, darkly dynamic, expansive and layered. But fear not, this is not just Mogwai by the numbers, or maybe it is, but those numbers have been getting progressively less predictable over the last few albums, just check out "Simon Ferocious" with its buzzing synths, driven by a hypnotic, loping slow-mo, post rock groove, the guitars bordering on metallic, settling eventually into a cool buzzy bit of krauty post rock mesmer. Or the awesomely titled "Remurdered", which is all low slung throb, muted chug and Tortoise-y rhythms, in fact, it sounds a bit like a less jazzy, more skittery electronica flecked, synth heavy komsiche hypno-rock. There's one track with a hilarious sample of anti-Satanic ranting, which is fun the first time, but doesn't have a whole lot of replay value, but that hardly detracts from the rest of the record which slips effortlessly from Godspeed like instrumental epicry, to synthy, almost Circle sounding mathiness, to sweeping moody cinematic drifts, and to murky piano driven balladry, complete with vocals, a haunting bit of slowcore that sounds a bit like Codeine / Low / Galaxie 500, but it is Mogwai, so it eventually erupts into a soaring soft-focus squall of swirling psychedelic beauty.
The final two song salvo, begins with some classic Mogwai, spidery minor key melodies, over chiming harmonics, buzzing bass, shuffling rhythms, slowly building from hushed shimmer to fuzzy muted bombast, before finishing off with the weirdest of the bunch, all programmed drums, vocodered vox, swirling synth wrapped guitars and fields of prismatic shimmer, the whole thing sounding more like Zombi or Umberto, albeit mixed with Mogwai's epic smoldering post rock tendencies, which is just as good as it sounds.
Both the lp and the cd come housed in super striking, retro-futuristic, psychedelically geometric, eye popping, die cut sleeves! LP includes a download code too...
(Compact disc folks, FYI, we have a few of the cd, but Sub Pop forgot to ship our order this week so more will be restocked early next week and we'll of course list it next time!)
MPEG Stream: "Heard About You Last Night"
MPEG Stream: "Simon Ferocious"
MPEG Stream: "No Medicine For Regret"
MPEG Stream: "The Lord Is Out Of Control"

album cover STICKMEN, THE s/t (Homeless) lp 24.00
Hobart, the capital of Tasmania. This picturesque hamlet is situated on the south end of that remote island, but there's not really a whole lot going on in town. Well, probably not much until recently - we are extremely curious about the Museum of Old and New Art that opened there up not too long ago, a real head-scratcher with its radically adventurous programming (seriously, lo-fi black metal weirdo Striborg is scheduled to perform there sometime this year, under the shadows of works by such figures as Chris Olffi, Anselm Keifer, and plenty of decay-oriented Australian artists... and yes, The Stickmen played the 'Dark Mofo' festival at MONA in 2013). So, the creative kids from Hobart back in the '80s and '90s were much more likely to flee to the much larger metropolises of Melbourne or Sydney over in mainland Australia. The Stickmen were the rare band from Hobart who persevered in their hometown long enough to develop into an amazing antipodean amalgam of Flying Nun / Xpressway NZ fuzz-pop, post-Birthday Party scum rock, and dour American math-rock, but probably not that many people ever heard about them. In fact, WE had never heard of them, until this album showed up in the shop; and yeah, they are pretty goddamn great.
Their eponymous debut album originally came out in 1998 as a mutant, garage punk blast of sharp guitar riffs, driving rhythms, cheap-ass transistor radio vocals, and weird sounds transmitted from a turntablist who spun drones and noises on his decks. The photo on the inner-sleeve is worth a thousand words with the microphone taped to a broom (complete with bristles) and suspended from the ceiling via a thick piece of rope for the guitarist to sing into (or not), while one of the band members fiddles with a mess of pedals and reaches up to backspin a record. The sound broadcast from such a Rube Goldberg contraption is brilliantly intense, somewhere between the Swell Maps avant-punk melodies, The Oh Sees' jubilant mania, and the scientific aggression of Pitchblende. Tracks (like the emphatic "No!" or the belligerent "Wired Wrong") accelerate from a Tracy Pew swagger up to wah-wah freakout guitar explosions that wouldn't be out of place in a Comets On Fire jam, albeit much more punk and violent. It was around this time in The Stickmen's career that they played at the Risdon Medium Security Prison; and you gotta wonder if the energy these guys could muster should have started a riot... if it didn't happen, why the fuck not? A great, great find! We're all totally stoked on this!!
Fancy tip-on sleeve with super high gloss printing in a pretty limited edition. Download code? You bet!
MPEG Stream: "Without A Clue"
MPEG Stream: "Wired Wrong"
MPEG Stream: "Creep Inside"
MPEG Stream: "On The March"
MPEG Stream: "Who Said It Should Be Good?"

album cover V/A Radio Niger (Sublime Frequencies) cd 16.98
Of all the Sublime Frequencies releases, we'd be hard pressed to pick a favorite. We've made a BUNCH of them our Records Of The Week, and rarely does a couple lists go by without some new fantastic world music obscurity for us to rave about. But if we had to, we'd probably have to go with the series of 'Radio' releases. They're essentially recordings straight off the radio, the Sublime Frequencies guys traveling all over the world, sitting in their hotel room, or at someone's house, and just recording the radio. The results are fantastic and fascinating, and pretty excellent sampling of the culture, not just the music, cuz you get songs and bands and singers of course, but also advertisements, talk shows, politics, DJ's, and often, it's kind of dizzying, almost like someone's just flipping through the stations. But every one so far has been a blast.
For Radio Niger, the pace is not so frenetic, but the sonic breadth is as expansive as ever, with some of the coolest music we've heard, but liberally laced with all manner of diverse sounds and sonics, as the liner notes describe, some of what you hear: shout-outs to girlfriends, drunken storytellers who just wander into the studio, comedy skits, lots of amazing Tuareg desert blues, news snippets in English from the BBC, lo-fi marketplace cassettes, auto-tuned Nigerian pop, DJ's sing along with songs on the air, there are super avant cut up collages, classic African folk...
It's all pretty fantastic, but unlike the other installments in the 'Radio' series, this one is much more musically fleshed out, with almost full songs getting played, and lots of it amazing, from dirgey desert blues to wild psychedelic guitar buzz, cool, groovy new wave pop to wild drum heavy, high life, some minimal vocal/hand drums, and some seriously twisted juxtapositions, a jam that sounds like an African Steve Miller, bumped up next to wild, spastic tribal drumming, and rapid fire vocalizations, or more modern radio pop nestled right next to cool soundtracky, horn flecked funk! Like the other comps, Radio Niger is another fascinating sonic travelogue, and a glorious glimpse into the music, the culture, and the people of Niger.
Includes a booklet with liner notes, and lots of photos! (Oh, and did we mention the awesome song titles? "Sahel Drum-Machine Gun", "Moussa Poussy Galore", etc.)
MPEG Stream: "Radio Tenere / Goudel Mollo Swagger"
MPEG Stream: "Death On The Back Of The Neck"
MPEG Stream: "Hauka Possession Splendor"

album cover CLOUDS COLLIDE Until The Wind Stops Blowing (Khrysanthoney) cd 12.98
Two fantastic new releases from the Khrysanthoney label, elsewhere on this week's list, you'll find the latest from UK dreamo / screamo blackened bliss-pop combo Sleeping Peonies, and then there's this, the first full length from Pennsylvania one man shoegaze / blackgaze / blackbuzz bliss metal outfit Clouds Collide, and holy cow, the opener is maybe the blissiest black metal we've maybe ever heard, wintry winds over spidery minor key guitars, haunting and melancholic, warm shimmery chordal strum, and then suddenly, the song explodes in a gloriously prismatic blast of blown out beats, and blurred snowstorm riffs, all wreathed in a fuzzy cloud of crumbling shimmer, thick swaths of swirling sonic glimmer, and hazy smears of fragmented melodies, all tangled up into a softly having blackened dream pop psychedelia, before switching gears and slowing down to a darkly moody post rock lope, still wrapped in sheets of soft focus shimmer, harsh vokills surface at this point, but do nothing to distract from the pure buzzing blissiness of the sound. Fans of outfits like Alcest, Fen, and other post BM shoegazers will be in heaven.
Elsewhere it does get more metal, and more black, but even on tracks like "Endless Silence", with its shrieked vokills and brittle insectoid guitar buzz, the sound is still doused in FX, pushed WAY into the red, and blurred into indistinct black-gaze smears, and when things slow down, it gets all echo drenched and drifty, the guitars weightless and ethereal, the drums, booming and reverby way off in the distance. The record flits easily between pure dream pop shoegaze shimmer and wintry black buzz bliss outs, with most tracks settling somewhere perfectly right in between!
LIMITED TO 125 COPIES, housed in a blue parchment envelope, with a printed cardstock Japanese style obi, an 11" x 17" poster, an 8 page 5.5" x 8.5" booklet, the envelope hand decorated with metallic ink!
MPEG Stream: "As If A Dead Leaf"
MPEG Stream: "Endless Silence"
MPEG Stream: "Glaciate"

album cover SLEEPING PEONIES s l o w l y d i s a p p e a r i n g (Khrysanthoney) cd 12.98
Finally, a new record from this UK black-bliss / screamo / dreamo / blackgaze outfit, who take the post black metal of groups like Alcest and Amesouers to the next level, transforming buzzing, blasting blackness into bleary, beautiful blissed out heaviness, less black metal and more black tinged dream pop. The last Sleeping Peonies was so limited we sold out in a heartbeat, and even though we are the exclusive distributor for this new one, we're expecting the same thing to happen again, as it's limited to just 130 copies, of which we got less than half!!!
It's a short record, less than 20 minutes, but it's more than enough, six tracks of gorgeously, melancholic and blissfully blown out heaviness, by turns poppy and prismatic, somber and haunting, the only real black metal elements remaining, are some insectoid guitar buzz, and some anguished vokills, cuz otherwise, sonically, it's much more aligned with classic 4AD goth, nineties shoegaze, modern bliss pop, and the production reminds us to folks like TIm Hecker or Leyland Kirby, all gristly and washed out, woozy and warbly, home brewed and super distorted, the sounds melting and crumbling, all wound up in gorgeous heart wrenching melancholy melodies.
The opener, with the very emo title "A Timid Eyelash Flutter", sets the scene, with dark piano chords, wreathed in reverb and echo, slowly enveloped by huge billowy squalls of blacknoise, swirling soft focus static, the sound super psychedelic, and totally mesmerizing. "Dreamrrz" adds some raspy vokills to what would otherwise be straight up fuzzy new wave goth pop, and sans those vocals could be some Brooklyn band on Captured Tracks. "Cemetery Kisses" too is all Cure and Kate Bush, tangled up into something fuzzier and blacker, but only just, a slow build to an epic softly psychedelic coda, replete with dramatic deep vox and wild swaths of distorted guitar. The title track takes buzzing black metal guitar, and wreathed it in prismatic shimmer, and recasts it as something totally dreamlike and blissed out, with a soaring sonic climax, that would give Godspeed a run for their money, but the sound here is pushed way into the red, crumbling and blurring into gorgeous abstract smears, while buried beneath all this swirl and shimmer, drums pound and piano plinks, leading into the hypnotically cosmic "Snowbound In Hazel And Furs", which begins all hazy and poppy, before the sound darkens a bit, burying the poppiness beneath some wintry buzz, heavy, but softly, and woozily heavy, settling into something much more gloom-gaze goth-pop than metal, but it's that metal underpinning that gives this bliss pop teeth. Finally, the record winds down with a gorgeous ambient closer, all looped and layered, and wreathed in soft FX, man, would we kill for a whole record of that mesmerizing dreaminess!
Gorgeous stuff for sure. Maybe too blissy and poppy for some metalheads, but their loss, and popkids might find this the perfect gateway to darker sonic climes, and really, anyone into all strains of shoegaze-y dream pop, who doesn't mind a bit of black and buzz in their jangle and shimmer, this is pure black-pop perfection...
LIMITED TO 130 COPIES, housed in a purple parchment envelope, with a cardstock Japanese style obi, an 11" x 17" poster, an 8 page 5.5" x 8.5" booklet, album notes printed on gray parchment, the envelope hand decorated and adorned with faeries!
MPEG Stream: "A Timid Eyelash Flutter"
MPEG Stream: "Dreamrrz"
MPEG Stream: "Slowly Disappearing"
MPEG Stream: "Blowing Out Candles"

album cover AKKORD s/t (Houndstooth) 2lp 36.00
So imagine some sort of ultra doom band, like Bunkur or Moss or Corrupted, the downtuned low end heaviness, the brooding, harrowing blackened sound world; now imagine, if you can, a band like that that doesn't make doom metal, or sludge, or even dronemusic, but instead makes electronic music. Imagine some hellish danceclub, hidden away in some cavern, far below the surface of the earth, where only demons, and those that dwell in the shadows, could be found. And certainly not on the dancefloor - this music is not for dancing, it's too ominous, too grim, too blackened. That club is wreathed in shadows, with some mysterious DJ spinning records with ribcage rattling lowend, skull caving beats, the sounds droney and bleak, blown out and minimally murky, some sort of black avant dub maybe? That may all sound too good to be true, or classic aQ hyperbole, but this debut full length from Akkord, definitely evokes exactly that sort of scenario. Just check out the opener, "Torr Vale", preferably on a really loud speaker, or in a car, system BOOMING, or in headphones, volume cranked, it's stunningly immersive, the low end a physical presence, less dance music or electronica than abstract sound design, we're tempted to make comparisons to Ben Frost, Roly Porter, Pole, Demdike Stare, there's definitely a huge hauntological vibe going on for sure, but somehow, this is even more grim and sinister than anything Demdike Stare has conjured up. Swaths of blackened shimmer, clipped beats, submerged in a murky sprawl of tarpit ambience, squelchy synths add subtle colorations, but it's all about the low end, the rumbling, whirring, churning bass, peppered with sonar pings, and rhythmic pulsations for sure, but those elements play out more like light desperately trying to escape from a black hole, and that's what Akkord have conjured up, a sonic black hole, crushing, and blackened, dark and yeah, doomy. It took us ages before we could make it past that first track, and while nothing on the rest of the record is nearly as black and bleak, that dark energy definitely surges throughout, or more accurately, oozes. "Smoke Circle" cranks up the rhythm a bit, the feel sort of double dutch, a little tribal, with little blurts of free jazz skitter mixed in, but all draped over another ominous backdrop of low end rumbles, this time accompanied by a cool looped vocal, buried way down in the mix, the vibe undeniable groovy, but with a seriously sinister undercurrent.
Some tracks, like "3dOS" get downright house-y, sounding like they wouldn't be out of place on some Kompakt release, but even here, the sound is wreathed in shadow, about as feel-bad as a feel-good music can get, especially when it breaks down into, some swirling, pulsing death dub drifts. "Folded Edge" is another groover, almost jungle-y, but wreathed in creepy slowed down vox, and in the background, all manner of low end warble, and rib cage rattling thrum, the echo drenched vocal snippets dubbed out and psychedelic, the whole thing tripped out and trance-y. The rest of the record offers up variations on Akkord's grim sonic theme, pulsing, motorik rhythms, some house-y, some jungle-y, some techno, all clipped and fragmented, and all sort of shadowy and sinister. The best moments though remain tracks like "Channel Drift", where the beat is a monotonous pulse, buried beneath a sprawl of cinematic shimmer, weird field recorded clatter, all hazy and murky and washed out, it's not until more than halfway through that the beat emerges from the murk, a bit of skittery jungle, that devolves into a woozy lope, or the killer closer "Undertow", another bit of creaking low end grimnity, hauntological for sure, swirling and heavily panned, sounds swooping from speaker to speaker, sounding more like Nurse With Wound via Demdike Stare, some mutant strain of abstract industrial electro-dub minimal murk. So killer.
Fans of the Basic House record we made Record Of The Week recently, or Ben Frost, Roly Porter, Demdike Stare, Andy Stott, Vatican Shadow, Silent Servant, all all those various strains of dark mutant electronica, this could very well be your new favorite record. It is ours!
MPEG Stream: "Torr Vale"
MPEG Stream: "Smoke Circle"
MPEG Stream: "3dOS"
MPEG Stream: "Folded Edge"
MPEG Stream: "Channel Drift"

album cover BLANK REALM Grassed Inn (Fire) cd 15.98
ALSO ON CD!!
A brand new full length from these aQ beloved Aussie psychedelic garage rockers, and unlike the last few, which we described as sounding like a mix of the Velvet Underground, Spacemen 3, krautrock, garage pop and Japanese psych, these scruffy punks seemed to have polished up their sound, and what do you know, they actually clean up pretty nice. What was once murky, fuzzy, wild, and loose, primal and druggy, dirgey and tripped out, is now sorta jangly and fuzzy and downright poppy. But it totally suits them. A little bit glammy, a little bit power poppy, like some Flying Nun missing link, but roughed up just a bit, retaining a little of their previous scrappiness, but recast here in a whole new light. Opener "Back The The Flood" is some seriously hooky classic sounding pop, crunchy and fuzzy and jangly, rambunctious and a little loose, but also sorta sunshiney and feel good, swirling synths abound, the only hints of the old Blank Realm here is the slithery Joy Divisiony bassline, which rumbles ominously, beneath the otherwise fuzzpoppy surface. And while we expected to say something like, "fear not though, the rest of the record...", but really, if anything the record continues down that rosy pop path, follow up "Falling Down The Stairs" is even poppier and janglier, still a little bit twisted and off kilter, sounding even MORE like it could have come out on Flying Nun back in the day. And somehow, while getting poppier, it also gets sort of weirder and more unpredictable. "Bell Tower" is a woozy sort of slowcore ballad, with shimmery guitars, and fragmented angular melodies, warped crooned vocals, dreamily psychedelic and washed out, while "Bulldozer Love" is another dreamy pop jam, soft focus guitar, crooned vox, and some squelchy synths in the background. "Violet Delivery" trades in the drums for programmed beats, adds some bleeps and bloops, and stretches out into some hazy, glammy krautpop drift. And so it goes, from dreamy feedback flecked jangle, to fuzzy electro garage pop, but remaining solidly on this side of the druggy, droney, murky, muddy divide, almost essentially a whole new band/sound. Hints of the change popped up throughout the last record, but similar to the transformation recently by NY noise rockers the Men on their new record, it wasn't a change we were expecting, but it's one we're digging quite a bit.
MPEG Stream: "Back To The Flood"
MPEG Stream: "Falling Down The Stairs"
MPEG Stream: "Bell Tower"
MPEG Stream: "Violet Delivery"

album cover HIS ELECTRO BLUE VOICE Dead Sons (Brave Mysteries) lp 14.98
We raved about Ruthless Sperm, last year's full length from Italian gloom garage noise pop new wave outfit His Electro Blue Voice, who we originally discovered on a split 7" with another aQ fave 'faerical blasting punks' Nuit Noire. As much as we loved that single and whatever other tracks we could dig up from HEBV, Ruthless Sperm was a revelation, noisy and poppy, chaotic and catchy, anyone who's been digging Iceage or the Holograms or Beastmilk or the Grave Babies, His Electro Blue Voice were kind of a meaner, more feral version of all those bands, which is most definitely a good thing. So after listening to Ruthless Sperm pretty much constantly, we were thrilled to discover this 12" we had somehow missed, releases on Clay Ruby's (of Burial Hex) Brave Mysteries label, and needless to say, it's a good one. A three song blast of murky, gloomy noise pop, equal parts garage rock crunch, new wave slither, goth rock swagger, the guitars fuzzy and crunchy and angular, the basslines sinewy and Joy Divisiony, the vocals yelped and howled, and most importantly, the songs are catchy as hell, opener "Dead Mice" could have been plucked right off of Ruthless Sperm, with its fuzzed out bass, and furious punk rock energy, all droney and spacey, with a weird psychedelic breakdown midway through, the song collapsing into a weird free noise drift, all skipping records and looped voices, before transforming into a weird bit of psychedelic goth folk, right down to what sounds like a recorder solo(!), eventually working its way back up to something more rocking, but still blissed out and weirdly woozy. Definitely worth the price of admission for the first track alone, but follow up "Eat Sons" is cool too, a serious Interpol vibe, albeit WAY noisier, a crunch, murky main riff, pounding drums, total leather jacket, sunglasses, anthemic gloom punk radness. The song here we end up playing on repeat. The whole of the flipside is taken up by "Zum", a sprawling brooder, all laid back and washed out, fuzzy garage gloom murk, noisy and droned out, but muted and minimal, a sort of swaggery garage goth ballad, that like the opener, has a strange breakdown midway through, from which emerges a completely different song, wildly mathy for a minute, before locking into something much more rocking and swaggery, some fierce fuzz punk pound with some really weird falsetto vocal wails and wild squalls of spaced out psychedelic FX, all of which KILLS. This band is so great. Seems like only a matter of time before the rest of the world discovers these guys, and they end up getting the same love as all the above bands (Holograms, Iceage, etc.). Here's hoping...
LIMITED TO 250 COPIES!!
MPEG Stream: "Dead Mice"
MPEG Stream: "Eat Sons"

album cover V/A Crystallized: Celebrating 15 Years Of Rocket Recordings (Rocket) 2lp 32.00
This is another record that barely needs a description, most aQ heads are gonna want one of these for sure, a collection of exclusive, unreleased tracks celebrating 15 years of releases by the mighty Rocket Records, a UK label that over the years has brought us tons of amazing spaced out heaviness, from groups like The Heads, Goat, Hills, Gnod, White Hills, Teeth Of The Sea, Mugstar, Anthroprophh and loads more, this comp collects some of those very same bands, along with a handful of 'friends of Rocket' as well as some other outfits who have records coming soon on the label. Needless to say, even just the names we know make this worth grabbing. Recent Record Of The Weekers Teeth Of The Sea offer up a fierce field of grinding static drenched drones, shot through with smoldering feedback, and progged out psychedelia, while another former Record Of The Week combo, UK space rock heavies Gnod, deliver some tripped out reverb soaked weirdness. Swedish psych rockers Hills get all buzzing kraut-raga, channeling Parson Sound and Amon Duul, while long time aQ faves, UK via Texas weirdos Shit And Shine unfurl a sprawling 15 minute rhythmic noise rock dirge, with creepy helium vox, and some seriously harsh garage tone, like the Butthole Surfers but even more caveman. Cherrystones give us his take on tripped out minimal drift, a little bit dubby, laces with shimmery guitars, and fields of mysterious glitchery, and big time aQ faves Goat offer up some unreleased live action, their special brand of African infused Swedish occult stoner space rock tribalism, that has us hankering for more more more! And yet another previous Record Of The Week honoree, Heads side project Anthroprophh, delivers what sounds like a super heavy, ultra drivingly rhythmic spaced out This Heat, all dense percussion, thick swells of chordal thrum, and FX soaked shimmer. Vision Fortune, whose Cardinal Fuzz lp we reviewed recently, give us some blown out, grinding, fuzzy, distorto dub, wound around loping math-kraut mesmer. And those are just the bands we know. Of the new to us combos, Blood Sport get all groovy, almost funky, sorta proggy, with an almost African feel, a little bit of a Goat influence perhaps, with some super stylized, almost glam sounding vox that align their sound with fellow space rocker Hookworms. There's a Swedish outfit called Uran, whose sound is all gristly, electro-fuzz, distorto stomp, groovy space garage heaviness, there's the Heads related outfit Roll bars, with some squelchy synths, thick fuzzed out bass, sounds bit like Jane's Addiction's "Mountain Song" drugged up and spaced out, and finally, an Italian band, that the label claims to be one of their faves, The Lay Llamas, who get all woozily playful, unwinding a mesmerizing stretch of looped space-kraut drift, all tranced out and cyclical. Phew! So much good stuff. Obviously, all you space / psych / drone rock nerds who dig all things Cardinal Fuzz / Agitated / Rocket (obviously), are gonna want this, so best grab one quick before they are gone for good...
MPEG Stream: TEETH OF THE SEA "Run Red"
MPEG Stream: URAN "Emp"
MPEG Stream: HILLS "National Drone"
MPEG Stream: GNOD "Holy Empire"
MPEG Stream: GOAT "Goatjam"

album cover AKKORD s/t (Houndstooth) cd 16.98
So imagine some sort of ultra doom band, like Bunkur or Moss or Corrupted, the downtuned low end heaviness, the brooding, harrowing blackened sound world; now imagine, if you can, a band like that that doesn't make doom metal, or sludge, or even dronemusic, but instead makes electronic music. Imagine some hellish danceclub, hidden away in some cavern, far below the surface of the earth, where only demons, and those that dwell in the shadows, could be found. And certainly not on the dancefloor - this music is not for dancing, it's too ominous, too grim, too blackened. That club is wreathed in shadows, with some mysterious DJ spinning records with ribcage rattling lowend, skull caving beats, the sounds droney and bleak, blown out and minimally murky, some sort of black avant dub maybe? That may all sound too good to be true, or classic aQ hyperbole, but this debut full length from Akkord, definitely evokes exactly that sort of scenario. Just check out the opener, "Torr Vale", preferably on a really loud speaker, or in a car, system BOOMING, or in headphones, volume cranked, it's stunningly immersive, the low end a physical presence, less dance music or electronica than abstract sound design, we're tempted to make comparisons to Ben Frost, Roly Porter, Pole, Demdike Stare, there's definitely a huge hauntological vibe going on for sure, but somehow, this is even more grim and sinister than anything Demdike Stare has conjured up. Swaths of blackened shimmer, clipped beats, submerged in a murky sprawl of tarpit ambience, squelchy synths add subtle colorations, but it's all about the low end, the rumbling, whirring, churning bass, peppered with sonar pings, and rhythmic pulsations for sure, but those elements play out more like light desperately trying to escape from a black hole, and that's what Akkord have conjured up, a sonic black hole, crushing, and blackened, dark and yeah, doomy. It took us ages before we could make it past that first track, and while nothing on the rest of the record is nearly as black and bleak, that dark energy definitely surges throughout, or more accurately, oozes. "Smoke Circle" cranks up the rhythm a bit, the feel sort of double dutch, a little tribal, with little blurts of free jazz skitter mixed in, but all draped over another ominous backdrop of low end rumbles, this time accompanied by a cool looped vocal, buried way down in the mix, the vibe undeniable groovy, but with a seriously sinister undercurrent.
Some tracks, like "3dOS" get downright house-y, sounding like they wouldn't be out of place on some Kompakt release, but even here, the sound is wreathed in shadow, about as feel-bad as a feel-good music can get, especially when it breaks down into, some swirling, pulsing death dub drifts. "Folded Edge" is another groover, almost jungle-y, but wreathed in creepy slowed down vox, and in the background, all manner of low end warble, and rib cage rattling thrum, the echo drenched vocal snippets dubbed out and psychedelic, the whole thing tripped out and trance-y. The rest of the record offers up variations on Akkord's grim sonic theme, pulsing, motorik rhythms, some house-y, some jungle-y, some techno, all clipped and fragmented, and all sort of shadowy and sinister. The best moments though remain tracks like "Channel Drift", where the beat is a monotonous pulse, buried beneath a sprawl of cinematic shimmer, weird field recorded clatter, all hazy and murky and washed out, it's not until more than halfway through that the beat emerges from the murk, a bit of skittery jungle, that devolves into a woozy lope, or the killer closer "Undertow", another bit of creaking low end grimnity, hauntological for sure, swirling and heavily panned, sounds swooping from speaker to speaker, sounding more like Nurse With Wound via Demdike Stare, some mutant strain of abstract industrial electro-dub minimal murk. So killer.
Fans of the Basic House record we made Record Of The Week recently, or Ben Frost, Roly Porter, Demdike Stare, Andy Stott, Vatican Shadow, Silent Servant, all all those various strains of dark mutant electronica, this could very well be your new favorite record. It is ours!
MPEG Stream: "Torr Vale"
MPEG Stream: "Smoke Circle"
MPEG Stream: "3dOS"
MPEG Stream: "Folded Edge"
MPEG Stream: "Channel Drift"

album cover LANEGAN, MARK Has God Seen My Shadow?: An Anthology 1989-2011 (Light In The Attic) 2cd 19.98
A fantastic career retrospective of long time aQ fave Mark Lanegan, two cds or three lps collecting tracks from most every one of Lanegan's solo records, going all the way back to our favorite, his debut The Winding Sheet, originally released on Sub Pop way back in 1990. But we've been fans of Lanegan since he fronted classic grunge combo Screaming Trees, where his deep, dramatic, smokey and soulful vocals helped define that sound, but solo, with a more stripped down minimal sound, those distinctive vocals are front and center, right where they belong. You'd have to be a pretty obsessive fan to want this, since most of this is culled from records you probably already have, but most of the Lanegan fans we know (ourselves included) are in fact pretty goddamn obsessive, so having what is essentially a killer greatest hits, or a practically perfect Lanegan mixtape makes it worth picking up for sure. PLUS, there's also TWELVE unreleased tracks, all of which are pretty goddamn great. And hell, if you're new to Mark Lanegan, this is a pretty stellar introduction, we have trouble imagining ANYone not being totally mesmerized. The music throughout, is pretty consistently stunning, dark, and brooding, haunting and moody, simple and stripped down, laced with subtle slide guitar, bits of twang here and there, it's a dark, smokey, late night, softly psychedelic back room blues, all heartbroken balladry and tragic slowcore miserablism, but really it's all about THAT VOICE, rough and ragged, a warm whiskey soaked rasp, that's so perfect. And that's not even mentioning the classic songsmithery at work here, and when Lanegan teams up with other vocalists, PJ Harvey, Isobell Campbell, etc., the results are pretty goddamn fantastic, like a darker more demonic alternate universe Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra. And we should mention the cover of the Leaving Trains' "Creeping Coastline Of Lights", which was already one of the greatest songs EVER, here, made even slower and darker, with vibes and xylophone, and woozy guitar shimmer, total wasted, rainswept, Hollywood wasteland, nothing-to-lose grim heartbreak balladry that is untouchable.
As mentioned above, the bonus tracks are killer too, unclear how they ended up being left off the records proper, another set of brooding balladic blues and swampy twang flecked stomps, that are honestly as good as anything on any of the albums proper, and Lanegan obsessives will not want to be without ANY of them.
Both the cd and the lp version comes with a big booklet full of rare photos and hand written lyrics.
MPEG Stream: "Creeping Coastline Of Lights"
MPEG Stream: "One Hundred Days"
MPEG Stream: "Resurrection Song"
MPEG Stream: "Mockingbirds"
MPEG Stream: "Pendulum"

album cover LANEGAN, MARK Has God Seen My Shadow?: An Anthology 1989-2011 (Light In The Attic) 3lp 44.00
A fantastic career retrospective of long time aQ fave Mark Lanegan, two cds or three lps collecting tracks from most every one of Lanegan's solo records, going all the way back to our favorite, his debut The Winding Sheet, originally released on Sub Pop way back in 1990. But we've been fans of Lanegan since he fronted classic grunge combo Screaming Trees, where his deep, dramatic, smokey and soulful vocals helped define that sound, but solo, with a more stripped down minimal sound, those distinctive vocals are front and center, right where they belong. You'd have to be a pretty obsessive fan to want this, since most of this is culled from records you probably already have, but most of the Lanegan fans we know (ourselves included) are in fact pretty goddamn obsessive, so having what is essentially a killer greatest hits, or a practically perfect Lanegan mixtape makes it worth picking up for sure. PLUS, there's also TWELVE unreleased tracks, all of which are pretty goddamn great. And hell, if you're new to Mark Lanegan, this is a pretty stellar introduction, we have trouble imagining ANYone not being totally mesmerized. The music throughout, is pretty consistently stunning, dark, and brooding, haunting and moody, simple and stripped down, laced with subtle slide guitar, bits of twang here and there, it's a dark, smokey, late night, softly psychedelic back room blues, all heartbroken balladry and tragic slowcore miserablism, but really it's all about THAT VOICE, rough and ragged, a warm whiskey soaked rasp, that's so perfect. And that's not even mentioning the classic songsmithery at work here, and when Lanegan teams up with other vocalists, PJ Harvey, Isobell Campbell, etc., the results are pretty goddamn fantastic, like a darker more demonic alternate universe Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra. And we should mention the cover of the Leaving Trains' "Creeping Coastline Of Lights", which was already one of the greatest songs EVER, here, made even slower and darker, with vibes and xylophone, and woozy guitar shimmer, total wasted, rainswept, Hollywood wasteland, nothing-to-lose grim heartbreak balladry that is untouchable.
As mentioned above, the bonus tracks are killer too, unclear how they ended up being left off the records proper, another set of brooding balladic blues and swampy twang flecked stomps, that are honestly as good as anything on any of the albums proper, and Lanegan obsessives will not want to be without ANY of them.
Both the cd and the lp version comes with a big booklet full of rare photos and hand written lyrics.
MPEG Stream: "Creeping Coastline Of Lights"
MPEG Stream: "One Hundred Days"
MPEG Stream: "Resurrection Song"
MPEG Stream: "Mockingbirds"
MPEG Stream: "Pendulum"

album cover LOOP A Gilded Eternity (Reactor) 2lp+7" 25.00
NOW ALSO REISSUED ON VINYL! We made the 2009 double cd reish of this, the final proper album from late '80s mantric space/psych rockers Loop, a Record Of The Week, this new double lp plus 7" edition deserves nothing less as well.
Contemporaries and countrymen of legendary UK drug rockers Spacemen 3, Loop took the same sonic influences but rocked a little harder, opting out of the extended soporific drifts the defined the Spacemen, (although they were perfectly capable of blissing out with the best of them) and instead creating looped, krautrock spacejams, that were downright heavy, as well as being space-y, druggy and surprisingly catchy. Guitars were fuzzed out, vocals way down in the mix, reverb and delay EVERYWHERE, riffs often processed into stuttering textures and looped rhythms, the drums alternatingly motorik and skeletal, and pounding and explosive, all wreathed in a glorious otherworldly haze.
A Gilded Eternity, originally released in 1990, might just be their heaviest and most rocking yet, definitely their tightest, album opener "Vapour" has one of those riffs TO DIE FOR, the main melody is so completely catchy, the song a woozy, repetitive chunk of gloriously propulsive dronerock, less space-y than much of what came before, but definitely more rocking and relentless. the next track "Afterglow" pushes that new heaviness even further, sounding not unlike Swervedriver, big crunchy distorted guitars, pounding tribal drumming, the arrangement a lurching start stop, that slips into cool washed out breakdowns, before exploding right back into the stuttery groove. And so it goes, the band unfurling their masterwork, in a career of masterful works, "Blood" is total abstract minimal krautrock, the guitars stripped away, leaving just a super spare drum part, wrapped all up in processed vocals and swirling effects, another jam that easily could have gone on for 10 more minutes. But then just like that, the band slip back into "Breath Into Me", whipping up another killer riff, the track a looped space garage groove that rivals record opener "Vapour". The record proper ends with the nearly 10 minute "Be Here Now", the Loop version of a slow jam, beginning with some strange processed guitar, the band ease into a languorous groove that drifts druggily through soft focus clouds of lysergic buzz, brief squalls of wild wah guitar, but remaining locked and looped, the weary vocals drifting above the warm endless buzz.
The cd reissue came with a bonus disc as well, of demo tracks and Peel Sessions, which this vinyl version does not include, but, the vinyl DOES come with a bonus 7" containing on its A side the Loop track "Shot With A Diamond", which happens to be Jim's favorite Loop track alongside "Arc-Light." This track provides the perfect sonic segue between Loop and the sounds guitarist Robert Hampson would later explore with his post Loop solo project Main, an ominous bit of electronic sample laced dronemusic, creepy and haunting and so fucking awesome. It should be noted that this version of "Shot With A Diamond" has been stripped of the vocal samples from Apocalypse Now, presumably which were never authorized initially.
Required listening for anyone with even the mildest interest in sounds space-y, druggy, metallic and psychedelic!!!
MPEG Stream: "Vapour"
MPEG Stream: "Afterglow"
MPEG Stream: "Be Here Now"
MPEG Stream: "Shot With A Diamond"

album cover SLEAFORD MODS Austerity Dogs (Harbinger Sound) cd 17.98
Despite the name, don't think parkas and scooters. Think, well, white rap. White rap by a pair of clever & cranky British blokes, who kinda sound like if Mark E. Smith from the Fall listened to a lot of Sensational or Kool Keith and decided to make a really WTF? electronic rap album of his own. Except there's two of him (seems to be one main guy, and a kind of a sidekick).
We got turned on to the Sleaford Mods thanks to a really cool record shop over in England, Norman Records, who put this album at the top of their Best of 2013 list, an apparently controversial choice even among the shop's own staffers. Some unconventional, outside of the box thinking there! So we figured we ought to check it out. And guess what? We can see why they picked it, though we can also see why it was a bold choice. Had we heard it last year, we might have been tempted too. It's addictive! And we don't always even understand half of what these geezers are on about, that's part of the charm - the thick accents (lots of "fookin'") and the British slang, only makes more wonderfully confusional their own weird brand of free-association wordplay, resulting in plenty of cryptic non-sequiturs that may or may not be intentional, though there's plenty of obvious witticisms too. The lyrics, near as we can tell, are mainly complaints about life and society and shitty music business stuff, full of references to wankers and "donkeys".
Here's some lines from the track "Shit Streets Runny" (that is, if we managed to transcribe it correctly): "Attention to detail / attention to detail / fookin' email / wap! mp3 / I need a fookin' bath / you ain't no roadrunner / you ain't no shoot shoot the runner / shit take on it / meanwhile back in the crap cave / I trod on my cape by mistake / and fell into the fridge mate / I fookin' hate Northern Soul / it's like Motown on the dole". Then the sidekick guy gets some good bits in too, like the one about "Brain Eno / what the 'ell does 'e know?"
And all that, their ranting and rhyming, and even a little bit of singing, sort of, comes on top of quite catchy minimalist hiphop backing tracks, with ticktocking drum machines and laid back grooves, simple and hypnotic, making for an oddly humorous and headnodding listen indeed, full of sing-song bits that will get stuck in your head, catchphrases too - we're all going "Wobble wobble wobble" ferinstance. Maybe it's even more amusing to us since we're American, and whatever we're lacking in context is made up for in sheer absurdity. Anyway, diggin' this a lot!
MPEG Stream: "Shit Streets Runny"
MPEG Stream: "Mcflurry"
MPEG Stream: "Showboat"

album cover TRONICS What's The Hubub Bub (M'Lady's) lp 17.98
What's The Hubub Bub is a twistedly brilliant DIY post punk holy grail from a group known simply as Tronics, not so much a group as the work of one man, Ziro Baby, and his peculiar brand of post-punk / folk-punk /art-rock / protest music sounds relevatory even today. Originally released at the beginning of the eighties, this record must have really blown minds back then. Equal parts singer/songwriter punk folk songsmithery, minimalist punk primitivism, and ahead of its time tape experiments and sound collage, What's The Hubub Bub has been floating around the underground for 30 years now, with just a track or two popping up on obscure comps, which is hard to believe considering how fucking great this whole record is.
The first half tends more toward proper songs, although the record begins with the sounds of sirens, before in swoop brittle and angular guitars, languid and psychedelic, simply strummed and darkly jangly, accompanied by simple hand percussion, opener "How Do You Do Again" is crazy catchy, repetitive and mantra like, stream of consciousness lyrics, sort of sung/spoken, it's easy to hear the sort of influence this band has had on contemporary groups like Sic Alps (SA's Mike Donovan is a HUGE fan!), and that song sets the template, mostly one or two parts, looped and repeated, minimal lyrics, also repeated over and over, some songs have a distinctly fifties / sixties style pop sound, "Helsinki" is like some classic Beatles or Kinks song arranged for tinny guitar and hand drums. But it's right around "Space Message" that things start to get really weird, a brief blast of static, and garbled FX, with Tronics mainman (only man?) Ziro transmitting from the ether, his voice becoming equally garbled, very Conet Project sounding, and really, that signals a sort of seismic sonic shift, cuz the rest of the record, while rife with more punk-folk ditties, is also peppered with strange sonic experiments and collaged tape loops. There's the old timey rock and roll of "The Other Man" and then the murky droned out balladry of "Alone", that sounds like the saddest, warbliest Joe Meek outtake ever, but if any record was back loaded it's this one. Cuz then there's "Intro", which is in fact a sprawling bit of early sampledelia, bird song, weird voices, tape hiss, and strange effects, echo drenched samples of a sobbing woman, maudlin piano, snippets taped off the radio, bursts of jagged distorto guitar, little bits of orchestra, and symphonies, and what sounds like TV theme songs, all layered into a fantastic bit of psychedelic avant sound collage, and that leads right into what might be the greatest Tronics song EVER, "Shark Fucks", catchy, and anthemic, ridiculous lyrics, a main hook that KILLS, a wicked chorus, still just guitar and distorted drum (just one drum), with laid back, drawled vox, it will instantly get lodged in your brain, and you'll want to play it over and over and over, we have been, probably driving people insane, but we LOVE it! We're actually kind of amazed this song hasn't been covered a million times, it's SOOOOO good. Totally worth the price of admission, especially when he slips into some weird garbled underwater vocals, presumably just made with his mouth and not any actual FX.
Once you make it past "Shark Fucks", if you ever do, there's the primitive minimal fuzz-guitar punk of "I'm A Diver", also crazy catchy, and then things finish off with another sound experiment, the two part "Piece For A Galaxy Bar Jukebox", the first part, all pulsing sci-fi electronics, a dark shadowy kosmische, that gets people coming up to see what we're playing, every time it comes on in the store, moody and minimal and haunting, it's only three minutes, but it's the kind of thing we could listen to forEVER. The second part is still more sci-fi electro weirdness, this one less shimmery and droney, and more percussive and rhythmic, percolating bloops, that explode into jagged shards of distorted synth, and again, we would have loved if it stretched out for 10 or 15 minutes instead of just two...
So completely bafflingly brilliant, and utterly essential. A new unanimous favorite for sure. We also got another Tronics reissue, Say! What Is This?, which we'll review next time, but if you want that one too, just ask!
MPEG Stream: "Shark Fucks"
MPEG Stream: "Intro"
MPEG Stream: "I'm A Diver"
MPEG Stream: "Piece For A Galaxy Bar Jukebox I"
MPEG Stream: "How Do You Do Again"
MPEG Stream: "Helsinki"

album cover LAME DRIVERS Flexi-Book EP (self-released) 5 x flexi disc book 26.00
We've been meaning to review something from these modern retro power poppers for a while now. We first discovered Lame Drivers via aQ faves Home Blitz, whose O.ut O.f P.hase record we made Record Of The Week back in 2009, and who played our first South By Southwest showcase around the same time. At some point, Jason from Home Blitz struck off on his own, and took all the power popisms of Home Blitz, of which there were many, and honed them to perfection, so much so, that most Lame Drivers songs sound like they could have come straight off some obscure Yellow Pills style power pop compilation from back in the day. This flexi-book is in the style of those Castle Face Group Flex compilations we reviewed a while back, a little 7" book, with five flexi discs, assembled into a little playable book, seven songs, killer artwork from a handful of different artists, but really it's the songs that makes this essential. The Yellow Pills comparison is the most apt, think classic seventies power pop, Dwight Twilley, Cheap Trick, crunchy, fuzzy, jangly, catchy choruses, even catchier verses, fans of more modern retro power pop revivalists like Warm Soda and Bare Wires, will flip their lid for Lame Drivers too, and the packaging is ace to boot, the artwork eye popping, and sort of an essential music nerd object, that just happens to also be musically kick ass. WAY recommended, and crazy limited too, so grab one quick before they're gone...
MPEG Stream: "We R Notified"
MPEG Stream: "Indian Burn"
MPEG Stream: "Other Side"
MPEG Stream: "Minimize"

album cover BLACKDEATH Phobos (Heidens Hart) cd 13.98
Phobos is the 7th full length since 2001 from these Russian black metallers, who most folks probably know from their split with Leviathan, or longtime aQ list readers probably remember that Blackdeath feature two of our favorite named black metal musicians, Abysslooker and Para Bellum, not to mention that they also happen to have one of the few female drummers in black metal. And while in the early days, BD trafficked in super raw, grim black buzz, over the last few records, their sound has gotten weirder and weirder, coinciding seemingly with a sudden shift to the German language (which seemed odd for a Russian band). When we reviewed the last BD record, we mentioned that some of the parts sounded how we imagined a black metal Circle might sound, as well as pointing out the strange vocals, and the proggy arrangements, all of which are still present, in fact, if anything, the vocals have gotten even stranger, and the group's avant tendencies have definitely come to define their sound.
The opener definitely hews closer to the classic Blackdeath grimnity of old, but as the song unfolds, it reveals itself to be a strangely technical, gnarled loopscape, with the main riff extremely cyclical, the sound churning and roiling, almost sing songy, which is accentuated when the leads come in, and follow along with the almost robotic riffing. And then the vocals go from black metal shriek, to dramatically howled, complete with lots of trilled 'r's, sounding, again, not unlike Mika from Circle, just way more metal. But the vibe is over the top, buzzy and black, but also twisted and a little avant. Which is actually how much of the rest of the record plays out, a sort of proggy black buzz, each track locked around a single riff, repeated trancelike, and more often than not, at some point splintering into something dizzyingly intricate, or warped and jagged. Unlike most bands whose weirdness stems from strange sounds, or unlikely sonic elements, the strangeness of Blackdeath is purely musical, working within a fairly well established set of sounds and tropes, they manage to twist those sounds all up, and arrange them in ways that are confusing, confounding, and manage to push both our grim black metal buttons, and our what the fuck, outsider black weirdness buttons at the same time. A rarity for sure. And while we could go through the record song by song, part by part, pointing out twisted little psychedelic filigrees here, damaged rhythms there, or the various warped textures, dizzying black prog arrangements, and super trippy melodies, that stuff is so well integrated, that it wouldn't make sense. It's quite a feat too, making all that weirdness sound like an inexorable part of the sound, all without taking ANYthing away from the pure grim black energy that oozes from pretty much every note here. Still one of our favorite black metal outfits around...
MPEG Stream: "Der Letzte Untergang"
MPEG Stream: "Also Sprach Schopfer-Psychopath"
MPEG Stream: "Lucifer Rising"

album cover MODERN CHARMS s/t (Clue #2 Records) lp 14.98
From right here in SF comes this kick ass debut of fuzzy, jangly, shoegazey, noisy, bliss pop, from a group called Modern Charms, who sound like they've been studying their nineties indie rock songbooks, in particular, the Swirlies, My Bloody Valentine, Curve, Lush, Slowdive, and really, if that reads like a list of your favorite bands, then Modern Charms are gonna knock your pop-gaze socks off. A few seconds into the first track, "When We Get There" should be all it takes, muted minor key riff, chiming harmonics, angelic ethereal female vox, softly swirling guitar textures, all blurred and smeared into epic billows of chordal swirl, and shot through with shards of feedback, and wild burst of noisy psychedelia, Modern Charms have the sound DOWN, in fact, if you told us this was actually some lost shoegaze gem from the nineties, we'd totally buy it. The music is pitch perfect, right down to the production, and while much of MC's sound is wispy and washed out, the band display plenty of musical muscle as well, with big crunchy riffs, and some seriously noisy psychedelic shoegaze freakouts. But the icing on this retro pop cake has to be the super distinctive voice of vocalist Inna Kurikova, whose gorgeous vocals drift ethereally through thick swaths of noise guitar, and wrap themselves languidly around moody, brooding jangle. And it's not just the sound, the songs too, plenty of subtle hookiness, catchy choruses, the group deftly transforming simple jangle pop into something much more epic and expansive, heady and hypnotic.
MPEG Stream: "When We Get There"
MPEG Stream: "Someday"
MPEG Stream: "Falling Sun"

album cover MUTOID MAN Helium Head (Magic Bullet) cd 15.98
Longtime readers of the aQ list know by now just how much we loved Cave In, from their crazy crushing ultra heavy early records all the way up to their more recent, way poppier 'Radiohead' period. And we've raved about pretty much everything Cave In frontman Stephen Brodsky has done since, his solo records practically perfect, and super poppy. So when we found out Brodsky was teaming up with drummer Ben Koller from Converge, we were thrilled, imagining all sorts of sonic scenarios, variations on heavy pop, or maybe poppier Converge style metallic mayhem, and truth be told, that's SORT of what Mutoid Man sounds like, but only sort of. Brodsky's songwriting is definitely on display, hooks galore, and his vocals, sound as good as ever, but the setting is definitely different, with Brodsky and Koller conjuring up some wildly technical, progged out metal weirdness, at times sounding like supercharged classic rock, and at others, like some furious metal-prog, with some super rad WTF sonic craziness in the mix, whether it's twisted churning mosh parts, or squiggly FX drenched psychedelia, or a ridiculously cool, and ULTRA heavy Animals cover (!), it all makes for some serious, and seriously kick ass heaviness.
We were sold one track in, opener "Gnarcissist" sounds like classic hard rock mutated and revved WAY the fuck up, killer riffing, fuzzed out bass, wild drumming, this track in particular sounds a LOT like Brodsky's poppier solo material but given a punk as fuck Converge style metallic makeover, THE rawk jam of the year, with its blown out wah guitar, frenzied riffing, progged out drumming, and soaring super hooky vocals, frantic and caffeinated, head bangable but hooky as hell, all of which basically applies to the rest of the record in equal measure. And while nothing is quite as overtly poppy as the opener, tracks like "Scavengers" wrap super tech guitar shreddery, around poppy hooks, and dizzying prog arrangements, the sort of sound that is exhausting to even listen to, but these guys make it sound effortless, transforming their hooky tech-metal punk-prog into something as crushing as it is catchy. Fans of Converge and early Cave In, who aren't averse to some serious goddamn poppiness, this ones for you. We've been jamming this NON-stop, and have no plans to stop anytime soon.
We do think it could have been a little cheaper, though, considering it's under 17 minutes long!
MPEG Stream: "Gnarcissist"
MPEG Stream: "The Manimals"
MPEG Stream: "Scavengers"
MPEG Stream: "Scrape The Walls"

album cover MUTOID MAN Helium Head (Magic Bullet) lp 14.98
ALSO ON VINYL!!
Longtime readers of the aQ list know by now just how much we loved Cave In, from their crazy crushing ultra heavy early record sall the way up to their more recent, way poppier 'Radiohead' period. And we've raved about pretty much everything Cave In frontman Stephen Brodsky has done since, his solo records practically perfect, and super poppy. So when we found out Brodsky was teaming up with Ben Koller from Converge, we were thrilled, imagining all sorts of sonic scenarios, variations on heavy pop, or maybe poppier Converge style metallic mayhem, and truth be told, that's SORT of what Mutoid Man sounds like, but only sort of. Brodsky's songwriting is definitely on display, hooks galore, and his vocals, sound as good as ever, but the setting is definitely different, with Brodsky and Koller conjuring up some wildly technical, progged out metal weirdness, at times sounding like supercharged classic rock, and at others, like some furious metal-prog, with some super rad WTF sonic craziness in the mix, whether it's twisted churning mosh parts, or squiggly FX drenched psychedelia, or a ridiculously cool, and ULTRA heavy Animals cover (!), it all makes for some serious, and seriously kick ass heaviness.
We were sold one track in, opener "Gnarcissist" sounds like classic hard rock mutated and revved WAY the fuck up, killer riffing, fuzzed out bass, wild drumming, this track in particular sounds a LOT like Brodsky's poppier solo material but given a punk as fuck Converge style metallic makeover, THE rawk jam of the year, with it's blown out wah guitar, frenzied riffing, progged out drumming, and soaring super hooky vocals, frantic and caffeinated, head bangable but hooky as hell, all of which basically applies to the rest of the record in equal measure. And while nothing is quite as overtly poppy as the opener, tracks like "Scavengers" wrap super tech guitar shreddery, around poppy hooks, and dizzying prog arrangements, the sort of sound that is exhausting to even listen to, but these guys make it sound effortless, transforming their hooky tech-metal punk-prog into something as crushing as it is catchy. Fans of Converge and early Cave In, who aren't averse to some serious goddamn poppiness, this ones for you. We've been jamming this NON-stop, and have no plans to stop anytime soon.
FYI, these are short songs - the whole thing's under 17 minutes long!
MPEG Stream: "Gnarcissist"
MPEG Stream: "The Manimals"
MPEG Stream: "Scavengers"
MPEG Stream: "Scrape The Walls"

album cover LEGION OF ANDROMEDA s/t (self-released) cd 4.98
Dig this killer blast of blackened slo-mo industrial death metal, from these Italians by way of Japan. We were pretty much sold already, they're called Legion Of Andromeda, they have song titles like "Cosmo Hammer", "Overlord Of Thunder" and "Fist Of The Galaxy", and the cover's a grim black on black band logo, a giant axehammer, and goddamn if the music doesn't live up to all the nonmusical promise. Four tracks of minimal, reductionist blackdeath brutality, almost like a black death version of Dutch instrumetallers Gore, each track mostly a single riff, hell, at times it sounds like a single chord, chugging hypnotically, driven by a programmed robotic rhythm, occasionally shifting into a sort-of-chorus, but really it's just a noisier version of THAT ONE riff. All the while, some seriously throat shredding demon grunt, grindcore style belched vokills, gurgle and growl over the top. Total knuckle dragging blackened bliss out of the highest order. Opener "Cosmo Hammer" is definitely the dirgiest of the bunch, just total slo-mo headbanging chug and churn that could (and should, and sort of DOES) go on forever. "Overlord Of Thunder", stretches out a bit, but just a bit, with a kick ass main riff, that's sort of like a stoner rock riff but way more blackened, the distortion crumbling and blown out, and while it seems like it's setting things up for some proper black buzz and blast, it's NOT, instead, LoA just lock it down, loop that riff, and unfurl a tranced out sprawl of motorik riffage, that in different hands could probably be a Pharaoh Overlord song, but here, becomes some sort of blackdeath musical mantra, modern minimalism by way of hair spinning, amp worshipping neanderthals and we LOVE it. And so it goes, the other two tracks delivering still more of that monstrously monotonous riffing, head caving, soul shearing, one-riff, drone-dirge heaviness that is totally mesmerizing, absolute hypno-death, industrial, black buzz trance out genius.
And yeah, it's a REAL cd, and it's only five bux, and it totally fucking RULES.
MPEG Stream: "Cosmo Hammer"
MPEG Stream: "Overlord Of Thunder"

album cover MIND SPIDERS Inhumanistic (Dirtnap) cd 13.98
For some reason, we always thought Mind Spiders were from Australia. They definitely have that Aussie post punk vibe, but they are in fact from Denton, Texas, and our description in our review of their last record, still pretty much applies:
"Imagine Thee Oh Sees via Gary Numan, or the Ramones if they were on Captured Tracks, or maybe even Bare Wires covering Snowy Red..."
If anything, this new one is more stripped down, more old school power pop, with swirling synths, and drum machines augmenting the group's kinetic garage pop crunch. Just check out "Suicide", which doesn't sound so much like Suicide as it does Cheap Trick or the Cars. And in fact, those two bands are pretty good reference points, although some of the record gets more buzzy and fuzzy and punk, but even at its most revved up, the songs here are still CRAZY catchy, hooks galore, these guys tossing off timeless popisms that most bands would kill for.
But the record IS kinda all over the map. "City Stuff" sounds like it was plucked from a different record, even down to the production (and volume!), with its Casio-core rhythm, wheezing synth swirl, and Wall Of Voodoo guitar, but then it slips right back into almost Ramones sounding punk stomp, still shot through with plenty of Yellow Pills power popisms, but then a song or two later, and the sound blossoms into a sort of FX heavy psychedelic space garage, a little bit Moon Duo, a little bit T-Rex, a killer slice of kraut-glam, garage-synth, fuzz pop that KILLS. And then like the last record, the band deliver the coup de grace, another record defining jam, this time around sounding like a modern fuzzed out garage rock Gary Numan, swirling and sci-fi and psychedelic and swaggery and crazy catchy to boot. Goddamn we wish we hadn't already finished our 2013 top tens, cuz had we known, you can bet this would have definitely made it, and probably been right near the top!
MPEG Stream: "Inside You"
MPEG Stream: "City Stuff"
MPEG Stream: "Electric Things"
MPEG Stream: "Oblivion"

album cover MIND SPIDERS Inhumanistic (Dirtnap) lp 16.98
For some reason, we always thought Mind Spiders were from Australia. They definitely have that Aussie post punk vibe, but they are in fact from Denton, Texas, and our description in our review of their last record, still pretty much applies:
"Imagine Thee Oh Sees via Gary Numan, or the Ramones if they were on Captured Tracks, or maybe even Bare Wires covering Snowy Red..."
If anything, this new one is more stripped down, more old school power pop, with swirling synths, and drum machines augmenting the group's kinetic garage pop crunch. Just check out "Suicide", which doesn't sound so much like Suicide as it does Cheap Trick or the Cars. And in fact, those two bands are pretty good reference points, although some of the record gets more buzzy and fuzzy and punk, but even at its most revved up, the songs here are still CRAZY catchy, hooks galore, these guys tossing off timeless popisms that most bands would kill for.
But the record IS kinda all over the map. "City Stuff" sounds like it was plucked from a different record, even down to the production (and volume!), with its Casio-core rhythm, wheezing synth swirl, and Wall Of Voodoo guitar, but then it slips right back into almost Ramones sounding punk stomp, still shot through with plenty of Yellow Pills power popisms, but then a song or two later, and the sound blossoms into a sort of FX heavy psychedelic space garage, a little bit Moon Duo, a little bit T-Rex, a killer slice of kraut-glam, garage-synth, fuzz pop that KILLS. And then like the last record, the band deliver the coup de grace, another record defining jam, this time around sounding like a modern fuzzed out garage rock Gary Numan, swirling and sci-fi and psychedelic and swaggery and crazy catchy to boot. Goddamn we wish we hadn't already finished our 2013 top tens, cuz had we known, you can bet this would have definitely made it, and probably been right near the top!
MPEG Stream: "Inside You"
MPEG Stream: "City Stuff"
MPEG Stream: "Electric Things"
MPEG Stream: "Oblivion"

album cover DE MASI, FRANCESCO The New York Ripper OST (Death Waltz) lp 30.00
Death Waltz strikes again. And again! Elsewhere on this week's list you'll find the Death Waltz release of the killer soundtrack for the modern documentary Room 237, a fantastic study of the crazed conspiracy theories that have surrounded Stanley Kubrick's classic The Shining, since it was first released, the soundtrack an homage to classic scores by Goblin, John Carpenter, etc. And then there's this one, the score to director Lucio Fulci's infamous 1982 Italian giallo The New York Ripper, aka Lo Squartatore Di New York, famously banned in many countries (in fact, to this day unavailable in the UK, where it is still considered a video nasty!), a story set in a pre-clean up Times Square. There's of course a serial killer, who has a weirdly Donald Duck like voice (!), a burned out police detective, a repressed psychotherapist, plenty of prostitutes, and loads of gore and seedy sex. Decried for its purportedly misogynistic tone, and often accused of pandering to the lowest common denominator, The New York Ripper does a pretty good job of conjuring up the filth and depravity of the city and its inhabitants. A classic exploitation slasher flick for sure, De Masi's score is a strange one, which much of the soundtrack being not all that scary at all, from groovy eighties funk, laced with sax and aching electric guitar, to cheesy jazzy ditties that sound like variations on the theme from the Love Boat, to wild, sweaty Latin Jazz jams, to dark slowjazz drifts, all fluttery flutes and muted trumpets, amidst all this pops up brief moments of creepy ambience, of seriously haunting John Carpenter-isms, reminiscent in places of Carpenter's They Live soundtrack for sure, but it's the way these ominous undertones creep into the otherwise UNscary soundtrack, that make it so insidious, and the perfect score for the depravity taking place on screen!
Like all the Death Waltz records, fancy pants packaging, the vinyl 180 gram and a sick greenish color, housed in a heavy casebound tip-on style jacket, includes a 4 page insert with liner notes, as well as a huge poster of the new cover art, oh, and killer new classic comic book style cover art by artist Nick Percival.

album cover ROOM 237 (JONATHAN SNIPES AND WILLIAM HUTSON) OST (Death Waltz) cd 15.98
NOW ALSO ON CD!
UK horror soundtrack vinyl label Death Waltz, deviates again from their ongoing reissue campaign to offer up another modern soundtrack, but fear not, Room 237 stacks up pretty well against all the classics the label has been resurrecting recently, it would be really easy to mistake this for some classic slab of grimy cinematic sonic creep from back in the day. Jonathan Snipes and William Hudson channel the greats, John Carpenter, Goblin, equal parts sinister synth drones, twisted electronics, blackened ambience, seventies kosmische, haunting melodies, Italo-disco, groovy synth wave, the craziest part of all is that it's the soundtrack to a DOCUMENTARY! But then it's not any documentary, it's a 2012 film about Stanley Kubrick's classic, The Shining, or more specifically, all the crackpot theories folks have about the Shining, with interviews with various people, each presenting their take on the hidden meanings behind The Shining, and some of them are doozies, from the genocide of the American Indians, to the Apollo 11 moon landing, and yeah, even the Holocaust. The movie is twisted, and fascinating, hilarious and disturbing, some of the theories totally far fetched, others not so much, with plenty of visual evidence given for each. Watching the movie, we were actually struck by the score, which at times reminded us of the music from Phantasm (Death Waltz, reissue that one!!!), or Halloween, which seem like they wouldn't be suited to a documentary, but somehow, they add a sort of cinematic gravitas, even more so when this new score is coupled with original footage from The Shining. But hell, even removed from the film, Snipes and Hutson's score is fantastic, big bombastic percussion, darkly swirling synths, choir like vocals, haunting melodies, pulsing almost disco-y synthscapes, plenty of futuristic electronics, cascading keyboard arpeggiations, and shimmery chordal swells, fluttery psychedelic flutes, some of the music super tense and ominous, reminding us also of the incredible score for the recent Beyond The Black Rainbow (Death Waltz! Do that one too!!), sort of cosmic prog, infused with a heaping dose of the sonic heebie jeebies. So goddamn good. And again, fans of classic old school horror scores, will likely flip their lids! As will anyone into the retro futuristic faux-soundtracks of Zombi, Majeure, Umberto and all the rest.
Like all Death Waltz releases, the packaging is super swank, the cd comes in an eye popping full color six panel gatefold digisleeve, complete with the cool pop up cd holder featured in other DW cds, the vinyl is 180 gram, red and yellow, cut at 45rpm, and housed in a heavy casebound tip-on sleeve. The vinyl version also includes a cd of the complete score as well!!
MPEG Stream: "Recourse To Eagles"
MPEG Stream: "To Keep From Falling Off"
MPEG Stream: "Escape Pod"
MPEG Stream: "Minotaur"

album cover ROOM 237 (JONATHAN SNIPES AND WILLIAM HUTSON) OST (Death Waltz) lp 30.00
UK horror soundtrack vinyl label Death Waltz deviates again from their ongoing reissue campaign to offer up another modern soundtrack, but fear not, Room 237 stacks up pretty well against all the classics the label has been resurrecting recently, it would be really easy to mistake this for some classic slab of grimy cinematic sonic creep from back in the day. Jonathan Snipes and William Hutson channel the greats, John Carpenter, Goblin, equal parts sinister synth drones, twisted electronics, blackened ambience, seventies kosmische, haunting melodies, Italo-disco, groovy synth wave, the craziest part of all is that it's the soundtrack to a DOCUMENTARY! But then it's not any documentary, it's a 2012 film about Stanley Kubrick's classic, The Shining, or more specifically, all the crackpot theories folks have about the Shining, with interviews with various people, each presenting their take on the hidden meanings behind The Shining, and some of them are doozies, from the genocide of the American Indians, to the Apollo 11 moon landing, and yeah, even the Holocaust. The movie is twisted, and fascinating, hilarious and disturbing, some of the theories totally far fetched, others not so much, with plenty of visual evidence given for each. Watching the movie, we were actually struck by the score, which at times reminded us of the music from Phantasm (Death Waltz, reissue that one!!!), or Halloween, which seem like they wouldn't be suited to a documentary, but somehow, they add a sort of cinematic gravitas, even more so when this new score is coupled with original footage from The Shining. But hell, even removed from the film, Snipes and Hutson's score is fantastic, big bombastic percussion, darkly swirling synths, choir like vocals, haunting melodies, pulsing almost disco-y synthscapes, plenty of futuristic electronics, cascading keyboard arpeggiations, and shimmery chordal swells, fluttery psychedelic flutes, some of the music super tense and ominous, reminding us also of the incredible score for the recent Beyond The Black Rainbow (Death Waltz, do that one too!!), sort of cosmic prog, infused with a heaping dose of the sonic heebie jeebies. So goddamn good. And again, fans of classic old school horror scores, will likely flip their lids! As will anyone into the retro futuristic faux-soundtracks of Zombi, Majeure, Umberto and all the rest.
Like all Death Waltz releases, the packaging is super swank, the cd comes in an eye popping full color six panel gatefold digisleeve, complete with the cool pop up cd holder featured in other DW cds, the vinyl is 180 gram, red and yellow, cut at 45rpm, and housed in a big heavy casebound tip-on sleeve. The vinyl version also includes a cd of the complete score as well!!
MPEG Stream: "Recourse To Eagles"
MPEG Stream: "To Keep From Falling Off"
MPEG Stream: "Escape Pod"
MPEG Stream: "Minotaur"

album cover I SHALT BECOME Louisiana Voodoo (Inspired Hate / Saadi Saati) cd 10.98
The latest from Illinois one man black metal band I Shalt Become bears the strange title Louisiana Voodoo, not sure if this some sort of bizarre concept record, but sonically, it does pretty much start up right where 2010's Poison left off, the muddy, Burzumic, Xasthur-like murk of the earlier releases, transformed into something twisted and symphonic, the sound more strings and orchestra than black buzz, but fear not, ISB's finest moments, are when the two collide, creating a sort of symphonic black doom creep that fuses washed out murky guitar buzz, and buried barely there drum plod, to swirling symphonic strings, dramatic piano, even some Carpenter like synths, all topped with raspy, demonically croaked vokills. It's strange stuff for sure, but as much as we loved Poison, we're digging Louisiana Voodoo even more, all of the twisted symphonic elements, and the newly expanded sound palette, are even more expansive and wonderfully warped this time around, Louisiana Voodoo sounding like some sort of Broadway black metal production of Phantom Of The Opera, all bombastic and dramatic, creepy chamber music wrapped in swaths of grim black buzz, it's almost like a more lo-fi home brewed version of Dimmu Borgir or Fleshgod Apocalypse, but somehow even less metal, or at least less buzzing and blasting, instead more creepy and loping, lumbering and muddy, sweeping and soundtracky, it's not difficult to imagine these sounds accompanying some twisted big budget art film, the arrangements are intricate and epic, the sounds majestic and soaring - think Xasthur via Arvo Part, or Make A Change Kill Yourself performing with a symphony. Although it's obvious that ISB is not just cramming some fake orchestra sounds into a black metal template, this stuff is meticulously crafted, and the results are stunning, and while there's still plenty of metal going on, metal references definitely don't do this justice, instead, think of some blackened hybrid that's equal parts Devil Doll, Death SS, Jacula, Gnaw Their Tongues, Xasthur, Seirom and Dimmu Borgir. Awesome.
MPEG Stream: "Brief Glimpses Of Death"
MPEG Stream: "The Rats In The Walls"
MPEG Stream: "Lust"
MPEG Stream: "Strangers"

album cover DRUG HONKEY Death Dub (self-released) cd 10.98
Earlier this past year we reviewed (and Record Of The Week'd) a crushing slab of druggy psychedelic space doom sludge called Ghost In The Fire, from a band with the VERY unlikely moniker Drug Honkey. Initially we sorta assumed they must be a joke band, but there was nothing funny about the head spinning din these guys whipped up on that record. And as much as we loved Ghost In The Fire, for us it all started with this disc, Death Dub, which we had hoped would be some sort of impossible dub / death metal hybrid, and while it wasn't quite that, it was still seriously warped and fucked up, like a sludgier more metallic Butthole Surfers, sort of. Dirgey, and noisy, and crusty, sludgey and actually in fact, kinda dubbed out. We managed to get a handful of these finally (as well as DH's Hail Satan cd-r, if you want one of those too, just ask!), and now everyone can revel in Drug Honkey's glorious sonic filth, a constantly shifting metallic sound world, that's all churning riffage one second ("The Devil Lasts Forever"), tripped out dubby doom the next ("Death Threats"). The Butthole Surfers comparison is pretty apt, these guys just unfurl these sprawling epics, low slung bass throb, tribal caveman drumming, weird FX heavy vox, bellowed demonic howls that can easily transform into hysterical shrieks, everything wrapped in sheets of crumbling distortion, clouds of swirling effects, total tripped out heaviness, that as the title promises does get dubby, check out the vox on "Death Threats", throat shredding vokills disappear in a field of echo and delay, and go spinning into the blackness, while underneath the band continue to pound out a spacey psychedelic dirge. Or there's "Communion", the vocals sick and hellish, but seemingly being real time processed, so each bellow, launches little flurries of sped up shrieks or garbled grunts, all tether to the bands lumbering, monstrous, downtuned crush.
The sound constantly gets super psychedelic, and sort of krautrocky and motorik, spacey and heavily tripped out, like some weird mutated hybrid of the Psychic Paramount, Terminal Cheesecake and Painkiller, some tracks almost sound like hip hop, albeit some sick, distortion drenched industrial strain (Techno Animal, Ice, God, etc.). In fact the Pathological Records vibe looms large over pretty much all of Death Dub, the whole record an electronic flecked, FX heavy, metallic mindfuck of the highest order. Which obviously means ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL!!!
MPEG Stream: "My Sins"
MPEG Stream: "Death Threats"
MPEG Stream: "Communion"

album cover STOTT, ANDY / BATILLUS Batillus "Concrete" Remix (Modern Love) 12" 15.98
This one seemed so unlikely, we figured that it couldn't be right. That maybe "Batillus" was the name of the track. Or that the Batillus in question here, being remixed by minimal electronic mastermind Andy Stott, was just another beatmaker/soundscaper with the same name as the Batillus we knew, but in fact, the Batillus here IS none other than the NY metal crew whose records Concrete Sustain and Furnace we've raved about on the aQ list in the past. Apparently, Stott and Batillus shared a bill, Batillus professed their love for Stott, and a collaboration was born. And it's a doozy. The opening few minutes sound like a slightly darker version of what we're used to from Stott, all hushed staticscapes, buried pulsations, slow shifting textures, warbly minimal thrum, a sculpted landscape of hiss and hum, but soon the buzz grows more sinister, the rhythmic pulse, more ominous and caustic, the sound growing more industrial and metallic, and then the vocals come in, super processed and slowed down, a raspy, mechanical demon bellow, doused in reverb and delay and FX, dubbed out hard, and draped over a blurry tangle of tones, and a slow motion stutter step rhythm. So goddamn good. And as always, with a remix like this, it mostly leaves us wishing there was actually a proper band, that just sounded EXACTLY LIKE THIS. Who knows, maybe Stott and Batillus will join forces and make a full length together. Here's hoping...
MPEG Stream: "Concrete (Andy Stott Remix)"

album cover V/A Angola Soundtrack 2: Hypnosis, Distortion, & Other Sonic Innovations 1969-1978 (Analog Africa) 2lp 32.00
Even if we hadn't already been familiar with the first volume in the Angola Soundtrack series, we would have been pretty curious about this new one. The cover art, to start with: a super psychedelic, color tinted image of four women with spiked out antenna-like hair, and in the foreground, a hulking figure, head shaved and shirtless, wreathed in shadow and smoking a cigar, his belly hanging over his belt, it almost looks like a still from some crazy psychedelic arthouse film, and then there's the compilation's subtitle: Hypnosis, Distortion & Other Sonic Innovations - all right! And while it's maybe not as freaky and far out as all that might lead one to believe, it's still pretty fantastic, and the perfect follow up to the first volume for sure.
The first track should have most folks totally smitten, an instrumental psychedelic groove, all spidery guitar melodies, some wah wah here and there, and a seriously Latin sounding rhythm, which is not all that surprising, considering that we discovered with the first volume, that Latin music was a huge influence on the Angola sound, and that's super obvious throughout volume two as well. As we mentioned in that original review, having no context, we really might have assumed that this music was in fact from Central or South America, but it's that fusion of Latin and African that makes the sound so unique, so vibrant, joyous and alive. A lot of the tracks have a big band Afro-Jazz vibe, but some sound like fuzzed out Afro-Latin garage rock, others more balladic and croony, and still others almost like they could be music from Italian Westerns, but all the tracks here are incredible, from energetic and joyously raucous to moody and melancholic, such fantastic stuff, and like the first volume, on heavy heavy rotation, which as always, is the best recommendation of all...
Like all Analog Africa releases, the packaging is fantastic, the aforementioned cover art, a heavy slipcover. Inside, the disc in a full color digipak, the accompanying book, massive, overflowing with extensive liner notes on the artists, the songs, the region, as well as the music and culture of the time, tons of rare photos too.
MPEG Stream: OS ANGOS "Avante Juventude"
MPEG Stream: QUIM MANUEL "Senhor Doutor"
MPEG Stream: TONY VON "N'Hoca"
MPEG Stream: AFRICA RITMOS "Agarrem"
MPEG Stream: CARLOS LAMARTINE "Bazooka"
MPEG Stream: AFRICA SHOW "Inspiracao De Nito"

album cover NOCTUM Final Sacrifice (Metal Blade) cd 14.98
If our review of Noctum's 2010 debut The Seance boiled down to saying this Swedish band's '70s-sounding Sabbath/Pentagram worship was definitely highly recommended to all Witchcraft fans ('cause it sounded a heck of a lot like aQ faves Witchcraft), then this time around, with their new album Final Sacrifice, we must recommend 'em to all fans of their new labelmates, In Solitude. 'Cause Noctum have added a BIG dose of Mercyful Fate to their sonic equation - which means, rather than Witchcraft, they now remind us more of In Solitude, or even Ghost. A lot of it has to do with the vocals, with their newfound wailing King Diamond-ish affectations (including the high falsetto, and horror story lyrics), which don't sound nearly as much like Magnus from Witchcraft as they used to. Instead, yeah, he sounds something like the guys from Ghost and In Solitude. There's also a Mercyful Fate riff or two hinted at in these songs for sure.
We don't want to accuse 'em of following trends, but have to admit it looks a little suspicious. In Solitude and Ghost, both displaying big Mercyful Fate influences, are of course two of Sweden's currently hippest/hottest hard rock exports right now, right? But it could just be a coincidence. And in any case, what does it matter? Nobody was accusing Noctum of being all that original in the first place. What's important, is, will you dig the tunes? And you will, if you like this sort of retro riffy occult metal action, a la In Solitude of course. Plus, Noctum DO still have plenty of the '70s/Sabbath/Witchcraft thing going on too, in fact, one song is progged out enough to feature flute, and it ends up being a pretty cool combo, Black Sabbath meets Mercyful Fate (or Witchcraft meets In Solitude), nothing wrong with that!! Also if you found the latest In Solitude to be "not metal enough" for you, this won't have that problem, they don't (yet) do the goth-rock thing. But they do mix in some possible other inspirations - there's a rollicking-ness to some of this that makes us think they've been listening to Southern/boogie rock like the Allman Brothers, Ram Jam or Pat Travers (!), and heck, any band that can make us reference both King Diamond and Ram Jam, we approve!
MPEG Stream: "Conflagration"
MPEG Stream: "Liberty In Death"
MPEG Stream: "Resurrected In Evil"

album cover KUBIN, FELIX Zemsta Plutona (The Omni Recording Corporation) cd 17.98
Brand new music from German outsider sci-fi pop weirdo / visionary, whose "particle accelerator pop" positions somewhere between a sort of naive, alien Gary Numan, and a time traveling Brian Wilson cyborg, his pop music meticulously crafted from the detritus of classic pop music past, fused into some impossible space aged future pop, Kubin a Joe Meek like studio mad scientist, transforming pop music into something strange and wondrous, even when working with someone else's music, just check out the opening track, a killer and fantastically confusional cover of Lou Christie's "Lightning Strikes", which turns the original into a near operatic robotic future funk, channeling the spirit of Klaus Nomi (who also does a killer version of the song), but Kubin has no shortage of his own mini masterpieces, beginning with "Atomium Vertigo", which sounds like Serge Gainsbourg played by an all robot band, a krauty drum machine kraut-groove beneath fields of FX and static, while Kubin delivers his sultry spoken word, oh yeah, and of course there's the bleepy bloopy vocodered chorus. And so it goes, every track here a twisted future pop gem, from the avant electro-kraut exotica of "Nachts Im Park", to the 8-bit skitter of "Flies Without Memory", to the garbled electronic jazz collage that is "Restez En Linge", to the banging synth hop of "Piscine Ressonenzi", which has us envisioning Kubin as a producer and beat maker for the current crop of pop stars like Ke$ha, or Beyonce, or Britney... if only! And Kubin never lets up, the second half of Zemsta Plutona as chock full of electro future pop weirdness as the first, flitting from plunderphonic style forties jazz to maniacal alien electro, and from murky minimal avant-kraut weirdness to Perry & Kingsley style electronic experimentation, and beyond!
Like all Omni releases, Zemsta Plutona is beautifully appointed, there's a big full color booklet, with liner notes and plenty of photos!
MPEG Stream: "Lightning Strikes"
MPEG Stream: "Atomium Vertigo"
MPEG Stream: "Nachts Im Park"
MPEG Stream: "Flies Without Memory"

album cover LOGOS Cold Mission (Keysound) cd 17.98
Cold Mission is the debut full length from UK producer Logos, who has some connection to aQ faves Dusk & Blackdown, and traffics in a similar strain of post dubstep electronica. But unlike the cinematic ambience of D&B, Logos' sound seems to fall closer to the slow-mo soul of folks like Vessel and oOoOO, equal parts jungle, dubstep and grime, but given a druggy, drowsy makeover. Logos unfurls sprawling swirls of synthscapery wrapped around fractured beats, and gouts of rib cage rattling bass, but like much of this stuff, Cold Mission doesn't sound destined for the dancefloor, instead, the vibe is abstract and avant, more of a wasted late night chill out sort of feel, skittery rhythms drift amidst softly billowing clouds of chordal thrum, peppered with muted synth pads, and reverbed vocal fragments, many of the tracks almost sound like the intros to dubstep jams, stretched way out into proper songs, slow building and tense, as if some huge drop was just around the corner, but the drop never comes, instead, the sound just billows outward, like a time lapse film of a slowly expanding universe transformed into sound. There are also lots of field recordings woven into the mix, chirping birds, chittering insects, crickets, making the music sound strangely pastoral, even at its most sinister, it's not hard to imagine chilling out on some grassy knoll, the stars glimmering in a black sky, these sounds washing over you. The third track, "Surface Area" is where it first comes all together, weird metallic percussive clatter, peppering swirling cascades of arpeggiated synths, super kosmische and ethereal, all underpinned by thick waves of bass rumble, crickets off in the distance, total blissed out ambient dub weirdness, that might be our favorite jam here, but that's a tough call, cuz throughout, Logos conjures up all sorts of abstract trippiness, his post dubstep about as 'post' as it can get, check out "Swarming", another sprawling swath of crystalline shimmer, this one laced with minor key melodies, haunting FX, thick rumbling bass, DJ style rewinds, again, all blurred into something spacey and nearly psychedelic.
Even the more beat heavy tracks are pretty out there: "Seawolf" is all rubbery synth buzz, fragmented stutter beats, there's the cock of a shotgun in there too, as well as some video game 8-bit sound FX, the first few minutes sounding like an intro, again until you realize, there is no intro, the beat lurching and lumbering through fields of glitch and squelch and buzz. The one track featuring Dusk & Blackdown is actually the most straight ahead jam here, but that's not saying much, it's still super dubbed out and abstract, this time laced with voices, strange synth blurts, more rewinds, like most of the tracks here, never fully reaching terminal velocity, every time it sounds like the beats gonna kick in proper, the song fractures and morphs into a twisted tangle, although in the case of this track, the sound suddenly shifts into something synthy and spacey and unlike almost anything else on the record. From there on out, it's more of the same, which is to say, not the same at all. A lurching stuttery synth wreathed beatscape, bleeds directly into the gorgeously cinematic title track, all gristly glitch, swoonsome synth, and crumbling distorted bass, which leads directly into a strange bit of almost tropical sounding ambience, like the Field via the Orb via James Ferraro? Trippy, dreamy stuff for sure.
The record finishes off with a killer one two punch. First, "Wut It Do", where Logos lets his jungle freak flag fly, the closest to a proper jungle jam for sure, but even then, the song is constantly shifting, the various loops and samples, maddeningly repeated, footstep style, but ultimately, has us wondering what a slightly less abstract Logos record might sound like, pretty goddamn great we're guessing. But before we can think about that too much, the sound slips right back into the Cold Mission avant-dubstep / post jungle dreaminess, sounding a bit like a dubbed out jungle new age, all swirling synths, chirping crickets, tinkling chimes, some vocals and a little bass buzz, as well as some spaced out stuttery beats, those beats eventually dropping out, leaving the last few minutes to unwind as a super trippy, super dynamic new age / dubstep mashup!
MPEG Stream: "Surface Area"
MPEG Stream: "Swarming"
MPEG Stream: "Seawolf"
MPEG Stream: "Cold Mission"

album cover SECRET PYRAMID Movements Of Night (Students Of Decay) lp 15.98
Movements Of Night is the first lp (as far as we know) from these Canadian drone drifters, whose past releases (two tapes and a cd-r) we raved about in the past. As much as we loved those, this new one, released on the venerable Students Of Decay label, manages to take their sound even further. From the opening couple minutes, we were totally smitten - the sound a lush, swirling, psychedelic morass, of lush layered textures, of keening, heartwrenching melodies, buried beneath gristly fields of soft focus static, under which, a meditative pulse throbs hypnotically, so cinematic and majestic, haunting and stirring, it's the kind of part most bands spend half a record, or at least most of one long song building up to, but these guys start out, with this dense, cathartic soundscape, which really sets the tone for the whole record, aligning them sonically with Philip Jeck, William Basinski, Tim Hecker, Stars Of The Lid, a sort of darkened psychedelic take on Pop Ambience, a looped dreamscape of heady, hypnotic, blissed out dronemusic, that is so mesmerizing, it has us wishing it would never end.
And while we were prepared to explain that nothing else on the record manages to reach the same sort of sonic and emotional peak, it's actually somehow, not at all true. The next track, in fact, seems to effortlessly conjure up another deep, emotional soundworld, all slow shifting minor key swells, softly reverbed melodies, washed out strings, and lysergic chordal drift, the sound building and building, before slipping right back into a muted field of drifts and swells. And so it goes. Every track, a dark, moody, brooding, cinematic gem, some ultra minimal and abstract, wispy fields of lowercase sound, others bold and strident, emotional and expressive, some almost symphonic, majestic and epic in scope, bordering on psychedelic noise, others hushed and whispery, barely there, brief blurred smears of sonic color, but every single second, of every track on Movements Of Night, is stunning, moving, and utterly breathtaking.
Includes a download code!
MPEG Stream: "A Descent"
MPEG Stream: "Quiet Sky"
MPEG Stream: "Closer"
MPEG Stream: "Escape (Fade Out)"

album cover TRONICS What's The Hubub Bub (M'Lady's) cd 14.98
What's The Hubub Bub is a twistedly brilliant DIY post punk holy grail from a group known simply as Tronics, not so much a group as the work of one man, Ziro Baby, and his peculiar brand of post-punk / folk-punk /art-rock / protest music sounds relevatory even today. Originally released at the beginning of the eighties, this record must have really blown minds back then. Equal parts singer/songwriter punk folk songsmithery, minimalist punk primitivism, and ahead of its time tape experiments and sound collage, What's The Hubub Bub has been floating around the underground for 30 years now, with just a track or two popping up on obscure comps, which is hard to believe considering how fucking great this whole record is.
The first half tends more toward proper songs, although the record begins with the sounds of sirens, before in swoop brittle and angular guitars, languid and psychedelic, simply strummed and darkly jangly, accompanied by simple hand percussion, opener "How Do You Do Again" is crazy catchy, repetitive and mantra like, stream of consciousness lyrics, sort of sung/spoken, it's easy to hear the sort of influence this band has had on contemporary groups like Sic Alps (SA's Mike Donovan is a HUGE fan!), and that song sets the template, mostly one or two parts, looped and repeated, minimal lyrics, also repeated over and over, some songs have a distinctly fifties / sixties style pop sound, "Helsinki" is like some classic Beatles or Kinks song arranged for tinny guitar and hand drums. But it's right around "Space Message" that things start to get really weird, a brief blast of static, and garbled FX, with Tronics mainman (only man?) Ziro transmitting from the ether, his voice becoming equally garbled, very Conet Project sounding, and really, that signals a sort of seismic sonic shift, cuz the rest of the record, while rife with more punk-folk ditties, is also peppered with strange sonic experiments and collaged tape loops. There's the old timey rock and roll of "The Other Man" and then the murky droned out balladry of "Alone", that sounds like the saddest, warbliest Joe Meek outtake ever, but if any record was back loaded it's this one. Cuz then there's "Intro", which is in fact a sprawling bit of early sampledelia, bird song, weird voices, tape hiss, and strange effects, echo drenched samples of a sobbing woman, maudlin piano, snippets taped off the radio, bursts of jagged distorto guitar, little bits of orchestra, and symphonies, and what sounds like TV theme songs, all layered into a fantastic bit of psychedelic avant sound collage, and that leads right into what might be the greatest Tronics song EVER, "Shark Fucks", catchy, and anthemic, ridiculous lyrics, a main hook that KILLS, a wicked chorus, still just guitar and distorted drum (just one drum), with laid back, drawled vox, it will instantly get lodged in your brain, and you'll want to play it over and over and over, we have been, probably driving people insane, but we LOVE it! We're actually kind of amazed this song hasn't been covered a million times, it's SOOOOO good. Totally worth the price of admission, especially when he slips into some weird garbled underwater vocals, presumably just made with his mouth and not any actual FX.
Once you make it past "Shark Fucks", if you ever do, there's the primitive minimal fuzz-guitar punk of "I'm A Diver", also crazy catchy, and then things finish off with another sound experiment, the two part "Piece For A Galaxy Bar Jukebox", the first part, all pulsing sci-fi electronics, a dark shadowy kosmische, that gets people coming up to see what we're playing, every time it comes on in the store, moody and minimal and haunting, it's only three minutes, but it's the kind of thing we could listen to forEVER. The second part is still more sci-fi electro weirdness, this one less shimmery and droney, and more percussive and rhythmic, percolating bloops, that explode into jagged shards of distorted synth, and again, we would have loved if it stretched out for 10 or 15 minutes instead of just two...
So completely bafflingly brilliant, and utterly essential. A new unanimous favorite for sure. We also got another Tronics reissue, Say! What Is This?, which we'll review next time, but if you want that one too, just ask!
MPEG Stream: "Shark Fucks"
MPEG Stream: "Intro"
MPEG Stream: "I'm A Diver"
MPEG Stream: "Piece For A Galaxy Bar Jukebox I"
MPEG Stream: "How Do You Do Again"
MPEG Stream: "Helsinki"

album cover V/A Angola Soundtrack 2: Hypnosis, Distortion, & Other Sonic Innovations 1969-1978 (Analog Africa) cd 24.00
Even if we hadn't already been familiar with the first volume in the Angola Soundtrack series, we would have been pretty curious about this new one. The cover art, to start with: a super psychedelic, color tinted image of four women with spiked out antenna-like hair, and in the foreground, a hulking figure, head shaved and shirtless, wreathed in shadow and smoking a cigar, his belly hanging over his belt, it almost looks like a still from some crazy psychedelic arthouse film, and then there's the compilation's subtitle: Hypnosis, Distortion & Other Sonic Innovations - all right! And while it's maybe not as freaky and far out as all that might lead one to believe, it's still pretty fantastic, and the perfect follow up to the first volume for sure.
The first track should have most folks totally smitten, an instrumental psychedelic groove, all spidery guitar melodies, some wah wah here and there, and a seriously Latin sounding rhythm, which is not all that surprising, considering that we discovered with the first volume, that Latin music was a huge influence on the Angola sound, and that's super obvious throughout volume two as well. As we mentioned in that original review, having no context, we really might have assumed that this music was in fact from Central or South America, but it's that fusion of Latin and African that makes the sound so unique, so vibrant, joyous and alive. A lot of the tracks have a big band Afro-Jazz vibe, but some sound like fuzzed out Afro-Latin garage rock, others more balladic and croony, and still others almost like they could be music from Italian Westerns, but all the tracks here are incredible, from energetic and joyously raucous to moody and melancholic, such fantastic stuff, and like the first volume, on heavy heavy rotation, which as always, is the best recommendation of all...
Like all Analog Africa releases, the packaging is fantastic, the aforementioned cover art, a heavy slipcover. Inside, the disc in a full color digipak, the accompanying book, massive, overflowing with extensive liner notes on the artists, the songs, the region, as well as the music and culture of the time, tons of rare photos too.
MPEG Stream: OS ANGOS "Avante Juventude"
MPEG Stream: QUIM MANUEL "Senhor Doutor"
MPEG Stream: TONY VON "N'Hoca"
MPEG Stream: AFRICA RITMOS "Agarrem"
MPEG Stream: CARLOS LAMARTINE "Bazooka"
MPEG Stream: AFRICA SHOW "Inspiracao De Nito"

album cover V/A Sounds Of Silence (Alga Marghen) lp 31.00
We had to do it. How could this NOT be an aQ Record Of The Week? Some folks will no doubt cry foul, and accuse us of arty pretension, but nothing could be further from the truth. Sure we love lots of strange stuff, and we love difficult listening, and challenging, arty sonic WTF weirdness, and have been known to champion some seriously bizarre records and groups, but we do love all that stuff. Like we love jangly pop, and buzzy black metal, we also love field recordings of abandoned buildings, we love the sound of record crackle, tape hiss, we love industrial sounds, the whir of heating units, the thrum of traffic bleeding through the walls, we love the drone found in everyday life, the music hidden in the most unmusical of places. In fact, it's almost become a running joke around here, we'll be somewhere, and some piece of machinery will be buzzing or humming, or some construction site will be emitting a strangely rhythmic crunch, and our first thought it often "We could definitely sell a bunch of these at aQ!" And after all these years, we know you're right there with us. Buying recordings of hospital rooms and life support machines, recordings of mating deer and drag races, records made entirely from runout grooves, we could go on and on, but c'mon, you love that stuff as much as we do. Which brings us to Sounds Of Silence, which as the title suggests, is in fact a collection of the most famous musical silences! That's right, a silent record. Or at least mostly, bear with us.
We've had other 'silent' records at aQ before, from the not-so-silent Blank Tapes, which found Argentinean weirdos Reynols constructing a whole record from recordings of, yes, blank tapes, that disc a fantastic sonic landscape of hiss and hum, subtly textural and weirdly mesmerizing, to (in the used bin once), a purported compilation of Billy Joel's "Greatest Hits", which was in fact a recording with no sound at all, an obvious artprank jab at the ubiquitous piano man. Hell, we even poked fun at ourselves by listing a cd that didn't even exist on our April Fools list a while back, waxing poetic about the 'nothingness' and the 'void' and the concept behind the lack of actual music, we even made a mock up with an empty jewel case, that spent a good long while on the employee favorites shelf in the store. But the thing is, we do love silence, or at least, the attempt to capture silence, in a world, where true silence doesn't actually exist. From barely there recordings by Francisco Lopez and Bernard Gunter, to field recordings of industrial spaces, it's not so much about the silence, as what surrounds it, and what threatens to destroy it.
So yeah, maybe you'd have to be a pretty big music dork to want to pay thirty bucks for a silent record, but then, we're all pretty big music dorks after all. C'mon, check out the lineup! Andy Warhol, Ciccone Youth, Sly & The Family Stone, Robert Wyatt, Afrika Bambatta & Family, Orbital, John Lennon & Yoko Ono, Crass, Whitehouse, The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, Soulfly, John Denver, The Count Backwards and lots more. Maybe the most unlikely lineup on a compilation ever. Who knows if this is some super provocative art-prank, or a lovingly curated collection of experimental sound, or heck, a little of both, it's pretty goddamn fascinating, and weird, and cool, fans of lowercase sound will find much to dig, lots of crackle and hiss, of course even beyond the original recordings, depending in your method of playback, each person's listening experience will be different, more noise and hiss and hum and crackle and pop, you could even scratch the shit out if it before you play it and truly individualize it, Christian Marclay style! But the sounds themselves are surprisingly varied, those that come from digital sources, are truly nearly silent, while others are actually not so silent, and still others, don't even exist at all, their length listed as 0'0'', presented here as they were when they were originally 'released', the original intention unclear, high concept, political statement, who knows, but tracks like Sly & The Family Stone's "There's A Riot Goin' On", which was mentioned on the album cover, but was then conspicuously absent from the actual lp, or Andy Warhol's "Silence (Copyright 1932)", which was supposedly created by Warhol when he was 4 years old, or the Afrika Bambatta track "Beware (The Funk Is Everywhere) (Silent Version)", which was originally presented as a "Radical Mix". But fear not, Sounds Of Silence, is not all high concept, there are actual tracks, well, actual sort of silent tracks, it seems a little pointless to describe each one, since, they are all essentially 'silent', and they ARE, both sides, track after track of barely there thrum, fields of crackle, the occasional pop, most of that we're guessing from OUR turntable, but close listening reveals much of the source, some tracks have barely there sounds, whether it's the sound of the room, or the vinyl from which it was mastered, or who knows, maybe we're just hearing what we want to. Maybe there is nothing but silence. A long time ago, we at aQ dreamed of a record made entirely of vinyl lp crackle, which led sound artist Loren Chasse to do just that (sort of, he simulated it with field recordings of surf and rain actually), so in a way, if you remove the high concept angle, Sounds Of Silence, is kind of like that, like maybe a more minimal version of our long dreamed of record crackle record. Either way, you know if this is your cup of tea or if you think it's a total crock of shit. If you've read this far, we're guessing you're in the first camp, but really either way, we LOVE this. It's brilliant, hilarious, confusional, baffling, there are extensive liner notes too, track by track discussing where each one came from, why each one is important, the concept behind them, there's even an essay on silence, it's of course fantastically packaged, and totally over the top. Well, as 'over the top' as a silent record can be.
Recommended for music nerds, weirdo sonic obsessives and anyone who would dig having such a ridiculous record in your collection. Don't believe us? Check out the sound samples? What sound samples? Exactly!
Cool Simon & Garfunkle parody cover art too. LIMITED TO 250 COPIES ONLY!!

album cover GERMAN ARMY s/t (Skrot Up) lp 12.98
There was a bit of confusion on the last list, when we finally got around to reviewing a record from LA minimalist murk pop duo German Army, we mentioned in the review that the band had lots of records, and as if to prove that point, we ourselves got confused and, uh, reviewed the wrong record. This week, all is put right, we're finally reviewing the 'right' record, the one we meant to review in the first place, and we got the other one in, the one we actually DID review. So double dose of German Army on this week's list, and odds are, if you're anything like us, you're probably gonna want both.
This self titled lp is on Skrot Up, a label who in the past has given us records by the Grave Babies, Water Borders, Psychic Ills, and they released the recent lp from long time aQ fave and former Net Shaker Ernest Gibson. German Army's distinctive sound is in full effect here, a gloriously dour post punk murkiness, hauntingly rhythmic, ominous drones, creepy sung/spoken crooned vox, opener "Guinea Strong Arm" almost sounds like This Heat at their poppiest, but slowed way down, and filtered through a cracked cold wave filter, a minimal pulsing beat, throbs beneath long moaning tones, and buzzing spidery guitar melodies way off in the distance, all of the sounds gradually growing more and more intense, all except the vocals, which remain perfectly cool and detached, wreathed in occasional swaths of dubbed out echo and reverb, all eventually crumbling to a bleary blackened halt.
And that pretty much lays out GA's sonic template, and it's a good one, all six tracks here sounding like they could be lost eighties industrial post-punk rarities, from the arrangements, to the sound, to the recordings themselves. Lo-fi and raw, darkly primitive, murky and muddy and mesmeric, woozily psychedelic, the vocals in constant flux throughout, way up in the mix, strident and dramatic, then suddenly slowed down to a monstrous gurgle, before being quickly sped up a la Butthole Surfers, but all the while, the music remains a blurred, tarpit miasma, of loping, lumbering bass, primitive programmed tribal rhythms, and swirling old school FX.
Sadly, in the long journey to the US from overseas, the package was a little bit brutalized by the US postal service, so most of the jackets are a little worse for wear, some bumped corners, some slight bends, the usual, so if you're super anal and a collector who needs to have his records be pristine, then you might wanna pass on these, but for everyone else, come get a taste of one of our favorite weirdo outsider dirge-murk post-punk creep-wave combos.
LIMITED TO 200 COPIES! Includes a digital download too!
MPEG Stream: "Guinea Strong Arm"
MPEG Stream: "Folded Skin"
MPEG Stream: "Ox Cart"

album cover JESU Everyday I Get Closer To The Light From Which I Come (Avalanche) lp 23.00
FINALLY ON VINYL!!
Justin Broadrick's Jesu continues to drift further and further way from the the churning industrial metallic pummel of his Godflesh project, which makes sense, especially considering Godflesh is back together and a going concern again. But then even before that, Jesu continued to move ever popward, most recently positioning itself alongside the electro-pop of M83, as well as the wistful eighties style John Hughes soundtrack sound. And for all of the heaviness and experimentalism that came before, Broadrick definitely demonstrated a keen knack for pop smithery, which is most definitely in full effect here.
"Homesick" might be one of the poppiest songs yet, still rife with heavy chugging guitar, but those guitars wreathed in shimmery, chiming melodies, and then extra super polished clean vocals, it's the sort of song that with a different production could be a proper 'hit', but thankfully, here it's still defined by Broadrick's production, and that heavy guitar part, which turns this into a sort of jangle sludge dream pop. "Comforter" is even less heavy, with a warbly effected guitar melody over ethereal synth drifts and swooping backward FX, subtle electronic pulsations, but like the opener, this dreaminess is soon joined by some crunchy downtuned guitar, before the whole thing settles into a weird woozy dream pop dirge, all melty and warbly, as if it was dubbed from a tape left in the sun too long. The rest of the record is more of the same, a sort of stripped down pop, the title track the sort of new wave jangle pop you might expect to hear on Captured Tracks, and the closer "Grey Is The Colour", is also all dreamy and jangly, strummy and shimmery, but right in between, lurks the 17+ minute "The Great Leveller", which begins with some stately piano, wrapped in soft swirls of symphonic strings, and martial snares, clouds of cymbal shimmer, before the sound is nearly swallowed by some seriously distorted and downtuned guitar chug and churn, which is offset by more clean melodic vox, but it's easily the heaviest track here, but again, heavy as in some super melodic sludge pop, but it does get a bit mathy and metallic, with a melancholic interlude part way through, stately and lovely, before returning to the majestic metallic chug, now offset by some seriously lilting melodies, the sort of combo that really shouldn't work, but somehow does, perfectly.
MPEG Stream: "Homesick"
MPEG Stream: "Comfortor"
MPEG Stream: "The Great Leveller"

album cover TARA KING TH. Hirondelle Et Baretta (Moon Glyph) cassette 4.98
We loved the last tape from this French psych pop act, and so did all of you considering how quickly we sold out. A stunning collection of baroque pop equal parts Stereolab and Ennio Morricone, and we're happy to report that this new one offers up more of the same, expansive, cinematic, brooding and moody cosmopolitan pop music, that sounds like it was plucked from some Euro arthouse flick. Skittery drumming beneath ominous pianos, swirling synths, buzzing steel string guitar, a little bit of twang, a little bit psychedelic, so good! In fact the whole tape this time around is way more cinematic, even divided into songs, and what seem to be interludes, short little sonic vignettes, some creepy and ominous, others jazzy and jaunty, but all sounding again, like they're straight from some sixties French soundtrack. The songs themselves are essentially extensions of those interludes, less 'songs' proper, and more fantastic bits of mood music, organ everywhere, and the bass too, holding it all together, while the guitar adds color, as do some swoonsome strings, even what sounds like theremin, all wound up into a sort of retro-futuristic pop exotica, imagine John Carpenter via Stereolab, or Morricone covers by the New Lines or Still Corners, the big difference this time around really is just how dark much of this is. Sure, there are tracks like "L'Enquete", with dreamy female vocals (in French of course), over swirling synth melodies, very Stereolab sounding for sure, or "Vague A L'Ame", which drapes hummed melodies over vibes and intricate fingerpicked guitars, there's even one song that gets super fuzzed out, a sweet slab of dreamy electro shoegaze fuzz-pop for sure, but most of the record is more brooding and soundtracky, perfectly balancing the more ebullient sunshinier numbers, the whole thing, even the poppier tracks, an imaginary soundtrack to a film we're now suddenly dying to see!
LIMITED TO 150 COPIES!!!
MPEG Stream: "L'Envol"
MPEG Stream: "Le Patron"
MPEG Stream: "Drole D'Oiseau"
MPEG Stream: "L'Enquete"

album cover COSMIC PSYCHOS Down On The Farm + s/t (Aarght / Goner) cd 13.98
Here at aQuarius, we've sure got a soft spot for ugly, noisy Australian punk, much of it swaggery and swampy and fucked up, and sometimes kinda poppy too - such varied bands as The Scientists, Radio Birdman, feedtime, Grong Grong, Venom P. Stinger, The Lime Spiders, The Birthday Party, Lubricated Goat, and (more recently) the likes of Slug Guts and Cuntz - amongst MANY other excellent rawk acts from Down Under. And one of the softest spots we've got, is reserved for Melbourne's Cosmic Psychos, whose earliest efforts have recently been reissued by the fine folks at Goner, yah!!
It's been forever since this band's crucial late '80s output has been available Stateside, so those who haven't eBay'ed a precious Sup Pop pressing of Go The Hack, for instance, are now in luck - if your idea of lucky is the opportunity to have your ears peeled back by a drunken trio of Aussies, with amps and attitude both cranked to 11, pounding out rough hewn garage punk! Primitive, badass rockin' that's part Motorhead, part Black Flag. Some Stooges and Ramones in there too. These blokes bring it when it comes to widdly wah wah guitar distortion, walloping rhythmic thump, mean gravely vocals, and nasty feedback... all good things, eh? And better yet, the songs are all catchier than the most popular of venereal diseases. The tracklisting of each of these records is just gnarly gem after gnarly gem. Maybe there's the most singalong potential with the hooky material on Go The Hack (1989), while debut mini-lp Down On The Farm (1985) features a couple of the band's lengthiest, most spaced out/wasted tracks (like the FX laden jam "Crazy Woman"), and the self-titled album (1987) perhaps finds 'em at their most, uh, psychotic, but we strongly recommend picking up ALL of these reissued releases, done as 3 separate vinyl 12" records, or two compact discs.
What the Cosmic Psychos do isn't rocket science (in fact, part of their charm is being brilliantly dumb, check out the chorus to Go The Hack's "Back In Town", also you gotta love the '80s pop culture references of songs like "Rambo" and "David Lee Roth", both found on the s/t album) but they do it with, shall we say, an ample amount of gusto. And certainly some humor. These hooligans have got a special something all right. They're called the Cosmic Psychos after all, they've gotta be good.
Psychos? No doubt. Cosmic? Well, it for sure ain't krautrock. But there is plenty of sick FUZZ, so we think folks into the garage psych of the The Heads, ferinstance, could dig this stuff big time, especially after a few beers. Heck, there's even some unexpected "arty" bits like the various spoken samples (including a Hitler speech) inserted amidst the miasmic mayhem of Down On The Farm's "Gangrene Dream".
Hopefully their '90s AmRep records will get reissued sometime too - we'd love to hear "Dead Roo" again... And if you haven't seen it yet, there's a Cosmic Psychos documentary too, that's AWESOME, check out the trailer here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7CbDQ2ZryA
MPEG Stream: "Down On The Farm"
MPEG Stream: "Gangrene Dream"
MPEG Stream: " Quarter To Three"
MPEG Stream: "Jellyfish"

album cover COSMIC PSYCHOS Go The Hack (Aarght / Goner) cd 13.98
Here at aQuarius, we've sure got a soft spot for ugly, noisy Australian punk, much of it swaggery and swampy and fucked up, and sometimes kinda poppy too - such varied bands as The Scientists, Radio Birdman, feedtime, Grong Grong, Venom P. Stinger, The Lime Spiders, The Birthday Party, Lubricated Goat, and (more recently) the likes of Slug Guts and Cuntz - amongst MANY other excellent rawk acts from Down Under. And one of the softest spots we've got, is reserved for Melbourne's Cosmic Psychos, whose earliest efforts have recently been reissued by the fine folks at Goner, yah!!
It's been forever since this band's crucial late '80s output has been available Stateside, so those who haven't eBay'ed a precious Sup Pop pressing of Go The Hack, for instance, are now in luck - if your idea of lucky is the opportunity to have your ears peeled back by a drunken trio of Aussies, with amps and attitude both cranked to 11, pounding out rough hewn garage punk! Primitive, badass rockin' that's part Motorhead, part Black Flag. Some Stooges and Ramones in there too. These blokes bring it when it comes to widdly wah wah guitar distortion, walloping rhythmic thump, mean gravely vocals, and nasty feedback... all good things, eh? And better yet, the songs are all catchier than the most popular of venereal diseases. The tracklisting of each of these records is just gnarly gem after gnarly gem. Maybe there's the most singalong potential with the hooky material on Go The Hack (1989), while debut mini-lp Down On The Farm (1985) features a couple of the band's lengthiest, most spaced out/wasted tracks (like the FX laden jam "Crazy Woman"), and the self-titled album (1987) perhaps finds 'em at their most, uh, psychotic, but we strongly recommend picking up ALL of these reissued releases, done as 3 separate vinyl 12" records, or two compact discs.
What the Cosmic Psychos do isn't rocket science (in fact, part of their charm is being brilliantly dumb, check out the chorus to Go The Hack's "Back In Town", also you gotta love the '80s pop culture references of songs like "Rambo" and "David Lee Roth", both found on the s/t album) but they do it with, shall we say, an ample amount of gusto. And certainly some humor. These hooligans have got a special something all right. They're called the Cosmic Psychos after all, they've gotta be good.
Psychos? No doubt. Cosmic? Well, it for sure ain't krautrock. But there is plenty of sick FUZZ, so we think folks into the garage psych of the The Heads, ferinstance, could dig this stuff big time, especially after a few beers. Heck, there's even some unexpected "arty" bits like the various spoken samples (including a Hitler speech) inserted amidst the miasmic mayhem of Down On The Farm's "Gangrene Dream".
Hopefully their '90s AmRep records will get reissued sometime too - we'd love to hear "Dead Roo" again... And if you haven't seen it yet, there's a Cosmic Psychos documentary too, that's AWESOME, check out the trailer here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7CbDQ2ZryA
MPEG Stream: "Alright Tonite"
MPEG Stream: "Back In Town"
MPEG Stream: "Go The Hack"

album cover GLAXO BABIES Nine Months To The Disco (Superior Viaduct) cd 14.98
Over the years, we'd only ever heard a track or two from these UK post punks, a band whose members would eventually go on to play in more high profile groups like Maximum Joy and The Pop Group, which should definitely give you an idea of where the Glaxo Babies were coming from. Local reissue label Superior Viaduct continues their idiosyncratic reissue campaign, which has included Devo, the Solaris soundtrack, 100 Flowers, Factrix, Henry Flynt, Phill Niblock, and now Brigitte Fontaine (reviews coming soon) and these two from the Glaxo Babies. The sound will definitely be familiar to fans of post punk of that era, angular metallic guitars, dubby rhythms grooves, repetitive almost chanted vocals, horns, all locked into cyclical, hypnotic grooves. Some tracks frantic and frenetic, others laid back and dreamily druggy. Both of these records were originally released in 1980. Put Me On The Guest List is a collection of the group's demos, recorded live with no overdubs, never intended to be released, but so glad they were, kinetic, almost power poppy, sinewy basslines and simple solid drumming, all in service of some killer guitar work, crunchy jangly riffs, and angular crunch, not to mention some super dramatic vocals, some tracks slipping into near doominess, others tense and intense, angular and atonal, check out "This Is Your Life", all minor key moodiness and heady post punk brood. A few tracks get all reggae / dubby, others skronky and jazzy, and still others super abstract and experimental, but most of Put Me On The Guest List is just primo UK post punk, and essential listening for fans of the Homosexuals, P.I.L., Gang Of Four, Wire and all the rest…
Nine Months To The Disco was the group's first, and only, proper full length, supposedly recorded in a single day, and it's a monster. How a record like this, and a group like this managed to remain so far under the radar is shocking after listening to Nine Months. It's funky and groovy, tense and wiry, the sound slipping easily from moody post punkiness, to downright dancey punk-funk, to super experimental krautrock style minimalism, "This Is Your Vendetta" is dark and creepy and so sinister, all spaced out and shadowy, laced with wild flurries of spastic drumming, spidery guitar melodies, and distant horn skronk, culminating in a truly harrowing sample over the brooding last minute or so. "Seven Days" is all churning jazz minimalism, sounding like a darker, dronier, post punkier Necks! The title track is all backwards rhythms, backwards basslines, and creepy droned out ambience, while "The Tea Master And The Assassin" is another abstract ambient experiment that evokes a sinister sense of dread. "Shake (The Foundations)" is the Glaxo Babies at their funkiest, a track that was often covered by the Pop Group later on, it's a dead ringer for Parliament! And the awesomely titled "Dinosaur Disco Meets The Swampsstomp" is not the funky jam you might imagine, in fact, it's something way more abstract and trippy. For all the post punk, and punk funk on Nine Months To The Disco, it's remarkable how much of the record is totally far our, psychedelic and experimental. Part of what makes it so essential. Like Put Me On The Guest List, Nine Months To The Disco is most definitely for fans of P.I.L, Wire, the Homosexuals, etc. but it's also the sort of think that might push all your This Heat buttons, plenty of kraut influenced rhythmic mesmer and FX heavy avant bunkurfunk. Needless to say WAY recommended!!
MPEG Stream: "This Is Your Vendetta"
MPEG Stream: "Nine Months To The Disco"
MPEG Stream: "The Tea Master And The Assasin"
MPEG Stream: "Dinosaur Disco Meets The Swampsstomp"

album cover GLAXO BABIES Nine Months To The Disco (Superior Viaduct) lp 15.98
Over the years, we'd only ever heard a track or two from these UK post punks, a band whose members would eventually go on to play in more high profile groups like Maximum Joy and The Pop Group, which should definitely give you an idea of where the Glaxo Babies were coming from. Local reissue label Superior Viaduct continues their idiosyncratic reissue campaign, which has included Devo, the Solaris soundtrack, 100 Flowers, Factrix, Henry Flynt, Phill Niblock, and now Brigitte Fontaine (reviews coming soon) and these two from the Glaxo Babies. The sound will definitely be familiar to fans of post punk of that era, angular metallic guitars, dubby rhythms grooves, repetitive almost chanted vocals, horns, all locked into cyclical, hypnotic grooves. Some tracks frantic and frenetic, others laid back and dreamily druggy. Both of these records were originally released in 1980. Put Me On The Guest List is a collection of the group's demos, recorded live with no overdubs, never intended to be released, but so glad they were, kinetic, almost power poppy, sinewy basslines and simple solid drumming, all in service of some killer guitar work, crunchy jangly riffs, and angular crunch, not to mention some super dramatic vocals, some tracks slipping into near doominess, others tense and intense, angular and atonal, check out "This Is Your Life", all minor key moodiness and heady post punk brood. A few tracks get all reggae / dubby, others skronky and jazzy, and still others super abstract and experimental, but most of Put Me On The Guest List is just primo UK post punk, and essential listening for fans of the Homosexuals, P.I.L., Gang Of Four, Wire and all the rest…
Nine Months To The Disco was the group's first, and only, proper full length, supposedly recorded in a single day, and it's a monster. How a record like this, and a group like this managed to remain so far under the radar is shocking after listening to Nine Months. It's funky and groovy, tense and wiry, the sound slipping easily from moody post punkiness, to downright dancey punk-funk, to super experimental krautrock style minimalism, "This Is Your Vendetta" is dark and creepy and so sinister, all spaced out and shadowy, laced with wild flurries of spastic drumming, spidery guitar melodies, and distant horn skronk, culminating in a truly harrowing sample over the brooding last minute or so. "Seven Days" is all churning jazz minimalism, sounding like a darker, dronier, post punkier Necks! The title track is all backwards rhythms, backwards basslines, and creepy droned out ambience, while "The Tea Master And The Assassin" is another abstract ambient experiment that evokes a sinister sense of dread. "Shake (The Foundations)" is the Glaxo Babies at their funkiest, a track that was often covered by the Pop Group later on, it's a dead ringer for Parliament! And the awesomely titled "Dinosaur Disco Meets The Swampsstomp" is not the funky jam you might imagine, in fact, it's something way more abstract and trippy. For all the post punk, and punk funk on Nine Months To The Disco, it's remarkable how much of the record is totally far our, psychedelic and experimental. Part of what makes it so essential. Like Put Me On The Guest List, Nine Months To The Disco is most definitely for fans of P.I.L, Wire, the Homosexuals, etc. but it's also the sort of think that might push all your This Heat buttons, plenty of kraut influenced rhythmic mesmer and FX heavy avant bunkurfunk. Needless to say WAY recommended!!
MPEG Stream: "This Is Your Vendetta"
MPEG Stream: "Nine Months To The Disco"
MPEG Stream: "The Tea Master And The Assasin"
MPEG Stream: "Dinosaur Disco Meets The Swampsstomp"

album cover SCHICKERT, GUNTER Kinder In Der Wildnis (Bureau B) cd 17.98
This is the third reissue of a recording by German guitarist/soundscaper Gunter Schickert that we've listed - and also the third that we've made a Record Of The Week. That ought to tell you a little something about just how much we like the music of Herr Schickert! Up until fairly recently, Schickert's work has been shrouded in obscurity, the original albums being super rare and hard to find, reissues equally scarce. But thankfully, just in the last couple of years, several legit, long-deserved reissues, appearing on the Bureau B and Important labels, have helped to make Schickert's mesmerizing music more widely known - and has hopefully established him where he belongs, as one of the crucial names in the classic krautrock pantheon, up there with contemporaries like Klaus Schulze, Manuel Gottsching, Achim Reichel, and Michael Rother. Certainly as far as we're concerned, he is! If you dig any of the aforementioned gentlemen, you should definitely get to know Gunter Schickert as well.
The previous two albums of his we've Record Of The Week-ed, 1974's Samtvogel and 1979's Uberfallig, are both all-time aQ faves. There's not much more to Schickert's small discography - but there is this, and it's another fave for sure. Originally released as a cassette tape in 1983, then reissued again on cassette in the '90s and on cd-r in the early 2000's by the Freeman brothers (of Auricle Magazine / Crack In The Cosmic Egg fame), the material on Kinder In Der Wildnis consists of disparate DIY recordings drawn from Schickert's archives, so it's a bit more varied than either of his earlier albums, though if you've heard those, you'll recognize right away that you're back in Schickert's sonic realm, one of organic field recording atmospheres and trance-inducing minimalist pulsations... but something about this is so much more nervy and dark. More "rocked out" too at times. Maybe it's the influence of the NDW, aka Neue Deutsche Welle (punk new wave music of Germany), but we're still talking krautrock.
Even though Schickert does EVERYTHING himself (guitar, tape, vocals, percussion, trumpet) it somehow sounds like a whole band, and that band sounds like Amon Duul II and Faust trapped together in a bunker, jamming endlessly in the middle of the night, the music dark and claustrophobic despite the environmental nature sounds that (as always) Schickert likes to weave into his recordings. There's the children's voices on here too (his daughter sings on the jittery title track) but that's in stark contrast to the druggy darkness of so much of this. Tracks like "Rabe In Der Nacht" and "Hollentanz" are a dense lo-fi mesh of percolating beats, wailing psych guitar, and sound FX. Bird twitter-y field recordings (and crazy crow-like cawing from Schickert himself, we assume) meet overdubbed layers of chanting vocal parts, including more animal-like cries, in the hallucinatory mix. Swirling drones of synth coalesce into hypnotic throbbing rhythms, over which lilting keyboard motifs hint at the likes of Goblin. Also significant is Schickert's sad, electronically-treated trumpet, heard ferinstance on "07.Mai", alongside pleasingly placid repetitive guitar, phasing effects, and field recordings of fireworks exploding (heard elsewhere on the record as well) that sound like sferic squiggles of electronic sound, buried in the mix along with disembodied unknown voices. The trumpet here foreshadows the future sounds of Supersilent, while the pulsating patterns of proto-glitch music also remind us of This Heat's Repeat.
Yep, it's a freakin' great record all right. Trippy and weird and psychically round the bend. In other words, super satisfying. How it stayed so far under the radar for so long is crazy. Big props to Bureau B for giving it a proper reissue now on both compact disc and vinyl for the very first time, with excellent artwork, liner notes, and even two bonus tracks (on the cd only).
The bonus tracks, fyi, are feeling a lot more NDW, Schickert employing a drum machine it sounds like, a bit dancey, still dark and damaged, looping layers of vocals coming and going amidst the beats. Could easily be something Dark Entries of Medical Records would be expected to reissue. Very cool, fans of Pyrolator / Der Plan will enjoy these as well as the rest of the album. But with or without the bonus tracks, Kinder In Der Wildnis is super recommended, in heavy rotation in the store right now, a record that with Schickert's other two solo albums makes for an impressive trifecta of unsung krautrock genius.
MPEG Stream: "Rabe In Der Nacht"
MPEG Stream: "Suleika"
MPEG Stream: "07. Mai"

album cover GERMAN ARMY Last Language (A Giant Fern) lp 12.98
There was a bit of confusion on the last list, when we finally got around to reviewing a record from LA minimalist murk pop duo German Army, we mentioned in the review that the band had lots of records, and as if to prove that point, we ourselves got confused and, uh, reviewed the wrong record. This week, all is put right, we're finally reviewing the 'right' record, the one we meant to review in the first place, and we got the other one in, the one we actually DID review. So double dose of German Army on this week's list, and odds are, if you're anything like us, you're probably gonna want both.
Last Language is not all that removed from their record on Skrot up, drawing from a similar sonic palette, opening with a bristlingly brutalist bit of electro-dirge pop, a glitchy skeletal rhythm, over haunting swirls of low end thrum, the vocals a mumbled whisper, wreathed in gristly buzz, the whole thing blurred and smeared into an abstract electronic creep, a slow stuttery skitter that almost sounds like it could be a backing track for some lost Sensational album, blunted and wasted and washed out, but also prickly and staticky, some seriously heady sonic miserablism. Not all of the record is so bleak and blasted, but it is all hauntingly spare and blissfully tripped out, the band's MO seemingly unfurling crystalline sprawls of rhythm and texture, with lots of space, the vocals almost like an afterthought, delivered in a sort of couldn't-be-bothered drawl, the sound slipping easily from twang flecked, woozy shimmer, to grinding industrial churn, and back again. The vibe definitely seems to fall somewhere near classic cold wave, but this is cold wave from some terrifying other dimension, fractured and freaky, this is some band from the eighties, the sort of band you might have seen at the Scream club, playing with Kommunity FK or the Abecedarians, but transported to some alien world, and then whisked right back, their music mutated and damaged in the process, the resulting sounds, a twisted outsider gloom-wave dream pop, some of the tracks downright lovely, like "Rebuild The Story", which is all hazy, casting some spidery almost Durutti Column sounding guitars amidst soft synthy swells, and some swooping, backwards effected rhythms, and some echo drenched vocal warblings, but others, like that aforementioned opener, are caustic and intense, and still others, elsewhere, drift from twisted new wave, to post-krautrock avant pop, to blown out industrial clatter, to mumbly Residents like art rock whatthefuck weirdness, to almost DHR like electro-crunch, to trippy, drifty, dreamy murk-wave shimmer, with most tracks somehow mashing all of those together.
Fantastic stuff. And like we said, we'd recommend grabbing both of the German Army lps on this week's list, and then tracking down anything and everything else you can find! you won't be sorry. LIMITED TO 300 COPIES!!! Pressed on 180 gram vinyl. Includes a download code!
MPEG Stream: "Basket"
MPEG Stream: "Fortified Ground"
MPEG Stream: "Rebuild The Story"
MPEG Stream: "Communion With Form"

album cover BASIC HOUSE Oats (Alter) lp 25.00
We've been digging this recent wave of super minimal electronic music like crazy, whether it's the stripped down house and dark moody techno of Shed or Terrence Dixon, the post industrial gothic beatscapery of Vatican Shadow, the dour blackened brutalism of Silent Servant, the murky avant electronica of Haxan Cloak and Prurient, the field recording flecked minimalism of Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement, or recent outings from new aQ faves like Shifted and Ron Morelli, it's almost like the techno/house haters have had their whole world turned upside down, with all of these gothy, gloomy, murky, grim variants on house music and techno, stripped down to the bare minimum, transformed somehow into something blackly psychedelic and woozily abject, total blunted comedown minimalism, that is easily some of the darkest and most mesmerizing music we've heard in ages. None more so than Oats, from Basic House, aka Stephen Bishop, the man behind the Opal Tapes label, who as Basic House, has created something more than that moniker might imply, sure it could be considered 'basic house', but a basic house constructed from crumbling distortion, and chunks of static, weird field recordings, woozy loops, disembodied melodies, you can hear hints of Andy Stott and Demdike Stare and the Caretaker, but Basic House is something else all together, a sort of decaying hauntological dance music, that seems to be cobbled together from sonic detritus, one could almost imagine this as electronica as envisioned by Tim Hecker and Philip Jeck, it has that same sort of warped warble, and grey, washed out abstraction. It's one of those rare records that is truly difficult to describe, which is precisely what makes it so utterly mesmerizing.
Breaking down the first two tracks should give you a rough idea of what you're in store for, beginning with a weird field of stuttering static, shards of tape hiss, and what sounds like gristly analog crunch, all pulsing hypnotically over a backdrop of woozy looped melody, and slow shifting textures, a barely there rhythm seems to be forming, it's not until nearly two minutes in that a proper beat surfaces, a monotonous 4/4 pulse, adding a strangely skeletal framework to the proceedings, before that beat blossoms into something almost electro, adding some distorted dubsteppy bass wobble, but the whole thing remaining super wasted and washed out and ultra minimal. Eventually, multiple melodies swoop in, as do auxiliary beats, the sound a dense swirl, dizzying and weirdly psychedelic, and in a weird way, almost poppy sounding, before devolving in a field of spaced out crackle and hiss, all tangled up with layered loops, and mysterious, almost easy listening sounding samples, before lurching directly into the second track, a churning murk-march of pounding Teutonic throb, and looped ominous whisper, everything wreathed in thick swirls of record crackle / tape hiss, the sound quickly and repeatedly transforming, at one point sounding like alien elevator music, rife with churning, chugging low end thrum, and fields of insectoid click, while elsewhere unravelling like a heaving sprawl of avant industrial noisiness. And while that may give you an idea of what Basic House is all about, the rest of the record does its best to continually confuse and confound.
Short stretches of mangled field recordings wrapped around barely there beats, give way to super spare soundscapes of glistening crackle, and mutated textures, jagged shards of caustic digital crunch are sculpted into corrosive rhythmscapes that seem to melt into droned out Wolf Eyes style drones, all high end skree, and scraping digital crunch. Some tracks are whispery latticeworks of groaning and creaking ambience, short wave transmissions drifting through fields of hushed thrum, and barely there chordal swells, sometimes blossoming into garbled grooves, all hazy and bleakly blissed out, other times unfurling mysterious swirls of digital stutter and looped vocal whispers, those alien sounds seeming to collect melody and texture as they creep through landscapes of shimmer and hum. Here and there, the record does return to something more overtly rhythmic, like on the balearic "C-Beat", which is like modern minimalism by way of Pole's granular digidub, but recast as some ghostly trance, all whispery stutter, wreathed in warbly wooziness and glassine high end shimmer, but the record eventually settles into a haunting hushed finale, the meditative, minimal drone of "L-Wave And Combo", which is one long sprawl of buried melody and tranced out thrum, but instead of smooth and shimmery, the sounds are rough and raw, crumbling and crunchy, but in no way does that detract from the track's enthralling mesmer. So fucking great. And just in under the wire, in the nick of time to make it onto plenty of top ten lists, and for some of us here, quite possibly a contender for the top spot!
MPEG Stream: "AR II"
MPEG Stream: "Child Confession"
MPEG Stream: "B.G. Feathers"
MPEG Stream: "C-Beat"

album cover V/A The Ecstasy Of Gold: 26 Killer Bullets From The Spaghetti West Vol. 4 (Semi-Automatic) 2lp 26.00
Hot on the heels of the third volume, comes number 4, the second to last installment in this amazing 5 volume series collecting some of the most essential Italian Spaghetti Western soundtrack music, and at this point, we're not sure what else to say without repeating ourselves. Fans of the first three, we're guessing you'll probably want this one too. But for those who are only discovering this series now, odds are everybody knows Ennio Morricone, and his iconic Italian Western soundtracks (in fact the title of the series is a Morricone tune!), and while he may be the most famous, he was far from the only one, folks like Bruno Nicolai, Gianni Ferrio, Francesco De Masi, Marcello Giombini, Luis Bacalov, Stelvio Cipriani, Alessandro Alessandroni, Nora Orlandi, Nico Fidenco, Piero Umiliani and lots more (all represented here), were making equally stunning music for these amazing films. And here (and on previous volumes), you can get a taste of what they were whipping up: deep dramatic crooned vocals, swoonsome strings, lots of dusky twang, fluttery flutes, wild percussion, wheezing organs, some tracks jazzy and progged out, rife with wah and fuzz guitars, others brooding and minimal, haunting and balladic, and still others, sun baked and dusty, Mariachi trumpets over steel string strum, lots of sound effects too, super varied, and in places super psychedelic, this might be the weirdest and most varied of the bunch, and thus is as essential as the first three for sure - if not even more so!
Like the previous volumes, part 4 comes housed in a full color gatefold sleeve, adorned with various images from classic Italian Westerns as well as artwork from classic Spaghetti Western posters, and again, LIMITED TO 750 COPIES!!!
MPEG Stream: "1"
MPEG Stream: "2"
MPEG Stream: "3"
MPEG Stream: "4"
MPEG Stream: "5"

album cover PORTER, ROLY Life Cycle Of A Massive Star (Subtext Recordings) lp 26.00
NOW ON VINYL!
Life Cycle Of A Massive Star is a pretty ambitious title for a record from post-dubstep beat junkie, but if Roly Porter's last record, Aftertime, which we made a Record Of The Week, was any indication, a lot has changed since Porter's time in the dubstep duo Vex'd. Not that we didn't love Vex'd, we definitely did, their brand of dubstep was way out on the fringe, dark and dour, warped and skeletal, washed out and hazy, but none of this is to imply that Porter's post Vex'd output would in anyway be classified as dubstep, BUT some of the soundscapery that made Vex'd so interesting is definitely in full effect, even more so on this new one.
Aftertime was a sprawling experimental epic, more sound design than anything, abstract and ambient, like the score to some mysterious abstract art film, reminding us of another aQ fave, Ben Frost, and like Frost's albums, it was most definitely a record that had us wondering why this guy was not in Hollywood, crafting music for big budget sci-fi blockbusters and twisted art house flicks. So we were actually expecting more of the same, but Life Cycle Of A Massive Star threw us for a loop, the opener "Cloud" does actually sound like a Vex'd jam, a pulsing, pulsating Field like melodic stutter/loop, with some clipped vocal fragments, you can almost imagine the drop coming at any time, a barrage of rib cage rattling bass wobble, and percussive machine gun stutter, but it never does, instead, it locks into a super hypnotic cycle, that has a bit of a kosmische vibe, a sort of synth-age mesmer, but the main pulsating melody is surrounded by dark swirls of keening minor key shimmer, giving the whole thing a super tense, and intense vibe, at least until the last couple minutes, when the loop peels back, revealing an ominous, majestic symphonic score, that could have been lurking below the surface the whole time. And even then, slowly devolves into a creepy stretch of abstract ambience, and post industrial soundscapery.
The rest of the record tends toward the sound design of Aftertime, but with some of the newly revisited Vex'd audio of the past. Deep subsonic rumbles, buzzing Eastern melodies, groaning and creaking machine like clatter, clouds of crumbling static, soaring swirling strings, moaning cellos, operatic vocals, that track, sounds like a Vex'd opera, melancholic strings, deep dramatic vocals, peppered with little bursts of percussive skitter, and a 'beat' of sorts, that's more like the opening looped stutter, again a la the Field, but here, wed to the stately operatic majesty, the result is like some post modern electro-opera symphony, super ambitious, and absolutely epic. After a gorgeous track of hushed ambience, the final track gets seriously cinematic, opening with some ominous drones, some blurred barely there melodies, a little bit of orchestral shimmer, creepy chordal swells, distant clang and clatter, like the sounds of an abandoned space station, lovely and cosmic and subtly harrowing, a fantastic bit of sound design evoking images of being lost in space, trapped millions of light years from home, in a huge metal obelisk, floating in starless black, all complete with a gorgeously intense symphonic score.
MPEG Stream: "Cloud"
MPEG Stream: "Gravity"
MPEG Stream: "Birth"

album cover SCHICKERT, GUNTER Kinder In Der Wildnis (Bureau B) lp 23.00
This is the third reissue of a recording by German guitarist/soundscaper Gunter Schickert that we've listed - and also the third that we've made a Record Of The Week. That ought to tell you a little something about just how much we like the music of Herr Schickert! Up until fairly recently, Schickert's work has been shrouded in obscurity, the original albums being super rare and hard to find, reissues equally scarce. But thankfully, just in the last couple of years, several legit, long-deserved reissues, appearing on the Bureau B and Important labels, have helped to make Schickert's mesmerizing music more widely known - and has hopefully established him where he belongs, as one of the crucial names in the classic krautrock pantheon, up there with contemporaries like Klaus Schulze, Manuel Gottsching, Achim Reichel, and Michael Rother. Certainly as far as we're concerned, he is! If you dig any of the aforementioned gentlemen, you should definitely get to know Gunter Schickert as well.
The previous two albums of his we've Record Of The Week-ed, 1974's Samtvogel and 1979's Uberfallig, are both all-time aQ faves. There's not much more to Schickert's small discography - but there is this, and it's another fave for sure. Originally released as a cassette tape in 1983, then reissued again on cassette in the '90s and on cd-r in the early 2000's by the Freeman brothers (of Auricle Magazine / Crack In The Cosmic Egg fame), the material on Kinder In Der Wildnis consists of disparate DIY recordings drawn from Schickert's archives, so it's a bit more varied than either of his earlier albums, though if you've heard those, you'll recognize right away that you're back in Schickert's sonic realm, one of organic field recording atmospheres and trance-inducing minimalist pulsations... but something about this is so much more nervy and dark. More "rocked out" too at times. Maybe it's the influence of the NDW, aka Neue Deutsche Welle (punk new wave music of Germany), but we're still talking krautrock.
Even though Schickert does EVERYTHING himself (guitar, tape, vocals, percussion, trumpet) it somehow sounds like a whole band, and that band sounds like Amon Duul II and Faust trapped together in a bunker, jamming endlessly in the middle of the night, the music dark and claustrophobic despite the environmental nature sounds that (as always) Schickert likes to weave into his recordings. There's the children's voices on here too (his daughter sings on the jittery title track) but that's in stark contrast to the druggy darkness of so much of this. Tracks like "Rabe In Der Nacht" and "Hollentanz" are a dense lo-fi mesh of percolating beats, wailing psych guitar, and sound FX. Bird twitter-y field recordings (and crazy crow-like cawing from Schickert himself, we assume) meet overdubbed layers of chanting vocal parts, including more animal-like cries, in the hallucinatory mix. Swirling drones of synth coalesce into hypnotic throbbing rhythms, over which lilting keyboard motifs hint at the likes of Goblin. Also significant is Schickert's sad, electronically-treated trumpet, heard ferinstance on "07.Mai", alongside pleasingly placid repetitive guitar, phasing effects, and field recordings of fireworks exploding (heard elsewhere on the record as well) that sound like sferic squiggles of electronic sound, buried in the mix along with disembodied unknown voices. The trumpet here foreshadows the future sounds of Supersilent, while the pulsating patterns of proto-glitch music also remind us of This Heat's Repeat.
Yep, it's a freakin' great record all right. Trippy and weird and psychically round the bend. In other words, super satisfying. How it stayed so far under the radar for so long is crazy. Big props to Bureau B for giving it a proper reissue now on both compact disc and vinyl for the very first time, with excellent artwork, liner notes, and even two bonus tracks (on the cd only).
The bonus tracks, fyi, are feeling a lot more NDW, Schickert employing a drum machine it sounds like, a bit dancey, still dark and damaged, looping layers of vocals coming and going amidst the beats. Could easily be something Dark Entries of Medical Records would be expected to reissue. Very cool, fans of Pyrolator / Der Plan will enjoy these as well as the rest of the album. But with or without the bonus tracks, Kinder In Der Wildnis is super recommended, in heavy rotation in the store right now, a record that with Schickert's other two solo albums makes for an impressive trifecta of unsung krautrock genius.
MPEG Stream: "Rabe In Der Nacht"
MPEG Stream: "Suleika"
MPEG Stream: "07. Mai"

album cover TOTALLY RADD!! Shark Attack Day Camp (Bad Idea Graveyard) lp 19.98
Okay, seriously, how could we resist? The band is called Totally Radd. That's Radd with two D's. That's like the rad version of Hott with two T's. The record is called Shark Attack Day Camp, and features eye poppingly garish artwork depicting two kids playing video games in an arcade full of bloody zombies, including one who has been pushed head first through the monitor of another game. Oh and that game just happens to be called Hammer Hamsters. Inside the illustration is of kids in full Lord Of The Flies mode, wearing animal skins and heads, also covered in blood, in a grassy field peppered with dead elks and bears not to mention a huge pile of dead bloody rabbits, not sure how any band would expect to live up to the promise of all this ridiculousness, but somehow Totally Radd do, delivering totally over the top eighties soundtrack, NES, 8-bit keytar, glam rock, dork pop cheesiness that is hilarious and totally dumb, but crazy fun and way catchier and funnier than it has any right to be. But the second we threw this on in the store, we were immediately obsessed, and have been playing it non-stop, much to the chagrin of some people no doubt, but fuck 'em!
If you've been paying attention to the aQ list lately, you may have noticed us referencing eighties training montage music, several records we've gotten in recently have sounded inexplicably like that music, from cheesy VHS tapes, the sort of inspirational RAWK that always accompanies training for the big fight, or the big race, well, this stuff REALLY does sound like that. It also sounds a bit like metallized video game music, it also sounds like a brain damaged Sparks, falsetto vox slip into monstrous demonic vokills or screamo shrieks, total Legend Of Zelda 8-bit sputter collides with chugging metal guitars, super catchy punky pop becomes wild video game music and vice versa, the lyrics are completely silly, about cross dressing, and video stores, and all kinds of random stuff. There are songs named after video games, and we originally assumed those would be covers, but instead are simply songs ABOUT those video games! And speaking of covers, our favorite part might be the bonus 7" that comes with the lp, which starts off with a killer version of Phantom Planet's "California", given a sort of bubblegum synth / electro pop makeover, with vocodered vocals and squiggly synths, wrapped around a Weezer-ish power pop core. Then there's a cool, goovy, broody chunk of ballady electro-pop, a sort of video game Weezer slowdance number, before the awesomely titled "2 8-Bit 2 Quit", which is the most 8-bit of the bunch, sounding like Perry And Kingsley by way of Donkey Kong...
The B side of the 7" starts off with a jam that almost sounds like nineties era black metal, via 8-bit pop nerd dorkiness, brooding and dramatic, with Rob Zombie vocals, which goes right into a cover of Soul Asylum's "Runaway Train" with a very misleading intro that's essentially a pitch perfect take on beginning of "Just What I Needed" by the Cars, before slipping into a dangerously straight ahead version of the Soul Asylum original, with extremely overly dramatic vocals, and a swirly psychedelic synth solo in the middle, but otherwise, a pretty straight rock (piss?) take...
It's all dumb and fun, and falls somewhere on the sonic spectrum between Steven Schultz and that MSG Songs From A Gated Community lp we reviewed a while back, but with more Mario Brothers, more pixie stix, more gratuitous violence, more blood thirsty zombies, more after school specials, more boobs, more masked serial killers, more BMX bikes, more gleaming the cube, more lost boys, more revenge of the nerds, more… well, you get it. GET IT!
MPEG Stream: "California"
MPEG Stream: "Video Store"
MPEG Stream: "Dressed Up"
MPEG Stream: "Mike Tyson's Punch Out"
MPEG Stream: "Shark Attack Day Camp"
MPEG Stream: "M.U.S.C.L.E."

album cover V/A Deep Funnels Of Entry: A Twisted Village Compilation (Shock) cd 17.98
We were super excited by the sudden re-activation of the Shock label. Run by Stefan Jaworzyn (Skullflower, Ascension) and home to some of THEE most amazing industrial / power electronics / noise rock of the last several decades. Seriously, a list of releases on Shock reads like an aQ dream team: Skullflower, Ascension, the Dead C, Cul De Sac, Cosmonauts Hail Satan, Drunks With Guns, Coil, Current 93, Nurse With Wound, Ramleh, we could go on. Needless to say, the legacy of Shock looms large over pretty much all of the weird noisy heavy music we dig today. We recently reviewed the White Trash Motherfuckers comp, which was reissued recently along with two Ascension records and this comp right here, although we still think Jaworzyn just found a bunch of boxes of unsold cds from back in the day, out in his shed, but fuck it, either way, it's amazing to have these available again. For folks who may have missed out the first time, but also for a whole generation of music nerds who might not have even been around back in the day. Deep Funnels Of Entry collects some of the best tracks (from singles and comps) from some of our favorite bands on the Twisted Village label. And while sonically, Twisted Village tended more toward tripped out psych, there is definitely still a sonic connection between groups like Vermonster and Skullflower, who in their early days, would have been right at home on Twisted Village.
So yeah, check out the lineup, folks already into Twisted Village will be drooling, and folks not familiar, well the band names alone should give you a clue: Vermonster, Bongloads Of Righteous Boo (best band name ever?), Luxurious Bags, Crystallized Movements, The Garbage And The Flowers, Wormdoom (second best band name ever?), Tono Bungay, Bimbo Shrineheads, and Brother JT appearing here as simply JT. A quick earful of Vermonster's "Black Crack Boogie" should give you an idea of what you're in for, endless heavy psych space jams, dirgey, loose, chaotic, freaked out and WASTED. Total next level zoner psychedelia of the highest order. Classic psych super charged and dosed on mescaline and PCP, and captured in endless basement jams. Each track here sounds like it was yanked from an hours long jam, these little snippets our glimpse into whatever drug fueled sonic bacchanalia produced all of this glorious psychedelic noise. Bongloads Of Righteous Boo deliver a similar track, that is until the INSANE vocals come in, a WTF falsetto, that has to be a joke? Or does it? BoRB are sort of a classic rock, melted down into something much more warped and woozy, the vocals, seemingly the only remnant, otherwise the sound seems bound for the heart of the sun, arriving there by way of lots and lots and LOTS of drugs.
Luxurious Bags would later morph into more of a noisy pop band, and some of that is present here, but the lilting sad boy vocals, and indie jangle is buried beneath gouts of crumbling distortion, and blown out drum damage. Crystallized Moments fuse their heavy psych to a slowcore moodiness, sounding like a supercharged Low, before they explode into their own squall of dizzying psych damage. NZ noise poppers the Garbage And The Flowers are the most traditionally song oriented here, their sound buzzy and droney, but still darkly poppy, but fear not, it doesn't take long for Wormdoom to obliterate that poppiness, and explode in a frenzy of primal, primitive psych-noise bliss, with some of the most amazingly distorted crumbling guitar buzz EVER. Bimbo Shrineheads who we never heard outside of this comp are also on the poppy side, but darkly frenetic and post punky, enough that they don't even seem like that much of an outlier here. JT delivers some woozy freeform psychedelic drift, while Tono-Bungay is all hard rock by way of cosmic psych, churning and riffy, with some wild endless shredding. And after that, Luxurious Bags, Bongloads Of Righteous Boo, Crystallized Movements, Vermonster and The Garbage And The Flowers all get another go! But it hardly matters, by this point, your grey matter is all melted down into a prismatic puddle on the floor, your smoking headphones telling you this is essential damaged outsider psych, and you NEED it.
MPEG Stream: VERMONSTER "Black Crack Boogie (Remix)"
MPEG Stream: BONGLOADS OF RIGHTEOUS BOO "Jimi (Remix)"
MPEG Stream: LUXURIOUS BAGS "Powerline"
MPEG Stream: WORMDOOM "One Way"

album cover LIGHTNING BOLT Oblivion Hunter (Load) cd 16.98
We'd been wanting to list this new Lightning Bolt for ages now, their first since 2009's Earthly Delights, it actually came out on vinyl last year, but sold out before we could get enough to list. Well, the vinyl remains unavailable, but we do now finally have the cd, and as you might expect, it's a doozy, Oblivion Hunter showing no signs of the group mellowing with age, in fact, there seems to be a lot of sonic experimentation going on. And folks (like us) who dug the recent Black Pus record on Thrill Jockey, Lightning Bolt drummer Brian Chippendale's solo project, will find much of Oblivion Hunter to be quite similar: murky and muddy, but poppy and weirdly hooky. Not that that doesn't describe LB in general, but really, just give opener "King Kandy" a listen, classic Lightning Bolt for sure, but in places it's SUPER melodic, and Chippendale's weirdly tuned snare, makes the drumming sound like there's all kinds of strange percussion happening, and much of the track is spent churning murkily, the drums a tribal flurry, the bass grinding malevolently, while the vocals soar over the top. Great stuff for sure, not too far removed from the sound we love, but pushing their sound enough so that the new LB is definitely different and exciting. Most of the rest of the record seems to veer a bit more into classic LB territory, although things stay pretty strange, tracks like "Oblivion Balloon" are crazy melodic and catchy, and tracks like "Fly Fucker Fly", sound almost like fuzzy garage rock sped up and super charged, while "Salamander" is a super progged out 'Bolt, frenzied and melodic, but sounding like it could almost be some classic psych/prog jam re-done, and finally, the record ends with the 13+ minute "World Wobbly Wide", which is easily the trippiest of the bunch, a sprawling psychedelic freakout, wild tangles of distorted melody, sounding almost like a raga or alien snake charmer music at times, while the drums explode wildly underneath, the second half of the track getting way more blown out, blasting, super distorted psych-noise trippiness, that reminds us just why we loved these guys so much in the first place!
MPEG Stream: "King Kandy"
MPEG Stream: "Fly Fucker Fly"
MPEG Stream: "World Wobbly Wide"

album cover TELLUSIAN Scania (Pillowscars) 7" 5.98
First we've heard from these Swedish grinders, who were born of the late great Crowpath, and who traffic in a similarly punishing sound, albeit a bit more melodic. The A side opens quite misleadingly with a brief bit of shimmery strum, bleary slowcore soft focus math rocky riffage, which quickly explodes into some churning, downtuned melodic grind-prog, chugging and blasting, with some wild little mathed out sonic curlicues, not to mention some crazy catchiness that had us thinking of all the classic Swedish death metal that came before. The sound flits from more metallic chug to the sort of post/math rock heaviness we can't ever get enough of. The B side is more of the same, dizzyingly agile math metal, prog grind, rife with blasts and chugging riffs, but shot through with still more crazy catchiness. Definitely dying to hear more from these guys...
MPEG Stream: "Karnival"

album cover NO JOY Pastel And Pass Out (Mexican Summer) 12" 15.98
Brand new ep from these aQ beloved noise pop shoegazers, and we have to say, we were thrown for a loop at first, as the first 90 seconds of opener "Last Boss" was stripped down and minimal, low slung bass throb, clipped drum skitter, ethereal vox, a new sound, but one we were sort of digging, but then at about a minute in, there's a weird stutter step and in swoop the guitars, and suddenly we're back in No Joy's blown out, distorted drenched dreaminess, those angelic vocals soaring over the top, practically perfect. "Starchild Is Dead" offers up more of the same, slowing things down to something a bit more dirgey, the guitars even more distorted, crumbling through the speakers, and buried beneath that crumble, soaring arcs of melancholic melody, and after a weird drum break, the vocals drift in, the song immediately transformed into some heavy, heavy shoegaze, that could, and should go on forever. Closer "Second Spine" is another stripped down sprawl of minimal jangle pop, this time, the shoegaze is more implied, the wall of guitars never arrives, instead, the rhythms skitter, the guitars shimmer and drift, and multiple vocals are woven into utterly dreamlike harmonies. We love this band so much, and three songs is definitely not enough, especially, when all told, they add up to about 11 minutes, but it's a pretty fantastic 11 minutes, that will have to hold us over until the impending full length, that we can only hope is coming soon...
LIMITED TO 1000 COPIES!! Each one hand numbered, includes a download code too!
MPEG Stream: "Last Boss"
MPEG Stream: "Starchild Is Dead"

album cover GIBSON, ERNEST Island Records (Skrot Up) lp 14.98
We've long been fans of weirdo murk merchants Net Shaker, a duo who traffic in twisted Starfuckers style abstractions and echo drenched downtempo 'electronica', but of a sort you've likely never heard. Warped, and woozy, fractured, and gloriously fucked up. Well, Ernest Gibson, one half of Net Shaker struck out on his own, and delivered two cd-r's, both equaling the balls out weirdness of the Net Shaker mothership, but definitely digging a little deeper, although as we mentioned in our review of the most recent cd-r, the sound is not that far removed from Net Shaker, so much so, that at one point it had us mistakenly assuming Net Shaker was in fact just Gibson anyway. Apologies to the other half of Net Shaker! But fans of Net Shaker, and either of those two cd-r's will not be disappointed with Island Records, which begins with probably the most 'rocking' jam we've heard from Gibson or Net Shaker, all churning loping rhythm, detuned swamp guitar, mumbled FX drenched vox, and reverby twang, it sort of sounds like a more minimalist Woven Hand, it's got a similar swagger, a creepy apocalyptic vibe, but it's way more smeared and blurry and indistinct, the krautrock vibe is huge, super motorik and mesmerizing, it's the sort of thing we could listen to forever. It actually also reminds us of that Tony Conrad / Faust collaboration, but again, a bit more druggy and warped.
And while we'd like to say the rest of the record follows suit, it really doesn't, the sound does remain echo-y and swampy, reverby and darkly psychedelic, but the songs themselves seem to deconstruct before our very ears, sprawling into oozing expanses of jittery skitter, and moaning guitar thrum, bleary, baffling, slo-mo blooze-y stomp. There's lost of abstract drift, like disembodied pop songs via Nurse With Wound, all creaking and shimmering, crystalline sonic structures seemingly melting and crumbling in slow motion, the songs like time lapse recordings of these psychedelic implosions.
That krautrock vibe does surface throughout, "Groupwork" is like Moon Duo on thorazine, and "All Of Us Together" is like a slightly souped up Suicide, but in-between, rubbery basslines billow into clouds of slo-mo thrum, thick, twang guitar hovers over garbled vox and dense textural swirls and chordal swells, with some tracks delving into full on dub territory, but then it's like some sort of Spacemen 3 via the Scientist as re-envisioned by the Climax Golden Twins, warped and woozy and seriously sonically wonderful.
Includes a download code!
MPEG Stream: "When You Get There"
MPEG Stream: "Beachcaves (Theme)"
MPEG Stream: "Everywhere You Roam"
MPEG Stream: "When I Translate"

album cover MELNYK, LUBOMYR Three Solo Pieces (Unseen Worlds) cd 16.98
We've long been fans of Ukrainian pianist and composer Lubomyr Melnyk. Have a quick look at the aQ site for much gushing, and a way more detailed of Melnyk and his 'continuous music' method of piano playing, which he invented, and involves the sustain pedal continuously depressed, turning Melnyk's rapid clusters of notes into gorgeous almost psychedelic sounding flurries, lush swirling clouds of sounds, which are once again in full effect here, which by the title, you can surmise does consist of three solo pieces, just Melnyk and a piano. Proper Melnyk releases are a rarity, since he decided long ago, that with so many releases, he would press up cd-r's, as a way to affordably have all of them available. But recently, Melnyk has been getting much more attention, having released a fantastic collaboration with James Blackshaw, and having several proper releases on actual labels.
Three Solo Pieces is as gorgeous as you might expect, the opener "Marginal Invitation" is brooding and melancholic, the playing measured and minimal, at least until a few minutes in, when the sound seems to transform, and suddenly, the listener is surrounded by warm, lustrous notes, and constantly shifting textures and melodies, the most dramatic part being where Melnyk abruptly lets up on the sustain pedal, and the notes suddenly snap back into a staccato framework, the notes still rapid fire, a different sort of swirling arrangement, dizzying and dramatic, Melnyk, slipping easily back and forth between the two. "Corrosions On The Surface Of Life" is atypically atonal, sounding much more '20th century' than most of his pieces, but no less compelling, a continuous cascade of notes and melodies, a blurred swirl of sound, tense and intense, the angular feel adding a sinister vibe to the proceedings, but before you know it, the sound is transformed, gradually shedding the more atonal elements, until it's downright lovely, before those dissonant notes gradually creep in again. The 18 minute closer begins like some famous classical piece you just can't put your finger on, the magic of Melnyk's mastery, conjuring up a piece at once utterly unique, but at the same time, one that sounds so familiar, the arrangement ingenious, as the low notes seem to be gradually shed over the course of the song, upper register melodies gradually coming to the fore, until finally, it almost sounds like music box melodies, dizzyingly repetitive, and mesmerizingly trancelike and tranquil. Fantastic!!
MPEG Stream: "Marginal Invitiation"
MPEG Stream: "Corrosions On The Surface Of Life"

album cover MELNYK, LUBOMYR Three Solo Pieces (Unseen Worlds) lp 23.00
We've long been fans of Ukrainian pianist and composer Lubomyr Melnyk. Have a quick look at the aQ site for much gushing, and a way more detailed of Melnyk and his 'continuous music' method of piano playing, which he invented, and involves the sustain pedal continuously depressed, turning Melnyk's rapid clusters of notes into gorgeous almost psychedelic sounding flurries, lush swirling clouds of sounds, which are once again in full effect here, which by the title, you can surmise does consist of three solo pieces, just Melnyk and a piano. Proper Melnyk releases are a rarity, since he decided long ago, that with so many releases, he would press up cd-r's, as a way to affordably have all of them available. But recently, Melnyk has been getting much more attention, having released a fantastic collaboration with James Blackshaw, and having several proper releases on actual labels.
Three Solo Pieces is as gorgeous as you might expect, the opener "Marginal Invitation" is brooding and melancholic, the playing measured and minimal, at least until a few minutes in, when the sound seems to transform, and suddenly, the listener is surrounded by warm, lustrous notes, and constantly shifting textures and melodies, the most dramatic part being where Melnyk abruptly lets up on the sustain pedal, and the notes suddenly snap back into a staccato framework, the notes still rapid fire, a different sort of swirling arrangement, dizzying and dramatic, Melnyk, slipping easily back and forth between the two. "Corrosions On The Surface Of Life" is atypically atonal, sounding much more '20th century' than most of his pieces, but no less compelling, a continuous cascade of notes and melodies, a blurred swirl of sound, tense and intense, the angular feel adding a sinister vibe to the proceedings, but before you know it, the sound is transformed, gradually shedding the more atonal elements, until it's downright lovely, before those dissonant notes gradually creep in again. The 18 minute closer begins like some famous classical piece you just can't put your finger on, the magic of Melnyk's mastery, conjuring up a piece at once utterly unique, but at the same time, one that sounds so familiar, the arrangement ingenious, as the low notes seem to be gradually shed over the course of the song, upper register melodies gradually coming to the fore, until finally, it almost sounds like music box melodies, dizzyingly repetitive, and mesmerizingly trancelike and tranquil. Fantastic!!
MPEG Stream: "Marginal Invitiation"
MPEG Stream: "Corrosions On The Surface Of Life"

album cover QUTTINIRPAAQ Let's Hang Out (Rural Solation Project) lp 13.98
We made the debut lp No Visitors from these Texas drugged out psych/doom/noise/kraut/sludge weirdos a Record Of The Week back June, and well, since these tracks were culled from the very same recording session that produced that record, you could very well consider this a sort of Record Of The Week part two, and really if you dug No Visitors, this is more of the same, blown out psychedelic heaviness, that sounds like a mashup up of the Butthole Surfers, Hawkwind and Shit And Shine, all filtered though AmRep nineties noiserock and Texas knuckle draggers Rusted Shut. Which if you're anything like us, is about all you need to know. But if you're new to Quttinirpaaq, or just need a reminder, give a listen to the first couple samples below. The brief sort-of intro, the sweetly titled "Diary Of A Pig Keeper's Wife", is all detuned trudge, crumbling slo-mo riffage, death march drums, weird, slowed down chant like vocals, this is some sort of wasted, psychedelic ultra doom, but it's on "Chinese Hercules" that Quttinirpaaq really get to flex their musical muscles, locking almost immediately into some seriously tranced out, heavy hypno-rock riffage, that weds super distorted drum pound to churning looped riffage, garbled vox and swirls of noise and effects into some heavy, space, psychedelic noise rock that takes everything we love about White Hills, The Heads and all the rest, cranks it WAY up, and drags it through the filth, resulting in some seriously next level kraut-sludge space-psych heaviness that KILLS.
And while it doesn't necessarily get better from there (not sure how it could really), it stays pretty epic and psychedelic, heavy and warped, tripped our and trancey, most of the tracks some weird sort of hybridized psychedelic krautrock and noise rock crush, the band locked into endless grooves that roil and churn mesmerically, while all around sounds swoop and swirl, streaks of feedback, blasts of FX, constantly shifting textures, buried melodies, all blurred and smeared into heaving, noisy, heavy psych weirdness.
Some of the tracks here get downright out there, some surprisingly beautiful, still noisy, but infused with surprising melodies, and crafted with a delicate touch, while others are just pure skull caving crush, and still others are almost electronic sounding, seemingly dabbling in the same warped outsider electronics as Shit And Shine.
Needless to say this RULES. Everyone who bought and loved No Visitors, is gonna want this too. And if you've yet to check these guys out, Let's Hang Out might just be your new favorite heavy / noise / psych / space jam. You have been warned.
Pressed on 180 gram vinyl, clear with 'blood red spray'. Comes with a full color insert, and it's LIMITED TO 300 COPIES!!
MPEG Stream: "Diary Of A Pig Keeper's Wife"
MPEG Stream: "Chinese Hercules"
MPEG Stream: "Stork"
MPEG Stream: "Man Without A Body"

album cover LIMINANAS, THE Costa Blanca (Trouble In Mind) lp 16.98
NOW HERE ON VINYL!!
The previous full length from French fuzz pop duo The Liminanas, Crystal Anis, might be one of THEE most played records in the shop, even a year after it came out. Somehow it seems to ALWAYS be playing, and whenever someone can't think of what to listen to, that seems to be the record turned to most. And for good reason, it's a doozy. Besides being droney and jangly and hypnotic, and so crazy catchy, it also features lots of ukelele, perhaps in the only non-kitsch usage we can think of. They take the modern krautrock of outfits like Moon Duo, and meld it to the classic popsmithery of Jacques Brel and Serge Gainsbourg. The music simple and stripped down, but super hypnotic and melodic, boy and girl vocals, with plenty of sexy spoken word, that ukelele, a weird mix of folky strum, propulsive motorik groove, fuzzy garage rock, stripped down jangle pop, all wound into perfect chunks of brooding, moody, exotic, fuzzy, jangly radness that we literally could not get enough of. So we were THRILLED to discover a brand new record, and we're happy to report, it's just as good as the earlier one. In fact, it's one of those records, that on first listen seems like it couldn't possibly live up to what came before, but a few listens in, blossoms into something special, and before you know it, you begin to think it's even better, and then a little bit later, you're SURE it is. So that's where we're at now. The sound itself is definitely more lush and well produced, the sound a bit heavier and more layered, and while the songs still don't seem quite as catchy, they're sinking their hooks in a little more with each listen, and at this point, that means it won't be long, since this is pretty much all we want to listen to. Totally recommended, and bound to be playing next time you're in the shop, which as always, is about the highest recommendation we can think of!
MPEG Stream: "Je Me Souviens Comme Si J'y Etais"
MPEG Stream: "My Black Sabbath"
MPEG Stream: "Alicante"

album cover MORELLI, RON Spit (Hospital) lp 24.00
Spit is the debut full length from Ron Morelli, probably best know as the man who runs the L.I.E.S. label, whose American Noise / Volume One 2cd comp was a big hit around here, but instead of doing the record himself, Morelli found his way to Dom Fernow's Hospital label, and it's a really good fit, Morelli's murky electronic minimalism definitely in keeping with the music Fernow makes and releases, fans of Vatican Shadow, Christian Cosmos, Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement, Silent Servant will find much to dig here. The opening track "Radar Version", in fact sounds like it could be Fernow, all gothed out industrial gloom, skeletal pulsations over woozy buried melodies, everything dubbed out and doused in effects, and swathed in a grey ambience, which by the end of the track is also buried beneath soft synth shimmers and blasts of electronic noise. The tempo is cranked up a bit for the second track, "Modern Paranoia", a sort of lo-fi, ultra minimal electro, but even then, it's soon joined by some garbled bass warble, like a a dubstep wobble, all melting and oozing and slowed way down, soon there are handclaps and weird percussion, and that rhythm reveals itself as some super cheesy Casio style beat, still beneath that woozy bass. And from there on out, it only gets better, the crunchy acid-y electronic squelch and motorik pulsations of "Crack Microbes", the churning looped industrial noisescapery of "Sledgehammer II", the abstract electro dub weirdness of "Fake Rush", the blooping, bleeping, sample laced primitive early electronics worship of "Director Of...", the gritty, gristly, night-kraut, goth-groove of "No Real Reason", and finally, the blurred, grey-noise drone-drift ambience of "Slow Drown." So good. Totally recommended for Hospital label obsessives, fans of Fernow's various projects, and anyone into grim, gothic industrial minimalism, or if you're like us, all three!
MPEG Stream: "Radar Version"
MPEG Stream: "Crack Microbes"
MPEG Stream: "Sledgehammer II"
MPEG Stream: "Slow Drown"

album cover BLIZARO Strange Doorways (I, Voidhanger) 2cd 16.98
To quote ourselves, prepare again to "feel the embrace of the purple-hued, witch-haunted horror that is... Blizaro!"
Yup, in reviewing this double disc journey into the violet cosmos of the prog/doom/soundtrack obsessed, mostly-one-man-band Blizaro, we would find it hard to top what we said about 'em before, in our review of the album we made a Record Of The Week back in 2010. That disc, City Of Living Nightmare, we likened to a mad scientist's lo-fi, DIY mashup of Goblin and Black Sabbath - a hybrid of psychedelic doom metal, synthesizer prog, and Italian giallo soundtracks that totally blew us away. That was followed by a split with female-fronted occult doom-deathsters Wooden Stake, also really great.
But what came before? Well, several homebrewed cd-r's worth of Blizaro music preceded the compact disc debut we had made Record Of The Week. Some of us here had tracked down copies of those, and ever since we've been hoping they'd get reissued so we could share 'em with you. In fact, we liked 'em so much, we got in touch with the man behind Blizaro, John Gallo (guitarist for Rochester, NY doom metallers Orodruin), and were "in talks" with him to re-release the these cd-r's together on a proper cd, via aQuarius, like we did with our White Hills and Carlton Melton Record Store Day discs! But then the Italian label I, Voidhanger stepped in and snatched Blizaro away from us - which is perfectly okay 'cause they really did such a great job putting together this nicely appointed package, which they expanded to two discs, not just one, incorporating not only the material from Blizaro's three pre-City cd-r's, but also a more recent recording we hadn't yet heard, plus a whole bunch of unreleased bonus tracks too.
Disc one of Strange Doorways consists of the tracks from Blizaro's The Old Wizard Of Winter (2009) and Black Magicians (2012) cd-rs, along with three extra unreleased tracks. Disc two's got the Horror Rock (2006) and Blue Tape (2008) cd-r's, and five extra cuts. 40 tracks in all! It's quite a varied array of material, all of it proving how amazingly talented and creative John Gallo is as a musician and songwriter. The music here ranges from creepy groovy stuff in the Goblin-y realm, to full on '70s hard rockin', to quirky prog epics, to strange synthesizer experiments, to classical guitar styled fantasias, and even echoed-out synthbass bunkurfunk. Lots to listen to, lots to like. The Old Wizard Of Winter stuff is heavily synth-based (originally recorded as a Christmas gift for relatives!!), mostly all Moog and organ, whereas elsewhere Gallo puts his electric guitar and quite a few other instruments to good use, his voice too, and gets a bit of help from friends, including his bandmates in Orodruin, and members of Revered Bizarre. BTW, Blizaro now has a membership of three, Gallo plus a drummer and bassist, so here's hoping they go on tour and we get to see 'em!
The thick cd booklet features pages and pages of track-by-track liner notes from Gallo himself, discussing his ideas, inspirations and equipment, how each track came together. Kinda writing his own review, he namechecks everyone from Goblin and Paul Chain to Vangelis and Tangerine Dream to Atomic Rooster and Arthur Brown. We can hear it all, for sure. Wow. We've heard plenty of bedroom recorded indie pop and electronica, black metal too, but eccentric progged-out proto-metal? Blizaro does that - and more - quite convincingly. Highly recommended of course.
MPEG Stream: "Sobering Through Darkness"
MPEG Stream: "The Old Wizard Of Winter "
MPEG Stream: "Sphere 1 (The Mirror)"
MPEG Stream: "Driving Back The Senses"
MPEG Stream: "Switched On Blizaro"

album cover SHIFTED Under A Single Banner (Bed Of Nails) cd 17.98
We've been going kinda crazy lately for super dark, ultra minimal, abstract techno, the darker and murkier the better, records by Shed and Terrence Dixon, as well as the whole Hospital Records axis (Silent Servant, Vatican Shadow, etc.). We also just discovered Marcel Dettmann, whose latest we'll review on an upcoming list, not to mention recent reissues from Fluxion and Monoton, and then there's this, the first we've heard from Shifted, who delivers exactly what we've been hankering for, super spare, crackly, skeletal, avant techno murk, all clicks and pulses, some sort of spaced out electro dub ultra minimalism that had us in its thrall from the very first few seconds. Equal parts clinical Raster-Noton style electronic abstraction, and Chain Reaction heroin house, the sound of Shifted is gorgeously hypnotic, and utterly mesmerizing, the opening intro a spaced out sort of dronescape, with distorted smears of what sounds like guitar, blurred into a drifty atmospheric haze, laced with strange industrial crunch, the whole thing getting more and more distorted and dirty as it progresses, which had us expecting something a bit more blown out and noisy, but instead, in swoops "Chrome, Canopy & Bursting Heart", a delicate crystalline arrangement of hiss and static, throb, and thrum and pulse, underpinned by a distant rumbling low end, and laced with strange bits of clatter, and softly reverbed texture, another one of those cases, that if the record had simply been a 70 minute version of THIS song, we'd be just as into it. Instead, the sound of Under A Single Banner moves in al sorts of different directions, but never deviating too much from the hushed and clipped minimalism that makes it so hypnotic. "Suspended Inside" is all high end sizzle and skitter, laced with distant rhythmic flurries, peppered with barely there bleeps, and draped over a backdrop of what sounds like crickets, while the title track is an ominous bit of crunchy abstract stutter, this time driven by deep, distorted bass pulsations, and woozy, groovy rhythm, a sort of ghost electro, that's haunting, and subtly harrowing at the same time.
"Burning Tyres" is heavy on the reverb and echo drenched, and could be some obscure Hospital Records B side, being spun is a massive cave, the beats ricocheting all over the place, the melodies blurred and smeared, the whole thing a gauze-y fantastically garbled field of blackened and blurred space-house, which leads directly into the much more controlled "Pulse Incomplete", which loops what sounds like a human breath, and links it to percolating rhythms, and subtly blooping and bleeping cascades of muted melody, the beat frantic and frenzied, but somehow also subdued and dialed way back. "Contract 0", makes us think of a Kompakt record stripped of every non essential element, almost like the opposite of Pop Ambience, all the fuzzy, dreamy melodic driftiness pulled back, leaving just the barebones rhythm, and some strange distant glitchery, and fragmented static. Finally, "Story of Aurea" is all droned out mystery, a burbling, softly undulating low end swell, laced with tiny upper register trills, and barely audible dog whistle sonar sine waves, which leads directly into the closer, "Wash Over Me", which begins as some abstract minimal electro dub, just rhythm, and a distant chordal thrum, before the rhythm is joined by some soft billowing clouds of synthy shimmer, the sound transformed into a dreamy bit of new agey soft focus skitter, which again, we would dig a WHOLE record of.
So good! One of our new favorite electronic / minimal techno records for sure, our current going to sleep music (which as you all know, is probably THEE highest recommendation we can give to this sort of record), and very likely to end up on some of our top ten lists (cuz list making time is coming up!!)...
MPEG Stream: "Chrome, Canopy & Busting Heart"
MPEG Stream: "Suspended Inside"
MPEG Stream: "Under A Single Banner"
MPEG Stream: "Wash Over Me"

album cover SHIFTED Under A Single Banner (Bed Of Nails) lp 28.00
We've been going kinda crazy lately for super dark, ultra minimal, abstract techno, the darker and murkier the better, records by Shed and Terrence Dixon, as well as the whole Hospital Records axis (Silent Servant, Vatican Shadow, etc.). We also just discovered Marcel Dettmann, whose latest we'll review on an upcoming list, not to mention recent reissues from Fluxion and Monoton, and then there's this, the first we've heard from Shifted, who delivers exactly what we've been hankering for, super spare, crackly, skeletal, avant techno murk, all clicks and pulses, some sort of spaced out electro dub ultra minimalism that had us in its thrall from the very first few seconds. Equal parts clinical Raster-Noton style electronic abstraction, and Chain Reaction heroin house, the sound of Shifted is gorgeously hypnotic, and utterly mesmerizing, the opening intro a spaced out sort of dronescape, with distorted smears of what sounds like guitar, blurred into a drifty atmospheric haze, laced with strange industrial crunch, the whole thing getting more and more distorted and dirty as it progresses, which had us expecting something a bit more blown out and noisy, but instead, in swoops "Chrome, Canopy & Bursting Heart", a delicate crystalline arrangement of hiss and static, throb, and thrum and pulse, underpinned by a distant rumbling low end, and laced with strange bits of clatter, and softly reverbed texture, another one of those cases, that if the record had simply been a 70 minute version of THIS song, we'd be just as into it. Instead, the sound of Under A Single Banner moves in al sorts of different directions, but never deviating too much from the hushed and clipped minimalism that makes it so hypnotic. "Suspended Inside" is all high end sizzle and skitter, laced with distant rhythmic flurries, peppered with barely there bleeps, and draped over a backdrop of what sounds like crickets, while the title track is an ominous bit of crunchy abstract stutter, this time driven by deep, distorted bass pulsations, and woozy, groovy rhythm, a sort of ghost electro, that's haunting, and subtly harrowing at the same time.
"Burning Tyres" is heavy on the reverb and echo drenched, and could be some obscure Hospital Records B side, being spun is a massive cave, the beats ricocheting all over the place, the melodies blurred and smeared, the whole thing a gauze-y fantastically garbled field of blackened and blurred space-house, which leads directly into the much more controlled "Pulse Incomplete", which loops what sounds like a human breath, and links it to percolating rhythms, and subtly blooping and bleeping cascades of muted melody, the beat frantic and frenzied, but somehow also subdued and dialed way back. "Contract 0", makes us think of a Kompakt record stripped of every non essential element, almost like the opposite of Pop Ambience, all the fuzzy, dreamy melodic driftiness pulled back, leaving just the barebones rhythm, and some strange distant glitchery, and fragmented static. Finally, "Story of Aurea" is all droned out mystery, a burbling, softly undulating low end swell, laced with tiny upper register trills, and barely audible dog whistle sonar sine waves, which leads directly into the closer, "Wash Over Me", which begins as some abstract minimal electro dub, just rhythm, and a distant chordal thrum, before the rhythm is joined by some soft billowing clouds of synthy shimmer, the sound transformed into a dreamy bit of new agey soft focus skitter, which again, we would dig a WHOLE record of.
So good! One of our new favorite electronic / minimal techno records for sure, our current going to sleep music (which as you all know, is probably THEE highest recommendation we can give to this sort of record), and very likely to end up on some of our top ten lists (cuz list making time is coming up!!)...
MPEG Stream: "Chrome, Canopy & Busting Heart"
MPEG Stream: "Suspended Inside"
MPEG Stream: "Under A Single Banner"
MPEG Stream: "Wash Over Me"

album cover CUT HANDS Damballah 58 (Blackest Ever Black) 12" 15.98
Another blast of twisted rhythmic "Afro-Noise" from William Bennett, most famously known for his confrontational harsh noise combo Whitehouse, but who around here is probably more beloved for this project, Cut Hands, his most recent project, which fuses traditional African rhythms, with industrial electronics and techno rhythms, creating a series of dark tangled grooves, that somehow push all our buttons. And this new one basically continues on where the recent Black Mamba ep left off. The A side is a furious polyrhythmic barrage, that slips easily from tribal groove, to lurching, loping, stuttering, industrial crunch and back again, driving and fierce, percussive and pretty goddamn hypnotic, the sort of thing we could listen to forever, and we just listened to the A side about four times in a row, and basically had to force ourselves to stop.
The tracks on the flipside are a bit less aggro, sounding a little like old Muslimgauze, or like some current Dom Fernow project (Christian Cosmos, Vatican Shadow, Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement), the beats muted and blunted, at times downright mellow and blissed out, at others, rhythmic but dialed back, sort of murky and moody, but still tranced out and seriously psychedelic...
MPEG Stream: "Damballah 58"

album cover LIMINANAS, THE Costa Blanca (Trouble In Mind) cd 11.98
The previous full length from French fuzz pop duo The Liminanas, Crystal Anis, might be one of THEE most played records in the shop, even a year after it came out. Somehow it seems to ALWAYS be playing, and whenever someone can't think of what to listen to, that seems to be the record turned to most. And for good reason, it's a doozy. Besides being droney and jangly and hypnotic, and so crazy catchy, it also features lots of ukelele, perhaps in the only non-kitsch usage we can think of. They take the modern krautrock of outfits like Moon Duo, and meld it to the classic popsmithery of Jacques Brel and Serge Gainsbourg. The music simple and stripped down, but super hypnotic and melodic, boy and girl vocals, with plenty of sexy spoken word, that ukelele, a weird mix of folky strum, propulsive motorik groove, fuzzy garage rock, stripped down jangle pop, all wound into perfect chunks of brooding, moody, exotic, fuzzy, jangly radness that we literally could not get enough of. So we were THRILLED to discover a brand new record, and we're happy to report, it's just as good as the earlier one. In fact, it's one of those records, that on first listen seems like it couldn't possibly live up to what came before, but a few listens in, blossoms into something special, and before you know it, you begin to think it's even better, and then a little bit later, you're SURE it is. So that's where we're at now. The sound itself is definitely more lush and well produced, the sound a bit heavier and more layered, and while the songs still don't seem quite as catchy, they're sinking their hooks in a little more with each listen, and at this point, that means it won't be long, since this is pretty much all we want to listen to. Totally recommended, and bound to be playing next time you're in the shop, which as always, is about the highest recommendation we can think of!
MPEG Stream: "Je Me Souviens Comme Si J'y Etais"
MPEG Stream: "My Black Sabbath"
MPEG Stream: "Alicante"

album cover MORELLI, RON Spit (Hospital) cd 17.98
Spit is the debut full length from Ron Morelli, probably best know as the man who runs the L.I.E.S. label, whose American Noise / Volume One 2cd comp was a big hit around here, but instead of doing the record himself, Morelli found his way to Dom Fernow's Hospital label, and it's a really good fit, Morelli's murky electronic minimalism definitely in keeping with the music Fernow makes and releases, fans of Vatican Shadow, Christian Cosmos, Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement, Silent Servant will find much to dig here. The opening track "Radar Version", in fact sounds like it could be Fernow, all gothed out industrial gloom, skeletal pulsations over woozy buried melodies, everything dubbed out and doused in effects, and swathed in a grey ambience, which by the end of the track is also buried beneath soft synth shimmers and blasts of electronic noise. The tempo is cranked up a bit for the second track, "Modern Paranoia", a sort of lo-fi, ultra minimal electro, but even then, it's soon joined by some garbled bass warble, like a a dubstep wobble, all melting and oozing and slowed way down, soon there are handclaps and weird percussion, and that rhythm reveals itself as some super cheesy Casio style beat, still beneath that woozy bass. And from there on out, it only gets better, the crunchy acid-y electronic squelch and motorik pulsations of "Crack Microbes", the churning looped industrial noisescapery of "Sledgehammer II", the abstract electro dub weirdness of "Fake Rush", the blooping, bleeping, sample laced primitive early electronics worship of "Director Of...", the gritty, gristly, night-kraut, goth-groove of "No Real Reason", and finally, the blurred, grey-noise drone-drift ambience of "Slow Drown." So good. Totally recommended for Hospital label obsessives, fans of Fernow's various projects, and anyone into grim, gothic industrial minimalism, or if you're like us, all three!
MPEG Stream: "Radar Version"
MPEG Stream: "Crack Microbes"
MPEG Stream: "Sledgehammer II"
MPEG Stream: "Slow Drown"

album cover ONYEABOR, WILLIAM World Psychedelic Classics 5: Who Is William Onyeabor? (Luaka Bop) cd 15.98
The fifth release in David Byrne's World Psychedelic Classic series for Luaka Bop (the previous ones being from Os Mutantes, Tim Maia, Shuggie Otis, and the West African funk comp, Love's A Real Thing) is a killer survey of Nigerian Afro-electro-funk by the elusive William Onyeabor who self-released records between 1978 and 1985, before apparently converting to Christianity and refusing to discuss himself and his music ever since. Long in the making after years of trying to negotiate licensing with the difficult Onyeabor, this compilation is a revelation of outsider analog synth and politically-tinged Afrobeat caught right in between Parliament/Funkadelic and Fela Kuti.
Having previously only heard the tracks featured on the Love is A Real Thing and Nigeria 70: The Definitive Story of 1970s Funky Lagos comps, it's amazing to hear a whole collection of Onyeabor's music, with songs that sprawl well over the ten minute mark, and like Fela Kuti's music, filled with call and response female backing vocals and pointed lyrics over an infectious funk groove. "Something You Will Never Forget" repeats that line between Onyeabor and the female backing group before revealing, "One day you'll be lying dead". Other songs denounce war and the atomic bomb. But what separates Onyeabor from Kuti is his astonishing analog synth skills that propel the music into much stranger psychedelic territory. Like that Francis Bebey collection we raved about a while back ago, this release is bumping and of course comes highly recommended.
MPEG Stream: "Body and Soul"
MPEG Stream: "Good Name"
MPEG Stream: "Why Go To War"
MPEG Stream: "Heaven and Hell"

album cover SWAMP WITCH Gnosis (Anti-Matter) lp 17.98
The debut demo from these East Bay doomlords gets a deluxe vinyl reissue, and will be the first time most folks get an earful of Swamp Witch, and in a seriously overpopulated scene, SW definitely do their own thing, in fact, from the first few seconds, we were a bit thrown off, cuz the vibe was way more stonery and classic metal, not sludgey or really even all that doomy, we were ready for some soaring eighties style metal vocals to swoop in, they definitely would have fit, but before that can happen, the song shifts gears and slows to a lurching crawl, accompanied by some demonic vokill bellows, some serious stonery sludge, but then that opening riff resurfaces, and adds some serious melody to the proceedings, this time with added sort-of-leads, but it's what keeps this from being just another slab of boring doom, and it's that push and pull that makes the track so good, the band easily shifting from that lurching crawl, to the more propulsive classic metal rocking and back again, the cool thing being that you can almost feel the pull of the opposing sound the whole time, the sludge-y parts sound like they desperately wanna explode into melodic metal, and the melodic metal parts feel like they're on the edge of being sucked into the black tarpit dirge of the sludge parts. Then at the end it gets sort of psychedelic, with some crazy, sorta shrieked vocals. Such a killer track, definitely worth the price of admission right there. Then there's the second track, which is a bit more traditionally stonery sludge, but with a KILLER main riff, that again, slows down to an absolute slo-mo creep, a chugging, churning crawl, and so it goes again, the band lurching from stonery dirge to creepy crawl, finally culminating in an outro that's all swirling psychedelic feedback.
The sidelong flipside is a doozy, the brooding title track takes ages to get revved up, building lots of tension, the vibe super cinematic, all swirling feedback, and groaning bass rumble, keening melodies, all blurred into smeary swaths of mournful minor key sound, and when the song kicks in, it's MASSIVE, so heavy and blown out, some seriously brutal ultra doom crush, the sound remaining mostly entrenched in a tarpit dirge, the variations this time for the most time arrangement wise, some mathy chugging, a slightly more midtempo, groovy stretch, with some killer psychedelic guitars, which eventually bliss out into another feedback drenched guitardrone finale.
So killer. Not sure how we haven't heard these guys before now.
And if these three tracks are still somehow not sludgey enough for you, do some searching on the internet, and you can find a killer 'chopped & screwed' version, which finds the whole thing slowed way down, fucked with, looped and layered, stuttery and staggery, replete with weird scratching and DJ manipulations, as well as woozy, pitch shifted DJ Screw like vocals. Wish they would have pressed up an extra lp and included this version too...
Super nice packaging, a heavy gatefold sleeve, with a little baggie with two buttons, the lps pressed on 180 gram vinyl. Also includes a poster, a patch and a download code!
MPEG Stream: "Novem"
MPEG Stream: "Emerald Serpent"

album cover BASIC HOUSE Oats (Alter) cd 17.98
We've been digging this recent wave of super minimal electronic music like crazy, whether it's the stripped down house and dark moody techno of Shed or Terrence Dixon, the post industrial gothic beatscapery of Vatican Shadow, the dour blackened brutalism of Silent Servant, the murky avant electronica of Haxan Cloak and Prurient, the field recording flecked minimalism of Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement, or recent outings from new aQ faves like Shifted and Ron Morelli, it's almost like the techno/house haters have had their whole world turned upside down, with all of these gothy, gloomy, murky, grim variants on house music and techno, stripped down to the bare minimum, transformed somehow into something blackly psychedelic and woozily abject, total blunted comedown minimalism, that is easily some of the darkest and most mesmerizing music we've heard in ages. None more so than Oats, from Basic House, aka Stephen Bishop, the man behind the Opal Tapes label, who as Basic House, has created something more than that moniker might imply, sure it could be considered 'basic house', but a basic house constructed from crumbling distortion, and chunks of static, weird field recordings, woozy loops, disembodied melodies, you can hear hints of Andy Stott and Demdike Stare and the Caretaker, but Basic House is something else all together, a sort of decaying hauntological dance music, that seems to be cobbled together from sonic detritus, one could almost imagine this as electronica as envisioned by Tim Hecker and Philip Jeck, it has that same sort of warped warble, and grey, washed out abstraction. It's one of those rare records that is truly difficult to describe, which is precisely what makes it so utterly mesmerizing.
Breaking down the first two tracks should give you a rough idea of what you're in store for, beginning with a weird field of stuttering static, shards of tape hiss, and what sounds like gristly analog crunch, all pulsing hypnotically over a backdrop of woozy looped melody, and slow shifting textures, a barely there rhythm seems to be forming, it's not until nearly two minutes in that a proper beat surfaces, a monotonous 4/4 pulse, adding a strangely skeletal framework to the proceedings, before that beat blossoms into something almost electro, adding some distorted dubsteppy bass wobble, but the whole thing remaining super wasted and washed out and ultra minimal. Eventually, multiple melodies swoop in, as do auxiliary beats, the sound a dense swirl, dizzying and weirdly psychedelic, and in a weird way, almost poppy sounding, before devolving in a field of spaced out crackle and hiss, all tangled up with layered loops, and mysterious, almost easy listening sounding samples, before lurching directly into the second track, a churning murk-march of pounding Teutonic throb, and looped ominous whisper, everything wreathed in thick swirls of record crackle / tape hiss, the sound quickly and repeatedly transforming, at one point sounding like alien elevator music, rife with churning, chugging low end thrum, and fields of insectoid click, while elsewhere unravelling like a heaving sprawl of avant industrial noisiness. And while that may give you an idea of what Basic House is all about, the rest of the record does its best to continually confuse and confound.
Short stretches of mangled field recordings wrapped around barely there beats, give way to super spare soundscapes of glistening crackle, and mutated textures, jagged shards of caustic digital crunch are sculpted into corrosive rhythmscapes that seem to melt into droned out Wolf Eyes style drones, all high end skree, and scraping digital crunch. Some tracks are whispery latticeworks of groaning and creaking ambience, short wave transmissions drifting through fields of hushed thrum, and barely there chordal swells, sometimes blossoming into garbled grooves, all hazy and bleakly blissed out, other times unfurling mysterious swirls of digital stutter and looped vocal whispers, those alien sounds seeming to collect melody and texture as they creep through landscapes of shimmer and hum. Here and there, the record does return to something more overtly rhythmic, like on the balearic "C-Beat", which is like modern minimalism by way of Pole's granular digidub, but recast as some ghostly trance, all whispery stutter, wreathed in warbly wooziness and glassine high end shimmer, but the record eventually settles into a haunting hushed finale, the meditative, minimal drone of "L-Wave And Combo", which is one long sprawl of buried melody and tranced out thrum, but instead of smooth and shimmery, the sounds are rough and raw, crumbling and crunchy, but in no way does that detract from the track's enthralling mesmer. So fucking great. And just in under the wire, in the nick of time to make it onto plenty of top ten lists, and for some of us here, quite possibly a contender for the top spot!
MPEG Stream: "AR II"
MPEG Stream: "Child Confession"
MPEG Stream: "B.G. Feathers"
MPEG Stream: "C-Beat"

album cover EVIL DEAD (ROQUE BANOS) OST (La-La Land) cd 16.98
At first the super striking cover art had us thinking this was in fact the original Evil Dead soundtrack, just given a modern makeover and re-released on one of the many horror movie soundtrack vinyl labels that have been popping up (Death Waltz, Waxwork, etc.). A closer look though revealed that this was in fact, music from the 2013 REMAKE of Evil Dead, and while we're not big fans of the remake, especially when it's a movie as iconic as Evil Dead, we have to say, over the last few years, some horror movie remakes have actually been pretty great. The new My Bloody Valentine was legitimately great, as was the recent remake of the slasher/exploitation classic Maniac. We dug the Hills Have Eyes remake too. Hell even the first half of Rob Zombie's Halloween remake was pretty cool (focusing on the childhood of Michael Myers), but even with all that, we LOVE the original Evil Dead, and as open as we are to remakes, Evil Dead did seem sort of sacrosanct. The movie itself is a whole different beast, VERY modern, and seriously scary, and WAY violent, the vibe though is totally different, sure it's kids in a cabin, and there's a book, and people get possessed, but otherwise, it really could have been called anything, it's not like that cabin in the woods trope is super original at this point. But still, from a pure horror movie perspective, it was pretty good, and the soundtrack/score, was AMAZING. Some seriously harrowing sound design for sure, that at times reminded us of Ben Frost, or even Roly Porter. It had us imagining that this is what might have happened if those guys were given a HUGE budget, and a full orchestra, and a seriously gore soaked movie to score.
The sound is modern for sure, but it's pretty epic, and really scary, some of the arrangements are super twisted, some are obvious cues, but others are just plain weird, there are operatic vocals, soaring female, and chanted male, symphonic blasts, lost of brooding hushed passages, plaintive piano, the tracks are super dynamic, lots of scary strings, tons of drones, and deep rumbling low end, lots of jump scare style symphonic stabs, pounding percussion, much of the soundtrack sounds like updated black ambient / industrial music, the bits with vocals sound like the scariest neo-folk you've never heard, much of this sounds like a totally terrifying opera, some bits are haunting and delicate, but much of this is just super intense and even removed from the visuals, induces a seriously intense sense of utter dread and desolation. And of course horror.
The vinyl is super deluxe, and thus pretty pricey, an ultra striking full color heavy gatefold sleeve, obviously designed to sit next to your Death Waltz / Mondo / Waxwork releases (it's a co-release with Death Waltz in fact, for overseas), the cd though is in a regular jewel case.
MPEG Stream: "I'll Rip Your Soul Out"
MPEG Stream: "Sad Memories"
MPEG Stream: "Don't Say It, Don't Write It, Don't Hear It"

album cover FLUXION Vibrant Forms (Type) cd 15.98
YAY, AT LAST REISSUED! An old Chain Reaction fave (that goes for $$$ on the internet), now back in print on both cd and vinyl via the discerning music lovers at Type. Here's our rave review of this essential from way back when (2006)...
We've been accused of being house music haters. And there's some truth to that. But is one certain obtuse branch of the house music family tree that had us the second we laid ears on it. A while back, the Chain Reaction label introduced a super stripped down, minimal house music, that was quickly dubbed "heroin house", for it's murky druggy laid back feel. It was like hearing house music through a drug induced haze. Or hearing the sound of throbbing four on the floor dance music seeping through the floor of your apartment from the late night dance club below. A super minimal throb. just a pulse really, a completely hypnotic, barely there rhythm, that just shifts and shimmers and works its way into your head, into your chest, into your soul. Hard to imagine people dancing to this music. It's a little like chillout music, but way more rigid and rhythmic. It sounds a little like the music that was created for those 3 or 4 people still on their feet, after a night of serious imbibing, who are unwilling to stop dancing, but can't muster anything more than a druggy shuffle, or a barely visible shimmy. Playing on and on and on until the final one drops. For those of us who don't dabble in either drugs OR dancing, this music fulfills a function much like drone music, in fact, it is a sort of drone music, the beats and throbs and pulses are like a segmented drone, a completely hypnotic static sound that carries us into oblivion.
Fluxion's Vibrant Forms just might be our favorite of the Chain Reaction bunch, the most skeletal, the most monochrome, the most everything minimal, it's like techno music composed by Steve Reich. Slowly shifting subtleties and barely drifting overtones, over a framework of repetition. Loops that shift ever so slightly, creating the sensation of change, while keeping us suspended, drifting, in a state of dreamlike suspension. Maybe one of our favorite "techno" records ever. Fans of Gas and the more rhythmic end of the Pop Ambient spectrum NEED this. As might the more daring dronesters amongst you...
MPEG Stream: "Lark"
MPEG Stream: "Hiatus"

album cover FLUXION Vibrant Forms (Type) 2lp 28.00
YAY, AT LAST REISSUED! An old Chain Reaction fave (that goes for $$$ on the internet), now back in print on both cd and vinyl via the discerning music lovers at Type. Here's our rave review of this essential from way back when (2006)...
We've been accused of being house music haters. And there's some truth to that. But is one certain obtuse branch of the house music family tree that had us the second we laid ears on it. A while back, the Chain Reaction label introduced a super stripped down, minimal house music, that was quickly dubbed "heroin house", for it's murky druggy laid back feel. It was like hearing house music through a drug induced haze. Or hearing the sound of throbbing four on the floor dance music seeping through the floor of your apartment from the late night dance club below. A super minimal throb. just a pulse really, a completely hypnotic, barely there rhythm, that just shifts and shimmers and works its way into your head, into your chest, into your soul. Hard to imagine people dancing to this music. It's a little like chillout music, but way more rigid and rhythmic. It sounds a little like the music that was created for those 3 or 4 people still on their feet, after a night of serious imbibing, who are unwilling to stop dancing, but can't muster anything more than a druggy shuffle, or a barely visible shimmy. Playing on and on and on until the final one drops. For those of us who don't dabble in either drugs OR dancing, this music fulfills a function much like drone music, in fact, it is a sort of drone music, the beats and throbs and pulses are like a segmented drone, a completely hypnotic static sound that carries us into oblivion.
Fluxion's Vibrant Forms just might be our favorite of the Chain Reaction bunch, the most skeletal, the most monochrome, the most everything minimal, it's like techno music composed by Steve Reich. Slowly shifting subtleties and barely drifting overtones, over a framework of repetition. Loops that shift ever so slightly, creating the sensation of change, while keeping us suspended, drifting, in a state of dreamlike suspension. Maybe one of our favorite "techno" records ever. Fans of Gas and the more rhythmic end of the Pop Ambient spectrum NEED this. As might the more daring dronesters amongst you...
MPEG Stream: "Lark"
MPEG Stream: "Hiatus"

album cover PORTER, ROLY Life Cycle Of A Massive Star (Subtext Recordings) cd 17.98
Life Cycle Of A Massive Star is a pretty ambitious title for a record from post-dubstep beat junkie, but if Roly Porter's last record, Aftertime, which we made a Record Of The Week, was any indication, a lot has changed since Porter's time in the dubstep duo Vex'd. Not that we didn't love Vex'd, we definitely did, their brand of dubstep was way out on the fringe, dark and dour, warped and skeletal, washed out and hazy, but none of this is to imply that Porter's post Vex'd output would in anyway be classified as dubstep, BUT some of the soundscapery that made Vex'd so interesting is definitely in full effect, even more so on this new one.
Aftertime was a sprawling experimental epic, more sound design than anything, abstract and ambient, like the score to some mysterious abstract art film, reminding us of another aQ fave, Ben Frost, and like Frost's albums, it was most definitely a record that had us wondering why this guy was not in Hollywood, crafting music for big budget sci-fi blockbusters and twisted art house flicks. So we were actually expecting more of the same, but Life Cycle Of A Massive Star threw us for a loop, the opener "Cloud" does actually sound like a Vex'd jam, a pulsing, pulsating Field like melodic stutter/loop, with some clipped vocal fragments, you can almost imagine the drop coming at any time, a barrage of rib cage rattling bass wobble, and percussive machine gun stutter, but it never does, instead, it locks into a super hypnotic cycle, that has a bit of a kosmische vibe, a sort of synth-age mesmer, but the main pulsating melody is surrounded by dark swirls of keening minor key shimmer, giving the whole thing a super tense, and intense vibe, at least until the last couple minutes, when the loop peels back, revealing an ominous, majestic symphonic score, that could have been lurking below the surface the whole time. And even then, slowly devolves into a creepy stretch of abstract ambience, and post industrial soundscapery.
The rest of the record tends toward the sound design of Aftertime, but with some of the newly revisited Vex'd audio of the past. Deep subsonic rumbles, buzzing Eastern melodies, groaning and creaking machine like clatter, clouds of crumbling static, soaring swirling strings, moaning cellos, operatic vocals, that track, sounds like a Vex'd opera, melancholic strings, deep dramatic vocals, peppered with little bursts of percussive skitter, and a 'beat' of sorts, that's more like the opening looped stutter, again a la the Field, but here, wed to the stately operatic majesty, the result is like some post modern electro-opera symphony, super ambitious, and absolutely epic. After a gorgeous track of hushed ambience, the final track gets seriously cinematic, opening with some ominous drones, some blurred barely there melodies, a little bit of orchestral shimmer, creepy chordal swells, distant clang and clatter, like the sounds of an abandoned space station, lovely and cosmic and subtly harrowing, a fantastic bit of sound design evoking images of being lost in space, trapped millions of light years from home, in a huge metal obelisk, floating in starless black, all complete with a gorgeously intense symphonic score.
MPEG Stream: "Cloud"
MPEG Stream: "Gravity"
MPEG Stream: "Birth"

album cover V/A Choubi Choubi! Folk & Pop Sounds from Iraq Vol. 2 (Sublime Frequencies) 2lp 29.00
Originally released way back in 2005, the first volume of Choubi Choubi, a collection of folk and pop music from Iraq, remains one of everybody's favorite Sublime Frequencies releases. And for good reason, besides the political implications of the music, made almost entirely during the reign of Saddam Hussein, which might have you envisioning the typical Middle Eastern story, of people forced to make music in secret, fearing for their lives, their livelihoods, but strangely, as we mentioned in our review of the first Choubi Choubi release, Hussein was in fact an avid supporter of the arts, and started cultural centers for both art and music throughout Iraq. Sadly, performers, artists and musicians who were not commercially successful, were deemed to be of a lower class, and the idea of Choubi, an Iraqi style of music that features rapid fire beats, buzzing oud melodies and wild fiddle playing, was considered by most to be a province of the seedier side of Iraq, dingy nightclubs, prostitutes, criminals, etc. In fact many female performers would wear masks to hide their identities. And while the music was encouraged by the government, music by its very nature is rebellious, so this music of the people had a power that made Choubi essentially the 'national dance of Iraq', and as the liner notes explain, even with Choubi's stigma and reputation, and parties and weddings, Choubi is the music of choice, with people whipping out their best Choubi moves.
The first Choubi Choubi comp has been out of print for a while now, so it's super exciting to have another volume to dig into. With the songs culled from the same era and time period, sonically, it's more of what we loved about the first one, wild, chaotic beats, flurries of percussion, super passionate vocals, dramatic and intense, lots of strings, the oud playing distorted and truly psychedelic, the recordings far out and lo-fi, in-the-red, the drums and rhythms slathered in cool primitive FX, reverb and delay, some of the tracks freaked out and energetic, others moody and minor key, some have an almost Bollywood vibe, others, are totally far out drum driven weirdness that reminds us of the twisted Indian soundtracks of Vijaya Anand, and still others sound almost liturgical, while others are distorted and buzzy and hypnotic, but really all of the tracks here incredible!
The story of the music and the musicians in Iraq at the time is super fascinating, and is gone into in more detail in the liner notes by Sublime Frequencies' Mark Gergis. As is the roots of Choubi, and what's gone on post Hussein, and post war in Iraq. Those extensive liner notes are accompanied by tons of awesome photos, as well as notes on each track, all on a super heavy full color gatefold sleeve.
MPEG Stream: "1"
MPEG Stream: "2"
MPEG Stream: "3"
MPEG Stream: "4"

album cover BOTANIST / PALACE OF WORMS Hanging Gardens Of Hell / Ode To Joy (The Flenser) lp 15.98
Our favorite local one man arboreal black metal band returns with a brief split to tide us over until the impending release of both V and VI, in the seemingly (and thankfully) unending barrage of material oozing up from the verdant realm. And like the last few Botanist releases, the tracks here find the sound drifting every further away from the black metal that, only barely, defined the sound of those recordings. Minus the vokills, the three tracks here are super melodic, a little bit blissy and shoegazey, and sound like some avant post rock you might find on Temporary Residence. Even with blast beats and a healthy heaping of buzz, the tracks here soar and chime, you can almost envision some wistful sad boy vox and suddenly, this is total teenage mixtape material, which is not a bad thing at all. And when the blacker elements are woven in, it becomes something truly strange and wonderful, and just further demonstrates, why the rest of the world, particularly the non metal portion, have been flipping out over this stuff.
Palace Of Worms on the other hand, is something all together more metallic and grim, their opening track a creepy doomy sprawl, all woozy minor key melodies, haunting ambience, the sound slowly building to something much more epic and majestic, a black buzz, but one that's muted and swaddled in swoonsome synths, giving the sound a sort of washed out and sun dappled quality, which makes it a good match for Botanist. But those moments of wispiness, are more than made up for by some more intense, growly, metallic black buzz, the sound deftly balance between the two, songs flitting from grinding downtuned churn, to synthy shimmer, to crystalline post-metal drift and back again.
Great great stuff from both bands, and some seriously awesome cover art to boot!
MPEG Stream: "Tillandsia"
MPEG Stream: "Ode To Joy (Hurrah, The End Draws Nigh)"

album cover FAR OUT FANGTOOTH Borrowed Time (Siltbreeze) lp 15.98
Yet another blast of FX heavy, gloomy, psych rock stomp and swagger from these Philly bruisers, and this time around they sound even more droned out and depressive, that whole gloom pop thing they dabbled in on the last record now pretty much defines their sound, and it totally works, and has them sounding like a way heavier, way druggier, and way more dirgey and distorted Crystal Stilts, which is most definitely a good thing. Sounding a bit like classic Aussie post punk via more modern heavy psych rock, these guys kick things off with "Bow Your Head", all swirling squalls of wah guitar, and tribal drum pound, the vocals a snarling yowl, hooks galore, buried in the mire, some cool harmony vocals, but for the most part, low slung and swaggery, noisy, swampy psych blooze of the highest order. Some of the other tracks get a bit krautrocky, but even then, the sound remains gloomy and gothy, dour and darkly depressive and woozily psychedelic, like the wasted zoner krautdrift of "Mother Nature Fetish", or the hazy, druggy dirge of "Beyond Your Bones". There's also plenty of garage rock crunch, not to mention some seriously wasted gothic post punk miserablism, a sound that has us imagining this band playing the Scream club in LA alongside Kommunity FK or the Abecedarians back in the day, in fact maybe our favorite track here "Admit It" is one of those, the perfect mix of old school post punk, and swirly psychedelic goth rock. So great! Includes a download code too...
MPEG Stream: "Admit It"
MPEG Stream: "Bow Your Head"
MPEG Stream: "Mother Nature Fetish"
MPEG Stream: "Beyond Your Bones"

album cover TEETH OF THE SEA Master (Rocket) lp 27.00
The first two records from this UK psychedelic space rock combo were primo examples of the current space/psych sound that we can't seem to get enough of - huge lumbering Hawkwind beholden sprawls of epic kosmische heaviness and tranced out kraut jams and blissful FX drenched atmospheric drifts. The band seemed to align themselves with the usual suspects: Carlton Melton, the Heads, White Hills, Mugstar, the Hills, etc. Those earlier Teeth Of The Sea records took that spaced out psychedelic sound and twisted it all up, adding near metallic heft in places, cheesy eighties soundtrack music, sci-fi electronics, swirling synths, raga like drones, heck even horns, so this new one came with lots of high expectations, but somehow, even as weird as those other records were, we weren't prepared for this.
After a weird bit of garbled vocals, the first proper track kicks in, with a pulsing, eighties sounding electro drum machine, then some percolating synths, reverbed percussion, weird electronics, processed horns, tinkling chime-like melodies, deep chordal drones, the band definitely dipping into the whole John Carpenter / Goblin sound, but making it totally their own. Immediately sounding like a WAY heavier version of our recent Record Of The Week from The Slasher Film Festival Strategy, and we were totally prepared for the whole record to unwind like some lost eighties soundtrack, but still in the first track, in come big, bombastic drums, some almost funky bass, the synths pulsing, a lumbering, loping cosmic soundtracky groove that's so good! All before the song EXPLODES into a wild, synth heavy, distorto guitar psych-prog blowout. Already worth the price of admission right there, and we're barely seven minutes in. Thankfully, it only gets cooler and weirder and WAY more far out.
Echo drenched horns are looped into a strange melodic cycle, sampled spoken vocals drift in and out, all over a skeletal electro groove, before the sound blossoms into some ultra creepy cinematic synthscapery, the synths buzzy and gristly, the vibe sinister and ominous, those looped, effected horns giving it a strange sort of almost Morricone gone Goblin vibe! From there, the sound devolves into a weird loose, super abstract almost-dub, reminding us of some old Adrian Sherwood record, via Muslimgauze or African Headcharge, but give a sort of heavy psych reworking, before in swoop swirling dizzying prog synth tangles and more spidery Morricone like guitars, the horns too, laying down a droned out brass backdrop, heady and hypnotic and really amazingly strange and original sounding. Pushing lots of our musical buttons, but turning those familiar sounds we love on their head.
At this point we're only halfway through, with the second part not letting up for a second, creepy atmospheric ambience, giving way to buzzing metallic crush, and blurred out slo-mo dooooom, laced with subtle synth and guitar filigree, shimmery outer space drift, ethereal and celestial that floats weightlessly, before some mariachi horns (!) bring it back to earth, gristly, grinding grey noise, and disembodied vocals, draped over a field of static, driven by buried pulsations, making for perhaps the most harrowing 2 minutes on the record, before launching into another psychedelic electro-dub excursion, all synth squelch and reverbed rhythms, which build to some seriously caustic crunch, before the record settles into the epic nearly 11 minute closer, a total eighties, soundtracky electro synth masterpiece, the perfect score for some lost horror art film, tribal rhythms, wheezing synths, tripped out vocodered vox, electronic beeps and trills, shimmery psych guitar, some driving propulsive grooves, and those horns, nearly driving the song at one point, and when matched to the grinding synth buzz, the swirling atmospheres, the fuzz guitar crunch, and the psych-kraut groove, make for something twisted and fantastically fucking far out. Masterful!
MPEG Stream: "Reaper"
MPEG Stream: "Black Strategy"
MPEG Stream: "Pleiades Underground / Inexorable Master"
MPEG Stream: "Responder"

album cover NECKS Open (Northern Spy) cd 14.98
The Necks might be our favorite jazz group, most of their records/performances being single hour long pieces, always a lush, patient, slow build, all texture and mood, super dynamic, but in a way most bands can't pull off, just bass drums and piano, their sound dense and dark, doleful and lovely. The last few Necks records have found this minimal band getting a little maximal, their slow build eventually erupting into something dense and driving and almost psychedelic, as if in response to that, Open finds the group and their most hushed and abstract, with the first few minutes featuring a field of tinkling chimes, spare pointillist piano, and only the occasional flurry of bass notes, spacious and mesmeric, as we usually find ourselves saying about these guys, we would have been happy if there was no slow build at all, and the whole record was just this glistening, glimmering sprawl of abstract free jazz drift.
But there is a method to their madness, and at about the eight minute mark, the song shifts dramatically, an electronic pulse, some simple hi-hat rhythms, the occasional bass drum, and nothing else, weirdly hypnotic and barely there, the sound soon joined by a buzzing hum, a snare crack here, some bass thrum there, the sound blossoming into a sprawl of subtle tribal drumming, and more shimmering chimes, soon the piano comes back in, and the song begins to take a more jazz-like shape, albeit one that's still quite free and abstract, the lilting piano melody offsetting the busy drumming, the sound shifting again soon after, with a snare roll that sounds almost like radio static, the bass and low notes on the piano unfurling a dense rumble, those chimes tying everything together again, before settling into something much more tranquil and serene, only to return to that strange electronic pulse / hi-hat section, which slips from jazzy shimmer, to abstract free form almost-psychedelia, the snare locked into another roll, adding a buzzy thrum, the sound finally settling into some hushed, laid back jazziness, wreathed in a dreamy droned out shimmer, gradually fading to silence.
Recommended, as always!
MPEG Stream: "Open (excerpt 1)"
MPEG Stream: "Open (excerpt 2)"

album cover EVIL DEAD (ROQUE BANOS) OST (Unseen Forces) 2lp 40.00
At first the super striking cover art had us thinking this was in fact the original Evil Dead soundtrack, just given a modern makeover and re-released on one of the many horror movie soundtrack vinyl labels that have been popping up (Death Waltz, Waxwork, etc.). A closer look though revealed that this was in fact, music from the 2013 REMAKE of Evil Dead, and while we're not big fans of the remake, especially when it's a movie as iconic as Evil Dead, we have to say, over the last few years, some horror movie remakes have actually been pretty great. The new My Bloody Valentine was legitimately great, as was the recent remake of the slasher/exploitation classic Maniac. We dug the Hills Have Eyes remake too. Hell even the first half of Rob Zombie's Halloween remake was pretty cool (focusing on the childhood of Michael Myers), but even with all that, we LOVE the original Evil Dead, and as open as we are to remakes, Evil Dead did seem sort of sacrosanct. The movie itself is a whole different beast, VERY modern, and seriously scary, and WAY violent, the vibe though is totally different, sure it's kids in a cabin, and there's a book, and people get possessed, but otherwise, it really could have been called anything, it's not like that cabin in the woods trope is super original at this point. But still, from a pure horror movie perspective, it was pretty good, and the soundtrack/score, was AMAZING. Some seriously harrowing sound design for sure, that at times reminded us of Ben Frost, or even Roly Porter. It had us imagining that this is what might have happened if those guys were given a HUGE budget, and a full orchestra, and a seriously gore soaked movie to score.
The sound is modern for sure, but it's pretty epic, and really scary, some of the arrangements are super twisted, some are obvious cues, but others are just plain weird, there are operatic vocals, soaring female, and chanted male, symphonic blasts, lost of brooding hushed passages, plaintive piano, the tracks are super dynamic, lots of scary strings, tons of drones, and deep rumbling low end, lots of jump scare style symphonic stabs, pounding percussion, much of the soundtrack sounds like updated black ambient / industrial music, the bits with vocals sound like the scariest neo-folk you've never heard, much of this sounds like a totally terrifying opera, some bits are haunting and delicate, but much of this is just super intense and even removed from the visuals, induces a seriously intense sense of utter dread and desolation. And of course horror.
The vinyl is super deluxe, and thus pretty pricey, an ultra striking full color heavy gatefold sleeve, obviously designed to sit next to your Death Waltz / Mondo / Waxwork releases (it's a co-release with Death Waltz in fact, for overseas), the cd though is in a regular jewel case.
MPEG Stream: "I'll Rip Your Soul Out"
MPEG Stream: "Sad Memories"
MPEG Stream: "Don't Say It, Don't Write It, Don't Hear It"

album cover TAR 1988-1995 (Chunklet) 2lp 31.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
For those of us who came of musical age in the nineties, especially lots of you avid aQ list readers, odds are you were way into noise rock, labels like Amphetamine Reptile, Touch And Go, Homestead, and bands like Jesus Lizard, Chokebore, Unsane, Vertigo, Lubricated Goat, the God Bullies, godheadSilo, Hammerhead, Jawbox, Killdozer, Arcwelder, Janitor Joe, King Snake Roost, we could go on and on, but if that either looks like your record collection back in the day, or reads like a current iTunes playlist, odds are you're also probably familiar with Tar. Tar were a band from Chicago, who existed from about 1988 until 1995, and not only made some amazing records, but also released some of the most kick ass singles of that era. And for some reason, never hit it big like some of those other groups. Like another favorite of ours, Arcwelder, Tar toured like madmen, made record after record, and while attaining a pretty decent cult following, remained pretty solidly underground.
So in swoops Henry at Chunklet, to wake folks the fuck up to what they may have, and most likely DID, miss back in the day. And like it says in the liner notes, and as mentioned above, as great as Tar albums were, their best songs seemed to end up on singles, which makes this singles collection arguably the best Tar record there is, which is saying something for sure.
The sound will no doubt be familiar to fans of all the above mentioned bands and labels, the feeding back, wildly distorted guitars, the tight muscly drumming, the yowled vox, indie rock infused with some serious punkiness and noisiness, thick jagged riffs wrapped in sinewy basslines, some tracks crazy catchy, like a pop song in noise rock's clothing, others obtuse and aggressive and fierce and fucked up. Lots of mathy tension, post rock sprawl, these guys were so goddamn good, and listening to this chronologically, it's crazy how they transformed from a feral noise rock beast, into seriously killer songwriters. Just listen to the clips below. We made sample of our favorites, but even those were tough to pick, cuz pretty much every song here KILLS. And that AC/DC cover is a doozy!
The packaging is of course over the top, colored vinyl, with a huge 12"x12" booklet with tons of liner notes, lots of famous folks you know reminiscing on how great Tar were, notes on each track, and each single, lots of rare photos, a ticket stub and more. Also includes a download code for the record proper AND for a bonus collection of rare live tracks. Absolutely and totally essential!!!
MPEG Stream: "Play To Win"
MPEG Stream: "Mel's"
MPEG Stream: "Static"
MPEG Stream: "Teetering"
MPEG Stream: "The In Crowd"
MPEG Stream: "Hell's Bells"

album cover THEOLOGIAN Some Things Have To Be Endured (Crucial Blast) cd 13.98
"Some things have to be endured, and that makes the pleasures so much sweeter!" So spoke the villainous Frank Cotton in Clive Barker's first Hellraiser movie. It is interesting to think back, and realize that Coil had their proposed soundtrack to that same movie rejected with some citing that Coil's themes were 'too frightening' or (more likely) 'not commercial enough' for a major studio motion picture. Anyone with ears who has listened to Coil's unreleased themes to Hellraiser will not find anything frightening or scary at all. In fact, Coil was quite reverential to somebody like David Shire, especially with his minimalist and maudlin score for The Conversation, with Coil composing everything on the Fairlight synthesizer, which itself had a distinct sound but one that didn't fall in line with the Goblin / Carpenter axis. Had Coil turned in to the film studio something like what they produced on their grand statement to the apocalypse in Horse Rotovator, it might have sounded close to where Theologian ended up on this death-synth industrial opus.
Here, Theologian - the project of a cold-hearted character simply given the name Leech - has employed the talents of a host of female vocalists from the darkwave and noise underground. The conceit has a similar feel to Lustmord's recent album The Word As Power; and thankfully, both albums transcend any notion of female tokenism. Furthermore, both albums do not suck. Far from it for Theologian; as this album triumphantly extends the M83-produces-Swans analogy that we posited regarding the 2012 epic The Chasms Of My Heart album. After a garbled, witchy cackle that introduces the album's first track "Black Cavern Myopia," Leech uncorks a dark-minded, power techno rhythm, crunched through distortion, echo and sinister atmospheres featuring the deep-in-the-catacomb vocalizations of Hecate's Rachael Kozak. A more familiar militantly bashed rhythm keeps with a Swans-styled corporal beatdown on "The Conjoined Deviant Procession" with the monotone chanting delivered by Kristen from Sewer Election. The vocals never really come to the foreground throughout the album, instead they swirl and commingle amidst the metalgaze hiss, powerdrone murk, and audio sickness from Leech's decomposing productions. Even when he employs the talents of opera singer Melissa Kelly (the only vocalist not hailing from noise culture), her voice is cacooned in billowing reverb as it flutters throughout the ghastly synth melodies and blackened industrially crushed doom plod on "Ectothermism." Aside from Sewer Election and Hecate, we've not encountered any of the other vocalists, but their legion is Rachel Maloney (Tonikom), Nikki Telladictorian (Prometheus Burning), Patricia Benitez (Fetish Drone), Gillian Leigh Bowling (Teloahqaal), Christiana Key (Delphic Oracle), Joan Hacker (Factoria), and Shari Vari (Void Vision). Leech has crafted monstrous, ghastly album of lurching rhythms and totally downer melodies - think the Cure's Pornography remixed by Vatican Shadow. So good!
MPEG Stream: "Black Cavern Myopia"
MPEG Stream: "The Conjoined Deviant Procession"
MPEG Stream: "Gore-Stained Ramparts"
MPEG Stream: "Ectothermism"

album cover DEUTROM, MARK Ruckus Juice (Rock Is Hell) lp 17.98
Mark Deutrom might be best know for (previously) playing bass in the Melvins, but as longtime readers of the aQ list can attest to, his solo records are pretty goddamn great, and weird, and heavy, and freaking cool. And this new one is no different. A brief three song 12", the title track of which is the soundtrack to a totally eye popping video, check it out here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r22d9BxVV_8
And it's not just the visuals that are amazing, the music more than lives up to the crazy video, a wild, mathed out, prog-metal, noise rock jam, that's bombastic and crazy catchy, freaked out and super psychedelic, an instrumental blowout, that we played like 5 times in a row, and would have probably played more had we not wanted to check out the other two jams here, both of which, equally awesomely mathy and metallic, progged out, intricate, super dynamic, catchy like crazy, wild and weird, and really really good. It's a wonder more folks aren't hip to this guy and his solo records. It's short, but totally worth it. Killer cover art too, with artwork from the Ruckus Juice video. LIMITED TO 207 COPIES, each cover hand silkscreened!
MPEG Stream: "Ruckus Juice"
MPEG Stream: "Bo Diddley"

album cover MERKSTAVE s/t (Pesanta Urfolk) lp 16.98
Some of us were lucky enough to go to the Stella Natura festival recently, and one of the bands we were most excited to see was Hell. Longtime readers of the aQ list no doubt remember reading reviews of the first two Hell lps, both oozing blackened ultra-doom, and live, they were awesome, especially the drummer's backwards-pig vocals, but then a strange thing happened, a Hell related band ended up stealing the show. This band in fact, Merkstave, who take the already depressive doom of Hell, even further into the ether, self described ' cosmic funerary drone', Merkstave deliver three epic cosmic crawls on this, their debut lp, which finds the band reworking some tracks from earlier and impossible to find demos. And their sound on record, like live, is stunning, achingly mournful, the first few minutes of the two part nearly 30 minute epic "Lament For Lost Gods", is a woozy sprawl of slowcore creep, lots of space, the notes suspended in air, the drums minimal, the whole sound delicate and tenebrous, even when the heaviness kicks in, somehow the sound remains spare and spaced out, the guitars distorted and crumbly, brittle and blackened, the vocals, a monstrous bellow, the notes ringing out, the sound at times almost choral, especially when the clean vocals join the grim vokills, reminding us a bit of Bell Witch, the same sort of heaviness meets slowcore beauty. Although Merkstave's sound is by far more grim and abstract, depressive and harrowingly haunting. Then suddenly, about 10 minutes in, the song explodes into full on black metal blast and buzz, the vocals transformed into a super dramatic shriek, the sound blurred and blackened, a smeary expanse of furious churning heaviness, before slowing down again and slipping into some tarpit ultra doooooom sludge, the vokills shrieked, the drums flitting from caveman plod, to weird motorik pound. The second movement/part opens up with more clean guitars, draped over simple rhythmic drum pound, the vibe her more trad doom, super melodic, epic and majestic, before transforming again into a churning, chugging classic metal workout, replete with pinch harmonics, and some seriously murky riffage. The final track is a dense sprawl of crumbling doom / sludge that oozes ominously, and is laced with some soaring melodic guitars, the sound almost psychedelic, with the occasional clean part, super melodic interludes interspersed between the downtuned doomic bombast, and then finally, a haunting piano outro. The cool thing about Merkstave is the sound versus the sound, as in they've crafted this majestic, uber epic ultra doom, but the recording is really raw and low fidelity, the guitars brittle, it's an idiosyncratic heaviness that perfectly suits the bands strange sonic brew.
As with all Pesanta Urfolk releases, the packaging is stellar, heavy vinyl, full color heavy sleeves, the whole record mastered, produced and recorded completely analog. And who knows, probably pretty limited too...
MPEG Stream: "Lament For Lost Gods Part 1"
MPEG Stream: "Spawn Of A Lower Star"

album cover WIDOWSPEAK Swamps (Captured Tracks) cd ep 12.98
ALSO ON COMPACT DISC...
Sometimes the true test of a record, is how many times you can listen to it in a row, and the first time we threw on the new ep from East Coast dream folk duo Widowspeak, we ended up laying it nonstop for at least an hour. Every time it ended, all we wanted to do was start it over again. Like the Almanac full length before it, The Swamps, is dark and lush and luxurious, the opener, dirgey and swampy, stripped down and wreathed in weird FX and field recordings, but after that, it's back to that fuzzy, dreamy, drifty sound that has us so in love with Almanac. The vocals breath and ethereal, floating above acoustic guitars, minimal percussion, and soft swirls of gauze-y ambience. Hooks galore too, and impossibly lovely vocal harmonies. The slower tracks are definitely reminiscent of Mazzy Star, check out "Calico", all wasted and woozy, and darkly dreamy, a strummy, sun dappled dream-folk dirge. The rest of the ep splits the difference between jangly pop, and more laid back dirge-folk, culminating in the closing title track, which is a haunting backwoods ballad, lush and layered, the music a softly swirling, elegantly strummed backdrop for those angelic vocals. Dreamy. And we're gonna listen to the whole thing, again, right, NOW...
MPEG Stream: "Theme From The Swamps"
MPEG Stream: "Smoke And Mirrors"
MPEG Stream: "Calico"

album cover WIDOWSPEAK Swamps (Captured Tracks) lp 17.98
Sometimes the true test of a record, is how many times you can listen to it in a row, and the first time we threw on the new EP from East Coast dream folk duo Widowspeak, we ended up playing it nonstop for at least an hour. Every time it ended, all we wanted to do was start it over again. Like the Almanac full length before it, The Swamps, is dark and lush and luxurious, the opener, dirgey and swampy, stripped down and wreathed in weird FX and field recordings, but after that, it's back to that fuzzy, dreamy, drifty sound that has us so in love with Almanac. The vocals breath and ethereal, floating above acoustic guitars, minimal percussion, and soft swirls of gauze-y ambience. Hooks galore too, and impossibly lovely vocal harmonies. The slower tracks are definitely reminiscent of Mazzy Star, check out "Calico", all wasted and woozy, and darkly dreamy, a strummy, sun dappled dream-folk dirge. The rest of the ep splits the difference between jangly pop, and more laid back dirge-folk, culminating in the closing title track, which is a haunting backwoods ballad, lush and layered, the music a softly swirling, elegantly strummed backdrop for those angelic vocals. Dreamy. And we're gonna listen to the whole thing, again, right, NOW...
MPEG Stream: "Theme From The Swamps"
MPEG Stream: "Smoke And Mirrors"
MPEG Stream: "Calico"

album cover BODY, THE Christs, Redeemers (Thrill Jockey) 2lp 22.00
The Body return with another sprawling epic of avant experimental doom, after having recently relocated from Rhode Island to the Pacific Northwest. While their last release, a sort of stopgap ep called Master, We Perish, found the band mostly ditching all the experimentalism of their debut, All The Waters Of The Earth Turned To Blood, instead offering up something much closer to actually seeing these guys live, as in pure, physical brutality, blown out ultra doom-noise crush. But here, the band continue to push the boundaries of doom, their Assembly Of Light Choir in tow, for a record that is the perfect follow up to All The Waters. Just check out the opener, and you'll be sold. After a brief ambient intro, "To Attempt Openness" unfurls a bit of hazy static, before in come the drums, the churning riffage, and the choir, all blurred into something strangely hymn-like, as if it were the music for some bizarre religious sect, a twisted pagan offshoot of some strange arcane faith, the music blurry and blackened, laced with all manner of noise, industrial buzz and caustic whir, buried melodies, constantly shifting textures, super dynamic, noisy and off kilter, the guitars dropping out at one point, leaving just shrieked vox way back in the mix, and pummeling drum pound over a field of glitch and gristle, before eventually devolving into full on noise.
And of course it doesn't end there, nor does it get any more typically doomy. "Melt Away" drapes samples over lumbering tribal drumming and glimmering shimmer, haunting and ambient, and even when the doom drops, it again is more sort of spectral and chorale-like, the choir way better integrated on this record, less singing intros and outros and now woven into the Body's blackened sonic fabric, the song unwinding as a harrowing dirge. "An Altar Or A Grave" introduces strings, transforming the song into a strange chamber music slow core crawl, that's as lovely and melancholic as it is downtuned and brutal, the sound lurching back and forth between shrieking ultra-doom and that chamber sludge loveliness.
The songs are WAY shorter this time around too, allowing the band to flit from sound to sound, a 3 minute blast of face melting sludge gives way to some female vocal driven blackened ambience, churning feedback drenched industrial doom lumber collides with ultra slow doom-drone-drift dreaminess, all ethereal vox and processed drums, electronics and rumbling whirring synths, fields of hushes static give way to churning psychedelic kraut-doom creep, until finally, "Bearer Of Bad Tidings", one of the two longest songs here at about seven minutes, closes things out with a field of tangled guitar noise, that explodes into a full on blast beat, everything distorted to the point of structural failure, grinding, blown out psych-doom-noise, that splinters into some seriously avant, out there, electro-doom, black noise dirgery, reminding us of Bastard Noise or aQ faves Geronimo. Some seriously next level doooooooooom that we are digging like crazy.
MPEG Stream: "To Attempt Openness"
MPEG Stream: "Melt Away"
MPEG Stream: "An Altar Or A Grave"

album cover UN FESTIN SAGITAL Deimos (Black Horizons) cassette 8.98
This Chilean band holds the distinction of being the first band to get an Aquarius CASSETTE Of The Week award. Their Bestias Solares tape on Black Horizons so blew everyone here away, we couldn't not make it thus. And we later reviewed their double cd on Beta-Lactam Ring too, both of those records displaying this strange group's sound, a sound which found us describing the group, not at all succinctly, as an "occult prog-metal / angular post-punk / psychedelic free noise / black ambient orchestra". That's a pretty crazy and over the top description, but the this is a pretty crazy, over the top outfit, and we're happy to report, that they haven't gotten any less crazy this time around, in fact, to these ears, they keep getting weirder and weirder. The brief opener is all chanted monk-like vocal harmonies wrapped in warped, woozy electronics, hand-clappy drum machines, witchy female vocals, garbled speaking in tongues, strange FX, and while you might think it was just a weird intro, the next song continues down into the sonic rabbit hole, murky bass squelch, a pulsing almost techno beat, more swirling electronics, grunted demonic vocals, accompanying atonal piano pound, that piano exploding into wild psychedelic squiggles, while the rest of the track sounds submerged in fields of static, the result is a sort of warped, woozy, blackened, electro avant techno chamber music? Or something. It's sort of gothic, definitely freaky and fucked up, sort of electronic, whatever it is, we dig it, a LOT!
The third track is a creaking, crumbling drone, that sounds like it could be some lost Nurse With Wound outtake, all deep dirge-y tectonic thrum, sounds like recordings of motorcycles or moaning docks, blurred into dense sonic swells, shot through with distant minor key melodies, dark and meditative, and a bit haunting as well. And finally, things finish off with another brief blast of WTF weirdness, deep drone-y thrum, under spacey synths, plucked pizzicato melodies, swirling wind like whirs, bizarre glitchy percussion, and near the end, primitive drum machine, and glimmering fields of sci-fi planetarium show electronics. So twisted. And so good.
And like all Black Horzions tapes, super fancy packaging, four panel J-card, offset silver printing on bronze metallic paper, purple tapes, LIMITED TO 100 COPIES!!
MPEG Stream: "Terror Deluviano"
MPEG Stream: "La Ofrenda Danzante Del Cuerpo Enamorado"

album cover STRANGER, THE (LEYLAND KIRBY) Watching Dead Empires in Decay (Modern Love) cd 19.98
Over the last few years, we, and most readers of the aQ list have become a bit obsessed with the Caretaker, as well as the man behind the curtain, Leyland James Kirby, who as the Caretaker, and also nder his own name, has created a body of work at once moody and mysterious, murky and out of time, a series of releases that sound like the musical version of faded photographs, old 78's spinning in ghostly parlors, that ethereal, ephemeral sound a glimpse into some lost era, or some alternate otherworld, needless to say, pretty much everyone at aQ is utterly smitten. Apparently, The Stranger is yet another moniker Kirby has employed in the past, although this is our first exposure to him as The Stranger, and maybe not surprisingly, this iteration of Kirby's The Stranger has ended up on Modern Love, home to lots of other aQ faves, including most notably perhaps Demdike Stare and Andy Stott. Which makes sense considering the sound of The Stranger, which seems to be a darkly minimal, hushed and hauntological, slo-mo electronic creep, positioning itself somewhere between the skeletal electronic minimalism of Stott, and the ritualistic psychedelic hauntology of Demdike Stare. With plenty of Kirby's washed out, faded sound, buried melody mystery lurking just below the surface. And really, below the surface is where most everything is going on here. The sound is extremely minimal, hushed and at times barely there, a few cursory listens in the store, has us thinking this was a bit boring, like nothing was going on, barring some hissy static, and buried rhythms, with all of the tracks bleeding into a single monochromatic whole. But what a difference some headphones make, and we do recommend headphone listening for this, cuz once the volume is cranked, and the rest of the world is shut out, The Stranger reveals itself as something warped and wonderful, some twisted deep listening, heavy on the rhythm and texture, in fact, it's essentially a deftly crafted landscape of slow shifting rhythms and textures, straddling some sort of avant ultra-minimal techno, and something much more atmospheric, the 'beats' are barely there, often fragmented shards of percussion, buried pulsations, clouds of static that just seem to have haphazardly formed sort-of-rhythms, on some tracks they do drive the proceedings, but on others, they simply bleed into the background, with a few tracks sounding like pure ambient field recordings of subterranean pipe fights, "We Scarcely See Sunlight" sounds like Kirby recording himself in the sewers, playing the iron ladders, creating primitive rhythms from metal on metal, while all around him the sounds of the city filtered from above add deep moans and distant rumbles, while "Spiral Of Decline", sounds almost like the gothic industrial of Vatican Shadow, albeit with Kirby's strange idiosyncratic sound design (the cool main rhythmic component that sounds like marbles rolling around in a plastic tube!).
"Providence Or Fate" comes about as close to the Caretaker as anything here, with it's crackle wreathed orchestral shimmers, the faded melodies and washed out ambience, the whole thing hushed and darkly lovely, reminding us of Tim Hecker and Philip Jeck as well, but here those dreamy swatch of sound are tethered to a primitive tribal rhythm. And so it goes, from clattery crunch to blurred thrum, tinkling chimes wreathed in rainfall like static, to glitchy avant drone dub minimalism, barely there downtempo slowcore electro drift, to groaning gothic dirge.
As always, super striking Modern Love packaging, the cd in an oversized multi-panel sleeve, both the cd and lp adorned with mysterious, dripping, grey scale images of an old abandoned building.
MPEG Stream: "We Are Enemies But Not Here"
MPEG Stream: "So Pale It Shone In The Night"
MPEG Stream: "Spiral Of Decline"
MPEG Stream: "We Scarcely See Sunlight"
MPEG Stream: "Providence Or Fate"

album cover ARTEMIEV, EDUARD Solaris (Superior Viaduct) lp 23.00
We are so excited to see this incredible score to one of our all time favorite films finally issued on vinyl. Long unavailable in any format, the electronic scores that Eduard Artemiev created for Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky's fantastic and meditative seventies sci-fi films Solaris, Mirror and Stalker are some of the most incredibly moving and brooding soundtracks we have ever heard. So much so, that the movies would not have had such a deep emotional impact without them. This original 1972 Solaris score (not to be confused with the later eighties re-recording, also being reissued on another label) in particular is eerily contemplative, full of chilling electro-acoustic drones, romantic Bach organ fugues and dreamily ponderous passages wrought with field recordings, gongs, and ghostly choruses, that are both beautiful and terrifying in equal measure.
Solaris can be seen as the Eastern European counterpart to Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, as both films are meditative existential ruminations on the metaphysical schism that divides human and alien understanding. Based on Stanislaw Lem's 1961 novel, the film centers on a space psychologist Kris Kelvin who is sent to investigate the mysteriously stalled progress of a space expedition sent from Earth to study the strange planet Solaris. When he arrives, he finds the three person crew oddly isolated from each other and the station in disarray. The mystery deepens when he awakens the following morning and sees his late wife (who killed herself years ago) asleep beside him. It seems that the planet Solaris is actually a sentient life-form that is using the passengers' past memories as a means of communicating with them. However, not understanding what consequences may come about when confronted with uncanny manifestations of painful memories from the past, the planet's attempt at making contact with the expedition causes the crew to become emotionally dysfunctional and self-destructive. In Tarkovsky's multi-layered narrative, no amount of space travel can separate us far enough from the past that continually haunts us.
In 17 movements, Artemiev's score is centered on Bach's "Choral Prelude for Organ in F Minor" as a recurring theme. The mix of classical and electro-acoustic music underlies the visual set design of the space station which also features oddly enough, reproductions of Old Master paintings, in particular the 16th century series "The Months" by Pieter Bruegel The Elder. The confluence of past and future motifs in the film as well as the score is startling effective allowing for an uneasy ruminative moodiness on the nature of time. The frigid electronic passages give voice to an oceanic planetary presence that is absolutely awe-inspiring beset in harrowing timbres that calm and intensify in subtle slow-moving waves. Only Tarkovsky can make windy wild meadows, foggy woods and tumultuous oceans feel so unfamiliar and freakishly alien. The second side opens up to more dreamier and stranger sonic passages, including a theme based on Kelvin's dead wife Hari that is beautifully haunting with a short choir interlude. From there, that leads into a snippet of Russian folk-song, and field recordings of birds, dogs, voices and gongs, with eventually both the Bach organ pieces and the cavernous electronics intermixing more and more intensely together with epic results.
Comes beautifully packaged with 3 variant covers featuring different film stills (sorry, we can't guarantee which one you will get!), and a full color booket of static shots from the film. Another win for the increasingly amazing Superior Viaduct label. Essential!
MPEG Stream: "Movement 3"
MPEG Stream: "Movement 9"
MPEG Stream: "Movement 16"

album cover BUTTHOLE SURFERS Hairway To Steven (Latino Bugger Veil) lp 15.98
Few bands have managed as perfect an opening career salvo as Texas drug addled psychedelic noise rock weirdos the Butthole Surfers. Sure lots of bands have pulled off a perfect debut. And of those, a handful somehow avoided the sophomore slump, and even then, a few managed to make a third record as good as the first two, but by record four, we're talking a very select few, a handful of pantheon worthy bands, who made four records in a row, each one as good, if not better than the last, one of those rare bands would indeed be the Butthole Surfers. Their first four records are pretty much untouchable, their 1984 debut, Psychic... Powerless... Another Man's Sac, 1986's Rembrandt Pussyhorse, Locust Abortion Technician from 1987, and finally 1988's Hairway To Steven. Each a very different, very dementedly fucked up beast, but each a stunning milestone in knuckle dragging outsider psychedelic drug rock, and all four, recently reissued on vinyl for the first time in ages.
All four of these records are essential, and hell, even if you already have all four, these are the kind of records that are worth buying again, and again, and again. And if you've somehow made it this far through life without damaging your brain with these cranium crushing sonic gems, now's the time to do some catching up and start eroding those brain cells (and destroying those ear drums)...
Hairway To Steven, was the group's last truly great record, and truly great it is, worth the price of admission alone for the opener "Jimi", which is totally one of the greatest songs of all time, thick, buzzy guitar, killer twisted psychedelic leads, garbled processed vocals, low in the beginning, than pitched way up later on, the sound woozy, and warped, oozing and melty, and tripped out and absolutely confusionally warped and warble, and Paul Leary's guitar playing is like a Texas drug rock burn out Hendrix, knuckle dragging guitar god nirvana, and it just goes on and on, and somehow it just gets weirder and weirder and weirder, and then suddenly, after a blast of lazer beam electronics, the song turns into a detuned blues jam, laced with bird song, and the sounds of goats and other barnyard animal, dogs barking, the song trippy and creepy and a weirdly haunting coda to the dirge rock crush of the first half. There's also the classic "I Saw An X-Ray Of A Girl Passing Gas", which sounds a little like R.E.M. after a bad batch of meth, meaning AMAZING, there's the stream of consciousness WTF weirdness of "John E. Smoke", with some of Gibby's best lyrics by far, not to mention the crowd sounds, and more of Leary's amazing guitar playing, and of course "Backass", another track that displays the band as maybe way more accomplished than they pretend not to be, a moody psychedelic dirge that's hypnotic and hauntingly lovely. And like the other Buttholes records, that's only the tip of the iceberg...
MPEG Stream: "Jimi"
MPEG Stream: "John E. Smoke"

album cover BUTTHOLE SURFERS Locust Abortion Technician (Latino Bugger Veil) lp 15.98
Few bands have managed as perfect an opening career salvo as Texas drug addled psychedelic noise rock weirdos the Butthole Surfers. Sure lots of bands have pulled off a perfect debut. And of those, a handful somehow avoided the sophomore slump, and even then, a few managed to make a third record as good as the first two, but by record four, we're talking a very select few, a handful of pantheon worthy bands, who made four records in a row, each one as good, if not better than the last, one of those rare bands would indeed be the Butthole Surfers. Their first four records are pretty much untouchable, their 1984 debut, Psychic... Powerless... Another Man's Sac, 1986's Rembrandt Pussyhorse, Locust Abortion Technician from 1987, and finally 1988's Hairway To Steven. Each a very different, very dementedly fucked up beast, but each a stunning milestone in knuckle dragging outsider psychedelic drug rock, and all four, recently reissued on vinyl for the first time in ages.
All four of these records are essential, and hell, even if you already have all four, these are the kind of records that are worth buying again, and again, and again. And if you've somehow made it this far through life without damaging your brain with these cranium crushing sonic gems, now's the time to do some catching up and start eroding those brain cells (and destroying those ear drums)...
This might be the most famous/infamous Surfers record there is, and a great place to start for newbies, it's definitely the weirdest, with the least proper 'songs' and the most warped sonic experiments, starting with the oft quoted opening intro, culminating in Gibby howling "SATAN SATAN SATAN…" before the band kick into their own damaged version of Sabbath's "Sweet Leaf", hear rechristened "Sweat Loaf", one of the group's finest moments for sure. Then we oughta skip ahead to "Human Cannonball", which is the Surfers at their poppiest, one of the catchiest jams in their arsenal, and were it by any other band would have been a massive hit, but here, it's just still to twisted and freaky and goddamn great. Then there's the truly terrifying "U.S.S.A", with some of the most intense and freaked out vocals ever, all over a weird bed of pulsing buzz, and balloon animal squeak, there's also "Kuntz", a pretty much straight up sample of some Southeast Asian folk song, with just the chorus manipulated to accentuate the unfortunate refrain, all twisted up and pitch shifted and somehow, it becomes crazy and confusionally catchy, and finally, there's "22 Going On 23", which takes a phone call to some sort of call in radio show, and sets it to some classic Buttholes dirgery, and transforms this poor woman's story into the 'lyrics', for one of the most haunting and harrowing songs in their catalog. And somehow between all these classics, there's still even more killer stuff...
MPEG Stream: "Sweat Loaf"
MPEG Stream: "U.S.S.A"
MPEG Stream: "Kuntz"

album cover BUTTHOLE SURFERS Psychic... Powerless... Another Man's Sac (Latino Bugger Veil) lp 15.98
Few bands have managed as perfect an opening career salvo as Texas drug addled psychedelic noise rock weirdos the Butthole Surfers. Sure lots of bands have pulled off a perfect debut. And of those, a handful somehow avoided the sophomore slump, and even then, a few managed to make a third record as good as the first two, but by record four, we're talking a very select few, a handful of pantheon worthy bands, who made four records in a row, each one as good, if not better than the last, one of those rare bands would indeed be the Butthole Surfers. Their first four records are pretty much untouchable, their 1984 debut, Psychic... Powerless... Another Man's Sac, 1986's Rembrandt Pussyhorse, Locust Abortion Technician from 1987, and finally 1988's Hairway To Steven. Each a very different, very dementedly fucked up beast, but each a stunning milestone in knuckle dragging outsider psychedelic drug rock, and all four, recently reissued on vinyl for the first time in ages.
All four of these records are essential, and hell, even if you already have all four, these are the kind of records that are worth buying again, and again, and again. And if you've somehow made it this far through life without damaging your brain with these cranium crushing sonic gems, now's the time to do some catching up and start eroding those brain cells (and destroying those ear drums)...
On one of the most perfect debuts EVER, "Concubine" starts things off with a detuned dirge, dueling tribal drumming, and Gibby's hysterical insane vocals, the sound loose, and unhinged, and weirdly crazy catchy. Which really describes most of Psychic, but other highlights include "Negro Observer", which might just be the catchiest Buttholes song ever, there's even some bleating sax, not to mention that main guitar part that is pretty much perfect. There's the old school punkiness of "Butthole Surfer", the stumbling, lumbering "Woly Boly", with its ridiculously demented vox, but then it gets really good. "Lady Sniff", is a lurching sound effects loaded psychedelic dirge, with Gibby doing his best raspy bluesman vocals, and did we mention those sound effects, pure genius. Then in rolls "Cherub", that's like the Buttholes doing krautrock, tranced out and motorik, and it goes on and on, every track here a WTF classic.
MPEG Stream: "Negro Observer"
MPEG Stream: "Concubine"
MPEG Stream: "Dum Dum"

album cover BUTTHOLE SURFERS Rembrandt Pussyhorse (Latino Bugger Veil) lp 15.98
Few bands have managed as perfect an opening career salvo as Texas drug addled psychedelic noise rock weirdos the Butthole Surfers. Sure lots of bands have pulled off a perfect debut. And of those, a handful somehow avoided the sophomore slump, and even then, a few managed to make a third record as good as the first two, but by record four, we're talking a very select few, a handful of pantheon worthy bands, who made four records in a row, each one as good, if not better than the last, one of those rare bands would indeed be the Butthole Surfers. Their first four records are pretty much untouchable, their 1984 debut, Psychic... Powerless... Another Man's Sac, 1986's Rembrandt Pussyhorse, Locust Abortion Technician from 1987, and finally 1988's Hairway To Steven. Each a very different, very dementedly fucked up beast, but each a stunning milestone in knuckle dragging outsider psychedelic drug rock, and all four, recently reissued on vinyl for the first time in ages.
All four of these records are essential, and hell, even if you already have all four, these are the kind of records that are worth buying again, and again, and again. And if you've somehow made it this far through life without damaging your brain with these cranium crushing sonic gems, now's the time to do some catching up and start eroding those brain cells (and destroying those ear drums)...
Rembrandt Pussyhorse found the Butthole's sound getting a little more polished, but no less demented, starting with "Creep In The Cellar", a haunting, malevolent tribal dirge, with some great lyrics, a wicked hook, and some wild, psychedelic fiddle playing that makes the song. And of course there's the Surfers version of the Guess Who's "American Woman", which has to be one of thee greatest covers EVER, the woozy guitar, the heavily effected drum pummel, the weirdo vocals, the whole thing is just fucking twisted, and yeah, totally genius, with some wicked blown out psych guitar courtesy of an unsung guitar hero, Paul Leary. It's hard to review any of these records without going through the whole thing song by song, cuz they're all so good. "Whirling Hall Of Knives", creepy and weirdly lovely, "Moving To Florida", perhaps the creepiest, grossest blues jam EVER, "Waiting For Jimmy To Kick", piano driven, sample heavy WTF creep out, "TP Parter", who knows what the fuck is going on, or why it's so good, but it is, as is every single song here.
MPEG Stream: "Creep In The Cellar"
MPEG Stream: "American Woman"

album cover NATURAL SNOW BUILDINGS Daughter Of Darkness (Ba Da Bing!) 6cd 34.00
In past reviews of other records from psych-folk duo Natural Snow Buildings, we often mentioned that theirs was a sound that would benefit being unrestrained by the restrictions of format, the sort of epic jams that could and likely should go on for ever and ever and ever. And while that's still likely not possible, this SIX cd set is about as close as we'll get. And as we predicted it totally suits their sprawling soundworld.
Originally released as an insanely limited five cassette set in 2009, Daughter Of Darkness has now been reissued on cd, still pretty limited, just 500 copies, but thankfully a chance for everybody who missed out the first time around (including us!) to get lost in these epic sonic drifts. And epic they are, no tracks shorter than 6 minutes, most closer to 20, or 30, a handful 40+, but again, these sorts of amorphous psychedelic drifts are meant to unfurl and unwind leisurely, lush, majestic slowburns, even from the very first track, the title track that opens up disc one, you'll immediately understand, a swoonsome, softly undulating, buzz drenched ur-drone, steel string shimmers over warm chordal swells, tangled melodies in the distance, shards of feedback, lots of overtones, a weirdly wonderful sound that manages to be both nearly static, a hazy tranced out drone, and yet in constant motion, slowly transforming and morphing before your very ears, lulling you in, and then wrapping its warm musical tendrils around you, until you're nearly totally enveloped, and believe us, you will have absolutely no desire to extricate yourself.
It would be difficult to describe the sound of NSB, or to go track-by-track with such a description, but imagine a warm, minimal, psychedelic folk, blurred and smeared into something more abstract, into hazy, gauzey drifts of dreamlike sound, a glancing listen reveals warm shimmers and softly kosmische drifts, but dig deeper, and let the various layers wash over you, peel back melodies, and textures, dig deep and get lost in a dense world of carefully constructed sound, a sound that seems to draw equally from seventies acid folk, and modern avant garde minimalism, from Eastern ragas, and experimental noise music. Each track a dizzying concoction of abstract vocals, of buzzing strings and buried melodies, of epic soaring string like majesty, and fuzzy riffy psychedelia, ritualistic and trance-like, abstract and melodic, moody and mesmeric, seven plus hours of utterly divine, deep listening drone-folk kraut-psych dreaminess.
LIMITED TO 500 COPIES. Includes two bonus tracks NOT on the vinyl version (which was mailorder-only direct from the label, sorry), each cd in a stickered sleeve, and all housed in a hand painted box, every one unique!!
MPEG Stream: "Daughter Of Darkness"
MPEG Stream: "Carnal Flowers"
MPEG Stream: "Santa Sangre Part 1"
MPEG Stream: "Will You Die For Me?"

album cover TEETH OF THE SEA Master (Rocket) cd 19.98
The first two records from this UK psychedelic space rock combo were primo examples of the current space/psych sound that we can't seem to get enough of - huge lumbering Hawkwind beholden sprawls of epic kosmische heaviness and tranced out kraut jams and blissful FX drenched atmospheric drifts. The band seemed to align themselves with the usual suspects: Carlton Melton, the Heads, White Hills, Mugstar, the Hills, etc. Those earlier Teeth Of The Sea records took that spaced out psychedelic sound and twisted it all up, adding near metallic heft in places, cheesy eighties soundtrack music, sci-fi electronics, swirling synths, raga like drones, heck even horns, so this new one came with lots of high expectations, but somehow, even as weird as those other records were, we weren't prepared for this.
After a weird bit of garbled vocals, the first proper track kicks in, with a pulsing, eighties sounding electro drum machine, then some percolating synths, reverbed percussion, weird electronics, processed horns, tinkling chime-like melodies, deep chordal drones, the band definitely dipping into the whole John Carpenter / Goblin sound, but making it totally their own. Immediately sounding like a WAY heavier version of our recent Record Of The Week from The Slasher Film Festival Strategy, and we were totally prepared for the whole record to unwind like some lost eighties soundtrack, but still in the first track, in come big, bombastic drums, some almost funky bass, the synths pulsing, a lumbering, loping cosmic soundtracky groove that's so good! All before the song EXPLODES into a wild, synth heavy, distorto guitar psych-prog blowout. Already worth the price of admission right there, and we're barely seven minutes in. Thankfully, it only gets cooler and weirder and WAY more far out.
Echo drenched horns are looped into a strange melodic cycle, sampled spoken vocals drift in and out, all over a skeletal electro groove, before the sound blossoms into some ultra creepy cinematic synthscapery, the synths buzzy and gristly, the vibe sinister and ominous, those looped, effected horns giving it a strange sort of almost Morricone gone Goblin vibe! From there, the sound devolves into a weird loose, super abstract almost-dub, reminding us of some old Adrian Sherwood record, via Muslimgauze or African Headcharge, but give a sort of heavy psych reworking, before in swoop swirling dizzying prog synth tangles and more spidery Morricone like guitars, the horns too, laying down a droned out brass backdrop, heady and hypnotic and really amazingly strange and original sounding. Pushing lots of our musical buttons, but turning those familiar sounds we love on their head.
At this point we're only halfway through, with the second part not letting up for a second, creepy atmospheric ambience, giving way to buzzing metallic crush, and blurred out slo-mo dooooom, laced with subtle synth and guitar filigree, shimmery outer space drift, ethereal and celestial that floats weightlessly, before some mariachi horns (!) bring it back to earth, gristly, grinding grey noise, and disembodied vocals, draped over a field of static, driven by buried pulsations, making for perhaps the most harrowing 2 minutes on the record, before launching into another psychedelic electro-dub excursion, all synth squelch and reverbed rhythms, which build to some seriously caustic crunch, before the record settles into the epic nearly 11 minute closer, a total eighties, soundtracky electro synth masterpiece, the perfect score for some lost horror art film, tribal rhythms, wheezing synths, tripped out vocodered vox, electronic beeps and trills, shimmery psych guitar, some driving propulsive grooves, and those horns, nearly driving the song at one point, and when matched to the grinding synth buzz, the swirling atmospheres, the fuzz guitar crunch, and the psych-kraut groove, make for something twisted and fantastically fucking far out. Masterful!
MPEG Stream: "Reaper"
MPEG Stream: "Black Strategy"
MPEG Stream: "Pleiades Underground / Inexorable Master"
MPEG Stream: "Responder"

album cover PHELPS, JOEL AND THE DOWNER TRIO Gala (12XU) lp 15.98
As much as we loved the late great Silkworm, and ALL their records, we'll always have a special place in our hearts for those first few, the ones that featured Joel Phelps, whose super distinctive vocals, aching and soaring, and dripping with pathos and emotion, made those first few Silkworm records like the most EMO indie rock records ever. And the fact that 3 of the 4 Silkworms sang, it made those records super diverse, and each of the vocalists had dramatically different voices, which made for wildly divergent sounds, and strange, but impossibly unique harmonies. That said, Phelps was always our favorite, and while we were heartbroken when he left Silkworm, he continued to make amazing records solo, in fact his 1995 debut, Warm Springs Night, might still rank as one of our all time favorite records EVER.
So now Phelps, with his longtime backing band the Downer Trio have returned with a brand new record after almost a decade, and it's so great to hear that voice again, still as strange and beautiful and emotional as ever, the music a perfect match for his heartfelt oddball delivery, a sort of woozy, bluesy indie rock, dynamic, noisy, space-y, with lots of space, the guitars distorted, beautifully gnarled, and when Phelps belts it out, it still gives us chills, the opener "Nashville Sound" manages to transport us back to 1995, but at the same time, manages to sound modern and kind of timeless, the arrangement, very reminiscent of classic Silkworm, but with Phelps stunning vox, transforming the already powerful, nuanced music into something truly next level.
It's really hard to be objective, Phelps is easily one of our favorite vocalists ever, the old 'he could sing the phone book' thing is totally cliched, but impossibly true when it comes to Phelps, it is an odd voice though, love it or hate it for sure, but if you end up loving it, which we're guessing lots of you will, it inspires the sort of love that borders on slavish devotion, and he's not just singing, all that strange guitar playing, that's Phelps too, who works his guitar like he does his vocals, nothing standard or even remotely traditional about it. Instead, Phelps and his Downer Trio have crafted yet another totally distinctive, and utterly unique collection of songs, that traffic in a strain of indie rock, that seems to be the exclusive domain of these guys, and nobody else, anywhere. So impossibly great...
MPEG Stream: "Nashville Sound"
MPEG Stream: "The Great Falls"
MPEG Stream: "So You've Decided"
MPEG Stream: "Blinding Light"

album cover MELT-BANANA Fetch (A-Zap Records) lp 14.98
NOW ON VINYL TOO!!!
We were looking back at our review of the last Melt-Banana record we reviewed, Initial T., which we listed way back in 2009, and yeah, it was just an ep, but even then we were bowled over by how these masters of grinding math pop / noise rock, continued to reinvent themselves and surprise us with every record. The surprise that time was a dramatic shift, into a sound more electronic, one that at the time we described as sounding like a sped up Deerhoof, or like Fuck Buttons. And goddamn if they haven't taken that sound and pushed it even further, transforming their sound, which was already insanely unique, and ridiculously difficult to describe, and literally unlike ANY other bands out there, into something even MORE. Just the first track alone should convince you, it's a total mind blower, a dizzying collision of a million different genres, and so many seemingly incompatible sounds, brilliantly woven into some total next level electro-metal-grind-pop weirdness, that manages to be both the weirdest thing we've heard from M-B, which is saying a LOT, and possibly also the catchiest! That track bears some in depth description, since it pretty much sets the template for the rest of the record. Opening with some glistening kosmische shimmer, some field recorded waves lapping on the beach, some swirling heavily effected guitars, those guitars gradually coalescing into some seriously crunchy riffage, laced with thick sinewy bass-lines, kick ass drumming, weird sound effects and wild FX, before splintering into insane mathiness, the song swinging wildly from indie rock groove, to mathy psychedelic tangle and back again, those super distinctive ultra high chirped vox, before the song breaks down, the guitars locked into digitized loops, peppered with blasts of metallic guitars, more swirling sci-fi FX, some wild double kick drumming, that drumming getting more frantic and chaotic, slipping into full on metal briefly, before launching into a final burst of mathy psychedelic noise pop. It's insanely complex, and impossibly dense, and how the fuck do they cram all that into just 4 minutes? No idea, but we LOVE it. And we won't say it gets weirder, or better, cuz that's not really possible, but it DOES stay that weird, and that good, which is a feat in itself, frenetic, hyper, chaotic, mathy, metallic, poppy, crazy catchy, confusionally fractured, some songs slipping into impossibly soaring epic electronic flecked majesty, others collapsing into dizzying grind-pop freakouts, still others getting all avant experimental WTF? Boredoms style noisiness, and even still others exploding in gouts of wild electro-punk jangle-metal weirdness. A few songs find dreamy guitar shred devolving into long stretches of field recordings, or blossoming into super melodic pop experimental video game krautpop, what a fucking amazing and totally weird record! After all these years, Melt-Banana continue to confound, confuse, inspire, freak out, inspire and blow us the fuck away. Every M-B record is so good, it's hard to proclaim this as their best yet, but you be the judge, cuz, really, we're beginning to think it most definitely is. So totally and absolutely recommended!
MPEG Stream: "Candy Gun"
MPEG Stream: "The Hive"
MPEG Stream: "Infection Defective"
MPEG Stream: "Then Red Eyed"

album cover SSLEEPERHOLD Ruleth (Holodeck) lp 24.00
Ruleth is the debut full length from Austin (via LA) goth-gloom synthwrangler Jose Cota and comes courtesy of the always impressive Holodeck label, who in the past have brought us all manner of electronic and abstract weirdness from outfits like Silent Land Time Machine, Good Stuff House, Smokey Emery, Survive and Thousand Foot Whale Claw. Ssleeperhold's sound is definitely a good fit, falling more toward the witch house / grave rave side of the Holodeck spectrum, a sprawling, claustrophobic world of alien synth-wave and eighties style electro-goth synth pop. The opener is dark, and clattery, distorted and darkly heavy, reminding us quite a bit of Soft Moon, all churning gristling synth squiggle, and brittle rhythmic skitter, wreathed in layers of noise and crumbling effects, but then the follow up track, transforms the sound into something much more akin to eighties MTV, pulsing bass buzz, glimmering synth shimmer, poppy and dreamily washed out, and the whole record seems to be a fantastically tense push and pull between the two sides of Cota's musical personality, minimal dystopian dissonance, a sort of sci-fi cyborg dark synth dirgery, and more blissed out (but still weirdly eerie) electro pop. The two part "Timeghosts" deftly balances the two, draping some lilting melodies over a churning field of pulsing industrial buzz, an chopped up vox, the first part a tranced out minimal loopscape, the second a super tripped out score to some alternate universe planetarium show, atonal and fractured, a twisted bit of avant synthscapery, that leads us right into the darkly dreamy brooder "Ashes", which again pairs a percolating melody, to some weird hissy noise, and wraps it in clouds of grinding hiss and static, the glimmering warmth of main melody just barely keeping the ominous noisiness at bay.
"F.I.S.T." is a fierce blast of Soft Moon style electro-goth synth buzz moodiness, the rhythms distorted and crunchy, draped over thick swells of buzzing bass, and peppered with FX drenched percussive splatter, less a song, than a chunk of tranced out sonic mesmer, eighties industrial by way of modern retro gloom punk. The record finishes with another two parter, "Dreamwaves", the first half all melancholy synth buzz and stuttery rhythmic skitter, loping and woozily washed out, distorted but sort of blissed out, the vibe super cinematic, evoking long brightly lit hallways, running endlessly through abandoned space stations, the galaxy sprawling endlessly outside the windows, a sort of spaced out witch house, that culminates in a more melodic, moody synth pop outro, sounding a bit like the soundtrack to the above mentioned lost in space, trapped in an abandoned space station art house flick, playing on as the credits crawl, wistful, and minor key, a little bit haunting, and darkly lovely.
LIMITED TO 300 COPIES!!
MPEG Stream: "Ruleth"
MPEG Stream: "Beatslave"
MPEG Stream: "Timeghosts I"
MPEG Stream: "F.I.S.T."

album cover VATICAN SHADOW Remember Your Black Day (Hospital) cd 15.98
Yet another killer collection of murky, Middle East obsessed gothic industrial slo-mo techno from Dom Fernow, who in addition to recording as Vatican Shadow, also does time in new wave combo Cold Cave, runs the Hospital label, and also has about a million other projects, including Prurient, Christian Cosmos, Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement and loads more.
As Vatican Shadow, Fernow weaves a murky, moody landscape of slow, skittering beats, zombie like lumbering grooves, primitive lo-fi synth melodies, whirring drones, everything washed out and grey, each track nearly a static loop, a core rhythm, and an abstract melodic component, locked into a tranced out mesmer, while all around, strange sounds drift in and fade out, soft washes of atmospheric shimmer, reverbed synth squelch, lots of echo and reverb, giving much of the sound a dubby vibe. Muslimgauze is definitely an apt comparison in places, as are outfits like Techno Animal, although Fernow's approach is much more reductionist, his soundworld more about the minutiae of the sounds, the mood, the texture, the vibe, a track like "Muscle Hijacker Tribal Affiliation", is super simple on the surface, a looped synth, a clattery bit of percussion, a crawling techno pulse, and what sounds like some processed heavy breathing, but somehow Fernow deftly transforms those constituent parts into something much more harrowing and haunting, making the over the top song titles sound like plausible descriptions of what exactly Fernow is trying to evoke with these minimal masterpieces. Some tracks do crank up the tempo, but even then, the skittery rhythmic jitter is often wrapped in heaving swells of crumbling blacknoise, or distant swaths of ominous chordal rumble, so instead of propulsion, those jacked rhythms, simply add more texture, the gristled skitter bleeding into the black sonic shadows surrounding them, and when the beat does fragment and explode as it often does, not only does it inspire a sort of music malevolence, and emotional dread, it also again harkens back to Fernow's gothic roots, sounding like the sounds could be emanating from some dank gothic bunker in the East Village, circa early eighties, from a mysterious dark room way in the back of the club. The same is true when electric guitars enter the mix, the weird metallic riffery often sounds a bit like a way more minimal Ministry, stripped down to its very essence, and once locked into the inevitable looped out trance, gradually transforms into something much more mysterious and mesmeric.
MPEG Stream: "Tonight Saddam Walks Amidst Ruins"
MPEG Stream: "Muscle Hijacker Tribal Affiliation"
MPEG Stream: "Contractor Corpses Hung Over The Euphrates River"

album cover VATICAN SHADOW Remember Your Black Day (Hospital) lp 26.00
Yet another killer collection of murky, Middle East obsessed gothic industrial slo-mo techno from Dom Fernow, who in addition to recording as Vatican Shadow, also does time in new wave combo Cold Cave, runs the Hospital label, and also has about a million other projects, including Prurient, Christian Cosmos, Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement and loads more.
As Vatican Shadow, Fernow weaves a murky, moody landscape of slow, skittering beats, zombie like lumbering grooves, primitive lo-fi synth melodies, whirring drones, everything washed out and grey, each track nearly a static loop, a core rhythm, and an abstract melodic component, locked into a tranced out mesmer, while all around, strange sounds drift in and fade out, soft washes of atmospheric shimmer, reverbed synth squelch, lots of echo and reverb, giving much of the sound a dubby vibe. Muslimgauze is definitely an apt comparison in places, as are outfits like Techno Animal, although Fernow's approach is much more reductionist, his soundworld more about the minutiae of the sounds, the mood, the texture, the vibe, a track like "Muscle Hijacker Tribal Affiliation", is super simple on the surface, a looped synth, a clattery bit of percussion, a crawling techno pulse, and what sounds like some processed heavy breathing, but somehow Fernow deftly transforms those constituent parts into something much more harrowing and haunting, making the over the top song titles sound like plausible descriptions of what exactly Fernow is trying to evoke with these minimal masterpieces. Some tracks do crank up the tempo, but even then, the skittery rhythmic jitter is often wrapped in heaving swells of crumbling blacknoise, or distant swaths of ominous chordal rumble, so instead of propulsion, those jacked rhythms, simply add more texture, the gristled skitter bleeding into the black sonic shadows surrounding them, and when the beat does fragment and explode as it often does, not only does it inspire a sort of music malevolence, and emotional dread, it also again harkens back to Fernow's gothic roots, sounding like the sounds could be emanating from some dank gothic bunker in the East Village, circa early eighties, from a mysterious dark room way in the back of the club. The same is true when electric guitars enter the mix, the weird metallic riffery often sounds a bit like a way more minimal Ministry, stripped down to its very essence, and once locked into the inevitable looped out trance, gradually transforms into something much more mysterious and mesmeric.
MPEG Stream: "Tonight Saddam Walks Amidst Ruins"
MPEG Stream: "Muscle Hijacker Tribal Affiliation"
MPEG Stream: "Contractor Corpses Hung Over The Euphrates River"

album cover DAY OF THE DEAD (JOHN HARRISON) OST (Waxwork) lp 40.00
Composer John Harrison's iconic soundtrack to George Romero's legendary horror zombie classic, Day Of The Dead, is the second release on Waxwork after Re-Animator, and comes pressed on 180 gram vinyl, the first time ever the COMPLETE score has been available, including EVERY musical cue used in the film. Also of note about this release: the 1985 master tapes were restored and remixed by former White Zombie guitarist, J. Yuenger (!!).
The two lps are pressed on cream yellow marbled / 'military green' marbled vinyl, the cover is a heavy old school tip-on sleeve, with matte varnish, a full color gatefold and spot UV gloss printing, the liner notes include an essay by Romero himself, and the whole thing features all new art and design by artist Jay Shaw, PLUS, there's also an 11" x 22" replica of "THE DEAD WALK!" newspaper article from the opening credits of the film, which features notes on the music from John Harrison. So cool!!!!
The sound? Much of it is very John Carpenter sounding, check out the sample below, which is pretty indicative of Harrison's score, brooding synth shimmer, pulsing rhythms, strange percussion, haunting melodies, thick swaths of ominous bass rumble, faux strings, the whole thing darkly psychedelic and truly creepy, fans of the new wave of Carpenter / Goblin worship, will be in synth/soundtrack heaven. Old school drum machines, moody ambience, shimmery new age drift, cheesy eighties grooviness, total eighties VHS credit sequence psych-funk, synth-groove radness that is totally of its age, but informs so much of the new music today. And like all great soundtracks, has us wanting to see the movie again! We had thought they were doing Rosemary's Baby next after Re-Animator, still looking forward to that, but no complaints about this!
MPEG Stream: "Breakdown"

album cover BOTTOMLESS PIT Shade Perennial (Comedy Minus One) lp 15.98
Two different Silkworm related releases on this week's list, a new one from Joel Phelps, an early member of the group, whose super distinctive vocals defined what might be our favorite Silkworm records, and this one, the latest from Bottomless Pit, the post Silkworm project of Andy Cohen and Tim Midgett, and of the two, it's the one that sounds the most like where Silkworm would have headed, and perhaps ended up, had the band not broken up after the tragic death of drummer Michael Dahlquist. And like the last Pit record we raved about on our list, Shade Perennial is another fantastic collection of emotionally charged indie rock, dark, and brooding, heavy and rocking, introspective but aggressive, in fact, the opening track reveals the band sounding heavier than ever, the guitars thick and distorted, Cohen's guitar dense and psychedelic, the rhythm section locked tight, letting the guitars and vocals swirl over the top, the result is haunting and harrowing, tense and intense, as I'm sure we said about the other Bottomless Pit records, they just don't make music like this anymore, except these guys do, and it sounds incredible. We described Bottomless Pit as sounding a bit like a heavier My Dad Is Dead, which is still pretty apt, although, at this point we'd imagine less people know who the hell MDID is than Bottomless Pit, but if you do remember MDID, then a heavier version is definitely a good thing.
Imagine the darkest, moodiest moments of the later Silkworm records, crank up the distortion a bit, and that'll give you a rough idea of Shade Perennial, but like all the BP records, and the Silkworm records too, there's lots going on, and tons of subtle touches that make those records so mysterious and special, the melodies, the textures, the lyrics, the phrasing in the vocals, the arrangements, it's all impossibly meticulous without sounding like it. Much of Bottomless Pit seems to exist in the shadows, a dark, brooding record, even the seemingly upbeat rocking tracks, still seem to be infused with a melancholia, a fantastically depressive modern indie rock classic, with some of the best songs we've heard from both Cohen and Midgett. We've been spinning this pretty much constantly, along with the old Silkworm records it reminds us of...
MPEG Stream: "Fleece"
MPEG Stream: "Incurable Feeling"
MPEG Stream: "Null Set"
MPEG Stream: "Full Of Life"

album cover HUERCO S. Colonial Patterns (Software / Kemado) lp 29.00
ALSO ON VINYL!
There's been so much amazing, dark minimal techno lately we can barely keep up, and so much good stuff, that even the techno haters here have come around. Recently we've been inundated with killer records from Shed, Terrence Dixon, Chasing Voices, Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement, Kowton, Miles, Function, Silent Servant, and even techno influenced outliers like Vatican Shadow, Christian Cosmos, etc.
You can add Huerco S. to the list. And while we know, a quick Google search, and we could tell you all about Huerco S., his real name, where he's from, what other group's he's played in, all that jazz, but sometimes not knowing anything is way better, especially when it comes to music like this. Colonial Patterns sounds so mysterious, it's murky, and moody, washed out, minimal and abstract, the sounds are crumbly and faded, the beats are barely there, more like buried pulsations, hushed rhythmic swells, a rumbling throb, wreathed in all manner of sonic detritus, so much so, that we're loathe to even really qualify this as techno. It has techno elements for sure, but to these ears it has much more in common with folks like Tim Hecker or the Caretaker, atmospheric ambience, everything wasted and decayed, even the melodies sound half formed, and ancient, as if over the course of the record, they've gradually been eroded, existing now more as sonic shadows, as audio imprints of sounds lost and faded away, some tracks are formed from fragmented vocals, looped into maddeningly tranced out soft focus stutters, which gradually blur into pure sound, the 'vocals' absorbed into something greater, like a way more arcane, abstract version of the Field, the beats are barely ever actually beats, more like skeletal arrangements of rhythmic elements, on some tracks, the beats consist of nothing more than fractured fields of static, possibly the result of gunked up tape heads, yet somehow, the results are magical, and yeah, mysterious. The tracks that do exist closer to proper techno, even those display all manner of warped sonic anomalies, swirling and psychedelic, on the verge of collapse, held together by the most skeletal of rhythmic support, while others are purely abstract arrangements of sound and rhythm, rhythm and sound, dubby, droney, drowsy, dirgey, strange samples surfacing throughout, only to be re-engineered into something wholly other, stumbling, skittering, stuttering, lurching, lumbering, woozy, meditative, hypnotic and mesmerizing, totally alien, yet strangely warm and soothing, tranquil and totally and utterly entrancing. Definitely a contender for year end lists, electronic / techno or otherwise, and a new unanimous aQ fave!!!
MPEG Stream: "Struck With Deer Lungs"
MPEG Stream: "Plucked From The Ground, Towards The Sun"
MPEG Stream: "Anagramme Of My Love"
MPEG Stream: "Prinzif"
MPEG Stream: "Angel (Phase)"

album cover BODY, THE Christs, Redeemers (Thrill Jockey) cd 14.98
The Body return with another sprawling epic of avant experimental doom, after having recently relocated from Rhode Island to the Pacific Northwest. While their last release, a sort of stopgap ep called Master, We Perish, found the band mostly ditching all the experimentalism of their debut, All The Waters Of The Earth Turned To Blood, instead offering up something much closer to actually seeing these guys live, as in pure, physical brutality, blown out ultra doom-noise crush. But here, the band continue to push the boundaries of doom, their Assembly Of Light Choir in tow, for a record that is the perfect follow up to All The Waters. Just check out the opener, and you'll be sold. After a brief ambient intro, "To Attempt Openness" unfurls a bit of hazy static, before in come the drums, the churning riffage, and the choir, all blurred into something strangely hymn-like, as if it were the music for some bizarre religious sect, a twisted pagan offshoot of some strange arcane faith, the music blurry and blackened, laced with all manner of noise, industrial buzz and caustic whir, buried melodies, constantly shifting textures, super dynamic, noisy and off kilter, the guitars dropping out at one point, leaving just shrieked vox way back in the mix, and pummeling drum pound over a field of glitch and gristle, before eventually devolving into full on noise.
And of course it doesn't end there, nor does it get any more typically doomy. "Melt Away" drapes samples over lumbering tribal drumming and glimmering shimmer, haunting and ambient, and even when the doom drops, it again is more sort of spectral and chorale-like, the choir way better integrated on this record, less singing intros and outros and now woven into the Body's blackened sonic fabric, the song unwinding as a harrowing dirge. "An Altar Or A Grave" introduces strings, transforming the song into a strange chamber music slow core crawl, that's as lovely and melancholic as it is downtuned and brutal, the sound lurching back and forth between shrieking ultra-doom and that chamber sludge loveliness.
The songs are WAY shorter this time around too, allowing the band to flit from sound to sound, a 3 minute blast of face melting sludge gives way to some female vocal driven blackened ambience, churning feedback drenched industrial doom lumber collides with ultra slow doom-drone-drift dreaminess, all ethereal vox and processed drums, electronics and rumbling whirring synths, fields of hushes static give way to churning psychedelic kraut-doom creep, until finally, "Bearer Of Bad Tidings", one of the two longest songs here at about seven minutes, closes things out with a field of tangled guitar noise, that explodes into a full on blast beat, everything distorted to the point of structural failure, grinding, blown out psych-doom-noise, that splinters into some seriously avant, out there, electro-doom, black noise dirgery, reminding us of Bastard Noise or aQ faves Geronimo. Some seriously next level doooooooooom that we are digging like crazy.
MPEG Stream: "To Attempt Openness"
MPEG Stream: "Melt Away"
MPEG Stream: "An Altar Or A Grave"

album cover MINOT An Era Of Institutional Failure (self-released) cd-r 11.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
First we've heard from these local math/post/kraut rockers since their The Ringing Silence Between Your Ears 7", which we LOVED, and even then we were already hankering for more, so here we finally have a new full length, five new songs, clocking in at more than 30 minutes, and all it takes is about a minute of the first track to remind us of why we love these guys so much. If this was 1995, these guys would be HUGE, and fuck it, even in 2013, these guys should be. Equal parts old school math/post/noise rock and more modern slow build heaviness a la Mogwai, Minot are masters of nuance, so tight and controlled, the sound intricate, rhythmically complex, heavy as fuck, and somehow, totally crazy catchy, a tough feat for sure when you're all instrumental, but after repeated listens, we find melodies and riffs stuck in our head like crazy. Progged out mathiness fused to moody jangle, all wound up into sprawling hypno-rock mesmer. The opener manages to be alternatingly dizzying and moody and melodic, while the second track dials the math back a bit (except for the drums which seem to be in constant motion) unwinding a fantastic sprawl of mesmerizing minimal post rock, the track already locked into a super dramatic slow build, atmospheric, majestic and epic, but these guys mix it up like crazy, the track constantly shifting into dense rhythmic tangles, stuttering start/stops, some seriously dense metallic mathiness, somehow all the while remaining utterly catchy.
The rest of the record follows suit, the band deftly weaving super intense soundscapes of chiming harmonics, busy drumming, angular guitars, thick super melodic basslines, even some electronics, the band nimbly flitting from dense brood to majestic metallic swirl and back again, loping post rock waltzes that morph into psych-prog jams, woozy droney dirges that lead directly into minimal mathy skitter, only to somehow get even mathier, but again, remaining kind of melodic and catchy. Rare is the band that can pull that off, and pull it off so consistently, but if you haven't figured it out by now, Minot is one of those rare bands. Totally recommended. Essential listening for fans of mathrock / postrock then AND now!
MPEG Stream: "Reiki"
MPEG Stream: "Redacted"

album cover PAINTED CAVES Surveillance (Shelter Press) lp 23.00
Surveillance is the latest release from Evan Caminiti, one half of aQ beloved drone/doom duo Barn Owl. And displays Caminiti's gradual shift away from purely guitar based ambience, toward something more dark and dystopian, and beat driven, shedding much of the twang flecked duskiness, in favor of murky fragmented rhythms, and gristled textures. Barn Owl too has displayed a similarly dramatic sonic shift over the last few releases, introducing drum machines, and synths, and similarly Caminiti's partner in Barn Owl, Jon Porras, has expanded his solo sonic palette as well, occasionally shoegazey, but also dabbling in witchy electronics, most notably as DVVLLXNS. But Surveillance might be the closest either have come to crystallizing such a distinctive, and distinctively entrancing sound, one that channels seventies and eighties soundtrack music, abstract electronics, modern minimalism, minimal house music (a la Chain Reaction), and who knows what else, into something stunningly mesmerizing, hauntingly bleak, and strangely alien. Yet somehow, still quite beautiful.
Surveillance does play out like some sort of soundtrack, with a few moments touching on the Carpenter/Goblin sound that seems to be so prevalent these days, but those moments definitely don't smack of any sort of bandwagon jumping, instead existing as just one sonic element, deftly woven into a much more sprawling and epic whole, with most of the tracks blossoming into something altogether stranger, lurching, pulsing, revealing mysterious arrangements, unfurling constantly shifting textures, rhythmically mesmeric one second, a creeping tar pit ooze the next. "Event Boundary", sounds a bit like a futuristic Muslimgauze, a simple skeletal rhythm, drifting atop a whirring raga like buzz, and wreathed in soft melodic swirls, heady and heavenly hypnotic, gradually growing more and more sinister, the electronic buzz sounding almost like processed horn bleats, the strange tangle of electronics dense and tense, haunting and harrowing for sure. "Leningrad" is similarly bleak and barren, with another field of buried pulsations, beneath arcing fields of tones, and soft focus synth sweeps, not to mention some dubbed out beats, all in a softly psychedelic haze. "Flesh On Tape" is about as close to the current Carpenter craze as it gets, but even then, the sound is much more minimal and softly glitchy, the Chain Reaction influence in full effect, maybe Carpenter on Chain Reaction is good band math, and it sounds just as good as you think it would.
"Shadow Gamelan" sounds like it was plucked from some obscure seventies Euro-art film, not hard to imagine this on a soundtrack for a movie like Possession, softly squiggly guitars, disembodied buzz, lots of echo and dreamlike reverb, hazy and soft focus, but underpinned by a subtle sonic malevolence, while "Loft Life" sounds like something on Kompakt slowed way down, and wreathed in shadow, before finally, the record ends with "Stalker" (an homage to Tarkovsky maybe?), which is a gently noisy, swirling psychedelic shimmerscape of keening high end, buzzing swells, buried pulsations and strange hissy vocal emanations, a stunning sprawl of harrowing cinematic soundscapery that again, like much of Surveillance, seems to effortlessly blur the line between hushed haunting loveliness, and brooding, blackened sonic intensity.
LIMITED TO 500 COPIES, pressed on 180 gram vinyl.
MPEG Stream: "Never Alone"
MPEG Stream: "Flesh On Tape"
MPEG Stream: "Event Boundary"
MPEG Stream: "Loft Life"

album cover HECKER, TIM Virgins (Kranky) cd 14.98
Canadian soundscaper and noise sculptor Tim Hecker might be one of THEE most referenced musicians on the aQ list. Whenever we try to describe something that's gristly and pixelated, blown out and noisy, yet somehow still impossibly lovely and lilting and warm and lush, Hecker is the man we point to. And why not, record after record, Hecker performs impossible sonic alchemy, harnessing often harsh noise, and somehow transforming it into lush, layered dreaminess, weaving all manner of textures and fractured drones, warped samples and manipulated recordings, into something stunning and fantastical - including at one point a whole record using nothing but Van Halen records as source material! That in particular sounds like one of those instances where the process is more interesting than the music itself, but nothing could be further from the truth, that disc was in fact utterly and heartbreakingly gorgeous, and even with no knowledge of the music's provenance, you'd have to be dead inside to not be totally blown away.
With every record, we found ourselves more and more in awe of Hecker's ability to create these impossibly pretty dronescapes, to constantly conjure up worlds of sound that evoke truly deep emotion in the listener, a rarity in music for sure. And then even beyond that, every record is quite different. Sure some of the sounds and processes remain the same, but each album, most definitely stands alone, even after a dramatic sonic shift. That said, Virgins might be the most dramatic shift so far in Hecker's catalog, utilizing what seems to be an entirely new sonic palette, which includes live, intimate recordings of woodwinds, pianos, synthesizers and electronics, and working together with other musicians, including another aQ fave, Ben Frost. The results are dramatically different, so much so, that on multiple occasions, someone would be playing this in the store, and we'd have to go see what was playing. Which not only speaks to the uniqueness of the sound, but also to the fact that whatever it was playing, was so good we felt compelled to find out what it was. And every time, once we discovered it was Tim Hecker, we were somehow simultaneously surprised, and not really all that surprised. So after all that, what exactly does Virgins sound like? Like all great records, it's really difficult to describe, it still sounds like a Tim Hecker record, sort of, but this time around, much of the music has a modern minimalist vibe, the influence of both Terry Riley and Steve Reich loom large, especially in the opening salvo, the brief almost psychedelic sounding loopscape of "Prism", which sounds like a strange Philip Jeck / Steve Reich mash up. Repetitive and hypnotic, with subtle (and not so subtle) pitch shifts, making the whole thing woozy and slightly off kilter, but still lush and prismatic, and that sonic template set up in the first song, is elaborated in "Virginal I", which brings the piano to the fore, reminding us of Melnyk and Batagov and the Necks, all our favorite modern minimal pianists, but here, the piano is layered and looped and accretes into a seriously dizzying jumble, which is soon joined by what sounds like cello, and then the tape speed begins fluctuating, and it gets noisier and noisier, and soon, it's not that far removed from past Hecker efforts as we thought, a swirling, dense squall of sound, that manages to be both impossibly tangled and intricate, and at the same time totally mesmerizing and dreamlike.
Some tracks here, like "Radiance", definitely harken back to the Hecker sound of old, airy and ethereal, warm and lush, a dreamy bit of manipulated sound, a smeary sonic blur that's softly psychedelic and utterly mesmerising, but others, like the two part "Live Room" suite, deviate dramatically from what we're used to. The title obviously referring to the room in which the piece was recorded, the sounds wreathed in natural reverb, a haunting melody pecked out on a prepared piano, over a lush swirl of strings and synths, the sounds gristly and distorted, even some seemingly inadvertent feedback, the sound here reminiscent of Ben Frost's more harrowing sound design for sure, but again, Hecker and his cohorts manage to wrangle the disparate and often caustic sounds into something that sounds strangely composed, atmospheric, haunting, moving, emotional, it seems impossible that these sounds could be harnessed into something so lovely, but the sound ends up being truly, and impossibly lovely. A sort of fractured chamber music, that for the second part of the 'suite' slips into something much more hushed and heavenly, symphonic sounds wreathed in tape hiss and static, with seemingly no effort to remove the various non musical sounds, voices, conversations, the effect is quite intimate, and again, strangely moving.
The rest of the record unfolds in an equally unorthodox manner, slow somber piano pieces are flecked with scrapes and shuffles, the notes slightly detuned, plenty of pitch warble, and subtle sonic tweaks, while elsewhere the previous plinked piano sounds are piled atop one another, along with bleating horns and woozy synths, resulting in a warped chamber kosmische that really sounds unlike anything we've heard. The record closes with a dreamlike sequence, that begins with fluttering flutes blurred into an ethereal drone-like shimmer, before splintering into what sounds like a Steve Reich piece broadcast through a malfunctioning transmitter, accompanied by pointillist piano and wrapped in gauze-y hiss and hum, only to shed the hiss and hum, and unfurl a dreamily hypnotic sprawl of slowly cascading pulsations, and finally, one last abstract blowout, all moaning strings, metallic buzz, keening high end, buried melodies, sitar like shimmer, all gradually blurred into an abstract smear of prismatic sound. Stunning!
MPEG Stream: "Virginal I"
MPEG Stream: "Radiance"
MPEG Stream: "Live Room"
MPEG Stream: "Amps Drugs Harmonium"
MPEG Stream: "Stab Variation"

album cover HECKER, TIM Virgins (Kranky) 2lp 21.00
Canadian soundscaper and noise sculptor Tim Hecker might be one of THEE most referenced musicians on the aQ list. Whenever we try to describe something that's gristly and pixelated, blown out and noisy, yet somehow still impossibly lovely and lilting and warm and lush, Hecker is the man we point to. And why not, record after record, Hecker performs impossible sonic alchemy, harnessing often harsh noise, and somehow transforming it into lush, layered dreaminess, weaving all manner of textures and fractured drones, warped samples and manipulated recordings, into something stunning and fantastical - including at one point a whole record using nothing but Van Halen records as source material! That in particular sounds like one of those instances where the process is more interesting than the music itself, but nothing could be further from the truth, that disc was in fact utterly and heartbreakingly gorgeous, and even with no knowledge of the music's provenance, you'd have to be dead inside to not be totally blown away.
With every record, we found ourselves more and more in awe of Hecker's ability to create these impossibly pretty dronescapes, to constantly conjure up worlds of sound that evoke truly deep emotion in the listener, a rarity in music for sure. And then even beyond that, every record is quite different. Sure some of the sounds and processes remain the same, but each album, most definitely stands alone, even after a dramatic sonic shift. That said, Virgins might be the most dramatic shift so far in Hecker's catalog, utilizing what seems to be an entirely new sonic palette, which includes live, intimate recordings of woodwinds, pianos, synthesizers and electronics, and working together with other musicians, including another aQ fave, Ben Frost. The results are dramatically different, so much so, that on multiple occasions, someone would be playing this in the store, and we'd have to go see what was playing. Which not only speaks to the uniqueness of the sound, but also to the fact that whatever it was playing, was so good we felt compelled to find out what it was. And every time, once we discovered it was Tim Hecker, we were somehow simultaneously surprised, and not really all that surprised. So after all that, what exactly does Virgins sound like? Like all great records, it's really difficult to describe, it still sounds like a Tim Hecker record, sort of, but this time around, much of the music has a modern minimalist vibe, the influence of both Terry Riley and Steve Reich loom large, especially in the opening salvo, the brief almost psychedelic sounding loopscape of "Prism", which sounds like a strange Philip Jeck / Steve Reich mash up. Repetitive and hypnotic, with subtle (and not so subtle) pitch shifts, making the whole thing woozy and slightly off kilter, but still lush and prismatic, and that sonic template set up in the first song, is elaborated in "Virginal I", which brings the piano to the fore, reminding us of Melnyk and Batagov and the Necks, all our favorite modern minimal pianists, but here, the piano is layered and looped and accretes into a seriously dizzying jumble, which is soon joined by what sounds like cello, and then the tape speed begins fluctuating, and it gets noisier and noisier, and soon, it's not that far removed from past Hecker efforts as we thought, a swirling, dense squall of sound, that manages to be both impossibly tangled and intricate, and at the same time totally mesmerizing and dreamlike.
Some tracks here, like "Radiance", definitely harken back to the Hecker sound of old, airy and ethereal, warm and lush, a dreamy bit of manipulated sound, a smeary sonic blur that's softly psychedelic and utterly mesmerising, but others, like the two part "Live Room" suite, deviate dramatically from what we're used to. The title obviously referring to the room in which the piece was recorded, the sounds wreathed in natural reverb, a haunting melody pecked out on a prepared piano, over a lush swirl of strings and synths, the sounds gristly and distorted, even some seemingly inadvertent feedback, the sound here reminiscent of Ben Frost's more harrowing sound design for sure, but again, Hecker and his cohorts manage to wrangle the disparate and often caustic sounds into something that sounds strangely composed, atmospheric, haunting, moving, emotional, it seems impossible that these sounds could be harnessed into something so lovely, but the sound ends up being truly, and impossibly lovely. A sort of fractured chamber music, that for the second part of the 'suite' slips into something much more hushed and heavenly, symphonic sounds wreathed in tape hiss and static, with seemingly no effort to remove the various non musical sounds, voices, conversations, the effect is quite intimate, and again, strangely moving.
The rest of the record unfolds in an equally unorthodox manner, slow somber piano pieces are flecked with scrapes and shuffles, the notes slightly detuned, plenty of pitch warble, and subtle sonic tweaks, while elsewhere the previous plinked piano sounds are piled atop one another, along with bleating horns and woozy synths, resulting in a warped chamber kosmische that really sounds unlike anything we've heard. The record closes with a dreamlike sequence, that begins with fluttering flutes blurred into an ethereal drone-like shimmer, before splintering into what sounds like a Steve Reich piece broadcast through a malfunctioning transmitter, accompanied by pointillist piano and wrapped in gauze-y hiss and hum, only to shed the hiss and hum, and unfurl a dreamily hypnotic sprawl of slowly cascading pulsations, and finally, one last abstract blowout, all moaning strings, metallic buzz, keening high end, buried melodies, sitar like shimmer, all gradually blurred into an abstract smear of prismatic sound. Stunning!
MPEG Stream: "Virginal I"
MPEG Stream: "Radiance"
MPEG Stream: "Live Room"
MPEG Stream: "Amps Drugs Harmonium"
MPEG Stream: "Stab Variation"

album cover GATE / TOM CARTER split (Carbon) 7" 9.98
Killer split from two aQ faves. Gate is Michael Morley of NZ noise rockers the Dead C, and his side here sounds like it could have been plucked right off his classic The Dew Line record, a creepy, lurching noise rock dirge, all billowing clouds of distorted guitar, and a lumbering motorik rhythm, all wrapped around plaintive, softly effected sad boy vox, everything gorgeously crumbling and decaying, hissy, washed out, mournful and melancholic. Tom Carter (of Charalambides) counters with a beautiful bit of gristled, glitchy raga-drone guitarscapery, if that even is a guitar. It actually sounds more like electronic bagpipes, an alien bleating that gets stretched into a heady hypnotic field of raga-drone mesmer. Dreamily distorted, and very reminiscent of all time aQ faves Amps For Christ which is a very good thing indeed!
LIMITED TO 313 COPIES!!! Pressed on random different colored vinyl, the packaging super deluxe, a cool origami style Stumptown Arigato cardstock silkscreened sleeve, with a digital download as well.
MPEG Stream: GATE "Untitled"
MPEG Stream: TOM CARTER "Untitled"

album cover BLAKESLEE, GUY Thirdeye Memories Vol. 2 (Psychic Arts) cd-r 9.98
We flipped for the first installment in Guy Blakeslee's Thirdeye Memories cd-r series, which we described on the last list in our review of Volume 1 as falling somewhere between Fahey-like devotional Appalachia and more droned out abstract looped and layered psychedelic ragas, and for those of you (like us) who felt like one volume just wasn't enough, well, you might want to grab one of these before they're gone, cuz like the first one it's limited to just FIFTY copies (and we do have a tiny handful left of volume 1 if you missed out). Blakeslee is the frontman for psych rockers The Entrance Band, but for these solo excursions, the sound is much more intimate, and delicate and lovely, the opener here is a glistening sprawl of dreamlike guitar melodies, super fluid finger picking, the vibe almost carol-like, a warm glowing swirl of lovely Appalachian folk. But it doesn't take long for the disc to drift into far trippier realms, "Digital Sage" takes the sound of the opener and turns it inside out, flips it backwards, adding gloriously slippery reverse melodies and woozy shimmery FX blur, it's the sort of dreamy sonic trip out we could get lost in forever. And so it goes, the whole record unfurling in a washed out kosmische dream folk haze, slipping from crystalline beauty to dreamily dizzying trippy psych swirl, and back again, perfectly balancing sweet melodies, with something a bit more shadowy and lysergic. Like the first volume, fantastic! And like the first volume, packaged in a simple screen printed origami style sleeve, LIMITED TO 50 COPIES, each one hand numbered!
MPEG Stream: "Amandita"
MPEG Stream: "Digital Sage"

album cover JESU Everyday I Get Closer To The Light From Which I Come (Avalanche) cd 14.98
Justin Broadrick's Jesu continues to drift further and further way from the the churning industrial metallic pummel of his Godflesh project, which makes sense, especially considering Godflesh is back together and a going concern again. But then even before that, Jesu continued to move ever popward, most recently positioning itself alongside the electro-pop of M83, as well as the wistful eighties style John Hughes soundtrack sound. And for all of the heaviness and experimentalism that came before, Broadrick definitely demonstrated a keen knack for pop smithery, which is most definitely in full effect here.
"Homesick" might be one of the poppiest songs yet, still rife with heavy chugging guitar, but those guitars wreathed in shimmery, chiming melodies, and then extra super polished clean vocals, it's the sort of song that with a different production could be a proper 'hit', but thankfully, here it's still defined by Broadrick's production, and that heavy guitar part, which turns this into a sort of jangle sludge dream pop. "Comforter" is even less heavy, with a warbly effected guitar melody over ethereal synth drifts and swooping backward FX, subtle electronic pulsations, but like the opener, this dreaminess is soon joined by some crunchy downtuned guitar, before the whole thing settles into a weird woozy dream pop dirge, all melty and warbly, as if it was dubbed from a tape left in the sun too long. The rest of the record is more of the same, a sort of stripped down pop, the title track the sort of new wave jangle pop you might expect to hear on Captured Tracks, and the closer "Grey Is The Colour", is also all dreamy and jangly, strummy and shimmery, but right in between, lurks the 17+ minute "The Great Leveller", which begins with some stately piano, wrapped in soft swirls of symphonic strings, and martial snares, clouds of cymbal shimmer, before the sound is nearly swallowed by some seriously distorted and downtuned guitar chug and churn, which is offset by more clean melodic vox, but it's easily the heaviest track here, but again, heavy as in some super melodic sludge pop, but it does get a bit mathy and metallic, with a melancholic interlude part way through, stately and lovely, before returning to the majestic metallic chug, now offset by some seriously lilting melodies, the sort of combo that really shouldn't work, but somehow does, perfectly.
MPEG Stream: "Homesick"
MPEG Stream: "Comfortor"
MPEG Stream: "The Great Leveller"

album cover V/A Longing For The Past: The 78rpm Era In Southeast Asia (Dust-To-Digital) 4cd + book box 66.00
Dust-To-Digital does it again! With what might be one of their most impressive releases to date. Which is saying a lot, considering how much we love pretty much everything they release. A quick list of some of our favorite D-T-D releases should give you an idea of what we're talking about: those recent Lonnie Holley albums, Kassidat: Raw 45's from Morocco, Luk Thung: Classic & Obscure 78's From The Thai Countryside, Opika Pende: Africa At 78rpm, Pictures Of Sound, Excavated Shellac, Victrola Favorites, we could go on and on and on and on. Look up any of those on the aQ site and read our extensive and effusive ravings about all of them.
And this new one, a sprawling four cd collection of 78s from Southeast Asia, is yet another stunning release, in every way, the mysterious and lovely music collected here, the design, the research, it's a gorgeous object on top of being one of the best reissue compliations of the year. Curated by David Murray, who also assembled the Luk Thung and Kassidat collections, and who curates the Haji Maji blog, which explores 78rpm Asian music, Longing For The Past is like a class in early 20th century Southeast Asian music in a box, 90 tracks, four and a half hours, the music culled from the years 1905-1966, and offering up an expansive and varied sonic snapshot of music from Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Burma, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.
The temptation is to simply paraphrase the extensive liner notes, but there's just too much here to fit into a review. We're also tempted to describe this compilation song by song, but again, we could do a whole list just on this one release. All you really need to know, is that this is fantastic. The music is incredible, an breathtaking sampling of Southeast Asian music, fans of the genre, even those who consider themselves amateur experts, will be blown away, many of these tracks reissued for the first time, and the sonic breadth is stunning too, folk music, pop music, gamelans, percussion, strings, gorgeous vocals, so varied that it almost seems too reductive to even describe a handful of them, odds are lots of aQ-ers are gonna want this already, but check out the sound samples below too. Odds are you'll be smitten. And in terms of cultural import, that can't be underestimated, as much about the music of this era, from this region, has remained mostly unexplored before now.
And as with all Dust-To-Digital releases, the packaging is crazy. There's a huge nearly 300 page hardcover book, with tons of liner notes, about the record industry in Southeast Asia, music from each country, and a complete breakdown of each track here, with a description of the artist and the song, not to mention an extensive bibliography, as well as hundreds of vintage photographs, reproductions of record labels and sleeves, and so much more. The cds themselves are packaged in a massive 8 panel digisleeve, printed and embossed, and everything is then housed in a deluxe printed/embossed box. So gorgeous. And for world music obsessives, absolutely essential!!
MPEG Stream: VAN HI BAN WITH THE VAN HI BAN TROUPE "Xu Toi Bang Qui Phi, Thu Nhi"
MPEG Stream: MOLAM SOM "Gap Pa Pheng"
MPEG Stream: UNCREDITED PINPEAT ENSEMBLE "Teb Bantom"
MPEG Stream: WOHAR SAM "Khmer Kroak"
MPEG Stream: PHLOEN PHROMDAEN "Lam Khaen"
MPEG Stream: MAR MAR AYE, AND THE MANDALAY MYOMA ENSEMBLE "Hnit Kan Pyaing Hpuza"
MPEG Stream: MAUNG PWA GYI "Shit Hkan Palin"
MPEG Stream: ROPAOEN BATOEBARA "Ile-Ile"
MPEG Stream: PLAH AND RASLAH "Lagu Daerah Sumatera"
MPEG Stream: JETTY AND SUHAIRI, SINGERS WITH ORKES GAMBANG KEROMONG "Kitjir Kitjir"

album cover COMMON EIDER, KING EIDER Taaleg Uksur (Caribou People) cassette 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
We got a very small handful of these, the last copies in fact, released as an exclusive for the Stella Natura festival, which took place a few weeks back in the woods up near Lake Tahoe, and featured a crazy collection of bands performing on stages set up in the forest. Some of the performers included Esoteric, Stargazer, Sutekh Hexen, Saturnalia Temple, Ash Borer, Hell, Aldebaran, Dispirit, Hexvessel, Kinit Her, Loss, Knelt Rote and a bunch more.
This document of local experimental ambient doom-drone outfit Common Eider (which now boasts our very own Andee on drums), features four lengthy tracks, and documents CEKE's shift into darker realms, featuring Andy Way from Sutekh Hexen on vocals, CEKE's usual haunting arrangements of ritualistic chorales, and swoonsome viola drones, are augmented by harsh, whispered vokills, that occasionally erupt into near demonic shrieks.
The opener, "Uksur" is a dark ritualistic incantation, that fuses black ambience to Arvo Part like sweeping epic-ry, infusing that hybrid with a blackened malevolence, the whole thing blurred into a darkly dreamy, ashen sonic sprawl. "As The Soil Rises Up Past Our Bodies" continues the descent into darkness, layered vocals drift atop a bed of tape hiss and distant rumbles, meditative and liturgical, a harrowing and haunting soundscape that evokes barren wastelands, crumbling cathedrals and black skies casting entire civilizations in shadow, the vocals slipping into a higher register for the final movement, adding a dramatic pathos to the proceedings. Also included is an excerpt of the fantastic "Sense Of Place", which was released via aQ as a super deluxe book/cd/dvd combo (later as a stripped down bookless version), chronicling the building of a cabin in Alaska, the music split into two parts meant to be played simultaneously. And finally there's "Caribou People", which is anchored by a dreamy, softly reverbed guitar loops, and gradually blossoms into a beautifully brooding dirge, laced with clouds of buzz drenched noise guitar, woozy Spacemen 3 like basslines, and minimal percussion, all whipped up into a wildly psychedelic squall, that fades into a hazy druggy drift. Fantastic.
And, fantastic packaging - the tape is housed in a multi panel, pocketed mini sleeve, hand silkscreened, bundled with a charred block of wood, the wood silkscreened with the CEKE sigil, the tape, the sleeve, and the wood, wrapped in a silkscreened oversized slipcover, held shut with a printed sticker. SUPER LIMITED. Last copies ever. So act fast if you want one... Mailorder folks, be aware that 'cause of the size and weight of the charred wood block, this will count as more than one item (which will probably only matter if it's all you were to order), so media mail or UPS will be your best domestic shipping options.
MPEG Stream: "Uksur"
MPEG Stream: "Caribou People"

album cover BIRD OF OMEN What Was Once There Is Now Gone (Hand Hewn Timbre) 3" cd-r 5.98
Second release from Bird Of Omen, the new-ish project from the man behind Monument Of Urns, whose gorgeous blackened doom, spread out over six super limited cd-r's, was a huge favorite around here. And as we mentioned in our review of Eulogy, the first Bird Of Omen, the sound, while still ominous and doomy, was well removed from the crumbling distorted sludge of Monument Of Urns, and instead trafficked in something more akin to groups like Barn Owl and Earth - dusky and atmospheric, haunting twang-flecked drone-folk.
On What Was Once There Is Now Gone, the sound of Bird Of Omen seems to have bridged the gap between the two groups, taking the more refined melodic sound of Eulogy, and adding some seriously abject atmosphere, the opening track here a hauntingly harrowing creepy crawl, a moody, mournful, melancholy sprawl of distant black metal guitar buzz, blurred into dreamy smears of sounds, laced with delicate piano, and intense minor key chords, beneath which seems to lurk a gristly buzzing low end synth. It's so atmospheric and cinematic, it sounds like it could be the score for some super austere arthouse horror flick, in fact it has a sort of Carpenter credits vibe, especially, when the helicopter synth pulsations surface, and things get a tiny bit kosmische, still within the context of the blackened ambient moodiness.
The bridged gap is even more evident on the second track, which explodes immediately into full on doom. Churning, crushing slow motion dirgery, but dragging some of that opening track atmosphere with it, the choppy rhythmic pulsing synth, the blackened shadowy swirls, all draped over a glacial tarpit trudge, that distant black metal buzz slightly more prominent, and endless sonic death march, that eventually sheds much of the crumbling buzz, leaving just the pointillist piano, and atmospheric shimmer of the first track, the outro returning to that funereal creep that started things off, before one more blast of blurred downtuned slo-mo doom-sludge, but again, while it's all churning heaviness, the sounds are muted, and blunted and smeared into something weirdly atmospheric, washed out and a little woozy, shades of Finnish doomlords Skepticism for sure, but BoO's sound is more caustic, building to a fierce noise drenched coda, before winding down into a strange bit of droned out mesmer, replete with weirdly effected twang, and gristled ominous thrum. Once again, fucking amazing stuff. How some big label hasn't swooped in by now we'll never know, both Monument Of Urns and Birds Of Omen and pretty much everything this guy does, definitely deserves much more widespread exposure, but for now, grab this, and anything else you can get your hands on. You won't be sorry.
Like all the Urns releases and the other BoO, fantastically elaborate handmade packaging, an oversized full color sleeve, with a printed vellum outer cover, released on the artist's own Hand Hewn Timbre label, and yeah, probably pretty limited...
MPEG Stream: "I"
MPEG Stream: "II"

album cover VISION FORTUNE Night Jukes (Cardinal Fuzz) lp 24.00
We're so so psyched to finally be getting everything that comes out on UK heavy space/psych label Cardinal Fuzz, and this week's list brings two more goodies, elsewhere is the latest from Dead Sea Apes, whose collab with Black Tempest from a few lists back was a heady dose of psychedelic drift, and these guys, who we had never heard of before, but who sound right at home on Cardinal Fuzz, their sound a bit more tranced out and angular, just check out "Heavy Saddles", that almost sounds like a heavy psych Television, a woozy angular main riff repeated over and over, draped over a super motorik unwavering rhythm, the band locked tight into a total head nodding trance-out groove, while in the background, synths whir and thrum and effects swoop and swirl, it may be about 5 minutes, but it feels epically endless. And that's pretty much what these guys do, the guitar locks into a weird little melodic tangle or a woozy riff, sometimes jangly, like on "Natural Faze", sometimes murky and detuned like on "Drag", both sides of the band given plenty of space, "Natural Faze" sounds like some Velvets outtake, stretched even further out, with echo drenched vocals, the melodies spidery and the notes sort of melty and bendy, trance inducing and super hypnotic. That melty bendiness is all over "Drag" too, making it sound like Polvo gone space rock, which as you might imagine is a VERY good thing. More vocals surface here, the song slipping easily from blown out synth buzz, to murky motorik psych-groove and back again.
"In My Father's House There Are Mansions" jacks up the tempo a bit, and cranks the buzzing synth, to conjure up some snake charmer melody infused garage dirgery that should have Moon Duo and Liminanas fans freaking out in equal measure. And finally, "Black Ocean Glow", slows things back down, and unfurls some sprawling mid-tempo hypno-rock moodiness/broodiness, which churns and roils mesmerizingly until some surprise horns swoop in for the last couple minutes, giving the proceedings a seriously downer-jazz vibe, especially when all the other instruments drop out, and the horns lock into a dreamy, reverbed slo-mo outro, that could have stretched out forever.
Fans of all things Cardinal Fuzz (Dead Sea Apes, Hills, Janitors, Cosmic Dead, Heads, etc.) as well as other psych space combos (Carlton Melton, Moon Duo, etc.) will dig BIG time.
MPEG Stream: "Heavy Saddles"
MPEG Stream: "Natural Faze"

album cover CARLTON MELTON Always Even (Agitated Records) cd 14.98
We're kind of running out of superlatives for these guys, and new ways to describe the deliriously druggy din they whip up. If only there was a psychedelic space rock thesaurus... So bear with us if it sounds like we're repeating ourselves, but in a way, that wouldn't be such a bad thing, because even though every Carlton Melton record definitely stands up as its own album, they all sound linked, which makes sense, as they're all recorded in the same space (the DOME), and are all culled from sprawling mega-jams, but instead of sounding simply 'jammy', it's almost as if these guys are psychedelic shamans, tapping into some alien sonic continuum, that the rest of us just aren't privy to, and CM are the conduit, the portal, channeling mysterious cosmic vibes from the ether, and transforming them into some of the sweetest (and hard rockingest) psych we've heard. The core members of CM are once again joined by unofficial 4th member John McBain from Monster Magnet, and together, whip up another gorgeous blast of wasted zoner dreaminess, and driving tranced out kraut-psych. The opener here is definitely familiar territory, easing us in with a sound that seems like it bled over from one of the other recent records, all softly billowing shimmer, and blurred melodic tangles, abstract and dreamily drifty, a serious kosmische kraut-age vibe, and as always, if these guys had stretched that out to fill up the whole record, we'd have been perfectly happy. Instead though, they mix it up, with "Keeping On" being one of the weirder jams we've heard from these guys, driving and propulsive, drum heavy, with thick crumblingly distorted guitars, and some awesome progged out synths, that give the sound a serious seventies prog epic/opus vibe, that these guys manage to craft into something way darker and meaner, with some seriously kick ass drum pound, and wild psych freakouts, super heavy AND heady.
"Spiderwebs" pairs creepy Carpenter-ish cinematic synth with some lazy sun dappled slo-mo dream-psych languor, while "Sarsen" seems to fade into a jam already in progress, one that sounds like it's been going on since the beginning of time, primal and primordial, another muscly hard rocky, drum driven psych-kraut blow out, again laced with swirling synths and dense clouds of freaked out FX, all the while the band locked tight into some serious post-Hawkwind heaviness, and finally, "The Splurge" finishes things off with a sound much more raw and blown out, sounding like it was captured live, lots of reverb and echo, like they're playing in a big concrete bunker, the sounds crumbling and in-the-red, the vibe sorta German Oak-ish, definitely super bunkurfunk mixed into the slow-burn psych, noisy, and trippy and fucking awesome.
Killer psychedelic cover art. The cd is housed in a digipak, while the vinyl comes in two versions, one on green wax, one on black wax with a poster, make sure you order the one you want, they're listed as two different items. (And maybe let us know if you're willing to take the other, if we run out of one...)
MPEG Stream: "Slow Wake"
MPEG Stream: "Keeping On"
MPEG Stream: "Spiderwebs"

album cover HUERCO S. Colonial Patterns (Software / Kemado) cd 13.98
There's been so much amazing, dark minimal techno lately we can barely keep up, and so much good stuff, that even the techno haters here have come around. Recently we've been inundated with killer records from Shed, Terrence Dixon, Chasing Voices, Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement, Kowton, Miles, Function, Silent Servant, and even techno influenced outliers like Vatican Shadow, Christian Cosmos, etc.
You can add Huerco S. to the list. And while we know, a quick Google search, and we could tell you all about Huerco S., his real name, where he's from, what other group's he's played in, all that jazz, but sometimes not knowing anything is way better, especially when it comes to music like this. Colonial Patterns sounds so mysterious, it's murky, and moody, washed out, minimal and abstract, the sounds are crumbly and faded, the beats are barely there, more like buried pulsations, hushed rhythmic swells, a rumbling throb, wreathed in all manner of sonic detritus, so much so, that we're loathe to even really qualify this as techno. It has techno elements for sure, but to these ears it has much more in common with folks like Tim Hecker or the Caretaker, atmospheric ambience, everything wasted and decayed, even the melodies sound half formed, and ancient, as if over the course of the record, they've gradually been eroded, existing now more as sonic shadows, as audio imprints of sounds lost and faded away, some tracks are formed from fragmented vocals, looped into maddeningly tranced out soft focus stutters, which gradually blur into pure sound, the 'vocals' absorbed into something greater, like a way more arcane, abstract version of the Field, the beats are barely ever actually beats, more like skeletal arrangements of rhythmic elements, on some tracks, the beats consist of nothing more than fractured fields of static, possibly the result of gunked up tape heads, yet somehow, the results are magical, and yeah, mysterious. The tracks that do exist closer to proper techno, even those display all manner of warped sonic anomalies, swirling and psychedelic, on the verge of collapse, held together by the most skeletal of rhythmic support, while others are purely abstract arrangements of sound and rhythm, rhythm and sound, dubby, droney, drowsy, dirgey, strange samples surfacing throughout, only to be re-engineered into something wholly other, stumbling, skittering, stuttering, lurching, lumbering, woozy, meditative, hypnotic and mesmerizing, totally alien, yet strangely warm and soothing, tranquil and totally and utterly entrancing. Definitely a contender for year end lists, electronic / techno or otherwise, and a new unanimous aQ fave!!!
MPEG Stream: "Struck With Deer Lungs"
MPEG Stream: "Plucked From The Ground, Towards The Sun"
MPEG Stream: "Anagramme Of My Love"
MPEG Stream: "Prinzif"
MPEG Stream: "Angel (Phase)"

album cover MELT-BANANA Fetch (A-Zap Records) cd 13.98
We were looking back at our review of the last Melt-Banana record we reviewed, Initial T., which we listed way back in 2009, and yeah, it was just an ep, but even then we were bowled over by how these masters of grinding math pop / noise rock, continued to reinvent themselves and surprise us with every record. The surprise that time was a dramatic shift, into a sound more electronic, one that at the time we described as sounding like a sped up Deerhoof, or like Fuck Buttons. And goddamn if they haven't taken that sound and pushed it even further, transforming their sound, which was already insanely unique, and ridiculously difficult to describe, and literally unlike ANY other bands out there, into something even MORE. Just the first track alone should convince you, it's a total mind blower, a dizzying collision of a million different genres, and so many seemingly incompatible sounds, brilliantly woven into some total next level electro-metal-grind-pop weirdness, that manages to be both the weirdest thing we've heard from M-B, which is saying a LOT, and possibly also the catchiest! That track bears some in depth description, since it pretty much sets the template for the rest of the record. Opening with some glistening kosmische shimmer, some field recorded waves lapping on the beach, some swirling heavily effected guitars, those guitars gradually coalescing into some seriously crunchy riffage, laced with thick sinewy bass-lines, kick ass drumming, weird sound effects and wild FX, before splintering into insane mathiness, the song swinging wildly from indie rock groove, to mathy psychedelic tangle and back again, those super distinctive ultra high chirped vox, before the song breaks down, the guitars locked into digitized loops, peppered with blasts of metallic guitars, more swirling sci-fi FX, some wild double kick drumming, that drumming getting more frantic and chaotic, slipping into full on metal briefly, before launching into a final burst of mathy psychedelic noise pop. It's insanely complex, and impossibly dense, and how the fuck do they cram all that into just 4 minutes? No idea, but we LOVE it. And we won't say it gets weirder, or better, cuz that's not really possible, but it DOES stay that weird, and that good, which is a feat in itself, frenetic, hyper, chaotic, mathy, metallic, poppy, crazy catchy, confusionally fractured, some songs slipping into impossibly soaring epic electronic flecked majesty, others collapsing into dizzying grind-pop freakouts, still others getting all avant experimental WTF? Boredoms style noisiness, and even still others exploding in gouts of wild electro-punk jangle-metal weirdness. A few songs find dreamy guitar shred devolving into long stretches of field recordings, or blossoming into super melodic pop experimental video game krautpop, what a fucking amazing and totally weird record! After all these years, Melt-Banana continue to confound, confuse, inspire, freak out, inspire and blow us the fuck away. Every M-B record is so good, it's hard to proclaim this as their best yet, but you be the judge, cuz, really, we're beginning to think it most definitely is. So totally and absolutely recommended!
MPEG Stream: "Candy Gun"
MPEG Stream: "The Hive"
MPEG Stream: "Infection Defective"
MPEG Stream: "Then Red Eyed"

album cover MONSTER MAGNET Last Patrol (Napalm / Spinning Goblin) cd 15.98
Monster Magnet might just be one of our favorite bands ever. Pretty much every incarnation too. From the early days, the "satanic drug thing you wouldn't understand" era, all Hawkwind channeling heavy psychedelic drugged out stoner rock megajams, to the Kiss worshipping, over the top, cockrock ridiculousness of Dopes To Infinity and Powertrip. The crazy videos, the insane lyrics, the impossibly catchy songs, the choruses to die for, if we were doing a Weird Science sort of scenario, but instead of building the perfect dream girl, we were conjuring up the perfect band, it very well might end up sounding just like Monster Magnet.
We were warned that this new one was something different altogether again, that it was darker and moodier, and not nearly as bombastic or heavy, all of which is true, but even so, we're digging this like crazy, the core sound still pure Monster Magnet, the brooding, dramatic majesty, the crushing metallic heft, the psychedelic space rock shredding, and while songs like the opener are sort of moody and minimal, there are just as many tracks, like the title track for example, that are just primo MM, pounding drumming, space lord motherfucker riffage, Dave Wyndorf's distinctive dramatic rock god vox, and again, hooks galore, the band able to take crazy poppiness, and disguise it as spaced out heaviness. And yeah, lots of Last Patrol is dark and folky, lots of acoustic guitars, the vibe actually sort of MM via Spacemen 3 which as you might imagine is not a bad thing AT ALL. In fact, we'd say maybe 50 percent of the record is sort of dark, acoustic, psychedelic, druggy space folk, the vibe very classic seventies, think all that classic acid folk, but done MM style, and for every bit of bongo laced, string laden acoustic guitar cosmic broodery, there's some classic heavy psych drug rock heavy metal stomp to balance it out.
Another classic from these space lord motherfuckers, and thus, needless to say (but we'll say it anyway), WAY recommended. And while they last, we have the digipack version with bonus tracks.
MPEG Stream: "I Live Behind The Clouds"
MPEG Stream: "Last Patrol"
MPEG Stream: "Three Kingfishers"
MPEG Stream: "Stay Tuned"

album cover SKULLFLOWER / MASTERY split (Cold Spring) lp 28.00
Holy shit is this an incredible match up. Legendary industrial/noise/power electronics/experimental guitar/drone outfit Skullflower teamed up with local gnarled avant headfuck sci-fi blast-buzz one man black metal horde Mastery for this super limited 12", with each band delivering some of their best material yet. This is extremely limited too, once we run out, it might take us a while to get more, assuming we can even get more...
Skullflower's Matthew Bower has made no secret of his love for / fascination with black metal, and it's been seeping into the SF sound for a while now, but strangely, on a record where he's paired with an actual black metal band, when you might expect Bower and Co. to deliver some kvlt black buzz grimnity, blasting and howling and hellish, this is something entirely different. While it is in fact blackened and buzzy, it's much more atmospheric and droned out, weirdly hypnotic and majestic, keening arcs of blown out distortion, buried melodies, and lush crumbling textures, atmospheric, haunting and hypnotic and yeah heavy too, with a super intense in-the-red production, that gives the sound a feral ferocity, and makes every note feel on the verge of collapse, even though it's all actually, in its own fractured and fucked up way, quite lovely.
Mastery of course is in his own gloriously demented and ultra damaged sound world, delivering the sort of lightning speed, dizzying blackened sonic fury that few others can touch, so much so, that we continue to wonder how this guy isn't utterly worshipped by the grim hordes. Could be cuz it's just too goddamn weird, cuz it really is. We're talking far out freaky WTF beyond black metal outsider genius. The sound twisted and tangled, a buzzing blur, wild sonic smears constantly colliding, the vocals rasping and croaking over squalls of blacknoise, and impossibly furious riffing, not to mention inhuman drumming. The guitar playing in particular is totally next level avant insanity, Mick Barr better be looking over his shoulder, cuz at times this sounds like multiple Ocrilim records playing at the same time, all spinning at 78rpm. Beyond that there's all kinds of weird noisiness too, industrial churn, wildly sputtering drum machines, total black metal bliss out head fuck radness. If you've yet to discover just how fucking mind blowing the music of Mastery is, here's another chance...
LIMITED TO 400 COPIES! Cool colored vinyl, and super striking sleeves, with space wolf artwork similar to the double cd on tUMULt!
MPEG Stream: MASTERY "Blood Electric"
MPEG Stream: SKULLFLOWER "Wolf Age"

album cover CARLTON MELTON Always Even [black vinyl w/ poster] (Agitated) lp 19.98
We're kind of running out of superlatives for these guys, and new ways to describe the deliriously druggy din they whip up. If only there was a psychedelic space rock thesaurus... So bear with us if it sounds like we're repeating ourselves, but in a way, that wouldn't be such a bad thing, because even though every Carlton Melton record definitely stands up as its own album, they all sound linked, which makes sense, as they're all recorded in the same space (the DOME), and are all culled from sprawling mega-jams, but instead of sounding simply 'jammy', it's almost as if these guys are psychedelic shamans, tapping into some alien sonic continuum, that the rest of us just aren't privy to, and CM are the conduit, the portal, channeling mysterious cosmic vibes from the ether, and transforming them into some of the sweetest (and hard rockingest) psych we've heard. The core members of CM are once again joined by unofficial 4th member John McBain from Monster Magnet, and together, whip up another gorgeous blast of wasted zoner dreaminess, and driving tranced out kraut-psych. The opener here is definitely familiar territory, easing us in with a sound that seems like it bled over from one of the other recent records, all softly billowing shimmer, and blurred melodic tangles, abstract and dreamily drifty, a serious kosmische kraut-age vibe, and as always, if these guys had stretched that out to fill up the whole record, we'd have been perfectly happy. Instead though, they mix it up, with "Keeping On" being one of the weirder jams we've heard from these guys, driving and propulsive, drum heavy, with thick crumblingly distorted guitars, and some awesome progged out synths, that give the sound a serious seventies prog epic/opus vibe, that these guys manage to craft into something way darker and meaner, with some seriously kick ass drum pound, and wild psych freakouts, super heavy AND heady.
"Spiderwebs" pairs creepy Carpenter-ish cinematic synth with some lazy sun dappled slo-mo dream-psych languor, while "Sarsen" seems to fade into a jam already in progress, one that sounds like it's been going on since the beginning of time, primal and primordial, another muscly hard rocky, drum driven psych-kraut blow out, again laced with swirling synths and dense clouds of freaked out FX, all the while the band locked tight into some serious post-Hawkwind heaviness, and finally, "The Splurge" finishes things off with a sound much more raw and blown out, sounding like it was captured live, lots of reverb and echo, like they're playing in a big concrete bunker, the sounds crumbling and in-the-red, the vibe sorta German Oak-ish, definitely super bunkurfunk mixed into the slow-burn psych, noisy, and trippy and fucking awesome.
Killer psychedelic cover art. The cd is housed in a digipak, while the vinyl comes in two versions, one on green wax, one on black wax with a poster, make sure you order the one you want, they're listed as two different items. (And maybe let us know if you're willing to take the other, if we run out of one...)
MPEG Stream: "Slow Wake"
MPEG Stream: "Keeping On"
MPEG Stream: "Spiderwebs"

album cover CARLTON MELTON Always Even [green vinyl] (Agitated) lp 19.98
We're kind of running out of superlatives for these guys, and new ways to describe the deliriously druggy din they whip up. If only there was a psychedelic space rock thesaurus... So bear with us if it sounds like we're repeating ourselves, but in a way, that wouldn't be such a bad thing, because even though every Carlton Melton record definitely stands up as its own album, they all sound linked, which makes sense, as they're all recorded in the same space (the DOME), and are all culled from sprawling mega-jams, but instead of sounding simply 'jammy', it's almost as if these guys are psychedelic shamans, tapping into some alien sonic continuum, that the rest of us just aren't privy to, and CM are the conduit, the portal, channeling mysterious cosmic vibes from the ether, and transforming them into some of the sweetest (and hard rockingest) psych we've heard. The core members of CM are once again joined by unofficial 4th member John McBain from Monster Magnet, and together, whip up another gorgeous blast of wasted zoner dreaminess, and driving tranced out kraut-psych. The opener here is definitely familiar territory, easing us in with a sound that seems like it bled over from one of the other recent records, all softly billowing shimmer, and blurred melodic tangles, abstract and dreamily drifty, a serious kosmische kraut-age vibe, and as always, if these guys had stretched that out to fill up the whole record, we'd have been perfectly happy. Instead though, they mix it up, with "Keeping On" being one of the weirder jams we've heard from these guys, driving and propulsive, drum heavy, with thick crumblingly distorted guitars, and some awesome progged out synths, that give the sound a serious seventies prog epic/opus vibe, that these guys manage to craft into something way darker and meaner, with some seriously kick ass drum pound, and wild psych freakouts, super heavy AND heady.
"Spiderwebs" pairs creepy Carpenter-ish cinematic synth with some lazy sun dappled slo-mo dream-psych languor, while "Sarsen" seems to fade into a jam already in progress, one that sounds like it's been going on since the beginning of time, primal and primordial, another muscly hard rocky, drum driven psych-kraut blow out, again laced with swirling synths and dense clouds of freaked out FX, all the while the band locked tight into some serious post-Hawkwind heaviness, and finally, "The Splurge" finishes things off with a sound much more raw and blown out, sounding like it was captured live, lots of reverb and echo, like they're playing in a big concrete bunker, the sounds crumbling and in-the-red, the vibe sorta German Oak-ish, definitely super bunkurfunk mixed into the slow-burn psych, noisy, and trippy and fucking awesome.
Killer psychedelic cover art. The cd is housed in a digipak, while the vinyl comes in two versions, one on green wax, one on black wax with a poster, make sure you order the one you want, they're listed as two different items. (And maybe let us know if you're willing to take the other, if we run out of one...)
MPEG Stream: "Slow Wake"
MPEG Stream: "Keeping On"
MPEG Stream: "Spiderwebs"

album cover FUZZ s/t (In The Red) cd 13.98
At first blush, the debut full length from local trio Fuzz, sounds a lot like a Ty Segall record, as it should, since Fuzz is actually Segall's new band, which was originally described to us as sounding like Ty Segall crossed with Black Sabbath. Needless to say we were pretty skeptical at first, but their preceding 7"s proved the point, and now that the highly anticipated full-length is here, goddamn if this isn't some seriously heavy garage-psych proto-metal retro-rock radness! In fact, you'd most certainly be forgiven for thinking this was in fact some genuine lost proto metal artifact, the songs, the sound, the guitar tone, all harken back to the classics, that sound we here at aQ obsess over, in fact, if we were trying to describe Fuzz with some succinct rock band math, we might replace Sabbath above with groups like Power Of Zeus, or Dust, or the Groundhogs, cuz it definitely has that old school hard rocking vibe BIG TIME.
The interesting thing about Fuzz, is that while Segall is still singing, he's now behind the kit, and is actually a seriously kick ass drummer, very much in the style of say Ginger Baker or Mitch Mitchell, busy and loose, slipping from wild octopoidal freakouts to locked in hard rocking grooves and back again, while guitarist Charlie Moothart (who also plays in Segall's band, as well as the Moonhearts) proves himself to be a serious shredder, who should be getting the same sort of love that dudes like Isaiah Mitchell does, in fact fans of Earthless will find much of the jamming here right up their alley, with Moothart unfurling, crumbling, blown out heavy rock riffs, alongside wild blasts of mega shred psychedelic freakout. And while most of the songs her are loose and jammy, with much of the record sounding like different parts of the same mega-jam, rife with lots of space, and stop/starts, stretches of amp hum, lurching abstract almost doomy breakdowns, even some almost-drum solo bits, a few pop gems surface here and there, like "What's In My Head", which would have sounded right at home on any of the Segall record proper, so catchy, with a hook to die for, but still somehow fitting into Fuzz's retro fuzz-rock soundworld. That sound in full effect on "Loose Sutures" which is about as loose as these guys get, the midsong breakdown total heavy seventies psych-prog radness, complete with fuzzed out bass solo, killer drumming, and when the main riff comes back in, SO HEAVY. The record finishes of with three more blasts of blown out riff heavy psych rock that kills, lurching from fuzzy lope, to full on near metallic crunch, to total classic old school heavy psych, and as much as we love pretty much everything Segall has done, this Fuzz record is fast becoming our favorite.
Killer psychedelic space dragon cover art, the lp includes a download code as well!
MPEG Stream: "Earthen gate"
MPEG Stream: "What's In My Head"
MPEG Stream: "Sleigh Ride"
MPEG Stream: "Loose Sutures"

album cover FUZZ s/t (In The Red) lp 15.98
At first blush, the debut full length from local trio Fuzz, sounds a lot like a Ty Segall record, as it should, since Fuzz is actually Segall's new band, which was originally described to us as sounding like Ty Segall crossed with Black Sabbath. Needless to say we were pretty skeptical at first, but their preceding 7"s proved the point, and now that the highly anticipated full-length is here, goddamn if this isn't some seriously heavy garage-psych proto-metal retro-rock radness! In fact, you'd most certainly be forgiven for thinking this was in fact some genuine lost proto metal artifact, the songs, the sound, the guitar tone, all harken back to the classics, that sound we here at aQ obsess over, in fact, if we were trying to describe Fuzz with some succinct rock band math, we might replace Sabbath above with groups like Power Of Zeus, or Dust, or the Groundhogs, cuz it definitely has that old school hard rocking vibe BIG TIME.
The interesting thing about Fuzz, is that while Segall is still singing, he's now behind the kit, and is actually a seriously kick ass drummer, very much in the style of say Ginger Baker or Mitch Mitchell, busy and loose, slipping from wild octopoidal freakouts to locked in hard rocking grooves and back again, while guitarist Charlie Moothart (who also plays in Segall's band, as well as the Moonhearts) proves himself to be a serious shredder, who should be getting the same sort of love that dudes like Isaiah Mitchell does, in fact fans of Earthless will find much of the jamming here right up their alley, with Moothart unfurling, crumbling, blown out heavy rock riffs, alongside wild blasts of mega shred psychedelic freakout. And while most of the songs her are loose and jammy, with much of the record sounding like different parts of the same mega-jam, rife with lots of space, and stop/starts, stretches of amp hum, lurching abstract almost doomy breakdowns, even some almost-drum solo bits, a few pop gems surface here and there, like "What's In My Head", which would have sounded right at home on any of the Segall record proper, so catchy, with a hook to die for, but still somehow fitting into Fuzz's retro fuzz-rock soundworld. That sound in full effect on "Loose Sutures" which is about as loose as these guys get, the midsong breakdown total heavy seventies psych-prog radness, complete with fuzzed out bass solo, killer drumming, and when the main riff comes back in, SO HEAVY. The record finishes of with three more blasts of blown out riff heavy psych rock that kills, lurching from fuzzy lope, to full on near metallic crunch, to total classic old school heavy psych, and as much as we love pretty much everything Segall has done, this Fuzz record is fast becoming our favorite.
Killer psychedelic space dragon cover art, the lp includes a download code as well!
MPEG Stream: "Earthen gate"
MPEG Stream: "What's In My Head"
MPEG Stream: "Sleigh Ride"
MPEG Stream: "Loose Sutures"

album cover IRON FOREST Body Horror (Crucial Blast) cd 14.98
Body Horror is the second record from Iron Forest, whose sound is a dizzying mix of crushing industrial rhythms, blacknoise terror, power electronics, mutated dub and churning downtuned doom dirgery. Longtime aQ list readers might have crossed paths with the man behind Iron Forest, maybe without even knowing it, with him most recently contributing a B side remix to the newest 7" from USBM weirdos Venowl, but going way further back, operating under the name Crown Of Amaranth, a harsh, harrowing drone project that was an early release on the Crucial Blast label imprint Crucial Blaze. Iron Forest definitely displays much of the same sonic malevolence as CoA, but has honed it into something more focused and rhythmic, taking thick swaths of gnarled and gristled sound, and anchoring it to blown out, almost Digital Hardcore sounding beats. The opening track is strangely lovely, a black sprawl of reverbed melodies over distant rumbles, and grinding glitched out buzz, wrapped around a skeletal stretch of dubbed out pulses, and peppered with machine gun bursts of spastic drum splatter, somehow managing to be both grim and fierce, but haunting and sort of space-y and atmospheric. And that carries over to many of the tracks here, although some like "Rust And Decay" sound a bit like the robotic machine music heaviness of Author & Punisher, lurching and lumbering Godflesh like through fields of static and churning doom-crush riffage. The sticker on the front had us prepared for more of an all out noise assault, but in reality, this could have been some weird Wordsound record, or some Alec Empire related jam from back in the day, not hard to imagine this as being some weird Kevin Martin project too (Ice, God, etc.). tracks like "The Divide" lay down warm, woozy swaths of majestic slow build thrum, and inject weird bits of fragmented rhythm, and shards of more caustic noise, but all of that is sort of smeared into the whole, making for a seriously heady and hypnotic listen. In fact barring a few moments of doom-ed heaviness, the whole second half of the record is all sinister doom-death-dub sprawl, beats for doomheadz, haunting, textured, cinematic, noisy, psychedelic, grim and totally tranced out and hypnotic. So good!
Packaged in an oversized dvd-style case, LIMITED TO 400 COPIES, each one hand numbered, inside a printed insert, as well as a handful of full color art cards, wrapped in a black on black printed cardstock cover, and held shut by a similarly black on black printed Japanese style obi!
MPEG Stream: "Pathogenesis"
MPEG Stream: "Rust And Decay"
MPEG Stream: "The Divide"
MPEG Stream: "Treatment"

album cover FOREST SWORDS Engravings (Tri Angle) cd 15.98
We made the first record from Forest Swords, Dagger Paths, a Record of The Week, way back in 2010. And like we said in that review, how could we not? Music that was originally described to us as "drone-step", and did in fact live up to that descriptor. That record definitely had a Burial / Kode9 vibe, and since then groups like oOoOO and Vessel have definitely channeled some of the same sound, but Dagger Paths sounded like outsider dubstep, created in a vacuum, and home recorded, the sounds raw and rough around the edges, as if someone who had never heard dubstep, and had been raised on experimental 4 trackery and abstract minimal noise music, figured 'what the heck? I'll give it a try.' So it was, lots of guitars, blurred into droning swaths, lots of reverb and hazy vocals, huge bass rumbles and murky beats, everything spectral and ethereal, sorta Codeine crossed with Portishead. So we were definitely taken aback a little by the new record, which at first blush, is way more polished, and lush, and high fidelity, and as much as we try not to be like THOSE people, who don't want bands to change, and just want the band to make the same record we love already over and over, it was hard to not miss the grit and the grime of the old record. But honestly, that knee jerk reaction lasted all of about 30 seconds, cuz holy shit, the new sound is equally awesome, woozy, and dark, and druggy, and lush, and layered, the beats hypnotic, the whole sound mesmerizingly tripped out, guitars are still in the mix, but they're more deftly woven into the sound, so they sound almost like orchestral swells, the vocals too, here garbled and distorted, becoming yet another part of the bigger picture, that picture being the sort of murky tarpit slo-mo soul we can't seem to get enough of. And yeah, if you already love Burial, oOoOO, Vessel, the most recent Haxan Cloak, Holy Other, etc., we're guessing a few seconds of the first sound sample below and you'll be sold BIG TIME.
Everything we loved about that first record is still present, but just a bit more polished and recontextualized, the vibe is still a sort of darkly psychedelic electronic slow-core, the sonic palette is much expanded though, giving the songs here a seriously prismatic sprawl, total wasted, zoner, late night come down chill out club jamz, with occasional forays into slightly more upbeat climes, a little jungle-y skitter here, a bit of dubsteppy throb there, dub looms large everywhere, in the liquid basslines, in the reverbed and echo drenched beats, and fear not, it's still occasionally weird as fuck, with songs splintering into chaotic drifts, or crumbling into warped noise, twisted samples and Morricone-esque guitar twang, all before lumbering back into another fantastically tranced out stuttery, skittery, electro-dub drone-soul lope. So good!
MPEG Stream: "Ljoss"
MPEG Stream: "Thor's Stone"
MPEG Stream: "Irby Tremor"
MPEG Stream: "Onward"

album cover HERMS, THE Drop Out Vol. 1 (Castle Face) cd 13.98
We reviewed a record from local garage pop indie rockers the Herms way back in 2006, and if memory serves, we did dig it, but Castle Face head honcho and Oh Sees mainman John Dwyer insisted we forget all about that old record, and revel in this new one, which is not actually a proper record so much as a collection of demos and outtakes and unreleased rarities, but all the songs were hand picked by Dwyer, and definitely demonstrate the sort of lo-fi outsider pop what-the-fuck weirdness these guys were capable of, which wasn't really even hinted at on that way more polished record proper from back in the day. In fact, all it should take is a quick listen to the first track, the awesomely titled "Power Joystick", which sounds like some alternate universe Kinks, with way more bass buzz, some trippy psychedelic keyboard noodling, everything just a bit detuned, maybe recorded on a boombox, and with a totally unexpected midsong burst of blown out super distorted baroque pop majesty, before lurching right back into more of their noisy, jangly, wobbly Velvets-y groove. Fuck, so good. We had to listen to that track 5 or 6 times before letting it play any further. And if you dig that first one, pretty much all of Drop Out Vol. 1 is gonna push all the same buttons. "The Organisation" sounds like some weird archival track from the sixties, replete with dramatic spoken word vox, over warbly whirring organ, crunchy trebly jangle and simple drum pound. "Volleyball" ups the fidelity a bit, hinting at the band's more polished potential, but it all still sounds just a bit off kilter, the mix kind of just slightly wrong, the vox down in the mix, the keyboard melodies WAY up front. Hooky, and fuzzy, and jangly, and pretty much a perfect fit on Castle Face. Fans of Ty Segall, Mikal Cronin, the Mallard, Bare Wires, and of course Thee Oh Sees will definitely dig. We're also reminded a bit of the idiosyncratic home brewed poppiness of Cleaners Of Venus, albeit the Herms are a bit more ramshackle and garage-y. For every moment of classic garage pop jangle, or fuzzy hooky indie pop crunch, there's some twisted, almost avant sounding blast of fractured art rock to balance it out, or sometimes completely cancel it out, often in the same song. A new (old) aQ fave for sure!
MPEG Stream: "Power Joystick"
MPEG Stream: "The Organisation"
MPEG Stream: "Volleyball"
MPEG Stream: "Drop Out"

album cover MOIN Murphy (Blackest Ever Black) 12" 15.98
This is not at all what we were expecting, but holy shit, is it cool. Moin is actually a side project / offshoot of Raime, whose gorgeously murky and bleak exercise in creeping, claustrophobic, electronic minimalism, Quarter Turns Over A Living Line, was a HUGE favorite around here, but as Moin, that sound gets recast as something less electronic, and more, well, sort of noise rock, for lack of a better descriptor. If it's at all possible, and judging from this, it most certainly is, Moin is like a weird noise rock version of Raime, the programmed beats, replaced by dense, motorik, muscly drumming, the various loops and layers transformed into spidery minor key guitar melodies, the vibe propulsive, hypnotic, tranced out, and still very very dark. Imagine an even more stripped down Laddio Bollocko, the 'band' locked into seemingly simple hypno-rock grooves, and just churning out totally mesmerizing, shadowy heaviness. Opener "Murphy" almost sounds like a Sling outtake, fused with a little Rapeman, with some Godspeed ambience mixed in. And if that sounds like impossible band math, well, we would have thought so too. "Stacie" (all the tracks have people names, a la the first Slint record too, hmm), is much more stripped down and low slung, arranged more like an electronic track, brooding and slow building, more about the vibe, and the mood, and the rhythm, and the texture, the guitars crumbling and crunchy, but spare and sparse, melancholic and haunting. And finally "Clancy" lays down a mathy stuttery beat, beneath sheets of feedback, before the main riff rolls in, another strange sample layered over the top, the guitars jagged and percussive, very Albini-esque for sure, but even more restrained and textural, all with a sort of post punk / industrial feel, and like the other two tracks, totally trancey, minimal noise rock nirvana!
MPEG Stream: "Murphy"
MPEG Stream: "Clancy"

album cover HERZOG Cartoon Violence (Exit Stencil) lp 15.98
A weird thing happens when we're figuring out our end of year faves. Beyond the record nerd arguing about -exactly- when certain records came out, and the endless struggling of trying to whittle down our lists to a manageable amount, we also often end up with two dramatically different lists. There's the one that we post and share, which features mostly stuff we've reviewed on the New Arrivals list, lots of our Records Of The Week, etc. But there's always another one, packed with slightly stranger faves, guilty pleasures certainly, things we thought maybe aQ folks might not care so much about, records we weren't able to get for the store, or weren't able to get enough to review, but every once in a while, a record that belongs on the first, somehow ends up on the second. Which is almost what happened with this, the first we'd heard from these Ohio indie rock geniuses. It was another instance of a record that just showed up in the mail, and immediately blew us away. We were instantly hooked, even before we heard it, first off, there's the band name obviously, c'mon, how good a name is Herzog, and then the awesome album title and the cartoonishly ultraviolent cover art featuring horrified onlookers peering through the glass at what appears to be a blood splattered nursery, with two very self satisfied looking seals wielding bloody clubs! And then there's the music, the opening two track one-two punch is perhaps the catchiest, most kick ass blast of fuzzed out indie rock noise pop radness that we've heard in FOREVER. So the pop nerds around here began listening to the record like crazy, as in ALL the time, and for whatever reason, it just didn't occur to us that hell, we should try to get these for the store, until someone pointed out just how obsessed we'd become. So we finally did, and after a few attempts to get in touch with the band, here it is, and right off the bat, before we go any further, just know that this is hands down, a contender for pop record of the year. Maybe even top spot on the year end top ten list, regardless of genre, certainly if you base it on how much we've listened to it. Anyone out there in aQ land who's been digging other recent aQ faves like Mrs. Magician, the Ovens, Violent Change, Telekinesis, etc. But really, Herzog sound like a band out of time, think of your favorite indie rock bands from back in the day, Weezer, Pavement, Sebadoh, Dinosaur Jr., the whole record oozes with that classic sound. And while ANY band can fake the sound, no bands can fake the songs, and the songs here are SO crazy catchy, fuzzy, crunchy, hook filled, with super funny lyrics, killer choruses, weird arrangements, all wound up into pretty much perfect jangle rock noise pop jams.
Just give a listen to opener "Fuck This Year", with its cool busy / frantic super dynamic stop/start verse, the awesome lyrics, the super catchy slithery guitar melody, the chorus that will stick in your head only slightly more than the verse, there's warm chiming harmonics, the sound lush and layered, hell, there's even some cowbell in there, and it rules! And as if the song wasn't catchy enough, near the end the band toss in a whole other part, that's somehow even catchier than the song proper. The second part of the aforementioned one-two punch is just as good, with it's slow build opening, and weirdly syncopated verses, wreathed in tangly spidery guitars, some cool crunchy riffage, and again, super memorable vocals, and impossibly hooky melodies, and then after some soaring falsetto vox, and some shredding noise guitar, they do the same thing here too, tossing in a part right near the end, two parts in fact, that are SO crazy catchy, any other band would have turned them into their own songs. But instead, it's just a barrage of constant catchiness that we can guarantee, doesn't lose anything, even after literally hundreds of listens.
And while we could go song by song, we'll just nerd out over one other one, the awesomely titled "Rich People Ballad", which sounds again like it was transported here from 1995, with its crunchy super distorted J Mascis style guitar shredding, its lilting moody indie rock brood, not to mention, yet another classic pop chorus, super heavy guitars, wild drumming, the sort of song you might have expected to hear from Weezer circa the blue record, and yeah, it's that good. And these three songs have gotten so much play, we barely made it to the rest of the record, but there's so much more good stuff lurking further in. "You Clean Up Nice" threatens to give those first three a run for their money, with its flanged riffage, and classic pop hook-age, then there's "Dreaming Man II" which slows things down, even adds harmonica (!!) for something a bit more swoonsome and twang flecked, heck there's even some shimmery slide guitar too, and then comes "Feedback", which is all quirky organ driven garage rock, but peppered with cool oddball pop moments, sounding almost baroque at times, and laced with some seriously heavy noise pop blowouts throughout. There a few more seriously rocking noise pop blowouts... plus throughout, Beach Boys like vocals, Beatle-esque harmonies, and on one track a little Camper Van Beethoven (!), all get woven into the mix... Every song here a gem, worth it alone already for those first four for sure, but really Cartoon Violence is truly one of those rare pop records that really is all killer and no filler, AT ALL.
So totally essential... Indie rock / noise pop nirvana! And for some of us here (Andee in particular), this has been almost the only thing that gets listened to literally every day, for going on six months now... Which is obviously about the highest recommendation we can give...
The jackets are really nice too, the aforementioned amazing artwork with some super cool (and subtle) metallic ink printing, and includes a download code too!
MPEG Stream: "Fuck This Year"
MPEG Stream: "Rock And Roll Monster"
MPEG Stream: "Rich People Ballad"
MPEG Stream: "You Clean Up Nice"

album cover HOT AND COLD Any Monkey Is Dangerous (Maybe Mars) cd 12.98
On the last list, we reviewed an lp from Hot & Cold, a Chinese group who somehow found their way to Chicago label Moniker, and as we mentioned in that review it was a perfect fit, as H&C's twisted brand of lo-fi noise pop / minimal psych kraut / psychedelic noise rock was pretty well removed from much of the other Chinese stuff we've been reviewing lately, which tends more toward the jangly/fuzzy end of nineties style American indie rock. But we (and lots of you) dug that lp, and wanted more, so here's another blast of FX drenched weirdo pop noisiness, and if anything, it's equal to the Moniker lp, right from the get-go, opening with a feral blast of distortion drenched, feedback slathered, bass heavy crunch. Siren like melodies swirl atop a bed of tangled high end squiggles, some fierce distorto bass buzz, yowled Mark E. Smith style vox, all wreathed in a weird cloud of sculpted industrial feedback, and driven by a clipped minimal electro beat, and it's so good! One of those opening tracks we had to listen to 5 or 6 times before we could make ourselves listen to the rest of the record. Which is equal to that opener, albeit not all nearly as noisy and chaotic. "Simon's Angry Song" doesn't sound nearly as angry as that opener, but does deliver a tense sprawl of loping noise rock mesmer, with some crunchy guitar buzz, another drum machine beat, the vocals buried in the mix this time, but as we've come to expect, it doesn't take long for the song to splinter into full on WTF freakout, a twisted squall of wild psychedelic noise, and glitched out weirdness, all still draped over that original hypnotic groove. "Knife Fight" sounds like a more wasted, WAY more abstract Stooges, a single riff looped and layered into something super tranced out, like the other tracks, gradually getting more and more twisted and trippy. We could probably go through the whole record track by track, cuz every song here is a twisted weirdo gem, hazy zoner-psych krautrock style kosmiche, to loping, stuttering electro-murk grooviness, that explodes into damaged outsider rhythmic meltdown, to super blown out, noise rock damage, to druggy dirgey mesmer, that sounds a bit like Spacemen 3 and the Velvets, melted down and doused in hallucinogens, to crunchy, robotic new wave noise-pop...
Seriously twisted, WTF avant pop electro noise radness, an oddball sonic outlier amidst all the killer Chinese indie rock and noise pop that we've been reviewing recently, but one that's quickly revealing itself to maybe be one of our favorites so far!
MPEG Stream: "Helen's Interiors"
MPEG Stream: "Simon's Angry Song"
MPEG Stream: "Knife Fight"
MPEG Stream: "Dance"

album cover SLASHER FILM FESTIVAL STRATEGY, THE Crimson Throne (Foreign Sounds) cd 10.98
Not sure how we managed to miss this one, with a name like that. Well, making up for last time, this one got sent to us a while back, and we finally gave it a listen and we were thoroughly blown away. And what's not to dig? The work of just one man, Christopher Ashley, aka The Slasher Film Festival Strategy, Crimson Throne is a stunner, trafficking in a sound similar to the current crop of retro synth wranglers, conjuring up lost scores to never-existed seventies horror flicks and lost art house giallos, and while that sound has been done to death recently, A) it's a sound we never get tired of, and B) this guy does it way better than most. The synth sounds are thick and gristly, the melodies sinister and ominous, the tracks laced with skeletal drum machines, and sweeping epic backdrops, as far as Carpenter / Goblin worship goes, it doesn't get much better than this. The opener sets the scene, a smoldering sprawl of gristly synth buzz, anchored by a low end bassline, a melody soon creeps in, it's not hard to imagine the credits rolling, a lonely figure walking through an abandoned town, strange shadows behind the darkened windows, is the figure a potential victim, or the person everyone fears? A pulsing throb surfaces, ominous synth swells add some emotional tension, and soon the song blossoms into a full on moody minor key synth dirge, the drums pounding, the various synths swirling, so sinister and creepy and so obviously sonic portent of impending doom!
And so it goes, every track here the potential soundtrack for some lost B movie classic, from the almost disco drums and groovy synth pulse of the title track, wreathed in sweeping swaths of keyboard shimmer, to the creeping kosmische swirl of "Weightless", which would no doubt score some 2001 A Space Odyssey type sentient computer / alien on board seventies sci-fi thriller, to the drum machine driven new wave-y grooviness of "Solar Winds", which sounds like the weirdly and creepily jaunty music that plays beneath the closing credits, over the last image freeze-framed, alternately, it also sounds like some lost cold wave gem that could be a Dark Entries reissue! And there's so much more. Rad synthscapery of every stripe, total retro, creep out, imaginary soundtrack, kosmische, new age, space drift bliss, peppered with blasts of disco-y grooviness, woozy psychedelic synth drift, and haunting woozy vocodered minimal wave (check out closer "Day Eighteen"). The whole thing dedicated to the Space Shuttle Ambition!? So good.
Essential listening for fans of Expo 70, Umberto, Blizaro, Zombi, Majeure, Xander Harris, Gatekeeper, Nightsatan, etc...
MPEG Stream: "The Departure"
MPEG Stream: "Crimson Throne"
MPEG Stream: "Weightless"
MPEG Stream: "Solar Winds"

album cover SLASHER FILM FESTIVAL STRATEGY, THE Crimson Throne (Foreign Sounds) lp 14.98
Not sure how we managed to miss this one, with a name like that. Well, making up for last time, this one got sent to us a while back, and we finally gave it a listen and we were thoroughly blown away. And what's not to dig? The work of just one man, Christopher Ashley, aka The Slasher Film Festival Strategy, Crimson Throne is a stunner, trafficking in a sound similar to the current crop of retro synth wranglers, conjuring up lost scores to never-existed seventies horror flicks and lost art house giallos, and while that sound has been done to death recently, A) it's a sound we never get tired of, and B) this guy does it way better than most. The synth sounds are thick and gristly, the melodies sinister and ominous, the tracks laced with skeletal drum machines, and sweeping epic backdrops, as far as Carpenter / Goblin worship goes, it doesn't get much better than this. The opener sets the scene, a smoldering sprawl of gristly synth buzz, anchored by a low end bassline, a melody soon creeps in, it's not hard to imagine the credits rolling, a lonely figure walking through an abandoned town, strange shadows behind the darkened windows, is the figure a potential victim, or the person everyone fears? A pulsing throb surfaces, ominous synth swells add some emotional tension, and soon the song blossoms into a full on moody minor key synth dirge, the drums pounding, the various synths swirling, so sinister and creepy and so obviously sonic portent of impending doom!
And so it goes, every track here the potential soundtrack for some lost B movie classic, from the almost disco drums and groovy synth pulse of the title track, wreathed in sweeping swaths of keyboard shimmer, to the creeping kosmische swirl of "Weightless", which would no doubt score some 2001 A Space Odyssey type sentient computer / alien on board seventies sci-fi thriller, to the drum machine driven new wave-y grooviness of "Solar Winds", which sounds like the weirdly and creepily jaunty music that plays beneath the closing credits, over the last image freeze-framed, alternately, it also sounds like some lost cold wave gem that could be a Dark Entries reissue! And there's so much more. Rad synthscapery of every stripe, total retro, creep out, imaginary soundtrack, kosmische, new age, space drift bliss, peppered with blasts of disco-y grooviness, woozy psychedelic synth drift, and haunting woozy vocodered minimal wave (check out closer "Day Eighteen"). The whole thing dedicated to the Space Shuttle Ambition!? So good.
Essential listening for fans of Expo 70, Umberto, Blizaro, Zombi, Majeure, Xander Harris, Gatekeeper, Nightsatan, etc...
MPEG Stream: "The Departure"
MPEG Stream: "Crimson Throne"
MPEG Stream: "Weightless"
MPEG Stream: "Solar Winds"

album cover BUNYIP MOON, THE World (self-released) cd 11.98
THIS FORMER RECORD OF THE WEEK (on list #434), NOW AT LAST BACK IN STOCK!!
We can only listen to so much music in our lifetimes. That's a sad fact, one we all have to come to terms with. Or not. But if you're like us, and if you're reading this, you probably are, then much of your life is spent trying to do just that. Listen to as much amazing music as possible. And at some point, like us, you realize that your biggest fear about dying, is that there will be so much music you won't get to hear, well then, that's when you up your game, and decide to make every moment count, and listen to music ALL THE TIME. But even then, there's only so much time in the day, and the night, and you have to eat, and work, and maybe watch TV, hang out with your significant other, and yeah, most of that stuff you can do WHILE you listen to music, but odds are some music is gonna slip by you, no matter how insanely obsessive you are. So now, take the music you already own and want to listen to, and add to that a constant influx of new music to check out, which is what happens here, and while we LOVE that, so much amazing new music and so many fantastic discoveries, it really can end up being too much. We get overwhelmed, and well, we miss out on some stuff, which is exactly what happened with World, by Aussie shoegaze noise rockers the Bunyip Moon. We were cleaning up, and organizing, and going through boxes and drawers, and discovered this cd, and threw it on, and were immediately blown the fuck away. Struck by all sorts of feelings, feeling bad for taking so long to give it a listen, feeling like we COULD have been listening to this already for ages, but mostly feeling like we had to get this reviewed so all you folks out there could add one more amazing record to the stack of music already waiting to be listened to. But here's where we suggest you bump the Bunyip Moon to the front of the queue, cuz holy shit is this great.
And great in that way that makes what it sounds like actually pretty tough to describe. The vibe is sorts of nineties, shoegaze-y for sure, but with a bit of a gloomy feel, deep dramatic vocals buried in the mix to the point of being nearly inaudible, everything buried beneath super distorted and blown out, crumbling and hiss drenched fuzz and buzz and thrum, total blissed out heart-of-the-sun noise-gaze dreaminess, and the drums, wow, the drums are super distorted too, bursts of wild tribal rhythms that almost sounds like swarms of bees, each song a churning jangle flecked squall of noise drenched indie rock / noise rock, at times we hear Crystal Stilts, at times Loop, at others Bailter Space, even a little Dinosaur Jr., lots of NZ Flying Nun, at least the weirder, heavier stuff, and of course all the Australian bands we love, Celibate Rifles, the Scientists, Lubricated Goat, etc, but here those influences are blurred into something fuzzy and washed out and gloriously and blissfully noisy, this IS one of those records, where we're tempted to just have a single sentence review that says "BUY THIS! It's so great, it's all we want to listen to, it's fuzzy and poppy and noisy and psychedelic, and it's one of the best things we've heard in ages, and we've been listening to it non-stop to make up for all the time it languished unlistened to." And we definitely traffic in hyperbole in our reviews, but believe us that nothing in this review is hyperbolic, this band, and this record is so goddamn good, their sound is exactly what we want to listen to, it's the sort of band we wish we played in, it's damn near perfect, warm and fuzzy, noisy and dreamy, the production is bizarre, but bizarrely perfect, it's druggy and psychedelic, and seriously heavy, twisted and experimental, laced with loops and bizarre effects, for every bit of distorto crunch, there's some super melodic jangle, more often then not, the two mashed together, there are long stretches of brooding moodiness, extended hypno-rock epics, short bursts of furious noise pop, and sprawling near-Godspeed slow builds, and even some gloomy almost new wave, and it all sounds so goddamn good. If these guys had popped up on Slumberland they'd be HUGE right now. They should be, and if all is right in the universe, WILL be, cuz really, this is easily some of the best jangle pop / noise rock / shoegaze we've ever heard.
MPEG Stream: "Kill Everything"
MPEG Stream: "Gravity Sux"
MPEG Stream: "Black Hole"
MPEG Stream: "Take Down The Crucifix"

album cover DEAD C, THE Armed Courage (Ba Da Bing!) cd 13.98
Has it really been more than 25 years? And close to 40 releases? These NZ noise rock legends have been making their particular brand of abstract, avant free-noise beauty for what seems like forEVER. And somehow, over all those years, and all those releases, they've both managed to keep making music that is distinctly and defiantly their own, while constantly re-inventing that sound in a way that has kept that sound impossibly interesting, extremely relevant and ridiculously influential on legions of other noisemakers, whether they realize it or not.
Listening to Armed Courage, we were initially forced to wonder, what exactly it is that makes a Dead C jam a proper record? Cuz barring their flirtations with pop songs (and there have been many), the sound of the Dead C, and of Armed Courage, does in fact sound like a band letting loose, jamming endlessly... Both the tracks here sound like the could have been plucked from even more epic jams, as if someone just pushed 'record' in the middle of a 24 hour jam, affording us a glorious glimpse into what could only be a never ending noise rock jam, our glimpse's brevity dictated by the limitations of recorded media. It tickles us to imagine Bruce Russell, Michael Morley and Robbie Yeats locked in a perpetual jam, the Hawkwind style heart-of-the-sun freakouts recontextualized into something WAY more loose and abstract and while not perhaps lo-fi in sound, certainly in spirit.
The two tracks here offer up the two sonic sides of the Dead C, alternately crafting an alien lo-fi avant indie rock minimalism, and at their most fierce and free, with Yeats delivering some of the wildest drumming we've heard from him on the opening track, a tangle of multiple free jazz freakouts, locked into weirdly unhinged krautrock style motorik grooves, that constantly splinter, fall apart and somehow come right back together again. All the while, Russell and Morley transforming their guitars into noisemakers, the drums wreathed in billowing clouds of rumble and whir, of crumblingly distorted drones, and fragmented riffs, tones pulsing and undulating, all blurred into constantly shifting sheets of smeared sound, the occasional bit of loose clattery percussion, the cool second half of the first track, where the band lock into a crazy Necks-like minimal groove, all skittery rhythm, pulsating distorto-buzz, and a cool, almost electronic sounding field of percussive guitar scrape that sounds a bit like a damaged synth, the whole thing barreling forward with a strange buried propulsion. It seems impossible that something this formless, and free, this shapeless and abstract could somehow be so sonically mesmerizing, but for all its shapelessness, the sound is teeming with strange sonic shapes, and for all its looseness, the group sound impossibly tight, flying into wild musical tangents, but always finding their way back, or not, sometimes just following each other on those tangents and changing the direction of the song and sound entirely. Nearly 30 years of playing together will do that to a group.
The second track shifts gears completely, the band slipping into their warbly low fidelity songcraft, the sound unfurling sedately, with a field of rhythmic static, some woozy guitars, some strange percussion, lots of tape hiss ambience, and weary, whispery, crooned vocals, the band seemingly locked into a somnambulant drift, before Yeats lets loose again, his octopoidal skitter mirrored by caustic guitar scrabble, and gristly electronic buzz, all still anchored by some detuned strum, the drums building, driving the song into a dense driving noise rock jam, laced with streaks of high end guitar freakout, before shedding all the noise and bash and howl, leaving just a shadowy sprawl of murky mesmer, which again, slowly builds from hushed creep, to a weirdly math bit of motorik churn, simple, but loud drumming, over FX wreathed wah wah, and streaks of droned out warble, a stumbling bunkurfunk dirge that gradually loses momentum, eventually disappearing into a soft fading cloud of Jandekian guitar-warble.
Fucking fantastic.
MPEG Stream: "Armed"
MPEG Stream: "Courage"

album cover DEAD C, THE Armed Courage (Ba Da Bing!) lp 14.98
Has it really been more than 25 years? And close to 40 releases? These NZ noise rock legends have been making their particular brand of abstract, avant free-noise beauty for what seems like forEVER. And somehow, over all those years, and all those releases, they've both managed to keep making music that is distinctly and defiantly their own, while constantly re-inventing that sound in a way that has kept that sound impossibly interesting, extremely relevant and ridiculously influential on legions of other noisemakers, whether they realize it or not.
Listening to Armed Courage, we were initially forced to wonder, what exactly it is that makes a Dead C jam a proper record? Cuz barring their flirtations with pop songs (and there have been many), the sound of the Dead C, and of Armed Courage, does in fact sound like a band letting loose, jamming endlessly... Both the tracks here sound like the could have been plucked from even more epic jams, as if someone just pushed 'record' in the middle of a 24 hour jam, affording us a glorious glimpse into what could only be a never ending noise rock jam, our glimpse's brevity dictated by the limitations of recorded media. It tickles us to imagine Bruce Russell, Michael Morley and Robbie Yeats locked in a perpetual jam, the Hawkwind style heart-of-the-sun freakouts recontextualized into something WAY more loose and abstract and while not perhaps lo-fi in sound, certainly in spirit.
The two tracks here offer up the two sonic sides of the Dead C, alternately crafting an alien lo-fi avant indie rock minimalism, and at their most fierce and free, with Yeats delivering some of the wildest drumming we've heard from him on the opening track, a tangle of multiple free jazz freakouts, locked into weirdly unhinged krautrock style motorik grooves, that constantly splinter, fall apart and somehow come right back together again. All the while, Russell and Morley transforming their guitars into noisemakers, the drums wreathed in billowing clouds of rumble and whir, of crumblingly distorted drones, and fragmented riffs, tones pulsing and undulating, all blurred into constantly shifting sheets of smeared sound, the occasional bit of loose clattery percussion, the cool second half of the first track, where the band lock into a crazy Necks-like minimal groove, all skittery rhythm, pulsating distorto-buzz, and a cool, almost electronic sounding field of percussive guitar scrape that sounds a bit like a damaged synth, the whole thing barreling forward with a strange buried propulsion. It seems impossible that something this formless, and free, this shapeless and abstract could somehow be so sonically mesmerizing, but for all its shapelessness, the sound is teeming with strange sonic shapes, and for all its looseness, the group sound impossibly tight, flying into wild musical tangents, but always finding their way back, or not, sometimes just following each other on those tangents and changing the direction of the song and sound entirely. Nearly 30 years of playing together will do that to a group.
The second track shifts gears completely, the band slipping into their warbly low fidelity songcraft, the sound unfurling sedately, with a field of rhythmic static, some woozy guitars, some strange percussion, lots of tape hiss ambience, and weary, whispery, crooned vocals, the band seemingly locked into a somnambulant drift, before Yeats lets loose again, his octopoidal skitter mirrored by caustic guitar scrabble, and gristly electronic buzz, all still anchored by some detuned strum, the drums building, driving the song into a dense driving noise rock jam, laced with streaks of high end guitar freakout, before shedding all the noise and bash and howl, leaving just a shadowy sprawl of murky mesmer, which again, slowly builds from hushed creep, to a weirdly math bit of motorik churn, simple, but loud drumming, over FX wreathed wah wah, and streaks of droned out warble, a stumbling bunkurfunk dirge that gradually loses momentum, eventually disappearing into a soft fading cloud of Jandekian guitar-warble.
Fucking fantastic.
MPEG Stream: "Armed"
MPEG Stream: "Courage"

album cover CIRCLE OF OUROBORUS The Lost Entrance Of The Just (Handmade Birds) cd 13.98
Out of print on vinyl for a while now, this twisted slab of Finnish outsider blackened weirdness is finally available on cd! Here's our review from when we first listed the lp version back in 2012:
The latest from Finland's post black metal gloom pop weirdos Circle Of Ouroborus, whose sound really was barely ever actually all that black metal to begin with, but has continually been drifting further and further away, finally arriving here, at a sound that at this point is one distinctly their own, still subtly informed by black metal, but essentially pop music, a gloomy, occasionally buzzing, dour and darkly depressive pop music, but pop nonetheless. And with this record, that sound has mutated once again, taking their low fidelity a step further, and somehow wreathing it in a sonic murk, this new record impossible muffled, and muddied, womblike might be more accurate, the music is all soft focus, the sharp edges smoothed, the notes and chords, the various instruments, blurred and smeared into something more like an abstract chordal drift, the songs less songs, and more like impressions of songs. The only elements seemingly exempt are the vocals, still a haunting deep croon, and the drums, which occasionally stumble, occasionally pound, the combination is pretty stellar, and definitely bizarre, but it most certainly suits the group's dour blackened pop.
The vibe here extraordinarily woozy and warped, washed out and slurred, at times gauzy and nearly meditative, and when the band crank up the intensity, the hazy murk is dragged along as well, and instead of sounding heavy or rocking, it just sounds slightly heavier, but only really slightly. The songs tend toward the midtempo, and the dirge, but do occasionally erupt into some punky pound, but it's all behind a sheet of muffled murk, which again changes everything. The coolest moments are when the band introduce dueling vocals, clean and crooned, croaked and metallic, making for some strange harmonies, which are the perfect match for CoO's depressive blackened jangle pop, which throughout the record sounds alternately melty, detuned or oozing, often all three, a darkly and deliriously druggy songsuite that we're digging just as much as we did their Eleven Fingers record, which is a whole lot!
MPEG Stream: "Cast In Clay"
MPEG Stream: "Black Hole Womb"
MPEG Stream: "The Way Of The Will"

album cover HORSEBACK A Plague Of Knowing (Relapse) 3cd 19.98
A while back we reviewed a crazy limited tape from Horseback, aka Jenks Miller, called Stolen Fire, which was a crazy good collection of odds and ends, random demos, electronic experiments, weird warped pop songs, the sort of stuff that's slowly been finding its way on to more and more Horseback records proper. Sadly, we were only able to get ten copies of the tape, which disappeared in a flash. When we contacted Miller to get more, after informing us the tape was gone, he did let us know that it would be coming out cd eventually. And here it is, as part of a triple cd set! Including said tape, a whole disc of live recordings, and a disc of rarities, splits and singles, from splits with Voltigeurs, Pyramids, Locrian and other aQ faves. Might as well start with Stolen Fire since that's what got us all excited about this set in the first place.
The opening track is a super minimal, drum machine driven chunk of stripped down skeletal kraut-pop, woozy and laid back, spidery guitar melodies, a weary crooned vocal, darkly dreamy and subtly psychedelic. The follow up is a strange chunk of gristly industrial ambience, all hiss and crackle and high end skree, like an amp feeding back in the rain, with just a bit of those weird garbled vocals that were all over the last Horseback record, doused in FX and reverb. The rest of the side unfurls like the opener, looped rhythms, subtle shifting textures, a little bit tribal, sometimes sounding like recent aQ faves Silent Servant, a definite dark techno vibe to some of the proceedings, everything wreathed in a softly distorted haze, all kinda krauty and darkly hypnotic, with the occasional even poppier jams emerging from the murk, all Casio drum machine and shimmery eighties chords, one of those jams sounds a bit like the love theme from some mysterious B-movie, when the main melody comes in, it's almost like James Ferraro or Ariel Pink, which is not a bad thing at all, just unexpected. There's weirdly crooned vox popping up throughout, that suits the music to a T. There are brief bits of super distorted atmospheric heaviness, blissed out blackened, and in some cases quite dreamy.
The 'Destroyed Demo Version' of "North Star Struck", which we dug so much on the tape, is present, and still has us envisioning blown out crumble and in-the-red crunch, and while it's not quite that, it is pretty awesomely dirgey and fuzzy, a dark sprawl of tranced out hypno-rock, like Circle on downers, the whole thing wreathed in clouds of cosmic FX and wild sci-fi squiggles, woozy organ melodies, all around that churning kraut-drone groove, and it never lets up, the sound locks in and plays out until the rock begins to fade, leaving just pulsing electronics and a staticky cloud of gristly haze. So great! And "Transparency (Murdered Again)", another track from the tape we loved, is more of the same, a gauze-y, heady drift of psychedelic shimmer, wheezing chords and spidery twang, which is soon joined by a strangely looped rhythm, the sounds all coalescing into a strangely stuttering minimal zoner groove, another track that sounds like warped, zombified Circle, slowed way down, a seriously hypnotic sprawl of hypno kraut mesmer. In addition to the tracks from the tape, there are a bunch of extra unreleased tracks and previously unreleased versions, and even though they aren't proper Horseback songs, like we said in our review of the tape,they might be some of the coolest stuff we've heard from Horseback yet!
And heck, that's just one of the three discs! The singles and rarities disc is pretty stellar as well, and includes a bunch of tracks from singles we never knew existed, as well as tracks from a few we've reviewed, not to mention a Stooges cover!! The two tracks from the split with Voltigeurs are some sort of alien black prog. The first all buzzing guitars, pounding drums, harsh hellish vokills, and lots of ELP style organs (!), which transforms the sound into something way weirder, and frankly way cooler. The organs swirl and pulse and buzz over murky drum pound and those blackened shrieks, those blackened sounds slowed down, like some bizarre mash up of Burzum at 16rpm and ELP at 33, the keyboards make the sound more psychedelic and spacey, and fuse perfectly into a gloriously twisted hybrid, one that is peppered with squalls of freaked out psychedelic noise, and culminates in a gorgeous Burzumic outro, all blown out drone riffage and buried anguished howls, mesmerizing and mysterious. The second track is soaring and epic and a little blackened, but sounds more static, more like a sort of Sunroof!-style ur-drone, draped over blasting beats nearly lost in the churn and swirl, harsh vox here too, the overall sound extra distorted, glimmery and glistening and downtuned and crumbling, as if the signal is way too hot for the speakers, which makes it sound noisier for sure, but also mesmerizingly psychedelic. The HB track from the split with Pyramids is a feral blast of black metal, a frantic blast beat beneath buzzing guitars that almost sounds more like blackened gypsy folk than black metal proper, until the vokills come in, and the demonic shriek clears that all up, before changing gears half way through and transitioning into a gorgeously decayed crumbling distorted dronescape. Then there's the track from their split 7" with Locrian, a hazy droned out raga, centered around a glorious high end drone, all shimmer and reverberation, the sound sun dappled and gloriously effulgent, very much like Sunroof!, mesmerizing and dreamlike, to which HB adds, some twisted gnarled vocals, all hissy and demonic, wreathing the whole thing in little melodic tendrils, the sound blissed out and gauzy, the blackness seemingly held at bay by this shining sonic light, the sort of track that we could listen to forEVER. HB's track from the 4 way split tape on Handmade Birds with Njiqahdda, Venowl and Cara Neir is also included, sounding like it could have come right off of their Half Blood record. Rhythmic and hypnotic, bass and drum locked into a sort of hypnorock groove, laced with fluttering flutes, weird electronics, swirling shimmering melodies, when the guitar comes in, it's sort of washed out and droney, giving the track an almost Earth-like vibe, the overall sound is like a super cyclical krautrock styled minimalism, with an epic second half, replete with those shrieked black metal vox. And there's of course more more more!!
Finally, the third disc features two long tracks, the first a 20 minute live performance of the first HB record, "Impale Golden Horn", recorded in 2007 in North Carolina, and it's a dreamy sprawl of softly smoldering burnished thrum and rumble, laced with dreamike psychedelic filigree and soft chordal swells, which leads perfectly into the previously unreleased 40+ minute "A Plague Of Knowing", which is a gorgeous sprawling Sunroof-style ur-drone, a dreamy psychedelic soft noise haze that swirls and shimmers and blurs into billowing clouds of blissed out drift!
Comes in a fold out 8 panel digipak style sleeve, withe some seriously extensive liner notes!!!
MPEG Stream: "Stolen Fire"
MPEG Stream: "Murdered"
MPEG Stream: "Do You Have A True Feeling? (Plagued Version)"
MPEG Stream: "Transparency (Murdered Again)"
MPEG Stream: "North Star Struck (Destroyed Demo Version)"
MPEG Stream: "Oblivion Eaters"
MPEG Stream: "High Ashen Slab"
MPEG Stream: "Thee Cult Of Henry Flynt"

album cover BECKER, RASHAD Traditional Music Of Notional Species Vol. 1 (Pan) lp 28.00
Rashad Becker is a name most folks are probably more used to seeing on OTHER people's records, he is, and has been for the last decade plus, THEE go-to guy to have your record cut for vinyl. A master of his craft, who is able to produce stunning results in the analog realm, massive bass, deep layered sounds, lush and spacious, gritty and grimy, Becker was often the last step in a meticulous process, resulting in some of the most incredible records of the last few years. Check your collection and we guarantee you a handful were cut and/or mastered at Dubplates & Mastering, where Becker has been plying his trade for the past fifteen years. And we'll be the first to admit that technical mastery does not necessarily translate into creative genius, but in the case of Traditional Music Of Notational Species, Vol. 1, an argument could definitely be made that Becker's talent is not limited to the mastering lab.
In fact, Traditional Music is far from traditional, and is quite difficult to describe, although a faithful long time aQ customer already proclaimed it his record of the year hands down, and we have to say we're inclined to agree. Split into two sides, the first, 'Dances', the second 'Themes', the record opens with a dense constantly shifting landscape of grinding textures, mutating electronics, synthy squelch, deep rumbles, skittery rhythmic pulsations, the vibe is almost playful, but that playfulness is definitely tempered by a dark shadowy moodiness, it's wild and loose, free and abstract, melodies blossom and fragment, collapsing into swirling tangles, it's just on the verge of noise, but instead, remains textural and atmospheric, almost like a modern day Perrey & Kingsley, deconstructed, the various elements recombined as some mutant modern minimal electroacoustic experimental electronica. That pretty much sets the groundwork for the first side, we're reminded of some past aQ faves like Roly Porter's Aftertime, or any recordings by Ben Frost, this sounds less like 'music' and more like some avant sound design, "Dances II" expands on the opener, weaving what sounds like fragmented vocals, and dark spidery melodies, into something strangely brooding, wreathed in a caustic cloud of flitting molecules of crumbling noise, and burbling underwater shimmer, all seemingly digitized and then corrupted, processed into something approaching a much more angular and aggressive Oval, overlapping layers, stuttering non-rhythms, it's expansive and cinematic, but at the same time dizzyingly dense, driven by thick rib cage rattling swells of low end thrum. The sound grows gradually more industrial, sounds slip backwards and swoop and swirl, a sea of squelches pinging from speaker to speaker, buried Morse code melodies, lots of hiss and hum sculpted into sheets of dark energy, and a blissed out barrage of blackened crumble, building to a near psychedelic squall, before closing out the side with a dark rhythmic sprawl, that touches on the hauntological electronica of Demdike Stare and the like, but so much more sinister, and woozily warped, a mad scientist reinterpretation, recasting the moody lope, as something feral and fracture, peppered with deep sub-bass pulsations, and drowsily fluctuating rhythms, it's like Stockhausen jamming with Demdike Stare, which is about as great, and as fucked up, as it sounds.
The flipside, made up of four 'themes', dials back some of the crunch and buzz, opening with a dreamy field of alien electronics, fluttering and flitting, still gritty and crunchy, the sounds organic and analog, rough around the edges, but deftly woven into choir of electro-chirps and woozy moaning chordal swells, laced with burst of laser beam FX, but then a super heavy bass crunch creeps in, and it's stunning, it's meaner, and more brutal, and more physical that most dubstep drops, but with a totally different effect in this context, adding some seriously sinister heft, but before you know it, it's disappeared, leaving just a field of electronic firefly flutter. The rest of the 'Themes' play out like some mysterious soundtrack to a documentary about alien life, you can almost imagine the camera panning over strange sprawls of gnarled landscape, or drifting through the bottomless abyss of some alien sea, the electronics often sounding like the chitter of insects, again like some twisted field recording captured elsewhere in the galaxy, slipping from hushed skitter to epic avant kosmische and back again, culminating in what sounds like some warped choral piece, a gnarled choir of 'voices', sounding like field recordings captured in some Victorian mental institution, and then processed into something even more warped, all laid over a roiling sea of electronic gristle and industrial clatter, all held together by sheets of blurred buzz and ominous insectoid thrum. Strange stuff for sure, but in its own weird way, hauntingly and confusionally lovely.
Cut and mastered by Becker himself of course. Pressed on 140 gram vinyl, and like all Pan releases, housed in a super striking, screen printed heavy plastic PVC sleeve.
MPEG Stream: "Dances I"
MPEG Stream: "Dances II"
MPEG Stream: "Themes I"
MPEG Stream: "Themes II"

album cover SKULLFLOWER Kino IV: Black Sun Rising (Dirter Promotions / Shock) cd 21.00
This long in the works reissue campaign has had aQ staff and aQ customer Skullflower nerds freaking the fuck out. Four, count, em FOUR reissued rarities! On the last list, we reviewed reissues of both Skullflower's very first 12"ep Birthdeath, and their first proper full length Form Destroyer, both absolute psychedelic noise rock crushers. But that was only the beginning. Since most Skullflower fans were already super familiar with those records anyway, it was more a chance to revisit, as well as preach the gospel of early Skullflower to the uninitiated. But it's the other two reissues that might be the most thrilling. Elsewhere on this week's list, you'll find a review of Xaman, Skullflower's 1990 second album, one that due to a manufacturing defect found most copies eventually rendered unplayable, and thus essentially unheard for decades. And then there's this one, a singles comp, hopefully the first of many, gathering up three different singles, originally released on Majora, Forced Exposure and Shock, and the crazy thing is, even the Skullflower freeks here, had only ever actually heard ONE of em! So that alone made this totally essential. But in addition to those singles, there are also SIX previously unreleased tracks, as well as Skullflower's three contributions to The Portable Altamont compilation (which also featured such noisy luminaries as Coil, Current 93, Nurse With Wound, and Drunks With Guns), all of which add up to some of the filthiest, noisiest, most pummeling, tranced out, knuckle dragging, psychedelic krautrock-style dirgery you've every heard. Cuz really, for all the skree and crunch, all the noisy churn and caveman pummel, most early Skullflower jams are stretched out hypnorock sprawls, albeit constructed from crumbling superdistorted bass, wild tangles of angular melody and shards of noise guitar skree, and some surprisingly motorik drum bashing...
The only one of the three reissues that's sort of new, begins with the weird choice of starting not with any of the previously released 7" tracks, but instead, a double shot of unreleased rarities, the opener "Night Tripper" as good as anything SF was doing at the time, squalls of feedback, thick, blown out riffage, damaged drumming, yowled, buried in the mix vox, super murky and hypnotic, which leads right into "Kasso's Blues", which is loping and lumbering, a sort of detuned atonal main riff, and some garbled vox wrapped around tribal beats make it sound like some super obscure, super wasted Butthole Surfers jam. The aforementioned single, the only one we HAD heard, is the "Rift / Avalanche" single on Majora, and it's some of our favorite Skullflower, smoldering, brooding, dirgey, but sorta dreamy, a locked minimal rhythm, buried vocals, and then long arced tones, super mesmerizing and so epic, the 'flipside' though is a wild nois drenched heavy psych freakout that looks forward to groups like Rusted Shut. The Forced Exposure single delivers one part noisy Dead C style plod rock freakout, and one part billowing psychedelic space out, while the Shock single is super swaggery and dirgey, the recording muted and murky, total cave like rehearsal style sound, but it suits them, the second half getting downright rocking.
After that, there's the awesomely titled "Bo Diddley's Shitpump" , which might be the most bloozy of the bunch, as is hinted at by the title, but it's more like Pussy Galore style blues, tangled up with some Swans and some Hawkwind, and with a hint of mutated AmRep style bash and howl. "Against Everything (A Guide To Canine Foreskin Retraction)" sounds like a Crash Worship record on Shock, wild dense tribal drumming, wreathed in a cloud of flanged shimmer, wah wah splatter and spidery tendrils of tangled guitar melody, and girded by some strange industrial whirring buried in the mix. "March Of The Lemmings" is all garage blooz swagger, with echo drenched vocals and a thick chugging main riff, even some bleating horns, everything dubbed to high heaven, and then wrapped in a spider web of noise guitar skree, and finally closer "The Punk Rock Song" is about as punky OR poppy as SF get, but they manage to fuck it all up and douse it in just enough noise to keep it interesting...
Holy shit, so much amazing, twisted, noisy sonic genius. As far as we're concerned all four of these Skullflower reissues should have /could have been Records Of The Week, but forced to pick one, it had to be Black Sun Rising. But seriously, who are we fooling, you NEED all four!!!
Nice packaging too, mini gatefolds, printed inner sleeves, and a booklet with reproductions of the original 7" covers.
MPEG Stream: "Night Tripper"
MPEG Stream: "Rift"
MPEG Stream: "Avalanche"
MPEG Stream: "Slaves"
MPEG Stream: "Bo Diddley's Shitpump"

album cover LEHTISALO, JUSSI The Complete Solo Works (Ektro) cd 14.98
Last year we raved about a cassette (and then vinyl lp) called Interludes For Prepared Beast, the second solo release from Jussi Lehtisalo, the bassist/mastermind behind our favorite Finns, those mighty hypnorockers Circle (and many more 'NWOFHM' bands besides). Those of you who prefer compact discs over vinyl, let alone tapes, might have felt a twinge of turntable envy then, since you were missing out on an amazing album (our review concluded with: "Easily one of the coolest weirdest things we've heard from Jussi", and that's saying a lot). Thankfully, Jussi, who loves cds as much as we do, has just released Interludes For Prepared Beast on cd via his Ektro imprint - and even better, the disc also includes Jussi's first solo album, from 2010, entitled Rotta, which is also (of course) quite fantastic, and was a limited vinyl release we never even got any copies of the first time around. So even more to be thankful for, and another reason to pick this up.
We'll try to be brief about Rotta, 'cause we already wrote a lot about Interludes, as you will see. Simply put, it's gorgeous. Unlike maybe what you might expect from the man responsible for so much bombastic, heavy, progged out rock, Rotta definitely represents Jussi's softer side. Intimate and twilit, Rotta is a spacious sonic tapestry of gentle drones, cyclic guitar motifs, softly pulsating bass, and ambient field recordings interwoven with hushed, echo effected vocalizations (the words all in Finnish, we assume, so we don't know what he's on about, but it sounds deep regardless) and lovely layers of shortwave static n' hiss. The opening track "Veljeni" features some occasional harmonica twang, bringing to mind the cinematic, open spaces atmosphere of the likes of Earth circa Hex. Elsewhere, on "Aikoja Sitten", the vibe gets darker, the track lashed with stormy, sinister synthesizer sounds, before dreamily concluding with monkish vocal intonations over a bed of wavering bell-like tones and other mysterious, entrancing sound-swoosh. Fans of Circle's 'soundtrackier' side, mellowed-out albums like Miljard and Tower, will be in heaven. The "circular" sound of Circle is most certainly very present within these compositions; minimalist, mesmeric repetition being Jussi's forte of course.
So that's the first four tracks here, the Rotta portion of this disc, all indeed surprisingly beautiful and subdued, music to totally lose yourself in. Then there's the last two, over a quarter-hour each, representing side A and B of Interludes For Prepared Beast. They also beautiful in their way, but about as far from subdued as you can get. Much heavier, more "gritty" and intense. Both tracks are dense and layered, and constantly shifting. In some ways taking all the disparate sounds of Jussi's other bands (among them Circle, Ektroverde, Ratto Ja Lehtisalo, Doktor Kettu, Pharaoh Overlord, Rakhim, Krypt Axeripper, Split Cranium, Steel Mammoth, and others), and somehow mashing them all together, into something surprisingly cohesive.
The A side (track 5 here), "Caterpillars", starts off sounding like some sort of abstract deserty ambient experimental doom, with churning guitars, spurts of metallic crunch, clattery bicycle spoke like percussion, woozy Morricone-esque twang and spidery minor key melodies, peppered with occasional twisted little synth trills, all beneath some monstrous growled vokills, before the song transforms into something more woozy and jazzy, a little late night bluesy, with crooned distorted vox, and thick low end rib cage rattling thrum, only to then launch into some seriously twisted buzz drenched rock pound, which initially sounds like it might explode into full on black metal, but instead, the pounding and buzzing is joined by more twisted xylophone like synth melodies, booming sub bass throbs and cool blasts of rad classic metal style harmonized leads, before once again slipping back into a spacey sort of moody, woozy slowcore, driven by frenetic high hat cymbal stutter, and trippy dubbed out snare drums, still more crooned vox, the sound dreamy and washed out, laced with strange swoonsome faux horns and glistening spaced out FX before finally returning to that strange xylophone driven metallic stomp.
The flipside (aka track 6) is equally schizophrenic. "Here March The Cranes" begins all grinding gnarled guitars in a cloud of cymbal sizzle, which is then joined by some Circle like hypnorock bass, the guitars coalescing into little soaring squalls of majestic fast picking, multiple guitars interwoven, those guitars growing more intense, unfurling wild psychedelic leads, everything getting noisier and noisier, until finally switching gears and mellowing out, into a twisted post rock sprawl, all ethereal guitar shimmer, wild jazzy drummy, and spaced out bass blurts. Soon those growled vox come back in, and the sound turns into some strange sinister epic prog rock, swirling synthy strings, a slow build, more and more intense and tense, before splintering into a stretch of cool droned out noise rock churn, that sound gradually growing more and more spacey and serene, dreamy melodies, more of those faux horns, all manner of strange percussion and swirling FX, as the noise recedes, the sound becomes a hazy, lilting bit of psychedelic dreamdrone raga like drift. Fantastic! Easily one of the coolest weirdest things we've heard from Jussi, which is saying a lot considering his whole career has basically been nothing BUT a series of cool weird releases!!
All told, 78 minutes and 48 seconds of amazing music that probably one no single person but Jussi could possibly have come up with. Hopefully this disc won't remain Jussi's 'complete solo works' for long, we'd love a volume two someday. WAY recommended.
MPEG Stream: "Veljeni"
MPEG Stream: "Viimeinen Kalja"
MPEG Stream: "Caterpillars"
MPEG Stream: "Here Come The Cranes"

album cover V/A The Ecstasy Of Gold: 23 Killer Bullets From The Spaghetti West Vol. 1 (Semi-Automatic) 2lp 26.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
"Ecstasy Of Gold" is one of THEE most iconic songs from perhaps the most famous Italian western ever, The Good, The Bad And The Ugly, and was written by none other than Ennio Morricone. And it's pretty much everything you want in a song like that, booming percussion, haunting melodies, reverby twang, galloping rhythms, swirling strings, horns, gorgeous almost operatic vocals, the sound epic and majestic and so dramatic. The only thing missing is that whistling we've come to associate with Italian Westerns (and Morricone in particular), and while Morricone might be the best known of the many composers who scored classic seventies Italian Westerns, there are plenty of others who were making music just as compelling. So while this compilation is in fact named for a Morricone track, you won't find any Morricone here, instead, a bunch of lesser known composers, some we were familiar with: Bruno Nicolai, Francesco De Masi, Alessandro Alessandroni, Piero Umiliani, while others not so much: Gianni Ferrio,, Marcello Giombini, Luis Bacalov, Stelvio Cipriani, Nora Orlandi, Nico Fidenco, but well know or obscure, the sounds here will be instantly recognizable to fans of Italian spaghetti westerns, fuzzed out surf guitar, sinister laughter, plenty of twang, woozy psychedelic exotica, tolling bells, deep dramatic vocals, mournful trumpets, acoustic guitars, barroom piano, rattlesnake percussion, hazy spectral female vocals, swirling strings, whirring organs, and yeah, some whistling of course, plus plenty of strange sound effects, like guns being fired, plus snippets of dialogue, all woven into that dusky, twangy classic Italian western sound, that will hopefully have you searching out more from some (or all) of the composers here, and heading down to your local video store to rent some of the crazy amazing flicks these tracks come from.
LIMITED TO 750 COPIES!!! Packaged in a super swank gatefold with awesome images from classic Italian Westerns, stills from films, and paintings from movie posters. So cool!
MPEG Stream: "1"
MPEG Stream: "2"
MPEG Stream: "3"
MPEG Stream: "4"
MPEG Stream: "5"
MPEG Stream: "6"
MPEG Stream: "7"

album cover NOACK, EDDIE Psycho (Bear Family) cd 22.00
After years of desperately tracking down bootlegs, of ordering low quality cd-r's on eBay, of watching grainy YouTube clips and lamenting the ridiculous dearth of proper recordings, we're so happy that Bear Family has finally stepped up to give this country shoulda-been-superstar his due. But before we get into it, and before all you country haters skip to the next review, give the samples below a listen, specifically "Psycho", which gives this collection its title, easily one of the best country songs EVER. Certainly the most twisted and misanthropic. The story of the song's singer, singing to his mama, about how he killed his ex, her new beau, the dog, their son, the little girl next door (with a wrench by the way!), the song culminating in the realization that the singer was singing the whole time to his dead mother, who we can only assume he also killed. WTF?? But beyond being creepy and a little bit demented, it's also a gorgeous song, the guitar playing understated and perfect, the vocals heartfelt and dramatic, the song laced with all manner of little sonic filigree, it's hard for us to envision a more perfect country song. Sure there were plenty of murder ballads before, but this one takes the cake. But then there's the follow up, "Dolores", which finds the singer crooning to his wife, suggesting that she stay in the house, because there's a killer wandering the streets murdering women, and apparently Dolores is just the sort of woman he preys on, and again, at the end of the song, the singer is called to identify the body, not realizing that he killed his wife, and ending with him chastising his deceased wife, if only she had stayed inside. Crazy stuff, even now, but back in the day, this stuff was even more shocking. And while the majority of Eddie Noack's music wasn't nearly so demented, those two songs, "Psycho" especially, ended up being the songs he was mostly remembered for.
Which is a shame too, cuz he could have / should have been a country superstar, he wrote hits for Hank Snow (whose Omni reissue we reviewed a while back), all sorts of big country names recorded his songs, Lefty Frizell, Bob Wills, Ernest Tubb, his songs are AMAZING, and heck, he didn't even actually write "Psycho", but his is most definitely THEE definitive version, sadly, like many of the country greats, Noack's story is a sad one, and one that is explored in great detail in the liner notes (like all Bear Family reissues, the booklet is massive, like reading a mini book!), besides the usual hard luck story of general bad luck, constantly being at the wrong place at the wrong time, and success so close he could taste it, constantly just outside his grasp, there was of course problems with alcohol, which eventually led to him drinking himself to death, not to mention that BOTH his fourth wife and his mother committed suicide by shooting themselves in the heart. Wow, heavy stuff. And yet, he persevered, working in the song-poem industry (can you imagine having had Eddie Noack turn your poem into a song?!?!), eventually recording tons of tracks for a succession of tiny labels, and amongst those in the know, becoming a country / honky tonk icon. There is another Bear Family collection released recently, that focuses on his early tracks (which we can order for you if you like, it's a triple cd so it's kinda extra pricey), but this is the one that collects our favorite songs, the ones he recorded for K-Ark and Allstar in the mid to late sixties, and which of course include both "Psycho" and "Dolores". Yet as much as we love those songs, and those two tracks are ABSOLUTELY worth the price of admission alone, there's so much other great stuff here. Folks who collect Omni reissues, this easily could have been one of the best Omni reissues, in fact, we meant to email Omni, and try to get them to do a Noack compilation, cuz again, this is some of the best country music EVER. Besides "Psycho" and "Dolores", there's "Invisible Stripes" which is a fantastic song, but was the B-side to "Psycho" and thus got a little overshadowed. There's "Barbara Joy" which is another gem, and another track with morbid lyrics, sung, we can only assume from a man on death row, accused of rape, asking his mistress to admit that she was a willing participant in their tryst, to save him from death. Wow. But on the surface, it's pure classic country. And so it goes, the Johnny Cash like "Cotton Mill", the mournful ballad "The End Of The Line", plus lots of drinking songs of course, "Sleeping Like A Baby (With A Bottle In My Mouth)", "Beer Drinkin' Blues", not to mention some early tracks that feature Noack's song poem work, and even the songs the liner notes admit to not being so good, are in fact pretty great. But really, come for the "Psycho", the "Dolores", the "Barbara Joy", and stay for the rest. We were SO excited that there was finally a proper Eddie Noack collection, and we've been listening to nothing but. And even if country's not your thing, know that over the years, "Psycho" has been covered by all sorts of folks, including Elvis Costello and the Cramps! Noack's songs (and his cover of "Psycho" especially) almost transcending genre, classic twisted songsmithery, that has made some of these songs obsessions of ours for years!
The Bear Family packaging is fantastic, housed in a full color digipak, with a huge booklet affixed to the inside, tons of rare photos, interviews, lyrics, and creepy new artwork by artist Reinhard Kleist, on the cover, and inside, illustrating both "Psycho" and "Dolores". So totally and utterly recommended. Reissue of the year hands down!!!
Oh, and if you're a vinyl only type, well, this just on cd, but we do also have a tiny, tiny handful of the Eddie Noack 7" single that Bear Family put out along with this, featuring "Psycho" on the A side and "Dolores" on the flip, just FYI.
MPEG Stream: "Psycho"
MPEG Stream: "Dolores"
MPEG Stream: "Invisible Stripes"
MPEG Stream: "Barbara Joy"

album cover WOO Whichever Way You Are Going, You Are Going Wrong (Emotional Rescue) cd 17.98
We made the 2012 Drag City reissue of Woo's 1989 album It's Cozy Inside, Record of the Week, but upon hearing this recent reissue of the group's 1982 debut, Whichever Way You Are Going, You Are Going Wrong, we knew with even MORE certainty that we had to make it a Record of the Week as well. We have been playing this constantly in the store for weeks, and with each listen becoming more enamored with its blithe mosaic of introspective soundscapes and quiet pop-jazz sensibilities. Reissued by Emotional Rescue a few months ago, we wanted to list this sooner, but the vinyl version had already sold out (it's being repressed, we're told), but we have the cd version while supplies last, so we recommend you act fast.
By the time It's Cozy Inside was released, the eccentric brothers Mark and Clive Ives' highly individualized method of making music using acoustic guitar, bass and clavinet processed through synthesizers to create strange hybrids of jazz and pastoral electronica was largely dialed in. But on their debut, with its compelling title and cover depicting a young child surrounded by the authority figures of religion, politics and academia all pointing in opposing directions and acting as a personal manifesto for forging ahead on one's own unique path, the sound is at once more open ended, searching and strange than the later record. Intermixing buoyant melodic passages with serpentine experimental sonic arrangements and rhythms, Woo sounds like a band made up of way more than just the two brothers. The opener, "Swingtime" is the perfect start. An intricate and bright melody punctuated by drum machine, labyrinthine bass and acoustic guitar, sounding like the crystalline guitar lines of Durutti Column, before suddenly dropping into the hot gurgling percussive ambiance of "Pokhara" with its Middle Eastern guitar sounds, made from sped up dubbed out rhythms. Each track melds into the next like an alien and otherworldly soundtrack, or more aptly, like aliens hearing the early jazz melodies of Django Reinhardt for the first time and trying to emulate that sound using modern technology. The sound is gentle, but never quite relaxing. Nothing stays at rest, but at the same time, nothing is rushed either. Moody and pensive, the layered acoustic guitar work is incredible, as it anchors the tenuous atmospheric backing of electronics and muddled loping rhythms. "Razorblades" channels the Brian Enoish side of David Bowie's Low into a dense and worried jazz deconstruction. The one vocal track, "The Attic" is a dreamy pop masterpiece seemingly transported from Factory Record's Benolux imprint or Les Disques du Crepuscule, two Belgian based labels that focused on the dreamier side of European new wave avant-garde pop in the eighties. Anyone who's a fan of those labels, and bands like Antena, early Thomas Dolby, John Foxx, Bill Nelson and later Tuxedo Moon as well as solo releases by Steve Brown, Benjamn Lew and Peter Principle, will find a kindred spirit in Woo's epic gentleness. We were playing this one day when ex-Yellow Swan Pete Swanson paid us a visit and he asked us what was playing. He had been told by many friends that he should definitely look into Woo, but listening to the track playing, he couldn't really understand why. But Woo is not a band you can just check out a track and get it right off. It's disarmingly soft in a way that may come off as wimpy at first, but it eventually gets under your skin in ways that are subtle and mysterious and then you can't stop listening.
A beautifully elastic and hard to pin down musical force. Limited!
MPEG Stream: "Swingtime"
MPEG Stream: "A Wave"
MPEG Stream: "The Attic"
MPEG Stream: "Razorblades"

album cover JERI-JERI Ndagga Versions (Ndagga) lp 22.00
Mark Ernestus is probably best known as one half of the Basic Channel production team and record label (along with Moritz Von Oswald). The two also ran the Chain Reaction label, and both continue to make and release music, Ernestus most notably recently remixing tracks by Konono No.1 and Tony Allen as well as co-releasing the amazing Shangaan Electro compilation we reviewed a while back. Apparently, over the last few years, Ernestus became increasingly obsessed with Senegalese Mbalax music, which is super rhythmic, featuring multiple drummers playing wildly syncopated rhythms, the drums augmented with marimba like synths, the music wild and tangled, dense and driving, groovy and funky, dubbed out and super trancey - it's not hard to see why a techno visionary would find this stuff utterly mesmerizing. And thus was born Jeri-Jeri, a collaborative project between Ernestus and a griot clan of Senegalese drummers. At first we were maybe expecting a sort of African/techno hybrid, but wisely, Ernestus let's the drummers and other musicians do their thing, while he mostly mixes and produces. And that THING is track after track of hyper rhythmic grooviness that definitely speaks to the sort of looped mesmer of techno music, even moreso here, as this is the instrumental version of the Jeri-Jeri record, the 'versions' in dubspeak. Which is not to say the record proper is not great, it is, and features a handful of amazing vocalists including Baaba Maal and Youssou N'Dour doing their own thing over these rhythmic workouts (and we do have copies in stock, just ask!), but stripped of the vocals, it somehow becomes even more mesmerizing, the drums obviously the focal point, but there's also sinewy basslines, the occasional keyboard and synth, often adding yet another rhythmic component, and some subtle melodies, some guitar jangle here and there, adding some subtle tonal coloration, and remnants of the original vocals surface here and there, dubbed out and heavily effected, but really, every track here is a glorious celebration of rhythm and sound, of drums as divine, and they sound so divine here, with most tracks featuring both a complement of Sabar drummers as well as a drummer on a traditional kit, the overlapping rhythms, the syncopated grooves, the barrage of beats, cascading grooves, all wound around simple looped melodies, and locked tight, it's totally irresistible, the sort of singular sound that is both dancefloor ready, but also dense and nuanced enough for headphone listening, some track wild and raucous, others tightly wound and darkly groovy, all of them sublime, emotional, and energetic, lush and organic and ALIVE. Drummers, and fans of drum music will be in heaven, but really, anyone and everyone who is drawn to the rhythm in sound, whether it be techno music, world music, metal music, will be hard pressed not to be totally mesmerized by these sounds.
MPEG Stream: "Lignou Mome"
MPEG Stream: "Casamance Version"
MPEG Stream: "Sama Yaye Version"
MPEG Stream: "Xale Rhythm"

album cover RODION G.A. The Lost Tapes (Strut) 2lp 29.00
Wow! Ok, this is pretty darn amazing. We ordered a copy of this based on a brief description we read, something along the lines of: "long lost futuristic funky proggy electronic music from behind the Iron Curtain". That was enough for us. And maybe for you too, though we're gonna go on and on about this anyway. But yeah, if that description piques your interest, let us just say that you will NOT be disappointed. However incredibly weird and cool you might imagine this could be from that short synopsis, it is probably even better!
And we were listening to it, and loving it, before we delved into the detailed liner notes and found out what it was all about - or when exactly it was from. So that's another recommendation, the music stands on its own without prior awareness of its quite interesting historical aspects.
What you get here are ten killer tracks drenched in echo effects, dense with percolating beats, uber-distorted analog synths, and eerily ear-catching melodies, a sound utterly full of "flanged, phased, and fuzzed electricity". They're previously unreleased reel-to-reel recordings, circa 1978-1984, from the vaults of this pioneering Romanian DIY electro-prog-pop groop who only released two tracks officially during their career, on a state-sanctioned compilation lp in 1981, before fading into obscurity. Rodion G.A. was founded in 1975 by a fellow named Rodion Ladislau Rosca, who had been collecting prog records and experimenting with homebuilt electronic gear since the dawn of the '70s. The G.A. comes from the names of the other two founding members of the band, but it's really composer Rodion Rosca's show, the material here recorded in Rodion's home studio in Cluj, most instruments played and programmed by Rodion himself, with occasional 'real' drumming contributed by one of the other guys.
Despite the deprivations of living in an oppressive Communist dictatorship, Rodion's creativity flourished, and this music still sounds super fresh and ahead of its time, venturing even into full-on proto-techno with the likes of "Diagonala", though always in its own unique hybrid form, on that track ferinstance mixing in what sounds like Eastern European folk motifs and Goblin-y giallo soundtrack spookiness. Krautrock influences shine through too, Kraftwerk and Cluster for sure, plus we can't help but think of odd outsider aQ faves Bruce Haack and Wicked Witch - cool company to be in!
Rodion's bombastic "hairy funk" prog grooves are melded to melodic pop hooks, always cloaked with a wonderfully miasmic layer of lo-fi grime. Everything here has its unique charms, ranging from the sinister, grittily distorted bunkurfunk of "Citadela", to the motorik delightfulness of "Salt 83", so strangely warped and sunshiney, to "In Linistea Noptii", wherein lovely piano playing mixes it up with the electronic elements. Some tracks are instrumentals, some have catchy vocal choruses - and some are visited by what sound like the echoing cries of a prehistoric pterodactyl, presumably another synth effect, sizzling stabs of which are always swooshing around.
So THIS was the sound of underground Romania back in the day, who knew? We are so thankful this freaky music didn't stay a secret forever. Yep, these "lost tapes" are quite the discovery, minds have been blown for sure. Automatic Record Of The Week.
Packaged with extensive liner notes by Andy Thomas, illustrated with vintage photos, telling the whole fascinating story of Rodion's stunted career, and recent reemergence as the "Godfather of Romanian electronic music". Oh, and the vinyl version also comes with a cd!
MPEG Stream: "Cantec Fulger"
MPEG Stream: "Citadela"
MPEG Stream: "Disco Mania"
MPEG Stream: "Imagini Din Vis"

album cover BATAGOV, ANTON & YUNGCHEN LHAMO Tayatha (Cantaloupe Music) cd 14.98
Tayatha is the latest release from aQ beloved composer/pianist Anton Batagov, and it just might be his loveliest and most haunting work to date. Which is saying a lot, considering how much we love pretty much everything we've heard from him, we've even made several of his records Record Of The Week, before this one, and his triple cd Wheel Of The Law remains one of our favorite modern minimal releases EVER (and would have also been a Record Of The Week, had we been able to get more). But this new one is something else entirely.
On past records, Batagov has enjoyed the act of collaboration, and has explored playing with rock bands, with experimental electronic musicians, incorporating electric guitar, pounding drums, different vocalists, Buddhist recitations, all a part of Batagov's idiosyncratic approach to modern composition, but never has one of his collaborations been so potent, and so moving, as on Tayatha. Yet another Buddhist based composition here Batagov is joined by Tibetan vocalist Yungchen Lhamo, and that's it, just piano and vocals. And it's stunning. Absolutely. Some of the most beautiful and lyrical piano playing we've heard from Batagov, the sound so rich and emotional, moving and personal, even sans vocals, Tayatha would be a revelation, but Yungchen's voice is a marvel, lush and lustrous, but super distinctive, slipping from rich throaty croon, to something more abstract, and back again, and similarly sans piano, this would be a gorgeous a cappella performance, in fact, Lhamo has been performing solo and a cappella for years, but it's how Lhamo's voice and Batagov's piano fit together so perfectly that makes this record so special.
It's hard to put into words what exactly it is about this record, but without sounding overly dramatic, we got chills the first time we put this one. It's lush and lovely, but definitely haunting, and subtly harrowing, Batagov and Lhamo somehow imbuing the sound with intense emotion, the music surprisingly personal and intimate. We won't pretend that there wasn't a potential for new age schmaltz, what with the female vocals and piano, and the rather new age-y looking cover, but don't be misled, this is a powerful collection of dark, dreamy, moody and meditative music that is truly transcendent. Might be best to just listen to the samples below, we find it hard to imagine you won't be immediately smitten.
And what's even cooler about Tayatha, is that the sound and the compositions are super varied, tracks like "Medicine Buddha" are almost poppy, it's not hard to imagine someone like Tori Amos or Regina Spektor performing the same song, but with dramatically different results, yet even in the hands of Batagov And Lhamo, the song swells dramatically, the piano melodies super intense and strangely catchy, the vocals too, since we don't speak the language, often act like another instrument, imbued with the power of the human voice, but not beholden to any sort of lyrical interpretation. Other tracks are more tranquil and meditative, some are lilting and and dreamlike, others brood and pulse with a mysterious dark energy, and at least one, "Flying Dakini", almost sounds like some 'Nighthawks At The Diner' Tom Waits style balladry, albeit in Tibetan and a bit more modern minimalist. But all the tracks here, every one, is heartbreakingly beautiful, the whole somehow is so much more than its constituent parts, repeated listens have transformed Tayatha into more than just voice and piano, it's almost liturgical, a mysteriously lovely spiritual sonic journey, that manages to turn sound into something divine.
MPEG Stream: "Medicine Buddha"
MPEG Stream: "Your Kindness"
MPEG Stream: "White Palace"

album cover LEON, CRAIG Nommos (Superior Viaduct) lp 17.98
This is a reissue of one of those deep "in-the-know" records that we're perplexed that we had somehow never heard of before now, especially given its pedigree. It seems to be one of those weird anomaly recordings that when it's not acting as a "proto" example of genres that now exist today (dub-step and minimal techno), it works as a bridge between genres we never imagined being connected before (new age and industrial music, minimalist composition and new wave, minimal synth and ethno-folk music). It's a rare six-degrees-of-separation record that bafflingly connects Suicide to John Fahey, and it's utterly gorgeous to boot.
Craig Leon may not be a well-known name to most, but he was the producer or co-producer behind many of the bands of our youth including Blondie, The Ramones, Talking Heads, Richard Hell, Suicide, The Weirdos, DMZ, The Zero's. The Bangles and 45 Grave. But he's also a classically trained composer and orchestrator who has worked with Lucio Pavoratti, Sir James Galway and The London Symphony Orchestra. Nommos was the first album of his own material, originally released in 1981 on John Fahey's Takoma label and there really is just nothing quite like it.
With evocative titles like "Donkeys Bearing Cups", "Four Eyes To See The Afterlife" and "She Wears A Hemispherical Skull Cap", Leon uses minimal synthesis to explore repetitive rhythm and texture in hypnotic trance inducing compositions. The opener, "Ring With Three Concentric Circles" explores a kraut-y kosmiche sound employing cosmic synth washes over skeletal mechanical rhythms, but it's the second track, "Donkeys Bearing Cups" that prognosticates many of the production tropes of modern dubstep and minimal techno, the shuffling almost dance-y mechanized rhythms, as well as the squelched siren noise that opens it. Many of the tracks could be paired down backing tracks for Suicide songs, minus Alan Vega's vocals and Martin Rev's knack for propulsion. Instead Leon seems to dwell on the nuance of his robotic rhythms, tweaking the reverb and decay in bass pulses and cymbal clangs, but encasing them in a beautiful floating stasis.
The longest track at nearly 12 minutes, "Four Eyes To See The Afterlife", seems to have the least going on. It's plodding hiccupping rhythm stretching for minutes before we notice a woman's voice almost operatically singing way off in the background. Her voice almost feels like another synthetic texture in the composition and we at first had to turn the volume down to see if we were hearing things, but it's just another impeccable detail that Leon is carefully layering and weaving into seemingly bare-bone compositions making us ever conscious of the meditative nature of the work. This is definitely a producer's record, and an incredible one at that! If you are a fan of modern techno composers like Vladislav Delay, Andy Stott, Demdike Stare, anything on the Dead-Cert label, or even outlier composers like Moondog, Julius Eastman or Barton Smith, this is essential!
Download card included!
MPEG Stream: "Ring With Three Concentric Circles"
MPEG Stream: "Donkeys Bearing Cups"
MPEG Stream: "Four Eyes To See The Afterlife"

album cover LOOP Fade Out (Reactor) 2lp 25.00
FINALLY, this all time psychedelic space rock trance out classic, and former aQ Record Of The Week, reissued on vinyl!!
When people think of spaced out, drone-y drug rock, Spacemen 3 seem to get all the love, which is of course fair, Spacemen 3 totally rule, their music is magical, especially for some of us who will probably only ever experience drug use by strapping on a pair of headphones and blasting Taking Drugs To Make Music To Take Drugs To. But c'mon, let's share the love, with another group, who existed during the same time, in basically the same place, and who were sonically quite similar, yet crafted their own distinctive and incredibly iconic body of work, one that has been criminally unavailable for years now. These two reissues are the first in what will hopefully be a comprehensive reissue campaign for London space rockers Loop.
For years, Loop have been a favorite of in-the-know music nerds, whose Spacemen 3 collection is most likely rivaled by their Loop collection, and basically, to love one, is indeed to love the other. You like thick looped guitars, blown out distorted buzz, krautrocky rhythms, song structures that are simple, cyclical, repetitive, hypnotic, guitars dripping with effects, vocals drawled lazily and buried in the mix, everything hazy and washed out and bleary eyed and druggy. Wait, were we talking about Loop or Spacemen 3? Exactly. The main difference to our ears, was that Loop always seemed to rock way harder. The Spacemen would often flutter off in tripped out ambient flights of fancy, dropping the drums completely, letting the guitar pulse and throb, the vocals drifting ethereally over the top. And sure, Loop were capable of that too, but seemed to hew closer to a more driving sound, the drums much more integral to their overall vibe. The sound of Loop was equal parts krautrock and space rock, and their name was definitely referenced their sound. Loop mainman Hampson would even go on to form Main, a more tranquil guitar loop based outfit, whose obsession with texture and loops absolutely informed all of the Loop recordings. The guitars were thick, wreathed in distortion, delay, reverb, doused in effects, that not only altered their timbre, and their tone, but also often made the guitars sound backwards, creating woozy of kilter jams that seemed to slowly and subtly shift and change shapes before our very ears. The vocals weary and washed out, the drums skeletal and simple, but all fused into totally tripped out, drugged out, kraut-infused space rock bliss.
Fade Out was rec