TOUGHGUY FANTASY / ARCTIC BOYZ Thank Gods Its Friday / Louisianna Purchase (Frenetic) 2cd 14.98
Three boyz. Two bands. Two albums. Toughguy Fantasy is an aural onslaught of noise insanity. Barely keeping up with itself, it's sorta in the vein of Lightning Bolt but with more musical toys and much more disfunction, making for an intangible attack from all angles. Arctic Boyz is the slightly quieter sibling. Still chaotic for the most part, imagine Hella without "songs" with much clattering feedback. Starts off with a slightly middle-eastern flavor, and ramps up into a scratchy non-sensical maelstrom. Features members of Hella, Chrime in Choir, The Appreciation and Holy Smokes: Zach, Carson and Justin.
TOUGHGUY FANTASY "Thank Gods It's Friday" MPEG Stream:
ARCTIC BOYZ "Quanah"
TREY TOLD 'EM Super Epic Thrill Jockey Mega Massive Anniversary Mix (Thrill Jockey) cd 9.98
Originally released way back in 2007, and available only to attendees of the two Thrill Jockey 15th Anniversary shows in Chicago and London, we're listing this now 'cause one of our distributors got a handful of these killer mixes, a collaborative DJ mix from Girl Talk and Trey Told 'Em, constructed exclusively of tracks culled from the Thrill Jockey archives, and including a couple of mega mixes which make the whole thing kind of essential. The proper mix includes tracks from Bobby Conn, Gaunt, Pit Er Pat, Eleventh Dream Day, Giant Sand, Dolomite, Trapist, John Parish, Nobuzaku Tekemura, The Fiery Furnaces, Califone, Chicago Underground Duo, Mouse On Mars, Freakwater, Frequency, Sam Prekop, The National Trust, Extra Golden, Arbouretum, Radian, The Sea And Cake, Fred Anderson & Hamid Drake, Lithops, Directions In Music, Aki Tsuyuko, Howe Gelb, Tunng, Isotope 217, Archer Prewitt, The Zincs, Sue Garner & Rick Brown, Adult., Exploding Star Orchestra, Brokeback, Town And Country and Microstoria (what, no A Minor Forest?!). And it's not just the song selection, the way they're mixed, results in an awesome, ever shifting soundscape, that is so good, we found ourselves even digging the tracks that we didn't think we liked. Out of context, some of the songs here have us all fired up to revisit some of the groups we may have ignored or just missed. But if that wasn't enough, there are three megamixes, the record opens with a killer Trans Am mix that reminds us why we love those guys so much, and then finishes with a Tortoise megamix, and then an Oval megamix, that purports to contain EVERY single Oval song ever recorded. Pretty cool. And crazy limited. Only 4000 copies made way back in 2007, and we only got a tiny handful, so act fast if you want one.
"Trans Am Megamix" MPEG Stream:
TROUM / TAM QUAM TABULA RASA / KALLABRIS Kasha-Pashana (Old Europa Cafe) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. While Troum and their previous incarnation Maeror Tri may be familiar to Aquarius customers, the other two participants in this three way split release, Kallabris and Tam Quam Tabula Rasa, are certainly far more obscure entries from the post-industrial, noise 'n' drone community. With loose connections to the anagramatically complex, post-industrial ensemble Cranioclast, Kallabris detaches from most external references with two lengthy cuts of clinical Minimalism, subduing all sounds into purely concrete ambience. Tam Quam Tabula Rasa hails from the Italian scene of industrial ritualists, which has presented outfits like Ain Soph and Sigillum S. The restrained atmopsheres of Kallabris are again present; yet TQTR situates clanging metallic percussion and death-industrial allusions into the perpetual droning. AQ favorites Troum are in top form on their two lengthy tracks which are clearly the strongest amongst the three. With hissing drones, muffled distortion, and bleary reverberations built from guitars, bass, and source material from Yen Pox, Troum again position themselves as the malevolent doppelganger of My Bloody Valentine, with their beautiful guitar drones creeping into empathically haunting and occasionally threatening references. Limited stock!
KALLABRIS "Napping" MPEG Stream:
TAM QUAM TABULA RASA "Fickle Procrustean Polymorphous" MPEG Stream:
TSUNODA TOSHIYA / CIVYIU KKLIU s/t (Blung) 2cd 17.98
TUSSLE / PUBLICIST Split Infinitive (Voltaire) 12" 11.98
Release number three from local label Voltaire Records, and it's another good one. After the debut from Publicist (aka Sebastian Thomson from Trans Am) and the Affairs Online compilation, which included the debut of Lovelock (aka Steve Moore of Zombi), comes this killer split, featuring Publicist once again, this time teamed up with aQ faves Tussle, with each band offering up one original, and then remixing a song by the other. Tussle start things off with a groovy chunk of bouncy bass driven electro, wreathed in strings, and underpinned by what sounds like blurred pianos, it's a dizzying mix of dancefloor slink, and low slung electro-pop, the production lush and softly psychedelic, the rhythms a bit dubbed out, definitely digging the new sound, and we're excited to hear more. They also take on Publicist's "Hand To Mouth" from the Voltaire 12" and make it their own, pulsing synths, garbled processed vox, even bigger beats, some robotic funk swirled in, what sounds almost like some talk box, seriously propulsive and groovy. Publicist offers up some minimal synthscapery, a stuttery rhythmic bit of clipped synth pulse, over a krautdisco groove, and some thick funky basslines, everything softly distorted and seriously buzzy, the song blossoming into a sort of sci-fi Moroder-ish disco funk groove, with some swirly psychedelic synths and some kick ass robo-vox. And then Tussle's track gets Publicized into something a bit darker and groovier, thick dubbed out bass pulses, wild percussion, all over a churning low end groove and lush swells of cosmic synth, not to mention some weird breathy vocalizations, the whole thing sounding like the music from the credit sequence in some eighties sci-fi fantasy epic. Awesome!
TUSSLE "Soft Crush (Publicist Remix)" MPEG Stream:
PUBLICIST "Hand To Mouth (Tussle Remix)"
TWINSISTERMOON The Snowbringer Cult (Ba Da Bing) lp 15.98
The Snowbringer Cult was a double cd originally released way back in 2008 on the Students of Decay label, and was the first proper cd release from French bedroom drone-psych-folk epic from Natural Snow Buildings, the boy/girl duo of Mehdi Amaziane and Solange Gularte, that double cd included a NSB full length, as well as an album from each of their solo projects, those being Isengrind and Twinsistermoon. That double cd is finally available again, but has also been reissued on vinyl for the first time, with each of the three parts being released separately as its own record. Natural Snow Buildings have been a band since WAY back in 1999, toiling quietly WAY underground, and over the course of the last decade plus, have only really released a handful of records, and in the first 6 or 7 years, they only managed 4 cd-r's and two tapes, the total number of copies of all 6 of those releases hovering at about 250. That's insane! At the time we couldn't help wonder how a band with such a small catalog, that has reached so few ears, could generate so much fanboy freakout?! But that's precisely what happened. And thankfully, and perhaps surprisingly, in the case of NSB, and the two solo offshoots, the hype does not seem unwarranted. The freaking out more than merited. The music of Amaziane and Gularte is definitely something special, much more than the usual generic fx laden droned out abstract cd-r floor-core that seems to be constantly flooding the scene, this duo write actual songs, and create gorgeous soundscapes, they mix raga-like psyche with fluttery folk, deep drones with pristine pop, weaving it all together into something spectacular. Mehdi begins the Twinsistermoon record with a sound that perfectly compliments Solange's Isengrind record (and makes it obvious why the two work so well together in NSB), long drawn out glimmering high end tones, draped over a dark minor key folky strum, and simple percussion, while Mehdi's feminine sounding falsetto soars over the top, all infused with some sort of freaky folky Wickerman vibe. Gorgeous and haunting. That track is followed up by a short chunk of perfect dreamfolk, simple folky strum, and Mehdi's crystal clear vocals, ringing out, pure and impossibly high, if you didn't know better you might think this was some rare track by some lost seventies female folkie. And so it goes, tracks weaving back and forth, from warm washed out blissy dreamy dronescapes, to simple stripped down folk, often the two sounds drifting into each other, cross pollinating, the folk songs short and seemingly serving to separate the longer sprawling expanses of drone and shimmer, the two sounds dramatically different, but somehow complimenting one another perfectly.
TWO SHEDS & DAME SATAN split (Ghostmansion) 7" 3.99
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. This new split 7" features a pair of well matched young bands from around these parts -- the Bay Area's Dame Satan and Two Sheds from Sacramento. They're druggy, dusky hued country folks who slink about in the shadows. Their all too brief two songs harken a woodsy winter chill. Can't wait for more! The record is pressed on the palest seafoam green vinyl and is packaged in a beautiful screen printed sleeve.
U.S. GIRLS / DIRTY BEACHES split (Silbing Sex) 7"+download 8.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. From the same label that brought us the killer 7"/cd from Spanish electro punk outfit Der Ventilator (reviewed elsewhere on this list), comes this killer split, featuring long time fave US Girls, and new super hyped combo (or one man band, we're not sure), Dirty Beaches. US Girls, aka Megan Remy offers up another fantastic batch of lo-fi psychedelic greywave, all murky and muddy, haunting and ritualistic, a strange drum driven vocal chant starts things off, her voice witchy and warped, all wreathed in a cloud of whirring low end, before the sound blossoms into a weird electronic groove, all minimal programmed percussion, beneath a soft haze of distortion and tangled psychedelic guitars, before launching into the final and longest track, a sort of creepy underwater goth dub workout, that sounds a bit like a more minimal avant lo-fi Zola Jesus, a looped sonar rhythm, Remy's vocals chant like and mesmerizing, eventually the beat and vox are swallowed up by a cloud of electronic squiggles and warped spaced out FX. Dirty Beaches is similarly murky and echoey, but instead of witchy electronic minimalism, he/they offer up a moody croon over a super minimal bit of rhythmic crunch, and some barely audible melody, the sound a woozy, warped bit of washed out drift, the rhythm more like a distant chugging train, a hushed pulse, there seems to be some super minimal guitar too, an almost Johnny Cash bit of low slung strum, but it too is wreathed in murk and transformed into just another warped undulating throb, the whole thing dark and dreamily dubby. Super sweet packaging, full color cover in a thick plastic sleeve sealed with a sticker, pressed on green vinyl with a download coupon too.
US GIRLS "Mah Marie" MPEG Stream:
DIRTY BEACHES "Drunk Driving"
ULVER 1993-2003: 1st Decade In The Machines (Jester) cd 14.98
Lupine Norwegian tricksters Ulver have been around for 10 years now, and mark the occasion with this invitational remix album, something very appropriate for a group whose whole career has been about morphing and reinventing themselves, remaining weirdo outsiders in whatever genre they visit. A decade ago they started out (and still have some residual allegiance to) the Nordic black metal genre, but today we're not sure what genre they claim, certainly it's not metal anymore. Glitchy electronica and downtempo beats took over from buzzing guitars and blast beats, but there's a definite connection between the two as this project proves. Remixers include Ulver themselves (whose track goes way back to their Vargnatt demo tape from '93 for source material) and an international cast of experimentalists: Merzbow, Fennesz, Stars Of The Lid, Neotropic, Bogdan Raczynski, Third Eye Foundation, Information, Upland, Pita, V/Vm, Jazzkammer and a few others. An impressive and unusual line-up, certainly not entirely what we expected. Some do drones, some delve into beat-scapes, while others go for the raw black stuff, such as Merzbow (of course) whose ten-minute "Vow me Ibrzu" is one of the highlights, being a properly scary and noisy trawl through the evil riffage of Ulver's metallic past. Quite a few of the mixes are drawn from Ulver's more recent electronica efforts (Perdition City, the Silence eps, and the Lycantropen Themes soundtrack), but not all -- early stuff from Ulver's classic lycanthropian "Trilogie" of black metal albums (Bergtatt and Nattens Madrigal specifically) makes it on here as well. Several more mixes derive from Ulver's industrial version of William Blake's Marriage of Heaven and Hell, the double cd that was an early signpost of Ulver's willingness to violate genre norms and musical categorization. Like it says here, wolves evolve...
FENNESZ "Only The Poor Have To Travel" MPEG Stream:
UPLAND "Lost In Moments Remix" MPEG Stream:
MERZBOW "Vow me Ibrzu"
ULVER / IMMORTAL Bargnatt - Promo '93 / Promo '91 (Dead Not Found) cd 21.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Bootleg (note it's on "Dead Not Found" not legit label "Head Not Found") release of early material by two legendary Norwegian black metal acts, the now so avant garde that they're not black metal anymore Ulver and black metal diehards even today Immortal. Of course back in the early '90s, both bands were True with a captial T: raw, church-burning black metal of the purest sort. Demotape tracks from both bands (4 from Ulver, 3 from Immortal), plus an Ulver song from their rare split 7" with Mysticum. Ulver's stuff melds neo-classical melodicism with lo-fi Burzum-style noise-production, which certainly sets the stage for several of their later releases. Immortal's tracks are EXTREMELY lo-fi, with the Popeye death-grunts being the most audible aspect. Oh, the atmosphere! For fans only, of course (who will also no doubt appreciate the shocking anti-Dimmu Borgir tray-card graphics).
UMBRELLAS IN THE SUN A Crepuscule / Factory Benelux DVD 1979-1987 (LTM) dvd 28.00
A two hour plus anthology of rare digitally remastered studio clips and live footage by various groups from the archives of Factory Records, Factory Benelux, Les Disques du Crepuscle between 1979 and 1987. Featuring Antena, A Certain Ratio, Josef K, Caberet Voltaire, Section 25, Durutti Column, New Order, Crispy Ambulance, Tuxedomoon, Paul Haig, Quando Quango and many, many others.
UNDERJORDISKA / SPECTRAL LORE split (Stellar Auditorium) 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. Third release we've carried from the Stellar Auditorium, and we said it before, but it bears repeating, how awesome a label name is that. Totally evokes some sort of black metal lazer light show, the kind we used to sneak into when we were kids, but way more grim and buzzy and space-y. Anyway, a few lists back we reviewed the latest from psychedelic black metal one man band Procer Veneficus, and a mysterious Swedish outfit called Underjordiska, whose full length Dystert Vilse we could barely keep in stock. Their sound a warped blend of epic sweeping shoegazey buzz and warbly and raw soft black noise, that definitely hit the spot for all of us outsider black metal obsessives. So we managed to get a second release from those guys, this one a split with the more ambient but equally dark and mysterious Spectral Lore, who just so happens to be the guy who runs Stellar Auditorium, and whose haunting drift definitely compliments Underjordiska's blown out buzz. Although here even moreso, as Underjordiska try something a little more abstract and ambient. Once again, incredible packaging, full color, very striking, but still weirdly, the disc itself remains a cd-r, this one limited to 300 copies, each one hand numbered. Two tracks, one from each band, both 30 minutes plus! Underjordiska is up first, their track begins with the sound of waves crashing, gulls, all beneath a delicate drift of clean guitar, the sounds of the surf soon fade out, while in their place a strange assemblage of buzz and hiss, and spacey effects all swirl and swoop, the sound growing more metallic, more alien, more chaotic, before slipping back into a swirling morass of churning black low end, and softly muted buzz, a droning crawl, laced with bits of crunch and rumble, becoming gradually more and more minimal, until the sound is all hushed and delicate and almost static, barring some delicate melodic fragments drifting through the darkness. The band build on that minimal foundation, finally adding guitars, and creating a sort of stop motion doom-ic black buzz, layers of droning buzzing guitars seeming to hover and slowly drift into one another playing out some grim melody, but very very very slowly, before the guitars slip away, and the track ends with an almost choral sounding outro. Spectral Lore start out with some downtuned guitars, a noisy bit of distorted riffage, making us think for a moment that we may have gotten the two tracks mixed up, but soon those guitars are smoothed out into a deep subterranean crawl, distant shimmering strings, deep low end drift, with the guitars resurfacing here and there, offering up a squall of crumbling crunch or jagged chug, before slipping back under, the distant drones sounding like some sort of Italian horror soundtrack, getting weirdly Goblin-y at one point, before dissipating in a flurry of delay and reverb, leaving just overtones, overlapping and layered, whirring and effulgent, giving way to a weirdly jazzy mini-jam outro, set in a slowly fading sea of hiss, that becomes the sound of water once again, revisiting the first few moments of the Underjordiska track. Both groups offer up truly strange sonic journeys, mysterious, haunting, otherworldly, meditative and tranquil, but unstable, unpredictable, crafting long stretches of dark ambience, muted shoegazey guitars, deep cavernous drones, crumbling blackened riffage, hushed shimmer, all twisted and transformed, and woven into these mesmerizing alien landscapes...
UNDERJORDISKA "Part I" MPEG Stream:
SPECTRAL LORE "Part II"
UNDOR / RIDE FOR REVENGE split (Bestial Burst) cd 12.98
This killer two band tag team of weirdo whatthefuck outsider Finnish black metal, previously only available on (out of print) vinyl, NOW ON CD!! Here's what we had to say about this split when we first reviewed the 12": The return of our favorite Finnish black metal weirdos Ride For Revenge, who really are barely even black metal, and actually hardly metal, but they are definitely weird, and this latest epic jam definitely does nothing to convince us otherwise. Beginning the ridiculous (and best ever!) title: "Ridiculed By Ladies Of The Moon", the song begins with a long stretch of warbly synth drone, laced with feedback, slowly undulating, while in the background sounds clank and clatter, sounding either like someone building a robot or someone making dinner, this goes on for a while until BLAM, the drums kick in, the synthy/electronic buzz is joined by HEAVY buzzy bass, and the track is transformed into a stumbling bass heavy dirge, the drums super distorted, which is especially noticeable on the bizarre fills, then the vocals, and awesome alien croak, sick and sinister and totally fucking nuts, the song pounds away, the sound gradually becoming a sort of dirgey space goth doom, dramatic and demented, and then there's the last stretch a wild final few minutes, the drums gone haywire, totally chaotic, the buzz intensified, wreathed in squiggles of white noise, and the sonorous clang of metal on metal, either some distant bells, or more likely, the pots and pans from the above mentioned kitchen being hurled about, a twisted and baffling finish to another incredible warped chunk of sonic weirdness from these guys. Which is a lot to live up to for Undor, who decide to not try to outweird RfR, but instead, offer up a sort of sonic analogue, a stretched out midtempo jam, that sounds like just drums and guitar, the guitar riffing away, but occasionally spiraling into some weird bit of atonal squiggle, or slippery abstract melody, or a brief bit of shred, but always returning to the stumbling, lumbering, lurching main rhythm/riff. The vibe is a bit mournful, at times it sounds a bit like Hypothermia crossed with Varghkoghargasmal, the vocals pushing it over the top, a wild hysterical shriek, that in some weird way balances the slightly more measured tone of the rest of the track. But only slightly.
UNDOR "Sanguis Sacer (Excerpt)" MPEG Stream:
RIDE FOR REVENGE "Ridiculed By The Ladies Of The Moon (Excerpt)"
UNDOR / RIDE FOR REVENGE split (Bestial Burst) 12" 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. The return of our favorite Finnish black metal weirdos Ride For Revenge, who really are barely even black metal, and actually hardly metal, but they are definitely weird, and this latest sidelong jam definitely does nothing to convince us otherwise. Beginning the ridiculous (and best ever!) title: "Ridiculed By Ladies Of The Moon", the song begins with a long stretch of warbly synth drone, laced with feedback, slowly undulating, while in the background sounds clank and clatter, sounding either like someone building a robot or someone making dinner, this goes on for a while until BLAM, the drums kick in, the synthy/electronic buzz is joined by HEAVY buzzy bass, and the track is transformed into a stumbling bass heavy dirge, the drums super distorted, which is especially noticeable on the bizarre fills, then the vocals, and awesome alien croak, sick and sinister and totally fucking nuts, the song pounds away, the sound gradually becoming a sort of dirgey space goth doom, dramatic and demented, and then there's the last stretch a wild final few minutes, the drums gone haywire, totally chaotic, the buzz intensified, wreathed in squiggles of white noise, and the sonorous clang of metal on metal, either some distant bells, or more likely, the pots and pans from the above mentioned kitchen being hurled about, a twisted and baffling finish to another incredible warped chunk of sonic weirdness from these guys. Which is a lot to live up to for Undor, who decide to not try to outweird RfR, but instead, offer up a sort of sonic analogue, a stretched out midtempo jam, that sounds like just drums and guitar, the guitar riffing away, but occasionally spiraling into some weird bit of atonal squiggle, or slippery abstract melody, or a brief bit of shred, but always returning to the stumbling, lumbering, lurching main rhythm/riff. The vibe is a bit mournful, at times it sounds a bit like Hypothermia crossed with Varghkoghargasmal, the vocals pushing it over the top, a wild hysterical shriek, that in some weird way balances the slightly more measured tone of the rest of the track. But only slightly. LIMITED TO 250 COPIES!!
UNEARTHLY TRANCE / VOLITION Winter Split (Wolfsbane) 7" 11.98
Just one glance at the cover of this 7" should send most doom obsessives into an involuntary frenzy, the weird black and white washed out image, the twisted barely legible writing, so distinctive and immediately recognizable, but this is not in fact a lost record or weird reissue from New York doom legends Winter, but is in fact, the next best thing, two contemporary outfits, tackling their favorite Winter tunes, an homage / tribute to a criminally under appreciated band, especially considering that their sound predicted pretty much all the slow and low heaviness going on these days, and that the sound, and most of the bands that practice it, would sound a whole lot different if it wasn't for these guys, whether they know it or not. Up first are long time aQ faves Unearthly Trance, who add their own twist but don't drift too far from the original, lumbering, lurching, plodding crusty doom sludge bliss, a filthy midtempo plod, peppered with bursts of double kick drumming, guttural vox, and of course twisted tarpit guitar buzz. UK sludge beasts Volition also don't mess with Winter's sound all that much, unfurling a blackened and dense bit of sprawling doom, that more than classic ultra doom, sounds more like a grindcore record played at 16rpm. Both sides rule, essential modern megadoom, and if you've yet to discover the dismal joy of Winter, maybe these two tracks will convince you to track some of that shit down. LIMITED TO 500 COPIES, each one hand numbered, and these are the last copies we'll be able to get...
UNEARTHLY TRANCE / WOODEN WAND split (Chrome Peeler) 7" 14.98
UNEARTHLY TRANCE / WOODEN WAND split (Chrome Peeler) 7" 14.98
UNO ACTU / MALEDICERE split (God Is Myth) 7" 8.98
**SALE **SALE* *SALE** Killer black metal / black ambient match up, featuring one of our favorite mysterious ritualistic drone combos, Uno Actu. But let's start with Maledicere, a duo from Minnesota of all places, and whose sound is a sort of raw pounding black metal, with a bit of a post rock vibe. After an intro of tinkling tones and dreamy ambience, the band launch into a loping Burzumic pound, but with strange howled vocals, very melodic, but still plenty buzz drenched. Mostly midtempo, but the band do explode into bursts of frenzied buzz with soaring majestic melodies, before slipping back into something more pounding and primitive. Definitely be psyched to hear more from these guys. But no matter how good Maledicere is, Uno Actu are the reason we're so excited about this record. With only a handful of demos over the last few years (a couple of which we've raved about on past lists), a new record from these guys (or this guy), is like an (un)holy message sent from another realm, a rare occurrence that produces much rejoicing, and much huddling around the stereo late and night by candlelight. A cloud of muted feedback and textured buzz, swirls and pulses, over delicate acoustic guitar, some sort of dreamy blackened noisefolk, slipping from corrosive and caustic to washed out and meditative. Demonic vocals gurgle over smears of fracture melody, and distant guitar strum, eventually spiraling into a looped bit of minor key droneguitar mesmer. So fantastic. Someone needs to collect all the demos and release them on cd, or vinyl, or something, but until then, we'll just have to make do with these little offerings, everyone a black joy to behold.
USVA / DRACO Re-Desecrating The South Carelian Graves (Bestial Burst) cd 13.98
UTARM / SADNESS SATURN split (Chrysalis Of Matter) cassette 8.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Ultra limited split between these two experimental black metal entities. Sadness Saturn is one of the guys behind aQ faves Servile Sect, whose most recent release just got re-issued on vinyl via Thurston Moore's Ecstatic Peace label, and Utarm is a one man band from Norway; the two square off on this split cassette tape. Utarm are up first, and the sound is more doom than black, the programmed drums a monstrous pound, the music a soaring epic swell of synths, not guitars, or maybe they're super processed guitars, either way, the sound is really unique, reminds us a bit of Gnaw Their Tongues, a sort of cinematic depressive blackness, less about blasting buzz, than dramatic lurching mystery, plenty of strangled tortured heaviness, abstract ambience, everything rife with glitch and skree, the vocals a tortured wail, all wreathed in a blackened haze, raw and in the red and super intense and harrowing. Sadness Saturn traffic in something much more raw and grim, unlike the glistening alien drone drenched blackness of Servile Sect, the sound here is a pounding black murk, the vocals and guitars nearly indistinguishable, all wound around each other like a single cloud of muted black buzz, the drums relentless and machinelike, but buried within SS's cavernous lo-fi crush, are haunting melodies, soaring and epic, the riffs, after repeated listens seem to crystallize, become much more intense and emotional, transforming simple black metal into something strangely melodic and abstract, but still plenty black and grim. Incredible packaging, printed black and white fold out covers with the band logos printed in extra glossy black ink, the tape case housed in a hand assembled slipcover, hand screened with a super striking, and super evil sigil. LIMITED TO 100 COPIES. We have about 15, probably the last ones we'll ever get...
V/A Aquarius Rock (Pressure Sounds) 2lp 24.00
What, you don't remember when our store was located on Constant Spring Road in Kingston, Jamaica? Awww, there's just no pulling the wool over y'all's eyes. You do know that Allan's initials are JAH though don't you? It is kind of a eerie co-incidence that. Honestly, Aquarius -- the Jamaican variant -- was a record store, recording studio and record label founded and run by Herman Chin-Loy, a Jamaican of Chinese and African descent. Along with having one of the hottest record shops in Kingston (picking the right name is crucial of course) he holds the claim to fame of releasing the very first dub record, Aquarius Dub and of being the man to introduce the world to Augustus Pablo and his magical melodica. Included here are 24 classic tracks -- vocal and dubs -- from Herman's vaults such as Augustus Pablo's "Aquarius Rock" and "Iggy Iggy", and cuts from Dennis Brown, Alton Ellis, Dennis AlCapone and more. It's a nice collection, the only downside being that there's an awful lot of rhythm recycling throughout. Comes with a nice full color booklet with a bio on Chin-Loy and his Aquarius enterprise.
AUGUSTUS PABLO & HERMAN "Aquarius Rock" MPEG Stream:
DENNIS ALCAPONE "Sabata"
V/A Cambodian Rocks (original version on Parallel World) (Parallel World) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Previously issued a while back only on vinyl, "Cambodian Rocks" - now on CD - presents a handful of unknown (to the point that no artist names or track titles are given) Cambodian garage bands from the late 60s and early 70s. The liner notes explain that the compiler (s/he is also anonymous) picked up a bunch of random tapes while in Cambodia and put this together of the best tracks from those tapes. For those who are entranced by the psychedelic exotica found in the "Love, Peace, and Poetry" series, "Cambodian Rocks" makes an exceptional companion. For the most part this compilation is dominated by really good fuzzed out organ / guitar garage rich with understandably crappy production. But along with the garage cuts, there's a track of incredibly unfunky James Brown mimicry that make the Make Up's theatrical irony seem even more insincere than they really are. Appropriated dancehall groove/stomps with Cambodian instead of Jamaican overtones. But the highlight is the appearance of the female led garage band who were featured on the Asian Psychedelic chapter of the "Love, Peace, and Poetry" series. Greasy garage rock not far from the Count Five or the Seeds but with reverb drenched female vocals that hits high notes rarely found even on Bollywood sountracks. Totally essential.
V/A Disco Deutschland Disco (Marina) cd 16.98
Oh how we've adored the Germans' take on various musical styles over the years, and we're not just talking about their obvious kosmiche krautrock brilliance. No, it's German musicmakers' handling of the more unexpected genres that have deepened our love affair tenfold. The hip '60s kitten heeled go-go pop of the In-Kraut compilations? The spaghetti (er, sauerkraut?) westerns of the Wig Wam Weste(r)n Weisse Wolfe collections? Yes and yes! Those two genres are unquestionably more commonly associated with French chanteuses and American cowboys, so the unmistakable German inflections that surface always make for a delightful twist on the familiar. Now Marina Records, who brought us those In-Kraut comps, takes it (or is it retakes it?) to the dancefloor with this compilation of German disco and funk music circa 1975 thru 1980. They're not messin' around. This is straight-up boogie wonderland business. Awesome. Some highlights include the 8+ minute Supermax track, a lowdown I'm so sexy unstoppable groover... the Giorgio Moroder studio band Munich Machine's classic "Get On The Funk Train"... and a disco-era hit from In-Kraut alumnus Peter Thomas and his Sound Orchestra... among 15 other mainly killer, glitterball dazzlers. Now, if the weird thing is, this isn't really that weird. Heck disco's even back "in" now. Don't go expecting krautrocky craziness, instead just get yer dancing shoes on and yer ass in gear. Seriously, this has been getting spun in the store by AQ staffers just as much or more than anything else lately, and when it's on we've been getting our work done with just a little more groove. Includes a 14-page booklet of informative liner notes, with such interestin' tidbits as that Berry Lipman's track "Sex World" was used as the theme song for an American porno film, but originated as an instrumental from the German sci-fi TV series Star Maidens...
SUPERMAX "Love Machine" MPEG Stream:
LIPMAN, BERRY "Sex World" MPEG Stream:
PETER THOMAS SOUND ORCHESTRA "Opium"
V/A !Policia! (Militia Group) cd 15.98
We reviewed the totally amazing metal-pop-punk of Fallout Boy last list and casually mentioned one of the bonus tracks, a super revved up metallic version of the Police's "Roxanne" not knowing that right around the corner was this compilation of even more Police covers by other of-the-moment emo / metallic pop punk / indie rock outifts. With compilations like this, there is so much potential for suck, but thankfully this here disc is about 90 percent cream. It helps that the Police were an amazing band, and wrote totally brilliant songs. So it's nice to hear different (some drastically) versions of some of those classics. Obviously Fallout Boy's "Roxanne" is a killer, souped up and WAY heavier, but there's also Limbeck's gorgeous and twangy countrified version of "So Lonely", a killer version of "Truth Hits Everybody" by Motion City Soundtrack, and probably the coolest weirdest track on here, Maxeen doing the classic Police b-side "Murder By Numbers", turning it into a creepy new wave epic, with fuzzy synths, high Shellac like guitar parts, and lots of weird dynamics. So good. The rest of the comp is rounded out by bands doing fairly faithful renditions (usually a bit heavier or faster) with only a few cringeworthy 'ballads' to speak of. Been listening to this non stop. As good as it is, it did have us pulling out our old Police records too!
MAXEEN "Murder By Numbers" MPEG Stream:
LIMBECK "So Lonely" MPEG Stream:
MOTION CITY SOUNDTRACK "Truth Hits Everybody"
V/A 'Twas The Night Before Hanukkah (Idelsohn Society) 2cd 16.98
This double cd set hits the shelves just in the Saint Nick of time for the Christmakuh holiday season. Thanks to the Idelsohn Society, a wonderful nonprofit dedicated to preserving and illuminating Jewish history through music (they also put out the Songs For The Jewish-American Jet Set comp), Jewish people can make peace with their love of Christmas music and their desire to tinsel a tree. And why shouldn't they? Set to the tune of Jingle Bells, "The Problem" by Ray Brenner and Berry E. Blitzer lays out the holiday conundrum with campy humor: "Jingle bells, jingle bells, it's tragic but it's true / There's joyous fun for everyone, but what's a Jew to do?" (Oy!) If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, it seems. As demonstrated on Disc 2: Merry Christmas, many of the most popular Yuletide songs have been performed by representatives of The Chosen People. Mitch Miller's rendition of "White Christmas", with its all-male chorus and big band swing, easily rivals Bing Crosby's. Mel Torme's beautifully melancholic "The Christmas Song" stands among the best of Christmas tunes and can get even the most devoted Israelite roasting chestnuts on an open fire. Then dreamy Eddie Fisher romantically croons "Christmas Eve in My Hometown" backed by a chorus of angels, Bob Dylan's nasal delivery of "Little Drummer Boy" manages to stir, and the Ramones "Merry Christmas (I Don't Wanna Fight Tonight)" conjures the all-too-common dysfunctional family Christmas that Gentiles have become so accustomed to. As the set's accompanying booklet explains, the production of Christmas music outpaced music for celebrating the Festival of Lights by 10,000 to 1. That's not too surprising, since Hanukkah is a minor Judaic holiday and only rose to prominence in Jewish American culture due to its proximity to Christ's birthday celebration, a national holiday in the US since 1870. As a result, what we have in way of musically commemorating those eight days of candle-lighting on the Happy Hanukkah disc, are not exactly Billboard-charters, but they are just as worthy a listen. Woody Guthrie's "Hanukkah Dance" has a doe-see-doe old-timey feel for dance-y party times. Klezmer ditties include "Hanukkah Tree" by the Klezmatics and "Klezzified" by Klezmar Conservator Band. "The Latke Song" by Debbie Friedman (the so-called Jewish Joan Baez) cleverly tells the story of Hanukkah celebration from the perspective of the latke itself and reminds young listeners that it's important to feed the hungry. Ella Jenkins "Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel" is the real deal while "Dreidel" by Don McLean (possibly this release's only non-Jewish contributor) is just, perhaps, an ill-chosen metaphor for his own '70s mid-life crisis. The most stirring piece on the Hanukkah disc is a barely preserved version of "Yevonim," sung by the Russian-immigrant sensation, Cantor Yossele Rosenblatt. Greil Marcus writes in an essay contained in the set's booklet : "...the sound is distant, the surviving cylinder worn and scratchy. All that adds to the sensation that something precious is being passed on." That's a lot for one little tune to express and worth the inclusion in your holiday music collection alone!
WOODY GUTHRIE "Hanukkah Dance" MPEG Stream:
CANTOR YOSSELE ROSENBLATT "Yevonim" MPEG Stream:
EDDIE FISHER "Christmas Eve In My Hometown" MPEG Stream:
THE RAMONES "Merry Christmas (I Don't Wanna Fight Tonight)"
V/A (1.8) sec. compilation ((1.8) sec. Records) 12" 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Very high concept compilation, wherein each artist submitted a 1.8 second (!) loop to be used as a locked groove. The loops were then randomly paired up with other artists on the comp. The only limitation to what each artist could create was that their song would end with another artist's locked groove! Phew. The contributors are Taylor Deupree, Tim Hecker, Roel Meelkop, Duul_Drv, Richard Chartier, Mitchell Akiyama, Kim Cascone and 3x3is9. Glitchy and dreamy, noisy and skittery experimental electronic weirdness. Pretty cool. SUPER LIMITED to 500, hand numbered, on white vinyl and gorgeously creepy cover art.
V/A (K-raa-k)3 Festival Sampler 2002 ((K-RAA-K)3) cd 8.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Produced in conjunction with a sizeable festival held earlier this year in Belgium, this compilation features a number of exclusive / rare tracks from the artists in attendance, including Main, Oren Ambarchi, Ekkehard Ehlers, David Grubbs, Alog, Vibracathedral Orchestra, Benjamin Franklin, It & My Computer, Twine, Alog, Wio, Toss, and John David, V (who may be the same John from the AQ-favorite 26 project, and now spends his time in the new wave project Glass Candy). K-Raa-K - with their solid spectrum of avant-rock, hazy-improv, and electro-glitch etherealism - continues to be a really interesting label.
ALOG "Dogdive" RealAudio clip:
MAIN "Maelstrom" RealAudio clip:
JOHN DAVID, V "Untitled / Sixth Movement 1997"
V/A (Sic) The Broklyn Beats 7" Series (Broklyn Beats) cd 14.98
This comp collects all those super limited, super fierce 7" released on the Broklyn Beats label over the last year or so. Features tracks from AQ fave DJ/Rupture, Godspeed side project 1-Speed Bike, as well as Doily, Criterion, Rotator, Broklyn Beast, I-Sound, and Donna Summer. All over the place and all of it great, from pummeling speaker shredding dancehall to sliced and diced collage-noise to big beats and beyond.
DJ /RUPTURE "Rumbo Babylon" RealAudio clip:
1-SPEED BIKE "I'm A Pretzel On A Stealth Mission To Kill The President" RealAudio clip:
DONNA SUMMER "Popxplosion"
V/A (Triskaidekaphobia) 13,000.00 Milliseconds (Ratskin Records) cd 4.00
**SALE **SALE* *SALE** You know those Sublime Frequencies "Radio" compilations we love so much, the ones that just sound like someone sitting in a hotel room in another country flipping stations on the radio and recording the results. Well imagine a similar compilation, but in this case, the listener/recorder has an extreme case of ADD, and is flipping between some insane non existent all avant freaked out noise satellite radio station and all the strange little non-stations you discover when you're driving across the country, flipping through the dials at 4am. Little chunks of beautiful pastoral sound, bursts of ear gouging static, voices, snippets of speeches, some crazy guy testifying, some country or classical music that is just out of range so the sound is all skittery and blurred, delicate swaths of soft plinked piano, blasts of grinding deathmetal, talk radio, skittery rhythms, lots of textures and timbres, noises and melodies, most often swallowed up before they can develop into anything more than a fragment, than a partially formed musical thought, but that's sort of the point. This comp will definitely enrapturously engorge the ears of aural adventurers and noise devotees, but just might rattle the nerves of those less prepared. Despite the incredibly lengthy list of incredibly eclectic artists who participated in this brand new compilation titled (Triskaidekaphobia) 13,000.00 Milliseconds: Venetian Snares, Matmos, Thrones, MGR, I Am Spoonbender, Wildildlife, David Scott Stone (Melvins), Blevin Blectum, Winters In Osaka, Leslie Keffer, Microwaves, Sword Heaven, To Live And Shave In L.A., Wobbly, The White Mice, Skozey Fetish, Brad Laner, Rubber O Cement, Bobb Bruno, Cock ESP, Panicsville, Otto Von Schirach, Crank Sturgeon, Deletist, Drums Like Machineguns, Valerio Cosi, Eats Tapes, Evil Moisture, No Doctors, Two Dead Sluts, One Good Fuck, Leslie Keffer and about a million more.... The nature of 215+ 13-second compositions strung together non-stop without room to take a breath pretty much ensures that this cd will be catalogued in most libraries and music shops in the experimental/noise section. Unfortunate really, since while it definitely has its share of earwax-dislodging aggressive assaults, it also has quite a few shining moments of artful sound design and subtle songcraft that defy genre-fication. And somehow, the bits of noise, and the bits of prettier sound, do balance out, almost seeming to play off one another, or at the very least, slowly seep into each other, helping form what is ultimately a constantly shifting somewhat schizophrenic sonic whole. It's an overwhelming and intense listening experience, another one for the iron eared, or at least the adventure eared, and while we just listened to the whole thing all the way through, for the third or fourth time, for some folks it might work better in smaller chunks, because admittedly for some tracks the 13 seconds seems like an eternity, while others fly by all too swiftly. That said, we just started it over again from the top...
"1 (Different Dentist / Beta CLoud / To Live And SHave In L.A.)" MPEG Stream:
"2 (Migrations In Rust / Deep Fried Radio Static / Rubber O Cement)" MPEG Stream:
"3 (I Am Spoonbender / I Think I Did Something Wrong)" MPEG Stream:
"4 (Neon Leather Drip / Big Epoch Feat. Bizzart)" MPEG Stream:
"5 (Cheap Machines / Animal Hospital / Beneya Vs. Clark Nova)"
V/A ... (Edition...) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. This curiously titled compilation from Edition... doesn't want to make the process of uncovering its intentions and potential meanings an easy task, by obscuring the context of how this is to be heard, read, investigated, etc. Edition... has packaged this compilation as a digipack, complete with luminously eerie photographs that are grainier versions of Todd Hido or Dianne Jones (who has shot all of the Tarentel covers, amongst other projects) and absolutely no text. All of the liner notes have been compressed onto one of those circular pieces of paper that fits behind the cd itself and is normally filled with obnoxious marketing questions, only to end up in the trash instead of the post. But it would be wise not to dispose of that enigmatic piece of paper, as there you will learn that Colin Potter, Monos, Hazard, Jliat, M. Behrens, Toy Bizarre, Jio Shimizu, and Steven Lance Ledbetter have all contributed to this compilation. Such a line-up situates this "..." within the area of dronologist investigations, transforming shortwave, field recordings, very specific frequency modulations, and organ fans into eerie drone pieces that hover between contemplative and unnerving. Interspersed within these tracks, Edition... has included straight field recordings of errata in shortwave transmissions, fragments from SETI research, and data retreived from seismic sensors after nuclear tests in India in 1998. These very specific references are tenuously linked to the realm of the conspiracy theory. Regardless of how all of these elements are supposed to appear, this compilation makes for a great listen from begining to end.
NUCLEAR TEST FROM INDIA "11 May 1998" RealAudio clip:
TOY BIZARRE "kdi dctb 066b" RealAudio clip:
HAZARD "Rotation Evident" RealAudio clip:
V/A ...E Tu Vivrai Nel Terrore (Black Widow) 2cd + book 29.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Here's the weird Italian label Black Widow's massive double cd tribute to horror cinema (Italian and otherwise) featuring an international array of psych/prog acts: Ars Nova, Claudio Simonetti of Goblin, Humus, Northwinds, the Bevis Frond, Nekropolis, Morte Macabre, Tenebre, Malombra, Standarte, Sundial, and many many more. Some bands cover movie themes, others write songs *about* favorite films... An eerie and atmospheric homage to the likes of The Omen, Psychomania, Suspiria, The Devils, The Exorcist, etc. AND, to really make the mouth water, this comes with an really nice 80 page softcover book with essays about the horror movie genre (directors, films) and details on each band's contribution. It's an Italian import, and we don't have many...
V/A .AIFF (12K) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Compiling the experimental / minimal / synthetic realms of post-techno from the more dancefloor friendly pulses of Taylor Dupree and Kim Rapatti (whose track is an exceptionally good variant of Sahko's frigid melodies of bleeps set against a skeletal structure of techno beats) to the more piercing sinewave modulations of Komet (Raster Music), Goem (Korm Plastics, Mego) and *O (whose pure tones are some of the most head rattling noises this side of Ryoji Ikeda). All of the tracks are previously unreleased.
V/A 0161 (Skam) cd 19.98
After licensing the "Skampler" to Silent Records, Skam has issued an excellent collection of Manchester's finest beat-heavy electronica. Following the leads set by Autechre (recording here as Gescom), the artists include Bola, Jega, Audiomontage, The Fall (yes, Mark E. Smith does electronica!) and more... The only e-music record in a long time that's good enough to excite Jim!
V/A 1-8 Split Series (Fat Cat) cd 14.98
Fat Cat Records has so far released 10 of their acclaimed split 12"s featuring a medley of engaging tracks from electronica technicians, dronologists, noise makers, and pranksters. This cd collects 11 of the tracks which had been featured on the series, with contributions from Third Eye Foundation, Gescom vs. Ad Vanz, Chasm (aka Robert Hampson of Main), James Plotkin, Merzbow, Foehn (who has contributed some of the finest dronework that few have heard!), Team Doyobi, V/VM, Speedranch & Janski Noise, and Req. Sadly the brilliant darkness from Anthony Child / Andrew Read didn't made it on the compilation, as was the same fate for a track claimed to be done by Pole (which turned out to be a fabrication of Pole's electronica dub and forced Fat Cat to order the destruction of the pressing, thus making the James Plotkin track pretty much exclusive to this cd).
V/A 10 Tons Heavy (Planet Mu) 2cd 13.98
V/A 100% Dynamite (Soul Jazz) cd 21.00
V/A 100% Dynamite (Soul Jazz) 2lp 24.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
V/A 12" / 80s (Family Recordings) 3cd 28.00
Back in the '80s there was an abundance of dance pop 12"s coming out of the UK. Seemed that any ol' song could be hoisted up to dancefloor hit heights via the wonders of the extended mix (or if you prefer: the long version, 12" mix, long mix, discotheque, mixe plurale, dancing remixes et al). Nothing like spending a little more time spinnin' around the dancefloor (or hoppin' about in your bedroom) with your fave songs, eh? This triple cd set corrals some of the most inescapable 12"s and shows just how much of a musical mixed bag the '80s were. If you were born anytime before 1979, most if not all of these tracks will ring a bell (perhaps for some a louder, more garrish bell than others). Each disc contains twelve tracks each, which if you do the math, adds up to thirty six different 12"s (or 432 inches)! Although that barely scratches the surface, the compilation does hit the '80s nostalgia button with alarming accuracy -- from the impossibly vapid (Stephen 'Tin Tin' Duffy's "Kiss Me", Curiosity Killed The Cat's "Down To Earth" and Animotion's "Obsession" ) to the absolutely delicious (Soft Cell's "Tainted Love/Where Did Our Love Go" and Fun Boy Three's "Our Lips Are Sealed") to the classic (Siouxsie And The Banshees' "Spellbound", Talk Talk's "It's My Life", The Cure's "A Forest" and Bauhaus' "She's In Parties"). You also get ABC, Spandau Ballet, Human League, Yazoo, Kid Creole & The Coconuts, Propaganda, Hipsway, Aztec Camera, Tom Tom Club, The Passions, Pete Wylie, Japan, Blow Monkeys, Simply Red, Simple Minds, Monsoon, The Icicle Works, Tears For Fears, Lloyd Cole, Visage, Echo & The Bunnymen, The Jam, Black, Man Parrish, Scritti Politti and Grace Jones... did we/they miss anybody? Hmmm, the only glaring omissions we've come up with are Duran Duran, Depeche Mode, Blancmange, Wang Chung... uh oh, maybe we should stop now. You'll probably find (as we did) that some of these songs that you adored so throughly back in the day have aged far less gracefully than others. Some are downright cringe-inducing (yikes, did I really like THAT!?). For one thing, there's enough of those whiteboy soul affectations here to sink a rather large teakettle. Nevertheless, sure to satisfy even your most insatiable '80s craving! (Pssst, as we write this, Deborah 'Debbie' Gibson is taking the stage at Cafe Du Nord here in SF!)
SOFT CELL "Tainted Love / Where Did Our Love Go" MPEG Stream:
JONES, GRACE "Pull Up To The Bumper"
V/A 12k 1008 (12K) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. The second compilation from Taylor Deupree's label of electronic glitch sterility features the now standard line up of Richard Chartier, *O, Tetsu Inoue, Kim Cascone, and Goem, with some fresh blood from Komet, Surge, Miki Yui, and Shuttle 358. Can't really say how this varies from last week's collection of "inaudible tones and ear-itching stereo tactics," but if you're into that sort of thing, like we are...
V/A 156 Strings (Cuneiform) cd 14.98
Inspired by past compilations of avant-garde guitar explorations assembled by John Fahey and Fred Frith, the Bay Area's own well-known guitar experimentalist Henry Kaiser has put together this collection of acoustic solos by many of today's most amazing guitar innovators, 19 of 'em in fact: Duck Baker, Stefan Basho-Junghans, Raoul Bjorkenheim, Jean-Paul Bourelly, Nels "AQ Loves Me" Cline, Janet Feder, Fred Frith, Michael Gulezian, Richard Leo Johnson, Mike Keneally, Peter Lang, Scott McGill, Shawn Persinger is Prester John, Rod Poole, Gyan Riley, Miroslav Tadic, Richard Thompson, U Tin, and Kaiser himself (hey, why no Eugene Chadbourne?). These guys (yeah, they're all guys except for Ms. Feder, but what can you do?) hail from around the world and have unique, personal approaches to playing. Moods here range from the pastoral idyll of Brit folkie Thompson to the minimalist soundscaping of Frith, from the faux-raga like slide work of Bjorkenheim to the authentically Robbie Basho-like exotica of U Tin, from the country pickin' of Lang to the percussive melodicism of Bourelly, from the scraping drone-folk of Feder (we want to hear more!) to the repetitive trance-induction of Rod Poole, from the sprightly, jazzish jingle of Persinger to the melancholic classical playing of Gyan Riley. The disc ends with Steffen Basho-Junghan's epic, experimental, fucked up but lovely sounding "Part 1 from the Virgin Orchestra No.1", a piece that Kaiser cites as the cornerstone of this comp. And it's the pretty great finale to this gorgeous, fascinating album. Kaiser intends "156 Strings" to highlight those carrying on the work of iconoclastic instrumental steel-string guitar pioneers like Fahey, Basho and Kottke, a tradition driven underground by the more commerical, less challenging New Age guitar genre those same folks helped create. Also, funnily enough, a portion of the proceeds from the sales of this comp go to benefit H.E.A.R. (Hearing Education and Awareness for Rockers). Don't worry, there's no need for earplugs with this one!
GYAN RILEY "Eyes of Orion" RealAudio clip:
MICHAEL GULEZIAN "Plook The Asbestos Lobster" RealAudio clip:
JANET FEDER "Lightning Strikes" RealAudio clip:
STEFFEN BASHO-JUNGHANS "Part 1 from the Virgin Orchestra No.1"
V/A 19 Ways To Avoid The Draft (Airborne Virus / Mar/ino) cd 14.98
A joint release between new labels Airborne Virus and Mar/ino, an imprint of Michigan's Elsie and Jack label (they released an Aube cd and the Tabata solo record some time ago). Features tracks by 555 artists Empress, Steward and Halkyn as well as many others including Electroscope, Gang Wizard, Minmae and cLOUDDEAD. An odd collection, for sure. Be sure to check out Mar/ino's new, limited-run releases by Kawabata Makoto and Outerdrive!
V/A 1970's Algerian Proto-Rai Underground (Sublime Frequencies) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Another out of print, previously vinyl only Sublime Frequencies gem gets a long overdue cd reissue. We wanted to make this a Record Of The Week when the lp first came out, but there are still so many folks out there sans turntable, we figured we oughta just wait for the cd, and now it's here, so we can indeed finally lavish this record with the Record Of The Week honors it so totally deserves. Yet another winner from Sublime Frequencies (have they ever released a loser? We think not). And like many of the Sublime Frequencies before it, we find it hard to not think that maybe folks don't need to be making so much music, releasing so many records, when so much amazing outrageously creative music is already being and has been made all over the world, for so long, much of it never heard outside of a very few people. Maybe we should have some sort of national policy, where bands can turn in their instruments, and in exchange get a recorder, a plane ticket, and an expense account, with which they can roam the world bringing back some of that unheard and lost music. Heck, sign us up right now! Anyway, this new release is a collection of Rai music from the early seventies, from Algeria, and these particular cuts are samples of some of the sort of "outlaw" Rai performers, a modern strain that has been neglected and ignored, and takes this classic Algerian music form, and adds electric guitar, trumpets, wah wah pedal, and whips it all up into an infectious brew equal parts Ethiopiques, Bollywood and garage rock. Or something close to that. This stuff is truly hard to describe, and the liner notes, while informative, are printed on an eye popping blue on red old school 3-D colored background which makes the text swim and sway before your eyes. And offer more on the history and the players than what Rai music actually is (there's a good description on Wikipedia). But for the purpose of this review, as it should be, we'll just focus on the sound. And what a sound! Warm whirring organ drones, trumpets EVERYWHERE, really the defining sound, wild chaotic tribal drumming, crooned dramatic vocals, groovy, soulful, funky, raw and lo-fi, like a garage rock Ethiopiques, but with a strangely raw Bollywood vibe, the trumpets peppering the murky grooves with strange fanfares and jazzy melodies, here and there distorted guitars surface, wrapped in wah wah, reverb and echo all over the place, some songs super frenzied, others laid back and dreamy, Indian melodies draped over almost surfy grooves, really pretty fantastic. Hard to imagine that folks who have been digging all the Sublime Frequencies releases, or the Yaala Yaala reissues won't go crazy for this stuff. Group Doueh, Group Inerane, and now this, a pretty mind blowing, near perfect, far out world music three-fer, and that's not even counting the 30+ release that came before. ABSOLUTELY RECOMMENDED.
BELLEMOU & BENFISSA "Li Maandouche L'Auto" MPEG Stream:
GROUPE EL AZHAR "Mazal Nesker Mazal" MPEG Stream:
GROUPE EL AZHAR "Touedar Aakli"
V/A 1970's Algerian Proto-Rai Underground (Sublime Frequencies) lp 27.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Another winner from Sublime Frequencies. And while we made sure to stress that past "vinyl-only" were indeed vinyl only, lately, those vinyl releases have been slowly making it to cd. BUT, for the vinyl folks out there, these do disappear fast, and fetch big bucks on eBay once they're gone, so you're not gonna want to snooze on this one. Listening to this again, now, for maybe the 20th time in 2 days, it's becoming clear we'll probably have to make this a Record Of The Week as soon as it comes out on cd, but for now, even though it's only a highlight, it really couldn't be more of a MUST OWN. And like many of the Sublime Frequencies before it, we find it hard to not think that maybe folks don't need to be making so much music, releasing so many records, when so much amazing outrageously creative music is already being and has been made all over the world, for so long, much of it never heard outside of a very few people. Maybe we should have some sort of national policy, where bands can turn in their instruments, and in exchange get a recorder, a plane ticket, and an expense account, with which they can roam the world bringing back some of that unheard and lost music. Heck, sign us up right now! Anyway, this new release is a collection of Rai music from the early seventies, from Algeria, and these particular cuts are samples of some of the sort of "outlaw" Rai performers, a modern strain that has been neglected and ignored, and takes this classic Algerian music form, and adds electric guitar, trumpets, wah wah pedal, and whips it all up into an infectious brew equal parts Ethiopiques, Bollywood and garage rock. Or something close to that. This stuff is truly hard to describe, and the liner notes, while informative, are printed on an eye popping blue on red old school 3-D colored background which makes the text swim and sway before your eyes. And offer more on the history and the players than what Rai music actually is (there's a good description on Wikipedia). But for the purpose of this review, as it should be, we'll just focus on the sound. And what a sound! Warm whirring organ drones, trumpets EVERYWHERE, really the defining sound, wild chaotic tribal drumming, crooned dramatic vocals, groovy, soulful, funky, raw and lo-fi, like a garage rock Ethiopiques, but with a strangely raw Bollywood vibe, the trumpets peppering the murky grooves with strange fanfares and jazzy melodies, here and there distorted guitars surface, wrapped in wah wah, reverb and echo all over the place, some songs super frenzied, others laid back and dreamy, Indian melodies draped over almost surfy grooves, really pretty fantastic. Hard to imagine that folks who have been digging all the Sublime Frequencies releases, or the Yaala Yaala reissues won't go crazy for this stuff. Group Doueh, Group Inerane, and now this, a pretty mind blowing, near perfect, far out world music three-fer, and that's not even counting the 30+ release that came before. ABSOLUTELY RECOMMENDED. LIMITED TO 1500 COPIES, 180 gram vinyl, super thick gatefold sleeve, full color, with tons of photos and liner notes inside.
V/A 2 Many DJ's - As Heard On Radio Soulwax Pt. 2 (PIAS) cd 21.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. This disc is so great! It's an uninterrupted one hour mix, and it's one of the best I have ever heard. Stephen and David Dewaele, the two Belgian brothers who play in the band Soulwax plumbed their record collections for everything from totally obscure forgotten tracks to universally popular ones. One of the best pieces overlays Salt 'n Pepa singing "Push It" over The Stooges' "No Fun", which you may also have heard on the (now out-of-print) Best Bootlegs in the World comp. I find 2 Many DJs better than the best Bootlegs comp, actually, because  it's a perfectly sequenced smooth mix, all the tracks flow into the next, lots of overlap, and  it's not just popular hits being mashed up, it's gems from 2 very smart music fanatics' collections. I mean, who knew that Destiny's Child's theme to Charlie's Angels would work so well over Dolly Parton's "9 to 5", or that a Peaches chord progression's secret twin is a Velvet Underground song? The endearingly simple 2 Many DJs website lists all the tracks used, along with juicy gossip about how hard or easy it was to get clearance for each one and tracks whose owners *refused* clearance. (If you're crafty you'll be able to find these tracks on the net as mp3s anyway -- I'm downloading the Skee-Lo/"Eye of the Tiger" mix right now.) This is SO MUCH FUN. Look for it to go out of print sooner rather than later -- don't hesitate. Highly recommended.
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"track 21" RealAudio clip:
V/A 20 Film and Stage Classics Jamaican Style (Trojan) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. I don't know if I have ever heard a bad Trojan compilation. Classic ska, rocksteady, and reggae versions of the theme from "Shaft", "Moon River," "The Magnificent Seven," "Summertime," "From Russia with Love," and more.
V/A 200% Dynamite (Soul Jazz) cd 21.00
V/A 200% Dynamite (Soul Jazz) 2lp 24.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
V/A 2000 Teenbeat Sampler (TeenBeat) cd 5.98
Teenbeat Records' sampler for the new millennium, featuring: Panax, The Rondelles, Flin Flon, Butch Willis & D Flat, Mark Borthwick/Holland, Versus, Phil Krauth and more. On each of the fifteen tracks here, you can definitely tell Teenbeat's kingpin Mark Robinson gave the thumbs up. Drifting laidback strumming (Versus), quirky-noisy lo-fi (Jonny Cohen & Co.), polished hook-laden pop (Panax). Indeed it may even be said that this compilation as a whole reflects Mr. Robinson's own extensive musical career. All this for a super low price.
V/A 23 Drifts To Guestling (Iham Products) cd 17.98
V/A 25 Years of Rough Trade Shops (Rough Trade / Mute) 4cd 30.00
It should be noted that this is a compilation to celebrate 25 years of Rough Trade SHOPS and NOT a retrospective of Rough Trade, the label. Having said that, this is a fine collection of independent music from the past 25 years. Featuring some rare and exclusive material, these four CDs cover the wide spectrum of independent music. Bands contributing: Buzzcocks, The Congos, Subway Sect, Television Personalities, Stiff Little Fingers, The Normal, Throbbing Gristle (!), Cabaret Voltaire, Pixies, Swell Maps, Joy Division, The Fall, Scritti Politti, Lee Perry, Cocteau Twins, The Smiths, The Birthday Party, Einsturzende Neubauten, Nick Cave, Sonic Youth, Sugarcubes, Le Tigre, Mudhoney, Coil, Stereolab, Mazzy Star, Chills, Gescom, Cornershop, Chemical Brothers, I Am Kloot, Studio Pressure, Spacemen 3, Talking Heads, Boards of Canada, Gak, Jeb Loy Nichols, Clinic, Huggy Bear, Peaches, Lemon Jelly, Ryan Adams, Tindersticks, Pere Ubu, Native Hipsters, Echoboy, Lambchop, and Young Marble Giants!