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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 13.98
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 DAMA / LIBRA Claw (Northern Spy) cd 14.98
We've long championed the work of Joel Phelps, an unsung hero of the indie underground, beginning with his stint in Silkworm - he was the group's secret weapon, with an aching, about to break voice that could soar into a powerful howl, his songs tense and intense, delicate balances of hushed brooding shimmer and explosive angular crunch, his wild guitar wrangling the perfect match for that utterly distinctive voice. Then came a clutch of solo records, all stunning, and almost all completely under the radar. And then, nothing. He seemed to have disappeared. Stopped making music. Until now.
There's a new Phelps solo record, which is fantastic, and we'll review that one soon too, but this new project is something else entirely.
We often talk about bands or records that seem custom made for aQuarius, and this definitely seems like one of those. Joel Phelps, teamed up with Stuart Dahlquist, of Burning Witch, Asva and SUNNO))), the result very much like you might imagine, and like we would have hoped, the best, creepiest, Silkworm songs, fused to the slow, droned out creep and crawl of Dahlquist's previous bands, ultra-doom torch songs, indie rock fused to Arvo Part, avant drone meets intimate songsmithery, a difficult combination for sure, but one that rewards patient and deep listening. Fans of either/both Phelps and Dahlquist will marvel at this haunting soundworld the two have conjured, from the brief opening, with Phelps, crooning over simpler percussion, and slow shifting layers of chordal shimmer, aching and heartfelt, bittersweet and melancholy, seemingly setting the stage for something much more like Phelps' previous works, but instead, the sound shifts, the second track "Stravinsky" unwinding as a dense layered drone, and when the vocals swoop in, they explode into strange harmonies, those harmonies woven into thick bass tones, the result some sort of alien chorale, downcast and stirring, even sans vocals, it would be a gorgeous sprawl of bass driven droned out dirgery, at once ethereal and atmospheric, dense and down tuned, but the song, like the whole record is rife with dramatic dynamics, long stretches of airy organ, drifting weightless, other movements bordering on avant doom, and still others dreamlike and choral, which is a sonic microcosm of the rest of the record.
Dahlquist delivering some breathtaking sound design, field sod digital glitchery, wound around glimmering soft focus swirls of sound, heaving low end thrum, soundtrack like melodies, all wound into tense slow-builds, sometimes transforming into some hushed Phelps like downer slow core pop, othertimes blossoming into something even blacker. On tracks like "The Chant", simple percussion underpins Phelps' harrowing vocals, which are soon joined by keening organ drones, the vibe intense and sinister, until another cascade of thick bass buzz swoops in, and Phelps' vocals explode into incredible and alien harmonies, the sound mutating into drowsy, sun dappled doom, laced with twinkling electronics, and buried dreamlike melodies. And without going track by track, the rest of the record continues to expand, prismatically, slipping easily from strangely psychedelic indie pop, albeit fractured and flecked with weird steel drum like percussion, to field recording laced dronescapes, to quietly broody stretches of moody agent pop, psychedelic slowcore drift, to minimal, almost liturgical ambience.
Dizzying in scope, stunning in execution, a practically perfect, and perfectly IM-perfect, hybrid of haunting avant indie rock and modern composition, brooding, downer folk minimalism and expansive sound designed dronescapery, dreamlike torch songmithery and outsider, cinematic ambient bliss.
MPEG Stream: "Moonshine And Lion"
MPEG Stream: "Stravinsky"
MPEG Stream: "Boy, Dock"
MPEG Stream: "The Chant"
MPEG Stream: "Thine"

album cover SHABAZZ PALACES Lese Majesty (Sub Pop) 2lp 26.00
Second full length from these twisted hip hop alchemists, fronted by one of the guys from nineties hip hop jazz-bo's Digable Planets, but Shabazz Palaces is something else all together, a twisted strain of avant hip hop that's deconstructed, and mutated, and all twisted up. The first SP record, Black Up, was heavy on the murky, woozy, and warbly, a futuristic Afro-psych woven into stuttery beats, lurching slo-mo creeps, and all manner of warped loops, but on Else Majesty, something strange has happened again, with the sound moving even further away from call sic hip hop, but somehow drifting a bit closer to the laid back jazziness of Digable Planets. Give a listen to the samples below and you'll see what we mean. The vibe is less dark and shadowy, less grim and ominous, but at the same time, the sound is still mysterious, and darkly psychedelic, but infused with a strange sort of hopeful glow, a positivity, it's like Shabazz Palaces 'feel-good' record, but even then, this is some weird, tripped out shit.
The vibe is mellow, dreamy, the beats are al over the map, from classic loping hip hop grooves, to wild dense skitters, the music is warm and lush, swoon some synths, cascades of kosmische shimmer, vocals are clipped and cut and looped into weird hiccuping grooves, disembodied riffage surfaces here and there, as do swaths of smooth jazziness, the record peppered with short sonic fragments, mutated electro-hop, carnivalesque baroque electronica, some smoldering broodiness, all processed guitar shimmer, and brushed, hushed percussion, theremin like melodies, old school funk all twisted up into weird sonic shapes, big beats blurred into dizzyingly avant electro-soul, the sound in constant flux, between tracks and mid-jam as well, it's almost like someone flipping the channels, flitting between various strains of mutant hip hop, some shadowy and drowsily druggy, but most of them, groovy, and funky and weirdly posi, like a more psychedelic, and way more demented De La Soul maybe, at least this time around, but who can guess what other weirdness the next record will bring. We can only imagine...
MPEG Stream: "Dawn In Luxor"
MPEG Stream: "Forerunner Foray"
MPEG Stream: "They Come In Gold"
MPEG Stream: "Motion Sickness"

album cover KHUN NARIN ELECTRIC PHIN BAND s/t (Innovative Leisure) cd 13.98
It all started with a video on YouTube. Odds are one of your music nerd friends sent it to you already, or maybe you WERE one of those music nerds, sending it to everyone you know. Check it out:
http://youtu.be/IYGl-l0Toig?list=FLCuwmGlbaOAStwXMiPVY5Kw
A mysterious video with very little in the way of description, but really, it hardly needed a description, the sound was incredible, a wild, percussive, effusive, droning psychedelia, like a Thai version of Konono No.1, all buzzing distorted melodies, hypnotic rhythms, we, like many of you, must have watched that video a hundred times. And the visuals too, a group of musicians, relaxing in plastic chairs, in a town square, all in matching red vests, presumably from their jobs as taxi drivers, the sound pumped out through a wheeled, home built PA, all manner of instruments, double necked guitar style lutes, hand cymbals, drums, percussion, while all around them, people mill about, seemingly oblivious, to the psychedelic genius going on right before their strangely averted eyes!
Well somehow, some fella got in touch with the band in the video, and organized a proper recording for the group, which we discovered was in fact, Khun Narin Phin Sing, or Khun Narin's Electric Phin Band, the name taken from the group's use of an electrified, double necked version of a traditional Thai instrument, the lute-like phin. As for the folks in the video that seem to be ignoring the music and the musicians, apparently this sort of music is pretty commonplace in Thailand, even former aQ staffer Byram, who lived there for the last few years, told us he'd wander past bands like this playing all over, all the time, but for the rest of us, this stuff is a revelation, and Khun Narin Phin Sing crazy new Thai psych rock stars that we're totally obsessed with.
The record itself was recorded in a way to as closely as possible replicate the YouTube video, no fancy studios, no expensive mics and multi-track recorders, no overdubs, instead, the band set up in a field right outside their town, in the mountains on Thailand's Northern border, and the music was captured field recording style, live, one take, the group made up of multiple generations, from kids in high school, to men in their '60s, the band running their instruments through chains of guitar pedals, using home built instruments and amplifiers, and of course that custom PA system, a visually and sonically striking behemoth made of 8 loudspeaker horns mounted atop a huge bass cabinet, with wheels of course, and the group just let loose, unfurling a glorious sprawl of droning, buzzy, heady, hypnotic Thai psychedelia, spidery distorted guitar melodies over motorik rhythms, minimal percussion, loping sinewy basslines, the sounds growing more urgent and frenzied, the wild phin shredding drifting atop a roiling bed of constantly swirling and shimmering buzz and thrum, gloriously mesmerizing, and totally transcendent, so utterly amazing, and absolutely recommended to anyone into weird and wonderful sounds, but especially fans of Sublime Frequencies style desert psych, who will be in heaven!!
Vinyl version comes with a download card, btw.
MPEG Stream: "Lam Phu Thai"
MPEG Stream: "Lai Sing"
MPEG Stream: "Show Wong Khun Narin"

album cover LITTLE FLOWERS Home / Yeah (Araca) 7" 8.98
We loved the Public Guilt label, who brought us so many amazing releases - from the occult rock of Aluk Todolo, to the glacial avant doom of Habsyll; from the noise-jazz of Zu, to the spaced out dronescapery of Destructo Swarmbots; from the experimental turntablism of Strotter Inst, to the alchemical folk of Kiss The Anus Of A Black Cat, and so much more. We were bummed when Public Guilt decided to call it a day, but were super excited to discover that PG mastermind JR was back with a new label, one that maybe surprisingly is focused entirely on underground / outsider hip hop and club music, all 45rpm 7"s, and all pretty goddamn great.
The second release comes from a duo called Little Flowers, which has a seriously strange pedigree, one part former director for avant grade choreographer Merce Cunnigham, one part LA indie noise prog weirdos Upsilon Acrux, which really gives you NO clue as to what it might sound like, but then why should it, cuz even listening, it's hard to parse exactly what's going on - it's a noisy, wildly chaotic, buzzing swirl of progged out electro, with vocodered vox buried beneath thick throbbing synths, and what sounds like real acoustic drumming, and percussion, all draped in a psychedelic murk, the production super tripped out and experimental. The first side a dark, swirling collage of sound, the second more a sort of post hip hop groover, but both totally, and geniusly twisted, funky enough for the dance music crowd, but seriously freaked out and fucked up enough for everybody else. So good! And JR's new label two for two. Can't wait to hear more!
LIMITED TO 300 COPIES!!!
MPEG Stream: "Home"
MPEG Stream: "Yeah"

album cover AMA-DOTS s/t (Rerun) lp 14.98
Never heard of the oddly monikered Ama-Dots? Neither had we. But apparently this experimental post punk outfit from Milwaukee, having formed in the seventies, releasing their only proper single in 1980, were poised for greatness, having opened for Captain Beefheart, Sun Ra, Gang Of Four, even the Talking Heads, but somehow these guys were WAY weirder, just check out "Luxury With Her" the first track on this lp reissue of everything the group ever recorded. It's a filthy, grimy, loping bass driven creep, all low slung bass, woozy riffage, a lurching stop/start arrangements, some angular guitar scrape, some sample baby cries (?!) and some of the coolest, creepiest female vocals EVER, a raspy sort of growly croon, it's dark and weirdly groovy, sinister and seriously tense/intense. But Ama-Dots weren't all doom and gloom, their 'hit' "Hit Girls" is all angular and frantic, with super dramatic vox, over spidery guitar melodies, and a frenetic rhythm, a super distinctive call and response chorus, the sort of female fronted punk that was in short supply, and definitely struck a chord with the girl punks.
Frontwoman Boolah Hayes has the craziest voice, the music is pretty cool and weird, but when coupled with her deep raspy vocals, sometimes swopping into something super dramatic, putting on all manner of made up accents, but just as often slipping into a demonic growl or a feral bellow, transforming some of the sounds here into near metal, like some crazy female death metal vocalist found her way into an eighties post punk combo, making for some seriously kick ass, and super unique post punk, weird that this stuff has taken this long to get a proper reissue, but holy shit is this stuff great. And did we mention weird?
This collects the group's only 7" release, a lost EP, as well as unreleased demos and some live material, the studio stuff recorded by the legendary Ian Burgess (Big Black, Ministry, Effigies, etc.), pressed on swirled gold vinyl, housed in a super striking jacket, and includes a full color printed insert, with rare photos, liner notes and accounts of the group from friends, fans and writers.
MPEG Stream: "Luxury With Her"
MPEG Stream: "Hit Girls"
MPEG Stream: "Love Slug"
MPEG Stream: "So What"

album cover DEMDIKE STARE Test Pressings 006 (Modern Love) 12" 17.98
Barely a month has passed since volume 5 in Demdike Stare's series of Test Pressing 12"s, and along comes number six, and like the previous installment, it finds this hauntological duo moving even further from their gloomy electro creep, into a world of alien dancefloor avant electro. The A side almost sounds like two different club tracks playing simultaneously, with looped pitch shifted vocals, over a skittery breakbeat, and wreathed in swaths of thick buzzing noise, and dense swells of ominous rumble, a sort of industrial hip hop hybrid, all tangled up into some post-dubstep noisiness, with the second half getting totally wild, the production splintering into all sorts of strange shapes, before finally jettisoning the beat, and finishing with a killer sprawl of thick, crumbling, almost blackened dronemusic, before unexpectedly, the beat re-surfaces right at the end, for one final beat heavy flourish.
The B side manages to somehow get even more dense and noisy, brutal and bombastic, a sort-of rhythm constructed from skipping static and throbbing bass gristle, less dancefloor and more floorcore, not hard to imagine hearing some weirdo noise dude spitting out this sort of caustic crunch, that is until part way through, when those blasts of static coalesce into a super dark, dubbed out beat, that's thick, and heavy, and darkly groovy, fiercely minimal, but ominous and sinister and seriously sick. Here's hoping the upcoming Demdike full length continues to explore similarly fierce and fucked up sounds. Might just be the best of the Testpressing so far, most definitely the meanest...
MPEG Stream: "40 Years Under The Cosh"
MPEG Stream: "Frontin'"

album cover ABDU ALI Infinity Epiphanies (Araca) 7" 8.98
We loved the Public Guilt label, who brought us so many amazing releases - from the occult rock of Aluk Todolo, to the glacial avant doom of Habsyll; from the noise-jazz of Zu, to the spaced out dronescapery of Destructo Swarmbots; from the experimental turntablism of Strotter Inst, to the alchemical folk of Kiss The Anus Of A Black Cat, and so much more. We were bummed when Public Guilt decided to call it a day, but were super excited to discover that PG mastermind JR was back with a new label, one that maybe surprisingly is focused entirely on underground / outsider hip hop and club music, all 45rpm 7"s, and all pretty goddamn great.
First up is this blast of crunchy, distorted B-more noise-hop, courtesy of Abdu Ali, whose sound is all club music drum skitter, big distorted bass throb, some dubsteppy bass wobble, and a wild flow that had us imagining him toasting over a Bug track, and really, The Bug is not a bad reference, this is futuristic club music, hints of old school DHR, a little dancehall, definitely noisy, but groovy and funky as fuck, the sort of bangers that must send the dancefloor into a frenzy, and even if you're averse to actually making it out on the floor, strap on some headphones, and dig into the twisted, avant production, sounds swirl, beats fracture, melodies crumble, grinding, frantic, electro freak-outs that lurch from noisy funky stutter to almost cinematic sounding big beat bombast. Killer stuff. Definitely wanna hear more, and super duper psyched on JR's new label!!
LIMITED TO 300 COPIES!!!
MPEG Stream: "Say Something"
MPEG Stream: "Shiva"

album cover SURUNI Ikuus (Sun & Moon) cd 13.98
Ikuus is the full length debut from this one man experimental black metal 'band' from Finland, although calling it black metal might be a stretch, cuz like much of the black metal from Finland, Suruni's sound is beholden to so much more than blast and buzz, in fact, the majority of the record is spent drifting, jangling, creepy, swirling, it's definitely raw and lo-fi, and the vibe is haunting and mysterious, but it's more a sort of stumbling avant gloom rock, with plenty of clean guitars, distorted drumming, and when the buzz does come in, like on the opener, it doesn't so much transform the sound into something blacker, as add more moodiness, the buzz more diffuse and atmospheric, the sound lumbering back and forth between a spidery almost Slint-like lope (right down to the whispered vocals), to something more distorted and blown out, replete with some aching, almost bluesy leads, and the vocals, when they finally do come in, a distant howl, all the sounds blurring and bleeding into a glorious, almost psychedelic and chaotic whole. And that's just the first track. If we had to whip up some band math, we might take Varghkoghargasmal's 'wooden metal' and the slow doomed out experimentation of another Finnish favorite of ours Opium Warlords, but then with some twisted poppy jangle, a la Circle Of Ouroborus, and even some metalgaze, as much of this does have that sort of sun dappled, blissed out vibe, not to mention samples and field recordings.
The second track is another hushed sprawl of mesmerizing minimalism, all simple clean guitar strum, and stumbling skeletal drumming, and again, there's some blackened buzz, but like the first track, all it does is add texture and density, if anything, the sound gets even prettier, laced with more aching leads, and more ethereal atmosphere.
That said, there is some black buzz scattered throughout, but then there's also HARMONICA!!! Some tracks devolved into punky blackened plods, others blossom into hushed heartfelt shimmers, and some, like the twisted "Akana", sound like some sort of harmonica driven sea shanty, albeit one wrapped in sheets of gristly distorted guitars. But it seems always, the sound eventually settles into that haunting, gloomy, almost post rock sound that opened the proceedings, it's easy to imagine lots of these tracks as part of the score for some experimental com in of age indie art film, you can picture Gummo like kids, wandering through forests, or living in run down trailer parks, the sound evocative and emotional, a black metal that seems mostly removed from the tropes of traditional BM, sonic and otherwise, instead, taking some of those elements and using them to craft a sound that's super unique, strangely introspective, and beautifully, beautifully strange.
MPEG Stream: "Ei Se Ollut Vahinko"
MPEG Stream: "Elaman Kevat"
MPEG Stream: "Ikuus"
MPEG Stream: "Kirkkauden Virtaus"
MPEG Stream: "Ismi"

album cover MILLINGTON, MARY [PRE-ORDER] Come Play With Me & Other Tales (Tangerine Press) 10" 46.00
We haven't gotten any of these in yet, but figured some of our weirdo music / obscure art-vinyl obsessives might want one of these, especially folks into the whole Trunk Records scene of strange lost audio from yesteryear. These are EXTREMELY expensive, but exquisitely handmade, so this is in fact a pre-order, cuz we'll only be getting as many copies as we get orders for, so if you want one, and order one, we'll charge you for it now, and ship it in a couple weeks when it comes in, either on its own, or with whatever order you have pending at the time.
So here's the skinny. The Trunk Records label is definitely a good reference point, as this record really does seem like it could just as easily have ended up on Trunk. Mary Millington was the most famous pornstar in 1970's Britain, appeared in all the most famous adult magazines, even had some film roles in proper non-pornographic films. Around the mid to late seventies, Millington began to record 'porn audios' which were included with many magazines at the time, which were, as you might imagine, Millington simply talking dirty, playful and casual and conversational, telling sexy stories, being nasty, stories about peeing on her suitor, and being peed on ("Lovely Little Tinkle"), giving blowjobs ("The Longest Tongue In The World"), and giving underwater wanks ("Come Play With Me"), laced with little aside ("Ooooh, it's hot!", "I've got pubic hair in my mouth!"), and all set to groovy, soft focus psychedelic jams, all remastered from the original tapes and some of the flexi-discs included with the above mentioned magazines.
If you were a fan of the Flexi-Sex release on Trunk, which collected some of Johnny Trunk's favorite sexy flexis, you'll have an idea of just what you're in for, sexy, goofy, funny, playful, weird, total outsider audio from a lost era.
And as mentioned above, the packaging is super super deluxe, pressed on 140 gram 10" opaque blue vinyl, housed in fancy gatefold sleeves using recycled card stock and conservation glue, hand pulled screenprint artwork by Walden Press on the front and back, as well as a saucy full length image of Millington inside, on 1970's style newsprint.
EXTREMELY LIMITED!!! We can probably only get a handful, so (pre)order now if you want one!
MPEG Stream: "Come Play With Me"
MPEG Stream: "Lovely Little Tinkle"
MPEG Stream: "The Longest Tongue In The World"

album cover NAOMI PUNK Television Man (Captured Tracks) cd 15.98
Record number two from these Northwest post punks, whose first record was a huge favorite with some of the aQ-ers around here, but sadly we seemed to catch on way too late to give the record its proper due on the list. Much like that debut, Television Man is a gloriously murky, dirgey, muddy, twisted gem, a lo-fi, urgent, tension filled garage punk blowout that's minimal, but super rocking, noisy, but super catchy, the kind of record that sounds like it was recorded on a busted 4-track on old melted tapes from the dashboard of your car, but somehow was transformed into some mutant strain of fuzzed out noise pop, given a damaged sort-of high fidelity makeover, and thus given some heft and some dark frantic energy, fused to the group's druggy dirgery, which is maybe why, somehow, all that sonic grime and filth is barely able to disguise the pure pop wonder that lurks beneath.
We're definitely reminded of former Record Of The Weekers Weed, who similarly took crazy catchy nineties style indie rock, wreathing it in loads of noise and feedback, and blown out psychedelic squalls, but Naomi Punk are something else all together, on the surface sounding like they're cut from the same musical cloth as outfits like Iceage and Holograms and all the rest, and they definitely sort of are, fans of either of those groups, or like minded outfits like Cold Showers, His Electro Blue Voice, Rank / Xerox, War, etc. will be immediately smitten, but the songs here take that post punk template and pull it to pieces. The groop is as happy crafting some catchy pound and crunch, as they are adding some unlikely 'oooooh's to a wildly angular anti-groove, or chopping a song up into an impossibly mesmerizing super dynamic, psychedelic dirge, one that somehow retains an impossible amount of poppiness. It's that innate poppiness that can't help but shine through, not to mention a weirdly experimental streak that goes beyond just the murky production, and minimal arrangements, with some of the tracks locking into strange almost looped sounding grooves, stuttery stop start workouts that somehow manage to be just as catchy, or weird little ditties like "Plastic World No. 6", which sheds all that murk, and instead pairs a jaunty little synth melody to a simple fuzzy strum, along with some buried eighties electronic percussion, whipping up a super cool sound that we wish was more than just an interstitial jam, but those weird little parts/songs work really well alongside jams like "Eleven Inches" which on the surface unwind as super tranced out, repetitive dirges, but gradually reveal themselves as still more deft hookiness, especially when it slows down, and gets sort of moody for a minute, only to lurch right back into it. "Eon Of Pain" is another track that sounds simpler than it is, but manages to take a little and do a whole lot with it, winding it all up into some fantastically tense post punk minimalism, that for all it's seemingly lacking in the first half, is more than made up for by the bombastic noise pop second half.
We could easily break down the rest of the record, track by track, but needless to say, every jam here is a gem, one of those rare records where we have trouble picking a favorite song, and if we really had to, it would likely be a different one every single time...
MPEG Stream: "Firehose Face"
MPEG Stream: "Song Factory"
MPEG Stream: "Television Man"
MPEG Stream: "Plastic World No. 6"

album cover KILLING SOUND $ixxx Harmonie$ Version (Blackest Ever Black) lp 16.98
Not sure why we didn't review the recent full length from Killing Sound, a trio of producers which includes aQ fave Vessel, but this remix of the opening track from that record has us thinking we better right that wrong, although here, that track gets reworked as something way more fierce and fucked up and brutal. The more chilled out original, here recast as some dark, dark jungle, all droned out ambience, brooding sonic malevolence, laced with haunting vox, that devolves into some seriously grimy, dubbed out drum and bass, all oozing low end throb, echo drenched skitter, the whole thing laced with all manner of creepy sound FX, what sounds like a power drill, stretched out into a keening tone, plenty of crunch and crumble, a slow build to a seriously bombastic finale, rib cage rattling bass and pounding beats, all wreathed in a swirl of grim atmospheric ambience. Killer!
MPEG Stream: "$ixxx Harmonie$ Version"

album cover CUTTHROATS 9, THE Dissent (Lamb Unlimited Records) lp 16.98
Record number two from the new project of Chris Spencer of late great NYC nineties noise rockers the Unsane, and while the sound of The Cutthroats 9 is maybe a bit less metal, it still retains much of the negative sonic energy of Unsane. Skull caving riffage, thick, corrosive bass buzz, pounding drums, and maybe most notably, some bad ass slide guitar (peep the cover photo, a close up of said slide guitar happening) which adds a definite distinctive sound, CT9's down tuned grooves laced with slippery melodies, the band locked into explosive churning heaviness, Spencer's slide guitar woven throughout, adding some surprising melody to the proceedings, a nice balance to the unhinged ferocity that oozes from pretty much every other part of the record, with Spencer's throaty bellow, cracking into more unhinged near-shriekiness on tracks like "Trouble", which sound essentially, like a groovier, more melodic Unsane, which is most definitely not a bad thing at all. The AmRep noise rock vibe is pretty huge too, hugely beholden to that label, and that era, fans of eighties and nineties pig fuck heaviness will dig this stuff like crazy, but then the band whip out a track like "Dissension", where the slide is right up front, and suddenly it almost sounds like a more metal Raging Slab, sort of, cuz really, the blood that adorned most of the Unsane records seems to still flow through Spencer's veins, and thus through his amp, dripping all over these jams as well, so fans of Spencer's old outfit will feel right at home, but really, any one whole likes it heavy and groovy, step right up...
Includes a download code too!
MPEG Stream: "Speak"
MPEG Stream: "Trouble"
MPEG Stream: "Eraser"

album cover ICARUS LINE Avowed Slavery (Agitated Records) 12" 17.98
First thing you'll notice about this 'new' record from LA psych punks the Icarus Line, is that the title is very similar to their last full length Slave Vows, and apparently, that's cuz this ep is a companion of sorts, a five track addendum to that record's furious swagger, and if anything, these extra jams are even darker and more sinister, sounding like the Stooges fused to Einsturzende, with wild, blown out psychedelic freakouts bookended by some almost industrial sounding creep.
Opener "Leeches And Seeds" almost sounds like Woven Hand, with 'testifying' vox over distorted bass throb, wreathed in tripped out FX, a brooding sprawl of sonic tension, peppered with wild bursts of wild psychedelic swagger, those blowouts wrapped in wild squalls of dense psych guitar shred and shards of screeching feedback. Fierce as fuck for sure. And the rest of the ep follows suit, the band adding tons of space, and dynamics to their sound, "Junkadelic" is almost glammy, swagger and brooding in equal measure, while "Raise Your Crown" is all loping psychedelic blooze, sound like the bastard offspring of the Rock*A*Teens and the Swans. But it's "Salem Slims", an apparent live favorite, that blows the roof off, a heavy guitar wild psych blow-out, again heavy on the glammy swagger, the guitar blown out and in-the-red, a furious, freaky glam-psych garage punk stomp that KILLS. Finally, things finish off with "The Father / The Priest", a sprawling 13+ minute epic, a smoldering slow burn that spends the first ten minutes grooving ominously, swampy and slithery, before the finale, a heavy as fuck blow out, that sounds like what Jack White must be trying for, heavy, psychedelic blooze, that's fierce and furious, noisy and twisted and the sort of damaged psych weirdness that we could imagine stretching out long enough to transform this ep into a full length. If only...
MPEG Stream: "Leeches And Seeds"
MPEG Stream: "Salem Slims"
MPEG Stream: "The Father / The Priest"

album cover ICARUS LINE Avowed Slavery (Agitated Records) cdep 14.98
First thing you'll notice about this 'new' record from LA psych punks the Icarus Line, is that the title is very similar to their last full length Slave Vows, and apparently, that's cuz this ep is a companion of sorts, a five track addendum to that record's furious swagger, and if anything, these extra jams are even darker and more sinister, sounding like the Stooges fused to Einsturzende, with wild, blown out psychedelic freakouts bookended by some almost industrial sounding creep.
Opener "Leeches And Seeds" almost sounds like Woven Hand, with 'testifying' vox over distorted bass throb, wreathed in tripped out FX, a brooding sprawl of sonic tension, peppered with wild bursts of wild psychedelic swagger, those blowouts wrapped in wild squalls of dense psych guitar shred and shards of screeching feedback. Fierce as fuck for sure. And the rest of the ep follows suit, the band adding tons of space, and dynamics to their sound, "Junkadelic" is almost glammy, swagger and brooding in equal measure, while "Raise Your Crown" is all loping psychedelic blooze, sound like the bastard offspring of the Rock*A*Teens and the Swans. But it's "Salem Slims", an apparent live favorite, that blows the roof off, a heavy guitar wild psych blow-out, again heavy on the glammy swagger, the guitar blown out and in-the-red, a furious, freaky glam-psych garage punk stomp that KILLS. Finally, things finish off with "The Father / The Priest", a sprawling 13+ minute epic, a smoldering slow burn that spends the first ten minutes grooving ominously, swampy and slithery, before the finale, a heavy as fuck blow out, that sounds like what Jack White must be trying for, heavy, psychedelic blooze, that's fierce and furious, noisy and twisted and the sort of damaged psych weirdness that we could imagine stretching out long enough to transform this ep into a full length. If only...
MPEG Stream: "Leeches And Seeds"
MPEG Stream: "Salem Slims"
MPEG Stream: "The Father / The Priest"

album cover LIVE SKULL Pusherman (Desire) lp 21.00
The reissue campaign for these eighties NY noise rockers culminates with this, the final EP featuring the original lineup, released immediately after 1986's Cloud One (the reissue of which was reviewed on the aQ list recently), and was the last record with the original lineup, after this record drummer James Lo would leave, and vocalist/guitarist Thalia Zedek would join, changing the sound of the band, and moving them in a new direction. A direction that was definitely hinted at here, originally a three song 12", the band (according to the liner notes) were convinced that Pusherman was a vast improvement, even over Cloud One, which had just come out, and while it might be more polished, and a bit more honed, songwriting-wise, it sounds like the logical extension from Cloud One. "Swingtime" is all low slung swagger, the production, thick and noisy, multiple guitars wound into tense tangles, the groove a lumbering churn, the sound rife with spidery melodies and strange fragmented riffage, the vocals a deep bellowed croon, the whole thing a fierce gothic blooze, far removed from the early noise rock days for sure. "Raise The Manifestation" is more of the same, another bass driven dirge, slow and loping, moody and brooding, this time female vox to the fore, the guitars once again swirling in psychedelic squalls, all anchored by some muscly bass and drums, droney and tranced out, and to these ears, like much of Cloud One, still reminiscent of what was happening on the opposite coast, with the Scream Club, and groups like Kommunity FK, the Abecedarians, Janes Addiction and the like.
The big surprise though on Pusherman was the title track, a cover of the Curtis Mayfield classic, which at the time, seemed kinda crazy, and while much has been made of the track's 'funkiness', it really doesn't sound that much funkier than the Live Skull tracks proper, tribal drumming, and a woozy, slithery bassline, wreathed in all sorts of guitar noise, and some surprising percussion, the vocals sultry and bewitching, a little bit haunting, the guitars delivering all sorts of wild sonic filigree, a dense soulful noise rock dirge that positioned the song, and the group to an extent right alongside all those other doom and gloom outfits.
The original ep is fleshed out with a bunch of bonus tracks, most live, a few alternate versions, all of varying quality, but a good impression of the band at their peak, right before the band would reconfigure and embark on phase two of their career. Like the other reissues, fantastically put together, with a massive booklet, featuring extensive liner notes from the various band members, and lots of rare photos and flyers. Best part of the liner notes: when the band recalls returning to Madison, Wisconsin, only to discovery that their last visit had inspired their host's toddlers to start a band, that band was Old Skull! (And did you know two of the three kids from Old Skull are now dead?! Crazy!)
MPEG Stream: "Swingtime"
MPEG Stream: "Raise The Manifestation"
MPEG Stream: "Pusherman"

album cover SHABAZZ PALACES Lese Majesty (Sub Pop) cd 14.98
Second full length from these twisted hip hop alchemists, fronted by one of the guys from nineties hip hop jazz-bo's Digable Planets, but Shabazz Palaces is something else all together, a twisted strain of avant hip hop that's deconstructed, and mutated, and all twisted up. The first SP record, Black Up, was heavy on the murky, woozy, and warbly, a futuristic Afro-psych woven into stuttery beats, lurching slo-mo creeps, and all manner of warped loops, but on Else Majesty, something strange has happened again, with the sound moving even further away from call sic hip hop, but somehow drifting a bit closer to the laid back jazziness of Digable Planets. Give a listen to the samples below and you'll see what we mean. The vibe is less dark and shadowy, less grim and ominous, but at the same time, the sound is still mysterious, and darkly psychedelic, but infused with a strange sort of hopeful glow, a positivity, it's like Shabazz Palaces 'feel-good' record, but even then, this is some weird, tripped out shit.
The vibe is mellow, dreamy, the beats are al over the map, from classic loping hip hop grooves, to wild dense skitters, the music is warm and lush, swoon some synths, cascades of kosmische shimmer, vocals are clipped and cut and looped into weird hiccuping grooves, disembodied riffage surfaces here and there, as do swaths of smooth jazziness, the record peppered with short sonic fragments, mutated electro-hop, carnivalesque baroque electronica, some smoldering broodiness, all processed guitar shimmer, and brushed, hushed percussion, theremin like melodies, old school funk all twisted up into weird sonic shapes, big beats blurred into dizzyingly avant electro-soul, the sound in constant flux, between tracks and mid-jam as well, it's almost like someone flipping the channels, flitting between various strains of mutant hip hop, some shadowy and drowsily druggy, but most of them, groovy, and funky and weirdly posi, like a more psychedelic, and way more demented De La Soul maybe, at least this time around, but who can guess what other weirdness the next record will bring. We can only imagine...
MPEG Stream: "Dawn In Luxor"
MPEG Stream: "Forerunner Foray"
MPEG Stream: "They Come In Gold"
MPEG Stream: "Motion Sickness"

album cover MAR-VISTA Visions Of Sodal Ye (Strawberry Rain) lp 37.00
It's nice to know that no matter how many records are reissued, or rare gems discovered, or mysterious private press releases rescued from oblivion, there will always be more. And even though sometimes we feel like the bottom of the reissue barrel has been reached, based on some dubious reissues, all it takes is a record like this, to remind us that there are truly some mind benignly fantastic records that have yet to be unearthed. And yeah, this is some truly next level, mind bending stuff. EVERYBODY here digs it, so we knew we had to make it a Record Of The Week, even though a week ago, we'd never heard of Mar-Vista. Sounds like of like a motel or something.
Originally a private press record, released in a run of just 200 copies in 1976, and packaged in blank white sleeves, and sold locally in France, this deliriously trippy and over the top chunk of French psychedelic synth prog is so good, and so weird, it really is one of those rare records, that's makes it hard to believe it could've remained lost for so long. Cuz really, anyone hearing this, would immediately freak out. We most definitely did. Apparently this duo was heavily influenced by minimalists like La Monte Young and Terry Riley, and krautrock combos like Ashra Tempel and Popol Vuh and while that's not actually bad band math when trying to describe Mar-Vista, the truth of the sound is so much stranger.
A single 41 minute song suite, separated into 6 movements, Visions Of Sodal Ye begins with primitive lo-fi drum machine (or drumming that sounds programmed), beneath whirring organs, fingerpicked acoustic guitars, droning synths and shimmering melodies, with laid back vox way down in the mix, not to mention some killer distorted psych guitar shred, the whole thing wrapped in warped sonic warble. There are plenty of weird production glitches, drop outs, and tape decay/damage from the original masters we would assume, but it only adds to the sound, a sound that soon blossoms into soaring kosmische synth swirls, anchored by more of those primitive drum machine like rhythms, and wreathed in what sounds like whipping winds, and jaw harp like spring melodies, more plink plonk, sing songy synths, and a fierce squall of psychedelic noise guitar. The movements merge into one sprawling epic, continuing with the coolest, creepiest track of the bunch, a dour, murky dirge, a tripped out sort of doom-kraut creep, with low buzzing synths, skittery rhythms, and multiple vocal lines, all wound up into a haunting, intense, organ and synth drenched lumber, that could be the weirdest heaviest French psych-prog jam EVER. That quickly (d)evolves into a cool, groovy sixties style psychedelic blow out, all cascading synth melodies, pulsing hip shaking rhythms, and super distorted theremin like squiggles over the top, before settling into some pulsating, cosmic shimmer, tinged with just a little bit new age, some serious synth prog that blossoms into awesome John Carpenter like soundtrackiness! The record/songsuite culminates in the final 21+ minute movement, a sprawling cinematic synth epic, a twisted dronescape of layered synths and extended tones, ominous and sinister, minor key and darkly malevolent, again, like it could be from the some lost Carpenter movie, all creepy slo-mo melodies, and crumbling textures, plenty of tension, haunting and shadowy and mysterious.
And generally bonus tracks are bonus tracks for a reason, cast offs, throw aways, songs that weren't good enough to make the cut, but not here, the two bonus tracks (found only on the cd!!) are crazy, and crazy cool, the first, "Synthetik Way", is a glistening, glimmering planetarium style cosmic synth workout, all lush, hushed and tranquil one second, then distorted and wildly psychedelic the next, while the second "Crash '73", is an impossibly trippy, surprisingly heavy psych rock jam, with in-the-red distorted guitar and skittery drumming, beneath a wild tangle of snake charmer synth shred, and a totally WTF twisted stuttery finale, which had us imagining a whole other record tucked away with more of this outsider synth-prog-psych weirdnessÉ
So incredible, quite possibly the reissue of the year! Minimal liner notes, a reproduction of the original sleeve, but sadly somewhat flimsy packaging on the digipack cd...
The cd version is limited to 500 copies, the lp just 300.
MPEG Stream: "Her Eyes Are Closed"
MPEG Stream: "Death's Shadows"
MPEG Stream: "The Black Sun Shones Today"
MPEG Stream: "Crash '73"

album cover POISON RING Book Of Seeds (Hanged Man) cassette 6.98
We were first turned on to Poison Ring by the guys in Sutekh Hexen, and managed to meet the man responsible on a recent trip to Seattle. We were initially not sure what to expect. The tape packaging, while beautiful, evokes something else entirely, something maybe more gothic, and Mr. Poison Ring himself is quite elven, in appearance and attire, but instead of some gothic renn faire flutter, we were treated to something much more intense, dark and atmospheric, a hazy, faded landscape of woozy soft focus murk and buried melodies, a sound that definitely had us thinking of Philip Jeck and The Caretaker and Tim Hecker. While it's impossible to tell exactly what's producing these ghostly sounds, it does sound like a handful of dusty old turntables, spinning lazily in some giant abandoned ballroom, a series of gauzy melodies, and slowed down samples, layered and woven into softly undulating blurs, melancholy and mournful, imbued with a introspective otherworldliness, the perfect haunting lullaby for nights beneath pitch black skies, devoid of stars, a gorgeously abject drift into some other/underworld, laced with moments both sinister and ominous, but those moments seem to always eventually unwind, the sound eventually and inevitably diffusing into another stretch of blessed out somnambulant ambience.
On some of the tracks, the source does seem to be obviously old records and broken down turntables, and yet, instead of taking away from the mystery, it simply adds more color and depth, often some sort of disembodied rhythm, reminding us again of Jeck, but also Strotter Inst, especially in the stretches anchored by electronic squelches and distorted pulses, like some alien, haunted house music, an industrial creep that manages to evoke a strange tension, while still remaining otherworldly and lovely. The flipside spends much of it's time lysergically loping through fields of murk and pitch shifted melody, an achingly wistful sprawl of dreamdirges and waking sonic feverdreams.
Housed in a beautiful handmade slipcover/sleeve, with a built in mini booklet, printed on vellum, each copy hand numbered, LIMITED TO 89 COPIES!!
MPEG Stream: "Chapter I (excerpt 1)"

album cover CULT OF DOM KELLER The Second Bardo (Cardinal Fuzz) lp 21.00
More spaced out psychedelic garage from the Cardinal Fuzz label, this one, record number two from UK fuzz merchants Cult Of Dom Keller, whose sound is a perfect fit for the 'Fuzz, all reverbed riffage, simple motorik drum pound, laid back echo drenched spacer vox, all smeared into druggy sprawls of lysergic hypno-rock that falls somewhere between Spacemen 3, Moon Duo, Loop and any number of other like minded drug rock space explorers. The opener "Plague Of All" sets the stage perfectly, with a killer main riff, that's soon bolstered by some primitive rhythmic pound, and spidery distorted guitar melody, doused in FX, and seriously fuzzed out, when the vocals swoop in, the sound gets way more spacey and drifty, the sound seesawing back and forth between ethereal space rock shimmer and swagger psych blooze crunch.
The rest of the record seems to melt and ooze and drift, the template laid down on the first track seemingly left in the sun too long, whirring organs dripping all over loping and lumbering drug-rock grooves, the guitars churning, warm and distorted, on tracks like "The Snake Keeps Changing", the vibe is practically somnambulant, tripped out and gloriously laid back, it's almost impossible to not imagine some crazy psychedelic light show enveloping you when you close your eyes and strap on the headphones. Other tracks add sitar-like buzz, swirling backwards FX, walls of crumbling distortion, some explode into serious heart-of-the-sun Hawkwind like pound, others sprawl and expand into hazy sonic supernovas of sound. Epic spaced out psychedelia for fans of the usual suspects (Carlton Melton, the Heads, White Hills, Wooden Shjips, as well as the rest of the Cardinal Fuzz roster), and SUPER LIMITED of course, pressed on tripped out swirled red/green vinyl...
MPEG Stream: "Plague Of All"
MPEG Stream: "The Snake Keeps Changing"
MPEG Stream: "Into The Sky Volcano - Beyond Burning Skies"
MPEG Stream: "The Second Bardo"

album cover GRST Fire Therein (Glossolalia) cassette 8.98
For a band who existed so briefly, with only handful of live performances, and a single record to their name, San Francisco's late great black metal masterminds Weakling cast a mighty long shadow. Many consider their Dead As Dreams debut/swansong to be one of the best US black metal records EVER, and hell, who are we to argue. Andee's tUMULt label put it out, after all. It's also inspired at least three tributes/homages that we can think of, Jabladav's weirdo worshipful Dead As Duck album, then there's the band Dead As Dreams, and now there's this two song tape from Texas/Oregon black metal outfit Grst, entitled Fire Therein, on which the trio tackle two Weakling tracks, "Cut Their Grain And Place Fire Therein" and "Dead As Dreams". And on first listen, these guys do a pretty good Weakling, especially the anguished wailed shrieking vokills, the music itself is a lot more polished and less raw than the original, the organ/synth way higher in the mix, the drums too, it sounds like they've added some subtle twisted of their own, but it's obviously a pretty reverential homage, and for anyone who loves the original, which should be all of you, it's pretty cool to hear someone else's interpretation, and the fact that it still sounds so good, most definitely speaks to the power, the energy, and the uniqueness of the original. Same with "Dead As Dreams", a song we've loved so much for so long, that even hearing an entirely different version, the minute we hear that riff, that instantly recognizable melody, it gives us chills, and again, hearing a different version/interpretation, gives us new perspective, and makes us want to dig into the original all over again. Which is pretty much everything you want from a tribute/cover/homage...
LIMITED TO 100 COPIES. With cool pitch perfect Dead As Dreams styled cover art.
MPEG Stream: "Cut Their Grain And Place Fire Therein"

album cover VOMITFACE Vomitface (Bad Companion) 7" 5.98
We have to admit, we almost didn't listen to this, which we know is sorta hypocritical, considering the ridiculous bands we dig, many with even more ridiculous monikers, but something about the bandname Vomitface had us expecting something else entirely, and something we thought we might not dig. But dig this we do. Lots. Basically, these guys sound like they were cut from the very same cloth as Nirvana's Bleach. Fuzzed out grunge, plenty of quiet/loud, the same sort of minor key clean guitar, and explosive choruses, with some killer distorto leads, and warmly vocals that sound a lot like Kurt Cobain, especially when in the early days and on those old demos, or when he was just going for it and shredding his voice live.
"Sloppy Joes" is the most Nirvana-ish of the bunch, with its loping chugging verse, and blown out chorus, the warmly keening vocals, the main hook a killer, the drums blown out too, the whole production super hot and in-the-red. it's pretty tough to resist, the vocals in the verse are a dead ringer for the Grifters too, which is most definitely a very good thing.
And hell, once you get done playing that track over and over, "Bill Me Later" explodes into some serious noise drenched post-grunge heaviness, with plenty of slither and swagger and crunch, and a distinctly nineties verse with weird spidery guitars, some 'oooooh' background vox, more wild drumming, and yeah, another bad ass hook. We were pretty blown away when we played this the first time, and within minutes we had already sold one! The other two tracks are just as ruling, total grunge radness, that takes the Nirvana/grunge worship of Roomrunner, maybe even further, but if that's a sound you love, nobody does it this good anymore, and hell, these guys do it now, better than lots of bands back in the day too. We can't stop listening to this, and are really hoping there's a full length on the way.
LIMITED TO 133 COPIES! Includes a download with a bonus DL only track!
MPEG Stream: "Sloppy Joes"
MPEG Stream: "Bill Me Later"

album cover LIVE SKULL Pusherman (Desire) cd 16.98
The reissue campaign for these eighties NY noise rockers culminates with this, the final EP featuring the original lineup, released immediately after 1986's Cloud One (the reissue of which was reviewed on the aQ list recently), and was the last record with the original lineup, after this record drummer James Lo would leave, and vocalist/guitarist Thalia Zedek would join, changing the sound of the band, and moving them in a new direction. A direction that was definitely hinted at here, originally a three song 12", the band (according to the liner notes) were convinced that Pusherman was a vast improvement, even over Cloud One, which had just come out, and while it might be more polished, and a bit more honed, songwriting-wise, it sounds like the logical extension from Cloud One. "Swingtime" is all low slung swagger, the production, thick and noisy, multiple guitars wound into tense tangles, the groove a lumbering churn, the sound rife with spidery melodies and strange fragmented riffage, the vocals a deep bellowed croon, the whole thing a fierce gothic blooze, far removed from the early noise rock days for sure. "Raise The Manifestation" is more of the same, another bass driven dirge, slow and loping, moody and brooding, this time female vox to the fore, the guitars once again swirling in psychedelic squalls, all anchored by some muscly bass and drums, droney and tranced out, and to these ears, like much of Cloud One, still reminiscent of what was happening on the opposite coast, with the Scream Club, and groups like Kommunity FK, the Abecedarians, Janes Addiction and the like.
The big surprise though on Pusherman was the title track, a cover of the Curtis Mayfield classic, which at the time, seemed kinda crazy, and while much has been made of the track's 'funkiness', it really doesn't sound that much funkier than the Live Skull tracks proper, tribal drumming, and a woozy, slithery bassline, wreathed in all sorts of guitar noise, and some surprising percussion, the vocals sultry and bewitching, a little bit haunting, the guitars delivering all sorts of wild sonic filigree, a dense soulful noise rock dirge that positioned the song, and the group to an extent right alongside all those other doom and gloom outfits.
The original ep is fleshed out with a bunch of bonus tracks, most live, a few alternate versions, all of varying quality, but a good impression of the band at their peak, right before the band would reconfigure and embark on phase two of their career. Like the other reissues, fantastically put together, with a massive booklet, featuring extensive liner notes from the various band members, and lots of rare photos and flyers. Best part of the liner notes: when the band recalls returning to Madison, Wisconsin, only to discovery that their last visit had inspired their host's toddlers to start a band, that band was Old Skull! (And did you know two of the three kids from Old Skull are now dead?! Crazy!)
MPEG Stream: "Swingtime"
MPEG Stream: "Raise The Manifestation"
MPEG Stream: "Pusherman"

album cover PROUD, PIP A Fraying Space (EM) cd 22.00
The latest collection (after two previous) chronicling the work of Australian outsider artist / primitive folk songsmith Pip Proud, comes courtesy of Japanese label EM, who gather up some of his best tracks from the late sixties and early seventies, selected by Proud's biographer David Nichols, who also provides the booklet's extensive liner notes. Fans of early Flying Nun, Xpressway and Homestead Records, will be immediately smitten. Proud, whose primitive folksmithery falls somewhere between the Tall Dwarfs, the Frogs and Sebadoh, was like a proto Syd Barrett, with a voice that's a dead ringer for Jimmy Flemion of the Frogs (R.I.P.), and his music for all its amateur primitivism, was geniusly crafted, perfect little introspective folk pop gems, the sound, the lyrics, the guitar playing, even the recordings themselves... We're also reminded of Bill Direen, the sung/spoken vocals, the raw guitar style, the lo-fi recordings, almost every track here impossibly catchy, with the oddest bits getting stuck in your head like crazy. Some tracks are haunting and otherworldly, with truly unique and bizarre guitar parts (or are those synths), the guitar playing sometimes folk, but other times percussive and more rhythmic, and still other times, weirdly psychedelic. There's one track with a full band, that is killer, all Velvets-y murky, tense kraut-psych garage pop, with truly twisted vox, and some weirdly atonal melodies, but the rest of the record is made up entirely of home recorded bedroom jams, with only the most minimal and primitively achieved overdubs, sometimes it's strange gamelan like percussion, sometimes noisy fuzz distortion, sometimes weird tangles of multiple guitar lines, all deftly woven into some of the most endearing, and mysteriously mesmerizing music you might never have heard.
There are a handful of bonus tracks, as well as a huge booklet, with liner notes, rare photos and lyrics.
MPEG Stream: "Adreneline And Richard"
MPEG Stream: "De Da De Dum"
MPEG Stream: "A Fraying Space"
MPEG Stream: "Purple Boy Gang"

album cover WHITE FENCE For The Recently Found Innocent (Drag City) cd 14.98
First we've heard from these sixties psych channeling, garage pop retro rocking locals since last year's awesome Cyclops Reap (and not counting the recent equally awesome Live In SF disc). Cyclops Reap took White Fence's already twisted sound and somehow made it even more far out, while at the same time upping the ante on pretty much everything else (song craft, production, etc.), and now on For The Recently Found Innocent, WF mainman Tim Presley teams up with his buddy Ty Segall and drummer Nick Murray (Mikal Cronin even pops by to play a little piano), for a record that continues Presley's quest to craft some impossible sixties beholden, modern retro-psych masterpiece, and gets closer than he ever has. In the process, Presley and crew dial back a lot of the weirdness that defined the sound of Cyclops Reap, and come up with some of the best WF songs yet. Certainly the best sounding, the production is massive, just check out "Anger! Who Keeps You Under", which somehow sounds properly from back in the day, but modern as well, jangling guitars, soaring vocals, hooks galore, powerful drumming, all sorts of effects and textures, the sound lush and majestic, a little bit fuzzy and crunchy, and so so catchy! And it pretty much doesn't let up, every track here a fuzz pop retro garage gem, "Like That" features Presley's keening falsetto, with some fantastic harmonies, all set amidst lush jangle and some pitch perfect sixties-isms, what we really need to do is get Presley together with Matthew Melton (Warm Soda, Bare Wires)!
But until that happens, we get to revel in Presley's alternate sonic sixties, conjured up here and now, with all the musical references to might imagine, Bee Gees, the Monkees, the Zombies, some of the tracks here do genuinely sound like they were plucked from some reissue compilation, while others find WF indulging in some experimentation, but even then, they manage to make it sound totally genuine. As always, fantastic stuff, and pretty sure we probably say this every time, but might be our favorite White Fence record yet!
MPEG Stream: "Anger! Who Keeps You Under?"
MPEG Stream: "Like That"
MPEG Stream: "Sandra (When The Earth Dies)"
MPEG Stream: "Wolf Gets Red Faced"

album cover WHITE FENCE For The Recently Found Innocent (Drag City) lp 17.98
First we've heard from these sixties psych channeling, garage pop retro rocking locals since last year's awesome Cyclops Reap (and not counting the recent equally awesome Live In SF disc). Cyclops Reap took White Fence's already twisted sound and somehow made it even more far out, while at the same time upping the ante on pretty much everything else (song craft, production, etc.), and now on For The Recently Found Innocent, WF mainman Tim Presley teams up with his buddy Ty Segall and drummer Nick Murray (Mikal Cronin even pops by to play a little piano), for a record that continues Presley's quest to craft some impossible sixties beholden, modern retro-psych masterpiece, and gets closer than he ever has. In the process, Presley and crew dial back a lot of the weirdness that defined the sound of Cyclops Reap, and come up with some of the best WF songs yet. Certainly the best sounding, the production is massive, just check out "Anger! Who Keeps You Under", which somehow sounds properly from back in the day, but modern as well, jangling guitars, soaring vocals, hooks galore, powerful drumming, all sorts of effects and textures, the sound lush and majestic, a little bit fuzzy and crunchy, and so so catchy! And it pretty much doesn't let up, every track here a fuzz pop retro garage gem, "Like That" features Presley's keening falsetto, with some fantastic harmonies, all set amidst lush jangle and some pitch perfect sixties-isms, what we really need to do is get Presley together with Matthew Melton (Warm Soda, Bare Wires)!
But until that happens, we get to revel in Presley's alternate sonic sixties, conjured up here and now, with all the musical references to might imagine, Bee Gees, the Monkees, the Zombies, some of the tracks here do genuinely sound like they were plucked from some reissue compilation, while others find WF indulging in some experimentation, but even then, they manage to make it sound totally genuine. As always, fantastic stuff, and pretty sure we probably say this every time, but might be our favorite White Fence record yet!
MPEG Stream: "Anger! Who Keeps You Under?"
MPEG Stream: "Like That"
MPEG Stream: "Sandra (When The Earth Dies)"
MPEG Stream: "Wolf Gets Red Faced"

album cover WHITE FENCE For The Recently Found Innocent (Drag City) cassette 9.98
First we've heard from these sixties psych channeling, garage pop retro rocking locals since last year's awesome Cyclops Reap (and not counting the recent equally awesome Live In SF disc). Cyclops Reap took White Fence's already twisted sound and somehow made it even more far out, while at the same time upping the ante on pretty much everything else (song craft, production, etc.), and now on For The Recently Found Innocent, WF mainman Tim Presley teams up with his buddy Ty Segall and drummer Nick Murray (Mikal Cronin even pops by to play a little piano), for a record that continues Presley's quest to craft some impossible sixties beholden, modern retro-psych masterpiece, and gets closer than he ever has. In the process, Presley and crew dial back a lot of the weirdness that defined the sound of Cyclops Reap, and come up with some of the best WF songs yet. Certainly the best sounding, the production is massive, just check out "Anger! Who Keeps You Under", which somehow sounds properly from back in the day, but modern as well, jangling guitars, soaring vocals, hooks galore, powerful drumming, all sorts of effects and textures, the sound lush and majestic, a little bit fuzzy and crunchy, and so so catchy! And it pretty much doesn't let up, every track here a fuzz pop retro garage gem, "Like That" features Presley's keening falsetto, with some fantastic harmonies, all set amidst lush jangle and some pitch perfect sixties-isms, what we really need to do is get Presley together with Matthew Melton (Warm Soda, Bare Wires)!
But until that happens, we get to revel in Presley's alternate sonic sixties, conjured up here and now, with all the musical references to might imagine, Bee Gees, the Monkees, the Zombies, some of the tracks here do genuinely sound like they were plucked from some reissue compilation, while others find WF indulging in some experimentation, but even then, they manage to make it sound totally genuine. As always, fantastic stuff, and pretty sure we probably say this every time, but might be our favorite White Fence record yet!
MPEG Stream: "Anger! Who Keeps You Under?"
MPEG Stream: "Like That"
MPEG Stream: "Sandra (When The Earth Dies)"
MPEG Stream: "Wolf Gets Red Faced"

album cover VIOLENT CHANGE Celebration Of Taste (Melters) lp 13.98
Full length number two from these local post punk noise poppers, and according to the liner notes, it might also be their last. But with VC, it's pretty hard to tell if they're taking the piss, usually safe to assume they are. And while their self-titled debut was gloriously lo-fi and ramshackle, noisy and chaotic, enough that we made it our Record Of The Week, A Celebration Of Taste manages to be even MORE, with much of it sounding like it was recorded in a cave, or a huge metal box, or underwater, on what we can only assume is probably a broken 4-track, everything with dying batteries, but then out of some impossibly impenetrable murk, will emerge a burst of crunchy, fuzzy power pop, that sounds like an unearthed gem from back in the day. So we figured this one too had to be another Record Of the Week...
Check out the opening 1-2-3 punch, "(I'm A Star) In Outer Space" is some seriously classic songsmithery, jangle guitar galore, some impossibly catchy guitar melodies, plenty of background buzz, keening vocals and hooks for days, but the tinny, no-fi production makes Guided By Voices sound like U2, but then there's "Micro Flesh", which takes that same sound, and piles on the murk, treble turned to zero, bass to ten, then slowed down, so it's a muddy, woozy, warmly creep, grinding, and gristly, before suddenly, "Faster" explodes into action, sounding like some weirdo lost Mod outfit from the sixties, this still lo-fi but cranked up, gloriously noisy and psychedelic, feedback everywhere, and buried under all that noisiness, a fucking killer, classic jam.
And so it goes, these guys dipping their toes into seventies power pop ("I Was Never Young" sounds like an outsider Purling Hiss), glammed out punk rock stomp ("Malleable Love"), all swaggery hip shaking crunch, total experimental noisescapery ("Abductors Pt. 1"), fifties style balladry filtered through cracked modern noise rock, and crumbled into something barely songlike ("Hairline-esque"), super distorted fuzz pop a la GBV ("Someone In This House")... Needless to say, we could go on and on and on. But if anything, this new one is somehow both more fucked up and damaged, and more catchy and well crafted, than their debut, that well crafted-ness pretty much entirely disguised by all the noise, and weirdo production, and detuned damage, and constantly in-flux production, and the varying degrees of shitty sound, but it's all glorious, and freaky, and psychedelic, and catchy and freaked out, and we're really really really hoping this isn't the last we're gonna hear from these guys, cuz this record is some seriously next level outsider pop genius! Fucked up and utterly confusional obviously, but then that's a big part of what makes it so goddamn great.
Includes two inserts and a download code.
MPEG Stream: "(I'm A Star) In Outer Space"
MPEG Stream: "Micro Flesh"
MPEG Stream: "Faster"
MPEG Stream: "Malleable Love"
MPEG Stream: "Hairline-esque"
MPEG Stream: "Someone In This House"

album cover FADENSONNEN Badlands (One Hand) lp 21.00
Badlands is the debut from this New York duo who traffic in wild, blown out, free form, noisy avant psychedelia, a relentless blistering sonic freakout spread over three tracks and thirty minutes. It might help (or maybe it won't, but it's still cool) to list the instruments used to conjure up this skree: one guy handles: "Machete Harmonic, Octave Shaking, Psycho Slide and Echo Disaster Lead Guitars, Feedback Vox, Tape Manipulation", the other is in charge of "Feral Wah, Astral Echo, and Feedback Lead Guitars, Amp Manipulation, Drums", which in a way says it all. After a brief bit of droniness, the sound splinters, and explodes into a five minute onslaught of frenzied guitar abuse, spluttery drum damage, all wreathed in thick swirling clouds of twisted FX and layered noise, but this is not straight up noise (although there's plenty of that), there are lots of dynamics going on, with stretches of scrabbly guitar, tranced out hypno-rock churn, tangled swirls of guitar psych, dense walls of crumbling, grinding, in-the-red, feedback doused dirgery, extended sprawls of effects heavy drift, and twisted droney ambience, but for all that, the sound is most definitely rooted in face melting psych-noise freakouts, which most definitely dominates the proceedings. But stick around for the 15 minute closer, the sound slowed down to a droney crawl, all grinding guitars, skittery drums, dense swirls of feedback and noise, the sound almost more psychedelic space rock than anything, but WAY on the noisiest side of that spectrum, imagine multiple Hawkwinds playing at once, each one trying to play louder and heavier than the other, the result some sort of ultra heavy, noise psych dirge, that is equal parts doom, spacey, tripped out and heavy as fuck. Where have these guys been all our lives. Fans of freaky noisy psych, line starts here. Fans of Fushitsusha, Mainliner, Burnt Hills, Heavy Winged, etc. check this shit out. NOW.
Super deluxe handmade packaging, maniacally ADD line drawing cover art (a la Nick Blinko), with a heavy cardboard insert, hand taped, with more line drawings, a picture taped to one side, housed in a stickered plastic sleeve, hand numbered, LIMITED TO 150 COPIES!!!
MPEG Stream: "Machete"

album cover MELCHIOR, DAN UND DAS MENACE Hunger (Castle Face) lp 15.98
After the twisted avant collage experimentation of the recently released Slow Down Tiger lp, Dan Melchior returns to the garage rock sound he's more well known for, on this, his first for John Dwyer from Thee Oh Sees' Castle Face label, and while it's not so nearly warped and way out as Slow Down Tiger, it's still pretty freaky. Sure there's crunchy jangly guitars, and actual proper song structures, but there's still all manner of weird noises, strange effects, some songs lurch to a stop, like in the strange spoken chorus to opener "A Wizard Doesn't Need A Computer", other tracks are rife with psychedelic Syd Barrett-isms, like on "Night Of Fear", which sounds like Melchior is channeling some lost sixties Floyd B-side, but filtered through a thoroughly fractured modern garage pop filter, and others are just straight up blown out old school garage rock pounders, like the urgent distorto crush of "Rip It To Pieces". Like on all the other Melchior records, he can't seem to deny his experimental side, so drum machines pop here and there, multiple vocal lines tangled into unlikely harmonies, riffs are blurred into extended distorted drones, reverb and echo are slathered on everything, but all of that weirdness is somehow corralled into the service of some seriously great songs, that most definitely do sound right at home on Castle Face.
MPEG Stream: "A Wizard Doesn't Need A Computer"
MPEG Stream: "Night Of Fear"
MPEG Stream: "Rip It To Pieces"
MPEG Stream: "Robotic Footprints"

album cover TEETH ENGRAVED WITH THE NAMES OF THE DEAD Starving The Fires (Pt. 1) (Malignant) cd 9.98
This one was a long time coming. We reviewed a tape ages ago by a boy/girl duo from Oakland who made a gloriously grim, dense blackened ambience that pushed all our buttons. That tape sold out super quick, and thus we began the wait for more. A wait that kept stretching out longer and longer. The two became disillusioned with the East Bay, and made their way northward, landing in Portland, and still we waited. Until finally, we received word, that there was indeed more, and it comes by way of the mighty Malignant Records, home to much fantastic blackened noisiness and ambient miserablism, a perfect home for these two, and for their Teeth Engraved With The Names Of The Dead. And you think that sort of move would temper their abject grimnity, a new friendlier neighborhood, a new home, might lighten up their shadowy sonics, but if anything, they've dragged some bad Oakland energy with them up North, cast their very own musical pall over this new land, and molded it into this fierce sprawl of hateful, harrowing blackness.
A guttural rumbling haloed in distant feedback opens the proceedings, a sonic representation of a scorched earth, swirling hiss, and dense tectonic low need vibrations, the sky full of strange electronics and muted FX, a sonic calm before the blacknoise storm as it were, the sound slowly mutating into a stretch of undulating grey thrum, over mysterious transmissions and disembodied voices, until helicopter like pulsations, choppy waves of rhythmic throb, churn and chug, blurred into a cascade of gristled, crumbling distortion, under which, mournful melodies drift drowsily, a strangely effective juxtaposition of harsh noise, and tranquil ambience, that builds to a furious hissing frenzy, before fracturing into a finale of sonic shards and decaying sonics. From there on out, sheets of noise wash over chiming tones, and stretched out drones, keening high end filigree buried beneath squalls of chaotic howl, the slow builds strangely mesmeric and almost melodic, processed vocals smeared into the roiling noise, thick gassy swells underpinning skies streaked with soft noise shimmer, and more haunting, buried melodies, the sound epic and majestic and mournful, aching melancholy wreathed in jagged crunch and grinding buzz, eventually erupting into what is essentially black metal, with all the metal sucked out, a heaving throb of grim black fury, the vokills monstrous and harsh as fuck, all tangled up in dense black swirls of sound, tripped out and impossibly psychedelic to boot.
The record culminates in the epic 25+ minute "When Storms Come", which is a bit like their version of Burzum's "Rundtgaing", a sprawling ambient epic, but in this case, Teeth Engraved's ambience is a churning morass of brown noise, blurred and soft focus, heavy and blown out, but muted and murky and blunted, the result more mesmerizing and hypnotic than brutal, a tough feat with what is essentially a half hour of noise, but here, it manages to soothe and entrance, and is the perfect black noise comedown bliss out finale for sure.
Housed in a DVD style case, with a printed insert.
MPEG Stream: "Radians"
MPEG Stream: "Vital Reaction"
MPEG Stream: "Shredded Sky, Hung In Tatters"

album cover MAMALEEK He Never Said A Mumblin' Word (Flenser) 12" 17.98
We sorta spilled the Mamaleek beans, mistakenly reviewing their forthcoming full length last time, when in fact, we were meant to be reviewing THIS, a four song 12", just out on local label The Flenser, the latest (not counting the NOT OUT YET full length) from this local black metal brotherly duo whose sound has mutated over the course of their previous records, touching on blessed out metal gaze, avant black jazz, and pretty much every warped stop in between, and nothing gets less twisted, or less difficult to describe this time around, but they do seem to continue to move ever further from the black metal that birthed them, although to be fair, they were pretty well removed already with record number one, but on He Never Said A Mumblin' Word, the sound once again exists in some nether region, fusing, lurching distort beats, crumbling atonal riffage, bizarre vocals, damaged production, twisted on-the-verge-of-collapse arrangements, the vocals this time around even STRANGER, sounding like a chorus of croaking frogs, but here fused to one of the prettiest things we've heard from these guys, a lilting noise-doom dirge, that constantly devolves into a sort of industrial lumber, a sort-of-chorus perhaps, with the sounds even more distorted and blown out and in-the-red, but somehow remaining weirdly lovely, which seems to be these guys' specialty, making beautiful ugliness or vice versa.
Here's where we usually say, oh the rest of the record follows suit, but with these guys of course it doesn't, track two is all whispering winds, and acoustic guitars, a slow building swell of crumbling buzz, sampled operatic vocals, before exploding into some sort of blackened electro, with a programmed beat, more crumbling riffage, and some seriously harsh processed vocals, but again, some impossible poppiness swirled in, and eventually some almost black metal, but really, the sound is more like some sort of malfunctioning, avant, noise drenched electronica, with some madman growling and bellowingly demonically along, maybe black electro karaoke? Whatever it is, it's fucked up and fantastic.
The third song manages to be even MORE distorted, which once having heard the other two songs seems impossible, but the weirdly processed, crumbling, peaking riffage, becomes something weirdly textural and droned out, hear drifting atop swells of synth swirl and more hellish vokills, another delicate balancing act between twisted beauty, and harsh ugly heaviness. Finally, the duo wrap things up with a loping crumble-pop black-gloom dirge, that plants drum machine skitter beneath cascades of ultra distortion, soaring female vox, bellowed demonic vokills, the whole thing managing to sound sun dappled and dreamy, even though it also sounds like the insides of your speakers must be melting...
MPEG Stream: "He Never Said A Mumblin' Word"
MPEG Stream: "Poor Mounrer's Got A Home"

album cover MELCHIOR, DAN UND DAS MENACE Hunger (Castle Face) cd 13.98
After the twisted avant collage experimentation of the recently released Slow Down Tiger lp, Dan Melchior returns to the garage rock sound he's more well known for, on this, his first for John Dwyer from Thee Oh Sees' Castle Face label, and while it's not so nearly warped and way out as Slow Down Tiger, it's still pretty freaky. Sure there's crunchy jangly guitars, and actual proper song structures, but there's still all manner of weird noises, strange effects, some songs lurch to a stop, like in the strange spoken chorus to opener "A Wizard Doesn't Need A Computer", other tracks are rife with psychedelic Syd Barrett-isms, like on "Night Of Fear", which sounds like Melchior is channeling some lost sixties Floyd B-side, but filtered through a thoroughly fractured modern garage pop filter, and others are just straight up blown out old school garage rock pounders, like the urgent distorto crush of "Rip It To Pieces". Like on all the other Melchior records, he can't seem to deny his experimental side, so drum machines pop here and there, multiple vocal lines tangled into unlikely harmonies, riffs are blurred into extended distorted drones, reverb and echo are slathered on everything, but all of that weirdness is somehow corralled into the service of some seriously great songs, that most definitely do sound right at home on Castle Face.
MPEG Stream: "A Wizard Doesn't Need A Computer"
MPEG Stream: "Night Of Fear"
MPEG Stream: "Rip It To Pieces"
MPEG Stream: "Robotic Footprints"

album cover BIRD TRAPS The Colour Fields (Black Cross Recordings) cd 14.98
Somewhere between the tape decay experiments of William Basinski, the faded memory soundtracks of Leyland Kirby's Caretaker, and the sprawling sonic shadowscapes of Stars Of The Lid, lies Bird Traps, aka Marcus Skinner. His guitars, organs and field recordings are fleshed out by a proper string section, and the results are sublime, with the strings front and center, Skinner composing and adding coloration, subtle sonic backdrops to the aching, mournful string arrangements, the whole thing managing to evoke much of the same mood and mystery as those above mentioned artists, but without distortion or decay. On the surface, the sound of Bird Traps is like some string quartet, frozen mid performance, and suspended in amber, the sounds slowed down to a crawl, and unfurling like the score to some heartbreaking time lapse film, a melancholic threnody, simple and stirring.
The first two tracks are truly majestic, it's not hard to imagine the sound here as the score to some visual survey of sweeping plains, massive canyons, snowy peaks, but it's only on the second track that the machinations behind the scenes slowly drift to the fore, a little bit of looped whir here, of subtly static shimmer there, all the while, the strings continue to soar, the arrangement spread out into delicate chordal swells, heady and hypnotic, and with a depth not easily perceived with a glancing listen. In fact, Bird Traps seem to function in two distinct manners, perhaps not intentionally, one, simply as gorgeous, cinematic string based loveliness, the other, some serious deep listening, with headphones. Tracks like "Minor Tapestry" begin to sound more like Phill Niblock, with constantly shifting overtones, layered drones, all deftly woven into the otherwise placed stringscapes.
Not surprisingly, "Loose Knit" might be our favorite track here, it's the one where the strings take on a bit more of a supporting role, the dynamics as such, that they ebb and flow, leaving wide open space for choral like organs, and for the sibilant murmur of random field recordings, all adding grit and texture to the tracks haunting, drone out drift, before returning to something a bit less shadowy for the closer, which again, finds the sound slipping into something approaching a more modern minimalism / drone arrangement, but those strings, they keep the sound alive and seemingly expanding ever outward, a sonic time lapse blossoming, sun dappled and dreamlike, mesmerizing and impossibly, and mysteriously beautiful.
MPEG Stream: "Pine Orchestra"
MPEG Stream: "Minor Tapestry"
MPEG Stream: "Loose Knit"

album cover DALHOUS Will To Be Well (Blackest Ever Black) cd 17.98
First we've heard from Mark Dall, aka Dalhous, who on his second record, delivers a gorgeous collection of wistful electronica, and darkly textured soundscapes of blurred samples and haunting synthesized sounds. We're immediately reminded of Boards Of Canada, but Dall's sound is even more human, and organic, just check out the one-two punch of opener "First Page From Justine", a hazy smear of hushed shimmer, and slow shifting melody, dreamy and drifty, and "A Communion With These People", which expands on that ethereal thrum, letting it blossom into something haunting and lovely, almost like a more IDM version of DJ Shadow, a simple beat, wreathed in crackle and hiss, all over a bed of minor key shimmer and swirl, soft slow-motion swells of sound, peppered with fragmented melodies, and lushly textured layers, one of those tracks that could have stretched out for two or three times its length, and we would have remained utterly mesmerized. "Function Curve" foregoes the rhythm, and instead unwinds a swirling skyful of kosmische glimmer, that sounds like stumbling upon the ruins of some old planetarium show, where impossibly, ghostly music plays on, even though the ceiling that once displayed projected stars and planets, has crumbled, the soundtrack now accompanying the actual cosmos.
The whole record plays out like that, like sound out of time, music from another world, or another plane, the sound modern, but at the same time, reminiscent of so many sounds of the past, the best moments, when the sound seems to crumble and fall apart, the sonic decay present throughout, as if the record were constantly struggling against the ravages of time, and the fading of musical memories, hints of the Caretaker abound, as well as Pye Corner Audio, and even Demdike Stare in places, but the vibe is not nearly so dark, instead it's wistful and melancholy, the beats and rhythms, instead of the focal point of the record, almost seem like bridges between the ambience, rhythmic passages connecting the strange synthscapes and hushed shimmerscapes, sometimes sounding like a lost soundtrack, other times like vintage new age, and other times like the music from some strange educational filmstrip from the seventies, but throughout, it's gorgeous, fantastic, dreamy electronica that seems like it was brought here from somewhere, or some-when, far far away.
MPEG Stream: "A Communion With These People"
MPEG Stream: "Lovers Of the Highlands"
MPEG Stream: "Her Mind Was A Blank"
MPEG Stream: "Someone Secure"

album cover DALHOUS Will To Be Well (Blackest Ever Black) 2lp 34.00
First we've heard from Mark Dall, aka Dalhous, who on his second record, delivers a gorgeous collection of wistful electronica, and darkly textured soundscapes of blurred samples and haunting synthesized sounds. We're immediately reminded of Boards Of Canada, but Dall's sound is even more human, and organic, just check out the one-two punch of opener "First Page From Justine", a hazy smear of hushed shimmer, and slow shifting melody, dreamy and drifty, and "A Communion With These People", which expands on that ethereal thrum, letting it blossom into something haunting and lovely, almost like a more IDM version of DJ Shadow, a simple beat, wreathed in crackle and hiss, all over a bed of minor key shimmer and swirl, soft slow-motion swells of sound, peppered with fragmented melodies, and lushly textured layers, one of those tracks that could have stretched out for two or three times its length, and we would have remained utterly mesmerized. "Function Curve" foregoes the rhythm, and instead unwinds a swirling skyful of kosmische glimmer, that sounds like stumbling upon the ruins of some old planetarium show, where impossibly, ghostly music plays on, even though the ceiling that once displayed projected stars and planets, has crumbled, the soundtrack now accompanying the actual cosmos.
The whole record plays out like that, like sound out of time, music from another world, or another plane, the sound modern, but at the same time, reminiscent of so many sounds of the past, the best moments, when the sound seems to crumble and fall apart, the sonic decay present throughout, as if the record were constantly struggling against the ravages of time, and the fading of musical memories, hints of the Caretaker abound, as well as Pye Corner Audio, and even Demdike Stare in places, but the vibe is not nearly so dark, instead it's wistful and melancholy, the beats and rhythms, instead of the focal point of the record, almost seem like bridges between the ambience, rhythmic passages connecting the strange synthscapes and hushed shimmerscapes, sometimes sounding like a lost soundtrack, other times like vintage new age, and other times like the music from some strange educational filmstrip from the seventies, but throughout, it's gorgeous, fantastic, dreamy electronica that seems like it was brought here from somewhere, or some-when, far far away.
MPEG Stream: "A Communion With These People"
MPEG Stream: "Lovers Of the Highlands"
MPEG Stream: "Her Mind Was A Blank"
MPEG Stream: "Someone Secure"

album cover TREPANERINGSRITUALEN Perfection & Permanence (Cold Spring) cd 15.98
The latest missive from this sinister spectre, broadcast from whatever shadowy corner of the netherworld this guy calls home. Like the previous two tapes we reviewed, Prefection & Permanence is an exercise in blackened ritualism, extreme minimal dronemusic fused to grim black ambience, an unholy hybrid spawned from the deep, a sound that is both malevolently mesmerizing and deeply sonically terrifying.
This Swedish sonic shaman who we most recently observed collaborating with local blacknoise terrorists Sutekh Hexen in the woods at Stella, conjuring up one of the most intense performances of that entire festival, delivers here an equally intense experience, one that along with the usual tropes of black ambient music, delivers a lots of sonic surprises, like on "Black Egg", wherein the grim black noise is sculpted into a pulsating, murky rhythmic throb, an avalanche of rumbling, whirring synths, accompanied by hellish vokills, the end result surprisingly musical, and in its own unlikely way, strangely catchy. And that's actually a template that many of the other songs hew to, rhythmic, hypnotic, a sort of hypno-grimnity, with some of THEE sickest vocals we've ever heard, gargling, demonic, monstrous bellows, alien murmurs, all over beds of grinding noise, clouds of static, of swirling black shimmers, and all manner of muted/mutated rhythms, a strangely mesmeric black industrial that sans vocals, could very well be are new favorite minimal blackened techno record, but with all the noise and vokills mixed in, it's transformed into something else entirely. But seriously, check out a track like "Alone/A/Cross/Abyss", it's like an impossible collaboration between some obscure grim black metal band, and some minimal techno producer, fans of some recent aQ faves like Record Of The Weekers Akkord, might find much to love here, and might find themselves lured to the (even) dark(er) side. That said, let's not downplay how dark and sick the sounds are here, this is suffocating, abject, miserable and bleak, harrowing and hellish, the vocals alone are the stuff of nightmares, but approached as some weird black industrial techno record, or at least understanding there's a strange, and to a degree out of place rhythmic element, which is how we've decided to, it becomes something even more avant / experimental / unique / bizarre, and is most definitely one of the coolest records we've heard in ages.
MPEG Stream: "Black Egg"
MPEG Stream: "Castrate Christ"
MPEG Stream: "Alone / A Cross / Abyss"
MPEG Stream: "39 Lashes"

album cover TOMBS Savage Gold (Relapse) 2lp 31.00
Writhing forth once more from the most shadowy cracked wastelands of forsaken Brooklyn, Tombs returns with their third full length of glistening, gleaming extreme metal. And indeed extreme metal is the only genre tag that really works for this band, since they've made it their crusade to cherry pick the absolute best traits from a myriad of metal subgenres to mathematically create some of the most monolithic, ferocious and enormous metal being recorded today. A brief vaguely funereal dirge ushers in a flurry of pummeling helicopter double bass, wild eyed doom-laden heaving guitars, and a hurricane of rolling snare drum and hammering blast beats. There are hints of Souls At Zero-era Neurosis or even Deathspell Omega in the dissonant hypno-riffing. The circling, maddening guitar work and sickening Lovecraftian grooves sometimes recall early Morbid Angel. While elsewhere you might hear hints of the wasted urban scrawl of vintage Godflesh or the slithering futuro-insectoid crawl of latter day Celtic Frost / Triptykon. But there is not one moment of Savage Gold that sounds like homage. Instead, these influences are blended together seamlessly, creating a sound all encompassing, familiar and unique all at once. The vocals are a cold emotionless howl, which lends otherwise innocent lyrics like "life is a dream" a twisted rotten air. It's an extremely dense record. Guitars seem to avalanche upon one another, building a higher and higher wall of black glistening sludge, ready to collapse in on itself again at any moment. There are melodic moments as well. The regal grind of "Portraits" especially brings to mind Ludicra or Wolves In The Throne Room, but with a more obsidian metallic sheen. Compared to their insanely critically-acclaimed last album Path Of Totality, Savage Gold feels much more streamlined, smooth and clean (mostly thanks to a production job from Hate Eternal's Erik Rutan), but it's not at all a detriment to this record. Instead it gives the band the sound of some well oiled calculated killing machine. The spaciousness of the production really lends an extra sprawling quality to the band's more epic moments, while somehow magnifying the menace of the darker passages. And while there's still plenty of doom, sludge, groove and twisted death metal, Savage Gold has really upped the black metal influence. Labyrinthine tremolo whirlwind guitars seem to spiral upward like some Escher staircase, leading to realms shadowy, alien and obscured! A shining black monolith that shows metal can be forward-thinking, modern and unique without sacrificing any of the heaviness, ferocity or... well... metalness! Absolutely recommended, and sure to make more than a few metal best of the year lists come January 1st.
MPEG Stream: "Thanatos"
MPEG Stream: "Portraits"
MPEG Stream: "Seance"

album cover WHITE LUNG Deep Fantasy (Domino) lp 24.00
Record number three from these Canadian punks, whose first two records were big faves around here even though they never made it onto the list. Their sound seems loosely aligned with Perfect Pussy, in that they're noisy, and have a bad ass female vocalist, but where Perfect Pussy embraces abrasive noisiness, White Lung are much more concerned with melody and songcraft, reminding us of a super charged Team Dresch, which is most definitely a good thing. The production on this new one is massive, the guitars heavy and almost metallic, splintering into shards of keening high end, swirls of angular crunch, all wound around a super tight rhythm section, and of course, vocalist Mish Way, who flits easily from feral how, to throaty croon, and the songs, so catchy and well crafted, the multiple guitars winding multiple melodic lines into killer harmonies, the sound dense and lush and layered, making for something that definitely transcends punk rock, it's anthemic, epic and majestic, but also super personal, and emotional, not hard to imagine White Lung being primo mixtape material, particularly vitriolic breakup mixtapes, it's got that sort of anger and energy and passion. So killer. Odds are you'll end up wanting the other two records as well (and we can get em for you, just ask!)...
MPEG Stream: "Drown With The Monster"
MPEG Stream: "Down It Goes"
MPEG Stream: "Snake Jaw"
MPEG Stream: "Face Down"

album cover DIE ENTWEIHUNG Despair Division: A Tribute To Joy Division (Acephale Winter Productions) cassette 5.98
Two strange releases on this week's list from local black metal label Acephale Winter Productions, the other is a twisted tape of blackened industrial ambience from a UK outfit called Synsophony, and this one, which somehow might be even weirder, a collection of Joy Division covers from an Israeli black metaller called Die Entweihung, who manages to transform these classic tunes into something slightly blacker, but only slightly, just check out his version of "Love Will Tear Us Apart", which minus the raspy vokills, and the programmed drum machine rhythms, is not that far removed from the original, in fact, the chorus is even clean vocal crooned, but the bridge does get a metallic makeover, and there are little flurries of robotic double kick drum, so ultimately it's a pretty faithful rendition, with some blackened filigree, which is fine with us. And that said some of the other covers do get a bit more far out, the metallic component cranked on some, the synths getting a bit krautrocky on others, and one or two get almost punky, sped up and frenzied, the synths all swirly and way up in the mix. "Warsaw" is furious and blackly grim, so is "They Walked In Line", those tracks balanced by some of the others, since clean vocals are far more prevalent than the howled demonic rasp, so it's sort of split right down the middle, the perfect balance between faithful renditions, and warped weirdo reworkings, both of which we ended up digging a bunch.

album cover AUTHOR & PUNISHER / HARASSOR Fearce (Goteblud) 7" 7.98
First off, if you don't know the comic Wuvable Oaf, go track down whatever you can. Right now. There's a forthcoming compendium, which should gather up most everything, but the individual issues (some of which we still have in stock, just ask) come with all kinds of extras, hand drawn covers, scratch and sniff pages, guitar picks, stickers, paper dolls and even records! By the imaginary bands in the comic!! basically, it's all about a big hairy guy named Oaf, his failed attempts at finding love, his crazy cats, and his weirdo friends, the comic is silly, and funny, and clever, and hairy and pretty gay, and has lots of music stuff in it too (our own Andee is featured in one issue, as is "Aquarium Records"!!) One of the bands in the comic is the awesomely monikered Ejaculoid, and we're obviously not the only ones a little bit obsessed with Ejaculoid, as two aQ faves, LA black metal trio Harassor and mad scientist industrial metal instrument builder Author & Punisher, have stepped up to offer their own takes on the Ejaculoid classic "Fearce" (recorded by members of Limp Wrist!), which originally accompanied the Oafanthology collection, but now available on its own...
Author & Punisher transform it into what is essentially an A&P track, a churning industrial pound, processed vocals, thick, grinding rib cage rattling bass, sounding like some weird hybrid of Nine Inch Nails, Ministry and robotic gabber, but slowed down into something malevolent, maniacal and darkly doomy. While Harassor turn the track into a lo-fi grim blast of grunted black buzz, furious blast beats and insectoid riffing, laced with some weird electronic squiggles, and breaking down part way through into a swaggery doomic stomp. So rad!
On maroon/grey swirled vinyl, with bad ass Ed Luce artwork, includes a download!
MPEG Stream: AUTHOR & PUNISHER "Fearce"
MPEG Stream: HARASSOR "Fearce"

album cover GOG s/t (King Of The Monsters) lp 12.98
In the early days, Gog, aka Mike Bjella, trafficked in straight up blackened drones, thick slabs of monolithic heaviness, but with each record, that sound got weirder, more difficult to classify, and more removed from that more primal, metal drone sound. This trajectory culminated in Gog's last record, Ironworks, which was mostly sourced from the sounds of the Bjella family blacksmith shop, and found Bjella fusing that early blackness, with something more minimal and hypnotic. We mentioned Aussie minimal jazz trio the Necks, and on the first track on this brand new self titled Gog record, we feel like we have to mention them again, cuz that track lays down a thick backdrop of rumbles and whirs, punctuated by a weird subtly distorted rhythm, over which haunting, melancholic piano drifts and loops, super moody and mesmerizing, those background sounds gradually building momentum, and slowly overtaking that jazziness, burying it beneath moaning sheets of sound, keening slabs of metallic buzz and clouds of gristly static, eventually transforming into something almost black metal sounding, maybe via Skullflower, a frenzied guitar riff, and buried vocals, blurred into a woozy blackened swirl.
Not all of the record is so subtle or avant, as quickly the sound evolves into something way more metallic, pounding, weirdly produced drums over more harsh vokills so low in the mix, they almost sound like white noise, while swirling all around, more black buzz, the sound gradually darkening and deepening and becoming a sort of feedback drenched noise rock doom, all plodding and lumbering, and at times sounding like a breakbeat slowed down to a near crawl. But still there's no way to pin down what's going on. The next track is a barely there field of static, a deem resonant thrum, crafted from sonic gristle, while the next track begins as a dark torch song like ballad, all lush sonic swells and female vocals, haunting and almost liturgical, before exploding, quite suddenly into some seriously muddy, muted, and blown out black metal murk. And finally, things finish off with some noise flecked, loping slowcore, the piano returns once again, wrapped around a laid back rhythm, the whole thing a dark jazzy drift wrapped in clouds of caustic noise, exploding in a final bust of churning heaviness, a howling black-psych frenzy still somehow underpinned by that moody, mysterious darkjazz. So good. Definitely recommended for fans of moody, minimal heaviness, and haunting, abstract, metallic minimalism. Includes a download code!
MPEG Stream: "The Lies, They Want To Give You Something"
MPEG Stream: "Before You Go, We'd Love To Tear You To Fucking Pieces"

album cover MAR-VISTA Visions Of Sodal Ye (Strawberry Rain) cd 16.98
It's nice to know that no matter how many records are reissued, or rare gems discovered, or mysterious private press releases rescued from oblivion, there will always be more. And even though sometimes we feel like the bottom of the reissue barrel has been reached, based on some dubious reissues, all it takes is a record like this, to remind us that there are truly some mind benignly fantastic records that have yet to be unearthed. And yeah, this is some truly next level, mind bending stuff. EVERYBODY here digs it, so we knew we had to make it a Record Of The Week, even though a week ago, we'd never heard of Mar-Vista. Sounds like of like a motel or something.
Originally a private press record, released in a run of just 200 copies in 1976, and packaged in blank white sleeves, and sold locally in France, this deliriously trippy and over the top chunk of French psychedelic synth prog is so good, and so weird, it really is one of those rare records, that's makes it hard to believe it could've remained lost for so long. Cuz really, anyone hearing this, would immediately freak out. We most definitely did. Apparently this duo was heavily influenced by minimalists like La Monte Young and Terry Riley, and krautrock combos like Ashra Tempel and Popol Vuh and while that's not actually bad band math when trying to describe Mar-Vista, the truth of the sound is so much stranger.
A single 41 minute song suite, separated into 6 movements, Visions Of Sodal Ye begins with primitive lo-fi drum machine (or drumming that sounds programmed), beneath whirring organs, fingerpicked acoustic guitars, droning synths and shimmering melodies, with laid back vox way down in the mix, not to mention some killer distorted psych guitar shred, the whole thing wrapped in warped sonic warble. There are plenty of weird production glitches, drop outs, and tape decay/damage from the original masters we would assume, but it only adds to the sound, a sound that soon blossoms into soaring kosmische synth swirls, anchored by more of those primitive drum machine like rhythms, and wreathed in what sounds like whipping winds, and jaw harp like spring melodies, more plink plonk, sing songy synths, and a fierce squall of psychedelic noise guitar. The movements merge into one sprawling epic, continuing with the coolest, creepiest track of the bunch, a dour, murky dirge, a tripped out sort of doom-kraut creep, with low buzzing synths, skittery rhythms, and multiple vocal lines, all wound up into a haunting, intense, organ and synth drenched lumber, that could be the weirdest heaviest French psych-prog jam EVER. That quickly (d)evolves into a cool, groovy sixties style psychedelic blow out, all cascading synth melodies, pulsing hip shaking rhythms, and super distorted theremin like squiggles over the top, before settling into some pulsating, cosmic shimmer, tinged with just a little bit new age, some serious synth prog that blossoms into awesome John Carpenter like soundtrackiness! The record/songsuite culminates in the final 21+ minute movement, a sprawling cinematic synth epic, a twisted dronescape of layered synths and extended tones, ominous and sinister, minor key and darkly malevolent, again, like it could be from the some lost Carpenter movie, all creepy slo-mo melodies, and crumbling textures, plenty of tension, haunting and shadowy and mysterious.
And generally bonus tracks are bonus tracks for a reason, cast offs, throw aways, songs that weren't good enough to make the cut, but not here, the two bonus tracks (found only on the cd!!) are crazy, and crazy cool, the first, "Synthetik Way", is a glistening, glimmering planetarium style cosmic synth workout, all lush, hushed and tranquil one second, then distorted and wildly psychedelic the next, while the second "Crash '73", is an impossibly trippy, surprisingly heavy psych rock jam, with in-the-red distorted guitar and skittery drumming, beneath a wild tangle of snake charmer synth shred, and a totally WTF twisted stuttery finale, which had us imagining a whole other record tucked away with more of this outsider synth-prog-psych weirdnessÉ
So incredible, quite possibly the reissue of the year! Minimal liner notes, a reproduction of the original sleeve, but sadly somewhat flimsy packaging on the digipack cd...
The cd version is limited to 500 copies, the lp just 300.
MPEG Stream: "Her Eyes Are Closed"
MPEG Stream: "Death's Shadows"
MPEG Stream: "The Black Sun Shones Today"
MPEG Stream: "Crash '73"

album cover T.R.A.S.E. (TAPE RECORDER AND SYNTHESIZER ENSEMBLE) s/t (B-Music / Finders Keepers) cd 13.98
Sweet! This is the sort of thing that makes for a good Record Of The Week both 'cause of how it sounds (always the biggest consideration of course!!) and also 'cause the back story is pretty cool, too. We'll start with that. T.R.A.S.E. stands for Tape Recorder And Synthesizer Ensemble, a name that, if used by a band nowadays might seem just a bit unimaginatively straightforward & blandly self-explanatory, or perhaps meant ironically academic-sounding somehow. But when you learn that T.R.A.S.E. were a DIY "ensemble" masterminded by a precocious British schoolboy back in 1981, making experimental electronic home recordings that sound not too far from stuff such modern-day outfits as Emeralds and Umberto and Soft Moon would be doing years later, then the name becomes fairly endearing, eh? Just take a look at the cover photo, two skinny teenagers, one looking kinda cool in T-shirt and shades, standing with electric guitar in hand, the other kid in sweater and jeans, looking a bit dorkier as he sits amidst a cluttered array of electronic keyboards, amplifiers, reel-to-reel tape machines and other assorted audio gear. The latter teen is T.R.A.S.E. founder Andy Popplewell, most definitely an A/V geek at his school, who put together his own six-channel audio mixer at age 16 following plans in a issue of Practical Electronics magazine. Being into both sci-fi soundtracks and new wave music like The Human League, Ultravox and Gary Numan (one of the tracks here is a Tubeway Army cover) it wasn't long before that mixer, and other gear he built, like an "Elektor Chorosynth", was put to use to record his own music. Kraftwerk, Jean-Michel Jarre, and Giorgio Moroder where among his other inspirations. T.R.A.S.E. recorded one unreleased cassette lp called Electronic Rock, and the deep diggers at B-Music/Finders Keepers have compiled tracks from that tape here along with other home studio / real studio / demo tracks by Popplewell and T.R.A.S.E., 14 total cuts of adolescent outsider synthsplorations, all tick-tocking drum machines and swells of droning synth, adorned with phaser and fuzz FX, replete with gentle melodies and warped "cosmic" soundz. These tracks are mostly instrumental, though a few have vocals, like the Messethetics-ish downer electro pop of "Talk To Me" and the sad, fuzzy "Unrequited Love". So much primitive shimmering synth beauty, the more abstract of the tracks glistening rhythmically, the more song-like coming across like lo-fi coldwave cuts.
Perhaps the best recommendation we can give this, is that playing it in the store, generally results in customers asking about it and buying a copy. Probably the best "long lost tapes" release of vintage unknown electronica since that Rodion G.A. record!! One of those serendipitous discoveries, occasioned by a fortuitous meeting between Andy Popplewell and Andy Votel of Finders Keepers.
The cd booklet includes color photos and vintage synth kit adverts, alongside detailed and very revealing liner notes penned by Popplewell himself, who in the wake of T.R.A.S.E. later became a BBC radio engineer, now works in audio media restoration, and who currently studies conspiracy theories and other esoteric knowledge in his spare time.
MPEG Stream: "T.R.A.S.E. Sketch-1"
MPEG Stream: "Harmonium"
MPEG Stream: "Talk To Me"
MPEG Stream: "Momento"

album cover DISSECTION Storm Of The Light's Bane (The End) lp 23.00
THIS AQ FAVE BLACK METAL CLASSIC NOW REISSUED ON (PURPLE!) VINYL! NICE!
While of course this is a fave of all the metalheads around here, and many of our metal-lovin' customers, it's also loved by the less metal inclined - for instance, former aQ staffer Byram, not normally a big metal consumer, ranks this as one of his favorites amongst the Nordic hordes. In fact, it's one of the few metal albums he owns. It's that great. It was their 2nd album, originally released in 1994, and on it Dissection perfected their melodic, blackened Swedish death metal approach - that means TRUE, original metal, with elements of everything from Morbid Angel to Mayhem to Iron Maiden, suped-up and super-grim, with raspy vocals, wicked drumming (the guy is AMAZING), truly memorable, majestic melodies, and tons of cold winter atmosphere. They take long breaks to let their acoustic guitars gently weep, then tear back into the brutal, razor-edged rifferama. Serious stuff, seriously great.
At the time, this was to be their last album, a mighty swan song, as Dissection called it quits soon after when their frontman ended up in jail as accessory to murder - but their very tangential role in any of that over-sensationalized Scandinavian black metal true crime stuff has nothing to do with why you should be interested in this band. Regardless of Jon Nodtveidt's (R.I.P.) sordid saga, Dissection was a brilliant band, and Storm of the Light's Bane is an all time classic that belongs in every metal collection. Here's a chance to get it on vinyl.
MPEG Stream: "Night's Blood"
MPEG Stream: "Where Dead Angels Lie"
MPEG Stream: "Soulreaper"

album cover SURVIVAL KNIFE Loose Power (Glacial Pace) cd 14.98
We'd been hearing rumors about this band for ages, a new group featuring ex-members of late great nineties post/noise rockers Unwound, who were easily one of our favorite bands EVER. And while we were were prepared to be disappointed, we were actually super pleasantly surprised. The sound definitely has some Unwound too it, but it's WAY popper, and to these ears actually sounds a bit like the Melvins in places, certainly the vocals. But the music itself is some weird nineties beholden post punk / noise rock, with a serious Black Flag vibe throughout, plenty of Greg Ginn-ish guitars, the sound dynamic, and intricate, certainly some post/math rock going on, but then in the middle of a tense post punk jam, the song will blossom into impossible poppiness. Just check out opener "Divine Mob", which is super Melvins-y in the beginning, and unfurls some tense droned out guitar melodies, and some motorik drum pound, before the chorus delivers s hook that KILLS, and then that chorus gets all pulled apart, the vocals wrapped around angular guitar noise and more drum pound.
Frontman Justin Trosper of Unwound is reunited with the original drummer from Unwound (now on guitar), so there's bound to be some Unwoundisms, but Survival Knife is a whole different beast, they actually sound like the kind of band that 15 years ago major labels would be losing their shit over, scrappy, but still pretty polished, noisy and heavy, but also plenty catchy and poppy, lots of broody minor key churn, even some shimmery acoustic guitar strum in the mix. Ultimately, this is just a killer slab of nineties beholden post punk / noise pop, that fans of Unwound will definitely love, but really, anyone who grew up on groups like Sonic Youth, The Swirlies, Sebadoh, and all that Homestead / Touch And Go / Dutch East stuff, this will definitely hit the spot.
MPEG Stream: "Divine Mob"
MPEG Stream: "Fell Runner"
MPEG Stream: "Gold Window"

album cover SURVIVAL KNIFE Loose Power (Glacial Pace) lp 19.98
We'd been hearing rumors about this band for ages, a new group featuring ex-members of late great nineties post/noise rockers Unwound, who were easily one of our favorite bands EVER. And while we were were prepared to be disappointed, we were actually super pleasantly surprised. The sound definitely has some Unwound too it, but it's WAY popper, and to these ears actually sounds a bit like the Melvins in places, certainly the vocals. But the music itself is some weird nineties beholden post punk / noise rock, with a serious Black Flag vibe throughout, plenty of Greg Ginn-ish guitars, the sound dynamic, and intricate, certainly some post/math rock going on, but then in the middle of a tense post punk jam, the song will blossom into impossible poppiness. Just check out opener "Divine Mob", which is super Melvins-y in the beginning, and unfurls some tense droned out guitar melodies, and some motorik drum pound, before the chorus delivers s hook that KILLS, and then that chorus gets all pulled apart, the vocals wrapped around angular guitar noise and more drum pound.
Frontman Justin Trosper of Unwound is reunited with the original drummer from Unwound (now on guitar), so there's bound to be some Unwoundisms, but Survival Knife is a whole different beast, they actually sound like the kind of band that 15 years ago major labels would be losing their shit over, scrappy, but still pretty polished, noisy and heavy, but also plenty catchy and poppy, lots of broody minor key churn, even some shimmery acoustic guitar strum in the mix. Ultimately, this is just a killer slab of nineties beholden post punk / noise pop, that fans of Unwound will definitely love, but really, anyone who grew up on groups like Sonic Youth, The Swirlies, Sebadoh, and all that Homestead / Touch And Go / Dutch East stuff, this will definitely hit the spot.
MPEG Stream: "Divine Mob"
MPEG Stream: "Fell Runner"
MPEG Stream: "Gold Window"

album cover V/A The Ecstasy Of Gold: 31 Killer Bullets From The Spaghetti West Vol. 5 (Semi-Automatic) 2lp 26.00
The fifth in this ongoing series of limited double lps collecting some of the best songs from classic Italian Westerns. Named for Ennio Morricone's iconic song from the Good, The Bad And The Ugly, Ecstasy Of Gold gathers up some equally iconic tracks, as well as plenty of rare and mostly unheard gems, the list of artists should have Italo-Western soundtrack nerds freaking out: Bruno Nicolai, Nico Fidenco, Francesco De Masi, Lusi Bacalov, Stelvio Cipriani, Alessandro Alessandroni, Nora Orlandi and a bunch more. And like the past volumes, the tracks here are overflowing with dramatic crooned vocals, swoonsome strings, plenty of twang, galloping rhythms, fluttering woodwinds, flamenco guitars, wild percussion, a sound most folks are probably familiar with, but a bunch of songs and artists they might not be. And just like after digging into the other volumes, our list of must-see Italian Westerns just keeps getting longer and longer. Top of the list now is Matalo from 1970, the track here from Mario Migliardi sounds like some lost heavy psych gem, or some modern retro-psych outfit, like something you'd here on Rise Above or Cardinal Fuzz, the vocalist a dead ringer for the guy from Redd Kross (themselves genus sixties psych revivalists), with fuzzy, almost metallic riffing, and some seriously psychedelic shred, definitely need to see that movie, and hear the rest of the soundtrack. And the rest of this collection, while not all as fuzzy or psychedelic, is some seriously primo Italo soundtrack gold for sure!
Packaged in a super swank full color gatefold sleeve, adorned with bad ass illustrations from vintage Italian Western movie posters, as well as iconic images from the films themselves. LIMITED TO 750 COPIES. No download.

album cover LONGING AND SILENCE Through The Fog (Sylvan Screams Analog) cassette 5.00
We've been trying to get enough copies of anything on the amazing Sylvan Screams Analog label to review and list, but previous releases were so limited, that we were only able to get a couple. And while they're just as limited, we did now manage to get a handful of the two most recent releases, this one comes from a band from right here in the Bay Area, called Longing And Silence, whose sounds is a gorgeous depressive plod, a grim slo-mo black buzz, all mournful and melancholy, the vokills a harsh demonic rasp, but minus those vocals, it's another band whose sound found be mistaken for some weird shoegaze/slowcore outfit, the sort of avant metal weirdness you might expect to find on The Flenser, but -with-those vocals, this remains firmly in the realm of depressive black metal, remaining us a bit of a more orthodox Lifelover, the same sort of loping, minor key miserablism, but with some seriously melodic bass, notable also considering how little bass is even audible in most black metal. But it makes for some cool, woozy, downtuned blackened slowcore, with some surprisingly melodic moments, that has some of these bordering on downright poppy. Long songs, mesmerizingly miserable, and gorgeously bleak. As the label suggests, definitely for fans of Burzum, Silencer, Strid and Bethlehem.
LIMITED TO 50 COPIES!!! Each one hand numbered.
MPEG Stream: "Ever-Present"
MPEG Stream: "Wasted Days"

album cover WARGTHRON Demo 1 (Sylvan Screams Analog) cassette 3.50
We've been trying to get enough copies of anything on the amazing Sylvan Screams Analog label to review and list, but previous releases were so limited, that we were only able to get a couple. And while they're just as limited, we did now manage to get a handful of the two most recent releases, this one is super raw, primitive old school black metal, the label references Blazebirth Hall and Les Legions Noires, and it most definitely has that feel, the guitars swarm insect like, the drums skeletal, the bass inaudible, the vokills a buried rasp, like a lot of that stuff it's about emotion and energy, the feel and the vibe, and the vibe here is definitely grim and frostbitten, even though these guys (this guy?) hail from Georgia. They somehow manage to channel France and Scandinavia, into something equally kvlt, blown out and brittle, sounding like it was recorded in practice space, a forest, or a cave, the second track is a weird creepy dirge, all stumbling lumber, and frosty black buzz, the vocals in-the-red, the whole sound blurring into blacknoize before settling back into that death march creep, only to eventually explode into another blast of galloping black buzz.
LIMITED TO 44 COPIES!!! Each one hand numbered.
MPEG Stream: "I"
MPEG Stream: "II"

album cover CRACKED VESSEL Paths I & II (self-released) 2 x cassette 11.98
We have VERY few of these, as in maybe 5 copies, but we figured there were at least 5 weirdo aQuarius customers out there who would flip their lids for this (sadly, probably WAY more than 5, but at least there's talk of a less limited version down the line), cuz really, even conceptually, this has aQ written all over it. A lavishly handmade package, two tapes in a little gatefold sleeve, with a miniature booklet inside the gatefold, all held together with a Japanese style obi. The artwork itself is sorta curious, there is what appears to be a bike tread, and what is most definitely a cyclist, and yep, Cracked Vessel is in fact something we've never encountered before, BICYCLE BLACK METAL. To be fair, listening to this, you might not immediately pick up on the bicycle connection, but knowing it's there, only makes it that much cooler. And weirder. And by the same token, if you had no idea there was a bicycle theme, the music itself is fucking furious and frenzied, a wild, chaotic, blast of punky blackness, whirling and wild, lurching from impossibly frantic blasts to punky pound, the arrangements intricate and downright proggy, feedback everywhere, the drumming insane, the songs super short, but crazy catchy crammed with parts and time signatures, killer riffs, all blown out heaviness, the sort of buzzing black rawness that would put most non bicycle black metal to shame. Grab one of these before they're gone, and for all but the five of you who actually nab one of these, keep your fingers crossed that they repress it in a much less limited run...
MPEG Stream: "Bitten By The Hand Of Winter"
MPEG Stream: "The Atmosphere Is A Glass Ceiling"

album cover PAWS Youth Culture Forever (Fat Cat) cd 14.98
Record number two from these nineties worshipping Scots, and while the nineties resurgence is in full swing all over, these guys do it better than most (and better than a lot of bands back in the day too!), and like their last record, Cokefloat, Youth Culture Forever is another glorious concoction of all the stuff we loved about that music/era, big fuzzy, crunchy guitars, hooks galore, chiming harmonics, earnest heartfelt vocals, all woven into a record that sounds like it could easily have been transported directly here from 1995, and like the previous record, it touches on the sound of all those bands we used to love, and heck, still do, Dinosaur Jr, Superchunk, the Pixies, and of course all the lesser known indie rockers trafficking in equally cool and catchy sounds, and cool and catchy is exactly what this record is. They've definitely expanded their sonic palette this time around, the sounds of the songs are definitely more varied, and the songwriting too is a bit more fully fleshed out, and not overly worshipful of the bands that came before, and really, if you had never heard any nineties indie rock, there's no reason you couldn't still love this, or wouldn't still love it, but if you DID dig that stuff, it gives this sound a little extra oomph, and just like when Cokefloat came out, we have to fight the urge to listen to NOTHING but this. And just like before, we're beginning to think, "Why fight itÉ?". Why indeed.
MPEG Stream: "Erreur Himaine"
MPEG Stream: "Tongues"
MPEG Stream: "Someone New"

album cover CRAFT SPELLS Nausea (Captured Tracks) lp 16.98
Another fantastic new record from Stockton dream poppers Craft Spells, who have pretty much entirely distanced themselves the weirdo pop scene that spawned them (Ariel Pink, Blank Dogs, Greatest Hits, etc.). And while they made a brief stop around record number two at a sound that harkened back to Eighties MTV new wave pop, this new one finds them fully embracing a new (to them) sound, one that's simple, melodic, heartfelt, dreamily fuzzy, a little bit wistful, sun dappled and so lovely. There are still hints of their earlier sound, little new wavy bits here and there, some subtle weirdness, but for the most part this is classic sounding baroque pop, that looks back to the classics, the Kinks, the Zombies, early Bee Gees, with strings and synths, even some vibes (maybe xylophone?), lush, luxurious arrangements, plenty of jangle and strum, some subtle electronics, a softly psychedelic production. Fans of modern day recently reviewed retro poppers like the New Lines and Still Corners, as well as groups from the recent (and not so) past like Stereolab, the High Llamas, Witch Hazel and Cardinal, this definitely falls right in there sonically. Hazy vocals, laid back steel string strum, lush vocal croon, harmonies, impossibly catchy hooks, woozy baselines, lots of shimmer and glimmer, hints of Elephant Six for sure, a little paisley pop too, but with a definite power/psych pop bent. So good. And generally we'd be bummed for a band to ditch all the stuff that made them weird, but Craft Spells work so much better as a proper pop band, and this is easily the best thing we've heard from them yet.
MPEG Stream: "Nausea"
MPEG Stream: "Komorebi"
MPEG Stream: "Changing Faces"

album cover LIVE SKULL Cloud One (Desire) lp 26.00
The latest installment in this long overdue reissue campaign for eighties New York noise rockers Live Skull, this being their second full length, Cloud One, originally released in 1986, the last album before Thalia Zedek (Come, Uzi) would join and take over lead vocals, and like their debut, on Cloud One, Live Skull still sonically fit pretty perfectly alongside their NYC brethren (and sistren) in Swans, Sonic Youth (especially Sonic Youth) and the rest, but on Cloud One, the band made great leaps both sonically, and with their songwriting (and the matching more polished production), the new(ish) sound definitely hewing ever closer to the minor key melancholia infused angularity of SY, but mixing in long, droned out passages and slow dark blooze creeps, adding an element of brooding mesmer, and dark psychedelia. That darkness also represented by a sonic shift toward something gloomier and gothier, with many of the tracks here more reminiscent of the West Coast sound of the time, the Scream Club, and bands like Janes Addiction, Kommunity FK and the Abecedarians (especially on the live bonus tracks!). Hints too of outfits like the Wipers, the Gun Club, the Flesh Eaters, a sort of swaggery psych blues crossed with noisy experimental rock, there's still some junkyard percussion, a little Pussy Galore here and there, but the band definitely had their eyes on the musical prize, whether by design or not, Cloud One is a tightly wound, complex piece of noise/art rock, that even now sounds impossibly prescient of a sound that so many bands would go on to mine in their wake. It's actually a bit shocking that Live Skull's career trajectory wasn't more like Sonic Youth's, on this record for sure, but even more so on their 1988 swansong, Positraction, the band seemed poised for success, and an eventual move into the semi-mainstream, but for whatever reason, they remained firmly entrenched in the underground, and would only make it another couple years/records before calling it quits.
Fantastically curated reissued, with a whole mess of bonus tracks, unreleased, demos and live, as well as a massive booklet with tons of rare photos, old flyers, live shots, and extensive liner notes by the band, as well as extensive track by track notes on the extra songs as well!
MPEG Stream: "Fort Belvedere"
MPEG Stream: "Cloud One"
MPEG Stream: "Boot Camp"
MPEG Stream: "Haircut For Pigs"

album cover OHMWAR Broken Arms Dance With Black Feet (FCC) lp 12.98
After a self released 7", and a split single with recent Record Of The Weekers, weirdo biker metal ne'er-do-wells Satans Satyrs, Canadian noise rockers / metal punks Ohmwar deliver their first full length, and it's sonically quite surprising, super polished and all over the sonic map, taking the Maiden / Motorhead / Speedwolf sound of their 7" and infusing it with a surprising amount of poppiness, crafting a record that manages to be heavy, and punky, but also impossibly catchy, the opening track begins with some chiming Sonic Youth like guitars, and thick fuzzy bass, before eventually erupting into something more punked out, and that's not even mentioning the strange almost reggae sounding outro (!)...
The second track starts off crazy poppy too, with some almost NWOBHM sounding guitar harmonies, which blur into feedback drenched tones wrapped around some galloping punk rock crush, peppered with little blurts of tangled progginess. And it really doesn't settle into a single sound for the rest of the record, although in not settling, they seem to be defining their own super distinctive sound, a dizzying hybrid of post punk poppiness, mathy metal, and fierce punk rock stomp. Tracks like "Blithe Reaction To An Unfortunate Life", begins all slow burn majesty, and almost Godspeed like slow build, before transforming into a strange (at least for metal/punk) bloopy guitar melody, draped over another galloping rhythms and some thick, rumbling bass buzz, the guitars then splintering into atonal/angular shards of keening high end, the sort of sound that at a slower tempo, minus the gruff vox, could easily end up being some twisted avant art rock, and even in its punkier incarnation, much of that art rockiness remains, and then mid song, there's a killer little guitar lick/melody, that will stick in your head like crazy. And so it goes, most of the songs clocking in around the two minute mark, but these guys cramming as much as they can into those two minutes, with almost every song offering up some sort of unlikely sonic surprise, transforming, what could have been straight ahead metallic punk, into a way more twisted and progressive record, pop punk collides with chugging metal, nineties style math rock bleeds into pounding hard rocking, Refused sounding anthemic post-hardcore mixes with straight up heavy pop, all wound up into something pretty goddamn great.
Awesomely over the top, black and white Nick Blinko style cover art, but Blinko by way of Bosch, a twisted punk rock underworld of mouse headed hipsters, people with exposed spines, astronauts on rafts drifting across lakes of blood, insects on swings, man eating fish, alien swamp sound systems, wheelbarrows full of teddy bear skeletons, creepy cave eyes and more. Includes a massive glossy, fold out poster/lyric sheet, with more of that gloriously gruesome and garish artwork.
MPEG Stream: "John Boy"
MPEG Stream: "Earth Angel"
MPEG Stream: "Blithe Reaction To An Unfortunate Life"
MPEG Stream: "(Some Kind Of) World(')s End"

album cover ROLL THE DICE Until Silence (Leaf) 2lp 23.00
Past records from Roll The Dice found the Swedish duo channeling the spirit of John Carpenter, crafting lush, sinister synthscapes, that much like the rest of the current crop of Carpenterians, played like some lost soundtrack, and while this new one displays much of that sound still, they've fleshed out their sound big time, the most notable shift being the addition of actual strings, turning their already lush sound into something downright majestic.
Brooding pianos drift amidst clouds of crackle, deep reverby shimmers, ominous minor key melodies, little bits of glitch, the strings gradually building to a harrowing, haunting coda, and that's just the opener, that sounds exactly like it could be the music beneath the credits from some seventies Italian giallo, right down to the simulated record crackle.
The band push way past their faux soundtrack roots, building epic bombastic creeps, like "Assembly", a stately march, more of a trudge actually, the chords ringing out, beneath big booming percussive thuds, a sinister slow build, that eventually blossoms into something almost Swans like, albeit heavy on the strings and piano, but still, it's fierce and intense, a near orchestral sonic death march, with a Godspeed style slow build energy, the songs here not so much songs, as pieces, single parts that develop over time, that expand and sprawl, often to devastating effect, the strings stunning, the mood darkly heart wrenching, some tracks the strings get all Bernard Hermann Psycho-stabs, sometimes accompanied by the plunk of prepared piano, those tracks drifting into full on 20th century / musique concrete territory, but other drifting along dreamily, sounding like the prettiest, most minimal Tim Hecker track, all hazy and washed out, and delicately crystalline, while still others sound almost like trip hop, channeling groups like Portishead or Massive Attack, that sound even more effective with the strings, that add so much pathos and emotion. Fantastic stuff, haunting and lovely, alternately brooding and bombastic, cinematic and soundtrack, but also dabbling in straight up sound design, fans of Tim Hecker, and Fennesz, and Godspeed, and Belong, and Stars Of The Lid, not to mention all the modern retro-synth wranglers, the Goblin and Carpenter worshippers, this is the next step in the evolution of that sound, and is really pretty goddamn stunning.
MPEG Stream: "Blood In Blood Out"
MPEG Stream: "Assembly"
MPEG Stream: "Coup De Grace"

album cover VENETIAN SNARES My Love Is A Bulldozer (Planet Mu) cd 15.98
Another twisted electronic gem from Mr. Aaron Funk, aka Venetian Snares, and much like or favorite records of his, and there have been many, My Love Is A Bulldozer, is another dizzying mashup, this one, combining his wildly tangled drill and bass and frenzied jungle, with jazzy torch songs, and haunting Scott Walker like ballads. Sounds like a weird mix, and it is, pretty jarring too, but in a really cool way. All it should take is a few minutes of opener "10th Circle Of Winnipeg", which begins with swoon some strings, then jazzy drum skitter, then throaty female vox, then some thick dub step bass warble, the drums gradually cranking up, the sounds wreathed in weird little flitting fireflies of FX, before exploding into a gloriously chaotic drum and bass freakout, all wound around that swoon some torch song opening, veering wildly back and forth between buzzing droned out skitter, to wild cascades of spastic drum programming, to dark jazziness, and back again, often all of those edges blurring and bleeding into something confusional and downright mad scientist brilliant. And heck, that's just the first song.
The rest of the record is rife with strings, and choirs, the sound classical, baroque, folk, Flamenco, in equal measure, with long passages that could be mistaken for some lost Arvo Part piece, but inevitably, the sound explodes into some classic Snares drum programming.
The male vocals, presumably Funk's, are super emotional and distinctive, dramatic and over the top, sounding a little like Scott Walker, and when wound around dizzying drum programming, it's pretty stunning.
And those vocals definitely define much of this record, those tracks sounding like some weird seventies prog-folk record re-envisioned as modern warped electronica, while other tracks (like "Dear Poet"), are epic and cinematic, and sound like they could be the score for some Game Of Thrones style epic, or some steam punk space opera, the jungle perfectly meshed with the orchestral stapes, the droning synths, the strange chorales, the strings, totally over the top, confusing, and utterly and entirely addictive. Like every Venetian Snares record, we can't stop listening to this one, and feel compelled to proclaim it the best yet, at the very least it's currently our favorite, which is saying something, considering that the Venetian Snares catalog is pretty much all favorites. Needless to say, WAY recommended.
MPEG Stream: "10th Circle Of Winnipeg"
MPEG Stream: "1000 Years"
MPEG Stream: "Amazon"
MPEG Stream: "My Love Is A Bulldozer"
MPEG Stream: "Dear Poet"

album cover VENETIAN SNARES My Love Is A Bulldozer (Planet Mu) 2lp 28.00
NOW ON VINYL!!!
Another twisted electronic gem from Mr. Aaron Funk, aka Venetian Snares, and much like or favorite records of his, and there have been many, My Love Is A Bulldozer, is another dizzying mashup, this one, combining his wildly tangled drill and bass and frenzied jungle, with jazzy torch songs, and haunting Scott Walker like ballads. Sounds like a weird mix, and it is, pretty jarring too, but in a really cool way. All it should take is a few minutes of opener "10th Circle Of Winnipeg", which begins with swoon some strings, then jazzy drum skitter, then throaty female vox, then some thick dub step bass warble, the drums gradually cranking up, the sounds wreathed in weird little flitting fireflies of FX, before exploding into a gloriously chaotic drum and bass freakout, all wound around that swoon some torch song opening, veering wildly back and forth between buzzing droned out skitter, to wild cascades of spastic drum programming, to dark jazziness, and back again, often all of those edges blurring and bleeding into something confusional and downright mad scientist brilliant. And heck, that's just the first song.
The rest of the record is rife with strings, and choirs, the sound classical, baroque, folk, Flamenco, in equal measure, with long passages that could be mistaken for some lost Arvo Part piece, but inevitably, the sound explodes into some classic Snares drum programming.
The male vocals, presumably Funk's, are super emotional and distinctive, dramatic and over the top, sounding a little like Scott Walker, and when wound around dizzying drum programming, it's pretty stunning.
And those vocals definitely define much of this record, those tracks sounding like some weird seventies prog-folk record re-envisioned as modern warped electronica, while other tracks (like "Dear Poet"), are epic and cinematic, and sound like they could be the score for some Game Of Thrones style epic, or some steam punk space opera, the jungle perfectly meshed with the orchestral stapes, the droning synths, the strange chorales, the strings, totally over the top, confusing, and utterly and entirely addictive. Like every Venetian Snares record, we can't stop listening to this one, and feel compelled to proclaim it the best yet, at the very least it's currently our favorite, which is saying something, considering that the Venetian Snares catalog is pretty much all favorites. Needless to say, WAY recommended.
MPEG Stream: "10th Circle Of Winnipeg"
MPEG Stream: "1000 Years"
MPEG Stream: "Amazon"
MPEG Stream: "My Love Is A Bulldozer"
MPEG Stream: "Dear Poet"

album cover ROCK*A*TEENS, THE A Major Motion Picture (Chunklet) 2lp 28.00
As we've mentioned in a bunch of other reviews, lots of our favorite bands are woefully under-represented on the aQ list, generally, it's because those records predated the list, so when a record gets reissued, it's often a chance to finally lavish praise on a record that's been a favorite for years (or decades). In this case, it's not a reissue, but instead a live record from Georgia garage punks the Rock*A*Teens, who are currently are covered on the aQ site by just a couple sentences about one of their records, which is really a shame, cuz we LOVE these guys. So until someone mounts the lavish, deluxe reissue campaign these guys and their incredible records deserve, we can revel in this sweat soaked high energy live set cobbled together from an extended residency at the Star Community Bar in Atlanta, between 1998 and 1999, courtesy of aQ pal and Chunklet mastermind Henry Owings, who continues to dig up incredible rarities (we're still loving the recent Don Caballero record, and are hoping he'll do a Bar-B-Q- Killers reissue, another legendary and underappreciated Georgia outfit), and incredible this is.
If you've yet to discover the Rock*A*Teens, imagine a swampy, reverb drenched, fifties style, garage rock rockabilly, filtered through something more modern, swaggery and dramatic, the same sort of gospel tinged swampiness of Woven Hand, but more rocking, feverish, loose limbed and wild. Brooding, sweat soaked, bloody knuckled, broken bottled, booze soaked, psychedelic blooze stomps and echo drenched slow burn ballads in equal measure, all whirring organs, reverb galore, buzzing distortion, wild tribal drumming, and stunning, timeless songwriting, all wound up into something gloriously gritty, grimy, ecstatic, cathartic, murky and emotionally charged. Just check out the samples and you'll be sold. "Black Ice" might be one of our favorite songs EVER, in a body of work that has an impossible number of potential all time faves. Every record a stone cold gem, and this live set manages to transcend the limitations of the 'live record' and transports the listener to a dive bar in Georgia, lit with Christmas lights, packed with punks, this band crammed onto a little stage in the corner, conjuring up musical demons, and angels, and creating a gorgeous, noisy, heart breaking din. AWESOME. Includes a download too.
MPEG Stream: "Black Ice"
MPEG Stream: "Don't Destroy This Night"
MPEG Stream: "Clarissa, Just Do It Anyway"
MPEG Stream: "Tuesday's Just As Bad"
MPEG Stream: "Cry, Crybaby"

album cover BLUT AUS NORD / PHOBOS Triunity (Debemur Morti) cd 16.98
At first we were thought maybe this was gonna be a collaboration and not a split, either way it would be a pretty perfect match up really, of two weirdo industrial tinged French black metal outfits, and a split it is, offering up three songs from each band.
The tracks from long time aQ faves Blut Aus Nord incorporate everything we love about these guys: woozy, psychedelic riffage, haunting spectral vocals, and chaotic, intricate drumming. The opener is surprisingly slow and melodic, bordering on epic doom, especially when the soaring, melancholic leads swoop in, and that depressive doominess bleeds right into the second track, with a gloomy, slowly descending main riff, and monk-like chant vox, draped over stuttery double kick drumming, and another bed of undulating riffage, smeared into something bordering more on hazy black psych, and again, the song blossoms into an aching, mournful doom, plodding and depressive, culminating in the final BaN track, which cranks up the temp a bit, and gets super proggy, without shedding the doomy sonic pallor, instead, it's a twisted prog-doom dirge, rife with haunting melodies, lush textures, and twisted, constantly shifting arrangements, the final moments driven by some super creepy demonic vox, over moaning guitars, and sputtering rhythms.
Which leads us directly into the P.H.O.B.O.S. tracks, which begins with something that sounds more like some blackened Wax Trax 12", all fractured rhythms, over a swirling backdrop of curdled black blur and tangled, mutated melodies, it's really only the gurglingly demonic vokills that make this black metal at all, otherwise, it's some mutant strain of blackened electronica or black industrial, but it is cool, and creepy. The second track introduces some proper riffage, but it's all looped and layered, sounding more like the Young Gods than proper black metal, but again, it works, tripped out and hypnotic, the smeared riffage wound around an almost-breakbeat, gloomy and atmospheric, spaced out and heavy, those vox again the blackest element, which is true of the closer too, and there, even the vocals are more washed out, reverie and echo drenched, but eventually, that track builds to an almost Godflesh sounding crescendo, pounding and metallic, but that metallic pound sounding way more like some lost nineties industrial jam than modern French black metal. So yeah, while we dig this a LOT, metalheads might be a bit disappointed by the lack of actual METAL. That said, fans of either/both of these bands should know by now to expect the unexpected...
MPEG Stream: BLUT AUS NORD "Nemeinn"
MPEG Stream: P.H.O.B.O.S. "Glowing Phosphorous"
MPEG Stream: P.H.O.B.O.S. "Transfixed At Golgotha"

album cover OGRE The Last Neanderthal (Minotauro) cd 18.98
These outrageous '70s-sounding stoner rockers from up in Maine are back at last, after like a six year absence, with an excellent new opus of their over the top, hard riffing retro-rock. As we had expected, it's a doomy, proggy concoction, lots of Sabbath goin' on (the wailing, nasal vocals sound a bit like Mike Patton doing an Ozzy impression). Ogre don't hold anything back, this is a wild ride of unabashed old school heaviness with a theatrical flair, and lots of fuzz and wah.
Lyrically, the songs concern themselves with a range of subjects: the science-fantasy works of Roger Zelazny, Greek myth, the French and Indian Wars, drugs, madness. And then there's one mellow instrumental named after an Advanced Dungeons & Dragons module.
Of further note, the song "Soulless Woman" is a cover, originally by an even more obscure band also named Ogre, who were actually from the '70s, and its sure seems to be a lost garage psych classic, giving this album a bit of a detour into more of an Uncle Acid or Satan's Satyrs direction, not that they were too far removed to begin with.
Italian import, on the label best known as the home of cult doomster Paul Chain. Gatefold miniature-lp style jacket.
MPEG Stream: "Nine Princes In Amber"
MPEG Stream: "Soulless Woman"
MPEG Stream: "Warpath"

album cover SLINT Spiderland (Touch and Go) lp+dvd 33.00
Finally an affordable version of the recently released (and already out of print) Spiderland boxset, which still includes all the rare bonus tracks AND the Breadcrumb Trail documentary. So if the boxset was a bit too pricey, now's your chance to re-visit this seminal post rock classic, or maybe even discover it. Plus the movie is incredible, and there's the Slint nerd holy grail unreleased Spiderland bonus tracks...
So what is Spiderland? It's an iconic indie rock masterpiece, a record that if you haven't heard it before, well, it means you're missing out on what might be one of the best records ever made. Moody and mathy, brooding and epic, intense and introspective, catchy and melodic, noisy and abrasive, emotional and majestic. So many bands you love owe everything they do to this band, and this record. In fact, without this band, most of the bands you love wouldn't even exist. If you're going to own just one "post-rock" record, this would be the one. An absolutely stone cold classic. Spiderland sounds as good and as relevant, and as darkly haunting, emotionally devastating and sonically stunning today, as it did when it first came out more than 20 years ago.
MPEG Stream: "Breadcrumb Trail"
MPEG Stream: "Washer"
MPEG Stream: "Good Morning, Captain"

album cover PRONOUN Faux (self-released) cassette 10.98
A while back we made the record World, by Aussie noise rock / shoegaze outfit The Bunyip Moon, our Record Of the Week, a gloriously blown out, chaotic sonic gem, that even now we have trouble keeping in stock. So were were psyched to discover that one of the guys from The Bunyip Moon had a new solo record, a tape in fact, under the name Pronoun, and like World, it's weird and wonderful.
But UN-like World, Faux is not all bombastic noisiness and buried blown out melodies, instead, it's a darkly moody, lush, almost cinematic creep, right from the get-go, we're sucked into some mysterious soundworld, that to our eras exists right between the epic with house of Salem, and the soundtracky synth bombast of M83. So if that sounds good to you (and why the heck wouldn't it?!), then there's much to dig here.
The opener unfurls as a brooding plod, all primitive drum machine, over processed strum and thrum, before majestic synths swoop in, faux strings, the whole thing epic and stirring, but with just the right amount of distortion and noise, gristly, and staticky, and distorted and psychedelic, but even at it's most explosive, it's still lilting and lovely, it's a tough one to describe for sure, but it's pretty stirring stuff.
The whole record expands from that sound, with some of the tracks a bit more garbled and chaotic, darkly noisy and murky, sounding a bit like a way more abrasive Caretaker (which is most definitely a good thing), while others, slip into a more kosmische haze, all swirling chordal thrum and deep, lustrous sonic swells, and on at least one track, the sound slips into some strange, tripped out avant shoegaze new wave, although the best moments of course are when those disparate sides collide, which they do often, resulting in blissful noisiness, and noisy dreaminess in equal measure, culminating in the strangely gristly garble of crunched static and crumbling decaying distortion of the closer, which ditches pretty much all poppiness in favor of a strange sprawling field of grinding textures, and the sporadic sputter of alien transmissions from the ether.
Fantastic, and so so so recommended. The packaging is pretty ace too, totally over the top. The tape housed in a sleeve, housed in a second embossed outer sleeve, then housed in yet ANOTHER sleeve, hand silkscreened and ink splattered, a weighty arts/sound object, LIMITED TO 50 COPIES!!! Each one hand numbered. Includes a download code too...
MPEG Stream: "Drowning Under A Fetherolf Sky"
MPEG Stream: "Ignoring The Lovely Photos Of Your Putrid Life"
MPEG Stream: "Lost In The Stars, Lost In The Fog"

album cover NRIII The Algea (Prison Tatt) lp 17.98
First lp from these Florida experimental blacknoise / psychedelic dronelords, and like their Solus Patior cd-r we reviewed back in 2012, it's another terrifyingly grim landscape of haunting black ambiance, post industrial crush, and blackened grimnity. The band lacing hellish vokills over softly swirling drifts, burying strange fractured rhythms, beneath cascades of glitch and squelch, often all blurred into something downright dreamy, but just as often, splintering into something abjectly noisy and filthy. The opening track here sets the template, with some venomous vocalizations WAY up in the mix, over a bed of muted pulsations, moaning melodies, mysterious chordal smears, the background sound surprisingly tranquil, those vox transforming the sound into something much more harrowing and hellish.
The rest of the record tends toward the more brutal, but manages the nearly impossible task of crafting a noise record, that manages to be hypnotic and listenable, mesmerizing, and in its own way, blackly beautiful. The shorter tracks here are blasts of grinding glitch, fractured electronics, clouds of swirling static, monk like chants, and crumblingly distorted gristle, often settling into downright beauty, but before you know it, launching right back into another burst of blacknoise or churning power electronics. The longer tracks deliver some seriously stunning sound design, fields of sonar pings, woven into crystalline sonic lattices, of hushed samples tangled into strange textures, those backdrops, often perfectly offsetting the more bombastic and abrasive sonics up front, although in many cases, NRIII let it drift, creating haunting ambience, epic sprawls of mysterious minimalism, the vokills are often present there too, but are WAY off in the distance, buried in the mix, like another layer of static, while above it, barely there sounds hover and shimmer. In fact, much of the second half of the record tends towards the surprisingly serene, the noisiness dialed back, crafter into something more textural, it's as if side two was designed as a blissed out soft noise come down antidote for the beautiful brutality of the first side. Fantastic stuff, and the sort of rare noise that might even appeal to those who generally find noise music is not their thing.
LIMITED TO 100 COPIES!! Each one hand numbered.
MPEG Stream: "Primal Misery"
MPEG Stream: "Fall Apart"
MPEG Stream: "I Refuse"

album cover FROST, BEN Aurora (Mute / Bedroom Community) lp 25.00
ALSO ON VINYL!!!
Ben Frost records are scary. And beautiful. They're the stuff of dreams. And nightmares. They're like soundtracks for films that can never be made, the music conjuring up images that can only exist in the imagination. It's musical magic, or sonic alchemy, whatever it is, it's something few have mastered, and even those that have, barely approach the mysterious mastery of Ben Frost, whose previous record, By The Throat, remains one of the most terrifying documents of electronic sound art we have ever heard, weaving the sounds of snarling wolves into thick swells of corrosive bass buzz, and brilliantly bleak, yet impossibly lush sound design, and balancing that sonic grimness, with glimmers of hushed beauty, in a way that makes the sound both mellifluous and malevolent in equal measure.
Aurora is another stunning sonic missive, and one that immediately conjures up yet another lost world, one that lurks in our collective imagination, but that has begun to bleed through, into our every day world. The shadows seem deeper and darker. The grey skies shout through with streaks of blood red, the nights interminable, the days, scorched expanses of endless time. All of this represented by strange sprawls of layered electronic drones, of gristled pulsations, of strange staticky rhythms, and mysterious buried melodies, the sounds this time around brittle and jagged, the loveliness sharp edged and flecked with rust and dried blood, the rhythms that surface are hauntological, reminding us of the dubbed out avant mesmer of groups like Demdike Stare, but here those rhythms seem to gradually splinter and fray, wreathed in thick swirls of soft noise, sculpted into weeping melodies, and darkly decaying textures, all hiding some glowing inner warmth, suffusing these sounds with an organic quality, that transforms a series of sounds into something alive, a crackling energy that is barely contained on the record, one can almost imagine the sound as colored sparks leaping from the speakers, bursting from the headphones, a cascade of brilliant sonic flares, raining down from above.
Lurching robotic percussion is shaped into strange skeletal shapes, lumbering behemoths trading through fields of groaning, creaking chordal thrum, pelted with prismatic streaks of sound, a beastly groove, that builds to a thick swath of soaring epic psychedelic electronic majesty, like a meaner, moodier, more metal M83, a brilliant blacknoise blur, that blots out the stars, painting the sky in shade and shadow, eventually morphing into burnished stretches of grey ambience, laced with dubby skitter, all of which blossom further into a flurry of blissed out electro flares, which fade into crackling seas of gristle and hum, undulating imperceptibly beneath hazy layers of grumblingly distorted shimmer and grinding sheets of druggy thrum. A heaving landscape of tense cinematic atmosphere, smeared fields of tangled melody, wildly colliding synth streaks, and jumbled beats and rhythms, all wound up into a tightly coiled swirl, flurry of frenzied electrons, gradually crumbling into the ether, leaving just a barely there cloud of sonic static discharge, until finally, nothing. And emptiness.
Simply stunning.
MPEG Stream: "Nolan"
MPEG Stream: "The Teeth Behind The Kisses"
MPEG Stream: "Secant"

album cover NUZZLE Junk Of Myth '92-'95 (Zum / Sound On Sound) cd 8.98
Not a new release, but newly discovered, let's call it a warehouse find, dug up a little stash of this record, a killer cd collection of all the out of print vinyl releases from these Santa Cruz backpack emo / screamo noise rock, post punks. You can tell from that many-genre'd attempt at categorization, that these guys definitely defy description a bit, but if you like your punk rock, noisy, and catchy, rife with angular guitars, wild chaotic drumming, sinewy baselines, yelped vox, brooding post rockisms, and hooks galore, these guys will do it for you big time.
Not ever hugely popular, and infamous for erratic band behavior, these guys were one of the great unsung bands of the nineties, their live shows were intense, sweaty and energetic, the band letting loose as much as the crowd, the music the perfect soundtrack for that sort of wild, unabashed, heart on sleeve musical energy, but unlike many of the more screamo bands of the time, these guys were a lot more nuanced, letting some tracks stretch way out, experimenting with tone and texture, tension and release, their sound sometimes slipping into Fugazi territory, and at other times falling more in line with the Gravity Records Bands of the time, and at others sounding like some lost midwest emo band, that somehow wandered to the west coast. Even now, this stuff oozes emotion, and for folks who grew up in the nineties, or at least spent their formative musical years during that decade, every track here is pitch perfect, easy to imagine rocking out to any of these songs in a sweaty crowd in some living room or basement, or blasting these jams on your Walkman, or including them on a mixtape for that boy/girl you've been crushing out on. It's a kind of music they really don't make anymore, and by extension, it's a mood/energy/vibe, that music doesn't seem to have anymore either.
Nuzzles don't at all sound dated, as much as they sound of their time. And for younger folks who may have missed out on all this stuff, this is the sort of band, and sort of record, that just might open up a whole new (old) world of music, and listening to this stuff again now, we sort of forgot how goddamn great these guys are. In the age of band reunions, we'd kind of kill for one more chance to see these guys. Until then, this will likely be back in heavy rotation. Again.
MPEG Stream: "The Sorting That Evens Things Out"
MPEG Stream: "Bring The Leeches"
MPEG Stream: "Incan'tations"
MPEG Stream: "For The Length Of Me"

album cover CLONE Sons Of Octabred (Dead-Cert) lp 24.00
This is another one of those records, that's almost too good, and too weird, to be true. Especially coming as it does from the Dead-Cert label, run by weirdo music obsessive Andy Votel. In fact, based on the description, AND the sound, we were pretty much convinced that this had to be Votel himself conjuring up some imaginary lost sonic artifact. How could it not be? Son Of Octabred is/was apparently a 'birthing' record, as in an album to assist/instruct with giving birth (?), recorded on primitive analog synths and 'originally broadcast' on a radio show in Anchorage, Alaska - its sound a strange hybrid of kosmische synthscapery, spaced out kraut-psych, minimal dronemusic, and percolating early electronica. But once again, whether it's all true or not, almost doesn't matter: if it IS true, what a ridiculous and impossibly WTF find, and if it's NOT, well, goddamn, total brilliant art prank / fictional sound conjuration.
The record begins with a female voice instructing the listener to breath and push, with some strangely poetic descriptions of having a baby, then a man's voice talks weirdly about 'his pregnancy', before in swoop some space synths, and we're off, on a cosmic journey, some alien planetarium show, swirling percolations, swooping FX, shifting textures, playful melodies, there's definitely a sort of John Carpenter / Klaus Schulze vibe, pulsing kraut-psych gives way to weird vocodered vocals, not singing so much as just humming/crooning more textures, and again if this is real, it's hard to imagine just flipping on the radio in the middle of the night and hearing THIS. Or, being born, and hearing it! Crazy.
The sound soon erupts into something much more sinister, thick swells of swirling shadowy rumbles, and staticky clouds of hiss, all over buried voices and keening melodies, some serious black ambience for sure, that sounds like birthing music for Rosemary's Baby. The flipside returns to the playful percolation of the opening, sounding a bit like Perrey & Kingsley, before devolving into a weird sprawl of dubby gamelan like percussion, and strangely processed abstract rhythms, all floating in the ether, before a Close Encounter synth melody surfaces, swopping wildly from speaker to speaker, the whole thing dizzying and seriously trippy, before once again drifting into darker sonic territory, some ominous shadowy drift, that eventually returns to the light, for a final bout of bouncy bloopy synthiness and one final burst of wild tangled psych-synth freakout. So cool, and so weird. Real or not, we love it!

album cover DRCARLSONALBION Gold (Oblique) lp 25.00
The first proper full length from Drcarlsonalbion, the alter-ego of Dylan Carlson, he of twang flecked dronelords Earth, who along with Earth drummer Adrienne Davies, has crafted this gorgeous bit of psychedelic drift, a soundtrack to a film called Gold, and really, fans of recent Earth records might think they've stumbled onto a new Earth record, although the music on Gold is much more spare and minimal, especially considering that mostly it's Carlson on guitar, with just a bit of percussive filigree from Davies. It's a sort of washed out and woozy, sun baked Appalachia, a definite desert blues vibe, most of the tracks here super short, many more like the film cues they are, than proper songs, with Carlson unfurling hazy, bluesy riffs, and letting them ring out, slowly decay, in clouds of reverb and delay, echoey shimmers ringing out like ripples in water, each track here some sort of dark folk ritual, some smoldering and cloaked in shadow, others bathed in sunlight, but most of the tracks here, just Carlson on some back porch, with an old broken bottle for a slide, and playing through a busted old combo, the notes wreathed in soft FX and let loose to drift on the afternoon breeze, or be carried skyward by soft swirls of black smoke, the campfire vibe is huge here too. It's hard to say what the movie Gold is all about, having not seen it, or even read anything about it, but we're imagining some sort of Cormac McCarthy style bleakness, vast expanses of dusty roads, and dilapidated farmhouses, dying crops and slope shouldered workers toiling in the fields. It has that sort of wasted, hopeless feel, endless days, and the brief respite of night. Gorgeous stuff for sure.
Packaged in an oversized heavy weight tip-on style sleeve, includes a download code as well.
MPEG Stream: "Gold I"
MPEG Stream: "Gold II"
MPEG Stream: "Gold V"
MPEG Stream: "Gold VII"
MPEG Stream: "Gold XI"

album cover ROLL THE DICE Until Silence (Leaf) cd 14.98
Past records from Roll The Dice found the Swedish duo channeling the spirit of John Carpenter, crafting lush, sinister synthscapes, that much like the rest of the current crop of Carpenterians, played like some lost soundtrack, and while this new one displays much of that sound still, they've fleshed out their sound big time, the most notable shift being the addition of actual strings, turning their already lush sound into something downright majestic.
Brooding pianos drift amidst clouds of crackle, deep reverby shimmers, ominous minor key melodies, little bits of glitch, the strings gradually building to a harrowing, haunting coda, and that's just the opener, that sounds exactly like it could be the music beneath the credits from some seventies Italian giallo, right down to the simulated record crackle.
The band push way past their faux soundtrack roots, building epic bombastic creeps, like "Assembly", a stately march, more of a trudge actually, the chords ringing out, beneath big booming percussive thuds, a sinister slow build, that eventually blossoms into something almost Swans like, albeit heavy on the strings and piano, but still, it's fierce and intense, a near orchestral sonic death march, with a Godspeed style slow build energy, the songs here not so much songs, as pieces, single parts that develop over time, that expand and sprawl, often to devastating effect, the strings stunning, the mood darkly heart wrenching, some tracks the strings get all Bernard Hermann Psycho-stabs, sometimes accompanied by the plunk of prepared piano, those tracks drifting into full on 20th century / musique concrete territory, but other drifting along dreamily, sounding like the prettiest, most minimal Tim Hecker track, all hazy and washed out, and delicately crystalline, while still others sound almost like trip hop, channeling groups like Portishead or Massive Attack, that sound even more effective with the strings, that add so much pathos and emotion. Fantastic stuff, haunting and lovely, alternately brooding and bombastic, cinematic and soundtrack, but also dabbling in straight up sound design, fans of Tim Hecker, and Fennesz, and Godspeed, and Belong, and Stars Of The Lid, not to mention all the modern retro-synth wranglers, the Goblin and Carpenter worshippers, this is the next step in the evolution of that sound, and is really pretty goddamn stunning.
MPEG Stream: "Blood In Blood Out"
MPEG Stream: "Assembly"
MPEG Stream: "Coup De Grace"

album cover SLINT Spiderland (Touch and Go) cd+dvd 17.98
Finally an affordable version of the recently released (and already out of print) Spiderland boxset, which still includes all the rare bonus tracks AND the Breadcrumb Trail documentary. So if the boxset was a bit too pricey, now's your chance to re-visit this seminal post rock classic, or maybe even discover it. Plus the movie is incredible, and there's the Slint nerd holy grail unreleased Spiderland bonus tracks...
So what is Spiderland? It's an iconic indie rock masterpiece, a record that if you haven't heard it before, well, it means you're missing out on what might be one of the best records ever made. Moody and mathy, brooding and epic, intense and introspective, catchy and melodic, noisy and abrasive, emotional and majestic. So many bands you love owe everything they do to this band, and this record. In fact, without this band, most of the bands you love wouldn't even exist. If you're going to own just one "post-rock" record, this would be the one. An absolutely stone cold classic. Spiderland sounds as good and as relevant, and as darkly haunting, emotionally devastating and sonically stunning today, as it did when it first came out more than 20 years ago.
MPEG Stream: "Breadcrumb Trail"
MPEG Stream: "Washer"
MPEG Stream: "Good Morning, Captain"

album cover CRAFT SPELLS Nausea (Captured Tracks) cd 14.98
Another fantastic new record from Stockton dream poppers Craft Spells, who have pretty much entirely distanced themselves the weirdo pop scene that spawned them (Ariel Pink, Blank Dogs, Greatest Hits, etc.). And while they made a brief stop around record number two at a sound that harkened back to Eighties MTV new wave pop, this new one finds them fully embracing a new (to them) sound, one that's simple, melodic, heartfelt, dreamily fuzzy, a little bit wistful, sun dappled and so lovely. There are still hints of their earlier sound, little new wavy bits here and there, some subtle weirdness, but for the most part this is classic sounding baroque pop, that looks back to the classics, the Kinks, the Zombies, early Bee Gees, with strings and synths, even some vibes (maybe xylophone?), lush, luxurious arrangements, plenty of jangle and strum, some subtle electronics, a softly psychedelic production. Fans of modern day recently reviewed retro poppers like the New Lines and Still Corners, as well as groups from the recent (and not so) past like Stereolab, the High Llamas, Witch Hazel and Cardinal, this definitely falls right in there sonically. Hazy vocals, laid back steel string strum, lush vocal croon, harmonies, impossibly catchy hooks, woozy baselines, lots of shimmer and glimmer, hints of Elephant Six for sure, a little paisley pop too, but with a definite power/psych pop bent. So good. And generally we'd be bummed for a band to ditch all the stuff that made them weird, but Craft Spells work so much better as a proper pop band, and this is easily the best thing we've heard from them yet.
MPEG Stream: "Nausea"
MPEG Stream: "Komorebi"
MPEG Stream: "Changing Faces"

album cover CEREBRAL BALLZY Jaded & Faded (Cult Records) cd 12.98
Besides having probably the coolest/stupidest band name ever, Brooklyn skate punks Cerebral Ballzy return with another killer clutch of songs they claim to be about more high minded topics than their first record (chicks, skating, puking, etc.) but a quick scan of the song titles reveals, they haven't pushed the subject matter too far, fake I.D.'s, skating, fast food, and chicks, all still seem to be the focal point, but what has changed is the sound. That first record was a dizzying blast of short sharp punk rock in the style of the old school classics, equal parts Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Suicidal Tendencies, but this time around the band have gotten downright poppy, injecting some serious power poppiness and loads of hooky melody into the jams, resulting in some seriously addictive, and seriously poppy post punk, that ends up ultimately being a lot more more sonically satisfying than that first record. More original for sure, a cool hybrid of that feral punk energy with more actual songsmithery. The tracks are longer, the sound is much more lush and well produced too, but more importantly, the songs themselves are killer, essentially pop songs in punk clothing, and we're not talking the dreaded pop punk, we're talking pop flecked punk rock, of noise pop, or fuzzy pop, or punkish pop, whatever you wanna call it, the vibe throughout touches on classic power pop of the past, post punk too, and while there are moments of straight up punk rock pound, for the most part, those parts are woven into what is essentially a killer batch of punky pop that should have fans of other like minded outfits like the Zig Zags, The Shrine, Hot Lunch and the rest, freaking out big time.
MPEG Stream: "Another Day"
MPEG Stream: "Fake I.D."
MPEG Stream: "Parade of Idiots"
MPEG Stream: "Better In Leather"

album cover UP-TIGHT The Night Is Yours (Essence Music) cd 15.98
We've long loved Japanese psych crew Up-Tight, and this new disc on aQ beloved Brazilian label Essence is another good one, another slab of dark heavy psych from these masters. From the first few seconds, we're hurled into the void: thick, distorted bass, simple, pounding drumming, and wild, shredding, blown out, in-the-red guitar-shred freakout, no preamble, no slow build, just straight into some heart-of-the-the-sun heaviness. The leads do fade out, letting the song breathe a bit, the vibe dialed down a notch, for the echo drenched vocals to drift in, and suddenly, it's like a super distorted, even more blown out Les Rallizes Denudes, and before you know it, that guitar swoops in, and whips the song into a noise drenched Japanoise-psych squall. But as fans know, it's not all freakout, these guys are capable of brooding beauty, which is what the second track offers, a woozy crooning drift, a dark psych ballad, all wreathed in reverb, it's not until the last minute that things get at all heavy, wild vocalizations, swirls of guitar noise, a quick blast, and then right back into the dark chanted creep that began the track. Two of the remaining three tracks are more pretty than heavy, the first, a dreamy bit of sun dappled jangle, that almost sounds more like American slowcore than Japanese psych, the second, a brief bit of dark strum, murky, and haunting, hushed and mysterious. And then right in between, the nearly 16 minute "So Alone", which is ALL noisy and distorted, a churning death march pound, swirls of jagged feedback, arcs of guitarnoise, the guitars grinding and howling, fields of skree and shriek, hurts of face melting buzz and shred, all the while the bass and drums, locked into a churning, doomic pound, the vocals too wild and feral, doused in FX and battling the wild guitarnoise. Awesome!
MPEG Stream: "Blow Away"
MPEG Stream: "She's So Heavy"
MPEG Stream: "So Alone"

album cover UP-TIGHT [PRE-ORDER] The Night Is Yours [Deluxe] (Essence Music) cd + cd-r + handmade box 45.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Along with a new record from one of our favorite purveyors of kosmische kraut-psych and spaced out synthscapery, Expo '70 (found elsewhere on this week's list) there's another new release, from Japanese psych crew Up-Tight, also on aQ beloved Brazilian label Essence, and like that Expo '70, this is in fact a PRE-ORDER for the super deluxe, super fancy, handmade BOX SET version, which comes not only with a bonus disc, but also housed in a crazy handmade box. It's limited to 91 copies and that's IT. We might be able to get 15, but even then, we're only getting as many as we get pre-orders for, so if you want one, order it now, we'll get them in sometime in the next few weeks, and they can either ship with your current order, or on their own. You will be charged for the box NOW, but then the shipping will be sorted out when we actually send the box (and it'll ship by weight, not as 1 item).
We've long loved Up-Tight, and this new one is another good one, if you're already a fan, maybe a super fan, odds are you're gonna want one of these, the box is super striking, all bird beaks and eyes, in an oversized, handmade boxset, that unfolds revealing still more artwork, along with a hand drawn third eye canvas collage. And along with the new record proper, it also includes an exclusive bonus album, a cd-r called Sweet Sister Session (Uncut) - For Lucrezia, a whole set recorded in 2004 during the sessions for their Alchemy release Lucrezia, and is ONLY available in this box. So needless to say, Up-Tight nerds grab one before they are gone.
The record itself, The Night Is Yours, is another slab of dark heavy psych from these masters, and from the first few seconds, we're hurled into the void: thick, distorted bass, simple, pounding drumming, and wild, shredding, blown out, in-the-red guitar-shred freakout, no preamble, no slow build, just straight into some heart-of-the-the-sun heaviness. The leads do fade out, letting the song breathe a bit, the vibe dialed down a notch, for the echo drenched vocals to drift in, and suddenly, it's like a super distorted, even more blown out Les Rallizes Denudes, and before you know it, that guitar swoops in, and whips the song into a noise drenched Japanoise-psych squall. But as fans know, it's not all freakout, these guys are capable of brooding beauty, which is what the second track offers, a woozy crooning drift, a dark psych ballad, all wreathed in reverb, it's not until the last minute that things get at all heavy, wild vocalizations, swirls of guitar noise, a quick blast, and then right back into the dark chanted creep that began the track. Two of the remaining three tracks are more pretty than heavy, the first, a dreamy bit of sun dappled jangle, that almost sounds more like American slowcore than Japanese psych, the second, a brief bit of dark strum, murky, and haunting, hushed and mysterious. And then right in between, the nearly 16 minute "So Alone", which is ALL noisy and distorted, a churning death march pound, swirls of jagged feedback, arcs of guitarnoise, the guitars grinding and howling, fields of skree and shriek, hurts of face melting buzz and shred, all the while the bass and drums, locked into a churning, doomic pound, the vocals too wild and feral, doused in FX and battling the wild guitarnoise. So good!
And as we mentioned above, we'll only be able to get about 15 copies of this box, and that's IT. So if you want one, order it now. We'll charge you and let you know when it arrives. If you're after the normal version, let us know that too, and we can put you down for one of those, but this listing is specifically for folks who want to nab one of the boxes before they're gone for good.
MPEG Stream: "Blow Away"
MPEG Stream: "She's So Heavy"
MPEG Stream: "So Alone"

album cover AUSTERITY PROGRAM, THE Beyond Calculation (Controlled Burn) cd 9.98
For as much as we love this band, we had never seen them play live until a few weeks ago, and our minds were blown big time. Not only did they have an entire music store's worth of gear, so many speakers it required renting a U-haul to get them to the club, and also required setting up on the floor since they wouldn't fit on the stage, they also sounded incredible. Two super unassuming guys, kicking out the sort of rib cage rattling heavy jams that would make most 'proper' metal bands seriously envious. All that, and they were funny as fuck too, playing to a strange backing track, that not only included their drum machine, but also a strange robotic woman, who sort of narrated, explaining the different songs, pimping out merchandise, and even arguing with the band members between songs. So genius. And it's no small feat to be funny, and not be a joke band. But these guys have it nailed. If you've ever seen their hilarious non-music videos, you'll know what we're talking about. But none of that would matter if they didn't rule, and they most certainly do. Definitely heavily beholden to the late great Big Black, with churning, super distorted bass lines, impossibly down tuned guitar chug, the sound angular, thick and corrosive, tranced out and HEAVY as fuck, then there's guitarist Justin Foley's hilarious vocals, that slip easily from sardonic spoken word, to wild bellowed yowl and back again. And if anything, not only is this new record heavier, and more focused, it's also way more melodic, with a much bigger focus on actual songcraft, not to mention some seriously tripped out production and unlikely sounds throughout. That crazy catchiness surfaces in the most unlikely places, the songs themselves, complex and intricate and downright proggy, a dense, relentless crushingly heavy, impossibly hooky noise-pop, industrial metal-prog that is so goddamn good, it baffles the mind that these guys were always the unsung / less popular weirdos on the Hydra Head roster.
But hopefully, now that they've struck out on their own, this being the first release on their own label, folks will wake up and dig the crazy heaviness, and warped weirdo poppiness, these guys have (not so) quietly mastered over the last however many years. And yeah, it's definitely their best record yet. And no it's not all the same note (fuck you Justin). Definite contender for record of the year, so leave a space on that list, you won't be sorry...
Available on cd, vinyl, and as a 1/4" reel to reel tape, for the super music mega nerds out there (the band, also uber nerds, suggest that version, as it sounds the best haha)!
MPEG Stream: "Song 31"
MPEG Stream: "Song 30"
MPEG Stream: "Song 39"

album cover AUSTERITY PROGRAM, THE Beyond Calculation (Controlled Burn) lp 17.98
For as much as we love this band, we had never seen them play live until a few weeks ago, and our minds were blown big time. Not only did they have an entire music store's worth of gear, so many speakers it required renting a U-haul to get them to the club, and also required setting up on the floor since they wouldn't fit on the stage, they also sounded incredible. Two super unassuming guys, kicking out the sort of rib cage rattling heavy jams that would make most 'proper' metal bands seriously envious. All that, and they were funny as fuck too, playing to a strange backing track, that not only included their drum machine, but also a strange robotic woman, who sort of narrated, explaining the different songs, pimping out merchandise, and even arguing with the band members between songs. So genius. And it's no small feat to be funny, and not be a joke band. But these guys have it nailed. If you've ever seen their hilarious non-music videos, you'll know what we're talking about. But none of that would matter if they didn't rule, and they most certainly do. Definitely heavily beholden to the late great Big Black, with churning, super distorted bass lines, impossibly down tuned guitar chug, the sound angular, thick and corrosive, tranced out and HEAVY as fuck, then there's guitarist Justin Foley's hilarious vocals, that slip easily from sardonic spoken word, to wild bellowed yowl and back again. And if anything, not only is this new record heavier, and more focused, it's also way more melodic, with a much bigger focus on actual songcraft, not to mention some seriously tripped out production and unlikely sounds throughout. That crazy catchiness surfaces in the most unlikely places, the songs themselves, complex and intricate and downright proggy, a dense, relentless crushingly heavy, impossibly hooky noise-pop, industrial metal-prog that is so goddamn good, it baffles the mind that these guys were always the unsung / less popular weirdos on the Hydra Head roster.
But hopefully, now that they've struck out on their own, this being the first release on their own label, folks will wake up and dig the crazy heaviness, and warped weirdo poppiness, these guys have (not so) quietly mastered over the last however many years. And yeah, it's definitely their best record yet. And no it's not all the same note (fuck you Justin). Definite contender for record of the year, so leave a space on that list, you won't be sorry...
Available on cd, vinyl, and as a 1/4" reel to reel tape, for the super music mega nerds out there (the band, also uber nerds, suggest that version, as it sounds the best haha)!
MPEG Stream: "Song 31"
MPEG Stream: "Song 30"
MPEG Stream: "Song 39"

album cover AUSTERITY PROGRAM, THE Beyond Calculation (Controlled Burn) 1/4" tape 26.00
For as much as we love this band, we had never seen them play live until a few weeks ago, and our minds were blown big time. Not only did they have an entire music store's worth of gear, so many speakers it required renting a U-haul to get them to the club, and also required setting up on the floor since they wouldn't fit on the stage, they also sounded incredible. Two super unassuming guys, kicking out the sort of rib cage rattling heavy jams that would make most 'proper' metal bands seriously envious. All that, and they were funny as fuck too, playing to a strange backing track, that not only included their drum machine, but also a strange robotic woman, who sort of narrated, explaining the different songs, pimping out merchandise, and even arguing with the band members between songs. So genius. And it's no small feat to be funny, and not be a joke band. But these guys have it nailed. If you've ever seen their hilarious non-music videos, you'll know what we're talking about. But none of that would matter if they didn't rule, and they most certainly do. Definitely heavily beholden to the late great Big Black, with churning, super distorted bass lines, impossibly down tuned guitar chug, the sound angular, thick and corrosive, tranced out and HEAVY as fuck, then there's guitarist Justin Foley's hilarious vocals, that slip easily from sardonic spoken word, to wild bellowed yowl and back again. And if anything, not only is this new record heavier, and more focused, it's also way more melodic, with a much bigger focus on actual songcraft, not to mention some seriously tripped out production and unlikely sounds throughout. That crazy catchiness surfaces in the most unlikely places, the songs themselves, complex and intricate and downright proggy, a dense, relentless crushingly heavy, impossibly hooky noise-pop, industrial metal-prog that is so goddamn good, it baffles the mind that these guys were always the unsung / less popular weirdos on the Hydra Head roster.
But hopefully, now that they've struck out on their own, this being the first release on their own label, folks will wake up and dig the crazy heaviness, and warped weirdo poppiness, these guys have (not so) quietly mastered over the last however many years. And yeah, it's definitely their best record yet. And no it's not all the same note (fuck you Justin). Definite contender for record of the year, so leave a space on that list, you won't be sorry...
Available on cd, vinyl, and as a 1/4" reel to reel tape, for the super music mega nerds out there (the band, also uber nerds, suggest that version, as it sounds the best haha)!
MPEG Stream: "Song 31"
MPEG Stream: "Song 30"
MPEG Stream: "Song 39"

album cover EXPO '70 [PRE-ORDER] Virtually From The Unknown [Deluxe] (Essence Music) cd + cd-r + handmade cosmic pyramidal box 60.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Finally! A new record from one of our favorite purveyors of kosmische kraut-psych and spaced out synthscapery, Expo '70! AND it's on one of our favorite labels, Essence (along with a new one from Japanese psych crew Up-Tight, elsewhere on this week's list). And while we'll have the standard version of this new Expo '70, this is in fact a PRE-ORDER for the super deluxe, super fancy, handmade BOX SET version, which comes not only with a bonus disc, but also housed in a crazy pyramid shaped box. It's limited to 99 copies and that's IT. We might be able to get 20, but we're only getting as many as we get pre-orders for, so if you want one, order it now, we'll get them in sometime in the next few weeks, and they can either ship with your current order, or on their own. You will be charged for the box now, but then the shipping will be sorted out when we actually send the box (and it'll ship by weight, not as 1 item). And if you're already a fan, you're definitely gonna want one of these, the pyramid box is super striking, psychedelic inks and textures, in a carefully constructed 'handmade cosmic pyramidal boxset', that unfolds revealing still more artwork, and along with the new record proper, it also includes an exclusive bonus album, a cd-r called All Hues From Beneath A Velvet Cloud, and is ONLY available in this box. So needless to say, Expo nerds grab one before they are gone.
As for Virtually From The Unknown, it's another gorgeously sprawling cosmic sonic missive, the opening track clocking in at 31 minutes, a smoldering slow burning epic, all swirling synths, cascading keyboard textures, minimum motorik drumming, layers and drones, the sound eventually building to a dark dolorous psych-kraut drift, and then exploding into some seriously muscular space rock, all deep rumbling drones, powerful drumming, thick almost SUNNO))) like riffage, eventually launching into a full on navy psych blowout, all wild drum damage and thick squalls of freakout guitar, tethered to a furious galloping groove. Worth it for that track alone for sure, but there's of course more. The stonery psych of "Closet Full Of Candles" is a loping space doom juggernaut, with some wild distort leads, and some sick, thick bass buzz, sorta like Kyuss via Hawkwind, slowly working its way up to another in-the-red crescendo. Finally, there's the 17 + minute closer, awesomely titled "Planet Ego, The Astral Return To Yourself", which lays down distant guitar rumbles, beneath swirls of alien FX and squiggly laser blast blort, the background guitar buzz gradually gaining momentum, a thick slow moving swell, eventually overtaking the sound effects, and finishing off as a blurred, downtuned space-drone, before gradually drifting off, and leaving shimmery contrails of fast fading FX. So good, of course. And as we mentioned above, we'll be able to get about 20 copies of this box, and that's IT. So if you want one, order it now. We'll charge you and let you know when it arrives. If you're after the normal version, let us know that too, and we can put you down for one of those, but this listing is specifically for folks who want to nab one of the boxes before they're gone for good.
MPEG Stream: "Figures In Black Turn Night Back Into Day"
MPEG Stream: "Closet Full Of Candles"

album cover HUNGERS s/t (self-released) cassette + pin 8.98
These Northwestern heavies came highly recommended by aQ faves Megaton Leviathan, but don't be expecting a similarly spaced out psychedelic doom, instead Hungers deliver a super dense, blackened heaviness, that actually reminds us of the newest Satyricon, but these guys have more up their sleeve for sure. After blasting out of the gate with a mid tempo black metal / heavy rock churn, they switch gears into something more melodic and post metal, only to then explode into a dense progged out squall, only to return to that opening blackness. The sound is epic and thick, almost like Pelican crossed with Satyricon if that makes any sense, the raspy vokills definitely contributing much of the blackness, the music itself, lush and layered, dense tangled melodies, thick, distortion drenched chug, veering from blasting buzz, to woozy lope, to smoldering epic slow build, to mathy metallic crush, to churning Neur-Isis style majesty, super epic, and crushingly heavy, but still super melodic and nuanced. Not at all what we were expecting. These guys sonically are well beyond self releasing their own tapes, they sound like they should be on Relapse or Century Media, or back in the day, even Moonfog. Check out the sound samples, it's kind of a tough sound to describe, other than they kind of mash a bunch of stuff we love together, which shouldn't work, but does, big time. Epic, blackened, melodic, post metal, math-prog heaviness that we can't stop listening to, and we're guessing means big things to come for these guys.
Limited of course, and includes a download code as well.
MPEG Stream: "Orchestrating Fate"
MPEG Stream: "Animist"
MPEG Stream: "The Leveling"

album cover WHITE LUNG Deep Fantasy (Domino) cd 14.98
Record number three from these Canadian punks, whose first two records were big faves around here even though they never made it onto the list. Their sound seems loosely aligned with Perfect Pussy, in that they're noisy, and have a bad ass female vocalist, but where Perfect Pussy embraces abrasive noisiness, White Lung are much more concerned with melody and songcraft, reminding us of a super charged Team Dresch, which is most definitely a good thing. The production on this new one is massive, the guitars heavy and almost metallic, splintering into shards of keening high end, swirls of angular crunch, all wound around a super tight rhythm section, and of course, vocalist Mish Way, who flits easily from feral how, to throaty croon, and the songs, so catchy and well crafted, the multiple guitars winding multiple melodic lines into killer harmonies, the sound dense and lush and layered, making for something that definitely transcends punk rock, it's anthemic, epic and majestic, but also super personal, and emotional, not hard to imagine White Lung being primo mixtape material, particularly vitriolic breakup mixtapes, it's got that sort of anger and energy and passion. So killer. Odds are you'll end up wanting the other two records as well (and we can get em for you, just ask!)...
MPEG Stream: "Drown With The Monster"
MPEG Stream: "Down It Goes"
MPEG Stream: "Snake Jaw"
MPEG Stream: "Face Down"

album cover CLIPPING. Clppng (Sub Pop) cd 14.98
While the rest of the world is freaking out over Death Grips' drum driven aggro noise drenched hip hop, especially with the recent release of a downloadable new collaboration with Bjork called Niggas On The Moon, it might be a good time to also dig into the brand new Sub Pop debut from LA noise-hop trio Clipping. (and yeah, the period is part of the name). Their sound, like Death Grips, finds its roots in classic hip hop, but both diverge in interesting ways. In the case of Death Grips, it's a live drummer (Zach Hill from Hella), and some seriously bombastic noise, not to mention the confrontational flow of rapper Stefan Burnett. It's a sound we love for sure, but the sound of Clipping. we love even more. Imagine that instead of that drum driven noisiness, you replaced the music with super minimal abstract noise, the sort of stuff you might hear on an RRR comp, think Bastard Noise or Sissy Spacek making a hip hop record and you'd be close. Even more interesting though, is that the two guys responsible for the music in Clipping. are Jonathan Snipes and William Hutson, whom avid readers of the aQ list, and film nerds too, might know more from their stunning score to the Stanley Kubrick conspiracy documentary Room 237, the soundtrack which was released on Death Waltz.
But this is no retro soundtrackery, this is twisted noisy weirdness, wild feedback drenched analog skree, squelch drenched gristle, hiss and hum and screech and howl and thrum and buzz, blasts of digital noise wound around low slung beats. Check out the intro, which features rapper Daveed Diggs, spitting rapid fire flow a cappella over an ear piercing sine wave tone, eventually delivering the closer "It's Clipping bitch", before launching into the record proper, which gets no less weird, and no less noisy. "body & Blood" rides a grinding industrial beat, with a creepy processed voice 'chorus', but then "Work Work" surprises (as does much of the record), with its almost dreamy looped glitchy gamelan, that transforms into some low slung low rider booming bass throb. And while at first blush, some of the lyrics sound typically hip hop sexist, dig deeper, and there's way more going on, which is again balanced when Cocc Pistol Cree delivers her bad ass verse. And there are other guests too, King T, Gangsta Boo, Guce and more, but it's the core three who have their sound down. King T's guest verse on "Summertime" is a crusher, especially when the background sound swells into a cloud of alien laser blasts, deep bass thrum, and woozy sonic squiggles. Then there's tracks like "Taking Off", which sounds like it was made from damaged cd's, all skipping rhythms, looped and layered into a weirdly lurching beat, the perfectly wasted stuttery backdrop for Diggs' rapid fire flow. Gangsta Boo delivers a killer verse as well, over a weird bed of creaks and gristly moans, again a weirdly perfect match for her toasting flow, not to mention the strangely Kanye-ish chorus croon, with a rumbling thick low end swell underneath, the sort of track that would be all over the radio, if there was any justice. And let's not forget the insanely infuriatingly brilliant "Get Up", where the music is essentially JUST the sound of an alarm clock, maddening for sure, but then so satisfying when they modulate the sound into a weirdly radio pop chorus. And so it goes, Digg's flow world class, the background sounds a continually shifting landscape of fractured loops, woozy synths, clanging pipe fight rhythms, digital glitchery, weird damaged turntable rewinds, and dizzying noise collages, so unlikely, but so impossibly catchy, the magic of Clipping. in that it can be so obtuse and difficult, but still so groovy, so hooky, so funky, and so goddamn, catchy, this is exactly the sort of shit we'd be blasting through our booming system, no doubt shattering glass and bursting eardrums as we passed.
On both cd, and vinyl, both of which are slightly different (the aforementioned "Intro" is not included on the lp, but the version of "Body & Blood" is longer for example) but vinyl nerds are still in luck, cuz the lp comes in a super swank spot varnish printed triple gatefold, with an extra lp side, loaded with ONE HUNDRED locked grooves, noisy, distorted, blown out, abstract, dubby, clicky, funky, bloopy, bleepy and pretty much every variation in between. Both versions feature a bad ass blinded out Sub Pop logo too...
MPEG Stream: "Intro"
MPEG Stream: "Body & Blood"
MPEG Stream: "Work Work"
MPEG Stream: "Summertime"
MPEG Stream: "Taking Off"
MPEG Stream: "Tonight"

album cover CLIPPING. Clppng (Sub Pop) 2lp 24.00
While the rest of the world is freaking out over Death Grips' drum driven aggro noise drenched hip hop, especially with the recent release of a downloadable new collaboration with Bjork called Niggas On The Moon, it might be a good time to also dig into the brand new Sub Pop debut from LA noise-hop trio Clipping. (and yeah, the period is part of the name). Their sound, like Death Grips, finds its roots in classic hip hop, but both diverge in interesting ways. In the case of Death Grips, it's a live drummer (Zach Hill from Hella), and some seriously bombastic noise, not to mention the confrontational flow of rapper Stefan Burnett. It's a sound we love for sure, but the sound of Clipping. we love even more. Imagine that instead of that drum driven noisiness, you replaced the music with super minimal abstract noise, the sort of stuff you might hear on an RRR comp, think Bastard Noise or Sissy Spacek making a hip hop record and you'd be close. Even more interesting though, is that the two guys responsible for the music in Clipping. are Jonathan Snipes and William Hutson, whom avid readers of the aQ list, and film nerds too, might know more from their stunning score to the Stanley Kubrick conspiracy documentary Room 237, the soundtrack which was released on Death Waltz.
But this is no retro soundtrackery, this is twisted noisy weirdness, wild feedback drenched analog skree, squelch drenched gristle, hiss and hum and screech and howl and thrum and buzz, blasts of digital noise wound around low slung beats. Check out the intro, which features rapper Daveed Diggs, spitting rapid fire flow a cappella over an ear piercing sine wave tone, eventually delivering the closer "It's Clipping bitch", before launching into the record proper, which gets no less weird, and no less noisy. "body & Blood" rides a grinding industrial beat, with a creepy processed voice 'chorus', but then "Work Work" surprises (as does much of the record), with its almost dreamy looped glitchy gamelan, that transforms into some low slung low rider booming bass throb. And while at first blush, some of the lyrics sound typically hip hop sexist, dig deeper, and there's way more going on, which is again balanced when Cocc Pistol Cree delivers her bad ass verse. And there are other guests too, King T, Gangsta Boo, Guce and more, but it's the core three who have their sound down. King T's guest verse on "Summertime" is a crusher, especially when the background sound swells into a cloud of alien laser blasts, deep bass thrum, and woozy sonic squiggles. Then there's tracks like "Taking Off", which sounds like it was made from damaged cd's, all skipping rhythms, looped and layered into a weirdly lurching beat, the perfectly wasted stuttery backdrop for Diggs' rapid fire flow. Gangsta Boo delivers a killer verse as well, over a weird bed of creaks and gristly moans, again a weirdly perfect match for her toasting flow, not to mention the strangely Kanye-ish chorus croon, with a rumbling thick low end swell underneath, the sort of track that would be all over the radio, if there was any justice. And let's not forget the insanely infuriatingly brilliant "Get Up", where the music is essentially JUST the sound of an alarm clock, maddening for sure, but then so satisfying when they modulate the sound into a weirdly radio pop chorus. And so it goes, Digg's flow world class, the background sounds a continually shifting landscape of fractured loops, woozy synths, clanging pipe fight rhythms, digital glitchery, weird damaged turntable rewinds, and dizzying noise collages, so unlikely, but so impossibly catchy, the magic of Clipping. in that it can be so obtuse and difficult, but still so groovy, so hooky, so funky, and so goddamn, catchy, this is exactly the sort of shit we'd be blasting through our booming system, no doubt shattering glass and bursting eardrums as we passed.
On both cd, and vinyl, both of which are slightly different (the aforementioned "Intro" is not included on the lp, but the version of "Body & Blood" is longer for example) but vinyl nerds are still in luck, cuz the lp comes in a super swank spot varnish printed triple gatefold, with an extra lp side, loaded with ONE HUNDRED locked grooves, noisy, distorted, blown out, abstract, dubby, clicky, funky, bloopy, bleepy and pretty much every variation in between. Both versions feature a bad ass blinded out Sub Pop logo too...
MPEG Stream: "Intro"
MPEG Stream: "Body & Blood"
MPEG Stream: "Work Work"
MPEG Stream: "Summertime"
MPEG Stream: "Taking Off"
MPEG Stream: "Tonight"

album cover BAD PSYCHIC s/t (Sygil) lp 12.98
From the always impressive Sygil label, who in the past has given us stunning releases from
Aurora Dorey Alice, Charnel House, Avakr, OS, Sky Projection and more, comes this gorgeous missive of witchy, washed out dark wave gloominess/dreaminess. Falling somewhere between the drifty murk of Grouper, and the gothic torch songs of Zola Jesus, Bad Psychic unfurls stately, hauntingly meditative gloom-ragas, with soaring, tranced out vocals, over a bed of roiling dark drones, and softly churning synths. Woozy loops, and layered melodies, bleed and blur into softly undulating sonic tapestries, sometimes tethered to a spare, skeletal rhythm, but often left to float weightless in a sprawl of blackened shimmer. Some tracks (like "Dance Spell") slip into a sound a bit more overtly new wave, but even then, it's still creepy, and hazy, and drowsily lo-fi. Opener "Fortune" sets the mood perfectly, with it's tranced out, almost chorale sounding mesmer, that druggy, drowsy vibe surfacing throughout the record, sometimes morphing into a grim kosmische sound, other times blossoming into near poppiness, but always shadowy, and grey, and darkly dreamlike. Even after just one listen, we were compelled to just lift the needle and put it right back at the beginning again.
Fans of witchy, dreamy dark pop, especially folks who were bummed on the most recent Zola Jesus record, will find themselves wishing that had sounded more like this. A dark, droney, hypnotic, gloom pop gem, that comes WAY recommended. Includes a download code as well. LIMITED TO 200 COPIES!! Each one hand numbered.
MPEG Stream: "Fortune"
MPEG Stream: "Dance Spell"
MPEG Stream: "The Veil"
MPEG Stream: "Sister"

album cover BORIS Noise (Sargent House) cd 16.98
Japanese doom/sludge titans, turned psychedelic hard rockers, turned weirdo J-pop iconoclasts Boris, have long been favorites around here, and with each new record never fail to surprise, or baffle, or confuse, and this new one is no different. While we all have different opinions about which Boris records are the best, around aQ, we were always partial to those earlier records, that sonically situated themselves alongside groups like Earth, SUNNO))), Corrupted and the like. But once their sound shifted toward something more 'rock', we found ourselves constantly debating the merits of different records, with some of us never quite being won over by their 'new' sound, and some of us embracing it big time, and only a few of us digging their weirdo electro/J-pop record the best.
This new one is bound to divide once again, as right out of the gate it reveals itself to be a sort of heavy, electronic flecked, psychedelic metal prog epic, the closest comparison being maybe later period Cave-In, around Jupiter, where that band, also previously sludgy and metallic, shocked folks (bumming out plenty) by transforming into something more like a heavier Radiohead. Opener "Melody" here, is a dead ringer for Cave-In, and to be fair, it's not all that removed from the last few Boris records, but something about it, the sound is much more focused, managing the tough task of being both poppy and catchy, hooky and heavy, laced with squalls of wild wah wah guitar freakout, and sprinklings of electronics, soaring vocals, wild drumming, it's total heavy-psych pop-prog bliss out of the highest order. And while the second track seems to slip right back into the fuzzed out riffage of past Boris efforts, it immediately opens up into another prog-pop epic, all tangled soaring leads, lush crooned vocals, layered textures, plenty of slow burn majesty, speaking of which, "Ghost Of Romance", sounds a bit like Boris channeling Les Rallizes Denudes, all super distorted and blown out, but dreamily poppy, a blown out ballad that explodes near the end into a fuzz drenched psych pop freakout. That smoldering balladry bleeds into "Heavy Rain" as well, that takes that prog-poppiness, and blurs it into a hazy, wasted dream-drift psychedelic dirge.
Then there's the record's centerpiece, the nearly nineteen minute "Angel", which begins with glimmering harmonics, subtle percussion, and hushed melodies, almost 8 minutes of whispery soft focus drift, before blossoming into a gorgeous field of soaring psych guitar and swirling synths, before transforming into another brief bout of proggy pop, before finally devolving into a tranced out field of blissfully blurry, glimmering guitar noise, like a softer, dreamier Sunroof!
Finally, the record finishes off with the super metallic, hard rocking heavy psych prog of "Quicksilver", furious and frenzied, with some seriously tripped our vocals, and wild tangled arrangements, flecked with some crazy catchy poppiness, before the 3 minute final come down, a barely there soft focus shuffle, all dark twang, hushed rhythmic skitter, all drenched in echo and reverb, like a downer psych Earth.
Great stuff, and as far as a bunch of us are concerned, finally a return to form, and quite possibly the best record we've heard in a while from these guys (and gal)...
MPEG Stream: "Melody"
MPEG Stream: "Ghost Of Romance"
MPEG Stream: "Angel"

album cover BORIS Noise (Sargent House) 2lp 33.00
Japanese doom/sludge titans, turned psychedelic hard rockers, turned weirdo J-pop iconoclasts Boris, have long been favorites around here, and with each new record never fail to surprise, or baffle, or confuse, and this new one is no different. While we all have different opinions about which Boris records are the best, around aQ, we were always partial to those earlier records, that sonically situated themselves alongside groups like Earth, SUNNO))), Corrupted and the like. But once their sound shifted toward something more 'rock', we found ourselves constantly debating the merits of different records, with some of us never quite being won over by their 'new' sound, and some of us embracing it big time, and only a few of us digging their weirdo electro/J-pop record the best.
This new one is bound to divide once again, as right out of the gate it reveals itself to be a sort of heavy, electronic flecked, psychedelic metal prog epic, the closest comparison being maybe later period Cave-In, around Jupiter, where that band, also previously sludgy and metallic, shocked folks (bumming out plenty) by transforming into something more like a heavier Radiohead. Opener "Melody" here, is a dead ringer for Cave-In, and to be fair, it's not all that removed from the last few Boris records, but something about it, the sound is much more focused, managing the tough task of being both poppy and catchy, hooky and heavy, laced with squalls of wild wah wah guitar freakout, and sprinklings of electronics, soaring vocals, wild drumming, it's total heavy-psych pop-prog bliss out of the highest order. And while the second track seems to slip right back into the fuzzed out riffage of past Boris efforts, it immediately opens up into another prog-pop epic, all tangled soaring leads, lush crooned vocals, layered textures, plenty of slow burn majesty, speaking of which, "Ghost Of Romance", sounds a bit like Boris channeling Les Rallizes Denudes, all super distorted and blown out, but dreamily poppy, a blown out ballad that explodes near the end into a fuzz drenched psych pop freakout. That smoldering balladry bleeds into "Heavy Rain" as well, that takes that prog-poppiness, and blurs it into a hazy, wasted dream-drift psychedelic dirge.
Then there's the record's centerpiece, the nearly nineteen minute "Angel", which begins with glimmering harmonics, subtle percussion, and hushed melodies, almost 8 minutes of whispery soft focus drift, before blossoming into a gorgeous field of soaring psych guitar and swirling synths, before transforming into another brief bout of proggy pop, before finally devolving into a tranced out field of blissfully blurry, glimmering guitar noise, like a softer, dreamier Sunroof!
Finally, the record finishes off with the super metallic, hard rocking heavy psych prog of "Quicksilver", furious and frenzied, with some seriously tripped our vocals, and wild tangled arrangements, flecked with some crazy catchy poppiness, before the 3 minute final come down, a barely there soft focus shuffle, all dark twang, hushed rhythmic skitter, all drenched in echo and reverb, like a downer psych Earth.
Great stuff, and as far as a bunch of us are concerned, finally a return to form, and quite possibly the best record we've heard in a while from these guys (and gal)...
MPEG Stream: "Melody"
MPEG Stream: "Ghost Of Romance"
MPEG Stream: "Angel"

album cover V/A Choubi Choubi! Folk & Pop Sounds from Iraq Vol. 1 (Sublime Frequencies) 2lp + 7" 29.00
FINALLY AVAILABLE ON VINYL!!
Here's our review from way back in 2005, when the cd version was first released...
Just when you thought you'd heard everything, in comes Sublime Frequencies to fill in the gaps you never thought existed. How many cds of Iraqi pop do you have in your collection? Until now we certainly didn't have any, let alone anything remotely traditional from Iraq. For a country that's so important to our war mongering presidential administration it's perhaps a little surprising that more interest hasn't been piqued about the culture of Iraq. But then again, everyone but W seems to understand that the real reasons for plundering this nation wasn't to "liberate" anyone. In fact, W would probably rather that no one even pay attention to any of this music, which has the awkward fortune to have been produced almost entirely (with the exception of three early 70's tracks) during the reign of Saddam Hussein and his Baathist regime ( tracks here range from 1980 on up to 2002!). In spite of his - well deserved - reputation as a cruel dictator, he was also an avid supporter of both education and the arts - such are the complexities of life W would rather not acknowledge - and for better or worse, kept the fabricated nation state as stable as it has ever been. Hussein promoted secular arts and music, starting cultural centers for both, and even dubbed singers the "eighth division" of the armed forces (his nation had seven military divisions) - not to paint too rosy a picture of Donald Rumsfeld's former pal and business partner, who was also a sadistic tyrant after all. Compiled by Mark Gergis (I Remember Syria, Molam, Cambodian Cassette Archives), Choubi Choubi is a collection years in the making. Gergis scoured the earth for the source material on this disc, travelling through Syria, Europe and the Iraqi neighborhoods of Detroit, Michigan. The anthology starts off with a folk rock track from '70s Socialist singer Ja'afar Hassan, a song that could easily compete with the best psych tracks on Hava Narghile or Turkish Delights for the crown of Middle Eastern psych champ. But if you're expecting another psych compilation, you're going to be disappointed as Choubi Choubi is much more than that, way more. Most of the recordings on the album have no western instruments on them, nor hardly any western influence. These tracks rock out much harder with no electric instruments, but with huge string sections, pounding drums, and monstrous oud playing. Maybe it's also the super bluesy sounding (to the western ear) melodies, it's no wonder that it sounds so fresh and familiar to us. It really is weird, when we first listened to this record we could have sworn there were more songs with electric guitars on it, but there aren't that many at all. It just sounds so fucking heavy, and rocks so hard that we remembered it as being a "rock" record. Really, really, really fucking great!
MPEG Stream: UNKNOWN " Ahl Al Aqil"
MPEG Stream: BAWIN "Ya Binaya Goumi"
MPEG Stream: SADUN JABIR "Ashhad Biannak Hilou"

album cover SOLITARY TORTURE s/t (self-released) cd-r 7.98
We love when weird stuff just shows up in the mail, especially when that weird stuff turns out to be some grim, rhythmic, experimental blackened industrial avant-noise, like this, the first we've heard from Solitary Torture, whose sound is tough to describe beyond the above. Somehow super varied, but woven into a strange black sonic ritual, beginning with whipping winds, and some glitched out primitive rhythms, which is soon swallowed up by a blast of howling heaviness, before transforming into a swirling psychedelic blacknoise freakout, moaning vocals, and gristly electronics. At that point, we were sort of expecting this to be a straight up noise record, but instead, the second track unveils a melancholy, buzz drenched black metal riff, but instead of exploding into your standard blasting metal, in stretches way out, for the length of the track, spaced out and truancy and minimal and super hypnotic, the final minute or two erupting into some speaker shredding crush.
The rest of the record splits its time between, grinding black electronica, post industrial thrum, woozy abstract black ambience, blurred grim riffage, strange minimal noise collages and dense, blasting blacknoise blowouts. Killer stuff for sure. Surprised this isn't on Crucial Blast.
Needless to say, we only got a tiny handful of these, so not sure if/when we'll be able to get more. Comes housed in a DVD style case, with two xeroxed black and white inserts.
MPEG Stream: "Black Vomit"
MPEG Stream: "Sick Man Lurking"
MPEG Stream: "Vicious Hands"

album cover DEUTROM, MARK Brief Sensuality & Western Violence (Rock Is Hell) lp + 7" 23.00
Yet another record from Mark Deutrom, previously and probably still best known for playing bass in the Melvins once upon a time. But for a while now, Deutrom has been cranking out incredible solo records, most on the Rock Is Hell label, and somehow remaining well under the radar. We'd say something like "this one will change everything", but we're guessing it probably won't, and who knows, perhaps he's content to be right where he is. We sure are if it means we keep getting more and more records like this.
With every record it's sort of hard to know what to expect, the last couple were sort of matched out proggy pop, and super catchy sooner rock heaviness, but this new one, begins with an epic 20 minute side long jam titled "Dick Cheney", which spends its first 4 minutes droning ominously, lush layered textures, slowly shifting, finally some buzzing metallic guitar drifts in, as does some percussion, it feels like the song is about to explode, but then instead, transforms into a lurching minimal avant doom creep, spaced out chugs, loads of space, the vibe very Harvey Milk-ish actually, and then the vocals come in, and the song is somehow transformed into something way catchier and popper than it has any right to be. Especially near the end, when the guitar swoops up into a super catchy melody, before devolving into a weird little chug flecked, industrial noise outro. Phew. Most bands would be content with that 20 minutes, but there are three more sides here to dig, all of which display Deutrom's mastery of whatever the fuck he wants to do, from the brooding slow burn psych of "Winter Haystacks At Twilight", that almost sounds like the intro to some doom metal jam, to the very Melvins-y "Sky Full Of Witches", which also displays a seriously poppy vibe, a woozy, lurching stoner pop groove that sounds like it could have been plucked right off some Kyuss B-side. And that pretty much sets the tone, the sound lurches from groovy, mathy, prog-sludge, to groovy stoner pop, to dreamy almost jazzy psych, to super trippy avant abstract space-doom, to twang flecked, reverie balladry, often with several of those bleeding into each other.
Goddamn, this guy is a genius, and a seriously unsung one at that. Fans of the Melvins, Harvey Milk, Prizehog, Kyuss, and just twisted abstract heaviness, and moody metallic avant-gardery, get this and every other thing you can find. You'll thank us later!
MPEG Stream: "Dick Cheney"
MPEG Stream: "Temple Smasher / Other Gods"

album cover POW! One Eyed Scorpion (Grazer) 7" 5.98
Latest from these SF synth punks, and the opening track finds the band drifting into more straight up garage rock / pop territory, the synths are still present, but don't define the sound as much as add a gorgeous buzz to the proceedings, and give things a bit of a new wave vibe, otherwise, the jam is crunchy and fuzzy and poppy, makes sense that their most recent full length was on John Dwyer from Thee Oh Sees' Castle Face label. And maybe not so weirdly, the title track here almost sounds like a more rocking version of a song from Dwyer's recent synth side project Damaged Bug. But when the synths do pop up, like on "The Punisher" and the rest of the single, they dominate, and add a twisted outsidery weirdness to the proceedings, wild and psychedelic and new wave-y and catchy like crazy. "Fight Fire" is a progged out chunk of synth swaddled Oh Sees worship, right down to the vocalist's echo drenched vocal 'whoo's, and finally, "Hangin' Out (At Home)" is a noisy, synthy blast of glorious noise pop / garage punk radness, that's reminding us just why we dig these guys so much!
MPEG Stream: "One Eyed Scorpion"
MPEG Stream: "The Punisher"

album cover HARASSOR Into Unknown Depths (Dais) lp 21.00
Another gloriously noxious dose of grim, raw blackness form LA trio Harassor, the group's newest proper full length. Like their recent split lp with Glass Coffin, and another recent split with Author & Punisher, this recent barrage of new material is some of the best stuff we've heard from these guys. And even removed from their dramatic live shows, the music here is pretty compelling, fusing the sort of raw Venomish black metal churn with something more tranced out and droney, not to mention a fair bit of melody in the mix, that makes some of this stuff surprisingly catchy. But it's all relative, and the catchiness here is subtle when compared to the groups grim black din, frenzied, furious riffing, and lose limbed rapid fire drumming, no bass, but really, you generally can't here the bass in black metal anyway, and it's not really missed here. And the vocals are a killer mix of guttural demonic grunts and hysterical shrieks, all wound up into furious, hellish heaviness, the sort of blurred blackness that's almost more trancelike than metallic, that is when not devolving into more punk metal pound, which the band do often and well, but even then, they'll lock into a looped sounding riff/blast that often into a totally mesmerizing blackblastdrone, before eventually devolving right back into that blackened punkiness. And like that split with Glass Coffin, some tracks are crazy catchy, sounding almost post rocky / shoegazey (check out "Winter's Triumph", which sounds like some sort of blackened post punk), hinting at the kind of band these guys could so easily be, but that element only adds to the groups twisted blackness, which in turn is only further enhanced by their blood soaked ritualistic live performances, which you should check out if you ever get the chance...
Includes a download code too.
MPEG Stream: "Nine Of Swords"
MPEG Stream: "Frozen Soil"
MPEG Stream: "Die Forever"
MPEG Stream: "Winter's Triumph"

album cover HERZOG Boys (Exit Stencil) lp 16.98
We made the last record from these Ohio noise poppers our Record Of The Week, and that one, Cartoon Violence, was the perfect mix of classic nineties indie rock, and the sort of hook heavy noise pop we can't even seem to get enough of, and seems like lots of you agreed cuz we could barely keep that one in stock. So we were of course super psyched to discover there was in fact a brand new record, and this is it, Boys. While it does have loads in common with Cartoon Violence, it's also different enough, and enough of a progression to make it both familiar, and super exciting and adventurous. The sound is noisier, and grittier, the production too, the whole thing sounds heavier, a bit more punk, but not in any way that disguises the pop geniuses these guys are, and with every listen we're more and more convinced that that's just what they are. Opener "Full Stick" is 100 seconds of impossibly catchy fuzz drenched bash and pound, with a sing along chorus that any other pop band would kill for. And from there on out, it never lets up. Every track here crazy catchy, lurching from fuzzy jangle, to blown out noise pop heaviness and back again, the guitars are thick and distorted, just listen to "Alcoholics", dig the jangly verses, and then let that super guitar heavy chorus get your pop head banging. It's tough to balance poppiness and heaviness so deftly, but these guys do it like it's nothing, the songs sound just loose enough to feel like that band that plays at the bar down the street from your house, the one you're convinced would be huge if just the right people heard them, and that's pretty much how we feel about these guys, why the fuck are they not MASSIVE. Like the Ovens, another pop fave, this band is so much better than so many of the other groups that get hyped to high heaven, so all we can do is hype the shit out of it ourselves and hope it gets into the right ears. Although really, the right ears are YOURS, cuz if you dig noisy, catchy, heavy pop, fuzzed out jangle, silly, sardonic lyrics, and sing along choruses that should be all over the radio (speaking of which, check out the Weezer like synth solo on "Publishing"!), this is so up your alley. But for now, like so many other amazing insanely talented bands we love, these guys will just remain our little secret, but it's one of those secrets we'd be so happy to NOT keep. Here's hoping this record is THE ONE, that finally gets the rest of the world to wake up and become as obsessed with these guys as we are, cuz goddamn, this stuff is so good. For now though, they're all ours. And yours...
MPEG Stream: "Full Stick"
MPEG Stream: "Alcoholics"
MPEG Stream: "Publishing"
MPEG Stream: "Bicycle Girls"

album cover LAY LLAMAS Ostro (Rocket Records) cd 17.98
The latest from psych/space rock label Rocket, comes from this mysterious Italian duo, who recorded their record in an old house in the countryside outside of Sicily. That's not necessarily the location where you'd expect a group to gather to conjure up some psychedelic space rock, but then Lay Llamas deliver a sound that's a bit removed from their psychedelic brethren, infusing the usual motorik pulses, and slow build smolder with twang flecked Morricone-isms, and drifting cinematic ambience, just check out the first track, which lays down a krautrock churn, beneath bongos, and electronic feedback, and winds it all around some almost Western sounding melodies, as if this was the soundtrack for a Sergio Leone Western set in space, in the future, which is actually a pretty good shorthand description of this whole record. The vocals add a different vibe, somewhere between Hawkwind, Suicide and the Residents, maybe Devo too, the second track "We Are You" has a hazy, spacey new wave vibe to it, still anchored by a krauty pulse, but definitely more poppy and synthy.
But fear not, these guys can space rock with the best of them, "The Lay Llamas" is fuzzy, and spaced out, lysergic and darkly groovy, but they add their own twist, weird layers of rumbling machine-vocals, pulsing synth fuzz, giving it the feel of some chase scene movie music, reimagined as some sort of druggy underground space rock music video. And so it goes, the band drifting easily from the tranquil drowsy haze of "Desert Of Lost Souls", with it's swooping backwards FX and wasted campfire filigree, to the murky almost Goat-like groovery of "Archaic Revival", which is a sprawling, chugging, churning, chant laced bunkurfunk workout, to the psych-funk space get-down of "Something Wrong", to the lazy, soporific Spacemen 3 channeling closer "Voices Call".
WAY recommended for fans of hazy, druggy, psychedelic grooviness, motorik kraut-fuzz twang and FX-drenched space-funk mesmer.
MPEG Stream: "Ancient People Of The Stars"
MPEG Stream: "We Are You"
MPEG Stream: "The Lay Llamas"

album cover LAY LLAMAS Ostro (Rocket Records) lp 28.00
The latest from psych/space rock label Rocket, comes from this mysterious Italian duo, who recorded their record in an old house in the countryside outside of Sicily. That's not necessarily the location where you'd expect a group to gather to conjure up some psychedelic space rock, but then Lay Llamas deliver a sound that's a bit removed from their psychedelic brethren, infusing the usual motorik pulses, and slow build smolder with twang flecked Morricone-isms, and drifting cinematic ambience, just check out the first track, which lays down a krautrock churn, beneath bongos, and electronic feedback, and winds it all around some almost Western sounding melodies, as if this was the soundtrack for a Sergio Leone Western set in space, in the future, which is actually a pretty good shorthand description of this whole record. The vocals add a different vibe, somewhere between Hawkwind, Suicide and the Residents, maybe Devo too, the second track "We Are You" has a hazy, spacey new wave vibe to it, still anchored by a krauty pulse, but definitely more poppy and synthy.
But fear not, these guys can space rock with the best of them, "The Lay Llamas" is fuzzy, and spaced out, lysergic and darkly groovy, but they add their own twist, weird layers of rumbling machine-vocals, pulsing synth fuzz, giving it the feel of some chase scene movie music, reimagined as some sort of druggy underground space rock music video. And so it goes, the band drifting easily from the tranquil drowsy haze of "Desert Of Lost Souls", with it's swooping backwards FX and wasted campfire filigree, to the murky almost Goat-like groovery of "Archaic Revival", which is a sprawling, chugging, churning, chant laced bunkurfunk workout, to the psych-funk space get-down of "Something Wrong", to the lazy, soporific Spacemen 3 channeling closer "Voices Call".
WAY recommended for fans of hazy, druggy, psychedelic grooviness, motorik kraut-fuzz twang and FX-drenched space-funk mesmer.
MPEG Stream: "Ancient People Of The Stars"
MPEG Stream: "We Are You"
MPEG Stream: "The Lay Llamas"

album cover SWANS To Be Kind (Young God) 3lp 30.00
The latest masterpiece from these aQ-beloved musical misanthropes has moved well beyond the already boundary stretching sound of their previous album The Seer, and continues in a similar direction, shedding elements of song, and moving closer and closer to pure sound, with most of the tracks here unwinding like free form / free rock explorations, with only the barest hint of structure to keep them from drifting into utter shapelessness, but even then, whatever sonic constraints that are put in place, seem to be disregarded most of the time, the resulting records is hardly a rock record at all, but a gorgeous collection of brooding soundscapes, allowed to sprawl and ooze and drift and build, almost like an even more ephemeral / abstract Godspeed, and yet somehow, the tracks here are infused with an intensity, and sonic dread, that marks this as pure Swans.
That said, the opener "Screen Shot" might be the most curious of all the tracks here, as it's centered around a baseline, and drum part that are without a doubt, bordering on 'funky', so much so that before we even heard the record, people we posting online that the new Swans sounded like Primus. Which weirdly enough just made us want to hear it more. And when we finally did, well, we could definitely see that, but only Primus slowed down and stretched out and infused with a terrifying malevolence, and really, that funkiness become something else in a matter of minutes, some mutant strain of grim grooving bunkurfunk, that sounds more to us like Skull Defekts, and Michael Gira's vocals a dead ringer from the shamanistic conjuring of Defekts collaborator Daniel Higgs, but before you know it, the song blossoms into something even more tripped out and psychedelic, a swirling piano loop, jagged shards of guitar, eventually exploding into a wild cacophony that could go on forever, but instead burns bright and quickly fades out. An intense, invigorating start to what just might be the best of the modern Swans records.
There's not a track here that's less than 5 minutes, with the bulk closer to 15, and one clocking in at a stunning 34, and as mentioned above, they've done away with traditional compositional concerns, and have instead endeavored to craft their own modern minimalism, and it's truly stunning, from the slow core creep of "Just A Little Boy", that sounds a bit like the Necks via Woven Hand, but stretched out into one extended slow motion balladic dirge, laced with some truly terrifying vocals, to the atonal lope of "A Little God In My Hands", which sounds like multiple New Orleans jazz bands playing at once, before settling into a gorgeously creepy march, all glimmering electronics and swirling melodies, and some twisted call and response vocals.
Then there's the record's centerpiece, the 34+ minute "Bring The Sun / Toussaint L' Ouverture", which lurches right out of the gate as maybe the most rocking song here, a lumbering drum heavy riff, that instead of turning into a song, just locks into an endless hypno-rock cycle, that you never want to end, and for a while, it seems like it never will, before eventually setting into another apocalyptic swampy creep (and again reminding us of Woven Hand), before beginning and epic, majestic slow build, a vocal chorale draped atop a dark cacophonous roar, that gets almost metallic before dissipating into a free rock sprawl, all long tones, and drones, moaned vocals, and warm electric piano shimmer, as well as some FX heavy percussion, and finally a wild freaked out psychedelic squall. Disc one ends with a hushed horror ballad, all moaning distant horns, and sinister vox, and atonal melodies swirling throughout. And most bands would hang it up there, but this is the Swans after all, so we're only halfway there.
The second disc begins with a twisted bit of malformed Tom Waitsian weirdness, all groovy percussion, swirling junkyard ambience, and some strange vocals refrains, before erupting into some swampy garage rock swagger, slithery and sinister, distorted and psychedelic, the sound layered and dense and seriously fierce. From there on out, To Be Kind seems to open up into some sort of alternate universe rock opera, brooding ballad gives way to horn flecked death march dirge, wild kraut-funk groovery grows more and more atonal, pocked with elephant bleat blasts, and feral vocal bellows, long stretches of kosmische drift, and jazzy piano shimmer slowly evolve into another bout of swampy swagger, "Nathalie Neal", a piece that's drum driven and intense (and named for an aQ pal!), before finally finishing off with the title track, a haunting, subdued finale, all dramatic croons and whispery chordal drift, that bursts into a full on freakout, blistering arcs of distorted guitars wreathed around pounding drum damage, and billowing swirls of psychedelic noise, the rare piece of music that is as exhausting and exhilarating to hear, as it presumably is to play.
Totally transcendent, dizzyingly ambitious, stunningly executed, and thus utterly and totally recommended. Creepy baby face cover art too! And, while they last, we've got the Deluxe Edition, which comes with a live dvd, featuring performances of several songs from this album along with renditions of "Coward" and "The Seer". That's if you get the double cd, your other option is the swank triple vinyl, but no dvd with that, but it does have a download.
MPEG Stream: "Screen Shot"
MPEG Stream: "Just A Little Boy (For Chester Burnett)"
MPEG Stream: "She Loves Us"
MPEG Stream: "Kirsten Supine"
MPEG Stream: "To Be Kind"

album cover TOMBS Savage Gold (Relapse) cd 14.98
Writhing forth once more from the most shadowy cracked wastelands of forsaken Brooklyn, Tombs returns with their third full length of glistening, gleaming extreme metal. And indeed extreme metal is the only genre tag that really works for this band, since they've made it their crusade to cherry pick the absolute best traits from a myriad of metal subgenres to mathematically create some of the most monolithic, ferocious and enormous metal being recorded today. A brief vaguely funereal dirge ushers in a flurry of pummeling helicopter double bass, wild eyed doom-laden heaving guitars, and a hurricane of rolling snare drum and hammering blast beats. There are hints of Souls At Zero-era Neurosis or even Deathspell Omega in the dissonant hypno-riffing. The circling, maddening guitar work and sickening Lovecraftian grooves sometimes recall early Morbid Angel. While elsewhere you might hear hints of the wasted urban scrawl of vintage Godflesh or the slithering futuro-insectoid crawl of latter day Celtic Frost / Triptykon. But there is not one moment of Savage Gold that sounds like homage. Instead, these influences are blended together seamlessly, creating a sound all encompassing, familiar and unique all at once. The vocals are a cold emotionless howl, which lends otherwise innocent lyrics like "life is a dream" a twisted rotten air. It's an extremely dense record. Guitars seem to avalanche upon one another, building a higher and higher wall of black glistening sludge, ready to collapse in on itself again at any moment. There are melodic moments as well. The regal grind of "Portraits" especially brings to mind Ludicra or Wolves In The Throne Room, but with a more obsidian metallic sheen. Compared to their insanely critically-acclaimed last album Path Of Totality, Savage Gold feels much more streamlined, smooth and clean (mostly thanks to a production job from Hate Eternal's Erik Rutan), but it's not at all a detriment to this record. Instead it gives the band the sound of some well oiled calculated killing machine. The spaciousness of the production really lends an extra sprawling quality to the band's more epic moments, while somehow magnifying the menace of the darker passages. And while there's still plenty of doom, sludge, groove and twisted death metal, Savage Gold has really upped the black metal influence. Labyrinthine tremolo whirlwind guitars seem to spiral upward like some Escher staircase, leading to realms shadowy, alien and obscured! A shining black monolith that shows metal can be forward-thinking, modern and unique without sacrificing any of the heaviness, ferocity or... well... metalness! Absolutely recommended, and sure to make more than a few metal best of the year lists come January 1st.
MPEG Stream: "Thanatos"
MPEG Stream: "Portraits"
MPEG Stream: "Seance"

album cover V/A 1970's Algerian Folk And Pop (Sublime Frequencies) cd 16.98
The mighty Sublime Frequencies label keeps the impossibly cool comps coming, this their second collection of music from Algeria. The first focused on a very specific musical form from the region called Rai, whereas this new one is all about folk and pop music from the same era, and while on the surface it may seem more 'mainstream', it's still fantastically quirky, funky, groovy, and exotic, and all over the sonic map.
The seventies were a surprisingly good time for music in Algeria, 45's in particular, which was remarkable considering the socialist government at the time, and the legions of cops, and bureaucrats, and censors no doubt hell bent on suppressing any sort of social movement, and yet, music flourished, certainly a response to 'the man', who perhaps let these hippies have their music, assuming it might relieve some of the social tension of the time. Regardless, the 'hairies' embraced this sound, and were digging these very American influenced sounds, fuzzed out garage rock, groovy exotica, plenty of buzzing sitars, warbly organs, twangy surf guitar, wild percussion, male and female vox, some tracks sound literally straight out of the USA, others are fantastic hybrids of Western music and more traditional local sounds, but all the music included here is lively and powerful and personal and imbued with an energy that went well beyond just music and sound. And sure some of the jams are schmaltzy, almost easy listening, but even then, listening to those tracks, dressing wild and growing your hair our, was still extremely subversive and a serious rebellion, especially considering most of this music was officially suppressed. Like all Sublime Frequencies comps, so fantastic, and leaves us hankering for more more more!
And packaged as always, sublimely (ahem), in a heavy full color gatefold sleeve, with a super striking black and white portrait of an Algerian couple in their best rock and roll finery on the front, and inside, plenty of rare photos, liner notes and notes on each song and performer.

album cover WINER, LESLIE Witch (Superior Viaduct) lp 17.98
Why it has taken so long for this to be reissued is baffling, but we're just so glad it's finally here. We have raved about Leslie Winer's musical work on two previous archival releases from Tapeworm and its offshoot label Wormhole, but those really only hinted at the genius of Witch, her only previously released record, from 1993 (though much of it was recorded in the late eighties). Records don't get more cult than this. Released on a white label, using the copyright symbol as her moniker, here designed as a circle of Ourobouros that was originally hand stamped onto blank white sleeves. Even the album and song titles with their alphanumerical wordplay ("N1ear", "1nce Upon A Time") would fit right at home with the obscurant syntax of witch house, even though this was recorded nearly 20 years before. Witch has been labeled as "proto-trip-hop", which it sort of is, as this record predates what Massive Attack, Portishead and Tricky were doing just a year or two later, and even Winer herself has been called by NME "The Grandmother of Trip Hop", a label she has rejected and rightly so. "Grandmother" doesn't have the same aura of respect as what the music press names male musical innovators such as "Godfather" or "King", and Winer, a poet and formal model with a chic androgynous style who was close friends with both William S. Burroughs and Jean-Michel Basquiat is hardly a little old lady.
Witch is both a product of its time and far ahead of it. On the surface, it's not that far removed from Sinead O'Connor, especially her song "I Am Stretched On Your Grave" with its James Brown drum sample and spoken intonations, but Witch is much darker, cooler and more subdued. It has a very London feel to it, a feeling of frustrated action against cultural stagnation and trying to create something new out of nearly nothing. Winer doesn't necessarily sing as much as observe and respond with cool detachment, a sort of soundtrack of her experiences relayed poetically to an unknown listener as beats, dub rhythms (from Jah Wobble no less), and musical samples and snippets of dialogue coalesce around her. It's a heady mixture, definitely dreamy and druggy, but she refreshingly doesn't try to endear the listener to her own personal entanglements and positions on gender, beauty and social norms. It's more like she's having a searching complicated conversation with herself.
Musically, what Witch really predates is the contemporary woozy and warped electronica of Peaking Lights and Maria Minerva, especially in the layering of breezy dub rhythms in hazy reverb and abstract murk. It's a beautifully extraordinary work that continually rewards the more we listen. Big thanks to Superior Viaduct for making this more widely available. Incredible and soooo recommended!
MPEG Stream: "Dream1"
MPEG Stream: "John Says"
MPEG Stream: "The Boy Who Used 2 Whistle"

album cover WOVEN HAND Refractory Obdurate (Deathwish) lp 16.98
So far, we've made EVERY record we've reviewed, but one, from post 16 Horsepower apocalyptic swamp-blues folk-gospel proselytizers Woven Hand a Record Of The Week. And really, we're not sure why we didn't make that other one (Blush Music) a ROTW as well, and for that matter, this new one too, a stunning collection of songs that displays David Eugene Edwards and co.'s continuing shift toward a sound more heavy and bombastic, while still managing to retain the gut wrenching moodiness and soul stirring sonic fire and brimstone of those other records. That shift is even more evident this time around, as Edwards' back up band on Refractory Obdurate is made up of members of hardcore heavies Planes Mistaken For Stars!
Just check out the opener "Corsicana Clip", which perfectly lays out the new WH musical math, beginning like a classic David Eugene Edwards jam, all brooding, and twang flecked, shuffling and loping, hypnotic and darkly majestic, brooding and harrowingly haunting, and we'd be perfectly happy if that's how the track played out, but then about halfway through, the song explodes into something seriously heavy, thick chugging guitars swoop to the fore, the drums get more bombastic, the echo drenched vocals wilder, a furious psychedelic blowout that's not at all what we've come to expect from WH.
A bunch of the tracks here are more restrained, playing out like just another great Woven Hand record, but others are fierce slabs of twisted post punk, some are smoldering slow build epics, and still others are super distorted hard rocking stomps, but they all sound perfectly and classically Woven Hand. The production is massive as well, giving the sound some serious heft, the new players injecting serious venom into the songs and sound, and consequently, Edwards also sounds more intense, his vocals snarling and feral, his guitar playing wild and frenzied, the dynamics dense and dramatic, the sound careening wildly from hushed haunting mesmer to furious almost noise rock crunch. Awesome.
MPEG Stream: "Corsicana Clip"
MPEG Stream: "Masonic Youth"
MPEG Stream: "The Refractory"
MPEG Stream: "Good Shepherd"

album cover XEEROX 1979-1981 (Anomia) lp 27.00
Unheard recordings of proto-punk madness, primordial industrial ooze, and untrained no wave expressionism! Yes, those dates in the title speak to the timeframe for Xeerox, a shortlived conglomeration of anarchists, anti-musicians, and electronic dilettantes who had some pretty solid connections (if not overlap) with the seminal Spanish industrial outfit Esplendor Geometrico. One of the principle members of Xeerox was a feverishly enthusiastic fellow named Krishna Goineau, who fled Barcelona for Germany where he went on to found Liaisons Dangereuses with Beate Bartel (Malaria!) and Chris Haas (DAF). From the onset, Xeerox hoisted the ideological flag of punk but rejected much of the aesthetics of punk's rock revisionism. Their initial sound was an atonal fug of Sister Ray-isms glommed onto motorik drum-kit pulses with distantly megaphone barked vocals, presumably by Goineau. The grimy distortion which dominates the first side of untitled tracks speaks not only of the shitty cassettes that they recorded onto but also a glowing appreciation of Crass later blossoming into a full-throttle one-note minimalism prescient of the work that was just getting started by Rhys Chatham and Glenn Branca. Assuming the tracks are chronological, the second half of the record finds Xeerox really coming into their own with the monomaniacal march of metal bashed rhythms, insistent electronic blorps, weirdo tape-reverse effects, maddeningly repetitive guitar plucks that put us in the best kind of trance, and some torturous amplifier noise that would make Matthew Bower howl with respect. A pretty bloody awesome find; and a pretty bloody limited pressing of just 300 copies that comes with a nicely produced booklet of suitably xeroxed band photos and instructive history from Xeerox's Javier Hernandez.
MPEG Stream: "Untitled 1"
MPEG Stream: "Untitled 5"
MPEG Stream: "Untitled 7"
MPEG Stream: "Untitled 10"

album cover BLACK HAT Thought Of Two (Hausu Mountain) cd 10.98
ALSO ON CD!!!
First full-length lp from Nelson Bean, aka Black Hat, whose previous two releases blew our collective minds, and this new one is somehow even better. Bean traffics in a sort of psychedelic, dark cosmic electronica, that in the past, has touched on aQ faves like Demdike Stare, Tim Hecker, Techno Animal, DHR, even weirdo industrial like Esplendor Geometrico. On this new one, it seems that all of those influences/references have been distilled into something much more pure and organic sounding. Three sprawling tracks, the first, a hauntological skitterscape, that fuses slow-beat lope to heaving swells of pixelated crunch, a little bit witch house, a little bit IDM, but blurred and blackened, transformed into something more sinister, and more abstract, the opening 9+ minute track in constant flux, so much so, that it's nearly impossible to review without explicitly describing each iteration, and yet, over the course of the song, Bean manages to keep some sort of sonic narrative, the song not at all fragmented, and not sounding like a bunch of random ideas mashed together, instead, the sound blossoms and unwinds, from hazy, washed out skitter, to dense gristly thrum, rife with rib cage rattling bass pulsations, to claustrophobic minimal electro that sounds like it was plucked from some obscure cassette release on Hospital, to blown out industrial techno crunch, and that's just the first track.
The second half of the A side is much more abstract, with gorgeous swirls of chordal thrum, drifting and shimmering, a sort of sinister new age, dense and cosmic, lush and layered, a sprawling landscape of overlapping tones, and buried melodies, the sounds unwinding in slow-motion, hazy, and washed out, bleary and blackened, but smeared into strangely prismatic streaks of sound, hauntingly hypnotic. The whole of the B side is taken up by the nearly 18 minute "Memory Triptych", and might be Bean's finest moment, an epic sprawl of hushed skitter, of murky loops, of keening, melancholic melody, all woven into something at once bleak and mysterious, but also warm and lovely, the sounds warbly and woozy, the beats more like constellations of crackle and pop, wound around soft swirls of static soaked shimmer, and strange alien pulsations, at one point, a melody surfaces, that sounds almost like humming/crooning, that 'vocal' is accompanied by a sonic shift, where the sounds begin to fracture, and become more agitated and aggressive, the vibe much more industrial, but fused to a sort of wistful pop ambience, a dizzying dream-drone dirge, driven by a strange rhythmic tangle buried beneath the surface, the sound gnarled and roiling, before about halfway through, like a storm breaking, the sounds shift dramatically, and become downright lovely, laced with what sounds like faux birdsong, the sounds suddenly warm and lush, softly soaring, all the grinding industrialism, now pushed into the background, smeared into a dense, churning backdrop, that adds a soft bit of shadow, to the otherwise, glimmering, gristly, glitchy dreaminess...
MPEG Stream: "Imaginary Friends"
MPEG Stream: "Memory Triptych"

album cover DIE ANTWOORD Donker Mag (ZEF Records) cd 13.98
What really needs to be said about Die Antwoord at this point? An elaborate art-prank, that turned into a YouTube sensation, but rather than a brief flash in the pan, South African rap duo Die Antwoord have managed to make some pretty amazing records, to go with their next level batshit genius videos. For most groups who traffic in similarly image heavy hype, the music is secondary, and exists simply as an excuse to create elaborate visuals, and while few bands reach the level of Die Antwoord when it comes to whatthefuck videos, their records are still manage to be routinely pretty goddamn great. A mix of old school hip-hopisms, and twisted modern weirdo electronica, it helps that the two members of Die Antwoord, Ninja and Yo-Landi are both crazy cartoon characters, who have at this point essentially totally disappeared into their characters, Ninja, a gangly, tattooed thug, who is usually clad in just a pair of boxers, and the extremely crushworthy Yo-Landi, a seriously stacked pixie, with a weird shaved head / mullet, and a whispery sexy flow, the perfect compliment to Ninja's twisted gangsta delivery, and then the music, sometimes minimal electro, other times over the top, rib cage rattling big beats, some tracks relentlessly high energy, buzzing synths over stuttery beats, others sounding like some redneck South African Eminem, and others like the 'hit' on this record "Pitbull Terrier", impossibly catchy, twisted electro-hop blowouts, with a production that rivals most better known producers, and might just be a big part of why this band has the legs it does. That and the videos of course. Seriously, if you've been living under a rock, and have somehow missed out on Die Antwoord's videos, all it will take is one or two to win you over, and once those get burned into your brain, you'll find the records doing the same thing to your ears.
MPEG Stream: "Pitbull Terrier"
MPEG Stream: "Ugly Boy"
MPEG Stream: "Girl I Want 2 Eat U"
MPEG Stream: "Donker Mag"

album cover DON CABALLERO Five Pairs Of Crazy Pants. Wear 'Em: Early Caballero. (Chunkley) lp 16.98
Math rock / post rock / noise rock nerds, celebrate! Henry Owings and Chunklet once again deliver a sonic holy grail that we didn't even know existed. Most recently it was a killer collection from late great unsung Chicago noise rock minimalists Tar, and now comes a whole unreleased record from nineties math rock legends Don Caballero!! And holy shit is it a doozy, recorded in 1991 at Carnegie Mellon as a three piece, the sound is super raw, ultra fierce, crazy heavy, and mathy as fuck, a furious frenzy of wild octopoidal drumming, chugging distorted guitars, fuzzed out low slung bass, the songs already twisted and tangled, and weirdly catchy, the sort of head nodding matched out heaviness few bands then or now could match, and the recording only makes it sound that much better, blown out and in the red, fierce and in your face, relentlessly rocking. A bunch (but not all) of the tracks would show up in different forms later, on early singles and their debut full-length For Respect, but they almost sound even better here, more raw and intense for sure. Fans of this group, this era and this sound, grab one of these before they're gone, cuz odds are these are the only ones we'll be able to get.
Housed in a full color gatefold sleeve, includes a download of the whole record, as well as the band's second ever live show as a bonus (and that's even more raw and blown out!!)...
MPEG Stream: "Schuman Center '91"
MPEG Stream: "For Respect"
MPEG Stream: "Our Caballero"

album cover FROST, BEN Aurora (Mute / Bedroom Community) cd 15.98
Ben Frost records are scary. And beautiful. They're the stuff of dreams. And nightmares. They're like soundtracks for films that can never be made, the music conjuring up images that can only exist in the imagination. It's musical magic, or sonic alchemy, whatever it is, it's something few have mastered, and even those that have, barely approach the mysterious mastery of Ben Frost, whose previous record, By The Throat, remains one of the most terrifying documents of electronic sound art we have ever heard, weaving the sounds of snarling wolves into thick swells of corrosive bass buzz, and brilliantly bleak, yet impossibly lush sound design, and balancing that sonic grimness, with glimmers of hushed beauty, in a way that makes the sound both mellifluous and malevolent in equal measure.
Aurora is another stunning sonic missive, and one that immediately conjures up yet another lost world, one that lurks in our collective imagination, but that has begun to bleed through, into our every day world. The shadows seem deeper and darker. The grey skies shout through with streaks of blood red, the nights interminable, the days, scorched expanses of endless time. All of this represented by strange sprawls of layered electronic drones, of gristled pulsations, of strange staticky rhythms, and mysterious buried melodies, the sounds this time around brittle and jagged, the loveliness sharp edged and flecked with rust and dried blood, the rhythms that surface are hauntological, reminding us of the dubbed out avant mesmer of groups like Demdike Stare, but here those rhythms seem to gradually splinter and fray, wreathed in thick swirls of soft noise, sculpted into weeping melodies, and darkly decaying textures, all hiding some glowing inner warmth, suffusing these sounds with an organic quality, that transforms a series of sounds into something alive, a crackling energy that is barely contained on the record, one can almost imagine the sound as colored sparks leaping from the speakers, bursting from the headphones, a cascade of brilliant sonic flares, raining down from above.
Lurching robotic percussion is shaped into strange skeletal shapes, lumbering behemoths trading through fields of groaning, creaking chordal thrum, pelted with prismatic streaks of sound, a beastly groove, that builds to a thick swath of soaring epic psychedelic electronic majesty, like a meaner, moodier, more metal M83, a brilliant blacknoise blur, that blots out the stars, painting the sky in shade and shadow, eventually morphing into burnished stretches of grey ambience, laced with dubby skitter, all of which blossom further into a flurry of blissed out electro flares, which fade into crackling seas of gristle and hum, undulating imperceptibly beneath hazy layers of grumblingly distorted shimmer and grinding sheets of druggy thrum. A heaving landscape of tense cinematic atmosphere, smeared fields of tangled melody, wildly colliding synth streaks, and jumbled beats and rhythms, all wound up into a tightly coiled swirl, flurry of frenzied electrons, gradually crumbling into the ether, leaving just a barely there cloud of sonic static discharge, until finally, nothing. And emptiness.
Simply stunning.
MPEG Stream: "Nolan"
MPEG Stream: "The Teeth Behind The Kisses"
MPEG Stream: "Secant"

album cover MOLES, THE Flashbacks And Dream Sequences: The Story Of The Moles (Fire) 2cd 19.98
Originally released for this year's Record Store Day, Flashbacks And Dream Sequences collects (almost) everything recorded by these aQ beloved Aussie experimental jangle poppers. The Moles were never a household name, at least in most normal households, which is totally a shame, cuz their perfectly crafted bittersweet jangle pop sounds as good now as it did decades ago. Like lots of folks, we discovered the Moles a bit circuitously. Not sure how many folks remember the band Cardinal, they only released one proper full length, back in the nineties (you can find the review elsewhere on the aQ site), but to this day, it remains quite possibly one of the most perfect orchestral pop records ever released. And before there was Cardinal, there was the Moles.
The Moles is the band that Richard Davies of Cardinal, called home before that band was born, and while not quite as lush or orchestral as Cardinal, the sound is a classic slice of primo late '80s & early '90s New Zealand / Flying Nun style style experimental pop. Droning and hypnotic, with lots of jagged unfinished edges, weird almost industrial noise bits, plenty of Brit pop jangle, the sounds swirling and sweet and spacious, dreamy and melancholy, warbly organs, lush Rickenbacker guitars, sunny, reverbed harmonies, Davies' strange crooned vocals, sometimes Robyn Hitchcock-ish, other times closer to a Morrissey like drawl, everything swaddled in a hazy psychedelic production. But for as experimental as the Moles were, all of that experimentalism was wrapped around some incredibly catchy pop, hooks galore, not always proudly on display, sometimes nearly totally obfuscated, but just as often, set up right in front, and allowed to shine, an approach to pop that to this day still seems distinctly from that era / region. Yet seems impossibly prescient of what was to come.
Fans of NZ outfits like Tall Dwarfs, the Bats, the Clean, the 3Ds, the Chills, Straightjacket Fits, the Verlaines, could have easily missed out on the Moles, they were actually from Australia after all, and were sort of underground even among the already underground, plus they were definitely a bit weirder, but now's the time to right that wrong, this stuff is timeless, sounding as good as ever, these two discs are overflowing with some incredible pop songs, and half the fun is digging through all the psychedelic strangeness to find them.
This double disc set collects the group's albums proper, Untune The Sky and Instinct, as well as a treasure trove of singles, B-sides and unreleased rarities!
MPEG Stream: "What's The New Mary Jane?"
MPEG Stream: "Breathe Me In"
MPEG Stream: "Bury Me Happy"
MPEG Stream: "Tendrils And Paracetamol"
MPEG Stream: "This Is A Happy Garden"

album cover SD LAIKA That's Harakiri (Tri Angle) lp 19.98
The Tri Angle label has brought us some of our favorite weirdo electronica, from witch house to slo-mo-soul, from dronestep to warped hip hop, just a quick list of some of our favorite Triangle artists speaks volumes: Forest Swords, Vessel, FiS, Haxan Cloak, Water Borders, oOoOO, Clams Casino, Balam Acab, Holy Other, How To Dress Well...
So the fact that this might be the weirdest, noisiest, most out there Triangle release yet should not be taken lightly, cuz the bar had already been set pretty goddamn high, but the oddly monikered Sd Laika, aka Milwaukee producer Peter Runge, knocks it out of the park, with what is some sort of post grime, post dubstep, electro noise oddity, that pushes ALL our buttons. The sort of thing that you might have expected to come out on DHR back in the day. The opening one two punch is all it should take, the 90 seconds of "Peace", all grinding gristly synth buzz, keening high end skree and squiggly psychedelic melody, wreathed in swaths of hiss and him, fragmented and blown out, noisy, lurching and lumbering, it kills us that that song didn't stretch out to fill up the whole record. But then comes "Great God Pan", which eases our pain a little, with big billowing clouds of buzzing low end, glitches out drones, and staticky buzz, a field of hazy drift, that is soon interrupted by a seriously twisted beat, that sounds like it was assembled from discarded fragments of others songs, noisy, clattery, skittery, stuttery, all the while, in the background, thick swells of black buzz pulse ominously, and over the top, haunting alien melodies, all tethered to that super sick, unholy anti-groove. Murky and sinister and seriously fucking next level.
And it never lets up, all the beats sound like they were filtered through some homespun analog telephone transistor radio broadcast system, fuzzy, and crackly, always dropping out, and then swooping back in, imagine a grime record recorded onto a wax cylinder and then broadcast via short wave radio, in a moving vehicle so the reception is in constant flux. And even when everything is in range, and the sound is relatively hi-fi, the sounds are still warped and woozy, and before long the sound devolves into another gloriously distortion drenched sprawl, often sounding like Leyland Kirby's Caretaker having a go at dubstep, and failing spectacularly.
There are some mysterious shards of 8bit sound, some twisted fragmented samples, some flurries of tangled melody, and cascades of synth blorp and grinding fields of staticky thrum, the sound occasionally dipping into cubby tranquility, but again, quickly snapping back into a twisted variant of alien IDM. The whole record is a dizzying collage of fractured sonics, of shattered rhythms, reassembled into damaged, demented rhythms, hints of minimal techno, Pop Ambient, dub, house, electro, all find their way into the sound, but in true mad scientist fashion, those elements are melted down, dissected, and transformed utterly and completely into some strange hybrid of experimental dada-soundscapery and avant electronica, a gloriously mind bending, brain melting, dance floor defying masterpiece.
MPEG Stream: "Peace"
MPEG Stream: "Great God Pan"
MPEG Stream: "Gutter Vibrations"
MPEG Stream: "Percressing"

album cover BOGNER, URSULA Recordings 1969-1988 (Faitiche) cd 19.98
This aQ Record Of The Week from way back in 2008, finally available again!!!
So when you were a kid, what do you think your Mom got up to while you were at school, or out playing with your pals? Doing laundry? Cleaning the house? Doing the dishes? A little gardening? Or maybe playing bridge? Canasta? Going to the grocery store? How about collecting and building analog synthesizers? Building a soundproof recording studio in the extra room? Recording strange space-y minimal electronic music on reel to reel tapes? Or building an 'orgon accumulator' in the backyard? Such were the activities of a mild mannered housewife named Ursula Bogner, who in addition to being a pharmacist, as well as a loving wife and mother, just so happened to also be obsessed with electronic music and analog synthesizers, but unlike others with similar interests (were there other 30 something housewives so obsessed?), Bogner didn't just read about electronic music, she attended seminars, followed the activities of various groups and musicians (even apparently sharing her children's enthusiasm for new wave pop!) eventually deciding to create music herself.
She never released any recordings, didn't even really make public her hobby, instead, she simply spent her free time, creating, composing, recording, experimenting, for over 20 years, amassing an incredible body of work. All of that wouldn't merit anything but a cursory glance and maybe a chuckle, if the music weren't amazing, but it is, fantastical and inspired, primitive and raw, playful and childlike, but also, haunting and mysterious, otherworldly, and so incredibly varied, from spare academic sounding minimalism, to Perrey & Kingsley style playfulness, to super stark click and skitter that would be right at home on Raster-Noton, to swirling fantastical spaced out soundscapes that could have been sixties sci-fi soundtracks. The sounds are so evocative, so mysterious, it almost seems impossible that they were recorded by a Mom in a spare room in a house in the suburbs.
The collection opens with "Begleitung Fur Tuba", which indeed features tuba-like tones, locked into a playful grove with a bleepy bloopy rhythm, which is eventually joined by streaks of static, and a warbly main melody. From there, highlights include "Proto" which is kaleidoscopic and groovy with a super minimal click-track rhythm. "2 Ton" is almost like space age lounge music, with it's reverbed guitar like shimmer, and slithery tempo. "Speichen" is another playful number, the burbles and bloops, and definitely predicts groups like James Bong, Luke Vibert, Boards Of Canada and the like. "Punkte" is another minimal groover, with a hissy static rhythm, a bloopy bassline, and all manner of descending and ascending electronic tones, as well as pizzicato bleeps that almost sound like an alien thumb piano. The longest track is "Soloresonanzen" and is maybe the dreamiest, taking the minimal click of Raster-Noton, and draping it over slowly shifting layers of electronic whir and buzz, peppered with bits of click and glitch, textural hiss, woozy melodic fragments, very dreamlike and meditative. And finally the record finishes with a brief burst of tangly scribbly electronic whir and skree, all mad scientist machines gone haywire, but deftly arranged into a pretty alien lullaby, weird and wonderful.
Bogner's music was discovered via some pretty incredible happenstance, Jan Jelinek, who runs the Faitiche label, met Bogner's son on a plane and the two got to talking, Jelinek was an electronic musician, so was Bogner's deceased Mother weirdly enough, and well, the rest is history. Or is it? There has been much talk that this is all a massive hoax, or more correctly, the ultimate concept album. Carefully crafted down to the tiniest details, photos, back story, Bogner's artwork, everything. In some ways it doesn't really matter, in fact, it's almost more impressive if the whole thing was in fact fabricated, but you know what, fuck it, it's so much more fun to just go along with it...
The cd is gorgeously packaged in a thick book-like digipak, with extensive liner notes from Jan Jelinek, notes on each song, lots of photos, as well as various reproductions of Bogner's various outer space linocuts.
MPEG Stream: "Begelitung Fur Tuba"
MPEG Stream: "Inversion"
MPEG Stream: "Metazoon"
MPEG Stream: "Atmosphare 1"
MPEG Stream: "Punkte"

album cover DRIVE LIKE JEHU Yank Crime (Headhunter) lp+7" 14.98
Finally available again on vinyl, and it comes with the "Bullet Train To Vegas" / "Hand Over Fist" 7" as a bonus! Here's what we said back in 2009 when we made the cd reissue Record Of The Week:
Sometimes it's hard to believe that certain records just go out of print. I mean who would let the Conet Project go out of print, or Souled American, or the Incredible String Band. It's even weirder when the record is not old or obscure. Then it's usually some bureaucratic red tape or major label bullshit that keeps people from hearing some great record. Such is the case with the second, swansong release from San Diego's Drive Like Jehu, originally released on Interscope in 1994. A record Allan and Andee and Jim and Sadie and Windy and quite possibly the rest of the aQ staff past and present would rank as one of the best rock records ever! Easily as good/important as Slint's Spiderland. For those who don't know, Drive Like Jehu was fronted by John Reis of Rocket From The Crypt and featured vocalist Rick Farr (his rock name, he's also known as Rick Froberg) who later went on with Reis to play in the Hot Snakes and then still later to front the Obits. Drive Like Jehu also just happened to have one of the tightest rhythm sections EVER. E V E R! Yank Crime is a tightly wound record of 'post rock' (before post rock meant watered down instrumental indie rock bullshit) with head nodding, repetitive grooves, propulsive, ultra concise drumming, and some of the most inventive guitar playing we've ever heard. All topped off with Farr's distinctive high pitched vocals (familiar to all you folks who dig the Hot Snakes). The songs are looooong and hypnotic but never boring. The band locks into totally intense, static grooves, that can go on for minutes before exploding into mayhemic bursts of controlled fury. So goddamn good. Anyone who likes the Hot Snakes MUST own this record. Drive Like Jehu is like a hyper charged, heavier, more intense and complex, MUCH BETTER Hot Snakes. Anyone who likes Feuhler or Don Cab or Slint or Engine Kid or almost any post rock will discover what all those other comers had been shooting for. This is IT. Trust us. An automatic aQ "record of the week" selection as soon as we heard it was finally being re-released!!!!
This new version comes pressed on colored vinyl as well! And includes the aforementioned "Bullet Train To Vegas" / "Hand Over Fist" 7"...
MPEG Stream: "Do You Compute"
MPEG Stream: "Sinews"

album cover RUDIMENTARY PENI Death Church (Outer Himalayan) cd 14.98
Finally reissued again on both cd and vinyl, the debut release from one of our favorite post punk / death rock groups EVER. Tense and angular, angry and ominous, sinister and sinuous, dark and gothic, every song here, a stone cold gloom punk classic, the bass thick and almost new wavey, the guitars jagged, fuzzy and distorted, raw riffage and driving drum pound, all in support of the twisted vocals of Nick Blinko, whose distinctive vocals are only rivaled by his even more distinctive artwork, which adorns the cover (and the cover of all their records), a dizzyingly meticulous black and white horrorscape, that perfectly captures the world of nightmarish, anxiety ridden terror that lurks within the grooves of Death Church, and presumably within Blinko's mind as well, which is probably what resulted in several stints in mental institutions.
Even all these years later, Rudimentary Peni sound so good, their music so relevant, and whether consciously or not, aped by far too many modern bands to count, powerful and personal, depressive and kicking-against-the-pricks pissed off, and catchy as fuck, this record has lost none of its twisted black energy in the nearly twenty years since it was first released.
MPEG Stream: "1/4 Dead"
MPEG Stream: "Blissful Myth"
MPEG Stream: "The Psycho Squat"
MPEG Stream: "Rotten To The Core"
MPEG Stream: "Pig In A Blanket"
MPEG Stream: "Alice Crucifies The Paedophiles"

album cover RUDIMENTARY PENI Death Church (Outer Himalayan) lp 30.00
Finally reissued again on both cd and vinyl, the debut release from one of our favorite post punk / death rock groups EVER. Tense and angular, angry and ominous, sinister and sinuous, dark and gothic, every song here, a stone cold gloom punk classic, the bass thick and almost new wavey, the guitars jagged, fuzzy and distorted, raw riffage and driving drum pound, all in support of the twisted vocals of Nick Blinko, whose distinctive vocals are only rivaled by his even more distinctive artwork, which adorns the cover (and the cover of all their records), a dizzyingly meticulous black and white horrorscape, that perfectly captures the world of nightmarish, anxiety ridden terror that lurks within the grooves of Death Church, and presumably within Blinko's mind as well, which is probably what resulted in several stints in mental institutions.
Even all these years later, Rudimentary Peni sound so good, their music so relevant, and whether consciously or not, aped by far too many modern bands to count, powerful and personal, depressive and kicking-against-the-pricks pissed off, and catchy as fuck, this record has lost none of its twisted black energy in the nearly twenty years since it was first released.
MPEG Stream: "1/4 Dead"
MPEG Stream: "Blissful Myth"
MPEG Stream: "The Psycho Squat"
MPEG Stream: "Rotten To The Core"
MPEG Stream: "Pig In A Blanket"
MPEG Stream: "Alice Crucifies The Paedophiles"

album cover SALEMS POT ...Lurar Ut Dig Pa Prarien (EasyRider) cd 13.98
If we didn't tell you that Salem's Pot was a heavy, stonery, very Electric Wizard-y psychedelic doom metal outfit from Sweden, the band name kinda shoulda already given you a good idea of what they might sound like - and also an idea of their sense of humor. Yep, they like puns - an earlier album was called Sweeden... geddit? S-WEED-en. Heck, the title of this new disc could possibly be a pun too; we don't know Swedish so we can't be sure. But anyway please don't let the pot-themed punning dissuade you, Salem's Pot aren't just some bogus toker jokers, no, they really ARE damn heavy and occultishly effective at the slow, low, Sabbathy psychedelic sludge thing.
There's three looong tracks here, "Creep Purple" (egad, another pun!), "Dr. Death", and "Nothing Hill", and they're all creepy, crawly, brainwrecking doomfests with wasted, wailing vocals (Ozzy-ish but super distorted) and hypnotically lumbering grooves. Yep, if you wanna call it Electric Wizard worship, well, sure, and it's done damn well. But they have their own weirdly woozy angle on this sound, really. The heavier-than-thou guitar riffage and plodding percussion is augmented with droning organ and, at one point, even some sinister, warbly accordion!! Going back to the guitars, gnarly feedbacky soloing is another essential element of their sound. Yeah, we like how Salem's Pot really accentuate the creepy vibes - it's a 3am hazy Satanic drug thing you wouldn't understand, quite compelling and almost (almost) serious sounding, puns aside.
So of course recommended big time for fans of Electric Wizard, but also to for fans of Uncle Acid, Blood Farmers, Satan's Satyrs, Monster Magnet, Windhand, The Wounded Kings, Sourvein, fellow Easy Riders HORNSS, and all others into witches and weedÉ
MPEG Stream: "Creep Purple"
MPEG Stream: "Dr. Death"

album cover WOVEN HAND Refractory Obdurate (Deathwish) cd 10.98
So far, we've made EVERY record we've reviewed, but one, from post 16 Horsepower apocalyptic swamp-blues folk-gospel proselytizers Woven Hand a Record Of The Week. And really, we're not sure why we didn't make that other one (Blush Music) a ROTW as well, and for that matter, this new one too, a stunning collection of songs that displays David Eugene Edwards and co.'s continuing shift toward a sound more heavy and bombastic, while still managing to retain the gut wrenching moodiness and soul stirring sonic fire and brimstone of those other records. That shift is even more evident this time around, as Edwards' back up band on Refractory Obdurate is made up of members of hardcore heavies Planes Mistaken For Stars!
Just check out the opener "Corsicana Clip", which perfectly lays out the new WH musical math, beginning like a classic David Eugene Edwards jam, all brooding, and twang flecked, shuffling and loping, hypnotic and darkly majestic, brooding and harrowingly haunting, and we'd be perfectly happy if that's how the track played out, but then about halfway through, the song explodes into something seriously heavy, thick chugging guitars swoop to the fore, the drums get more bombastic, the echo drenched vocals wilder, a furious psychedelic blowout that's not at all what we've come to expect from WH.
A bunch of the tracks here are more restrained, playing out like just another great Woven Hand record, but others are fierce slabs of twisted post punk, some are smoldering slow build epics, and still others are super distorted hard rocking stomps, but they all sound perfectly and classically Woven Hand. The production is massive as well, giving the sound some serious heft, the new players injecting serious venom into the songs and sound, and consequently, Edwards also sounds more intense, his vocals snarling and feral, his guitar playing wild and frenzied, the dynamics dense and dramatic, the sound careening wildly from hushed haunting mesmer to furious almost noise rock crunch. Awesome.
MPEG Stream: "Corsicana Clip"
MPEG Stream: "Masonic Youth"
MPEG Stream: "The Refractory"
MPEG Stream: "Good Shepherd"

album cover YOU'RE SMILING NOW BUT WE'LL ALL TURN INTO DEMONS Contact High (Cardinal Fuzz) 2lp 33.00
One of a whole batch of new releases from UK psych label Cardinal Fuzz, this is the first we've heard from You're Smiling Now But We'll All Turn Into Demons, or Demons for short, a double lp reissue of a 2009 cd, a sprawling collection of fuzzed out hard-psych swagger, big fuzzed out riffs, wild drumming, laid back box, and of course plenty of swirling psychedelic shred. Unlike a lot of groups doing the whole space psych sound these days, Demons are less about spaced out drift and more about the ROCK. Think Blue Cheer or the Heads, a little Black Sabbath for sure, chugging, churning, riffy crunch, but still laced with plenty of psychedelic trip out, with some songs slipping into catchier almost groovy psych pop ("Nervous - Alive"), others getting downright grungy "2009"), and others still sounding near metallic and stonery and doomy (check out "Alpha And Omega").
Wah wah guitars galore, swirling FX, some Spacemen 3 like druggy drift, all wrapped around tranced out riffage, motorik hard rock drumming, and set amidst some short pop gems, as well as some epic wasted, drug doom stoner creep mega-jams ("Prismatic Reflections"). WAY recommended for all you retro-space-psych-hard-rock headz... but some reason we're one of the only stores in the US carrying Cardinal Fuzz stuff, and this stuff goes crazy quick, so grab one before they're gone.
LIMITED TO 350 COPIES!! Housed in a full color jacket with a printed insert, and NO download.
MPEG Stream: "2009"
MPEG Stream: "Nervous - Alive"
MPEG Stream: "Alpha And Omega "

album cover ANTHROPROPHH Precession (Cardinal Fuzz) lp 21.00
Got a big ol' batch of new releases from UK psych label Cardinal Fuzz, and while we're one of the only places in the US to carry em, they're super limited so odds are they won't be around for long.
This one is full length number two from Anthroprophh, aka Paul Allen, frontman of psychedelic space rockers The Heads, but the sounds here, like on the debut, are pretty well removed from the blown out heavy psych of The Heads, instead, Allen weaves long form kraut-psych sprawls, two side long epics this time around, the first, a woozy spaced out shimmer, draped over some motorik tribal rhythms, a tranced out drift that soon morphs into some seriously propulsive hypnorock, with muted guitar chug, softly swirling FX, and eventually, some wild Hendrixian guitar shred, blown out and wildly psychedelic, while in the background, that rhythm churns away, wreathed in billows of spaced out thrum. The flipside adds some creepy Carpenter vibe to the mix, another loping drum rhythm, this time laced with strange industrial clanks and clatter, over which snake charmer melodies buzz and warble, before the guitars swoop in, adding extra layers of riffy buzz and blistering arcs of distorto guitar, before gradually slipping back into a hazy drone-psych swirl, which stretches way out into an extended finale of woozy, drifty sonic mesmer.
SUPER LIMITED, housed in cool black on green silkscreened sleeves, and NO download.
MPEG Stream: "Precession"

album cover BLACK BOMBAIM Far Out (Cardinal Fuzz) lp 21.00
BACK IN STOCK! JUST GOT A HANDFUL MORE IN...
We first heard these Portuguese psychedelic space rockers via their super limited Record Store Day release on Permanent this year, that we were never able to get enough of to review (although we might have a couple in the store still, if you want one, just ask!), so we were psyched to get this new one on Cardinal Fuzz, and on first listen we were actually reminded of Swedish afro-psych outfit Goat, the sound driven by thick buzzing bass and loping tribal drumming, over which, thick, distorted guitars soar and howl, not so much riffs, as thick gouts of sound, blurred arcs of psychedelia, shaped into strange Eastern melodies, the track spreading out over a whole side of the lp, eventually, a few minutes in, the drums exploding into something more rocking and propulsive, the guitar following suit, the result a wild, tranced out heavy psych groove that explodes into a wild squall of psychedelic heaviness, before settling into a stripped down drift, all spidery guitar melodies and that thick bass buzz, but now joined by jazzy sax, giving it a sort of jazz-psych vibe, which quickly builds to another Goat like psych-funk blowout, all dizzying guitar freakout, and churning hard psych heaviness, with the horns swooping back in for a kick ass, free jazz / hard psych finale.
The flipside is another blast of groovy psych, the guitars blown out and gorgeously in-the-red, the bass again thick and buzzing, the drums loose-limbed and sort of funky, the band again, slipping easily from churning metallic crunch, to soaring, almost progged out majesty, to super melodic pop flecked jangle, to stripped down psych-funk, and then back to tranced out wild psych freakout. So good. And so absolutely recommended for fans of Goat and other spaced out psychedelic groovers...
Like all Cardinal Fuzz releases, this is extremely limited, and we're one of the only places in the US carrying it, so these are likely the last copies we'll be able to get. Comes housed in a super swank full color jacket, pressed on clear red vinyl, with NO download.
MPEG Stream: "Africa II"

album cover OSCILLATION, THE Cable Street Sessions (Cardinal Fuzz) lp 21.00
New record of tripped out fuzz-kraut from this UK outfit, one of a bunch of new releases on psychedelic space rock label Cardinal Fuzz, and much like their recently reviewed From Tomorrow record on All Time Low, The Cable Street Sessions is another collection of tripped out hypno-rock mesmer, all loping motorik grooves, fuzzy cyclic riffage, hazy, washed out vocals, four smoldering mini epics, that sound like Hawkwind by way of Moon Duo, the band locking into heady, trancey, druggy sprawls of wah guitar and swirls of psych guitar shimmer, all anchored by sinewy low slung bass and simple propulsive drumming, extended lysergic bliss outs that drift through Spacemen 3 territory into some even more freaked out FX drenched territory, the sound blossoming from fuzzy druggy psych rock into full blown psych freakouts and back again. They even do a killer cover of the Deviants' "Somewhere To Go", which as you might predict, sounds just like an Oscillation original.
Like all the Cardinal Fuzz stuff, this is SUPER limited, and we're one of the only places in the US carrying it, which means once these are gone, out's likely they're gone for good! Beautifully packaged in reflective metallic jackets, with NO download.
MPEG Stream: " All You Want To Be"
MPEG Stream: "Somewhere To Go"
MPEG Stream: "Descent"

album cover SHITTY LISTENER, THE Area Woman E.P. (3 Acre Floor) 7" 8.98
The return of the Shitty Listener, and as always, we feel obliged to comment on what has to be one of the best band names EVER, and as always, The Shitty Listener is Jason Honea, a one time member of the Jewelled Antler Collective, who's played in or with Teenage Panzercorps, Franciscan Hobbies, the Knit Separates, Child Readers and a bunch more, but as always, the Shitty Listener is a much more intimate, personal affair, in the past, hushed and home brewed, or recorded outside Jewelled Antler style, but for this new ep, Honea has expanded his sonic palette, with what sounds like a full band, and a sound that harkens back to classic eighties new wave and post punk, "No Thrones", is all tribal drumming, and waves of crystalline guitar shimmer, while Honea croons over the top, his vocals powerful and throaty and dramatic, but still it's The Shitty Listener, so it lasts barely 90 seconds before "Beautiful Same" brings things back down, some field recordings, clouds of cymbal shimmer, woozy synths, but the vocals remain upfront, and way up in the mix, like some lost obscure 'wave rarity from the eighties, but again, the song doesn't even reach two minutes, instead, Honea crafting a gorgeously faded sonic fragment, out of time, but also strangely timeless.
The flipside gets more Jewelled Antler-y, "Pool Of Light" is all music box melody over what sounds like a crackling fire, or maybe rain on the roof, the vocals super loud, and up in the mix, lots of reverb, as if Honea was singing right in your ear, hushed and haunting, super intimate, and mysteriously lovely. "Candle On Water" too is super lo-fi, acoustic guitar strum, tape hiss and field recorded ambience, the sound of windshield wipers maybe? Strange fragmented synths drift by, the vocals an ethereal falsetto, a gorgeous bit of swoonsome, wistful, dreamy bedroom 4 trackery to finish things off. Nice heavy full color covers, and probably super limited too!
MPEG Stream: "No Thrones"
MPEG Stream: "Pool Of Light"

album cover GLASS COFFIN / HARASSOR split (Universal Consciousness) lp 19.98
Brand new split from these two purveyors of black filth, LA black metal trio Harassor, and Kentucky one man black metal outfit Glass Coffin. Harrassor start things off with a surprising bit of poppiness, the opening of "Promise Of Fire" is crazy catchy, sounding like it could explode into some sort of M83 / Weekend sort of noisepoppiness, but instead, the vocals swoop in, an inhuman shriek, and the sound splinters into some seriously grim blackness, but without ever really losing the vibe of that first riff, in fact, whenever that riff is present, it sounds like some sort of blackened shoegaze, but the song is in constant movement, lurching from chaotic thrashing black blast to churning death march doom, to Venom-ous black metal stomp, but eventually returning to THAT riff. Has us wondering what kind of noisy beauty these guys could whip up if they set their minds to it. But metal heads fear not, the rest of the Harassor half is furious, chugging black metal pound and thrashing, shrieking griminity, although we prefer their sound when it slows down, into a sort of black doom, which it does often, and these guys conjure up some seriously intense doomic ruminations, the sound perfectly murky and blown out. And we just had a chance to see these guys play a couple weeks back, and they were SOOO good.
Glass Coffin start their side off with some classic sounding metal, a little lo-fi, some majestic leads, gruff vokills, before the sound splinters into something more raw and grim and urgent, buzzing insectoid riffing, weird brittle band room production, leads WAY up in the mix, twisted outsider lo-fi primitive blackness that definitely pushes all our raw BM buttons, but then the second track is TOTALLY different, a murky, muddy, frantic blast of black buzz, the drums buried in the mix, growled throat shredding vox, the sound still loose and chaotic and stumbly, the third track too, dramatically different production, but similarly buzzy and grim and hellish, but stick around for the final GC track, the weirdest of the bunch, black ambience beneath a buzzing riff, suspended in space, weird harmonics, a little bit cant post rocky, but also sort of damaged and abstract, a trippy droned out soft noise blackness, that had us wishing for WAY more of that!
LIMITED TO 300 COPIES!! Includes a download code too.
MPEG Stream: HARASSOR "Promise Of Fire"
MPEG Stream: HARASSOR "The Deathless Urge"
MPEG Stream: GLASS COFFIN "Satanic Sacrifice"
MPEG Stream: GLASS COFFIN "Order Of The Rusted Chalice"

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

album cover HULTGREN, CARL Tomorrow (Blue Flea) 2lp 30.00
Tomorrow is the first ever solo record from Carl Hultgren, aka Carl of psychedelic bliss pop drifters Windy & Carl, and we're happy to report, that even on his own, the sound doesn't fall to far from the dreamy psychedelia of W&C.
Lush, layered guitars capes, that shimmer and glimmer, soft strums are blurred into heaving billows of chordal thrum, notes chime, and harmonics ring out, distortion if muted and smeary, and gives everything a druggy, dreamy vibe, all sun dappled and blissed out. There are some subtle bits of processing, electronics here and there, even some buried rhythms, but for the most part, Tomorrow is all glistening guitars, softly soaring, sonic streaks across the heavens, that blur into hazy, prismatic driftscapes, with some tracks reminding us of the Durutti Column for sure, the same sort of soft focus melancholia, but others getting downright noisy, a bit darker, even then though, the sound has a heavenly glow, a warm, enveloping sonic center that bathes everything in a blissful soft afternoon light. Others are strummy and melodic, with spidery guitars wrapped around a skeletal Appalachia, again all softly smeared into something a bit more otherworldly, and ethereal, a wonderfully wistful collection of soft-psych, dream-drift blissout.
The cd version is limited to 350 copies and comes in a nice, hand letterpressed sleeve, with full color pasted on front cover artwork, the 2lp version is limited to 500 copies, comes in a heavy gatefold sleeve and is pressed on one black lp, and one orange. Both come with a download code, with 6 bonus tracks available only via the download!
MPEG Stream: "Ribbons"
MPEG Stream: "Ledge"
MPEG Stream: "No Other"
MPEG Stream: "As Sure As"

album cover BLUDDED HEAD Bludded Death (Sleeping Giant Glossolalia) cassette 5.98
Besides having an awesome band name (that perfectly suits their sound), and killer song titles ("My Ice Cream Fell On The Ground And Someone Ate It!", "Rotten Demon Shit", "Boo Boo Halloween"), these NY knuckle draggers specialize in the sort of down tuned caveman creep we can't ever seem to get enough of. Thick, gristled guitars that ooze, loooong songs that rumble and lumber, the sound lo-fi but still heavy, shrieked almost black metal sounding vokills, landing somewhere between the Body, Noothgrush, Megaton Leviathan and Prizehog, or like a way more home brewed punk rock Corrupted, these guys deal in abject doom sludge misery, but one that's shot through with all sorts of sonic weirdness, be it long stretches of hushed drift, weird breakdowns of barely there drums and distant guitar twang, or wild almost psychedelic squalls of swirling feedback and black noise skree. Oh and did we mention the creepy monk like vocals, or the strings, the free jazz drum splatter? At times sounding like No Neck Blues Band, at others like some strange minimal experimental soundscape, and at others sounding like some slow core dirge gone haywire. Twisted, trippy, heavy and KILLER. Super limited of course, swank packaging too.
MPEG Stream: "My Ice Cream Fell On The Ground And Someone Ate It!"
MPEG Stream: "Rotten Demon Shit"

album cover ZIRAKZIGIL Battle Of The Peak (Anthem Records) cd-r 8.98
This super limited, and now out of print cassette, now available as a nice priced cd-r!
Battle Of The Peak is the crushing epic debut release from this Tolkien-esque psychedelic prog-doom noiserock act from Portland, whose debut is in fact fucking amazing, not just sonically, but visually as well, more on the over the top ridiculous packaging in a second, cuz musically, it's hard to imagine an aQ metalhead who wouldn't freak out over these guys - epic, sprawling 15+ minute songs, classic metal riffing, big pounding drums, yowled bellowed vocals, the whole thing straddling the lines between classic metal, doom, noise rock, and black metal buzz, which makes sense as the mastermind of Zirakzagil is also the man behind two Northern BM bands of note, whose most recent records were both reviewed on the aQ list not too long ago, but Zirakzagil is a whole different beats, the band unfurling long stretches of tranced out riffing, surprisingly melodic, super dynamic, lurching stop/starts, some seriously soaring leads, at times it sounds a bit like the Fucking Champs, slowed down and stretched out into some psychedelic noise rock doom, at other times it's full on metallic prog, intricate, tangled arrangements slow builds, dense, and intense, the drumming super wild and chaotic, the songs will chug and churn, before slipping into some super melodic passage, and some of the leads, super emotive old school classic shreddery, and while there are vocals, bellowed bearded noise rock howls, most of the record is instrumental, the instruments doing all the heavy lifting, whether it's heaving swells of churning riffage on opener "The Birth Of The White Wizard", the woozy psychedelic shuffle of "Durin's Bane", or the weird mathy psychedelic breakdown near the end of "The Endless Stair", which ends up sounding like a more metal, and more mathed out Don Caballero!
This rules! And it's DEFINITELY not black metal, heck it's really not even that doomy, it IS sludgey, heavy, mathy, proggy and totally epic!
MPEG Stream: "The Birth Of The White Wizard"
MPEG Stream: "Durin's Bane"

album cover BLACK HAT Thought Of Two (Hausu Mountain) lp 16.98
First full-length lp from Nelson Bean, aka Black Hat, whose previous two releases blew our collective minds, and this new one is somehow even better. Bean traffics in a sort of psychedelic, dark cosmic electronica, that in the past, has touched on aQ faves like Demdike Stare, Tim Hecker, Techno Animal, DHR, even weirdo industrial like Esplendor Geometrico. On this new one, it seems that all of those influences/references have been distilled into something much more pure and organic sounding. Three sprawling tracks, the first, a hauntological skitterscape, that fuses slow-beat lope to heaving swells of pixelated crunch, a little bit witch house, a little bit IDM, but blurred and blackened, transformed into something more sinister, and more abstract, the opening 9+ minute track in constant flux, so much so, that it's nearly impossible to review without explicitly describing each iteration, and yet, over the course of the song, Bean manages to keep some sort of sonic narrative, the song not at all fragmented, and not sounding like a bunch of random ideas mashed together, instead, the sound blossoms and unwinds, from hazy, washed out skitter, to dense gristly thrum, rife with rib cage rattling bass pulsations, to claustrophobic minimal electro that sounds like it was plucked from some obscure cassette release on Hospital, to blown out industrial techno crunch, and that's just the first track.
The second half of the A side is much more abstract, with gorgeous swirls of chordal thrum, drifting and shimmering, a sort of sinister new age, dense and cosmic, lush and layered, a sprawling landscape of overlapping tones, and buried melodies, the sounds unwinding in slow-motion, hazy, and washed out, bleary and blackened, but smeared into strangely prismatic streaks of sound, hauntingly hypnotic. The whole of the B side is taken up by the nearly 18 minute "Memory Triptych", and might be Bean's finest moment, an epic sprawl of hushed skitter, of murky loops, of keening, melancholic melody, all woven into something at once bleak and mysterious, but also warm and lovely, the sounds warbly and woozy, the beats more like constellations of crackle and pop, wound around soft swirls of static soaked shimmer, and strange alien pulsations, at one point, a melody surfaces, that sounds almost like humming/crooning, that 'vocal' is accompanied by a sonic shift, where the sounds begin to fracture, and become more agitated and aggressive, the vibe much more industrial, but fused to a sort of wistful pop ambience, a dizzying dream-drone dirge, driven by a strange rhythmic tangle buried beneath the surface, the sound gnarled and roiling, before about halfway through, like a storm breaking, the sounds shift dramatically, and become downright lovely, laced with what sounds like faux birdsong, the sounds suddenly warm and lush, softly soaring, all the grinding industrialism, now pushed into the background, smeared into a dense, churning backdrop, that adds a soft bit of shadow, to the otherwise, glimmering, gristly, glitchy dreaminess...
Super swank packaging, heavy full color jacket, with printed insert, and download code!
MPEG Stream: "Imaginary Friends"
MPEG Stream: "Memory Triptych"

album cover TELLUSIAN Collision (Pillowscars) cd 12.98
Now on cd as well! And packaged in a swank silkscreened / letterpressed sleeve...
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 CHAIN GANG GRAVE When Your Friends Become Cops (self-released) cassette 5.98
Killer debut of swaggery, gothy murk-punk / noise rock from these East Coast knuckledraggers, whose sound seems to channel everyone from the Stooges to His Electro Blue Voice, Slug to Pussy Galore, Unwound to Cop Shoot Cop. Shambolic and chaotic, wild and unhinged, a sort of bastard blooze, with loose-limbed octopoidal drumming, filthy guitars, howled feral vox, all recorded super hot and in-the-red, lurching from wild almost psychedelic freakouts, to doomy, dirge metal creep, some moments smack of classic glam rock (a la Hanoi Rocks, Smack) but doused in distorto-noise and rolled in dirt and broken glass. Even at its noisiest, some killer melodies and surprising hooks surface throughout, moments of extreme poppiness here and there, but almost always buried beneath an avalanche of crumbling distortion, strangled guitarnoise, flurries of drum damage, psychedelic squalls, out of which emerge some seriously kick ass and weirdly groovy sludge punk not to mention some unlikely and impossibly catchy, dirge-gloom noise pop. Killer stuff.
LIMITED TO 50 COPIES!!
MPEG Stream: "To The Sea"
MPEG Stream: "Autumn Cannibalism"
MPEG Stream: "Dear Professor"

album cover MOLINA, TONY Dissed And Dismissed (Slumberland) lp 13.98
Finally also available on cd AND repressed on lp (we also still have some cassettes too)...
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 NINOS DU BRASIL Novos Misterios (Hospital) lp 29.00
Another awesome electronic oddity from the fine folks at Hospital Productions, this one the work of a duo called Ninos Du Brasil, who, true to their moniker, traffic in a strain of Brazilian music - but a warped, experimental version, the likes of which you've likely not heard before. Brazilian carnival music is definitely a reference point but so too is Southeast Asian gamelan music, as well as various strains of techno and electro, we hear shades of fellow modern experimental techno-technician Cut Hands for sure, and heck, they even have a song called "Sepultura", which is apparently in fact an homage of sorts to that Brazilian metal band, and their later records on which they did in fact incorporate traditional Brazilian percussion into their music. Weird stuff, but sonically, it all meshes into something super mesmerizing and hypnotic, and something not altogether removed from some of the other Hospital releases, like Vatican Shadow, Ron Morelli, Christian Cosmos, Silent Servant, etc.
After a brief bit of straight up Brazilian percussion over a bed of birdsong, the record quickly slips into some murky house, all deep muted pulsations, over which, wild percussion comes tumbling, and then also some synth bass, and martial snares, the result is a strange hybrid of Brazilian funk, drum corps and avant minimal house music, with the Brazilian percussion WAY up in the mix, and driving the sound. The song is also peppered with plenty of FX and subtle dub-isms, and once they lock in, barring some subtle fluctuations, it's totally looped and tranced out and endlessly mesmeric.
The more minimal tracks, like "Legios De Cupins", definitely sound right at home on Hospital, again, murky and a little bit muddy, strangely sequenced arpeggiations, the Brazilian influence much more subtle, but still groovy and darkly funky, with occasional bursts of more traditional percussion, the coolest bits are when they all blur and bleed into some fantastically heady hybrid. The "Sepultura" track, perhaps predictably, is the fiercest, the drums and percussion, blown out and super distorted, sounding very much like a Brazilian marching band, we could easily have listened to a whole album of this, but it soon slips back into something more traditional sounding, "Miragem" sounding like Brazilian street music, underpinned by some super subtle techno filigree, before blossoming into maybe the most 'party' sounding of the bunch, with distorted call and response vocals, more wild percussion, all anchored by a four on the flour techno pulse, before finally finishing off with the gorgeous sprawling "Novos Misterios", a low slung, downtempo creeper, sounding a bit like a Brazilian Tom Waits, all steep drum melodies, wreathed in record crackles and warm swaths of tape hiss, the rhythms here laid back and subtle, woozy and weary, and the perfect comedown, at least until the final few minutes, when the sound quickly builds to a noisy, psychedelic, heavy house, stutter rhythm / droned out finale!
MPEG Stream: "Sombra Da Lua"
MPEG Stream: "Legios De Cupins"
MPEG Stream: "Sepultura"
MPEG Stream: "Novos Misterios"

album cover RIDE FOR REVENGE Enter The Gauntlet (Bestial Burst) cd 14.98
Finland's weirdo minimalist black metallers Ride For Revenge might just be in the running for most aQ Records Of The Week, especially if you count RfR electronic offshoot Will Over Matter, and even moreso if you consider the fact that even if we didn't make one of their records a ROTW, we thought about it, and likely wanted to, and probably didn't for some non musical reason, like having to get them from Finland, or ordering a bunch and selling most of them before we even get a chance to review/list it, and really, in retrospect, not sure why we didn't just institute permanent/perpetual Record Of The Week status on these guys. What we're getting at, is even though this is NOT a Record Of The Week this time around, it basically IS. And will always be, cuz if any band demanded the slavish worship of the aQ crew it's these guys, who manage to take a genre we already love, and transform it into something that barely sounds like that genre at all, and yet somehow makes us love it even more.
This latest batch of jams is another black-dirge / noise-rock wallop, this trio delivering some ultra primitive heaviness, with some of the sickest, grittiest, gnarliest guitar buzz ever, not to mention thick, organ dissolving low end, and chaotic, shambolic, caveman drumming of the highest order, all wound up into extended dirges that play like krautrock melted down into a brew as black as pitch, then reconstituted with some sort of ancient black magic, the resulting lumbering sonic ritualism is as mesmerizing as it is terrifying, the sound in constant flux, whether it's stumbling black metal primitivism, doom-ed tarpit creep, psychedelic blacknoize, or wild, thrashing metal-punk, it all bleeds into one massive, epic, demonic sonic sprawl, in fact, so much so that song titles, and even song breaks seem superfluous, nobody's gonna grab this and think to themselves, let's throw on "The Fog Is Green And Pungent" (okay full disclosure, we actually did!), no this is a fully immersive experience, this is the sort of black bog filth you're meant to luxuriate in, to get lost in, to let wash over you, and pull you under, just surrender, let the churning molasses riffage and pounding dirge-drummage ooze into your every orifice, and transform you from the inside out, headphones on, you become a shambling, blackened acolyte to these mysterious priest of blacknoise/occult rock ritualism, and suddenly it's transcendent, the sound becomes shape, the shape becomes divine, the underworld rises up and swallows the surface dwellers whole, and the soundtrack to this apocalypse becomes, a gnarled, filth encrusted thing of grim black beauty, and we honor this epochal convergence, by sacrificing ourselves, and as our souls wither and die, we become one with these ancient spirits, approaching the black gates of the netherworld, we all join together, a hulking black shape, horned and fiery, and for eternity, we Ride For Revenge!!!!
MPEG Stream: "Nights Possessed"
MPEG Stream: "Dead Insane"
MPEG Stream: "Victorious"
MPEG Stream: "Enter The Gauntlet"

album cover HULTGREN, CARL Tomorrow (Blue Flea) cd 15.98
Tomorrow is the first ever solo record from Carl Hultgren, aka Carl of psychedelic bliss pop drifters Windy & Carl, and we're happy to report, that even on his own, the sound doesn't fall to far from the dreamy psychedelia of W&C.
Lush, layered guitars capes, that shimmer and glimmer, soft strums are blurred into heaving billows of chordal thrum, notes chime, and harmonics ring out, distortion if muted and smeary, and gives everything a druggy, dreamy vibe, all sun dappled and blissed out. There are some subtle bits of processing, electronics here and there, even some buried rhythms, but for the most part, Tomorrow is all glistening guitars, softly soaring, sonic streaks across the heavens, that blur into hazy, prismatic driftscapes, with some tracks reminding us of the Durutti Column for sure, the same sort of soft focus melancholia, but others getting downright noisy, a bit darker, even then though, the sound has a heavenly glow, a warm, enveloping sonic center that bathes everything in a blissful soft afternoon light. Others are strummy and melodic, with spidery guitars wrapped around a skeletal Appalachia, again all softly smeared into something a bit more otherworldly, and ethereal, a wonderfully wistful collection of soft-psych, dream-drift blissout.
The cd version is limited to 350 copies and comes in a nice, hand letterpressed sleeve, with full color pasted on front cover artwork, the 2lp version is limited to 500 copies, comes in a heavy gatefold sleeve and is pressed on one black lp, and one orange. Both come with a download code, with 6 bonus tracks available only via the download!
MPEG Stream: "Ribbons"
MPEG Stream: "Ledge"
MPEG Stream: "No Other"
MPEG Stream: "As Sure As"

album cover FIS Iterations (Tri Angle) lp 13.98
Second 12" of weirdo minimal electronica from this New Zealand producer, and it might be even stranger/cooler than the first (Preparations, which we reviewed back on list #441). In our review of Preparations we describe FiS as sounding like a Tri Angle band, but totally deconstructed, and pulled apart, into something super abstract and slo-mo, but on Iterations, the sound is strangely lush and expansive - check out the title track, which pairs a fractured, super noisy beat, with soaring swoon some strings, the whole thing wrapped in gristle and static, but the end result is somehow epic and majestic, darkly groovy, but almost cinematic and symphonic. That beat does just gets more and more twisted and jumbled as it goes, the perfect foil for that melancholic backdrop. The rest of the record is not too shabby either, "Womb Dreams" is all skeletal dubstep, more hiss and static sculpted into slowly undulating waves and anchored by a dubbed out pulse, and some buried melodies, murky but darkly lovely. "Fever Sweats" cranks up the distortion, sounding a bit like a Burial B-side gone haywire, all blown out and in the red, grindingly rhythmic, with distant angelic voices, and swirling synths, beneath the crumbling latticework of decaying beats. And finally "Her Third Eye (Drum Rain)" lays down a flurry of wild percussion beneath softly stuttering melodies, all smeared into a prismatic haze, shot through with pulses of bass-synth, and strange percussion, a total come-down, minimal electro-dub trip out, that has us hankering for more more more!
MPEG Stream: "Iterations"
MPEG Stream: "Womb Dreams"

album cover AMEN DUNES Love (Sacred Bones) cd 14.98
Previous records from Amen Dunes, aka Damon McMahon, have been twisted collections of avant outsider folk, the skeletal songsmithery balanced by an experimental streak a mile wide. Even the prettiest songs on those records were buried in sonic murk, and consequently, hushed, delicately strummed ballads were generally stretched way out into spacey sprawls of abstract sound and wreathed in musique concrete filigree. On Love, however, McMahon seems to have ditched much of that weirdness in favor of crafting some straight up, almost baroque sounding, extremely lush and lovely folk/pop, that on first listen was almost too straight ahead, but gradually, with repeated listens, revealed itself as something much more, a truly and subtly dark little gem. The almost orchestral opener "White Child" combines simple strummed guitars, and achingly crooned vocals, all over a lustrous, undulating backdrop of moaning horns and woozy strings. While at first blush, it seemed that there's much unabashed Dylan worship going on, the record quickly blossoms into something much more mysterious, the production reverby and echo drenched, McMahon's super distinctive vocals sounding better than ever, the music too, deceivingly simplistic sounding, but rich with subtle nuance, and lushly layered, a softly swirling morass of psychedelic shimmer, and slow crawl dream pop balladry, blurred into a subtly mutated strain of spaced out, haunting and otherworldly alternative universe psych folk drift.
MPEG Stream: "White Child"
MPEG Stream: "Lonely Richard"
MPEG Stream: "Spirits Are Parted"

album cover AMEN DUNES Love (Sacred Bones) lp 21.00
Previous records from Amen Dunes, aka Damon McMahon, have been twisted collections of avant outsider folk, the skeletal songsmithery balanced by an experimental streak a mile wide. Even the prettiest songs on those records were buried in sonic murk, and consequently, hushed, delicately strummed ballads were generally stretched way out into spacey sprawls of abstract sound and wreathed in musique concrete filigree. On Love, however, McMahon seems to have ditched much of that weirdness in favor of crafting some straight up, almost baroque sounding, extremely lush and lovely folk/pop, that on first listen was almost too straight ahead, but gradually, with repeated listens, revealed itself as something much more, a truly and subtly dark little gem. The almost orchestral opener "White Child" combines simple strummed guitars, and achingly crooned vocals, all over a lustrous, undulating backdrop of moaning horns and woozy strings. While at first blush, it seemed that there's much unabashed Dylan worship going on, the record quickly blossoms into something much more mysterious, the production reverby and echo drenched, McMahon's super distinctive vocals sounding better than ever, the music too, deceivingly simplistic sounding, but rich with subtle nuance, and lushly layered, a softly swirling morass of psychedelic shimmer, and slow crawl dream pop balladry, blurred into a subtly mutated strain of spaced out, haunting and otherworldly alternative universe psych folk drift.
MPEG Stream: "White Child"
MPEG Stream: "Lonely Richard"
MPEG Stream: "Spirits Are Parted"

album cover JAWORZYN, STEFAN Principles Of Inertia (Trensmat) lp 21.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Making up for lost time, the infamous Stefan Jaworzyn, he of Ascension, Skullflower and the legendary Shock label, returns with yet ANOTHER new record, the sixth in the last year? Almost like an industrial/noise Robert Pollard, Jaworzyn continues to churn out the hits, and by hits, we mean willfully difficult electronica, this time around, wild squall of synth misfires, and analog noise, set to rambunctious rhythms, reminding us a bit of Cut Hands, but trading in the African obsession for analog synth / primitive drum machine nerdery, and it suits him, the first track here, the awesomely titled "Biorigged", is all relentless rhythms, wreathed in bleeps and bloops, cascades of glitch and squelch, noisy and chaotic, but also super groovy and a little bit funky, we can definitely imagine some sort of Cut Hands / Jaworzyn mash up in the future, some sort of demented full circle culmination of the Skullflower / Whitehouse collab we always hankered for (wait wasn't Jaworzyn in both? Whatever).
That opener sets the bar pretty high, and while the rest of the record isn't always nearly as high energy, it is all pretty mesmerizing, "Festival Of Lies" is a murky pulsing churn, sounding like some weird Hospital Productions release, gristly and fuzzed out, the background noisiness gradually overwhelming the minimal beta, and fractured rhythm, while "Dawn Of A New Ice Age" is downright kosmische, blossoming into some tripped out softnoise new age, all swirls and swoops, maybe the prettiest thing we've heard from Jaworzyn EVER (that one's the download bonus track btw).
It's on the B side where things get fierce, "Gland Collector" sounds almost like Jaworzyn doing his best John Carpenter, thrumming sinister synth pulses, implied rhythms blossom from weird synth-riffs, the sound almost metallic, a sonic helicopter rotor sends musical rotor wash out in heady waves, churning, roiling, pulsating, this makes all that other creepy soundtrack synth stuff folks have been flipping out for lately sound like Shadowfax. Finally, "Apocalypse" returns to the sound of the opener, sounding about as unapocalyptic as possible, unless the apocalypse was gonna take place in some strange alien danceclub, which who knows, it probably will, regardless, it's another twisted batch of avant / primitive analog electro, that KILLS.
As always, with Trensmat releases, includes a download, the whole record along with the above mentioned bonus track!
MPEG Stream: "Biorigged"
MPEG Stream: "Festival Of Lies"
MPEG Stream: "Gland Collector"

album cover SD LAIKA That's Harakiri (Tri Angle) cd 14.98
The Tri Angle label has brought us some of our favorite weirdo electronica, from witch house to slo-mo-soul, from dronestep to warped hip hop, just a quick list of some of our favorite Triangle artists speaks volumes: Forest Swords, Vessel, FiS, Haxan Cloak, Water Borders, oOoOO, Clams Casino, Balam Acab, Holy Other, How To Dress Well...
So the fact that this might be the weirdest, noisiest, most out there Triangle release yet should not be taken lightly, cuz the bar had already been set pretty goddamn high, but the oddly monikered Sd Laika, aka Milwaukee producer Peter Runge, knocks it out of the park, with what is some sort of post grime, post dubstep, electro noise oddity, that pushes ALL our buttons. The sort of thing that you might have expected to come out on DHR back in the day. The opening one two punch is all it should take, the 90 seconds of "Peace", all grinding gristly synth buzz, keening high end skree and squiggly psychedelic melody, wreathed in swaths of hiss and him, fragmented and blown out, noisy, lurching and lumbering, it kills us that that song didn't stretch out to fill up the whole record. But then comes "Great God Pan", which eases our pain a little, with big billowing clouds of buzzing low end, glitches out drones, and staticky buzz, a field of hazy drift, that is soon interrupted by a seriously twisted beat, that sounds like it was assembled from discarded fragments of others songs, noisy, clattery, skittery, stuttery, all the while, in the background, thick swells of black buzz pulse ominously, and over the top, haunting alien melodies, all tethered to that super sick, unholy anti-groove. Murky and sinister and seriously fucking next level.
And it never lets up, all the beats sound like they were filtered through some homespun analog telephone transistor radio broadcast system, fuzzy, and crackly, always dropping out, and then swooping back in, imagine a grime record recorded onto a wax cylinder and then broadcast via short wave radio, in a moving vehicle so the reception is in constant flux. And even when everything is in range, and the sound is relatively hi-fi, the sounds are still warped and woozy, and before long the sound devolves into another gloriously distortion drenched sprawl, often sounding like Leyland Kirby's Caretaker having a go at dubstep, and failing spectacularly.
There are some mysterious shards of 8bit sound, some twisted fragmented samples, some flurries of tangled melody, and cascades of synth blorp and grinding fields of staticky thrum, the sound occasionally dipping into cubby tranquility, but again, quickly snapping back into a twisted variant of alien IDM. The whole record is a dizzying collage of fractured sonics, of shattered rhythms, reassembled into damaged, demented rhythms, hints of minimal techno, Pop Ambient, dub, house, electro, all find their way into the sound, but in true mad scientist fashion, those elements are melted down, dissected, and transformed utterly and completely into some strange hybrid of experimental dada-soundscapery and avant electronica, a gloriously mind bending, brain melting, dance floor defying masterpiece.
MPEG Stream: "Peace"
MPEG Stream: "Great God Pan"
MPEG Stream: "Gutter Vibrations"
MPEG Stream: "Percressing"

album cover SWANS To Be Kind (Young God) 2cd + dvd 23.00
The latest masterpiece from these aQ-beloved musical misanthropes has moved well beyond the already boundary stretching sound of their previous album The Seer, and continues in a similar direction, shedding elements of song, and moving closer and closer to pure sound, with most of the tracks here unwinding like free form / free rock explorations, with only the barest hint of structure to keep them from drifting into utter shapelessness, but even then, whatever sonic constraints that are put in place, seem to be disregarded most of the time, the resulting records is hardly a rock record at all, but a gorgeous collection of brooding soundscapes, allowed to sprawl and ooze and drift and build, almost like an even more ephemeral / abstract Godspeed, and yet somehow, the tracks here are infused with an intensity, and sonic dread, that marks this as pure Swans.
That said, the opener "Screen Shot" might be the most curious of all the tracks here, as it's centered around a baseline, and drum part that are without a doubt, bordering on 'funky', so much so that before we even heard the record, people we posting online that the new Swans sounded like Primus. Which weirdly enough just made us want to hear it more. And when we finally did, well, we could definitely see that, but only Primus slowed down and stretched out and infused with a terrifying malevolence, and really, that funkiness become something else in a matter of minutes, some mutant strain of grim grooving bunkurfunk, that sounds more to us like Skull Defekts, and Michael Gira's vocals a dead ringer from the shamanistic conjuring of Defekts collaborator Daniel Higgs, but before you know it, the song blossoms into something even more tripped out and psychedelic, a swirling piano loop, jagged shards of guitar, eventually exploding into a wild cacophony that could go on forever, but instead burns bright and quickly fades out. An intense, invigorating start to what just might be the best of the modern Swans records.
There's not a track here that's less than 5 minutes, with the bulk closer to 15, and one clocking in at a stunning 34, and as mentioned above, they've done away with traditional compositional concerns, and have instead endeavored to craft their own modern minimalism, and it's truly stunning, from the slow core creep of "Just A Little Boy", that sounds a bit like the Necks via Woven Hand, but stretched out into one extended slow motion balladic dirge, laced with some truly terrifying vocals, to the atonal lope of "A Little God In My Hands", which sounds like multiple New Orleans jazz bands playing at once, before settling into a gorgeously creepy march, all glimmering electronics and swirling melodies, and some twisted call and response vocals.
Then there's the record's centerpiece, the 34+ minute "Bring The Sun / Toussaint L' Ouverture", which lurches right out of the gate as maybe the most rocking song here, a lumbering drum heavy riff, that instead of turning into a song, just locks into an endless hypno-rock cycle, that you never want to end, and for a while, it seems like it never will, before eventually setting into another apocalyptic swampy creep (and again reminding us of Woven Hand), before beginning and epic, majestic slow build, a vocal chorale draped atop a dark cacophonous roar, that gets almost metallic before dissipating into a free rock sprawl, all long tones, and drones, moaned vocals, and warm electric piano shimmer, as well as some FX heavy percussion, and finally a wild freaked out psychedelic squall. Disc one ends with a hushed horror ballad, all moaning distant horns, and sinister vox, and atonal melodies swirling throughout. And most bands would hang it up there, but this is the Swans after all, so we're only halfway there.
The second disc begins with a twisted bit of malformed Tom Waitsian weirdness, all groovy percussion, swirling junkyard ambience, and some strange vocals refrains, before erupting into some swampy garage rock swagger, slithery and sinister, distorted and psychedelic, the sound layered and dense and seriously fierce. From there on out, To Be Kind seems to open up into some sort of alternate universe rock opera, brooding ballad gives way to horn flecked death march dirge, wild kraut-funk groovery grows more and more atonal, pocked with elephant bleat blasts, and feral vocal bellows, long stretches of kosmische drift, and jazzy piano shimmer slowly evolve into another bout of swampy swagger, "Nathalie Neal", a piece that's drum driven and intense (and named for an aQ pal!), before finally finishing off with the title track, a haunting, subdued finale, all dramatic croons and whispery chordal drift, that bursts into a full on freakout, blistering arcs of distorted guitars wreathed around pounding drum damage, and billowing swirls of psychedelic noise, the rare piece of music that is as exhausting and exhilarating to hear, as it presumably is to play.
Totally transcendent, dizzyingly ambitious, stunningly executed, and thus utterly and totally recommended. Creepy baby face cover art too! And, while they last, we've got the Deluxe Edition, which comes with a live dvd, featuring performances of several songs from this album along with renditions of "Coward" and "The Seer". That's if you get the double cd, your other option is the swank triple vinyl, but no dvd with that, but it does have a download.
MPEG Stream: "Screen Shot"
MPEG Stream: "Just A Little Boy (For Chester Burnett)"
MPEG Stream: "She Loves Us"
MPEG Stream: "Kirsten Supine"
MPEG Stream: "To Be Kind"

album cover LEON, CRAIG Nommos (Superior Viaduct) cd 15.98
THIS RECORD OF THE WEEK FROM LAST YEAR, NOW ON CD!
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 NINOS DU BRASIL Novos Misterios (Hospital) cd 15.98
Another awesome electronic oddity from the fine folks at Hospital Productions, this one the work of a duo called Ninos Du Brasil, who, true to their moniker, traffic in a strain of Brazilian music - but a warped, experimental version, the likes of which you've likely not heard before. Brazilian carnival music is definitely a reference point but so too is Southeast Asian gamelan music, as well as various strains of techno and electro, we hear shades of fellow modern experimental techno-technician Cut Hands for sure, and heck, they even have a song called "Sepultura", which is apparently in fact an homage of sorts to that Brazilian metal band, and their later records on which they did in fact incorporate traditional Brazilian percussion into their music. Weird stuff, but sonically, it all meshes into something super mesmerizing and hypnotic, and something not altogether removed from some of the other Hospital releases, like Vatican Shadow, Ron Morelli, Christian Cosmos, Silent Servant, etc.
After a brief bit of straight up Brazilian percussion over a bed of birdsong, the record quickly slips into some murky house, all deep muted pulsations, over which, wild percussion comes tumbling, and then also some synth bass, and martial snares, the result is a strange hybrid of Brazilian funk, drum corps and avant minimal house music, with the Brazilian percussion WAY up in the mix, and driving the sound. The song is also peppered with plenty of FX and subtle dub-isms, and once they lock in, barring some subtle fluctuations, it's totally looped and tranced out and endlessly mesmeric.
The more minimal tracks, like "Legios De Cupins", definitely sound right at home on Hospital, again, murky and a little bit muddy, strangely sequenced arpeggiations, the Brazilian influence much more subtle, but still groovy and darkly funky, with occasional bursts of more traditional percussion, the coolest bits are when they all blur and bleed into some fantastically heady hybrid. The "Sepultura" track, perhaps predictably, is the fiercest, the drums and percussion, blown out and super distorted, sounding very much like a Brazilian marching band, we could easily have listened to a whole album of this, but it soon slips back into something more traditional sounding, "Miragem" sounding like Brazilian street music, underpinned by some super subtle techno filigree, before blossoming into maybe the most 'party' sounding of the bunch, with distorted call and response vocals, more wild percussion, all anchored by a four on the flour techno pulse, before finally finishing off with the gorgeous sprawling "Novos Misterios", a low slung, downtempo creeper, sounding a bit like a Brazilian Tom Waits, all steep drum melodies, wreathed in record crackles and warm swaths of tape hiss, the rhythms here laid back and subtle, woozy and weary, and the perfect comedown, at least until the final few minutes, when the sound quickly builds to a noisy, psychedelic, heavy house, stutter rhythm / droned out finale!
MPEG Stream: "Sombra Da Lua"
MPEG Stream: "Legios De Cupins"
MPEG Stream: "Sepultura"
MPEG Stream: "Novos Misterios"

album cover FLOOR Oblation (Season Of Mist) cd 14.98
It's been ten years since the last full length from these sludge pop legends, but mainman Steve Brooks has most definitely been keeping that sludge pop legacy alive with his new band Torche, and really if you dig Torche, you're gonna dig Floor too, as they're both cut from the same sonic cloth, insanely downtuned riffage, crushing drum pounds, and soaring super melodic vocals. Killer pop hooks swaddled in doom/sludge churn, and it's a potent combination. The fact that Brooks has been writing Torche songs (haha, get it?) for so long, does mean, that while this is a whole different band, the jams here still essentially play out like new Torche songs (haha, again), and we're not complaining, it's a sound we can't get enough of, epic, crushing catchiness, impossibly hooky metallic crunch, the band slipping easily from tarpit dirge, to more hard rocking heaviness, check out the opening one-two punch of the title track and "Rocinante", the former, a gloriously skull caving slab of doom-pop creep, like Queen crossed with the Melvins at 16rpm, the latter, a furious blast of headbangable pop metal riffery, the melodies crazy catchy, but buried beneath some serious badass riffage. But then hold on to your fucking hats for "Trick Scene", which begs the question, how the fuck do these guys tune their guitars so low, and why does it sound so goddamn good?! Brooks popsmithery has never sounded better, OR heavier, there's always been a whiff of Nirvana's Bleach to Floor (and Torche), which is in no way a bad thing, and it's like Bleach, only louder and heavier and slower and sludgier, which is of course most definitely a good thing! Amidst all this chug and churn, there does lurk a few sonic surprises, some new waviness on one track, some pure pop dreaminess on another, but ultimately, this is just absolute sludge pop bliss, and maybe the best thing we've heard from Brooks with ANY of his projects. Which is saying a while heck of a lot...
MPEG Stream: "Oblation"
MPEG Stream: "Rocinate"
MPEG Stream: "Trick Scene"

album cover AMPS FOR CHRIST Canyons Cars And Crows (Shrimper) lp 15.98
First full length in seven years from former Man Is The Bastard noisemaker Henry Barnes, who since leaving the Bastard fold, has been crafting a strange mix of Xtian home brewed psychedelic folk, and avant experimental noise, a worshipful hybrid of spaced out ragas and lilting pastoral avant Appalachia. An instrument builder as well as a musician, much of Amps' music is created on home built kitchen-sink contraptions of Barnes creation, which helps give AfC its strange, haunting, otherworldly sound. If you ever saw MITB back in the day, you know doubt saw Barnes huddled in the corner in front of a huge pile of weird electronics, and amplifiers built from plywood, all adorned with primitive drawings of trees and winged guitars, that spirit eventually blossomed into Amps For Christ.
On Canyons Cars And Crows, it seems very little has changed, opening with a lilting bit of devotional psych folk flutter, with Barnes' plaintive vocals, draped over simple strum and fuzzy soft psych filigree, which leads directly into "Miss You Mother", which finds a harmonium like drone buzzing beneath a washed out and woozy guitar melody, dreamily sundappled and drifty. In fact if anything, on this new record, the whole vibe is a lot more laid back and blissed out, it's not really until the fifth track, "Hills Of Padua", that we hear that twisted Amps For Christ electronic bagpipe avant jig that peppers much of the Amps back catalog, a buzzing analog melody, crumblingly distorted, but weirdly and noisily lovely, and then it's right back into more dreamy psychedelic strum. Fans of the Woods will definitely find much to love here, like the Woods more eccentric older brother, the one that lives in the basement, and spends all day and all night 'tinkering' with weird machinery, we always just assumed he was building a time machine or a weapon, but in fact, he was making strange musical instruments, and using them to create beautifully twisted music like this!
MPEG Stream: "Sailor's Searching"
MPEG Stream: "Miss You Mother"
MPEG Stream: "Hills Of Padua"
MPEG Stream: "Chieftans II"

album cover SATAN WRIDERS Black Eyed Kids (Harlot) lp 15.98
Killer blast of garage pop surf scuzz from this Stockton California combo, that had us immediately thinking of another surf garage group we flipped over a while back, Mrs. Magician, but SW take that same sound, strip it way down, and add some fuzzy, wasted shoegaze to the proceedings, just check out opener "Freeway", which sounds like it should have been on Slumberland, lo-fi, fuzzed out, simple propulsive drumming, over spidery melodies, and some ethereal vocals that give the vibe a serious girlgroup feel. Follow up "She's Not Right" injects some Beat Happening style minimalism, with boy/girl harmonies sung by two boys, the intertwining high/low vox wrapped around some dirgey, reverb soaked riffage, and more primitive drumming. And that's pretty much how Black Eyed Kids plays out, the sound shifting from stripped down, lo-fi crunch, to lush, swirling fuzz pop. Tracks like "Reality's A Bitch" combine the two into jangle pop gems that pile on the warm swaths of distortion, multiple vocals, buzzing distorto-melodies, even some buried samples and sound effects,. There are moments that are obviously home brewed mad scientist tinkering, the band gleefully indulging in weirdo 4-track dub experiments at one point, but it somehow fits perfectly with the rest of these woozy surf pop and garage rock jams, the second half of the record heavy on 'hits', "Sun Coma" sounding a bit like Jeff The Brotherhood, a crazy catchy burst of distorto-pop radness, or the sprawling slo-mo closer "Therapy", which sound like Thee Oh Sees at 16 rpm. Fans of the current crop of garage pop should flip for these guys, file next to Ty Segall, Mikal Cronin, Thee Oh Sees, The Intelligence, Mrs. Magician, Sultan Bathery, Herzog, etc...
MPEG Stream: "Sun Coma"
MPEG Stream: "Freeway"
MPEG Stream: "She's Not Right"
MPEG Stream: "Reality's A Bitch"

album cover GILSON, JEF Et Malagasy (Jazzman) 4cd box 27.00
Of all the 2014 Record Store Day releases, this might have been one of the most exciting. The vinyl version is already gone, but we still have some of the cds set, which is cheaper anyway. French pianist Jef Gilson, whose 'best of' comp on Jazzman we raved about a while back, spent the end of the '60s traveling to Madagascar, an island off the coast of Africa, studying the indigenous music, and spreading his love of jazz, and in the process, recording with some of the locals, playing a bunch of shows, all of which resulted in three albums, all of those are included here, along with two more collections of previously released material from the same era, and needless to say, if you're a fan of ethno and spiritual jazz, this is some sort of crazy sonic holy grail. As always there's plenty in the liner notes about the history of Madagascar, and the life of Gilson, but even without the backstories, the music here is incredible, a little bit Ethiopiques, a little bit European free jazz, a little classic bop, dark and sultry and groovy, one of the records here doesn't even feature Gilson, and is a record he produced for some of the guys he played with in Madagascar, and that one is a doozy, the most distinctly African sounding, extended Afro jazz jams that are so heady and hypnotic, often more world music in fact than jazz, but the fusion is otherworldly, and had us wanting more more more. The final record features Byard Lancaster (Magma's Christian Vander was played with Gilson too, pre Magma), and might be the wildest, and freest of the bunch, a handful of the tracks untitled, discovered on old unlabeled tapes, but some of those are the best here, super inspired spiritual jazz that totally transcends, lots of flute (!!!!), some of the tracks blissed out and super spacey, others wild and chaotic, the live tracks on the final disc especially fiery and intense. The whole set is pretty stunning. Three and a half hours, all of it fantastic.
The discs are housed in a little box, each cd in its own sleeve, and accompanied by a big booklet with liner notes (in English and French) and loads of rare photos.
MPEG Stream: "A Tana"
MPEG Stream: "The Creator Has A Master Plan"
MPEG Stream: "Newport Bounce"
MPEG Stream: "Valiha Ny Dada"
MPEG Stream: "Katramo"
MPEG Stream: "Unknown I"

album cover HOAX s/t (Hoax) lp 16.98
Been trying to review this for a while, but everyone kept selling out, the debut full length from these hardcore punks, their sound a furious, grinding frenzy of wild drumming, distorto rigging, and some seriously SICK vokills (and yeah, usually vokills are metal, but this guy could be doing time in a black/death metal band if he wanted), which make this sound seriously fucked up and frantic, the production massive, the guitars monstrous, and those vox, vitriolic and borderline disturbing. There's an intro here (penned by Phamakon!), which is all buzzing rumbles, and weird grinding industrial sounds, coughing and vocal grunts, all swirling and murky and extremely ominous, but once the record proper kicks in, it's a nonstop face melting crush. The sound's a bit sludge-y and crusty too, especially when they slow down into churning, lumbering tarpit dirgery, but i's never long before they explode into another frenzy of blasting pounding ferocity. And did we mention leads? Yep, the occasional burst of shredding lead guitars, angular and atonal, which are generally quickly swallowed up by another onslaught of hardcore pummel.
There are some weirdly melodic moments scattered throughout the record, and lots of surprisingly lush textures, some almost Godspeed-y slow builds, but those elements are less 'weird' and 'experimental', than just another facet of their sound, seamlessly woven into what is essentially some seriously crushing, classic metallic hardcore, that KILLS. Punk rock record of the year hands down. Even though it's from last year. But odds are you're not gonna hear a record this brutal and heavy and punk as fuck this year anyway, so there.
One of the most elaborately packaged punk rock records in recent memory too. A fold over full color jacket, with a super striking, dude-hanging-from-his-foot-from-a-tree cover image, and inside, SIX, that's right six, HUGE two sided posters!
MPEG Stream: "Intro"
MPEG Stream: "Hide"
MPEG Stream: "No Spirit"

album cover SLINT Spiderland (Touch And Go) boxset 175.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Only got one left of these. And it's incredible. Andee ordered a copy direct from the label the SECOND he heard about it. We managed to get just two for the shop, sold one, and now have just one left. It's now out of print too, so this could be your last chance.
What is Spiderland? It's an iconic indie rock masterpiece, a record that if you haven't heard it before, well, it means you're missing out on what might be one of the best records ever made. Moody and mathy, brooding and epic, intense and introspective, catchy and melodic, noisy and abrasive, emotional and majestic. So many bands you love owe everything they do to this band, and this record. A $175 boxset might not be the place to start or the version for someone just discovering Spiderland, but we think maybe it IS. If there was ever a record deserving of this sort of lavish treatment, it's most definitely Spiderland.
So you get the record proper, on both cd AND vinyl, the holy grail here being a BUNCH of unreleased tracks, rehearsals and stuff, all of which, are worth the price of admission alone. But you also get a huge book, packed with rare photos from the Spiderland era, as well as the dvd of the Slint documentary Breadcrumb trail. All housed in a big beautiful box. Needless to say, the HIGHEST recommendation. One of you lucky aQ customers is about to get even luckier...

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

album cover AQUARIUS TOTE BAG Black with Silver 'Black Metal' Logo by Christophe Szpajdel bag 11.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
As mentioned on last Friday's in-betweener, for this year's Record Store Day, we finally got around to producing some aQuarius tote bags! People are always asking, and it's the eco-friendly thing to do, hope you like 'em.
It's a black bag, with metallic silver print, featuring a brand new, elaborately 'black metal' styled aQuarius Records logo, done by "the Lord of the Logos" himself, the very talented (and super nice) Christophe Szpajdel. He did Emperor's logo, among many others. He's the man. It's a nice lookin' logo, kind of black metal meets art nouveau. These 14 1/2" x 16" bags, with securely cross-stitched straps, are big enough to hold a bunch of lps (like, up a dozen single lps).

album cover V/A Todo Muere Volume 4 (Sacred Bones Presents A Record Store Day 2014 Sampler) (Sacred Bones) lp 17.98
A bit of a Record Store Day tradition at this point, it's the yearly Todo Muere lp, a sampler of sorts from the Sacred Bones label, featuring a handful of tracks, some exclusive, others from forthcoming releases. We managed to get enough so some of you mailorder folks can nab a copy too. And like every year, it's a pretty great listen, all over the sonic map, much like the label, starting off this time with Amen Dunes, from the forthcoming full length Love, a strummy psych folk drifter that's all hazy and dreamily druggy. There's also an outtake from the Zola Jesus record Versions, which found her teamed up with Foetus, aka Jim Thirwell, for some moody, drum machine driven string heavy goth. There's an outtake from David Lynch's The Big Dream, a creepy atmospheric sprawl of drum machines, and softly swirling atmospherics, all underpinning Lynch's ominous sung/spoken vocals.
This year's comp would be worth it just for recent Record Of The Weeker Marissa Nadler's gorgeous cover of Nick Cave's "The Kindness Of Strangers", delicate and haunting, and as good as anything on her most recent full length. Pharmakon deliver another exclusive track, a super trippy industrial-gloom cover of "Bang Bang", transforming the bombast of the original into a creepy, noise flecked torch song. Pop. 1280 kick out the jams on one of the comp's exclusive tracks, a pulsing synth driven garage-punk groover, all clanging jagged guitars, snarly vox, tripped out FX, and gloom-garage noise rock stomp. The spacey psychedelic drift of Follakzoid gets the remix treatment from someone called Oskreuz-Huidobro, and turns the original into a murky sprawl of softly pulsing minimal techno-psych mesmer, that sounds like Kompakt by way of Agitated. Nice! And finally, you get a teaser for the upcoming Lust For Youth full length, a shimmery, jangly, eighties style synth popper, that sounds weirdly upbeat after the mostly dour and downer vibe of the rest of the tracks.
Killer stuff as always. Only have a handful of these left, and once they're gone, they're likely gone for good! Includes a download code as well!
MPEG Stream: MARISSA NADLER "The Kindness Of Strangers"
MPEG Stream: PHARMAKON "Bang Bang"
MPEG Stream: FOLLAKZOID "Pulsar (Oskreuz Berlin RMX)"

album cover BEAR BONES, LAY LOW Recalentaitos (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.
It's been ages since we last heard from Bear Bones Lay Low, and that review mentions us knowing nothing about the man behind BBLL other than he was an 18 year old Venezuelan kid living in Belgium, who had just become a member of aQ faves Silvester Anfang, which is all we needed to know. Ever since, we've done our best to track down anything we could find, which was not much. But now BBLL is in the US, touring with another aQ favorite, Jooklo Duo, so obviously catch them both if you can. To commemorate the tour, BBLL put together this ultra limited (66 copies!) cd-r, available only from the band on tour, or from aQ, while they last.
Like the other Bear Bones recordings we'd heard, Recalentaitos, is another dreamily psychedelic collection of psychedelic vibrations, rhythmic pulsations, blurred chordal textures, ritualistic and avant, primitive and home brewed, opener "A Fifth Ring" sounds like some Finnish forest folk outfit doing krautrock, all buzzing synths, minimal percussion, a sort of pulsating kosmische via campfire jam, hazy and druggy and drifty, which leads right into the even more spacey "Lacreo", an undulating field of reverb drenched rhythms, soft swirls of sci-fi FX, again, a weird sort of motorik propulsion driving the track, but buried beneath layers of murk, and tangles of atonal distorted psyche guitar, that's woven into the gristly fabric of the song.
The other three tracks continue to delve deeper into some subterranean soundworld, from the bird call flecked muted creep of "Perdido Entre Las Ramas", to the mutated varispeed collage of "Name Game", which sounds like Monopoly Child Star Searchers doing their best Tangerine Dream, to closer "Green Temple", which sounds like some alien horror movie circus music, puled apart, and blurred into a mysterious sprawl of glitch-drone shimmer and crumbling space-drift ambience.
As we mentioned above, SUPER DUPER LIMITED! Only 66 copies, each on hand numbered, housed in a plain brown sleeve, with a full color printed insert. Once these are gone, they are gone for good!
MPEG Stream: "A Fifth Ring"
MPEG Stream: "Lacreo"

album cover JOOKLO DUO Live At Occii (Troglosound) 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.
A few years back Italian free jazz / experimental outfit the Jooklo Duo, played a fantastic instore at aQ, while on tour in the US, playing exclusively on toy instruments, it was lovely, and super unique, playful and really special. Around the same time they played a woefully unattended show, at which they destroyed, a furious free jazz psychedelic freakout a la Brotzmann / Fushitsusha, drummer David Vanzan destroying his kit, brutal and punishing, measured and finessed in equal measure, whole saxophonist Virginia Genta wailed like a psych-jazz banshee. The tour cd-r we had briefly around that same time, was a blast of face melting psychedelic jazz crush, and as we mentioned at the time, about as heavy as 'free' music gets.
Well, Jooklo Duo are back in the US, playing a handful of shows, which should NOT be missed, and we managed to get a little handful of their tour only cd-r, limited to just 66 copies, and unlike the aural punishment of that previous disc, Live At Occii spends much of its time skittering and shuffling, the first four or five minutes sounds like a more free jazz No Neck Blues Band, a field of constantly in flux bleats and breathy flutters, over a bed of spare percussion, and loose abstract drumming, eventually the disc explodes into some serious free jazz intensity, both Genta and Vanzan sparring relentlessly, the horns dropping out, for a long stretch of wild percussion, which is soon joined by wild vocals reminiscent of Art Ensemble at their very wildest, and over the next 20 minutes or so, the sound veers wildly from tangled free jazz bleat, to dizzying drum solos and octopoidal percussion workouts, they even manage to infuse some groove here and there, not to mention some Borbetomagus worthy skronk, the vibe and intensity super energetic, and extremely psychedelic, dynamic to the point of exhaustion, perfectly capture what made them so mind blowing at that previously mentioned show. Killer!
And again, this is SUPER LIMITED. Only 66 made, each one hand numbered, housed in a mini plastic case with printed covers and inserts, only available from the band on tour, or from aQ, while they last...
MPEG Stream: "Live At Occii (excerpt)"

album cover LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (DAVID HESS) OST (One Way Static) picture disc lp 29.00
This recently reviewed soundtrack, now available as a swanky picture disc in honor of Record Store Day! We have a very tiny handful left, so grab one before they're gone...
First there was Death Waltz, then Waxwork, and now One Way Static throws their bloodied and battered hat into the horror soundtrack vinyl reissue ring, with their reissue of David Hess's soundtrack to Wes Craven's depraved exploitation classic Last House On The Left. We listed this on last week's special horror soundtrack vinyl in-between list, but figured we'd list it proper again this week.
Composer David Hess has an interesting history, having recorded the original version of "All Shook Up", before Elvis Presley's version became a number one hit just a year later. But Hess ended up writing songs for Presley, as well as Pat Boone, eventually ending up an A&R man, before finally becoming an actor / writer / director, although for us, he'll always be the serial killer and gang leader in Wes Craven's Last House On The Left, although the strangest part of this whole story, and this soundtrack in particular, is that not only did Hess star in the movie, he also composed and performed all the music! Even stranger, is that the songs are folky and poppy, and weirdly catchy and upbeat, a strangely lovely contrast to the horrific images on screen, a legendarily stomach churning display of depravity and ultraviolence, much of it perpetrated by Hess himself!! There are moments of abstract experimentation, and weird studio FX, but for the most part, the score consists mostly of groovy seventies folk, fuzzed out psychedelia, strummy, sunshiney pop ballads, funky almost Blaxploitation sounding wah guitar workouts, and yeah, the occasional bit of synthy weirdness or brooding ambience.
MPEG Stream: "Etude For Chainsaw - Goodbye, Dick"
MPEG Stream: "The Chase"
MPEG Stream: "Blow Your Brains Out"
MPEG Stream: "Baddies Theme"
MPEG Stream: "Aftermath & End Credits"
MPEG Stream: "Daddy, Put Your Coat Of Many Colors On"

CARDINAL s/t (Fire) lp 32.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
MPEG Stream: "If You Believe In Christmas Trees"
MPEG Stream: "Last Poems"
MPEG Stream: "Big Mink"
MPEG Stream: "You've Lost Me There"

album cover CONNORS, LOREN / VAPOUR THEORIES split (Carbon) lp 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Every year on Record Store Day, there's inevitably a record from psychedelic space rockers Bardo Pond, and every year, it's SO limited, we barely get any, and thus there are a lot of disappointed BP fans. This year was more of the same, the number of Bardo Pond records once again fell woefully short of the demand (it didn't help that of the 30 we ordered, we got ONE). But this year at least, Bardo headz can console themselves with this sweet set of jams, a split that features on one side, Vapour Theories, aka the Gibbons brothers, they of the aforementioned 'Pond, and on the flipside, iconic guitarists Loren (sometimes 'Maazacane') Connors.
The Vapour Theories side, is a gorgeously druggy sprawl of smoldering psych, a bed of crystalline acoustic guitars, bristles quietly beneath thick, softly undulating sheets of blissful buzz, laced with blistering arcs of psych guitar swirl, and keening, aching, melodies, the whole thing gorgeously laid back, and washed out, a woozily wasted psychedelic dream jam that should most definitely hit the spot for fans of the Bardo Pond mothership.
The Loren Connors side manages to be both noisier, and more abstract, the sound much more raw and lo-fi, softly billowing clouds of static give way, to tangled little tendrils, buzzing melodies drifting through fields of hum and thrum, lots of space, a much darker, introspective psych, everything murky, and blurry, smeared chordal washes blossom into strange soft noise flurries, and just as quickly fade back into tranquil swirls and shimmers, and often into near silence, Connors' delicate guitarscapes hushed and haunting and ethereal, in fact much of the side requires headphones, or an extremely quiet listening environment, to truly apprecciate Connors' sweetly sublime, guitar psych ultraminimalism.
LIMITED TO 300 COPIES!!! Pressed on black and red swirled vinyl.
MPEG Stream: VAPOUR THEORIES "Descend, part 1 (For Bailey)"
MPEG Stream: LOREN CONNORS "Cafe Oto, May 14, 2011"

album cover SOULEYMAN, OMAR Jazeera Nights (Sublime Frequencies) lp 22.00
RELEASED ON VINYL FOR RECORD STORE DAY! Just a few copies remaining. Here's what we said about the cd version of this when we made it a Record Of The Week in 2010:
We'll admit, we're a sucker for Sublime Frequencies, they've yet to release a record that didn't totally blow our minds. Which says as much about SF's curating as it does about the unheard music worldwide. Treasures everywhere, amazing and passionate and personal and far out sounds, being made in homes and yards, on street corners, in bars, at picnics and parties, not conceived for public consumption, meant for a small audience, and often for a specific purpose, getting a glimpse into these magical musical moments is what Sublime Frequencies is all about, and we feel lucky to get to experience these sounds.
This is the third record from Omar Souleyman on Sublime Frequencies, and just might be the best one yet, which is saying A LOT. A collection of live recordings culled from nearly 15 years worth of cassettes, these tracks are incredible, energetic, passionate, so full of life, effusive and emotional, funky and celebratory, and to Western ears, seriously far out. There's almost a wild Bollywood vibe (even though this is from the Middle East, not India), in the vocals, and the rhythms, and with the crazy tangled synthesizer melodies, the propulsive drumming, and Souleyman's distorted, wailed vocal delivery, it all sounds just so perfect, even listening to this music on record, it sounds sweaty and exhausting and cathartic, it's easy to imagine a big crowd of people dancing and bouncing along, freed from all cares and concerns letting the music just carry them away.
Like all Sublime Frequencies releases, the liner notes offer up so much information, on Souleyman, his life, the history of Syria, on Syrian folk music, etc, but even without all that info, if it's just about the music, these are some of the most amazing sounds you'll ever hear. Frantic Eastern melodies, frenetic percussion, analog synths wound around Souleyman's vocals, this is party music, dance music, but not like party or dance music the way we normally think about it. The music of Souleyman is transcendent, spiritual, psychedelic, transformative, a folk pop known as Dabke, rarely heard in the West, perhaps not at all if it wasn't for Sublime Frequencies, and we'd imagine these sounds might be overwhelming for casual world music listeners, it is after all wild and frantic and relentless, the melodies complex and twisted and tangled, there are some moments that verge on folky for sure, the final track is a gorgeous haunting lament, just vocals and buzzing synthesizers, but barring that track, even on the folkier jams, those strange synths, the unique melodies, the repetitive tranced out rhythms, those all transform Souleyman's folk into something much more, and in most cases, it's not long before the band explodes into yet another super intense sweat soaked psychedelic Syrian folk pop workout. So great!
MPEG Stream: "Hafer Gabrak Bidi (I Will Dig Your Grave With My Hands)"
MPEG Stream: "Ala Il Hanash Madgouga (The Bedouin Tattoo)"
MPEG Stream: "Hot Il Khanjar Bi Gleibi (Stab My Heart)"
MPEG Stream: "Kell Il Banat Inkhatban (All The Girls Are Engaged)"

album cover AMPS FOR CHRIST Canyons Cars And Crows (Shrimper) cd 13.98
First full length in seven years from former Man Is The Bastard noisemaker Henry Barnes, who since leaving the Bastard fold, has been crafting a strange mix of Xtian home brewed psychedelic folk, and avant experimental noise, a worshipful hybrid of spaced out ragas and lilting pastoral avant Appalachia. An instrument builder as well as a musician, much of Amps' music is created on home built kitchen-sink contraptions of Barnes creation, which helps give AfC its strange, haunting, otherworldly sound. If you ever saw MITB back in the day, you know doubt saw Barnes huddled in the corner in front of a huge pile of weird electronics, and amplifiers built from plywood, all adorned with primitive drawings of trees and winged guitars, that spirit eventually blossomed into Amps For Christ.
On Canyons Cars And Crows, it seems very little has changed, opening with a lilting bit of devotional psych folk flutter, with Barnes' plaintive vocals, draped over simple strum and fuzzy soft psych filigree, which leads directly into "Miss You Mother", which finds a harmonium like drone buzzing beneath a washed out and woozy guitar melody, dreamily sundappled and drifty. In fact if anything, on this new record, the whole vibe is a lot more laid back and blissed out, it's not really until the fifth track, "Hills Of Padua", that we hear that twisted Amps For Christ electronic bagpipe avant jig that peppers much of the Amps back catalog, a buzzing analog melody, crumblingly distorted, but weirdly and noisily lovely, and then it's right back into more dreamy psychedelic strum. Fans of the Woods will definitely find much to love here, like the Woods more eccentric older brother, the one that lives in the basement, and spends all day and all night 'tinkering' with weird machinery, we always just assumed he was building a time machine or a weapon, but in fact, he was making strange musical instruments, and using them to create beautifully twisted music like this!
MPEG Stream: "Sailor's Searching"
MPEG Stream: "Miss You Mother"
MPEG Stream: "Hills Of Padua"
MPEG Stream: "Chieftans II"

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, Admiral Sir 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 OH SEES, THEE Drop (Castle Face) cd 13.98
It seems like the demise of SF's favorite garage rockers has been greatly exaggerated, considering there's now this, a brand new record, and the fact that the band are about to embark on another massive tour. So we can all breathe a sigh of relief, save our mourning for some future date, and for now, can revel in yet another blast of garage pop brilliance from John Dwyer and company, whose latest, Drop, is as we might have predicted, a doozy!
After a brief bit of percolating synth shimmer, which had us thinking that maybe Dwyer's solo record as Damaged Bug might have bled over into his main project, the song explodes into what might be the heaviest hookiest jam yet from these guys, but fuzzed out guitars, swirling sci-fi synths, almost stonery and spacey and psychedelic sounding, but as always rife with melodies and hooks galore. And from there on out, it's just classic Oh Sees, fuzzy, jangly, hooky, albeit with a bit more synth than we remember (seems like maybe that whole Damaged Bug thing did have an effect on Thee Oh Sees!), "Encrypted Bounce" adds wild tangled angular guitars, and squiggly synth shimmer, to a stripped down garage groove, as does "Savage Victory", all spaced out and laced with strange sound effects, big blurts of fuzz guitar crunch, all trippy, and very psychedelic, with fields of swirling backwards guitars and affected noisescapes, that experimental noisiness all over Drop, the band crafting some of their catchiest music yet, but then going hogwild on the psychedelia, creating a sound that's at once totally beholden to the classics, but all tangled up and twisted into new, weird, far out shapes, and Dwyer not shying away from whatever the fuck he wants to do, whether it's the strange horn blurts on "Put Some Reverb On My Brother", the almost Redd Kross sounding sixties buzz pop of the title track, the lysergic Beatles-esque baroque pop of "King's Nose", or the synth heavy shoegaze trip out of "Transparent World". And yet, it all remains distinctly Thee Oh Sees. And we say it every time, but this really might be the best record yet from these guys, and if it really is the last one, what a way to go. But here's hoping, that even with Dwyer's move down south, they can keep this going, cuz we're already playing this to death, and already looking forward to more...
Only on cd for now, lp repress coming soon!
MPEG Stream: "Penetrating Eye"
MPEG Stream: "Encrypted Bounce"
MPEG Stream: "Drop"
MPEG Stream: "King's Nose"

album cover PURLING HISS Dizzy Polizzy (Drag City) lp 17.98
The return of bedroom psych rockers Purling Hiss, who we've long been sorta obsessed with, in fact we made PH's Public Service Announcement lp our Record Of the Week back in 2010. And really it's not so much a return, since this is not a new record, but is in fact a vinyl reissue of a super limited cd-r, released in an edition of 50 copies way back in 2006 (and reissued on tape in 2011 with some extra tracks). The interesting thing is that for some reason, we thought the other Purling Hiss records, including our favorite, Public Service Announcement, were more recent, but Public Service Announcement was recorded just a year after this one, so if you dug that record or any of the Purling Hiss records, as much as us, then you're gonna want this one too.
It's the same mix of 4-track home brewed loner psych folk, and fuzzed out psychedelic power pop, with most of the tracks landing somewhere right in between. "She Don't Mind" is all hushed strummy loner pop, but then the sound blossoms into the hard rocking psych fuzz of "Icelator", which barring the low fidelity, sounds like it could be some lost seventies power pop lost classic, replete with groovy leads, aching vocals, and a killer main hook and bad ass chorus. From there on out, the sound shifts constantly, from the blown out noise drenched lilting dirge pop of "Digh High" to the strummy, lo-fi Yellow Pills fuzz and crunch of "Sifting Through My Hands". And so it goes, the B side is chockablock with buzz and jangle, warped noisiness, soaring melodies, lilting psych folk ballads, groovy garage rock, and some seriously and impossibly classic sounding songsmithery.
Sadly, no download code, and thus, no sound samples. But trust us, if you dig any/all of the other Purling Hiss records, you're gonna LOVE this one too!

album cover SATAN'S SATYRS Die Screaming (Trash King) cd 13.98
Remember the movie 2000 Maniacs? Where tourists are lured to a small Southern town and are forced to participate in 'games' that are essentially elaborate and ultra gory (and quite inventive) excuses for extreme torture that ultimately lead to their deaths. Or howabout the sixties biker classic Easy Rider? The ultimate drugged out hippie motorcycle road movie. Or maybe the seventies British horror flick Psychomania, about psychopathic suicidal bikers who make a pact with the devil, kill themselves and return from the dead to terrorize the squares? So now, imagine some crazed, druggy, doomy, psychedelic, psychotropic, head spinning mix of all three, and Satan's Satyrs are pretty much the perfect house band. Similarly, Die Screaming is essentially the soundtrack to the above, some impossibly insane, low budget, blood drenched, exploitation-splatter Z-grade alien biker undead epic. The opening track "Thumper's Theme" is uncharacteristically upbeat, but you can almost imagine this fuzzed out organ fueled jam playing beneath the credits as a porky, leather vested biker, presumably "Thumper" rolls into town, as the townsfolk lock their doors and lower their blinds, all to the strains of fuzzed out distorto riffage, wheezing organ, tumbling toms, all a little bit surfy, infused with just a bit of sonic swagger. But it's on "Instruments Of Hellfire" where things get really good, or perhaps bad if you're one of those innocent bystanders, wild squiggly psychedelic leads over blown out Stooges-y metallic garage punk pound, plenty of wild wah wah guitars, totally tripped out, and when the vocals swoop in, totally whiney, high pitched, and echo drenched, somewhere between a young Ozzy, and a more unhinged hysterical version of Uncle Acid, and in fact, Uncle Acid fans should be ALL over this. It's like a more raw and primitive take on the same sort of seventies psychedelic hard rock, but with SS, it all sounds so much more desperate and unhinged, frantic and dangerous. Oh and then out of nowhere, in comes a barrage of bongos and hand percussion, that gives the sound a little bit of a Goat vibe, but only for like 10 seconds, and then it's right back into another, lurching, lumbering psych-doom garage rock blowout.
Apparently UK doomlords Electric Wizard are huge fans, which makes sense, as they share much of the same sonic DNA, a similar psych-doom bent, and the same obsession with exploitation movies, horror flicks from the sixties and seventies, SS's jams even more that EW's evoking rubber suited beasties, blood spurting ultra violence, greasy bikers and bodacious bikini babes, if it's possible for a 'sound' to be greasy, and filthy, dirty and caked in dried blood, well, Die Screaming is as filthy, bloody and lysergic as it gets. And stick around for the sprawling creepfest closer, the 12+ minute title track, which is a drugged out doom crawl: over a bed of whirring organs, SS unfurl a lumbering dirge, a wasted psychedelic downer rock sprawl, that explodes in the last few minutes into a final, frenzied blast of heavy-horror biker rock crush that KILLS!!!
All that, and then when you add in the blood dripping logo, and melting skull cover art, it's pretty much a guaranteed aQ Record Of The Week! YOU WILL DIE SCREAMING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
MPEG Stream: "Thumper's Theme"
MPEG Stream: "Instruments Of Hellfire"
MPEG Stream: "Curse Of The Corpse"
MPEG Stream: "Die Screaming"

album cover TRUE WIDOW s/t (The End) 2lp 39.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
This all time aQ favorite, and past Record Of The Week, re-pressed and reissued for Record Store Day. We have a handful left, this time on 180 gram yellow/creme vinyl!!! Here's what we had to say about True Widow's self titled debut, when we made it ROTW way back in 2009...
Records like this come along so rarely. The sort of record that immediately reveals itself as something so more then just another disc to add to your collection, or the sort of record you play once or twice and then file. The second we heard this, we knew we had to hear more, and hear it over and over and over again. We discovered these guys online, heard a few songs and immediately bought a copy, and then set out to order them for the store (one of us was so obsessed, he even ordered all the records by the True Widow mainman's OLD band).
Not sure what it is exactly about True Widow, it could be that after hundreds of records of rumbling dronemusic and blasting grim buzz and hushed ambient shimmer, that a band that writes songs, incredibly catchy and melodic and heavy songs, is exactly what our ears craved. Not to take anything away from the band, even if we were immersed in straight up pop and heavy rock (which we sort of are also), these guys (and gal) would most definitely shine. This is the sort of music we rarely hear anymore. We originally expected this to be metal, maybe some sort of heavy post rock metal hybrid, and while it is heavy, it's way more indie rock, or maybe slowcore, more like some haunting mix of the two, the guitars are thick and distorted, but not metallic, and they drift into slow drifting creeps as easily as they do pounding majestic roars. Other reviewers have described True Widow as 'sonic noir' and 'stonegaze', both of which are fairly appropriate, it's definitely dark and moody, certainly shoegazey, and a little bit stonery, but it's really just some sort of perfect gloomy heavy postrock. We hear Codeine, Low, Seam, the vibe is laid back and disaffected, weary and washed out, but still somehow completely rocking.
Every song here is practically perfect, and each one segues seamlessly into the next, the sort of record where you don't just remember the melody or the lyrics, but which songs comes next, and how long the pause between songs is, the sound just so hypnotic and mesmerizing, a sort of lyseric doom pop, a druggy post rock, but the thing is, none of that really explains how addictive these songs seem to be. Literally, from the moment we first heard this record, we have not been able to stop listening to it. We've found other reviewers elsewhere who had the same reaction. Which speaks to the power of the songs, so well crafted, brooding, yet incredibly catchy. Just check out opener "Aka", with its strange mesmerizing main riff, the mysterious pause, and then when the band kicks in, it give you chills, and it's 40 seconds into the record.
The second track, "Duelist", is one of the few tracks that features vocals from bassist Nicole Estill, her warm purr draped over big drums and a simple minimal bass throb, before the band launches into a slow burning minor key lope, only to crank up that opening part, infusing it with just a bit more muscle, and peppering the proceedings with a cool woozy chorus. Then there's "Sunday Driver", a gorgeous hazy reverby almost ballad, skeletal guitars, the drums still solid and loud, the vocals laid back and drugged out, the main melody so catchy, and a chorus that kills. Just writing this now, we've skipped back to the beginning of that song 3 times!
This isn't really new, it came out last year, but we only just discovered it, and it had such an impact on us, we figured it was worth sharing with the rest of you. Cuz even if only a fraction of you have the same sort of response to True Widow that we did, it was well worth it. This has immediately leapt to the top of our year end best of list, even though it didn't come out this year, and hell, for some of us, True Widow immediately made it onto our best EVER list. And yeah we know, we traffic in hyperbole a lot around here, we can't help it cuz we love music so much and are excited to turn people on to the music we love, but there's no denying the empirical evidence, we can't seem to listen to anything else but this record. And that doesn't look like it will be changing anytime soon.
Just listen to the sound samples, the first two tracks alone should do the trick. So goddamn good.
Super deluxe (hence the price, sorry), 180 gram vinyl, full color ultra thick gatefold sleeve, two printed color inserts, very fancy, and like the first pressing, very limited.
MPEG Stream: "AKA"
MPEG Stream: "Duelist"
MPEG Stream: "Sunday Driver"
MPEG Stream: "Flat Black"

album cover MOLINA, TONY Dissed And Dismissed (Slumberland) cd 9.98
Finally also available on cd AND repressed on lp (we also still have some cassettes too)...
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 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 CLOUD NOTHINGS Here And Nowhere Else (Carpark / Mom + Pop) cd 14.98
Cleveland's Cloud Nothings began life as fuzzy jangle poppers, but even in those early days, the group displayed a knack for not just crafting killer hooks, but also for being pretty adept and serious psychedelic noisiness and blown out bombast, which all came to a head with their most recent full length, Attack On Memory, which was way darker and noisier than anything that came before. If anything, this new one splits the difference, still heavily indebted to that classic nineties indie/college rock sound, Cloud Nothings make it their own, crafting noisy, poppy gems that slip easily from hooky, fuzzy crunch, to wild, blown out shoegaze noise rock pound. Opener "Now Hear In" sounds like something you could have heard on the radio back in the day, roughed up a bit and doused in distortion. Which when we think about it pretty much describes the whole record. If you love that sound, and as we've established by now, most of us do, then Here And Nowhere Else is about as good as it gets, a perfect approximation of that sound, but cranked to high heaven, rife with impossible hooks, raspy vocal howl, wild tangled of buzzy guitars, sheets of noisy distortion, wild chaotic drumming, some tracks slowing it down a bit, but even those seem to always eventually explode into full on frantic and frenetic noise rock blowouts, that like on Attack On Memory, often verge on total emo/screamo, and all with a bit of gothy, gloominess running throughout, which means fans of Interpol, Ceremony, Holograms, Iceage and the like will dig this too.
Closing track "I'm Not Part Of Me" might be the catchiest jam here - which is weird, cuz what band tucks their catchiest potential hit way at the end of a record? A band like Cloud Nothings with hooks and potential hits to spare!
We loved this the very first time we played it, but with every listen we dig this record more and more, and for the noise pop nerds around aQ, this is fast becoming a contender for our favorite record of the year! Definitely a Record Of The Week.
MPEG Stream: "Now Hear In"
MPEG Stream: "Quieter Today"
MPEG Stream: "Psychic Trauma"

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 OBNOX Louder Space (12XU) lp 15.98
Regular readers of the aQ list no doubt know by now, how obsessed we are with Obnox, aka Lamont Thomas, drummer for psychedelic noise rockers Puffy Areolas, who on his own, has been kicking out jam after jam, a body of warped, distortion drenched soul infused garage punk that is quickly eclipsing that of the Areolas mothership. Due in part to the relentless release schedule for sure, about a million records in the last year, but also, there's just something about Thomas' solo stuff, noisy and weird as fuck, home brewed and constantly on the verge of collapse, but also impossibly catchy, twisted idiosyncratic noise pop / garage rock, that doesn't shy away from slipping into blown out hip hop / punk hybrids, or delivering some straight up fuzz pop, or some wah wah guitar dosed soul punk, a sound that combines the noisiness and psychedelia of PA, with something much more personal and WTF?!
The opening one two punch here, "Prime Time Sista", might be the catchiest Obnox jam yet - fuzzy, dirgey, noisy, heavy, a little druggy droniness, a little stonery swagger, but melodies galore, and a hook / chorus most bands would kill for. But then comes "Molecule" which sounds like a garage punk Cypress Hill, all staccato groove, FX heavy wah guitar, almost rapped vox, but noisy as fuck and super lo-fi. imagine Rage Against The Machine covered by Rusted Shut! That fucked up, that weird, and that cool. And on it goes, the record veering wildly from jams like "Raindrops", another blast of fuzzed out garage pop bliss, this time rife with some super dramatic over the top vox, to tracks like "How To Rob (The Punk Years)" which is straight up lo-fi punk rock hip hop, and in between, all stripes of fuzzy punk, groovy noisy psychedelia, funk flecked garage rock, shredding epic jammage, short sharp punk-buzz stomp and distorted soulful ballads. Check out closer "Feeling Real Black Today", a distorted soul-punk dirge/ballad, that sounds like it could have come off that killer Forge Your Own Chains comp. Fuck yeah. Best Obnox yet for sure, every record he just keeps getting better and better...
Includes a download code too!
MPEG Stream: "Prime Time Sista"
MPEG Stream: "Molecule"
MPEG Stream: "Raindrops"
MPEG Stream: "How To Rob (The Punk Years)"

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
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
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, Admiral Sir 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 14.98
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 WEN Signals (Keysound) 2x12" 25.00
ALSO ON VINYL!!
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 PEOPLE'S TEMPLE Musical Garden (Hozac) cd 10.98
Here's full length number three from this Michigan retro garage psych crew, and with every record these guys seem to travel further and further into the past, or more specifically, manage to sound even more like they're from 1965, or maybe some other musical universe, where time simply ground to a halt about 50 years ago. But we're not complaining, People's Temple and their musical time capsule offer up some seriously heady, psychedelic garage blooze, lots of fuzzed out reverb, extended spacey jams, wild drumming, swaggery Stones-y, Stooges-y crunch, tripped out retro rock jams, but mixed with plenty of unlikely sonic detours, some classic almost fifties sounding balladry, some seriously lovely Beach Boys-esque harmonies (check out "I Don't Mind (Prelude)"), some furious hard rock shreddery and even some twisted classic rockisms, but all of that stuff is woven seamlessly into what is essentially, a lost sixties hard psych classic, channeled via modern musical shamans, the sort of record that if you didn't know it was new, you'd be hard pressed to NOT think it was actually some sort of reissue. All that aside, the sound is killer, the songs are great, and we find ourselves wanting to listen to little else...
MPEG Stream: "Crimson Rose"
MPEG Stream: "Smooth Moves"
MPEG Stream: "Handsome Nick"
MPEG Stream: "I Heard You Singing"

album cover PEOPLE'S TEMPLE Musical Garden (Hozac) lp 14.98
Here's full length number three from this Michigan retro garage psych crew, and with every record these guys seem to travel further and further into the past, or more specifically, manage to sound even more like they're from 1965, or maybe some other musical universe, where time simply ground to a halt about 50 years ago. But we're not complaining, People's Temple and their musical time capsule offer up some seriously heady, psychedelic garage blooze, lots of fuzzed out reverb, extended spacey jams, wild drumming, swaggery Stones-y, Stooges-y crunch, tripped out retro rock jams, but mixed with plenty of unlikely sonic detours, some classic almost fifties sounding balladry, some seriously lovely Beach Boys-esque harmonies (check out "I Dont Mind (Prelude)"), some furious hard rock shreddery and even some twisted classic rockisms, but all of that stuff is woven seamlessly into what is essentially, a lost sixties hard psych classic, channeled via modern musical shamans, the sort of record that if you didn't know it was new, you'd be hard pressed to NOT think it was actually some sort of reissue. All that aside, the sound is killer, the songs are great, and we find ourselves wanting to listen to little else...
MPEG Stream: "Crimson Rose"
MPEG Stream: "Smooth Moves"
MPEG Stream: "Handsome Nick"
MPEG Stream: "I Heard You Singing"

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 CAR-SICK 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 (Hanged Man) cassette 6.98
BACK IN STOCK!!!
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 16.98
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 SKEPTICS Amalgam (Captured Tracks / Flying Nun) cd 14.98
Even some New Zealand music fanatics haven't heard (or heard of) the Skeptics, a band that featured one of the Gordons, and a member of Bailter Space (the same guy actually), but that's the sort of NZ pedigree that should have most Flying Nun / NZ underground rock nerds flipping their lids. But don't be expecting the murky thud of the Gordons, or the blown out shoegaze heaviness of Bailter Space, the Skeptics occupied a whole different sonic realm, fusing the NZ sound we all know and love to something much more avant grade and experimental, with programmed rhythms and samples, the vibe almost industrial at times, the resulting sound twisted, damaged, demented and totally genius.
Both III (1987) and Amalgam (1990) have been insanely hard to track down for years now, reissued briefly in 1992 in a 4cd box set, which quickly went out of print, and immediately surfaced on the collector's market, and was not surprisingly, outrageously expensive, so we were so psyched to discover that Captured Tracks was including these records in their ongoing Flying Nun reissue campaign (and here's hoping they reissue all the other Skeptics stuff too!). So for now, we can revel in the group's 3rd and 4th records, that 4th record released after the death of David D'Ath, and the group's subsequent dissolution, but what a sonic legacy, one that long deserved the sort of love heaped upon so much other NZ music of the time.
III begins with a twisted smear of looped samples and stuttering sonics, which soon blossom into a lurching creep, snarly crooned vocals over big booming drums, wound up in streaks of distorted guitar buzz, the vibe, gloomy and dark, a sort of post industrial downer rock, that lumbers ominously, and is peppered with weird fragmented samples, melodic shards, super heavy, ominous, and intense, but also weirdly catchy. And it doesn't get any less weird, the sound veering dramatically, from the piano driven post punk of "Agitator", again peppered with strange sound FX and distorted electronics, sounding almost cabaret, like some mutated balladic torch song. "Turnover" slips back into the woozy, murky creep of the opener, the guitars thick and viscous, the vox slithery and blackly sexy, all anchored by a looped rhythm, and again, laced with strange electronic squiggles and twisted blurry samples. And so it goes, "La Motta" almost sounds like Scott Walker via the Butthole Surfers, but with a damaged industrial makeover, "Notice" too is a sort of drugged out industrial noise rock dirge, with some jagged shards of guitar, over a muddy moody downer rock murk, with the rest of the record splitting the difference between home brewed industrial goth and grinding avant post punk crush.
While Amalgam has a similar sonic template, it's a bit more polished, the vocals more prominent, the drums more driving, the pop element more up front, there's even a bit of a new wave vibe, just check out opener "And We bake", which sounds like some lost new wave classic, fused to some girding metal buzz, and twisted mechanical rhythm. But the sound remains sonically sick, the second track, slipping right back into a woozy, warmly dirge, lurching detuned weirdness, clouds of FX and squiggly alien electronics wreath rubbery bass billows, melting riffs, and mush mouthed vocals, seriously trippy and gloriously fucked up.
Amalgam is a lot more varied than its predecessor, some tracks super electronics, others smeary buzzscapes of layered guitars, and super creeped out vocal samples, new wave electro pop and grim, noise drenched sprawls of grim, harrowing, psychedelic noise. It's that balance that makes the record so cool, twisted poppiness, colliding with speaker shredding weirdness, often the two bleeding into each other, creating some unholy hybrid of avant industrial post punk psych-noise, the sort of thing the should appeal equally to weird music obsessives, adventurous goths and fans of experimental twisted noise pop. Which really is pretty much most everybody we know!
MPEG Stream: "And We Bake"
MPEG Stream: "Pack Ice"
MPEG Stream: "Never Tire Of Looking At The Stars"

album cover SKEPTICS III (Captured Tracks / Flying Nun) cd 14.98
Even some New Zealand music fanatics haven't heard (or heard of) the Skeptics, a band that featured one of the Gordons, and a member of Bailter Space (the same guy actually), but that's the sort of NZ pedigree that should have most Flying Nun / NZ underground rock nerds flipping their lids. But don't be expecting the murky thud of the Gordons, or the blown out shoegaze heaviness of Bailter Space, the Skeptics occupied a whole different sonic realm, fusing the NZ sound we all know and love to something much more avant grade and experimental, with programmed rhythms and samples, the vibe almost industrial at times, the resulting sound twisted, damaged, demented and totally genius.
Both III (1987) and Amalgam (1990) have been insanely hard to track down for years now, reissued briefly in 1992 in a 4cd box set, which quickly went out of print, and immediately surfaced on the collector's market, and was not surprisingly, outrageously expensive, so we were so psyched to discover that Captured Tracks was including these records in their ongoing Flying Nun reissue campaign (and here's hoping they reissue all the other Skeptics stuff too!). So for now, we can revel in the group's 3rd and 4th records, that 4th record released after the death of David D'Ath, and the group's subsequent dissolution, but what a sonic legacy, one that long deserved the sort of love heaped upon so much other NZ music of the time.
III begins with a twisted smear of looped samples and stuttering sonics, which soon blossom into a lurching creep, snarly crooned vocals over big booming drums, wound up in streaks of distorted guitar buzz, the vibe, gloomy and dark, a sort of post industrial downer rock, that lumbers ominously, and is peppered with weird fragmented samples, melodic shards, super heavy, ominous, and intense, but also weirdly catchy. And it doesn't get any less weird, the sound veering dramatically, from the piano driven post punk of "Agitator", again peppered with strange sound FX and distorted electronics, sounding almost cabaret, like some mutated balladic torch song. "Turnover" slips back into the woozy, murky creep of the opener, the guitars thick and viscous, the vox slithery and blackly sexy, all anchored by a looped rhythm, and again, laced with strange electronic squiggles and twisted blurry samples. And so it goes, "La Motta" almost sounds like Scott Walker via the Butthole Surfers, but with a damaged industrial makeover, "Notice" too is a sort of drugged out industrial noise rock dirge, with some jagged shards of guitar, over a muddy moody downer rock murk, with the rest of the record splitting the difference between home brewed industrial goth and grinding avant post punk crush.
While Amalgam has a similar sonic template, it's a bit more polished, the vocals more prominent, the drums more driving, the pop element more up front, there's even a bit of a new wave vibe, just check out opener "And We bake", which sounds like some lost new wave classic, fused to some girding metal buzz, and twisted mechanical rhythm. But the sound remains sonically sick, the second track, slipping right back into a woozy, warmly dirge, lurching detuned weirdness, clouds of FX and squiggly alien electronics wreath rubbery bass billows, melting riffs, and mush mouthed vocals, seriously trippy and gloriously fucked up.
Amalgam is a lot more varied than its predecessor, some tracks super electronics, others smeary buzzscapes of layered guitars, and super creeped out vocal samples, new wave electro pop and grim, noise drenched sprawls of grim, harrowing, psychedelic noise. It's that balance that makes the record so cool, twisted poppiness, colliding with speaker shredding weirdness, often the two bleeding into each other, creating some unholy hybrid of avant industrial post punk psych-noise, the sort of thing the should appeal equally to weird music obsessives, adventurous goths and fans of experimental twisted noise pop. Which really is pretty much most everybody we know!
MPEG Stream: "Feeling Bad"
MPEG Stream: "Agitator"
MPEG Stream: "Turnover"
MPEG Stream: "La Motta"

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 15.98
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 17.98
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