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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.


album cover KOSUGI, TAKEHISA Catch Wave (Phoenix) cd 17.98
Once again reissued, this time courtesy of the folks at Phoenix, naturally.
An essential document of godlike ur-drone from one of the all time masters, Takehisa Kosugi of the legendary seventies Japanese drone collective the Taj Mahal Travellers. And by now we shouldn't have to tell you how much we love the Taj Mahal Travellers! But we will. WE LOVE the Taj Mahal Travellers, and pretty much every cd-r drone band out there owes these guys royalties big time. And while we love a lot of that stuff, no one does it better. Masters of the organic drone, TMT utilized bowed cymbals, violins, loudspeakers, tape loops and all sorts of unique source material. And we've been blessed of late with another wave of reissues, making lots of fairly difficult to find TMT stuff available again. This disc is Taj Mahal main man Takehisa Kosugi (an influential member of the Fluxus movement) on solo violin, and unlike the truly organic natural sound of most of the Taj Mahal Travellers music, this piece is heavily processed, with all manner of effects, turning his violin into a buzzing squealing beast, sounding like some sort of otherworldly sitar. Gorgeous Eastern melodies drift in and out while tonal ripples spread out and slowly dissipate. Wild runs peter off into swooshing ambience, and sparse squeaks and warm tones tumble into each other creating all sorts of harmolodics. Definitely reminiscent of Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, Conrad Schnitzler and the like, but imbued with Kosugi's unique sense of melody and space. Totally essential.
MPEG Stream: "Mano Dharma '74 (Excerpt)"
MPEG Stream: "Wave Code #e-1 (Excerpt)"

album cover KOSUGI, TAKEHISA Catch Wave (Phoenix) lp 24.00
Now available reissued on 180 gram vinyl!!
An essential document of godlike ur-drone from one of the all time masters, Takehisa Kosugi of the legendary seventies Japanese drone collective the Taj Mahal Travellers. And by now we shouldn't have to tell you how much we love the Taj Mahal Travellers! But we will. WE LOVE the Taj Mahal Travellers, and pretty much every cd-r drone band out there owes these guys royalties big time. And while we love a lot of that stuff, no one does it better. Masters of the organic drone, TMT utilized bowed cymbals, violins, loudspeakers, tape loops and all sorts of unique source material. And we've been blessed of late with another wave of reissues, making lots of fairly difficult to find TMT stuff available again. This disc is Taj Mahal main man Takehisa Kosugi (an influential member of the Fluxus movement) on solo violin, and unlike the truly organic natural sound of most of the Taj Mahal Travellers music, this piece is heavily processed, with all manner of effects, turning his violin into a buzzing squealing beast, sounding like some sort of otherworldly sitar. Gorgeous Eastern melodies drift in and out while tonal ripples spread out and slowly dissipate. Wild runs peter off into swooshing ambience, and sparse squeaks and warm tones tumble into each other creating all sorts of harmolodics. Definitely reminiscent of Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, Conrad Schnitzler and the like, but imbued with Kosugi's unique sense of melody and space. Totally essential.
MPEG Stream: "Mano Dharma '74 (Excerpt)"
MPEG Stream: "Wave Code #e-1 (Excerpt)"

album cover KOSUGI, TAKEHISA Studio Improvisations, Tokyo, 16th and 17th September, 1974 (BB) lp 30.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.

KOSUGI, TAKEHISA Violin Solo 1980 (P-Vine) cd 25.00
Killer violin ur-drone from Taj Mahal Travellers mainman. Long drawn out high end screech / scrape / skree. Hypnotic and gorgeous.
MPEG Stream: "One"
MPEG Stream: "Two"

KOTAI s/t (WMFREC) cd 14.98
There's not a lot to Kotai's bleak electronica, as a measured recombination of Chain Reaction's heroin house, Georgio Moroder's cyber-disco synth arpeggiations, and Suicide's relentless monotony; but along with Adult., Fisherspooner, and Miss Kitten, Kotai's Goth-inflected New Wave revivalism is pretty seductive. Amongst all of those aforementioned references, Suicide stands out most prominently due to Klaus Kotai's vocal similitude to Suicide's Alan Vega. Each of Kotai's songs sound like updated versions of "Frankie Teardrop," transposing Suicide's dystopian theatricality with a hollow, but studly swagger indicative of the title "Pretty Men Wear Pretty Clothes." Kotai is Euro-trash at its finest.
RealAudio clip: "Pretty Men Wear Pretty Clothes"
RealAudio clip: "Ba3 Breathing"

album cover KOTCHE, GLENN Introducing (Locust Music) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Stepping out from his day job in Wilco, Kotche really stretches out on these four pieces, all performed on acoustic and electronic percussion with occasional cello. This actually sounds a lot like something we would expect from Celebrate Psi Phenomenon (the awesome NZ drone label) or Last Visible Dog (esoteric RI cd-r label). From clicking clattering insect percussion over melancholy drones, wispy and ephemeral, to throbbing noisescapes augmented by chimes and bells, to faux gamelan glitchscapes to dreamy burbly ambience. Maybe Jim O'Rourke got a little too much of the credit for Wilco's new found penchant for experimental sounds...
RealAudio clip: "Cheju"
RealAudio clip: "Wading Pool"

album cover KOTCHE, GLENN Mobile (Nonesuch) cd 15.98
For those of us who thought Wilco reached new heights on Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and A Ghost Is Born, there is no doubt that the addition of Glenn Kotche on drums made a significant impact and influence on those recordings. Joining the band on YHF, he has been a key ingredient in helping Jeff Tweedy/Wilco take their sound further and further. On this, his second solo outing, Kotche shows he isn't just someone's backing man. Kotche has an amazing musical mind and puts it to such great use on this record. What's best about this record is that it isn't what you would expect it to be. Yes it's a drummers solo record and yes it is a mostly percussive affair but the songs have so much depth, variety and interesting twists and turns. You can see how everything from afro-beat to Steve Reich to experimental electronic sounds have helped shape the cannon of Kotche's playing. A very nice outing!
MPEG Stream: "Mobile Parts 1 & 2"
MPEG Stream: "Projections of (What) Might..."

KOTCHE, GLENN Next (Quakebasket) cd 14.98

KOTRA Dissilient (Nexsound) cd 11.98

album cover KOTTKE, LEO 6 And 12 String Guitar (Takoma) cd 18.98
Out of the major Takoma triumvirate of John Fahey, Robbie Basho and Leo Kottke, it is the latter who probably had the most mainstream appeal, but definitely the least hipster cred. Probably due to his early and sudden career switch from an amazing virtuoso instrumentalist to a rather mediocre singer/songwriter. But it's this debut recording of solo guitar work from 1969 of which listeners should take notice. Arguably, the most successful record on the Takoma label (it has sold over 500,000 copies), it is also one of the best. Definitely a student of Fahey school of tongue in cheek liner notes and eccentric song titles like "Vaseline Machine Gun" and "The Brain of The Purple Mountain", Kottke displays a knowing range of blues, pop, classical and folk styles. Though probably not as insistently ornery as Fahey's style could be, there is a pensive resonance that keeps Kottke's pastoralism from getting sappy. For sure, one of the best solo guitar records that actually helped create and popularize the genre originally! Why is this $19? It's only available in this deluxe super audio cd version, whatever that means.
MPEG Stream: "Watermelon"
MPEG Stream: "The Driving Of The Year Nail"
MPEG Stream: "Vaseline Machine Gun"

album cover KOTTKE, LEO 6 And 12 String Guitar (Takoma) lp 16.98
Out of the major Takoma triumvirate of John Fahey, Robbie Basho and Leo Kottke, it is the latter who probably had the most mainstream appeal, but definitely the least hipster cred. Probably due to his early and sudden career switch from an amazing virtuoso instrumentalist to a rather mediocre singer/songwriter. But it's this debut recording of solo guitar work from 1969 of which listeners should take notice. Arguably, the most successful record on the Takoma label (it has sold over 500,000 copies), it is also one of the best. Definitely a student of Fahey school of tongue in cheek liner notes and eccentric song titles like "Vaseline Machine Gun" and "The Brain of The Purple Mountain", Kottke displays a knowing range of blues, pop, classical and folk styles. Though probably not as insistently ornery as Fahey's style could be, there is a pensive resonance that keeps Kottke's pastoralism from getting sappy. For sure, one of the best solo guitar records that actually helped create and popularize the genre originally! Nice to have it again on vinyl.

KOTTKE, LEO One Guitar, No Vocals (Private Music) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Super lovely acoustic guitar twangy figerpicking. Just perfect! A new recording from Kottke, and his first all-instrumental all-guitar album since his legendary 6 & 12 String Guitar debut 30 or so years ago!

album cover KOUDEDE Guitars From Agadez Vol. 5 (Sublime Frequencies) 7" 9.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Do we even have to tell you this is cool? Basically this is something you should want as soon as you read the words "Guitars From Agadez" and "Sublime Frequencies" on the sleeve. Being a limited 7" single also ought to seal the deal.
Everything so far from SF in their Guitars From Agadez series (records from Group Bombino and Group Inerane) has been killer, and this introductory taste of the talents of another North African axe master, Koudede Maman, follows suit. Koudede & his band unleash some smoking, sinuous, hard edged grooves on both hypnotic sides of this single, recorded live on tour last year. Wish we'd been there, sounds like a funky good time. And we most certainly hope that SF has a full-length in the works!
Limited to 600 copies.

album cover KOUDEDE Guitars From Agadez Vol. 6 (Sublime Frequencies) 7" 9.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
The fantastic Sublime Frequencies "world music" label brings us another installment of incredible North African guitar music, in the vein of Group Inerane and Group Doueh. We first heard the talents of young Tuareg six-stringer Koudede & his band on Sublime Frequencies' previous Guitars From Agadez Vol. 5 single, and when we reviewed that we said we hoped there was a full-length in the works, 'cause we wanted to hear more of Koudede's hypnotic, hard-edged grooves. Sadly, though, with this release comes the news that Koudede was tragically killed in a traffic accident in October this year, while travelling back to Niger from playing a show in Burkina Faso. So while Vol. 5 was an exciting introduction to his music, Vol. 6 must be a tribute to his memory, and what might have been. The two tracks here were recorded live by SF's Hisham Mayet at a tumultous concert Koudede played in January 2012, in the midst of ethnic strife in Mali.
Limited edition of 700 copies (Vol. 5 is long gone already).

album cover KOUDEDE Guitars From Agadez Vol. 7 (Sublime Frequencies) 12" 16.98
After two 7"s, Sublime Frequencies has released the final four tracks recorded by Tuareg guitarist and vocalist Koudede Maman, the last ones recorded shortly before his tragic death in a car crash while traveling to Niger from Burkina Faso last year. Koudede was a rising star in the nomadic community, a powerful performer and voice for the plight of his people against both the suppression of their ancient traditions and the rise of modern nation-states that usurp the natural resources of the land which the nomadic people desperately need. Most of Koudede's music was created in strife, but sought to create unity in a tumultuous region that saw very little of it. Though listening to him perform, one can only truly sense pure joy. A beautiful and heartbreaking release.

album cover KOUGEZAN KOUKIJI The Live [11th] Final Hyakusenmansyuuraku (Horen) 2cd 19.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
The day we first got this in stock, it was pouring rain -- appropriately enough, because playing this made it seem like it was raining in the store as well as outside, quite a lovely effect we thought. Truly, this is a stunningly beautiful concert/field recording, the culmination of a series of concerts held at (the very rainy) Koukiji temple in Japan. The concerts were organized by Yasushi Utsunomia -- whose claim to fame was as recording engineer for art rockers After Dinner. According to Utsunomia, his initial efforts were unsuccessful due in part to demanding and flaky performers (apparently all rock bands) and a crappy sound reinforcement system supplied by the temple. In the end, the first problem was solved by turning to traditional musicians and the second by constructing a sound reinforcement system worthy of such a space (a detailed diagram of the performance space and speaker locations is included on the back of the booklet's cover.) The performances heard here are on shakuhachi, ryuteki (both Japanese bamboo flutes), sitar and stone flute (played by the legendary shamanistic composer Akio Suzuki). All are accompanied by rain, from soft patter to heavy downpour. At times the rain is so loud it completely drowns out the soft playing of the instruments, essentially being an instrument itself -- and as a warning to those who would say otherwise, says Suzuki: "I'll tear out the ears of whoever says this is just rain." For its part, the electro-acoustic elements added via DSP and Utsunomia's custom built horn loaded speaker array are all but completely transparent for much of the concert. During Korei Deguchi's ryuteki performance is when the processing is most noticeable, with what sounds like the work of a harmonizer. Aside from that, the musicians' playing, the space, the rain and Utsunomia's equipment are seamlessly wedded and, if nothing else, you'll feel drenched by the time you finish listening. This numbered edition comes beautifully packaged with a nicely printed cover drawing (some thick rubbery ink that feels nice to pass ones fingers over) of a couple of cats performing for an audience of felines, and is hand-stamped on the inside. Also it includes a printed fold out with liner notes in Japanese and English. The whole thing -- package, idea, music -- is simply beautiful. Several of us here (Andee, Byram, Allan, at least) have already taken copies home...
MPEG Stream: AKIO SUZUKI "Stone Flute"
MPEG Stream: YASUHIRO MINAMIZAWA "Sitar"
MPEG Stream: KOUREI DEGUCHI "Ryuteki"

KOURGANE Ivan Rebrof, Lonley Hearts Club Band (Sonore) cd 14.98
Eccentric quirky jazz from France. Trumpet, saxaphone and modulationg vocalizing augment the traditional trio head for Uz Jsme Doma territory. Label mates include Hoppy Kamiyama, Ruins and Alboth!

album cover KOUSOKUYA 1st Record (PSF) cd 22.00
Kousokuya are a Japanese heavy psych rock outfit that's been operating for years in the dark shadow cast by fellow Tokyo act Fushitsusha, though they emit a mighty blackness themselves. One reason for their obscurity is the paucity of Kousokuya releases -- one live disc on Forced Exposure many years ago, another with them joined by avant-saxophonist Masayoshi Urabe on PSF also a few years back, not much else really, though some of you might have picked up their guitarist Kaneko Jutok's excellent PSF solo set "Endless Ruins" we reviewed in mid-2001. Now we have this cd reissue of their first LP (+ bonus track), from 1991, and with it more evidence of the debt both Fushitsusha and Kousokuya owe to those mythical heroes of Japanese '70s psych, Les Rallizes Denudes.
The Haino-like cries and guitar feedback skree will remind you of Fushitsusha (and I wouldn't be surprised if the band wears shades on stage too) but there's less 'free jazz' improv, more conventionally heavy '60s/'70s rock stuff going on, some melody even. It's somewhere between Fushitsusha and White Heaven I guess, and really more 'doomy' than either, what with their torpid sometimes Sabbath-heavy bass sound and the melancholic wail of the singer. Totally slow, doomy psych indeed -- though the slowest, saddest song here abruptly cuts off at the end, as the band then launches into a garagey number with Quicksilver-meets-Black Flag guitar. Cool. So, especially if you're already into other dark acts from the Tokyo psych underground like Shizuka and Overhang Party and Ohkami No Jikan, don't neglect Kousokuya -- and this is the disc to get.
MPEG Stream: "The Dreams Of The Recollections"

album cover KOUSOKUYA Echoes From The Deep Underground (aRCHIVE) cd+dvd 23.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Japanese psych nerds alert! Here's a cd AND dvd package from aRCHIVE of anguished, punishing, distorto psychblurtblowouts to the max from these legendary dwellers in the darkness, Kousokuya. They were Tokyo psych scene stalwarts for many, many years (from the '70s, until the recent passing of guitarist Jutok Janeko), part of the Rallizes-worshipping, sunglasses at night posse along with Keiji Hanio's Fushitsusha and High Rise and more recent torchbearers Up-Tight and LSD-march, amongst other flashbackers. They've never been that heavily documented, so it's a red letter day for fans to get this 42 minute, 3 track live cd recorded at a show in Osaka, 2001 along with a bonus DVD vid of that same performance, in suitably ghostly-effected black & white.
It's sort of music that makes even our Christine in mailorder feel like a grandmother from the Midwest. Just doesn't get it. Is it Halloween? Why is the lady crying? Can't they turn it down? This rock n' roll stuff is scary.
But while Christine's not gonna buy one, that's just all the better for the rest of you who thrive on this sort of stuff, since it's limited to 700 copies, of course lovingly packaged (silkscreened in metallic silver and gloss varnish on heavy black cardstock folder, complete with sillkscreened obi bundling the envelopes holding the two discs) in the expected aRCHIVE style.
MPEG Stream: "Clothed In Flames"
MPEG Stream: "Shadow Of A Dream"

album cover KOUSOKUYA First Live 1979 Kichijoji Minor (PSF) cd 22.00
Kousokuya are one of the bands whose heavy sounds predate such current Japanese psych scenesters as LSD-march (who played here in SF last week) and Suishou No Fune (who are playing here next week), and without whom... well, along with Fushitsusha they're one of the longest running dwellers in darkness that Tokyo has produced. They've been around for going on three decades now, and as you can tell from the title of this disc, PSF has managed to dig up a tape of their very first ever live performance back in '79. Not a bad-sounding tape either. And definitely special not just for historical reasons, but for the amount of synth freakoutishness heard here, courtesy of a keyboardist who was only briefly a part of Kousokuya's early line-up. Reminds us a bit of early Comets On Fire, all totally damaged and dirgelike, embellished with tons of electronic fuckery... in fact, if you focus on just the vocals and the effects, this sounds like it could be a new release on the noise-mongering Load label. Just three songs, a densely-packed 25 minutes.
MPEG Stream: "track 1"
MPEG Stream: "track 2"

album cover KOUSOKUYA Live - Gyakuryu Kokuu (PSF) cd 22.00
Les Rallizes Denudes, High Rise, Fushitsusha... If you know them, you probably know Kousokuya. Or you should. This Japanese combo, led by guitarist Kaneko Jutok, has been playing dark, heavy, distorted psych-rock in a similar vein to those bands for decades now. They haven't had all that many releases, but that's gradually being rectified by the efforts of the PSF label. So here's the Kousokuya trio live (as they should be!) in 1991 at a club called Gospel. This was recorded the same year as their debut LP, recently reissued on PSF as well (and reviewed elsewhere on our website). They churn out two long, slow-building tracks (20+ minutes apiece) filled with dark atmospheres, haunting vocals, primitive beats...and lots of geetar burn once things get going.
The inky black booklet for this cd includes lyrics, and also liner notes in English translation by Angie Hamamori, that touch on the long history of Kousokuya (going back to 1975!) and attempt to explain in an intimate way the power of the band and the individuals within it. She writes: "The solitude of all the musical instruments, and the armed musicians are spreading aesthetics at the edge of the world. The duel between the swords. The first note cuts the second note sharply, the third note reacts the loudness on no notes. In conclusion, this kind of high leveled quality definitely separates Kousokuya from the ubiquitous so-called psychedelic bands all over the world." Now, I don't know about you, but I'd be interested in hearing any band that would compel someone to write something like that. And from this and other experiences with their recordings, I'd say there's something to what she's saying...
MPEG Stream: "The Omen"

KOUSOKUYA Ray Night 1991-1992 Live (Forced Exposure) cd 13.98
"Legendary and ultra-obscure Japanese psychedelic rock group." You may have heard them on the Tokyo Flashback compilation series (volumes 1 & 2).

KOUSOKUYA & MASAYOSHI URABE The Dark Spot (PSF) cd 22.00
Tokyo psych band Kousokuya (previous release a live cd on Forced Exposure) collaborate with Japanese free saxophonist Urabe.

album cover KOUYATE, BASSEKOU & KGONI BA Segu Blue (Out Here) cd 16.98

album cover KOUYATE, BASSEKOU & NGONI BA I Speak Fula (Sub Pop / Next Ambiance) cd 14.98
With all the recent reissues of lost '70s West African musical gems, it's important to remember that there is amazing music being made RIGHT NOW over there, of course. And with so many of today's indie bands like Animal Collective and Vampire Weekend borrowing so much from African music its nice to go right to the source and hear some brand new sounds from that region, that are overflowing with such beauty and the rich tradition of storytelling through song that has long been a part of Ngoni culture.
Bassekou Kouyate has been a major player in the West African music scene for years, from back in his days playing in a trio with Keletigui Diabate and Toumani Diabati and then branching out to form his own ensemble, where he has invented and perfected his own instrument known as the bass ngoni, which has the ability to reach such rich harmonic states of sound. On I Speak Fula, the first release on Sub Pop's new international imprint Next Ambiance, Kouyate and his band show how rich, peaceful yet trance inducing the music they create can be. With guest spots from his former musical partner Toumani Diabate as well as vocals from Vieux Farka Toure on a few tracks, this is such an amazing display of some of the most talented musicians in West Africa today. So much on the record reminds us of some of our favorite releases on Terp, like Lanaya or Djibril Diabate, only with the addition of some seriously enchanting vocals. The first, fantastic release from a new label that definitely seems poised to bring us more great unfiltered sounds from across the globe. So good!
MPEG Stream: "Musow - For Our Women"
MPEG Stream: "I Speak Fula"
MPEG Stream: "Saro (Featuring Vieux Farka Toure)"

album cover KOUYATE, BASSEKOU & NGONI BA Jama Ko (Out Here Rec) cd 16.98
Bassekou Kouyate is like the Steve Vai of Mali. About as close as you'll get to a shredder. His instrument of choice the ngoni, an African lute which is an early ancestor of the banjo. Bassekou builds his own ngonis, at at some point decided he just didn't have enough strings, so started adding MORE, and eventually formed Ngoni Ba, the first ever group formed around FOUR ngonis, augmented by percussion and of course soulful stirring vocals, but it's the ngonis that are the star. Apparently, when Bassekou was a young man, he observed guitar players moving to the front of the stage to solo, and as luck would have it, Bassekou had outfitted his ngoni with a strap, and while most ngoni players traditionally sat to play, when it came time for his solo, he stood up, headed for the front of the stage and proceeded to blow everyone away. Signaling his radical intentions for the instrument. He also developed his own unique style of picking, a unique version of slide guitar technique as well, a style that was quickly adopted by a new crop of young ngoni players in Mali.
Jama Ko is the latest from Kouyate and his Ngoni Ba, and is easily the best thing we've heard. His Sub Pop records (!) didn't quite capture the raw energy and emotion, but here, the songs are dreamy, haunting, emotional, passionate, the vocals a huge part of the sound, with the ngonis weaving a lush melodic backdrop, but it's when the ngonis take center stage that things get really good, the sound very reminiscent in places of Konono No.1, the lead ngoni, super distorted and buzzy, unfurling wild tangles of melody, but every song here is incredible, the sound of four ngonis divine, easily slipping into wild psychedelic swirls, with at least half of the record spent in some sort of Afro-psych mode, but just as easily, weaving soft lushly layered textures, over which the group lays down swoonsome minor key melodies, and delivers heartfelt vocal driven Afro pop dreaminess. So great!
MPEG Stream: "Jama Ko"
MPEG Stream: "Dankou"
MPEG Stream: "Ne Me Fatigue Pas"
MPEG Stream: "Kele Magni"

album cover KOUYATE, BASSEKOU & NGONI BA Jama Ko (Out Here Rec) lp 27.00
Bassekou Kouyate is like the Steve Vai of Mali. About as close as you'll get to a shredder. His instrument of choice the ngoni, an African lute which is an early ancestor of the banjo. Bassekou builds his own ngonis, at at some point decided he just didn't have enough strings, so started adding MORE, and eventually formed Ngoni Ba, the first ever group formed around FOUR ngonis, augmented by percussion and of course soulful stirring vocals, but it's the ngonis that are the star. Apparently, when Bassekou was a young man, he observed guitar players moving to the front of the stage to solo, and as luck would have it, Bassekou had outfitted his ngoni with a strap, and while most ngoni players traditionally sat to play, when it came time for his solo, he stood up, headed for the front of the stage and proceeded to blow everyone away. Signaling his radical intentions for the instrument. He also developed his own unique style of picking, a unique version of slide guitar technique as well, a style that was quickly adopted by a new crop of young ngoni players in Mali.
Jama Ko is the latest from Kouyate and his Ngoni Ba, and is easily the best thing we've heard. His Sub Pop records (!) didn't quite capture the raw energy and emotion, but here, the songs are dreamy, haunting, emotional, passionate, the vocals a huge part of the sound, with the ngonis weaving a lush melodic backdrop, but it's when the ngonis take center stage that things get really good, the sound very reminiscent in places of Konono No.1, the lead ngoni, super distorted and buzzy, unfurling wild tangles of melody, but every song here is incredible, the sound of four ngonis divine, easily slipping into wild psychedelic swirls, with at least half of the record spent in some sort of Afro-psych mode, but just as easily, weaving soft lushly layered textures, over which the group lays down swoonsome minor key melodies, and delivers heartfelt vocal driven Afro pop dreaminess. So great!
MPEG Stream: "Jama Ko"
MPEG Stream: "Dankou"
MPEG Stream: "Ne Me Fatigue Pas"
MPEG Stream: "Kele Magni"

album cover KOUYATE, SEKOU BATOUROU ET SA CORA s/t (Tembo) cd 17.98

album cover KOUYATE, SEKOU BATOUROU ET SA CORA s/t (Tembo) lp 24.00

KOVACS, ERNIE Percy Dovetonsils....Thpeaks (Omnivore Recordings) lp 21.00
Lavender vinyl. comes with download with bonus kovacs tv material

KOVACS, ERNIE The Ernie Kovacs Record Collection (Varese Sarabande) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Relive the Golden Age of Television with this disc, containing various ridiculous tunes performed in Kovac's sketches. "Including the song of the Nairobi Trio." Sports terrific Chris Ware (Acme Novelty Library) art.

album cover KOWALSKY, GREGG Battery Townsley (Senufo Edition) lp 25.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
For those who remember the escapades of Jewelled Antler, the various tunnels and concrete bunkers of Battery Townsley provided a musty ambience of crumbled mortar and mold spores to any number of that collective's psychedelic ragas. But the Battery's intended use was to house a couple of huge artillery cannons dug into the top of one of the higher peaks just to the north of San Francisco's famed Golden Gate Bridge, all in preparation for a Japanese invasion during World War 2. As this never came to pass, the vast network of bunkers throughout the Marin Headlands landed in the domain of the National Park Service, who had done a major renovation job on Battery Townsley, by resealing the massive steel doors and cleaning out decades worth of detritus - both manmade and natural. Those Jewelled Antler excursions had occurred well before the National Park Service's renovation, and the bulk of Battery Townsley remains under the watchful eye of the staff, who open it up weekly for docent led tours.
Many of the bunkers throughout the Headlands have attracted sound artists from across the globe, given the massive sustained reverb and interesting acoustics of the various bunkers. But nearly all of these recorded sessions needed to be held surreptitiously, given that the Park Service doesn't want to have to rescue somebody with a microphone who plummeted into a cistern in the heart of a mountain. But in 2010, the curators of the Soundwave Festival approached the Park Service about setting up a concert in Battery Townsley, and were pleasantly surprised that the Park Service was very keen on such a presentation. There, of course, were some challenges to overcome - the most daunting of which was the lack of electricity. But the Festival gathered a pretty kick-ass assemblage of artists making amazing sounds without having to plug into the grid, including Danny Paul Grody, Hora Flora, Jacob Felix Heule, Jim Haynes, and Gregg Kowalsky. Of course, Kowalsky went into the thick reverberant space with his arsenal of tape decks, which he's employed for his ever-changing Tape Chants performances.
On this super limited recording, Kowalsky presents a live recording of his performance in the bunker and a studio reinterpretation using the same material. The source tapes have the radiant glow of a church organ, beaming with luminous hues as the slippery tones bend in and out of dissonant ripples and downright heavy drones. While the studio recording is gorgeous, it's all the more impressive to hear this material as broadcast within a bunker thick reverberation, as the tones begin to growl and the tape deck speakers' crackle being pushed to their limits, giving the whole collage of swirl and drone a heaviness never heard in any of Kowalsky's previous recordings. It's more of a Surface Of The Earth recording of corroded amplifiers and slumped guitars, but it's all tape decks. Totally fucking great!
Unfortunately, this LP is limited to 250 copies of which we got the very last batch from the label.

album cover KOWALSKY, GREGG Tape Chants (Kranky) cd 14.98
Finally, a second release from Mr. Kowalsky, with all his heavy electronic /cassette wizardry, he has been a long time favorite for us at aQ, and we couldn't be more impressed with Tape Chants. After spending several years working and reworking these aptly named tape and oscillator compositions, Gregg offers up his opus, a beautifully sculpted expanse of midnight meditations and thick, buzzing walls of analog radiance. Working with digital composition and software, and becoming frustrated with the seemingly unlimited possibilities of digital music-making, Gregg challenged himself to work with more organic, analog-rich source material. The result was a live performance that involved placing 6 to 10 cassette recorders around a space, and playing them simultaneously to create an experiment in live mixing and psychoacoustics. While Tape Chants is not meant to be a document of these live performances, it attempts to channel the mood and aesthetic of these live invocations. And take it from us, the result is an extremely deep and entrancing listen, beaming with melodic overtones and hypnotic pulsing, Tape Chants is like being at the center of a gong or inside a bell tower. Long tones ringing out through a low-lit cavern or cathedral, slow creeping layers of shruti box and mixer feedback thicken the mix to an overwhelming, otherworldly bliss. And unlike most minimalist composition, this record is super engaging, lots of subtle details and deliberate movements that keep you fully immersed. Not that dissimilar from recent releases on Root Strata or Miasma. If you couldn't tell by now, this is highly recommended and a must have!
MPEG Stream: "I-IV"
MPEG Stream: "V"

album cover KOWALSKY, GREGG Tape Chants : Live In Chicago (self-released) cd-r 9.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Super limited release from this long time aQ fave, continuing on in his recent Tape Chants direction, where, tired of working digitally, decided to work with tapes and old tape players, the results of which were displayed on the Tape Chants disc on Kranky reviewed back in May. These particular Tape Chants were recorded live, and were pressed up as a cd-r (in super swank screenprinted sleeves BTW) for his current US tour.
Like the cd proper, Kowalsky works magic with his tapes, on the first lengthy track, creating a symphony of bells and chimes and gongs, letting the overtones drift and overlap and bleed into one another until they begin to crumble and buzz, and on the second track, where similar sounding bells are set amidst a field of deep grinding rumbles and softly buzzing low end, the bell like tones bobbing as if on some soft black sea. Softly percussive, almost nautical sounding, whirring and hypnotic, meditative and ethereal.
Gorgeous stuff. Obviously grab one of these while you can, before we run out, and if you get the chance, don't hesitate to see him live conjure these sonic mysteries in the flesh!
MPEG Stream: "Chants I-IV For Tuned Percussion"
MPEG Stream: "Tape Meditation on Tuned Percussion"

album cover KOWALSKY, GREGG Tape Chants A Million (Root Strata) 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.
Some of you may remember Kowalsky from his first solo record released on Kranky back toward the beginning of this year, a pleasant slab of smeared indistinct ambience, shimmery and soft focus, a delicate soundscape of abstract sound that was definitely perfect late night listen.
With his first release for Root Strata, Kowalsky continues in the same direction, this time utilizing a much more eclectic array of source material: tape cassettes, sine oscillators, contact mics, bells, bird callers and a computer. Recorded live on KFJC in May, this half hour epic is another gorgeous slab of abstract ambience, those disparate sounds smoothed into thick warm swells, billowy swirls of smeared melody, and huge stretches of blissy whir. This is another one of those records that perfectly captures that sound we can't ever get enough of, a testament to the power of the drone, completely mesmerizing and hypnotic, when the music finally stops, your ears and your head feel empty, and it's only a matter of moments before we can't help ourselves, press play again and fill them back up.
LIMITED TO 100 COPIES!!!! We will not be able to get more. Packaged in gorgeous cardstock half sleeve, a printed paper insert, and a folded over QSL ham radio card from overseas holding the cd in place. Cool!
MPEG Stream: "Tape Chants A Million"

album cover KOWALSKY, GREGG Tape Chants: Early Experiments (Arbor) cassette 8.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Oof. Already out of print from Arbor, but we've got as many of these as we could!
It makes perfect sense that a selection of the early experiments from Kowalsky's ongoing collection of Tape Chants would end up as a cassette release. More of a method of working than a complete body of work, the Tape Chants material involves a bunch of drones, tones, and clustered notes that are played back on an arsenal of handheld cassette decks in any given performance space. The spiralling web of crossed frequencies and compacted echo patterns always make for one hell of a good performance, and they made for a pretty damn good album as well, like the one Kowalsky released on Kranky in 2009. This tape is a collection (as the title suggests) of his earliest manifestations of his Tape Chants, selected by Darwinsbitch. For the most part, Kowalsky presents grey smears of pedal driven feedback tones and electrical sinewave drones that are caught in loop patterns and abraded with some occasional distortion (possibly an effect, possibly an artifact of overdriven 4-track compression). There's one extract on the first side that is more percussive in nature, with Kowalsky gently tapping out pseudo-Gamelan rhythms on various bells, gongs, and resonant metals. Limited to 125, and as we mentioned already out of print.

album cover KOWALSKY, GREGG Tendrils In Vigne (Root Strata) lp 9.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Latest release from this Bay Area composer, electronic musician and dronologist Gregg Kowalsky. A one sided lp documenting part of his Master's Thesis, which entailed taking one of his electronic compositions, scoring it for a live ensemble and then conducting the performance.
Kowalsky enlisted the Contemporary Performance Ensemble, directed by Fred Frith, who also contributed violin. Recorded in 2005 at Mills college, the result was sublime. A gorgeous organic piece that references Feldman and Part and Melnyk as much as Kowalsky's previous works.
The strings are low and buzz and throb dramatically, the piano is minor key and delicate, fluttering in brief little flurries, streaks of high end run through the swirling moodiness, over the top voices soar in choral fragments, washes of cymbals sizzle, horns moan, all manner of instruments are smeared into a heaving organic whole, shakuhachi, vibraphone, flute, a sonic cloud constantly expanding, intensifying chordal whir, like some moody rock band with the bones pulled out, leaving just a gloriously amorphous sound shape, slithering and drifting, creeping and billowing, building and building, some sort of classic chorale stretched out into a shimmering dreamlike blur. On the surface, it's a dark drift, but beneath the surface, sounds are roiling and churning, a sonic sea of tension and emotion, subtly psychedelic, a gorgeous, organic, orchestral drone.
Packaged in a thick cardstock sleeve, with a Xeroxed yellow paste on cover.
LIMITED TO 300 COPIES!!

album cover KOWALSKY, GREGG Tendrils In Vigne (Root Strata) one-sided lp 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Possibly the most exciting release from this Bay Area composer, electronic musician and dronologist Gregg Kowalsky. Tendreils In Vigne was one of the early releases for the esteemed Root Strata label. We got a handful of copies direct from Kowalsky as the label has been sold out of this for quite some time: and once these are gone, they are gone for good! A one sided lp documenting part of his Master's Thesis at Mills College, which entailed taking one of his electronic compositions, scoring it for a live ensemble and then conducting the performance.
Kowalsky enlisted the Contemporary Performance Ensemble, directed by Fred Frith, who also contributed violin. Recorded in 2005 at Mills college, the result was sublime. A gorgeous organic piece that references Feldman and Part and Melnyk as much as Kowalsky's previous works.
The strings are low and buzz and throb dramatically, the piano is minor key and delicate, fluttering in brief little flurries, streaks of high end run through the swirling moodiness, over the top voices soar in choral fragments, washes of cymbals sizzle, horns moan, all manner of instruments are smeared into a heaving organic whole, shakuhachi, vibraphone, flute, a sonic cloud constantly expanding, intensifying chordal whir, like some moody rock band with the bones pulled out, leaving just a gloriously amorphous sound shape, slithering and drifting, creeping and billowing, building and building, some sort of classic chorale stretched out into a shimmering dreamlike blur. On the surface, it's a dark drift, but beneath the surface, sounds are roiling and churning, a sonic sea of tension and emotion, subtly psychedelic, a gorgeous, organic, orchestral drone. Like we said, LAST COPIES EVER!
MPEG Stream: "Tendrils In Vigne"

album cover KOWALSKY, GREGG Through The Cardial Window (Kranky) cd 14.98
Having earned an MFA under the tutelage of Fred Frith at Mills College, Gregg Kowalsky landed his debut album on Kranky, a perfect home for his polite and pleasant swatches of ambient music. Kowalsky blurs all of his diverse source material (i.e bowed acoustic guitar, sounds he composed for the Mills Ensemble, and even samples from Isis!) into a twinkling mass of harmonically aligned tones. Furniture Music for the 21st Century.
MPEG Stream: "That In Allepo Twice"
MPEG Stream: "Coral Gables"

KOWALSKY, GREGG WITH JOZEF VAN WISSEM Movements In Marble And Stone (Amish) lp 19.98

album cover KOWLOON WALLED CITY Container Ships (Sea Of Droids Music) cd 10.98
This recent Record Of The Week is now available on cd, housed in swank, letter pressed mini sleeves - and for all you cd folks out there, it is in fact Record Of The Week again!
Full length number two from these SF heavies, and while they haven't sacrificed any of their Teutonic crush, or noise rock heft, they do display a surprisingly melodic side on Container Ships, a soft white sonic underbelly that was hinted at on their recent split 7" with Thou, on which they covered a Low track, and it feels like much of the sensibilities that not only drove that choice, but determined what they did with it as well, are all over Container Ships. And while nothing here is quite as darkly delicate, the band do definitely dial back the heaviness, letting the sounds linger, letting clean guitars spread out and set the mood, and when the hammer does fall, the sound this time around is much more crisp and lush, even when the guitars are downtuned, churning and chugging, they ring out, the sounds reverberant and rich. The debt to the Unsane and Helmet no longer so obvious, at least not all the time. On the opener, which might be the prettiest song here, the band offer up their own sort of slowcore minimal math rock / noise rock sprawl, subtly nuanced, and super melodic, another big change on display here is frontman Scott Evans' vocals, which have transformed from a gruff bark, to a serious croon, still rough around the edges, but way more emotive and the perfect match for the band's ever developing sound.
But fear not, get an earful of the second track, "50's Dad", which is all loping, chugging noise rock crush, Evan's vocals higher than on past record, which definitely changes the vibe throughout, and makes even the heaviest tracks here, less of a knuckledragging vibe, and more of an emo edge, which again totally suits them, especially when the band lock into a weird loping groove, and Evans sings himself ragged, his voice rough and raw and impassioned. Not to mention the burst of tangled psychedelic guitar leads that are wrapped around the middle of the track.
The guys have been busting their asses for years now, and we always sort of wondered why they weren't huge, but goddamn if this record doesn't change all that nothing will.
The whole record is a sort of push and pull between the muscled mathy noise rock of the early records, and this desire to make beautiful music, even if it's dark, mean, ugly, hard and heavy beautiful music, which this most certainly is, and it's that balance that makes this record, and these guys so good. The title track here is a dirgey doomy drag, the chords ringing out, the vocals carrying all the melodic weight, and transforming a dirgey chugfest into something epic and intense, the song revealing a grasp and mastery of dynamics that was most definitely underutilized on past records, but gets a serious workout here.
"Cornerstone" is about as poppy as these guys get, and again, they not only mange to pull it off, they also make it this hook heavy noise-pop fit seamlessly into the way heavier rest of the record, not to mention demonstrating another element the band have in their arsenal but obviously choose to employ very judiciously. The record finishes off with the 9 minute epic "You Don't Have Cancer", which again reveals their slowcore proclivities, and demonstrates their ability to subsume that sound into their own, the resulting hybrid another sprawling, gut wrenchingly emotional, crushingly heavy, surprisingly melodic epic, that would, and does, put most other heavy bands to shame.
MPEG Stream: "The Pressure Keeps Me Alive"
MPEG Stream: "50's Dad"
MPEG Stream: "Beef Cattle"
MPEG Stream: "You Don't Have Cancer"

album cover KOWLOON WALLED CITY Container Ships (Brutal Panda) lp 16.98
Full length number two from these SF heavies, and while they haven't sacrificed any of their Teutonic crush, or noise rock heft, they do display a surprisingly melodic side on Container Ships, a soft white sonic underbelly that was hinted at on their recent split 7" with Thou, on which they covered a Low track, and it feels like much of the sensibilities that not only drove that choice, but determined what they did with it as well, are all over Container Ships. And while nothing here is quite as darkly delicate, the band do definitely dial back the heaviness, letting the sounds linger, letting clean guitars spread out and set the mood, and when the hammer does fall, the sound this time around is much more crisp and lush, even when the guitars are downtuned, churning and chugging, they ring out, the sounds reverberant and rich. The debt to the Unsane and Helmet no longer so obvious, at least not all the time. On the opener, which might be the prettiest song here, the band offer up their own sort of slowcore minimal math rock / noise rock sprawl, subtly nuanced, and super melodic, another big change on display here is frontman Scott Evans' vocals, which have transformed from a gruff bark, to a serious croon, still rough around the edges, but way more emotive and the perfect match for the band's ever developing sound.
But fear not, get an earful of the second track, "50's Dad", which is all loping, chugging noise rock crush, Evan's vocals higher than on past record, which definitely changes the vibe throughout, and makes even the heaviest tracks here, less of a knuckledragging vibe, and more of an emo edge, which again totally suits them, especially when the band lock into a weird loping groove, and Evans sings himself ragged, his voice rough and raw and impassioned. Not to mention the burst of tangled psychedelic guitar leads that are wrapped around the middle of the track.
The guys have been busting their asses for years now, and we always sort of wondered why they weren't huge, but goddamn if this record doesn't change all that nothing will.
The whole record is a sort of push and pull between the muscled mathy noise rock of the early records, and this desire to make beautiful music, even if it's dark, mean, ugly, hard and heavy beautiful music, which this most certainly is, and it's that balance that makes this record, and these guys so good. The title track here is a dirgey doomy drag, the chords ringing out, the vocals carrying all the melodic weight, and transforming a dirgey chugfest into something epic and intense, the song revealing a grasp and mastery of dynamics that was most definitely underutilized on past records, but gets a serious workout here.
"Cornerstone" is about as poppy as these guys get, and again, they not only mange to pull it off, they also make it this hook heavy noise-pop fit seamlessly into the way heavier rest of the record, not to mention demonstrating another element the band have in their arsenal but obviously choose to employ very judiciously. The record finishes off with the 9 minute epic "You Don't Have Cancer", which again reveals their slowcore proclivities, and demonstrates their ability to subsume that sound into their own, the resulting hybrid another sprawling, gut wrenchingly emotional, crushingly heavy, surprisingly melodic epic, that would, and does, put most other heavy bands to shame.
MPEG Stream: "The Pressure Keeps Me Alive"
MPEG Stream: "50's Dad"
MPEG Stream: "Beef Cattle"
MPEG Stream: "You Don't Have Cancer"

album cover KOWLOON WALLED CITY Gambling On The Richter Scale (The Perpetual Motion Machine) cd 8.98
Now on cd! Packaged in super sweet, hand screened origami style sleeves...
More and more every day we miss that brief period in the nineties when rock music was heavy, and noisy, and LOUD. Not necessarily metal, although to some ears it probably sounded like metal. It was more about BIG riffs, lumbering tempos, huge pounding drums, throat shredding vox. Think: Unsane, Halo Of Flies, Today Is The Day, Tad, Killdozer, Tar, Helmet, Lubricated Goat, Karp, Unwound, we could go on and on, but you understand what we're talking about.
There are very few modern bands who can channel the same sort of sonic energy without being retro, and typically, the heavier they are, the more they get lumped in with some metal subsect. But goddamn if there doesn't seem to be a bit of a modern noise rock scene brewing, bands popping up here and there, pushing all those noise rock buttons, and totally hitting the spot.
Which brings us to local boys Kowloon Walled City, whose recent Turk Street ep knocked us on our asses with it's noise rock / doom sludge hybrid. Weirdly enough, with this here debut full length, Gambling On The Richter Scale, the band somehow sound WAY heavier, but at the same time way less metal. Tapping into the rich noise rock history, and creating a disc that's both intense and punishing, melodic and heavy, and yeah, still a bit metallic here and there..
Opener "Annandale" is a churning hook filled noise rock jam, with big guitars, some killer melodies, harsh vox, wild dense drumming, some awesomely soaring high guitar parts, as well as the occasional burst of super melodic almost indie rock, before lurching back into the chug and crush. The sound definitely veers closer to a band like Torche or Floor than Neurosis or Eyehategod.
The second track though totally reminds us of the Unsane, with its roiling distorted bass, looped churning riffage, and weirdly mathy arrangement, some cool dynamics and some stop / starts that definitely had us in math rock heaven. But even here, the band inject some clean guitars, and some downright pretty melody before getting all aggro again.
It's a pretty relentless record, but thankfully KWC mix it up, changing up tempos, letting the drums breath here and there, giving riffs space to ring out and decay once in a while, stretching out into spaced out slowmo ambient drifts, pulling tracks apart into almost groovy sounding doomy dirges, slipping in plenty of subtle pop, heavy hooks galore. The title track is a monster, beginning with some clean guitar strum, minor key and tense, before lurching into a fierce chugging plod, with some Maideny guitar harmonies, plenty of palm muted guitar throb, an impossibly heavy downtuned chorus, and subtle melody mixed in throughout.
The record finishes off with the 6+ minute "More Like The Shit Factory", a sprawling slowjam, the guitars droning out in long streaks, peppered with bursts of downtuned crunch, the drums never really kicking in, the guitars all intertwined and layered, beating against each other, a cloud of swirling overtones, while the vocals howl, the drums sporadically pound, eventually everything dropping out entirely, leaving just a blown out psychedelic dual guitar drone, which crumbles and gradually fades out over the last minute, although. we'd have been perfectly happy had they let those guitars drone endlessly and fill up the rest of the record. Next time maybe.
So yeah, if you're in the market for some heavy, catchy as fuck, NOISE ROCK, okay, maybe call it metal, then Gambling On The Richter Scale is IT, and by the sounds of this record, they probably destroy live. On that same label that that brought us Catalyst, another bad ass noise rock band well worth checking out.
MPEG Stream: "Annandale"
MPEG Stream: "Diabetic Feet"
MPEG Stream: "More Like The Shit Factory"

album cover KOWLOON WALLED CITY Gambling On The Richter Scale (The Perpetual Motion Machine) lp 10.98
More and more every day we miss that brief period in the nineties when rock music was heavy, and noisy, and LOUD. Not necessarily metal, although to some ears it probably sounded like metal. It was more about BIG riffs, lumbering tempos, huge pounding drums, throat shredding vox. Think: Unsane, Halo Of Flies, Today Is The Day, Tad, Killdozer, Tar, Helmet, Lubricated Goat, Karp, Unwound, we could go on and on, but you understand what we're talking about.
There are very few modern bands who can channel the same sort of sonic energy without being retro, and typically, the heavier they are, the more they get lumped in with some metal subsect. But goddamn if there doesn't seem to be a bit of a modern noise rock scene brewing, bands popping up here and there, pushing all those noise rock buttons, and totally hitting the spot.
Which brings us to local boys Kowloon Walled City, whose recent Turk Street ep knocked us on our asses with it's noise rock / doom sludge hybrid. Weirdly enough, with this here debut full length, Gambling On The Richter Scale, the band somehow sound WAY heavier, but at the same time way less metal. Tapping into the rich noise rock history, and creating a disc that's both intense and punishing, melodic and heavy, and yeah, still a bit metallic here and there..
Opener "Annandale" is a churning hook filled noise rock jam, with big guitars, some killer melodies, harsh vox, wild dense drumming, some awesomely soaring high guitar parts, as well as the occasional burst of super melodic almost indie rock, before lurching back into the chug and crush. The sound definitely veers closer to a band like Torche or Floor than Neurosis or Eyehategod.
The second track though totally reminds us of the Unsane, with its roiling distorted bass, looped churning riffage, and weirdly mathy arrangement, some cool dynamics and some stop / starts that definitely had us in math rock heaven. But even here, the band inject some clean guitars, and some downright pretty melody before getting all aggro again.
It's a pretty relentless record, but thankfully KWC mix it up, changing up tempos, letting the drums breath here and there, giving riffs space to ring out and decay once in a while, stretching out into spaced out slowmo ambient drifts, pulling tracks apart into almost groovy sounding doomy dirges, slipping in plenty of subtle pop, heavy hooks galore. The title track is a monster, beginning with some clean guitar strum, minor key and tense, before lurching into a fierce chugging plod, with some Maideny guitar harmonies, plenty of palm muted guitar throb, an impossibly heavy downtuned chorus, and subtle melody mixed in throughout.
The record finishes off with the 6+ minute "More Like The Shit Factory", a sprawling slowjam, the guitars droning out in long streaks, peppered with bursts of downtuned crunch, the drums never really kicking in, the guitars all intertwined and layered, beating against each other, a cloud of swirling overtones, while the vocals howl, the drums sporadically pound, eventually everything dropping out entirely, leaving just a blown out psychedelic dual guitar drone, which crumbles and gradually fades out over the last minute, although. we'd have been perfectly happy had they let those guitars drone endlessly and fill up the rest of the record. Next time maybe.
So yeah, if you're in the market for some heavy, catchy as fuck, NOISE ROCK, okay, maybe call it metal, then Gambling On The Richter Scale is IT, and by the sounds of this record, they probably destroy live. On that same label that that brought us Catalyst, another bad ass noise rock band well worth checking out.

MPEG Stream: "Annandale"
MPEG Stream: "Diabetic Feet"
MPEG Stream: "More Like The Shit Factory"

album cover KOWLOON WALLED CITY Turk Street (self-released) 10" 11.98
Pretty much every metalhead in SF went to see Carcass at the Grand Ballroom the other night (in fact, we were joking that a well placed incendiary device could have wiped out the entire scene in one fell swoop). And yeah, of course Carcass destroyed, but the very same night, all the way across town, a band called Kowloon Walled City were faced with the daunting task of laying waste to a room not exactly full of the few metalheads who for whatever reason were not at the Carcass show.
And listening to this, the debut release from this SF foursome, we'd be hard pressed to say that the folks at Carcass, ourselves included, didn't miss out on something serious. Thankfully, unlike Carcass, KWC are a going concern, so we'll get another chance, but until then, get a load of this five song ep, of fierce, furious, crushing heaviness. Think Unsane, old Helmet, the Melvins, Buzzov-en, Neurosis of course, this is some seriously heavy shit. The guitars massive and downtuned, a relentless sea of roiling chug and churn, the drums dense and pounding, the vocals a throat shredding howl. The AmRep vibe is all over these songs, the sound incredibly thick and corrosive, the rhythms alternatingly pounding and lurching, most often settling into a lumbering almost-groove, the melodies buried amidst the crunch and rumble, sometimes surfacing as the band slips into something more dynamic, letting the guitars moan and keen, the drums getting all spacious, sheets of Eyehategod style feedback, a weirdly doomy sort of abstract sludge, before slipping back into a furious grinding metallic crush. Pretty fucking excellent, and definitely has us looking forward to finally seeing what we missed that fateful night.
The vinyl is limited to 300 copies, and is pressed on cool swirled red and black vinyl. The cd-r is limited to 100 copies, packaged in super nice, silkscreened cardstock style sleeves with a printed insert, each one hand numbered.
MPEG Stream: "Another Corporate Takeover"
MPEG Stream: "Turk, Taylor, and Jones"

album cover KOWLOON WALLED CITY Turk Street (Howling Mine / Feast Of Tentacles) 10" 11.98
Finally repressed and available again (on black and red swirled vinyl), the crushing debut from these local heavies, here's our review from when we first listed this way back in 2008:
Pretty much every metalhead in SF went to see Carcass at the Grand Ballroom the other night (in fact, we were joking that a well placed incendiary device could have wiped out the entire scene in one fell swoop). And yeah, of course Carcass destroyed, but the very same night, all the way across town, a band called Kowloon Walled City were faced with the daunting task of laying waste to a room not exactly full of the few metalheads who for whatever reason were not at the Carcass show.
And listening to this, the debut release from this SF foursome, we'd be hard pressed to say that the folks at Carcass, ourselves included, didn't miss out on something serious. Thankfully, unlike Carcass, KWC are a going concern, so we'll get another chance, but until then, get a load of this five song ep, of fierce, furious, crushing heaviness. Think Unsane, old Helmet, the Melvins, Buzzov-en, Neurosis of course, this is some seriously heavy shit. The guitars massive and downtuned, a relentless sea of roiling chug and churn, the drums dense and pounding, the vocals a throat shredding howl. The AmRep vibe is all over these songs, the sound incredibly thick and corrosive, the rhythms alternatingly pounding and lurching, most often settling into a lumbering almost-groove, the melodies buried amidst the crunch and rumble, sometimes surfacing as the band slips into something more dynamic, letting the guitars moan and keen, the drums getting all spacious, sheets of Eyehategod style feedback, a weirdly doomy sort of abstract sludge, before slipping back into a furious grinding metallic crush. Pretty fucking excellent, and definitely has us looking forward to finally seeing what we missed that fateful night.
MPEG Stream: "Another Corporate Takeover"
MPEG Stream: "Turk, Taylor, and Jones"

album cover KOWLOON WALLED CITY Turk Street (self-released) cd-r 8.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Pretty much every metalhead in SF went to see Carcass at the Grand Ballroom the other night (in fact, we were joking that a well placed incendiary device could have wiped out the entire scene in one fell swoop). And yeah, of course Carcass destroyed, but the very same night, all the way across town, a band called Kowloon Walled City were faced with the daunting task of laying waste to a room not exactly full of the few metalheads who for whatever reason were not at the Carcass show.
And listening to this, the debut release from this SF foursome, we'd be hard pressed to say that the folks at Carcass, ourselves included, didn't miss out on something serious. Thankfully, unlike Carcass, KWC are a going concern, so we'll get another chance, but until then, get a load of this five song ep, of fierce, furious, crushing heaviness. Think Unsane, old Helmet, the Melvins, Buzzov-en, Neurosis of course, this is some seriously heavy shit. The guitars massive and downtuned, a relentless sea of roiling chug and churn, the drums dense and pounding, the vocals a throat shredding howl. The AmRep vibe is all over these songs, the sound incredibly thick and corrosive, the rhythms alternatingly pounding and lurching, most often settling into a lumbering almost-groove, the melodies buried amidst the crunch and rumble, sometimes surfacing as the band slips into something more dynamic, letting the guitars moan and keen, the drums getting all spacious, sheets of Eyehategod style feedback, a weirdly doomy sort of abstract sludge, before slipping back into a furious grinding metallic crush. Pretty fucking excellent, and definitely has us looking forward to finally seeing what we missed that fateful night.
The vinyl is limited to 300 copies, and is pressed on cool swirled red and black vinyl. The cd-r is limited to 100 copies, packaged in super nice, silkscreened cardstock style sleeves with a printed insert, each one hand numbered.
MPEG Stream: "Another Corporate Takeover"
MPEG Stream: "Turk, Taylor, and Jones"

album cover KOWLOON WALLED CITY / FIGHT AMP / LADDER DEVILS Lose Lose Lose (Brutal Panda) lp 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Killer 3 way vinyl split of extreme heaviness, starting off with SF's own Kowloon Walled City, who by now really have to be one of the best and one of the most criminally under-hyped heavy bands in the city, super brutal and intense, their sound dense and crushing and epic, equal parts modern metal and old school AmRep style noise rock, a hybrid few can pull off as well as these guys, yet outside of a select few, it seems these guys have yet to be discovered by the world at large, but with every record, it seems like they can't remain a secret much longer.
And here they bring the noise (rock) big time, their first track a lurching stop/start mini-epic, the guitars corrosive and downtuned and THICK, driven by some seriously kick ass thumping drum damage, the vocals a frenzied (but still melodic) yowl, the arrangement strange and super dynamic, the whole thing hooky as hell, one of those tracks that had it come out in 1997 as a single it would probably be one of your most treasured 7"s. Their second track is totally different, reigning in that wanton bash and crush for something a bit more low slung and brooding, a weird sort of Neurosis / Killing Joke hybrid, super melodic, dark and moody, but with no shortage of extreme sonic crush.
We had never heard (or heard of) Ladder Devils before, but they're a pretty good match for KWC, they too have a sort of noise rock thing going on, their take a bit more punky and grungy, still hyper rhythmic and heavy as fuck, but way more loose, some awesomely howled vocals, thick syrupy low end, chugging guitars, hooky riffs, both tracks rule, even recorded evoking wild and sweaty live cub destroying chaos. Definitely psyched to hear more.
And finally Jersey metallic post rock sludgelords Fight Amp, who are only now making their first appearance on the aQ site, even though a few of us have been fans for a while. Fight Amp have a sound not all that far removed from folks like Baroness, Kylesa and the like, a sort of Southern sludge via slow brooding Neur-Isis style heaviness, and their two tracks here offer up a seriously heavy heaping helping of just that, churning and thick and epic, a little groovy, WAY downtuned, a little mathy and proggy too, giving it a sort of Voivod feel, albeit quite a bit more crusty and sludgey, but it's a pretty killer combo, and again, a pretty perfect match for both Ladder Devils and Kowloon Walled City...
Killer packaging too, a thick PVC style jacket, hand silkscreened, housing a printed folded sleeve, the back half of the sleeve cut away to reveal the clear vinyl and the printed images beneath it. LIMITED TO 300 COPIES!

album cover KOWLOON WALLED CITY / THOU July (Hell Comes Home) 7" 9.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
What more do you need to know, than this is two of our favorite heavy bands, doing killer (and WAY unlikely) covers, on by Low, and one by Soundgarden? OK, how about the fact that this was a super limited installment of a subscription only series, really the only way to get your hands on one of these was to subscribe, unless, the guys in KWC offered us a little handful of their copies, the LAST copies in fact, so you should know what that means by now, grab one before they disappear.
KWC tackles Low's "July", and besides cranking up the guitars, and adding some downtuned crunch, stay pretty true to the original, and wisely got a guest vocalist, Lisa Papineau, who we had never heard of before, but who has sung for Air, M83, Farflung and others, but who is the perfect fit, here vocals emotional and powerful, darkly tinged, one of those rare, practically perfect covers, where the cover manages to be as good as the original, different enough to be interesting, but faithful enough to make not singing along impossible.
Thou take on Soundgarden's "4th Of July", and like KWC, stay sort of faithful to the original, changing it up a bit, like with the KWC track, via the vocals. In place of Thou's usual throat shredding shrieks, the band unveil some seriously powerful crooning, a kick ass voice that definitely has us wondering what these guys would be capable of if they chose to go in that direction. But fear not, not only is the main riff an oozing, downtuned creep, but after that first verse, the more recognizable Thou vocals come in, but instead of replacing the clean vox, they team up, for a really bizarre duet, and some twisted not-quite harmonies, the song itself, unfurling as a lumbering, surprisingly still super melodic, dirge doom monster.
Rare that we dig both sides of a split this much, but both these tracks totally KILL. And again, super limited, we have about 15 copies, these are the last ones we'll be able to get. Not sure you can even still sign up for the subscription series, so probably better to get one now, before you're kicking yourself later. Insanely gorgeous cover art / design as well!
MPEG Stream: KOWLOON WALLED CITY "July"
MPEG Stream: THOU "4th Of July"

album cover KOWTON Shuffle Good (Boomkat Editions) 12" 17.98
We had never heard of Kowton before, aka producer Joe Cowton, and picked this up initially for the Andy Stott remix (more on that in a second), but were pleasantly surprised to discover that Kowton trafficked in a strain of dark minimal techno we can't seem to get enough of. Fans of Function, Shed, Raime, Terrence Dixon, Andy Stott obviously, and even Demdike Stare will immediately feel right at home. Or as home as one can feel when surrounded by bleak, abstract, sinister skitter and raspy rumbling low end crunch.
The A side is all spare hauntological stutter, peppered with strange shards of industrial clatter, bell like tones, distant swirling strings, fuzzy synth squelch and thick bass blorps, all dubbed out and super minimal, with headphones the sound sucks you right into its creepy sonic maw. The B side starts out all murky and washed out, a bit of a Caretaker vibe, all hazy and faded, but then Cowton crafts a brittle metallic beat, sounding like struck metal and super processed crunch, woven into a looped dubby breakbeat, that sounds a bit like some old jungle beat slowed way down and stretched out, all the whole those murky sounds in the background continue to swirl and pulse. And then finally, the A side gets reworked by Andy Stott, and it's just as good as you might expect, all blurred and smeared, laced with thick bass pulses, and super sharp shards of glitch and buzz, it's a sort of disembodied dub, one that doesn't really get going until almost 4 minutes in, at which point the beats get super skittery and chaotic, the bass do rumbles and buzzes ominously, the whole thing transforming into some sort of avant spectral minimal avant house music, the sort of sound that should have fans of Stott (and Demdike) freaking out big time...
MPEG Stream: "Shuffle Good"
MPEG Stream: "Shuffle Good (Andy Stott Remix)"

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