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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.


15.60.75 (THE NUMBERS BAND) Jimmy Bell's Still In Town (Hearthan / Water) cd 12.98

album cover 200 YEARS s/t (Drag City) cd 14.98
Here we have, well let's call it a "couple project", combining the talents of Ben Chasny (Six Organs Of Admittance) and Elisa Ambrogio (Magic Markers). What's that gonna sound like, you may wonder? Well it's a lot more on the gentle folky Six Organs side of things, that is, not at all noisy like MM can be. Acoustic guitars all the way. So, kinda like a mellow Six Organs, but with female vocals. A lot's gonna depend on how you feel about Ambrogio's singing. Her voice is perfectly fine, and intimately recorded, with a weariness to her delivery, and a bit of girlish affectation, not necessarily like what we remember from Magik Markers, though they did get more tuneful on 2007's Boss at least. And her singing is the prime focus here, with the pleasant guitars more of an accompaniment.
Let's just say this is very "coffee house" sounding. Nice music and all, if perhaps not the most interesting or out-there Six Organs related thing we've ever heard. But give the sound samples a listen, maybe you'll be in the mood for the languid strum and sweet singing here, if you're a Six Organs fan or otherwise.
MPEG Stream: "Wild White"
MPEG Stream: "West Hartford"
MPEG Stream: "Bees"

album cover ADAMS, KAY Wheels & Tears (Sundazed) cd 12.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.

ADAMS, RYAN Gold (Lost Highway) 2cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
"Gold" is Whiskeytown vocalist Ryan Adams' second solo effort, and with each release both in solo and band mode, his songwriting's gotten progressively more and more accessible and radio-friendly, and much less rootsy. And quite honestly, much less appealing. Adams previous effort was a breathtaking Beatlesque rock record with just the right amount of twang. Unfortunately, this record pales in comparison and could just as easily be a Counting Crows record or some other middle of the road FM rock record. Features an American flag-emblazoned, very Tommy Hilfiger-esque cover photo. With bonus limited edition cd.

album cover ADAMS, RYAN Llor N KcoR (Lost Highway) cd 15.98
Ryan Adams has been a very busy, prolific man, and the fruits of his labor are two new full lengths (well, technically one is a lengthy 8-song ep). With both, he stretches out and takes another sizable step away from his Whiskeytown / alt-country rock past. Through the first few songs of each release, it seems they're quite drastically different from one another, however as they progress the two draw closer and closer. Released concurrently with the the slower paced and more dramatic Love Is Hell Pt. 1, this one, titled and themed Llor N KcoR (yep, that's Rock N Roll backwards), is filled to the gills with anthemic rock -- each song packed with high wailing lead guitars, chunky rhythm guitars, a solid driving beat, and plentiful cymbal crashes. However, it's not completely the Americana type (akin to Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen and Paul Westerberg) for which he's well-known. Many of the songs have a decidedly British rock flair. Take the fifth song "So Alive" for instance, a very U2-ish flag waver. Gets the blood pumpin'. Just as he does on Love Is Hell, Adams throws a single song into the middle of Rock N Roll that's a bit incongruous with the rest. Oddly enough it's actually the title track. Set amid the raucousness of the other thirteen songs, it's a subdued, intimate voice and piano number laced with a quiet texture of sampled dialogue. Nice. A final note: we have to say that, surely much to his chagrin, vocally Mr. Ryan Adams seems to be drawing nearer and nearer to the hoarse rasp of Bryan Adams (no relation, right?).
MPEG Stream: "This Is It"
MPEG Stream: "So Alive"

album cover ADAMS, RYAN Love Is Hell (Lost Highway) cd 14.98
A sticker on this cd proclaims: "The complete album as Ryan originally conceived it."
And we've gotta say is: "How fucking lame!!!"
If this was the way he "originally conceived it", he and/or his record company sure wasted everyone's time and money this past year releasing these songs on two separate EPs (Love Is Hell Pt. 1 and Pt.2). Oh, there's one non-EP song on here called "Anybody Wanna Take Me Home"? Big whoop! It's not like some great amount of time has passed (during which time those EPs went out of print, etc) or something else to warrant this. Shame on you Ryan Adams/Lost Highway! But if you never got the ep's, here are the reviews from when they came out:
Love Is Hell Pt. 1:
Ryan Adams has been a very busy, prolific man, and the fruits of his labor are two new full lengths (well, technically this is actually a lengthy 8-song ep). With both, he stretches out and takes another sizable step away from his Whiskeytown / alt-country rock past. Through the first few songs of each release, it seems they're quite drastically different from one another, however as they progress the two draw closer and closer. Released concurrently with the one titled and themed Llor N KcoR (yep, that's Rock N Roll backwards), the slower paced and more dramatic Love Is Hell Pt. 1 (part two coming next year, apparently) seems to be the album on which Ryan Adams decided to don Rufus Wainwright's somberly introspective brocade coat for a few numbers. The results are mixed, but of the two releases this one is definitely the stronger. Furthermore, it's leaps and bounds better than most of his recent efforts (which consistently fell short of the high caliber set by his debut Heartbreaker) revealing a much more mature, composed, heartbaring Adams. Amid the smoky, lush instrumentation he howls, croons and emotes much like Wainwright and on occasion like Thom Yorke ("Afraid Not Scared") or Bruce Springsteen ("This House Is Not For Sale") too. As the centerpiece of this release, he delivers a stirring cover of "Wonderwall". He successfully makes the song his own (and sets it apart from the other seven songs) by stripping away Oasis' melodramatic grandeur to bring the focus solely on his voice and picked guitar.
Love Is Hell Pt. 2:
Hot on the heels of his Llor N Kcor album and Love Is Hell Part 1 ep comes Part 2. We were expecting it in the new year, but it appears he (or his record label) just couldn't wait. Geez, if he continues at this pace his fans will have to set up a whole separate shelf for just his albums... not that they haven't already! Anyways, Part 2 is comprised of seven new lushly produced songs on which Adams' voice very unsettlingly resembles that of other vocalists -- for instance, we heard more than a little Glen Campbell and Elliott Smith. Weird! Perhaps he's trying to reach a wider audience by diversifying his vocal delivery since he's already done so with the different musical styles. Now don't get us wrong, we're not harshing on Adams for stretching out in different directions and trying new things. That in itself is great. Other artists venture out all the time, but when Adams does it, somehow it just seems calculated and less than sincere. Give 'er a listen and assess for yourself. That said, of his three newest releases, we still favor L.I.H. Pt.1.
MPEG Stream: "Political Scientist"
MPEG Stream: "Wonderwall"
MPEG Stream: "City Rain, City Streets"

ADAMS, RYAN Love Is Hell Pt. 1 (Lost Highway) cd ep 7.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Ryan Adams has been a very busy, prolific man, and the fruits of his labor are two new full lengths (well, technically this is actually a lengthy 8-song ep). With both, he stretches out and takes another sizable step away from his Whiskeytown / alt-country rock past. Through the first few songs of each release, it seems they're quite drastically different from one another, however as they progress the two draw closer and closer. Released concurrently with the one titled and themed Llor N KcoR (yep, that's Rock N Roll backwards), the slower paced and more dramatic Love Is Hell Pt. 1 (part two coming next year, apparently) seems to be the album on which Ryan Adams decided to don Rufus Wainwright's somberly introspective brocade coat for a few numbers. The results are mixed, but of the two releases this one is definitely the stronger. Furthermore, it's leaps and bounds better than most of his recent efforts (which consistently fell short of the high caliber set by his debut Heartbreaker) revealing a much more mature, composed, heartbaring Adams. Amid the smoky, lush instrumentation he howls, croons and emotes much like Wainwright and on occasion like Thom Yorke ("Afraid Not Scared") or Bruce Springsteen ("This House Is Not For Sale") too. As the centerpiece of this release, he delivers a stirring cover of "Wonderwall". He successfully makes the song his own (and sets it apart from the other seven songs) by stripping away Oasis' melodramatic grandeur to bring the focus solely on his voice and picked guitar.
MPEG Stream: "Political Scientist"
MPEG Stream: "Wonderwall"

album cover ADAMS, RYAN Love Is Hell Pt. 2 (Lost Highway) cd ep 7.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Hot on the heels of his Llor N Kcor album and Love Is Hell Part 1 ep comes Part 2. We were expecting it in the new year, but it appears he (or his record label) just couldn't wait. Geez, if he continues at this pace his fans will have to set up a whole separate shelf for just his albums... not that they haven't already! Anyways, Part 2 is comprised of seven new lushly produced songs on which Adams' voice very unsettlingly resembles that of other vocalists -- for instance, we heard more than a little Glen Campbell and Elliott Smith. Weird! Perhaps he's trying to reach a wider audience by diversifying his vocal delivery since he's already done so with the different musical styles. Now don't get us wrong, we're not harshing on Adams for stretching out in different directions and trying new things. That in itself is great. Other artists venture out all the time, but when Adams does it, somehow it just seems calculated and less than sincere. Give 'er a listen and assess for yourself. That said, of his three newest releases, we still favor L.I.H. Pt.1.
MPEG Stream: "City Rain, City Streets"

album cover ADAMS, RYAN & THE CARDINALS Cold Roses (Lost Highway) 2cd 15.98
If you're a regular AQer, you're probably more than a little familiar with our love/hate relationship with Ryan Adams' music. His albums have proven to be a source of much frustration around here. There'll be an absolutely fantastic song that you immediately fall in love with right alongside something unbelievably bland and generic. His latest release being a double cd had us wondering if he simply has difficulty editing himself. However, we were happy to find that this is perhaps his most consistent work in ages... and it's really not all that lengthy. The 18 songs could have fit on one cd, but Adams' choice to split it up harkens back to those '70s classic rock double albums from which he clearly draws much inspiration. The embossed gatefold sleeve and LP-looking disc art only add to this feel. Music-wise, for the most part, Adams keeps to the sorrowful country rock road, and this mid-tempo pace suits him well. Cold Roses reveals a more mature Adams who's not out to prove anything nor hop aboard any bandwagons. Oozing with confidence, not cockiness, and conveying a level of sincerity and expressiveness previously unheard from him since his Whiskeytown days. In fact, it seems he may have finally (re)discovered his own voice on this album. Although his music is still very much in the same stylistic vein as a number of his seniors, his vocal delivery this time sounds the least like those other folks (Westerberg, Springsteen, Petty). Perhaps all of this goodness is the result of his finding a new group of musicians for his backing band? It sure seems like they've clicked well, he actually co-wrote all of the songs with The Cardinals. Nothing like some new faces to recharge one's creative batteries, and even better when the end results are as good as this!
MPEG Stream: "Sweet Illusions"
MPEG Stream: "Let It Ride"

album cover ADAMS, RYAN & THE CARDINALS Follow The Light (Lost Highway) cd ep 5.98
Can't get enough of Ryan Adams? Well, he definitely makes sure that you never have to wait too long for something new! It's like clockwork. Sometimes this can be a bit problematic when a release seems rushed out and uninspired... and some have indeed seemed so. Still, his last few releases have been surprisingly consistent, and consistently good. The only gripe we've had recently is with his major label style generic artwork. Anyhoo, four months after his Easy Tiger album, here is his new seven song ep which include two new songs (the title track and "My Love For You Is Real"), the song "Blue Hotel" which was written by Adams and originally recorded by Willie Nelson for his own most recent album, a cover of Alice In Chains' "Down In A Hole", new versions of "Dear John and "This Is It" as well as one other song "If I Am A Stranger". The latter five were recorded live in the studio. A solid country rock fan pleaser.
MPEG Stream: "Blue Hotel"
MPEG Stream: "Down In A Hole"

album cover ADAMS, RYAN AND THE CARDINALS Jacksonville City Nights (Lost Highway) cd 14.98
Seems like Mr. Flights-of-fancy, Ryan Adams is stickin' with a good thing. The ridiculously prolific singer/songwriter hooked up with The Cardinals for his last album Cold Roses, and it turned out to be a winning combination! Perhaps his most 'old country' sounding album to date, and a dandy one at that.
MPEG Stream: "A Kiss Before I Go"
MPEG Stream: "Dear John"

album cover ADEM Homesongs (Domino) cd 14.98
Homesongs by Adem (aka Adem Ilhan of electronic post-rockers Fridge) is an album very much in the somber folk vein of contemporaries Sufjan Stevens, M. Ward or Arab Strap's Malcolm Middleton. These late-night bedroom songs, though, are totally fresh and beautifully crafted with inspiration, intimacy and minimal assembly. Bounding sincerity is matched by a considered use of restraint musically. Meanwhile, the production in spite of its home-recording is terrific. What a great debut!
MPEG Stream: "There Will Always Be"
MPEG Stream: "Ringing In My Ears"

album cover ADKINS, HASIL Best Of The Haze (MAC3 Artists) cd 14.98

album cover ADKINS, HASIL Moon Over Madison (Norton) cd 14.98
Hurrah! Norton Records has reissued two more awesome albums from the true holy terror of the rockabilly and garage world, the late Hasil Adkins. Both of them are compiled from the home recordings of the man himself circa 1958-1963. Needless to say... amazing documents of his early years! Each presents a very very different Adkins -- one a wildman hellbent on rawk fury, the other a considerably more sedate, damp-spirited country crooner. This one offers the latter, subtitled The Lonesome And Blue Sounds Of Hasil Adkins, was first released back in 1990 by Norton on LP only. This time around it's on LP and CD with an additional four bonus previously unreleased tunes sandwiched between the sixteen original warbly raw tunes.
MPEG Stream: "I Had A Dream About You"
MPEG Stream: "Somebody Help Me"

album cover ADKINS, HASIL Out To Hunch (Norton) cd 14.98
We're totally delighted that this has finally been reissued. Hasil Adkins is fucking insane and totally rockin'. Like Elvis Presley's evil twin, fucked up, dangerous and COMPLETELY MAD. All of these songs were recorded at home in a cabin in the mountains of West Virginia, rockabilly acoustic guitar under a creepy snarly, freaked out voice, interspersed with a Adkins' cackling laugh. Having spent time touring in a beat up old car with "the greatest one man band in the world Hasil Adkins and his happy guitar" painted on the door, Adkins leaves no doubt as to who is the most rockingest man around! This reissue collects songs from 1955-1965, right at the beginning of his long and consistently nutty career. The first song 'She Said' might rings some bells, since rockabilly freaks the Cramps covered it years back. Nice booklet with liner notes penned by Adkins himself.
RealAudio clip: "She Said "
RealAudio clip: "We got A Date"
RealAudio clip: "The Hunch"

album cover ADKINS, HASIL Peanut Butter Rock and Roll (Norton) cd 14.98
Hurrah! Norton Records has reissued two more awesome albums from the true holy terror of the rockabilly and garage world, the late Hasil Adkins. Both of them are compiled from the home recordings of the man himself circa 1958-1963. Needless to say... amazing documents of his early years! Each presents a very different Adkins -- one a wildman hellbent on rawk fury, the other a considerably more sedate, damp-spirited country crooner. This one offers the former, and it's fuckin' great! Ultra dirty, murky and strange. Drums sound like wellworn cardboard boxes, pots and pans. Vocals distort as he howls the high notes, and his loosely tuned, feverishly strummed guitar keeps 'em company. It was first released back in 1990 by Norton on LP only. This time around it's on LP and CD with an additional four bonus tunes (two previously unreleased in the U.S. and two previously unreleased anywhere) sandwiched between the sixteen original raw'n'blistered tunes.
MPEG Stream: "Blue Suede Shoes"
MPEG Stream: "Come On And Do The Shake With Me"

album cover ADKINS, HASIL The Wild Man (Norton) cd 14.98
Fuck yeah garage rawk fans, if you like to play it 'old school', Norton Records is absolutely where it's at! They've released this live album compiling select songs from four of lone wolf Hasil Adkins' 1987 shows (in New York, Philadelphia, Boston and Toronto), some of which also feature the A-Bones! The title ain't no joke. When it's time to play, this madman totally lets loose some true vintage rabble-rousin' rockabilly. If you dug his Out To Hunch album that Norton reissued a coupla years ago, you'll definitely wanna give this expanded cd reissue of The Wild Man a spin. Of the nineteen tracks, the first fourteen were originally available from Norton on lp, song #15 is taken from a 1987 vinyl 7", and the final four are previously unreleased tracks.
MPEG Stream: "Ellen Marie"
MPEG Stream: "Midnight Moan"

ADKINS, HASIL What The Hell Was I Thinking (Fat Possum) cd 12.98
Everyone's favorite rockabilly one-madman-band, back at it again, how old is he already...

album cover AERIAL RUIN 133306668 (self-released) cd-r 5.98
This 22 minute cd-r is the debut for Aerial Ruin, the solo project of Erik Moggridge (guitarist for SF's bearded metal stalwarts Old Grandad). He was assisted in this dark endeavor by Eric Peterson of fellow Bay Area hard rock vets Lost Goat. Don't be expecting a rush of thunderous volume, guitar solos and downtuned heaviness though! Taking a considerably different path, Moggridge has crafted a half dozen songs of somber acoustic folk. Very hushed and slow creeping. The man himself likened it to slowcore leaders Low, but we hear more shades of Mark Lanegan or the solo efforts of Neurosis' Steve Von Till and Scott Kelly.
MPEG Stream: "To Slave"

album cover AGENT RIBBONS And The Star Crossed Doppleganger (Seven Inch Project) 7" 5.98
Geez, if only we still had our Fisher Price record player, this opaque guacamole-green 7" would look so good spinnin' there in our bedroom this dark winter's eve. The music on this new Agent Ribbons record is as delightfully darling as that thought... except maybe carpet the floor with cushy moss, blanket the bed with a patchwork of gingham and string blossoming ivy from the nightstand. Oh and sprinkle the whole lot with twinkling pixie dust. Those who were charmed by this Sacramento duo's enchanted folk pop debut album On Time Travel And Romance last year won't wanna miss Ms Natalie and Ms Lauren's two new tunes. Plus they've found the perfect matching offkilter bewitching maven to do the cover art, Dame Darcy! Sure to tickle pink fans of Jolie Holland, Ditty Bops, Coco Rosie, and y'know what? We'd bet Agent Ribbons would be a favorite of Astrid Lindgren's irrepressible storybook heroine Pippi Longstocking too.
By the way, this is the first installment of the Seven Inch Project. Yup, it's a brand new series of very limited edition 7"s being released by some cool folks down in Long Beach, CA. Only 500 records of each edition will be pressed on hefty 70 gram colored vinyl, packaged in impressive sturdy gatefold sleeves, and hand-numbered. Truly a joy to hold and admire in your hands and in your ears. Oh and each one comes with an mp3 download passcode for all you newfangled types. So hop to it!

album cover AGENT RIBBONS On Time Travel And Romance (self-released) cd 12.98
It's always nice when a little word of mouth proves fruitful! SF solo troubadour Garrett Pierce (whose own fine musical wares we've stocked a-plenty) recommended these female songstresses to us recently. Agent Ribbons are two gals Natalie Gordon and Lauren Hess who hail from Sacramento, CA. Their folk pop sound is very old tyme-y, down-home-y, with an almost impromptu feel. They sing quirky lyrics atop a Spartan backdrop of strummed electric guitars, accordion and drums. Very light, playful and girly. They name such other female artists as Mirah, Josephine Foster, Faun Fables, Mary Timony, Blossom Dearie, Jolie Holland, Ditty Bops and Dame Darcy as influences, and you can definitely hear it on On Time Travel And Romance. Highlights include the very Holland-y heartfelt "Call Me Margaret" and delightfully dipsy "Chelsea". Fun, warm and welcoming! We think fans of Rilo Kiley will take a shine to this too.
MPEG Stream: "Chelsea, Let's Go Join The Circus"
MPEG Stream: "Call Me Margaret"

album cover AHMED, ILYAS Between Two Skies / Towards The Night (Digitalis) 2cd 21.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
FINALLY! FINALLY!! FINALLY!!! Lots of you probably remember when we listed these discs a few years back, both were cd-r's back then, and both were limited to about 50 copies. We got so many orders, and rightfully so, Ahmed's sound as and is gorgeous and spare, simple and spacious, darkly emotional and sweetly mournful. Ilyas promised to make more cd-r's for all the people who ordered them, but somehow, he never managed to make it happen. We waited and waited and waitedÉ But you know what? That's okay now, as Digitalis has thankfully stepped in and taken Ahmed's first two cd-r's and reissued them as real cds, and in some super deluxe packaging to boot.
For those who missed out on the cd-r frenzy way back when, Ahmed is a guitarist, pianist, and crafter of drones, but guitar is his main instrument. He explores a sonic steel string world similar to folks like James Blackshaw, Jack Rose and of course John Fahey, dense little tangles of minor key finger picking and lush metallic strum. Darkly melodic, and strangely timeless sounding. Moody and so so gorgeous. Fans of the above mentioned guitarists will absolutely want this, even just for the Towards The Night disc, which finds Ahmed doing his best modern Appalachia, and he does it so well, completely mesmerizing and intense and emotional and impossibly lush.
On the other disc, Between Two Skies, Ahmed takes his guitar, that ghostly Appalachia, all subtle and subdued, washed out and weary sounding, and sets it amidst mysterious and lush sounding soundscapes, tinkling piano, long drawn out vocal parts, slightly reminiscent of Sigur Ros, wordless, warm and fuzzy, unfurling like another layer of sound, the atmosphere gauzy and dreamlike. All the while the guitar weaves delicate little melodies, little blurs of soft focus sound wrapped in shimmering drones and warm whirring ambience.
Both discs are distinctly different, but manage to sound perfect together, each subtly complimenting the other. Folks who were lucky enough to get those cd-r's the first time around, have probably played them to death and can no get some much sturdier replacements, and for everybody else, a long overdue to get lost in Ahmed's mysterious and lovely soundworld.
Beautifully packaged in a thick two color offset printed cardstock gatefold sleeve, with a printed cardstock insert. Remastered by Pete Swanson of The Yellow Swans with extensive liner notes from David Keenan.
MPEG Stream: "Black Midas"
MPEG Stream: "As Those Above"
MPEG Stream: "Golden Eyes"
MPEG Stream: "Shumsun"

album cover AHMED, ILYAS Between Two Skies / Towards The Night (Immune ) 2lp 23.00
Lots of you probably remember when we listed these discs a few years ago, both were cd-rs back then, and both were limited to about 50 copies. We got so many orders, and rightfully so, Ilyas Ahmed's sound was and is gorgeous and spare, simple and spacious, darkly emotional and sweetly mournful. He promised to put together more cd-rs for all the people who ordered them, but somehow, he never managed to make it happen. We waited and waited and waitedÉ Then Digitalis stepped in and took both of Ahmed's first two cd-rs and reissued them as real cds, and now the Immune label takes up the torch, taking those very same cd-rs / cds and pressing them on vinyl, and some super thick vinyl, housed in some super swank packaging to boot.
For those who missed out on the cd-r / cd versions, or who just need a refresher, Ahmed is a guitarist, pianist, and crafter of drones, but guitar is his main instrument. He explores a sonic steel string world similar to folks like James Blackshaw, Jack Rose and of course John Fahey, dense little tangles of minor key finger picking and lush metallic strum. Darkly melodic, and strangely timeless sounding. Moody and so so gorgeous. Fans of the above mentioned guitarists will absolutely want this, even just for the Towards The Night half, which finds Ahmed doing his best modern Appalachia, and he does it so well, completely mesmerizing and intense and emotional and impossibly lush.
On the other half, Between Two Skies, Ahmed takes his guitar, that ghostly Appalachia, all subtle and subdued, washed out and weary sounding, and sets it amidst mysterious and lush sounding soundscapes, tinkling piano, long drawn out vocal parts, slightly reminiscent of Sigur Ros, wordless, warm and fuzzy, unfurling like another layer of sound, the atmosphere gauzy and dreamlike. All the while the guitar weaves delicate little melodies, little blurs of soft focus sound wrapped in shimmering drones and warm whirring ambience.
Both records are distinctly different, but manage to sound perfect together, each subtly complimenting the other. Totally fantastic.
MPEG Stream: "Black Midas"
MPEG Stream: "As Those Above"
MPEG Stream: "Golden Eyes"
MPEG Stream: "Shumsun"

album cover AHMED, ILYAS Century Of Moonlight (Time-Lag) 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.
We've all gone nuts for the dark and brooding folk flecked soundscapes of aQ customer Ilyas Ahmed. Appalachian guitars atretched into ghostly swirls. So lovely.
Limited to 222 and hand numbered.
MPEG Stream: "Softly, Tomorrow"
MPEG Stream: "Red Spring"

album cover AHMED, ILYAS Naqi (self-released) cd-r 7.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
As much as we love cd-r's, there are times, with certain records, that they make us so frustrated. Sure part of the charm of a super limited cd-r release is that it's fleeting. Often handmade and labor intensive. So the whole project becomes ultra personal for both the artist and the listener. But some records just need to be heard by more than 50 or 100 or even 200 people. Such is the case with Ilyas Ahmed. An Aquarius customer who sent us one of his home recorded discs a while back and who completely blew us away. We've been bugging him ever since to send us more and more cd-r's (and you in turn have been bugging us like crazy to get more copies of the old discs, and keep our eyes peeled for new ones). The first four are already long gone, so we were super excited to get this new one a few days ago. And it's just as good as any of the others, if not better. Definitely stranger. Before, Ahmed offered up little snippets of some long lost forest folk. Shimmery and pastoral, lilting and so so pretty. And while much of this disc explores similar territory, overall, it's much darker, and a bit more aggressive. The opening track is sort of glam folk jam, dark super distorted steel string strum and soaring ethereal falsetto vocals. The riff is sort of grungy, dripping with distortion, but never obfuscating the urgent strumming, and leaving space for Ahmed's super dramatic wail. Had this track been played with electric guitars plugged into big amps with pounding drums, it might sounds a tiny bit like modern day Circle. Weird, bit so cool.
After that, things veer back into moire blissy folk territory, with finger picked steel string guitar, more subtle crooned vocals, simple percussion, a late night drift through an abstract drug folk dreamworld. But the last two songs bring things right back, with the guitar again drenched in reverb and distortion, a little more languid and laid back, but still a fuzzy druggy muted squall, a little bit reminiscent of Rein Sanction actually, but a bit more mellow and shimmery soft. Lazy drawled vocals over fuzzed out Mascis style riffing, all blown out but still mumbly and lo-fi with distant falsetto vocals hovering wraithlike just behind the strum and buzz. Naqi may be a dreamy free folk record, but it's got some serious teeth, a little fuzzy buzz and a fried amp patina that makes these songs sound way more druggy and psychedelic. Which is most definitely a good thing.
Each sleeve is hand designed, a unique collage on the front, album and artist hand written on the back. Includes a printed insert.
LIMITED TO 200 COPIES. Each copy hand numbered as well.
MPEG Stream: "Dirty Thinner"
MPEG Stream: "For What We See"

album cover AHMED, ILYAS Speaking Of Shadows (self-released) cd-r 6.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Hard to believe that Ilyas Ahmed was "just" an AQ customer until recently. We were totally blown away the first time we heard his music, and ever since have been unable to keep his cd-r's in stock. All way too limited, all totally gorgeous. Dreamy and drifty, gently played acoustic guitar, wraithlike, lilting soft focus falsetto vocals, sometimes the songs sound like snippets of some long lost mysterious pastoral folk epic, sometimes all the elements get blurred into sparkling shimmery sun drenched streaks of sound dotted with bits of random electronic interference and strange high end drones. Warm and languorous, each track wrapped in a gauzey late afternoon porch production, minor key melodies hover and fade, vocals ebb and flow, the guitar, buzzes and drones, but mostly shimmers and floats. Such lovely lovely music. Truly a shame that his releases are so limited.
Thus, this is LIMITED TO 150 COPIES. We got 30. Each hand numbered. You do the math.
MPEG Stream: "Softly, Tomorrow"
MPEG Stream: "Red Spring"

album cover AHMED, ILYAS The Vertigo Of Dawn (Time-Lag) cd 15.98
Hot on the heels of the recently reviewed, way overdue, double disc reissue of two LONG out of print cd-r's, comes a brand new disc from one of our favorite music makers, Ilyas Ahmed.
In the past, Ahmed has found himself lumped in with lots of modern guitarists, of the neo-Appalachian persuasion, Blackshaw, Rose, etc. And while Ahmed can definitely fingerpick with the best of them, his records were never distinctly 'guitar' records in that same way, even though most of his songs are based around a guitar. And his prowess on the steel string was never really the focal point of those discs. Instead, he used the guitar and those bits of Appalachia, merely as elements in a much larger sonic picture. Vocals, raga like drones, horns, hand drums, each part of a lush lush expansive soundscape, which just happened to be draped across a framework of steel string shimmer, while all around that acoustic guitar, swirled strange and wondrous sounds.
The new disc, The Vertigo Of Dawn, while indeed rich with lustrous guitar, is even more far out, more psychedelic, more druggy, and manages to turn that guitar into something weird and wonderful, a hazy fuzzy ghostlike folk, otherworldly and haunting.
The record begins with a tripped out ESP style free jazz drone drift, all long tones and moaning horns, very serene and sedate and meditative, lots of space, warm whirling reverb, the horns hovering over a soft backdrop of deep rumbles and muted buzz, Eastern style melodies played out like snake charmer melodies, the whole thing very exotic and mysterious and free jazzy.
The second track begins with some aggressively strummed guitar, distorted crooned vocals, and some killer Eastern style melodies (again), it's like freak folk filtered through some Middle Eastern bazaar. The following track is more druggy and woozy, the acoustic guitar again the focal point, but surrounded on all sides by swooping backwards guitars, and ghostlike falsetto vocals. The next track is a sunshiney hippy folk jam, with simple subtle percussion, strummed minor key guitar, but wrapped around some truly haunting vocals and horns, high and drawn out, sometimes hard to tell if it's a horn or a voice, but they add a strange tension, and turn the fluttery folk into something much more intense and mysterious. The whole record is like a long strange trip for Ahmed's guitar, its gentle melodies, and simple strumming, making their way through strange song after strange song, sometimes, floating unmolested, just glimmering and glistening, while other times being buffeted by thick squalls of buzz and whirring drones, and at others, slowly pulled apart into strange minimal steel stringscapes, each note a sparkling star in a constellation of minor key melancholia, often accompanied by Ahmed's lonesome falsetto wail, wrapping protectively around the guitar's fragile shimmer. So nice.
Fans of all that neo-Appalachia stuff will definitely dig this, as will folks into the freak folk cd-r scene, but even if you're into folky psych like Six Organs Of Admittance, Steven R. Smith, Scott Tuma, and other steel string soundscapers, you might find this much to your liking...
The packaging is fantastic as well, both the lp and the cd are housed in super deluxe fabric textured gatefold sleeves, both with printed insert, the lp is on 180 gram vinyl and is limited to 750 copies.
MPEG Stream: "Golden Universe"
MPEG Stream: "Under The Singing Sea"

album cover AHMED, ILYAS The Vertigo Of Dawn (Time-Lag) lp 26.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Hot on the heels of the recently reviewed, way overdue, double disc reissue of two LONG out of print cd-r's, comes a brand new disc from one of our favorite music makers, Ilyas Ahmed.
In the past, Ahmed has found himself lumped in with lots of modern guitarists, of the neo-Appalachian persuasion, Blackshaw, Rose, etc. And while Ahmed can definitely fingerpick with the best of them, his records were never distinctly 'guitar' records in that same way, even though most of his songs are based around a guitar. And his prowess on the steel string was never really the focal point of those discs. Instead, he used the guitar and those bits of Appalachia, merely as elements in a much larger sonic picture. Vocals, raga like drones, horns, hand drums, each part of a lush lush expansive soundscape, which just happened to be draped across a framework of steel string shimmer, while all around that acoustic guitar, swirled strange and wondrous sounds.
The new disc, The Vertigo Of Dawn, while indeed rich with lustrous guitar, is even more far out, more psychedelic, more druggy, and manages to turn that guitar into something weird and wonderful, a hazy fuzzy ghostlike folk, otherworldly and haunting.
The record begins with a tripped out ESP style free jazz drone drift, all long tones and moaning horns, very serene and sedate and meditative, lots of space, warm whirling reverb, the horns hovering over a soft backdrop of deep rumbles and muted buzz, Eastern style melodies played out like snake charmer melodies, the whole thing very exotic and mysterious and free jazzy.
The second track begins with some aggressively strummed guitar, distorted crooned vocals, and some killer Eastern style melodies (again), it's like freak folk filtered through some Middle Eastern bazaar. The following track is more druggy and woozy, the acoustic guitar again the focal point, but surrounded on all sides by swooping backwards guitars, and ghostlike falsetto vocals. The next track is a sunshiney hippy folk jam, with simple subtle percussion, strummed minor key guitar, but wrapped around some truly haunting vocals and horns, high and drawn out, sometimes hard to tell if it's a horn or a voice, but they add a strange tension, and turn the fluttery folk into something much more intense and mysterious. The whole record is like a long strange trip for Ahmed's guitar, its gentle melodies, and simple strumming, making their way through strange song after strange song, sometimes, floating unmolested, just glimmering and glistening, while other times being buffeted by thick squalls of buzz and whirring drones, and at others, slowly pulled apart into strange minimal steel stringscapes, each note a sparkling star in a constellation of minor key melancholia, often accompanied by Ahmed's lonesome falsetto wail, wrapping protectively around the guitar's fragile shimmer. So nice.
Fans of all that neo-Appalachia stuff will definitely dig this, as will folks into the freak folk cd-r scene, but even if you're into folky psych like Six Organs Of Admittance, Steven R. Smith, Scott Tuma, and other steel string soundscapers, you might find this much to your liking...
The packaging is fantastic as well, both the lp and the cd are housed in super deluxe fabric textured gatefold sleeves, both with printed insert, the lp is on 180 gram vinyl and is limited to 750 copies.
MPEG Stream: "Golden Universe"
MPEG Stream: "Under The Singing Sea"

album cover AHMED, ILYAS With Endless Fire (Immune) lp 22.00
Latest record from psych folk troubadour Ilyas Ahmed, his first since 2009's Goner, and much like Goner, his sound continues to move away from the super delicate folky drift of his past records. In fact, we remarked in our review of Goner, that there was a marked shift toward a sound more distorted and blown out, and while that record seemed to simply bury all of the delicate sounds under buzzing guitars and pounding drums, on With Endless Fire there seems to be a more of an organic hybridization of the two. The sound here is less prettiness-wreathed-in-heaviness, and more prettiness recorded in a way that it actually BECOMES heavy, the sound super hot, and in-the-red, so much so that lots of the music sounds super saturated, but it only makes it sound that much more urgent and intense. Even the moodiest broodiest bits, seethe with energy, a smoldering emotional intensity that oozes from every note.
The record opens with "Now Sleeps", a lush layered raga, all buzzing tones, that build and build to an almost Sunroof! ur-drone level, softened by Ahmed's ethereal vox, the raga sloughing off high end until it becomes a dense drone, which is soon joined by acoustic guitar, and simple shuffling drums, strangely recorded, the result a sort of blackened sun baked psych folk dirge, again with Ahmed's voice changing the tenor, all wistful and weary, but distorted and thus intense and emotional, and when the leads come in, super blown out and fiercely psychedelic, convulsing over that warm brooding rhythm beneath. "Skin In Circles" is more folk pop, softly rhythmic and propulsive, the seemingly minimal guitars, imbued with an energy and intensity that transforms a delicate bit of folkiness into something darker and more brooding. That same vibe oozes into "Stained Sky", which almost has a classic rock vibe, but again, the sounds are so blown out and druggy, that it becomes a sort of blackened psych ballad, gorgeous and harrowing.
After a brief bit of steel string balladry, a lovely mid record bit of hushed dreamfolk, the sound shifts right back into that smoldering drone, with another expanse of layered twang flecked heaviness, laced with spidery tendrils of dense buzzing melody, wrapped around a more delicate bit of psychedelic drift, which leads right into the sprawling "My Mirage", another deserty folky drift fused to some thick super distorted psychedelic guitar, the perfect balance for Ahmed's vox and the shimmery steel string strum, the second half of the song blossoming into a gorgeous dreamily blown out psychedelic dream dirge, that eventually fades onto record closer, "By The Light", which ditches all the distortion for something much more hushed and lovely, a hazy, reverby stretch of warm washed out dream folk, a darkly sweet lullaby and perfect way to wind down, and drift off.
LIMITED TO 1000 COPIES. Pressed on high quality virgin vinyl and housed in a super heavy Stoughton tip-on style jacket. Also includes a download coupon. Cassette version coming soon, btw.
MPEG Stream: "Now Sleeps"
MPEG Stream: "Skin In Circles"
MPEG Stream: "Stained Sky"

album cover AKIYAMA, TETUZI Pre-Existence (Locust) cd 14.98
In 2003, Locust released the mighty fine Wooden Guitar compilation, featuring a tracks by some of the most interesting of the current crop of Fahey-inspired practicioners of folk-improv acoustic guitar: Jack Rose, Steffen Basho-Junghans, Tetuzi Akiyama, and Richard Bishop. They've since followed up that release with solo discs by Bishop and, now, Akiyama.
Akiyama, who hails from Tokyo, was responsible for the longest and perhaps most avant-garde track on the original compilation, as his guitar playing incorporates the silence and abstraction of the "onkyo" electronic improv scene happening in his hometown. Yet the dusty, folky old timeyness key to the "Wooden Guitar" concept is much in evidence as well. So, listen to Pre-Existence and let Akiyama slowly wrap his sprongy steel guitar strings 'round your head, as he plucks and strums what almost sounds like a blues for the guitar itself. There's a lot of knock knock percussive playing and lonesome sustained tones. It's maybe what John Fahey would sound like if totally slow-mo stoned on cough syrup. Of course that sounds good to us. Can't wait for more in this series!
MPEG Stream: "Atheist"
MPEG Stream: "Mystification"

album cover AKIYAMA, TETUZI Pre-Existence ( Bo'Weavil) lp 28.00
Now on vinyl!
In 2003, Locust released the mighty fine Wooden Guitar compilation, featuring a tracks by some of the most interesting of the current crop of Fahey-inspired practitioners of folk-improv acoustic guitar: Jack Rose, Steffen Basho-Junghans, Tetuzi Akiyama, and Richard Bishop. They've since followed up that release with solo discs by Bishop and, now, Akiyama.
Akiyama, who hails from Tokyo, was responsible for the longest and perhaps most avant-garde track on the original compilation, as his guitar playing incorporates the silence and abstraction of the "onkyo" electronic improv scene happening in his hometown. Yet the dusty, folky old timeyness key to the "Wooden Guitar" concept is much in evidence as well. So, listen to Pre-Existence and let Akiyama slowly wrap his sprongy steel guitar strings 'round your head, as he plucks and strums what almost sounds like a blues for the guitar itself. There's a lot of knock knock percussive playing and lonesome sustained tones. It's maybe what John Fahey would sound like if totally slow-mo stoned on cough syrup. Of course that sounds good to us. Can't wait for more in this series!
MPEG Stream: "Atheist"
MPEG Stream: "Mystification"

album cover AKIYAMA, TETUZI The Ancient Balance To Control Death (Western Vinyl) cd 11.98
Tetuzi Akiyama has always been one of the weirdest of the whole "Wooden Guitar" bunch, doing the lovely steel-string, neo-Appalachian folk thing a la Jack Rose and James Blackshaw in the John Fahey tradition sometimes, yeah, but often bringing to it the fractured logic and significant silences of the experimental "onkyo" improv scene he's a part of in Japan. Then there's his whole, under-documented uber-repetitive, electrified avant-garde "boogie" side. And, when he was here earlier this year and did an instore at Aquarius, he held us spellbound with slow-motion string pluckings that we could barely hear.
So it's something of a surprise to find that this new seven-song, 15 and a half minute ep from Akiyama is entirely song-based, and not only that, he SINGS. There's lyrics printed on the cd sleeve, cryptic poetry suggestive of Biblical commands. Vocally, he sounds something like Devendra Banhart, believe it or not! But his nasal vocals are stereo-effected (double tracked), and maybe a bit off-key... so imagine The Shaggs doing a Devendra impression. The music fits with that to, as of course being Akiyama his compositions aren't gonna be easily grokked by your typical folk-fan. There's a definite Jandek-ishness to this, but by way of Takoma, an alienated, atonal quality that (for us) feeds perfectly into the strange dismal blues mood he's trying to conjure. With wheezing harmonica drones, rattling maracas, Akiyama's delta-delic acoustic guitar, and some dabbling in electronics, he has us spellbound again with these atypical Akiyama-ized death chants.
MPEG Stream: "Close The Door"
MPEG Stream: "I Will Be With You"

album cover AKIYAMA, TETUZI / OREN AMBARCHI / ALAN LICHT Willow Weep And Moan For Me (Antiopic) 3" cd 10.98
Ladies and gentlemen, The Blues Deceivers! Huh? Yes that's what this trio is calling themselves, says so right on the back of this spooky lil' 3". These three guitarists (representing Japan, Australia, and the USA respectively, all well known in underground music circles) agree that the tradition of 'the blues' should or could be (or already was) an aspect of their approach to experimental improvised guitar, and so teamed up for this live recording at the 2004 Bomb the Space Festival in Wellington, New Zealand to let their guitars gently weep and moan (like the willow of the title) in desolate and dismal blues style... avant "blues" that is, droning and eerie and abstract and evocative. The Blues Deceivers are definitely not the sort of blues band you'd find booked at the Boom Boom Room fer instance. No vocals, no drums... the only voices those of their guitars and the ghosts they conjure. For fans of Loren Connors, for sure, and also all three of these players, who have explored such old timey territory in their work to some degree or other before.
It's 18 minutes, 47 seconds long in case you're wondering about how much music they fit on the 3" format, in this case.
MPEG Stream: "Willow Weep and Moan for Me (excerpt)"

album cover AKRON / FAMILY Set 'Em Wild, Set 'Em Free (Dead Oceans) cd 14.98
It's the case with lots of our favorite bands that the magic and awesomeness of any group comes from the collaborative energy every member puts forth into the overall sound. It's not so much one member leading, or one guitar part, or one vocal hook that makes a band awesome. Put it this way, the whole is always greater than its parts. After leaving the infamous Young God Records and losing key member Ryan Vanderhoof, Akron family find themselves in a state of creative purgatory. We were surprised to hear Set 'Em Wild sounding so unconfident and unsure, one song lead by a post-rock guitar splurge, then the next a funky bassline from some sweaty disco romp. Not to say we don't fully appreciate the weird and unconventional approach these dudes have always taken, but there's something missing here. In all fairness, the production and performance is up to par with past Akron records, rich group harmonies, catchy pop hooks, atmospheric wash and delay, but the overall magic that linked all these key elements into something tangible seems to have unfortunately faded away...
MPEG Stream: "Everyone Is Guilty"
MPEG Stream: "Set 'Em Free"

album cover ALLEN, RED Folkways Years 1964-1983 (Smithsonian Folkways) cd 15.98
As usual, Smithsonian-Folkways has gone all out and put together a handsome reissue. Though singer / guitarist Red Allen has remained a little known figure outside of bluegrass circles, his importance within the genre is much underscored in this collection, with Smithsonian-Folkways going as far as claiming Allen to be "one of the most important exponents of the 'high, lonesome sound.'" Red Allen could be considered part of the "second wave" of bluegrass musicians -- those that emulated the sound of the post war line up of Bill Monroe's bluegrass boys, creating the enduring concept of the genre now fondly regarded as "bluegrass." He made his professional debut as a partner with the Osborne Brothers (and important enough role for them to be billed as "The Osborne Brothers And Red Allen") in 1953 before leaving to form his own group with mandolinist Frank Wakefield. This disc includes Allen's 1964 album for Folkways "Bluegrass", plus six unreleased tracks from those sessions and several more from later albums. Some of the musicians found on these tracks include Frank Wakefield, Vassar Clements, Marty Stuart, Pete Kuykendall, Bill Keith and Curley Seckler. Comes with a 32 page booklet that contains a brief history of bluegrass and Red Allen's place in it by Jon Weisberger, a bio of Allen by Mark Yacovone (including and interview by Yacovone of banjo players Pete Kuykendall and Bill Keith) and several pages of notes on the songs included on this disc.
RealAudio clip: "Somebody Loves You, Darling"
RealAudio clip: "Are You Afraid To Die?"
RealAudio clip: "Christian Life"

ALLEN, RED & FRANK WAKEFIELD Kitchen Tapes, the (Acoustic Disc) cd 16.98
Excellent recording of longtime bluegrass collaborators Red Allen (guitar / vocals) & Frank Wakefield (mandolin / vocals) made at Red Allen's Hyattsville, Maryland home in 1963 by David Grisman. The non-studio environment for this session adds to the off the cuff, relaxed quality of these tracks. Especially wonderful is their absolutely haunting rendition of "Down In The Willow Garden." Highly recommended.

album cover AMALGAMATED SONS OF REST s/t (Galaxia) cd ep 9.98
On local / Santa Cruz-based label Galaxia comes this supergroup of sorts. Amalgamated Sons of Rest is Will Oldham of PALACE, Jason Molina of SONGS:OHIA, and Alasdair Roberts of APPENDIX OUT. These guys have basically written the book on broken-voiced, broken-hearted, hollow-eyed, lovely back porch indie twang. A one of a kind 6-song (one more than the lp) session. *Really* nice and even more stripped down than these guys usually are -- harking back to the earliest Songs:Ohia records and the most despairing Palace tracks.
RealAudio clip: "Maa Bonny Lad"

album cover AMLEE, ERIK Afternoon Dream (Mandragora / Fire Museum) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Earlier this year, we reviewed two volumes of dreamy psychedelic sitar improvisations from multi instrumentalist Erik Amlee. Two discs, both absolutely gorgeous, so gorgeous in fact that we could barely keep them in stock. So we were super excited to get our hands on this, the newest release from Amlee, an actual cd, not a cd-r, another set of improvisations, this time performed on both sitar and acoustic guitar, and again so lovely and tranquil, blissy and dreamy.
Deep swells of buzzing strings drift lazily, the acoustic guitar strumming along in the background, adding yet another layer of steel string buzz. Some of the tracks are totally loose and abstract, druggy expanses of slippery psychedelic sound, murky and fuzzy, like the jammiest spaciest parts of Spacemen 3 and Hawkwind stripped down into weird stoner acoustic ragas, all drone and shimmer, a buzzing swirl of warm drug den ambience and sunny afternoon sparkle, a seemingly impossible mix that sounds pretty much perfect together. Some of the other tracks are much more structured and guitar based, gorgeous little chunks of neo-Appalachia, but with all sorts of extra buzz, all nestled within a billowy fog of spacey FX. And still others are a glorious mix of the two, a dreamy collision of Eastern Raga and Western twang, a slithering squirming drone that buzzes and builds into thick squalls of resonating strings and swirling ambient hiss, all wrapped in a blown out, super distorted, reverb heavy sound thanks to some post-recording production. So great. The perfect balance of freaked out psychedelic raga bliss and shimmery lilting buzz and twang. SO RECOMMENDED!!
MPEG Stream: "Pulse Quickens"
MPEG Stream: "Entering The Mist"

album cover AMPS FOR CHRIST Circuits ( Tuned Word / Water Wing ) 2lp 17.98
It's very cool that this has been reissued on vinyl, since even one of our pals who's a big AFC fan had somehow missed out on the original cd (and now out of print) release of this great album back in 1999 - here's what we said about it then, though if we had more time right now we'd probably expand it by a couple of gushing paragraphs:
The newest release from this no-longer one-man folk/noise project. Barnes, the man responsible for the 'noise' in Man is The Bastard and Bastard Noise, returns with a surprisingly beautiful record of soothing songs his mum used to sing him, played on a variety of homemade instruments that sound a bit like saws, harpsichords and bagpipes, and sung by the lovely-voiced Tara. Like a impossible cross between His Name Is Alive, the Sun City Girls, and (at points) even Japanese progpunks the Ruins!! Really a genius "folkcore" band. And Christian like the name implies, in their own weird way ("Our extreem thanks to the Creator" it says here).
MPEG Stream: "Sweet William And Lady Margret"
MPEG Stream: "The Blacksmith"
MPEG Stream: "The Wife Of Ushers Well"

album cover AMY & KAREN Play 15 "Old Time" Quality Tunes & Songs (self-released) cd 14.98
...and they play 'em so well! These two ladies have definitely captured that ol' homey country sound on their debut album with a barebones acoustic assembly of banjo, fiddle, guitar and voice. They cover the likes of The Carter Family, Bruce Springsteen, Woody Guthrie among others and a couple of traditional numbers as well. Lovingly packaged in a screenprinted cardboard sleeve too! For fans of Freakwater, Virginia Dare, Trailer Bride.
MPEG Stream: "Christmas Eve"
MPEG Stream: "Nebraska"

ANAKSIMANDROS, THE Life Is A Skullbow (Veglia) lp 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Anaksimandros features members of Finland's wonderful Kemialliset Ystavat. Although the sound here is a bit removed from the gorgeous folk of KY. The title had us expecting some sort of noisy cross between Merzbow and Skullflower...and it's not all that far from being spot on. Although add in a little No Neck Blues Band hippie jam and some Dead C ambient roar and you'll be even closer. Noisy, clattery, kitchen sink tribalism, with thudding caveman beats, damaged guitar strumming, squealing feedback, ambient thrum, wheezing reeds, and fuzz and hiss and whirr galore.
Anyone into the No Neck Blues Band, the Dead C, Birchville Cat Motel, Skullflower and anyone who bought those recent Sunroof! / Vibracathedral Orchestra cd-rs will lose their shit over this. Vinyl only and extremely limited.

album cover ANDERSON, MARISA Golden Hour (Mississippi) lp 11.98
**MISSISSIPPI RECORDS ALERT**
We usually hate when reissue labels put out something contemporary, often it's some modern band that's making music in a similar vein, even more often it's a friend of the label, done out of obligation, and in both cases, most of the time, said release sticks out like a sore thumb. There are exceptions, and labels with great taste, can be trusted to make exceptions when they're called for. And Mississippi is definitely on of those labels we implicitly trust. In the past, they've peppered their mind blowing catalog of killer reissues with records by Spooky Dance Band (post Reeks And The Wrecks), PDX punk rockers Sad Horse, longtime aQ fave Mirah, and now a Portland based guitarist named Marisa Anderson.
Anderson plays guitar and lap steel, and offers up a dozen gorgeous tracks of her own particular brand of Appalachia, from the noisy, reverbed, chaotic and crunchy, almost psychedelic sounding "Drop Down", to the more traditionally folky "The Night Before Last", her playing is fluid and emotional, dexterous and original, channeling the spirits of the past (Fahey, Kottke, etc.) but infusing them with the spirit of today, and her own soul and feeling, and the results are indeed really quite nice. So lovely, sun dappled back porch guitar music, with the occasional foray into something a bit darker and stormier, WAY recommended. And you can now add Anderson to the elite roll call of Post-Fahey guitar gods (and now GODDESSES!) along side James Blackshaw, Jack Rose, Richard Bishop, Ilyas Ahmed, Matt Baldwin, and the rest.

album cover ANDERSON, MARISA Mercury ( Important) cd 15.98
NOW ON CD!!
Full length number two (originally released on vinyl by Mississippi in 2013) from this Portland guitarist, whose debut The Golden Hour was a huge hit around here, and who delivered a truly stunning instore performance a couple years back. A modern master of classic Appalachia, Anderson is of course beholden to the greats: Fahey, Kottke, Basho, etc. As we mentioned in our review of her debut, should really be getting the same sort of accolades as her modern post-Fahey peers like Richard Bishop, Jack Rose, James Blackshaw, and the rest. Anderson is perfectly capable of aping Fahey, but usually chooses to forge her own sonic path, her take on Appalachia remains more psychedelic, more loose and noisy and a bit experimental, Mercury, like The Golden Hour, almost plays more like a collection than an album proper, the songs and sounds so all over the map, as if these records were just a sampling of what Anderson is capable of, which appears to be quite a bit.
Lush distortion drenched melodies unfurl into spare twang flecked drift, folky campfire blues blossoms into dense frantic picking, the sound gets jazzy at times, psychedelic at others, spare and hushed one moment, brooding and slow building the next. Some of the songs here seem informed by distinctly non-Appalachian sounds, at least one track sounds like Fahey via Godspeed, which is as cool as it sounds, while elsewhere, Anderson gets dirgey and distorted, adding slippery slide, letting notes ring out, rife with tension and pathos, woozy, dreamy psychedelia is transformed into spare, spacious dream folk drift, before slipping effortlessly into some vintage sounding classic Appalachia. A near perfect mix of modern and classic sounds, interpretations and variations of each, that are uniquely Anderson's. Gorgeous! And so totally recommended.
MPEG Stream: "Down Off The Mountain"
MPEG Stream: "Furnace Creek"
MPEG Stream: "Mesquite Shade"

album cover ANDERSON, MARISA Mercury (Mississippi / Change) lp 14.98
Full length number two from this Portland guitarist, whose debut The Golden Hour was a huge hit around here, and who delivered a truly stunning instore performance a couple years back. A modern master of classic Appalachia, Anderson is of course beholden to the greats: Fahey, Kottke, Basho, etc. As we mentioned in our review of her debut, should really be getting the same sort of accolades as her modern post-Fahey peers like Richard Bishop, Jack Rose, James Blackshaw, and the rest. Anderson is perfectly capable of aping Fahey, but usually chooses to forge her own sonic path, her take on Appalachia remains more psychedelic, more loose and noisy and a bit experimental, Mercury, like The Golden Hour, almost plays more like a collection than an album proper, the songs and sounds so all over the map, as if these records were just a sampling of what Anderson is capable of, which appears to be quite a bit.
Lush distortion drenched melodies unfurl into spare twang flecked drift, folky campfire blues blossoms into dense frantic picking, the sound gets jazzy at times, psychedelic at others, spare and hushed one moment, brooding and slow building the next. Some of the songs here seem informed by distinctly non-Appalachian sounds, at least one track sounds like Fahey via Godspeed, which is as cool as it sounds, while elsewhere, Anderson gets dirgey and distorted, adding slippery slide, letting notes ring out, rife with tension and pathos, woozy, dreamy psychedelia is transformed into spare, spacious dream folk drift, before slipping effortlessly into some vintage sounding classic Appalachia. A near perfect mix of modern and classic sounds, interpretations and variations of each, that are uniquely Anderson's. Gorgeous! And so totally recommended.
Housed in fancy old school tip-on style sleeves. On Mississippi!

album cover ANDERSON, MARISA The Golden Hour (self-released) cd 8.98
The Golden Hour originally came out on Mississippi Records, a fantastic disc of improvised solo guitar from a Portland based guitarist named Marisa Anderson. We dug it so much, we had her perform like at aQ a couple days ago, and WOW. Not only was she super cool, but seeing her play live was even more impressive, and got us newly obsessed with the record. And while she was here, she also left us some cds of The Golden Hour, which she released herself. And if for some reason you've yet to hear it, do yourself a favor and pick one up! You won't be sorry. Here's what we had to say about The Golden Hour when we first reviewed the lp (which is why the intro is about Mississippi, even though the cd is self released, but it's relevant, really!):
We usually hate when reissue labels put out something contemporary, often it's some modern band that's making music in a similar vein, even more often it's a friend of the label, done out of obligation, and in both cases, most of the time, said release sticks out like a sore thumb. There are exceptions, and labels with great taste, can be trusted to make exceptions when they're called for. And Mississippi is definitely one of those labels we implicitly trust. In the past, they've peppered their mind blowing catalog of killer reissues with records by Spooky Dance Band (post Reeks And The Wrecks), PDX punk rockers Sad Horse, longtime aQ fave Mirah, and now a Portland based guitarist named Marisa Anderson.
Anderson plays guitar and lap steel, and offers up a dozen gorgeous tracks of her own particular brand of Appalachia, from the noisy, reverbed, chaotic and crunchy, almost psychedelic sounding "Drop Down", to the more traditionally folky "The Night Before Last", her playing is fluid and emotional, dexterous and original, channeling the spirits of the past (Fahey, Kottke, etc.) but infusing them with the spirit of today, and her own soul and feeling, and the results are indeed really quite nice. So lovely, sun dappled back porch guitar music, with the occasional foray into something a bit darker and stormier, WAY recommended. And you can now add Anderson to the elite roll call of Post-Fahey guitar gods (and now GODDESSES!) along side James Blackshaw, Jack Rose, Richard Bishop, Ilyas Ahmed, Matt Baldwin, and the rest.
RealAudio clip: "Drop Down"
MPEG Stream: "The Night Before Last"
MPEG Stream: "First Light"
MPEG Stream: "In The Valley Of The Sun"

album cover APOTHECARY HYMNS Half Of What Is Seen / The Marigold (Jugenstil) 7" 4.98
Ahoy Court & Spark fans! Here's a brand new lil' somethin' from a founding member of said group. Your introduction to Apothecary Hymns aka Alex Stimmel is only two songs, but such lovely like-minded -- albeit considerably more intimate and barebones -- ones they are. Rough hewn, heartfelt folksy melodies. Limited pressing of 500.

album cover AQUARIUS BUTTONS 2 x 1" buttons 1.00
Hey, we just got another batch of AQ buttons made up...
Spread the word! Show the world your true aQ colors! COOL COOL COOL aQ buttons, now in 6 different vibrant color combinations. 5 new color combos (blue on pink, red on dark grey, dark blue on blue, orange on black, and yellowish green on dark green) and a popular one we had previously (brown on yellow).
TWO FOR $1!!! Colors are random, but buy enough and you'll be guaranteed to get 'em all! And of course all feature our spiffy James Gang style logo!! So stylish!

album cover ARARAT Musica De La Resistencia (MeteorCity) cd 11.98
Weird and wonderful one here, folks. And it's for folky folks, though it's got a HEAVY pedigree. A lot of you are fans, like us, of South American stoner rock cosmonauts Los Natas, so you'll sort of (but not really) know what to expect here, Ararat being Los Natas guitarist Sergio Chotsourian's solo side project, and it is psychedelic like the most darkly psychedelic of Los Natas' output, coming closest perhaps to the proggy spaciness of Los Natas' two Toba-Trance discs for Circle's Ektro label, but is even more abstract and stripped down, not actually rock at all, often all-acoustic, "New Weird Argentina" maybe we'd call it! Ararat could be some kind of haunted, campfire krautrock, more like a field recording than the finished product of a studio session (even if the studio is called Death, which is where this was in fact recorded).
It starts off with "Gitanoss", an quietly epic almost 14 minutes of moody late-night strum, ambient hum, echoes, drifting melody, hazy organ drone, ritual percussion, backwards effects... quite a trip, as is this whole disc, Chotsourian climbing his personal Holy Mountain here (Mount Ararat!), it seems, this album a musical sketchbook of his ascent, of sorts.
Track two turns out to be a reprise of "Dos Horses", the album-ender of most recent Los Natas disc, Nuevo Orden De La Libertad, this alternate version not that far removed from the acoustic guitar/piano interplay of the original (Chotsourian just must be very proud of this particular composition, and it is quite nice). Next, there's the spooky "El Carrusel", all billowing fuzz and tinkling bell, like Stephen Wray Lobdell's Davis Redford Triad doing the soundtrack for a John Carpenter film!
While that one got heavy, the next is not, the pretty "Little Grissy" being under a minute of guitar and guitar only, Chotsourian giving a delicate demonstration of his chops for the Takoma crowd, leading into the hushed and melodic "Ganar-Perder", which to us sounds like Ghost's Masaki Batoh reinterpreting "Planet Caravan" or something (it too is a version of a song from Nuevo Orden De La Libertad, but in this case much altered, extended and acoustic). That's followed by the delicate Spanish guitar and atmospheric creaky crackle of the nearly 12 minute long "Magia Negra", one that Sir Richard Bishop fans should enjoy.
Only finale "Castro" is a "real" rock song, sounding like a band (Los Natas, or even Circle), with proper drums, and amps fully cranked, with vocals that Circle's Mika Ratto might think were his own, and even this one stays freaky and uncommitted, 'til it ends with the clatter of abandoned drumsticks, electricity flickering, Chotsourian and his mysterious band wandering away into the desert night.
We always say Boris fans should check out Los Natas. And Boris fans should check this out too, but we think Ararat is also for folks into Six Organs Of Admittance, James Blackshaw, Jozef Van Wissem, Feathers, Steven R. Smith and other Jewelled Antler stuff, all that whole post-Fahey psychfolk scene, with the astral Argentinean/Amerindian/Armenian/Appalachian vibes here flowing as ominous, minimalist mesmer, intimate and entrancing...
MPEG Stream: "Gitanoss"
MPEG Stream: "El Carrusel"
MPEG Stream: "Ganar-Perder"

album cover ARBOREA Wayfaring Summer (Summer Street) cd 11.98
We hadn't heard too much about these fluttering folk faeries, but odds are, we'll all be hearing a whole lot about these guys (and gals) in the near future. The sound they make is a gorgeous sun dappled blend of soft focus Appalachia, folky forest drift, shimmering indie shuffle, all wrapped in a warm gauzy production like a lazy summer afternoon spent on a porch swing, just sitting, and staring out at everything and nothing.
Minor key melodies unfurl via stately steel string guitar, a lilting mix: a little blues, a little Appalachia, a little moody ambience, flecks of twang here and there, all very spare and languorous. The female vocals are gently affected, the result a perfect mix of modern nu-folk, some Chan Marshall, some Joannna Newsom, and a healthy dose of classic old school British folk, Incredible String Band, Pentangle... the vocals very dramatic and swoonsome, perfectly complimenting the dark twangy swirl beneath. At some points the vocals become much more intense and pronounced, and we're definitely reminded of Jolie Holland, the vibe becoming decidedly country at times, but even then, the music continues to sway and shimmer, drifting and floating, the leaves in the trees above rustling, the leaves below crunching underfoot. So lovely.
Obvious comparisons would be Devendra, Newsom, Feathers, Vetiver, Brightblack, Espers, and odds are anyone into that stuff will be quite smitten by Arborea, but even folks who aren't always sold on this new wave of folk revivalists, might find Arborea's old fashioned sounds just familiar enough to wrap up in like an favorite old blanket...
MPEG Stream: "Wayfaring Summer"
MPEG Stream: "River And Rapids"
MPEG Stream: "Wake Up, Little Sparrow"

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