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Records of the Week
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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.


A MINOR FOREST So Were They In Some Sort Of Fight? (My Pal God) 2cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
A year or so after the demise of A Minor Forest, comes this, a fairly comprhensive collection of impossible-to-find tracks from 7s, 10s, and compilations, as well as unreleased tracks from way back (2 or 3 from the 1991 demo). Also includes remixes from Loren Chasse (Id Battery), Dave Cerf (sound artist/voice mail terrorist) and Lesser, a bunch of sound experiments, some practice space recordings, a rejected(!) score for a straight-to-video zombie nun movie, a kick ass version of the Little River Band's 'Lady', and more!

BETSCH, BERTRAND La soupe a la grimace. (Lithium) cd 14.98
Wonderful! This French singer/songwriter's emotional, serious songs are delivered in a breathy, delicate manner that will DEFINITELY appeal to fans of Belle & Sebastian, although Bertrand's unique style isn't as sticky sweet. Highly recommended!

BLUES MAGOOS Psychedelic Lollipop/Electric Comic Book (Collectables) cd 15.98
This disc (compiling two rare & expensive late '60s lps) reveals NYC's the Blues Magoos to be the missing link between the Count Five, the MC5, and -gasp- the new Monster Magnet! Sounds impossible but it's true! Squirrelly garage rock wrapped in farfisa organ and swirly psychedelia, tempered with a healthy dose of bubblegum pop and a silly sense of humor. The album titles are right-on, and 'the band was known for wearing bellbottoms trimmed with neon plastic tubes'! Includes an amazing cover of Maceo Marriweather's 'Worried Life Blues'. This welcome reissue has been a constant on the AQ-stereo ever since it showed up! This record reflects our growing interest in the drug culture of the late '60s...oops, I mean, their interest.

album cover BOREDOMS Super AE (Birdman) cd 13.98
The domestic version of this kick ass Boredoms album finally sees the light of day! Far less manic than their previous spazzcore albums you loved in the past, the Boredoms' new focus on studio manipulations is intense and artistically successful. Layers of bombastic guitar noises swell and give way to insane bursts of tape manipulation along with the wax and wane of desperate screams and urgent percussion. Super AE is a rancid psychedelic experience that could be a chance meeting on the dissecting table between Amon Duul and Nurse With Wound.
If you've seen the Boredoms live and don't think you could sit through a disc of it, know that this album builds on the studio experiments of their recent SuperRoots series; it's not Yamantaka Eye jumping around anymore -- he's sitting in the cockpit, entering your earholes with intents to purple-shag-carpet-bomb your sense of reality. Mad Jack became mad scientist.
Although Japanese import version came packaged in an elaborate day-glo oversized plastic box, don't worry: the artwork on this domestic cd is pretty damn cool complete with nifty Eye Yamantaka magic marker art!
MPEG Stream: "Super Are You"
MPEG Stream: "Super Good"

CHAMPS, THE III (Frenetic) cd 11.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
San Francisco's Champs (or C4AM95 as they prefer to be called for silly legal reasons) are an amazing two guitars and drums no bass, sometimes three guitars no drums, very rarely any vocals, trio that on this their debut album crank out over seventy minutes of catchy, complex, mostly instrumental metal in indie/math-rock clothing. Kind of like the indie-prog of Don Caballero or Breadwinner, with touches of Trans Am (the bombast and occasional "techno electronica" interlude) ...and healthy helpings of Iron Maiden, Thin Lizzy, Metallica, Carcass, Motley Crue, Priest, etc. I could go on. Mesmerizing live, they're on tour now but will be back soon so I hope y'all went to their shows. For what it's worth, there's a former member of Nation of Ulysses in their ranks. Rec-o-f'n-mended.

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

FEUHLER s/t (Ostinato Schallplatten/Dephine Knormal) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
The relative ease with which this German band outshines the post-rock-fanboy holy-grail trio Don Caballero (keeping in mind that we really like Don Cab), makes one wish that the general indie rock audience at large was harder to please. Then perhaps more bands would try to expand on the Don Cab sound instead of incessantly aping it, and more records would sound as jaw droppingly brilliant as this one. In place of Damon Che's non stop avalanche of 'Moby Dick'isms and DonCab's metal-in-post-rock's-clothing is a complex sonic tapestry of hypnotic drones and cyclical riffs. Feuhler take the droning single note repetition of Tony Conrad, the scraping stones of Loren Chasse, the heavy prog of Voivod, the dynamics of Slint, and the slowly evolving Reich-ish rock of Circle, and fashion a music at once emotive and heavy, intellectual and kick ass.

album cover FLAMING LIPS The Soft Bulletin (Warner Brothers) cd 12.98
Following a wholly unique progression, from drug-addled psych rock jam band to off kilter pop geniuses, the Flaming Lips keep on stretching the boundaries of 'pop' music, never losing sight of the song. They seem to have a unique understanding of the absurdity of the music they produce. We're not talking about the garden variety, pedestrian pastiche efforts of so many of today's indie pop bands (i.e. avant garde = birdsounds or 'out there' segues). The Lips' weirdness isn't manufactured or forced, it seems rather to be the result of some sort of dropped-on-their-head childhood mishap or an unprecedented series of synaptic misfires. It comes as less of a surprise then that this band was dragged kicking and screaming into mainstream success by a catchy little pop song about masturbation.
The Flaming Lips seem to be taking great advantage of their lofty position on a major label, doing their best to piss off the business minded folk of Warner, while at the same time managing to make truely amazing and creative records, like their last release Zaireeka, a 4 cd set composed to be listened to simultaneously on four separate cd players. While certainly not as labor-intensive for the listener as Zaireeka, The Soft Bulletin is another set of perfectly imperfect popsongs, albeit now accessible to the traditional one cd player household.
It's hard to describe The Flaming Lips without providing a visual reference, take their live show at Slims a few years back. It began with a pathetic solitary spotlight illuminating the band huddled around their instruments and plucking fragile solitary notes. With the initial crack of the drums, a dizzying kaleidoscope of tens of thousands of Christmas lights burst to life and engulfed Slims, offereing a hallucinatory visual equal to the Lips' psychedelic pop dadaism.
The Lips' disparate and patently un-pop elements; huge and fuzzy John Bonham-esque percussive bombast, ultra low frequency Moog oscillations, Wayne Coyne's still-getting-out-of-puberty voice crack, bizarre song struture, and an insane mastery of recording studio-as-instrument, come together more seamlessly than ever on The Soft Bulletin, making it our record of the week, and for some of us, record of the year.
MPEG Stream: "Race For The Prize"
MPEG Stream: "Waitin' For Superman"

GODSPEED YOU BLACK EMPEROR Slow Riot For Zero Kanada (Kranky/Constellation) cd 10.98
The second release from the Canadian nine piece ensemble is about as epic as 28 minutes can get. As with 'F#A#oo", Godspeed render the psychic desolation of the Canadian tundra as an intense soundtrack that swells from glacial strings to dense yet melodic orchestrations for guitars, bass, bells, percussion, and their string section. Certainly inspired by Morricone's mighty scores, "Slow Riot..." is also reminiscient of the dark musings of their contemporaries: Village of Savoonga, Rachel's, Mogwai, etc...
Haunting. Beautiful. Awesome. A unanimous staff favorite.

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

ICEBREAKER Distant Early Warning (Aesthetics) cd 12.98
Finally, a Chicago-style postrock band that doesn't traffic in the over-baked, quiet storming, Chuck Mangione meandering so prevalent these days. Instead, spartan and lovely instrumentals pay indirect homage to Steve Reich's phase patterns. So pleasant and yet so interesting, one of those few records that always sells when we play it and prompts customers to ask 'What is this?!' Highly recommended!!

IQU Chotto Matte A Moment (K) cd 12.98
A HIGHLY RECOMMENDED debut album from this Olympia Trio! Lo-fi drum & bass whose ethos of live instrumentation at all costs lends comparisons to a quirkier, more lively Red Snapper or at times Can (like what the 'Sacrilege' remix album was supposed to sound like)! This is one of the few groups who can carry off their sound live, including theremin, turntables, standup bass, and keyboards (and NOT ONE preprogrammed tape) into the mix.

JONES MACHINE, THE You're The One/I'm The Disco Dancing (Rephlex) cd 9.98
Okay, no bullshit. This is one of the stupidest things we've ever heard. But with the catchiest electro-pop groove accompanying a male German disco diva reciting I'm The Disco Dancing! [sic] complete with vocalized whip snaps, the b-side to this single has become THE club hit for the AQ staff this month (you wouldn't believe how many times we've played this in the store!). A-side 'You're The One' is certainly less of a brain rot boogie with croonsome vocals a la Jarvis Cocker and a squelchy big beat pop song that destroys Fat Boy Slim and the Chemical Bros. Oddly enough, Aphex prodigy Cylob is responsible for the two great mixes filling out this four-track single. Better than 'I'm Too Sexy', up there with 'Der Commissar', somehow kinda like both. No ifs, ands, or buts...you'll either think this is silly and hate it, or think it's silly and love it. We love it!

JUD JUD X-the demos-X (No Idea) 7" 3.99
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Probably one of the funniest records we have ever heard, this is a parody of early 80's straight edge complete with tour posters of Jud Jud headlining over Minor Threat, Seven Seconds, and Uniform Choice and a heartfelt mention of friendships and motivation and dreams becoming reality and the importance of their lyrics. Only Jud Jud's lyrics go a bit like this: JUD JUD JAH, JUD JUD JUD, JUD JUD JAH, TSSS TSSS TSSSSS, JUD JUD EEEEEEE, JUD JUD EEEEEE, JUD JAAAAAAAAA, JUD JUD, JUD JUD JAAAAAAAA, JUD JUD JUD, WAH NAH, JUD JUD JUD, WAH NAH, JUD JUD JUD, NING NING NING, JUD JUD, DIGGA DIGGA DIGGA, JUD JUD, EEEEEEEE, DUJ DUJ, DIGGA DIGGA DIGGA, JUD JUD JUD, JUD JUD, BBBDDDTLUM PPPPP, BBBDDDTLUM PPPP, JUD JUD JUD, DUJ DUJ, EEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRRRRRRRRRROOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU, JUD JUD. And that's it--no guitars, no drums. Yep, that's right. Exactly like every straight edge single you've ever heard, only it's A CAPELLA! Even the 'feedback' whines are a capella! Excellent and hilarious.

MOGWAI Kicking a Dead Pig/Fear Satan Remixes (Jetset) 2cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
We at AQ all agree that the last Mogwai album, Young Team is one of the best things we've come across in a while; they take the slow build, dynamics, and instrumental intensity of Slint and add crashing guitar lyricism. Reason to celebrate: My Bloody Valentine's Kevin Shields, contributes a stunning sixteen-minute distortion-heavy brainmelter (so that's what he's been doing instead of giving us patiently drooling fans another MBV record). And if that isn't enough, there are also remixes by Mu-ziq, Alec Empire, Arab Strap (the Scottish duo whose murkiness calls to mind the Tindersticks more than anyone else), Third Eye Foundation, Kid Loco, and others. Very colorful vinyl.

album cover NEUTRAL MILK HOTEL In the Aeroplane Over the Sea (Merge) cd 14.98
Three cheers for Jeff Mangum and the rest of the Elephant6 music & art collective that participated on this, Neutral Milk Hotel's second glorious album. That's right, Mangum's pulled it off TWICE. There's still the rough buzz and sweetly chiming chords of his first album, but this record features more interesting instrumentation (musical saw, flugelhorn, accordion, organ, trumpet) along with stretched out parts where said instrumentation can really have a go at it. It's an absolutely perfect, instantly likeable, deeply affecting album from the man who arguably brought singing back to indie rock.

NURSE WITH WOUND Second Pirate Sessions (United Dairies) 2cd 26.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
There was an old Nurse With Wound LP which Steve Stapleton (the madman behind NWW) sold to the old Rough Trade distribution in the UK for $99.99 simply because he knew of glitch in the accounting system that would cause the whole system to crash when anyone bought his record. Not quite as maddening a prospect here, but still he has released all of the unused tracks from the Rock 'n' Roll Station sessions across a double cd and a single piece of vinyl... Yes, there are different tracks on the vinyl and the cd (the 2nd disc is the complete Rock 'n' Roll Station album), making the consumer decisions of which to buy (if not both) somewhat problematic. Musically, it is 'rock' as NWW probably will ever get, with a solid recognizable pulse that punctuates the dadaist noises that is oddly similar to a Joe Meek with a drum machine. Easily one of the best releases from NWW in a very long time... and if it matters... of the AQ staff, Byram and Marc took home the CDs and Jim got the vinyl.

NURSE WITH WOUND Second Pirate Sessions (United Dairies) lp 23.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
There was an old Nurse With Wound LP which Steve Stapleton (the madman behind NWW) sold to the old Rough Trade distribution in the UK for $99.99 simply because he knew of glitch in the accounting system that would cause the whole system to crash when anyone bought his record. Not quite as maddening a prospect here, but still he has released all of the unused tracks from the Rock 'n' Roll Station sessions across a double cd and a single piece of vinyl... Yes, there are different tracks on the vinyl and the cd (the 2nd disc is the complete Rock 'n' Roll Station album), making the consumer decisions of which to buy (if not both) somewhat problematic. Musically, it is 'rock' as NWW probably will ever get, with a solid recognizable pulse that punctuates the dadaist noises that is oddly similar to a Joe Meek with a drum machine. Easily one of the best releases from NWW in a very long time... and if it matters... of the AQ staff, Byram and Marc took home the CDs and Jim got the vinyl.

album cover OS MUTANTES Mutantes (#2) (Omplatten) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
For the best description of Brazilian Tropicalia trio Os Mutantes, look no further than AQ-pal Don Smith, who writes: "[Os Mutantes] blended bossa nova and psychedelic rock and roll to form a Sgt. Pepper meets Astrud Gilberto mix which is one of the most unique sounds ever put to wax. Quite simply, you have never heard anything like Os Mutantes."
After many years of unavailability, Aquarius Records is happy to present the domestic reissues of the first three Mutantes records. Os Mutantes made some of the most perfect Brazilian pop psychedelia we have ever heard. All three were recorded from 1968 - 1970 but sounds better and more fresh than 95% of the music being made today!!! The first two records are two of Windy's favorite albums of all time!
RealAudio clip: "Nao Va Se Perder Por Ai"
RealAudio clip: "Caminhante Noturno"

album cover OS MUTANTES Os Mutantes (#1) (Omplatten) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
For the best description of Brazilian Tropicalia trio Os Mutantes, look no further than AQ-pal Don Smith, who writes: "[Os Mutantes] blended bossa nova and psychedelic rock and roll to form a Sgt. Pepper meets Astrud Gilberto mix which is one of the most unique sounds ever put to wax. Quite simply, you have never heard anything like Os Mutantes."
After many years of unavailability, Aquarius Records is happy to present the domestic reissues of the first three Mutantes records. Os Mutantes made some of the most perfect Brazilian pop psychedelia we have ever heard. All three were recorded from 1968 - 1970 but sounds better and more fresh than 95% of the music being made today!!! The first two records are two of Windy's favorite albums of all time!

RADAR BROTHERS s/t (Restless) cd 15.98
Wow, out of nowhere (okay, there was a 10" a coupla years ago but we missed out) comes this FANTASTIC trio from Los Angeles whose quiet, mournful sound and plaintive vocals remind us of Neil Young & the delicate side of Pink Floyd. For fans of Low, Scud Mountain Boys, Radiohead, and Rex. Definitely a winner; we highly recommend you hear them.

SHAW, VIRGIL Quad Cities (Boxkite) cd 11.98
When we were roommates a few years ago, Virgil used to come home dead tired from carpentering and construction all the whole day. There'd be paint on his jeans and crumbs of chalky sheetrock in his hair. He'd pop a beer, sit in our kitchen lit by only a bare bulb, and he'd play guitar, yowling in his crackly heart-tugging voice. Most of the time he was working out new Dieselhed songs -- he's an integral member of the San Francisco-via-Eureka band, who you should all know by now are one of my favorite bands in the world and it's simply criminal that they haven't been able to quit their day jobs yet cos they RULE. Anyway, I would never say it to his face but I think Virgil's pretty grade-A brilliant, and have always loved the rickety, stark 'kitchen versions' of Virgil's songs, and I hoped he'd record them. Wishes do come true. So lovely! Some of Virgil's lyrics: He had a big mouth of crooked teeth Like china leaning by the sink So clean they were almost blue So blue they were almost see through. She has a jacket she hangs outside Smoke sticks to the fake hide So fake you can almost see through So see through you wouldn't know what to do.

SILVER APPLES (Whirlybird) cd 12.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
A self-released cd reissue of the first, self-titled Silver Apples lp, from 1968. It's a brilliant, landmark recording of swirling, pulsating early psych/synth "rock", and comes highly, highly recommended by all here at AQ. Previously, both this and the 2nd Silver Apples record had been only available together on an European bootleg cd - and interestingly, Simeon had some good things to say about that, citing the popularily of the Euro boot as being the reason that he and his new Silver Apples are out touring sucessfully right now! But of course, now he'd like to sell his music himself and get his due, monetarily. (One further note: this disc also secretly includes the tracks from the Silver Apples' 1996 7" release...)

album cover SOUNDS OF NORTH AMERICAN FROGS Sounds Of North American Frogs (Smithsonian Folkways) cd 13.98
First "The Conet Project", now this. Well, okay, this isn't spooky like those shortwave spy broadcasts, but the sounds these frogs make have some similar qualities to the morse code or "noise stations", and like The Conet Project is both bizarre and fascinating. The 92 tracks of the croaks, trills, screams, mating calls, and other forms of amphibian vocalisations were conceived, narrated, and documented by Charles M. Bogart. Travelling from the far reaches of Alaska to the deserts of Arizona to the foothills of Tennessee, Mr. Bogart presents a labor of love in selecting these field recordings and their descriptions. The dry delivery of Mr. Bogart's indexical texts is unnervingly and humorously dissimilar to these frogs calls. Just like The Conet Project's unintentional (?) aural terror, The Sound of North American Frogs features a wide variety of drones and clicks that could be from some RLW or Pierre Henry experiment with tape loops. So highly recommended that several unnamed staff members of AQ have been over heard "singing" along with the Pig Frog and the Carpenter Frog.
MPEG Stream: "Chorus Of Barking Treefrogs"
MPEG Stream: "Barking Treefrog"
MPEG Stream: "Green Treefrog"
MPEG Stream: "The Mating Call Of The Barking Treefrog Is Heard First"
MPEG Stream: "Mating Call Of The Oak Toad"

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

SZEKI KURVA Music For Joyriders (Iris Light) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Very Strange and Unpredictable, and Fun. As if Holger Czukay put out a Digital Hardcore album! Samples from Eastern European marching anthems and various other strange sources, Szeki Kurva make short attention span techno-folk music suitable for an surreal James Bond film. This Hungarian (we think) band is an exciting new discovery for us (though reportedly they are huge in their homeland), so odd that even The Wire might miss it, upping the ante on the exotic and bizzare everywhere.

V/A Celebrities... At Their Worst! (Mad Deadly Worldwide Communist Gangster Computer God) 2cd-r 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Completely hilarious bloopers will keep you in stitches. Andee keeps telling the story of how he had to listen to Joe from Souled American imitating the drunken John Wayne! Everyone from William Shatner to Elvis, Colonel Sanders, Tom Brokaw, Liz Taylor, Billie Holiday, The Beach Boys, Barry White, Casey Kasem (of course), Jack Palance, and more.

V/A Emanated (Emanate) lp 10.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Here's Forced Exposure's apt description:
Debut release on a new CA-based IDM label, focusing on that sparkling electronic machine crinkle that can sound just right. OST's track, "August" is a legitimate classic, that could easily fit somewhere within the Warp "Artificial Intelligence" series. Many other tracks are of similar vintage & emotional quality. The CD features obscure US artists such as: Solenoide (aka Office Products, aka Mr. Pharmacist; currently been doing work with Mark Hosler of Negativland, while having escaped an earlier life of hacking, sits behind the door and thinks about asthetic pranks'), Lillianthal (Arrow Kleeman, NYC, has performed with the Silver Apples, before becoming Lillienthal, "hoping that his search for sound found and personal mood will set him aside from the even flow of contemporary electronic dance music, this is his debut'), If.Then.Else. ('playing bass, playing jazz, discovers the synthesizer all hell break loose; not to be seen until now, he hides with the machine in attempts to beat it at it's own games'), Sybarite (aka Xian Hawkins, who has also performed and recorded with Simeon of the reformed Silver Apples), O.S.T. (aka Rook Vallade, has recorded on Switch Records, Plug Research, Worm Interface, remixed Spacetime Continuum, etc.).

V/A Great Jewish Music: Burt Bacharach (Tzadik) 2cd 21.00
Sure, Tzadik titles've been really spotty lately and it's getting to be hard to tell the good from the bad, but surprise: the label has totally hit the mark this time. Not only do Bacharach's standards cry out for reinterpretation, but this cd functions as a hearty sampler of downtown NYC scene as it stands today. Thus, while Bacharach's used to Dionne and the Carpenters paying tribute (and royalties), this is a weird and 90% wonderful collection of mostly twisted (but some lovely straightahead) covers of his songs, from Wayne Horvitz's *sublime* "Close To You" to Marc Ribot's signature guitarwork on "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" to Medeski, Martin and Wood's "Do You Know the Way to San Jose," which sounds like it was recorded underwater. Other contributors include Faith No More's Mike Patton, Shelley Hirsch, Lloyd Cole, Robert Quine, Eyvind Kang, Bill Frisell, Cibo Matto's Yuka Honda with Sean Lennon, Dave Douglas, Zeena Parkins, Erik Friedlander, and Guy Klucsevek.

V/A Love, Peace & Poetry: Latin American Psychedelic Music (Shadoks Music) cd 15.98
Ignore the cheesy pinup girl cover art and instead give thanks that someone finally compiled someof the best tracks from Latin American psych pop groups of the '60s, most of whose original LPs now change hands for hundreds of dollars, and whose cd reissues even seem overpriced. We're talking bands like Traffic Sound, Laghonia, Kissing Spell, and Kaleidoscope, etc. A great intro to this scene, provided you have a very strong stomach for Beatles ripoffs; it sounds very much Of Its Time.

V/A RRR 500 (RRR) lp 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
That's right, 500 lock grooves (250 per side!) from the likes of Sonic Youth, Terry Riley, Derek Bailey, Aube, Bruce Gilbert, Zoviet France, Otomo Yoshihide, 2000 Dying Rats, Jan St. Werner, Marcus Schmickler, His Name is Alive, Mortician, Exit-13, Today is the Day, Brighter Death Now, Soilent Green, Masonna, Id Battery, and 482 more! Hilarious and very very cool listening. Some are 2 seconds long, some run up to 10 or so. Adventurous DJs should buy this, most of us did...

VILLAGE OF SAVOONGA Score (Kollaps/Communion) cd 12.98
Murky drama played out on guitars, tapes, electronics, and samplers, with a heavy dose of clanky percussion to remind you of their roots, Germany's Village of Savoonga possesses an enviably original sound that owes much to their krautrock forefathers, not the ultra-structured Kraftwerk, but the loose sound experiments of Faust. Spacerock fans will find so much to like, too, but expect more than just easy ambient layers, this record climbs mountains and fords streams. Totally excellent. This is their third album, and the record we've been recommending people buy if the new Tortoise just doesn't do it for ya...

VILLAGE OF SAVOONGA Score (Kollaps/Communion) lp 10.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Murky drama played out on guitars, tapes, electronics, and samplers, with a heavy dose of clanky percussion to remind you of their roots, Germany's Village of Savoonga possesses an enviably original sound that owes much to their krautrock forefathers, not the ultra-structured Kraftwerk, but the loose sound experiments of Faust. Spacerock fans will find so much to like, too, but expect more than just easy ambient layers, this record climbs mountains and fords streams. Totally excellent. This is their third album, and the record we've been recommending people buy if the new Tortoise just doesn't do it for ya...

Z-TRIP & RADAR Live at the Future Primitive Soundsession, Volume Two cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
It's always heartening when the standout record of the week is a local production. The Future Primitive Soundsession has proved itself a turntablist event par excellence, consistently scheduled once every couple of months for the past year and a half, featuring heavyweight scratchers from all over the country. The Invisibl Skratch Piklz, Beat Junkies and the Cut Chemist are regularly scheduled, as well as the Bombshelter crew from Phoenix. It's simply one of the best parties in town; you'll find people of all shapes, sizes and races enjoying the music. This cd features Bombshelter talents Z-Trip and Radar who unashamedly make use of their '70s and '80s metal record collections (Pink Floyd, Boston) to delirious effect. Will appeal to hip hop AND rock lovers (imagine that!)

album cover TREEPEOPLE Guilt Regret Embarrassment (K) cd 10.98
This is not a normal Record Of The Week. It's not new. It's not even a newly released reissue. But what it is, is one of our favorite records EVER. And it just so happened Andee was in Olympia this last weekend, and got to visit K Records, where they discovered a little box of these stashed away in the warehouse. And since most of the records by this band predate the current version of the list, we were psyched to suddenly be presented with the opportunity to gush like crazy over the debut album from the late great Treepeople. And really, as far as we're concerned, if any band deserved a comprehensive reissue campaign, it's the Treepeople, but until then, dig this...
For those unfamiliar with the Treepeople, it's essentially pre Built To Spill, with BTS mastermind Doug Martsch honing his chops in a much wilder, more punky, noisy, but no less catchy context. In fact, if you've heard the first Built To Spill record, Ultimate Alternative Wavers, that record essentially sounds like a slightly more polished Treepeople Record. Imagine the glorious hooks and super catchy melodies of BTS, but wrapped in spidery intertwined guitars, swirls of feedback, wild chaotic drumming, the whole vibe more noisy, and loose, definitely more punk, aggressive and heavy, but still impossibly poppy. With every track here, on the group's 1991 debut, a stone cold killer, the opener "No Doubt" lays out the template, multiple guitar lines in constant motion, as if there were multiple solos being played at once, a dizzying backdrop of distort melodies, wound around sinewy basslines, and frenetic drumming, all beneath Martsch's distinctive vocals, oh and feedback, EVERYwhere, but somehow these guys make it sound as much a part of the sound/song as any other instrument. When people talk about noise pop, this is the sort of thing we imagine, equal parts jangle pop and urgent post punk, with some hints of proginess and psychedelia. And since we're all friends here, we'll fess up to the fact, that one of us here (ahem, Andee) had no idea that track two, "Andy Warhol" was a Bowie cover. Which also helps to give you an idea of the sound happening here. The opener bleeds right into the Bowie cover, almost as if they were conceived and composed together, with the Treepeople's version extra fierce and fuzzy (they'd do something similar to the Smiths' "Big Mouth Strikes Again" a year later).
"Gre" comes next, and might be one of our favorite Treepeople songs ever, frantic and fuzzy, noisy and punky, but again, super catchy, with drums and guitars in a seemingly constant squall, and yet molded into something most proper pop bands would kill for, if they could even figure out what to do with it. And from there on out, it just keeps getting better, some songs jangly and woozy, others straight up punk pound, more often than not a little of both, and almost as often, with even more sonic weirdness swirled into the equation. The Treepeople are one of those rare groups whose sound is actually totally and truly unique, there are definitely moments and parts and sounds and hooks that touch on other strains of indie rock, but much like Polvo, they seem to have taken the parts of a proper sound, pulled them apart and then reassembled them with no regard for the instruction manual, the resulting musical monstrosity emerging far more twistedly beautiful than it was ever meant to be, and the sort of sound that has stood the test of time like little else, this record (along with the group's entire catalog) on constant heavy rotation pretty much nonstop for that past 20+ years. And as much as we love Built To Spill, we find ourselves, almost without thinking, replying to almost every BTS related query with something like "yeah, but have you heard Treepeople?!?", cuz really, they're like a much crazier, noisier, heavier, more experimental version, which obviously for us, means even BETTER. A gloriously noisy concoction that should be essential listening for all indie rockers, young and old, and which should eventually, hopefully one day, get these guys, and all their records, the sort of love and accolades they so totally deserve. For now, we'll just do our part. And you should do yours, you won't be sorry, you might just have a new (old) favorite band!
Non musical note: this was the record that first introduced us to the stunning and horrifyingly beautiful pencil art of Mike Scheer!
MPEG Stream: "No Doubt"
MPEG Stream: "Andy Warhol"
MPEG Stream: "Gre"
MPEG Stream: "Pity"

album cover TREEPEOPLE Guilt Regret Embarrassment (K) lp 11.98
This is not a normal Record Of The Week. It's not new. It's not even a newly released reissue. But what it is, is one of our favorite records EVER. And it just so happened Andee was in Olympia this last weekend, and got to visit K Records, where they discovered a little box of these stashed away in the warehouse. And since most of the records by this band predate the current version of the list, we were psyched to suddenly be presented with the opportunity to gush like crazy over the debut album from the late great Treepeople. And really, as far as we're concerned, if any band deserved a comprehensive reissue campaign, it's the Treepeople, but until then, dig this...
For those unfamiliar with the Treepeople, it's essentially pre Built To Spill, with BTS mastermind Doug Martsch honing his chops in a much wilder, more punky, noisy, but no less catchy context. In fact, if you've heard the first Built To Spill record, Ultimate Alternative Wavers, that record essentially sounds like a slightly more polished Treepeople Record. Imagine the glorious hooks and super catchy melodies of BTS, but wrapped in spidery intertwined guitars, swirls of feedback, wild chaotic drumming, the whole vibe more noisy, and loose, definitely more punk, aggressive and heavy, but still impossibly poppy. With every track here, on the group's 1991 debut, a stone cold killer, the opener "No Doubt" lays out the template, multiple guitar lines in constant motion, as if there were multiple solos being played at once, a dizzying backdrop of distort melodies, wound around sinewy basslines, and frenetic drumming, all beneath Martsch's distinctive vocals, oh and feedback, EVERYwhere, but somehow these guys make it sound as much a part of the sound/song as any other instrument. When people talk about noise pop, this is the sort of thing we imagine, equal parts jangle pop and urgent post punk, with some hints of proginess and psychedelia. And since we're all friends here, we'll fess up to the fact, that one of us here (ahem, Andee) had no idea that track two, "Andy Warhol" was a Bowie cover. Which also helps to give you an idea of the sound happening here. The opener bleeds right into the Bowie cover, almost as if they were conceived and composed together, with the Treepeople's version extra fierce and fuzzy (they'd do something similar to the Smiths' "Big Mouth Strikes Again" a year later).
"Gre" comes next, and might be one of our favorite Treepeople songs ever, frantic and fuzzy, noisy and punky, but again, super catchy, with drums and guitars in a seemingly constant squall, and yet molded into something most proper pop bands would kill for, if they could even figure out what to do with it. And from there on out, it just keeps getting better, some songs jangly and woozy, others straight up punk pound, more often than not a little of both, and almost as often, with even more sonic weirdness swirled into the equation. The Treepeople are one of those rare groups whose sound is actually totally and truly unique, there are definitely moments and parts and sounds and hooks that touch on other strains of indie rock, but much like Polvo, they seem to have taken the parts of a proper sound, pulled them apart and then reassembled them with no regard for the instruction manual, the resulting musical monstrosity emerging far more twistedly beautiful than it was ever meant to be, and the sort of sound that has stood the test of time like little else, this record (along with the group's entire catalog) on constant heavy rotation pretty much nonstop for that past 20+ years. And as much as we love Built To Spill, we find ourselves, almost without thinking, replying to almost every BTS related query with something like "yeah, but have you heard Treepeople?!?", cuz really, they're like a much crazier, noisier, heavier, more experimental version, which obviously for us, means even BETTER. A gloriously noisy concoction that should be essential listening for all indie rockers, young and old, and which should eventually, hopefully one day, get these guys, and all their records, the sort of love and accolades they so totally deserve. For now, we'll just do our part. And you should do yours, you won't be sorry, you might just have a new (old) favorite band!
Non musical note: this was the record that first introduced us to the stunning and horrifyingly beautiful pencil art of Mike Scheer!
MPEG Stream: "No Doubt"
MPEG Stream: "Andy Warhol"
MPEG Stream: "Gre"
MPEG Stream: "Pity"

album cover BLACK RAIN Dark Pool (Blackest Ever Black) cd 17.98
We've been super obsessed with this killer slab of grim, blackened, nocturnal, techno minimalism, a dread fueled sprawl of bleak electronica and droned out sci-fi industrialism that's even more remarkable as it's the first Black Rain release in 18 years!!
Black Rain mastermind Stuart Argabright is hardly a household name, yet the man has an impressive catalog of high-caliber recordings along an axis of futurist / cyberpunk / darkly post-punk electronica dating back to the late '70s. His first fruits were in the form of the Factory sponsored Ike Yard, whose gloomy electro-dirges followed in the wake of the No New York contingent, followed by some far more club-oriented projects including the one-hit wonder Dominatrix and the eccentric Death Comet Crew (working with the pioneer of Afro-futurism, Rammellzee). Black Rain was the band that Argabright began with fellow DCC-member Shinichi Shimokawa in 1992 or thereabouts, and was originally commissioned to draft the score for a film version of Johnny Mnemonic. Despite his long-standing friendship with Phillip K. Dick, the Black Rain tracks were scrapped in favor of a high-budget Hollywood score after Keanu Reeves was pegged for the lead. After Blackest Ever Black pressed up a short-program lp 2010 of that soundtrack work from the early '90s (all of which had appeared on the Fifth Colvmn cd entitled 1.0), Argabright returned to the Black Rain moniker, possibly with Shimokawa at his right hand again.
Dark Pool continues the thread of tense cyborg-electronica crafted through those nixed Johnny Mnemonic soundtracks. The introductory track features a spoken word preface from Sean Young (best known as the android Rachel from Blade Runner) amongst a flurry of electrically screeching birds, extending the P.K. Dick allusions. Dystopian electronic shadows and hauntological drones brace much of Dark Pool, with Black Rain snapping into rhythmic passages of taut pneumatic samples and polished-machine drum programming. "Xibalba Road Metamorph" is a track that Dominick Fernow could only dream of producing as Prurient or Vatican Shadow, hammering its electro-static pulses with iron-fisted brutality and cold-blooded precision. The aptly named "Data River" spills out clinical beeps and drill-hammer rhythms on par with the sterility of Mika Vainio's Metri or any of the Raster Noton folk, with toxic drones of any villainous techno track lurking in the distance. Black Rain does pull the rug out from under us on the final track which rockets forward with a modern-day Moroder-esque tension, all dynamic arpeggiation and teeth-gritting electronic suspense only to abruptly cut the power, marking the end of the album. If we were to apply the cinematic, gothic / sci-fi allusion that this albums begs for, then this coda marks the unexpected termination of the android protagonist. Achtung! Bang! Click. End.
MPEG Stream: "Burst"
MPEG Stream: "Xibalba Road Metamorph"
MPEG Stream: "Night In New Chiang Saen"
MPEG Stream: "Who Will Save The Tiger?"

album cover BLACK RAIN Dark Pool (Blackest Ever Black) lp 27.00
We've been super obsessed with this killer slab of grim, blackened, nocturnal, techno minimalism, a dread fueled sprawl of bleak electronica and droned out sci-fi industrialism that's even more remarkable as it's the first Black Rain release in 18 years!!
Black Rain mastermind Stuart Argabright is hardly a household name, yet the man has an impressive catalog of high-caliber recordings along an axis of futurist / cyberpunk / darkly post-punk electronica dating back to the late '70s. His first fruits were in the form of the Factory sponsored Ike Yard, whose gloomy electro-dirges followed in the wake of the No New York contingent, followed by some far more club-oriented projects including the one-hit wonder Dominatrix and the eccentric Death Comet Crew (working with the pioneer of Afro-futurism, Rammellzee). Black Rain was the band that Argabright began with fellow DCC-member Shinichi Shimokawa in 1992 or thereabouts, and was originally commissioned to draft the score for a film version of Johnny Mnemonic. Despite his long-standing friendship with Phillip K. Dick, the Black Rain tracks were scrapped in favor of a high-budget Hollywood score after Keanu Reeves was pegged for the lead. After Blackest Ever Black pressed up a short-program lp 2010 of that soundtrack work from the early '90s (all of which had appeared on the Fifth Colvmn cd entitled 1.0), Argabright returned to the Black Rain moniker, possibly with Shimokawa at his right hand again.
Dark Pool continues the thread of tense cyborg-electronica crafted through those nixed Johnny Mnemonic soundtracks. The introductory track features a spoken word preface from Sean Young (best known as the android Rachel from Blade Runner) amongst a flurry of electrically screeching birds, extending the P.K. Dick allusions. Dystopian electronic shadows and hauntological drones brace much of Dark Pool, with Black Rain snapping into rhythmic passages of taut pneumatic samples and polished-machine drum programming. "Xibalba Road Metamorph" is a track that Dominick Fernow could only dream of producing as Prurient or Vatican Shadow, hammering its electro-static pulses with iron-fisted brutality and cold-blooded precision. The aptly named "Data River" spills out clinical beeps and drill-hammer rhythms on par with the sterility of Mika Vainio's Metri or any of the Raster Noton folk, with toxic drones of any villainous techno track lurking in the distance. Black Rain does pull the rug out from under us on the final track which rockets forward with a modern-day Moroder-esque tension, all dynamic arpeggiation and teeth-gritting electronic suspense only to abruptly cut the power, marking the end of the album. If we were to apply the cinematic, gothic / sci-fi allusion that this albums begs for, then this coda marks the unexpected termination of the android protagonist. Achtung! Bang! Click. End.
MPEG Stream: "Burst"
MPEG Stream: "Xibalba Road Metamorph"
MPEG Stream: "Night In New Chiang Saen"
MPEG Stream: "Who Will Save The Tiger?"

album cover STREET TRASH (RICK ULFIK) OST (Lunaris ) lp 25.00
We LOVE Street Trash, one of the silliest, goriest, goofiest movies ever, and easily one of our favorite good 'bad' movies. The label describes the 1987 horror flick as the ultimate "melt movie", which is definitely true, although we never realized that was an actual genre. And for lots of you, that probably makes no sense at all. But it will. Street Trash begins when a liquor store owner finds an old case of 'Tenafly Viper' in his basement, some kind of cheap wine, and decides to sell it cheap. It's of course snapped up by the city's homeless population, who begin to, yep, you guessed it, MELT!! THEY MELT!!!
There's also a subplot about a mean Vietnam Vet who rules the junkyard, but really it's all about the glorious gore, and again, it's not bloody gore as much as it's a sort of over the top Technicolor gore, with the hapless victims of the tainted malt liquor dissolving into greasy pools of rainbow hued goop, most notably one guy who sits on a toilet to drink in peace, and who begins to melt and drip and ooze and eventually becomes a mushy prismatic pool in (and around) the toilet bowl...
And really all the rest is just window dressing, you know, there's some story and a little plot and all that, but it's all about the melting, a grossout hobo holocaust that is like that head melting scene from Raiders Of The Lost Ark stretched out into a feature length film!
And like a lot of these films, we didn't necessarily remember the music, but revisiting now, we were pretty blown away. The score by Rick Ulfik is pretty cool, creepy and synthy, some tracks all weird echoey percussion, moody, haunting atmospheres, really cool stuff, but it was the eighties, so there's also plenty of goofy synthy drum machine dorkiness, and some geniusly cringeworthy, ultra cheesy sax driven groovers, what one aQ staffer described as 'trashjams', but to our ears sounds like the retro-futuristic schmaltzy VHS mall music of ex-Skater James Ferraro. One of those tracks is so good (bad?) that it gets lodged in our head like crazy, and we find ourselves not just digging it, but humming it to ourselves at odd times during the day, LONG after having actually listened to it.
But the bulk of the record is made up of grim, ominous creepscapes, the whole thing in fact reminiscent of another aQ fave soundtrack, The New York Ripper, a similarly weird mix of cheesy eighties funkiness and seriously scary soundtrackery, the difference here being that most of the sound FX are left in, we're guessing because no real masters exist, so perhaps this was all mastered direct from someone's original VHS copy, and it sounds like it, as it's sort of tinny, and lo-fi, but it suits the sounds, and the movie if you've seen it, perfectly. And that's also a part of the score's charm, that most of the cheesiest tracks are bookended by the anguished FX drenched howls of some hapless soul melting, screaming in anguish, those screams turning into wordless gurgles, and usually leading right into another long stretch of creepy, synthy ambience.
Then there's the final song, what we remember as the end credits track, a sort of bastardized version of Frank Sinatra's "My Way" kind of jam, with some of THEE most ridiculous and hilariously over the top lyrics EVER. In fact, we had forgotten about that track completely, and the first time it played in the store, had we all been drinking, it would have induced some seriously comedic spit takes, as it is, we were in stitches, lines like:
"Shut your face, you little scumbag", "You can stop the bullshit cuz this is the end", "Oh what's this?? I'm startin' to ooze! you little creep! What's this fuckin' shit??" and of course "Your face I'm gonna reshape - I'm gonna eat your fucking eyeballs like grapes", all delivered in a dramatic croon, one that becomes increasingly more unhinged as the track progresses, and as the singer presumably begins to melt himself!
So great! Easily one of our favorites in this recent spate of horror movie reissues (obviously, as it's our Record Of The Week). And the Lunaris label, the latest to throw their bloody hat in the horror movie vinyl reissue ring, did a great job, killer new artwork, extensive liner notes, the whole shebang. And like all the best soundtracks, it has us wanting to watch Street Trash again SO BAD!!
MPEG Stream: "Opening Sequence"
MPEG Stream: "Viper Theme"
MPEG Stream: "Paulie Melt"
MPEG Stream: "Mournful Theme"
MPEG Stream: "Flashback"
MPEG Stream: "Junkyard Hop"
MPEG Stream: "Wizzy Death"
MPEG Stream: "We Do Things My Way"

album cover GUM TAKES TOOTH Mirrors Fold (Tigertrap) cd 14.98
We made the first record from this awesomely monikered UK outfit, Silent Cenotaph, our Record Of The Week, way back in 2011, and at the time described them with some band math that looked a little like this: Shit And Shine + Butthole Surfers + Lightning Bolt. The sound was a dizzyingly psychedelic barrage of grinding, rhythmic, electronics doused in druggy tribal freakout, like a super charged This Heat, the drummers kit wired to a mad scientist array of machinery and noise making devices, turning the kit into some giant rhythmic noise machine, and enabling a duo to kick up a din that sounds like it couldn't possibly be made by just two people, and while that first record generally hewed toward a sound that was more chaotic and bombastic, this new one seems to be a bit more melodic and dare we say mellow, there's still plenty of sonic ferocity, and rhythmic bombast for sure, but it sounds more measured, more deftly assembled, maybe less 'punk', but only in the way that bands get better at what they do, and in theory, take what was great about their previous records, and add to it, creating something, even more forward reaching, and ultimately perhaps even better.
Such is the case with Mirrors Fold. We still do LOVE Silent Cenotaph, and it routinely gets play on the iPod even still, but this new one is more subtle, more textural, whereas that first one was the sort of music you wanted to rock out to, jump around and go crazy, this new one, manages to harness that feral energy into something much more focused. The opener begins all swirly and serene, with hushed ambient shimmer, chant-like vocals, be before long the drums explode, adding a churning rhythmic component, without detracting from the melodic component or the vocals, it's not really until a brief bit of hushed shimmer, a barely there ambient interlude, that the song truly launches into crazed sonic chaos, a dizzying blurry flurry of drum madness, a wild octopoidal tangle of tangled jumbled rhythms, that eventually give away to a skeletal bit of rhythmic drift, before one final push, where the drums, the vocals, and swirls of FX are all wound into a dense propulsive tribal spacey noise rock blowout. Phew!
And so it goes, the band laying down mesmerizing hypno-rhythms, while all around strange effects swoop in and out, extra percussion, echoey vox floating above, thick rumbling bass below, sitar like buzz slithers throughout, the sound and arrangement super dynamic, a bit proggy, certainly psychedelic, a sort mutant psych-prog, Afro-space groove. Some moments are like some outer space version of Afro-fuzz Swedes Goat, others sound like a super charged, space rock Necks, a few tracks get downright heavy, and sound like some tripped out psychedelic space outfit, a few tracks sound like a crazy demonic alter ego of This Heat, a few others remind us of the twisted afro-noise of William Bennett's Cut Hands, there are moments of Muslimgauze like Eastern rhythmatism, there are even moments that remind us of Animal Collective at their very weirdest, but really most of this just sounds Gum Takes Tooth, and absolutely nobody else, a totally twisted genius amalgam of all the above mentioned references, deftly shaped into something at once warped and weird, wild and experimental, but also totally hypnotic, and melodic, strangely lovely and in its own way, extremely catchy. A new favorite for sure. And a total shoe-in not just for Record Of The Week, but for our year end best of's too...
MPEG Stream: "Mirrors Fold"
MPEG Stream: "White Fear"
MPEG Stream: "The Perfect Surface"
MPEG Stream: "Treaty And Treasure"

album cover TAURUS No/Thing (Devout) cd 11.98
Most doom metal can be pretty easily classified, categorized or pigeonholed, whether it be stoner doom, funereal doom, sludge, epic doom, doom-folk, death-doom, psych-doom, dooooooooom or whatever other variant folks have cooked up. While plenty of bands do manage to transcend their classification, rare is the doomy beast that defies categorization all together, which is most definitely the case with Northwest duo Taurus, made up of Stevie Floyd (from psychedelic avant doom duo Dark Castle) and Ashley Spungin (of late great mystical metallic garage rockers Purple Rhinestone Eagle). Together they have conjured up a sound we could describe as impressionistic doom, or maybe abstract doom. Right from the outset, the various doomic elements, the usual sonic tropes are recast, filtered through the lives and experiences of these two woman, the result super dynamic, ultra heavy, extremely atmospheric, darkly ritualistic, hauntingly psychedelic, the opening track's main riff sounds like slo-mo Voivod played by Greg Ginn, all woozy and warbly, over churning drum pound, and laced with both deep witchy crooned vox, and more harsh vokills, all wound in a dizzying atonal sonic spiral that's harrowingly hypnotic and utterly mesmeric. But before that even happens, there's a gorgeously terrifying intro assembled from looped riffy churn, pounding percussive bombast, weird sample voices, and more howled shrieked vokills, a tense, and intense push and pull. The sound soon settles into something a bit more traditionally metallic, but only just, the vibe more like slowed down black metal than doom. It's like Deathspell Omega at 16rpm, barring the brief squalls of frenzied blackened freakout, but again, like that first track, the sound is warped and avant, even choice of notes, melody, rhythm, all seem obtuse and OTHER, which gives the whole record a sense of OTHERness, an outsider quality, that infuses even the most orthodox of moments with twisted pathos and deep emotion.
After those two relatively brief tracks, Taurus unfurl an epic psychedelic sprawl with "Set Forth On The Path Of The Infinite", setting the stage with swooping backwards melodies, simple ukulele (!) melody, reverbed samples, dense throbs of crumbling low end, a slow build bit of black ambience that sounds more like some lost arthouse soundtrack, and even when the drums come in, instead of exploding into a metallic onslaught, the track lopes and lumbers. And again, in swoop the guitars, and they're strange and alien, the melodies difficult, obtuse, accompanied by feral vocal howls, the song bursting into action in fits and starts, the sound ebbs and flows, eventually switching gears completely, with soaring angelic vox, over a backdrop of thick drum pound, and a slowly melting tangle of guitar keen and moan, before finishing off with another bit of haunting folkiness.
The tracks here are less riffscapes, and more a sort of ever shifting landscape of doom-ed sound, the riffs that do surface, are often indistinct, not so much riffs, as loose tangles of notes and chords that seem ghostly, and gauzy, occasionally indeed coalescing into proper riffage, but just as often drifting apart into something less distinct, more blurred and smeary, those sounds oozing and bleeding into each other, what in the hands of a more traditional doom outfit, would be more riffy and song-like all howl and pound, here becomes something ethereal and darkly psychedelic, abstract and ephemeral, and yeah, it's still heavy, but that heaviness is only loosely tethered, instead it's allowed to drift and dissipate, like on the other epic track here, "Increase Aloneness", which layers choral vocals over some roiling organ, a sort of blackened disembodied prog, by way of Arvo Part perhaps, here the build is slow, and distinctly non-metallic, samples only adding to the creepiness, to the twisted emotion, until finally, a MASSIVE riff comes cascading in, and the song is transformed into a churning, chugging behemoth, but that riff occasionally flickers and blinks out, leaving just Spungeon's double kick drum bombast, and that swirling psychedelic organ, building tension until the riff returns and so it goes, back and forth, light and shadow, love and hate, a tense/intense blackened majesty, an impossibly epic culmination of it's various constituent parts. The final track features Wrest from Leviathan adding vocals (he plays in a new group with Floyd called Devout), and we were expecting straight up some straight up black buzz brutality, but instead Wrest's croak drifts wraithlike atop a swirling morass of whirring organ, loose almost jazzy drumming, surrounded by dense billows of mysterious murk, and lush, decaying layers of drone and thrum, a sinister sprawl of grim psychedelic ambience, and textured cinematic moodiness, a Cold Meat Industry style sonic brood building to a bleak coda, suffocating and soul shearing, all by way of something infinitely more black and unknowable. No/Thing is harrowing and heavy, dense and demonic, but also spiritual and personal, intimate and introspective, and fucking fantastic.
We have both the lp version and the cd version, and for a very limited time, we also have just a tiny handful of the super limited, ultra deluxe BOXset version of No/Thing, which includes the colored vinyl version of of the lp, the cd version as well, a large silkscreened back patch / tapestry, a double sided lyric sheet / mandala, all housed in a hand screen printed, stained and shellacked wooden box, each one hand numbered and limited to 100 copies, and again, we only have a two or three...
MPEG Stream: "Nothing / Longing, Human Impermanence"
MPEG Stream: "Lives Long For Own"
MPEG Stream: "Set Forth On The Path Of The Intimate"

album cover TAURUS No/Thing (Devout) lp 14.98
Most doom metal can be pretty easily classified, categorized or pigeonholed, whether it be stoner doom, funereal doom, sludge, epic doom, doom-folk, death-doom, psych-doom, dooooooooom or whatever other variant folks have cooked up. While plenty of bands do manage to transcend their classification, rare is the doomy beast that defies categorization all together, which is most definitely the case with Northwest duo Taurus, made up of Stevie Floyd (from psychedelic avant doom duo Dark Castle) and Ashley Spungin (of late great mystical metallic garage rockers Purple Rhinestone Eagle). Together they have conjured up a sound we could describe as impressionistic doom, or maybe abstract doom. Right from the outset, the various doomic elements, the usual sonic tropes are recast, filtered through the lives and experiences of these two woman, the result super dynamic, ultra heavy, extremely atmospheric, darkly ritualistic, hauntingly psychedelic, the opening track's main riff sounds like slo-mo Voivod played by Greg Ginn, all woozy and warbly, over churning drum pound, and laced with both deep witchy crooned vox, and more harsh vokills, all wound in a dizzying atonal sonic spiral that's harrowingly hypnotic and utterly mesmeric. But before that even happens, there's a gorgeously terrifying intro assembled from looped riffy churn, pounding percussive bombast, weird sample voices, and more howled shrieked vokills, a tense, and intense push and pull. The sound soon settles into something a bit more traditionally metallic, but only just, the vibe more like slowed down black metal than doom. It's like Deathspell Omega at 16rpm, barring the brief squalls of frenzied blackened freakout, but again, like that first track, the sound is warped and avant, even choice of notes, melody, rhythm, all seem obtuse and OTHER, which gives the whole record a sense of OTHERness, an outsider quality, that infuses even the most orthodox of moments with twisted pathos and deep emotion.
After those two relatively brief tracks, Taurus unfurl an epic psychedelic sprawl with "Set Forth On The Path Of The Infinite", setting the stage with swooping backwards melodies, simple ukulele (!) melody, reverbed samples, dense throbs of crumbling low end, a slow build bit of black ambience that sounds more like some lost arthouse soundtrack, and even when the drums come in, instead of exploding into a metallic onslaught, the track lopes and lumbers. And again, in swoop the guitars, and they're strange and alien, the melodies difficult, obtuse, accompanied by feral vocal howls, the song bursting into action in fits and starts, the sound ebbs and flows, eventually switching gears completely, with soaring angelic vox, over a backdrop of thick drum pound, and a slowly melting tangle of guitar keen and moan, before finishing off with another bit of haunting folkiness.
The tracks here are less riffscapes, and more a sort of ever shifting landscape of doom-ed sound, the riffs that do surface, are often indistinct, not so much riffs, as loose tangles of notes and chords that seem ghostly, and gauzy, occasionally indeed coalescing into proper riffage, but just as often drifting apart into something less distinct, more blurred and smeary, those sounds oozing and bleeding into each other, what in the hands of a more traditional doom outfit, would be more riffy and song-like all howl and pound, here becomes something ethereal and darkly psychedelic, abstract and ephemeral, and yeah, it's still heavy, but that heaviness is only loosely tethered, instead it's allowed to drift and dissipate, like on the other epic track here, "Increase Aloneness", which layers choral vocals over some roiling organ, a sort of blackened disembodied prog, by way of Arvo Part perhaps, here the build is slow, and distinctly non-metallic, samples only adding to the creepiness, to the twisted emotion, until finally, a MASSIVE riff comes cascading in, and the song is transformed into a churning, chugging behemoth, but that riff occasionally flickers and blinks out, leaving just Spungeon's double kick drum bombast, and that swirling psychedelic organ, building tension until the riff returns and so it goes, back and forth, light and shadow, love and hate, a tense/intense blackened majesty, an impossibly epic culmination of it's various constituent parts. The final track features Wrest from Leviathan adding vocals (he plays in a new group with Floyd called Devout), and we were expecting straight up some straight up black buzz brutality, but instead Wrest's croak drifts wraithlike atop a swirling morass of whirring organ, loose almost jazzy drumming, surrounded by dense billows of mysterious murk, and lush, decaying layers of drone and thrum, a sinister sprawl of grim psychedelic ambience, and textured cinematic moodiness, a Cold Meat Industry style sonic brood building to a bleak coda, suffocating and soul shearing, all by way of something infinitely more black and unknowable. No/Thing is harrowing and heavy, dense and demonic, but also spiritual and personal, intimate and introspective, and fucking fantastic.
We have both the lp version and the cd version, and for a very limited time, we also have just a tiny handful of the super limited, ultra deluxe BOXset version of No/Thing, which includes the colored vinyl version of of the lp, the cd version as well, a large silkscreened back patch / tapestry, a double sided lyric sheet / mandala, all housed in a hand screen printed, stained and shellacked wooden box, each one hand numbered and limited to 100 copies, and again, we only have a two or three...
MPEG Stream: "Nothing / Longing, Human Impermanence"
MPEG Stream: "Lives Long FOr Own"
MPEG Stream: "Set Forth On The Path Of The Intimate"

album cover STREET TRASH (RICK ULFIK) OST (Lunaris ) cd 14.98
We LOVE Street Trash, one of the silliest, goriest, goofiest movies ever, and easily one of our favorite good 'bad' movies. The label describes the 1987 horror flick as the ultimate "melt movie", which is definitely true, although we never realized that was an actual genre. And for lots of you, that probably makes no sense at all. But it will. Street Trash begins when a liquor store owner finds an old case of 'Tenafly Viper' in his basement, some kind of cheap wine, and decides to sell it cheap. It's of course snapped up by the city's homeless population, who begin to, yep, you guessed it, MELT!! THEY MELT!!!
There's also a subplot about a mean Vietnam Vet who rules the junkyard, but really it's all about the glorious gore, and again, it's not bloody gore as much as it's a sort of over the top Technicolor gore, with the hapless victims of the tainted malt liquor dissolving into greasy pools of rainbow hued goop, most notably one guy who sits on a toilet to drink in peace, and who begins to melt and drip and ooze and eventually becomes a mushy prismatic pool in (and around) the toilet bowl...
And really all the rest is just window dressing, you know, there's some story and a little plot and all that, but it's all about the melting, a grossout hobo holocaust that is like that head melting scene from Raiders Of The Lost Ark stretched out into a feature length film!
And like a lot of these films, we didn't necessarily remember the music, but revisiting now, we were pretty blown away. The score by Rick Ulfik is pretty cool, creepy and synthy, some tracks all weird echoey percussion, moody, haunting atmospheres, really cool stuff, but it was the eighties, so there's also plenty of goofy synthy drum machine dorkiness, and some geniusly cringeworthy, ultra cheesy sax driven groovers, what one aQ staffer described as 'trashjams', but to our ears sounds like the retro-futuristic schmaltzy VHS mall music of ex-Skater James Ferraro. One of those tracks is so good (bad?) that it gets lodged in our head like crazy, and we find ourselves not just digging it, but humming it to ourselves at odd times during the day, LONG after having actually listened to it.
But the bulk of the record is made up of grim, ominous creepscapes, the whole thing in fact reminiscent of another aQ fave soundtrack, The New York Ripper, a similarly weird mix of cheesy eighties funkiness and seriously scary soundtrackery, the difference here being that most of the sound FX are left in, we're guessing because no real masters exist, so perhaps this was all mastered direct from someone's original VHS copy, and it sounds like it, as it's sort of tinny, and lo-fi, but it suits the sounds, and the movie if you've seen it, perfectly. And that's also a part of the score's charm, that most of the cheesiest tracks are bookended by the anguished FX drenched howls of some hapless soul melting, screaming in anguish, those screams turning into wordless gurgles, and usually leading right into another long stretch of creepy, synthy ambience.
Then there's the final song, what we remember as the end credits track, a sort of bastardized version of Frank Sinatra's "My Way" kind of jam, with some of THEE most ridiculous and hilariously over the top lyrics EVER. In fact, we had forgotten about that track completely, and the first time it played in the store, had we all been drinking, it would have induced some seriously comedic spit takes, as it is, we were in stitches, lines like:
"Shut your face, you little scumbag", "You can stop the bullshit cuz this is the end", "Oh what's this?? I'm startin' to ooze! you little creep! What's this fuckin' shit??" and of course "Your face I'm gonna reshape - I'm gonna eat your fucking eyeballs like grapes", all delivered in a dramatic croon, one that becomes increasingly more unhinged as the track progresses, and as the singer presumably begins to melt himself!
So great! Easily one of our favorites in this recent spate of horror movie reissues (obviously, as it's our Record Of The Week). And the Lunaris label, the latest to throw their bloody hat in the horror movie vinyl reissue ring, did a great job, killer new artwork, extensive liner notes, the whole shebang. And like all the best soundtracks, it has us wanting to watch Street Trash again SO BAD!!
MPEG Stream: "Opening Sequence"
MPEG Stream: "Viper Theme"
MPEG Stream: "Paulie Melt"
MPEG Stream: "Mournful Theme"
MPEG Stream: "Flashback"
MPEG Stream: "Junkyard Hop"
MPEG Stream: "Wizzy Death"
MPEG Stream: "We Do Things My Way"

album cover KING GIZZARD & THE LIZARD WIZARD Float Along Fill Your Lungs / Oddments (Flightless) 2cd 17.98
Um, ok, either you're reading this review BECAUSE the band is named King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, or you were just about to stop reading it 'cause the band is named King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard. If the latter is the case, please stick with it, they're actually a better band than their name might suggest (we're making this a Record Of The Week after all!!). Or, if you do think the name is cool, then they ARE as good of a band as you're hoping for. But maybe not the sort of band you'd think they'd be. It's actually kind of hard to pin down exactly what kind of band Australia's King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard are, anyway. Kind of cosmic garage psych pop?
The first disc here, Float Along - Fill Your Lungs (originally released on its own last year in their home country) starts off stonery enough with a fifteen minute spaced out extravaganza called "Head On/Pill", truly a trippy psychedelic swirl, a mind-altering mix of lilting melodies, gentle vocals, and driving motorik rhythms, with loads and loads of FX, all sorts of fuzz and distortion. It's spacey and sunshiney and somehow like a much more garage-poppy Hawkwind or Acid Mothers Temple track. Had us sold right there. But this 7-piece ensemble aren't just about the extended space rock (pop). Most of rest of the songs on Float Along are much shorter, taking elements of that first track, or not, and going to other delightful garage-pop places, variously strummy and twangy and foot-tapping and head-nodding, fuzzy and shambolic, before winding the disc up with another long, tripped out (but mellower) jam in the form of the Eastern-tinged, drone-laced title track.
THEN, there's the 2nd disc, also released separately this year Down Under, the aptly titled Oddments, which is even more varied than the 1st disc. This one starts with a Bollywood-sampling instrumental that makes us think of ol' Money Mark and the Beastie Boys, super groovy and kinda chaotic, fuzzy "hairy funk", with lots of organ and synth sizzle. The psych-groove continues on the next, vocal track, bringing in visions of early Funkadelic and Shuggie Otis. But then, as the disc spins, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard (love typing that name out!) get back into the ramshackle '60s teen garage pop inspired songwriting that also made up the bulk of the first disc, with a dash of distorted Ariel Pink-ish dementia. The wispy vocals of "Work This Time" make us think of Vincent Gallo's solo album When, "Hot Wax" is a weird, catchy jam incorporating some "Surfing Safari" quotes, "Homeless Man In Adidas" (!) is a hushed acoustic folk number... you see, all over the place. Oddments indeed.
Overall, soundwise, King Gizzard align themselves with the Ty Segall / Thee Oh Sees type of crowd, and so it's no surprise then that they're gonna be over here in the States in October touring with White Fence. Hope we get to see that. Seems like they'd be a blast live. But King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard's style of "garage rock" is waaaay more cosmic and psychedelic and randomly bizarre than a lot of their US contemporaries, that's for sure. We'll be indulging ourselves heavily in both these records for a while yet, trying to fully get our heads around 'em. Nice, nice, nice.
MPEG Stream: "Head On/Pill"
MPEG Stream: "Mystery Jack"
MPEG Stream: "Pop In My Step"
MPEG Stream: "Alluda Majaka"
MPEG Stream: "Vegemite"

album cover KING GIZZARD & THE LIZARD WIZARD Float Along Fill Your Lungs / Oddments (Flightless) 2lp 24.00
Um, ok, either you're reading this review BECAUSE the band is named King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, or you were just about to stop reading it 'cause the band is named King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard. If the latter is the case, please stick with it, they're actually a better band than their name might suggest (we're making this a Record Of The Week after all!!). Or, if you do think the name is cool, then they ARE as good of a band as you're hoping for. But maybe not the sort of band you'd think they'd be. It's actually kind of hard to pin down exactly what kind of band Australia's King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard are, anyway. Kind of cosmic garage psych pop?
The first disc here, Float Along - Fill Your Lungs (originally released on its own last year in their home country) starts off stonery enough with a fifteen minute spaced out extravaganza called "Head On/Pill", truly a trippy psychedelic swirl, a mind-altering mix of lilting melodies, gentle vocals, and driving motorik rhythms, with loads and loads of FX, all sorts of fuzz and distortion. It's spacey and sunshiney and somehow like a much more garage-poppy Hawkwind or Acid Mothers Temple track. Had us sold right there. But this 7-piece ensemble aren't just about the extended space rock (pop). Most of rest of the songs on Float Along are much shorter, taking elements of that first track, or not, and going to other delightful garage-pop places, variously strummy and twangy and foot-tapping and head-nodding, fuzzy and shambolic, before winding the disc up with another long, tripped out (but mellower) jam in the form of the Eastern-tinged, drone-laced title track.
THEN, there's the 2nd disc, also released separately this year Down Under, the aptly titled Oddments, which is even more varied than the 1st disc. This one starts with a Bollywood-sampling instrumental that makes us think of ol' Money Mark and the Beastie Boys, super groovy and kinda chaotic, fuzzy "hairy funk", with lots of organ and synth sizzle. The psych-groove continues on the next, vocal track, bringing in visions of early Funkadelic and Shuggie Otis. But then, as the disc spins, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard (love typing that name out!) get back into the ramshackle '60s teen garage pop inspired songwriting that also made up the bulk of the first disc, with a dash of distorted Ariel Pink-ish dementia. The wispy vocals of "Work This Time" make us think of Vincent Gallo's solo album When, "Hot Wax" is a weird, catchy jam incorporating some "Surfing Safari" quotes, "Homeless Man In Adidas" (!) is a hushed acoustic folk number... you see, all over the place. Oddments indeed.
Overall, soundwise, King Gizzard align themselves with the Ty Segall / Thee Oh Sees type of crowd, and so it's no surprise then that they're gonna be over here in the States in October touring with White Fence. Hope we get to see that. Seems like they'd be a blast live. But King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard's style of "garage rock" is waaaay more cosmic and psychedelic and randomly bizarre than a lot of their US contemporaries, that's for sure. We'll be indulging ourselves heavily in both these records for a while yet, trying to fully get our heads around 'em. Nice, nice, nice.
MPEG Stream: "Head On/Pill"
MPEG Stream: "Mystery Jack"
MPEG Stream: "Pop In My Step"
MPEG Stream: "Alluda Majaka"
MPEG Stream: "Vegemite"

album cover CRIME Murder By Guitar (Superior Viaduct) lp 19.98
Now finally, also reissued on vinyl! Thanks to local label Superior Viaduct. When we got the cd version of this on Kitten Charmer late last year, we didn't happen to make it a Record Of The Week, but probably should have. We certainly sold enough of 'em for it to have been the Record Of The Week by default. So, now that it's on vinyl, let's make it official! (Oh, and the cd version is now gone it seems.)
The first proper, non-bootleg reissue of classic material from this seminal SF punk group came in the form of a demos collection released on John Reis from Rocket From The Crypt's Swami label, and in that review, we offered this concise description of Crime: "Crime proclaimed themselves to be San Francisco's 'First and Only Rock and Roll Band'. That hyperbole of course ain't quite true but indicates the level of punk attitude you're in for. Hard rocking, fast, and snotty, Crime were violent and stylish - they kicked out the jams in SFPD uniforms and shades! This definitely belongs on the same shelf with your Iggy & the Stooges and Dead Boys discs╔"
And now finally this long in the works, OFFICIAL singles collection sees the light of day, now on vinyl too, gathering up the groups iconic first three (and only) singles, along with what is essentially a whole record of previously unreleased studio tracks! Up first is there debut single, "Hot Wire My Heart", which was famously covered by Sonic Youth, and listening to the original, it's easy to hear why SY were drawn to it, with its droned out melodies, killer hook, and noisy guitars (especially for the time), in fact, it actually kind of sounds a little Sonic Youthy in its original form, which is pretty remarkable. The flipside "Baby You're So Repulsive" is all swaggery knuckle dragging snarl, and like the A side is surprisingly noisy and is definitely prescient, knowingly or not, of what would follow. There's some strange stuttery lurches too, which make this just slightly damaged, and a fucking killer jam that sounds as good now as it did 35 years ago!! "Terminal Boredom" is a furious blast of nihilistic punk rock, laced with plenty of poppiness, a killer main guitar melody, and some mush mouth vocals, that perfectly capture the titular mood. The flipside of that single starts out loose and sloppy, and practically falls apart, before they launch into "Dillinger's Brain", which manages to sound nearly as loose and sloppy, somehow without actually falling apart!
"Frustration" is up next, and the group inject some power poppiness into the aggro punk stomp, with a super catchy main riff, as well as more kick ass guitar melodies (sort-of leads?), before they finish off the singles proper with the B side that gives this collection its name, a Black Flag sounding doomy dirge (SF's doomed for sure), all churning creep, before things crumble into chaos halfway through, only to explode into some serious almost surf punk sounding crunch, that quickly devolves into some snarly, sonic swagger.
And if that weren't enough, there's NINE extra tracks, most of which sound like classic Crime, except maybe for the weird electronics flecked "Gangster Funk", but stick around for the crushing alternate version of Crime's classic "San Francisco's Doomed"!
MPEG Stream: "Hot Wire My Hearrt"
MPEG Stream: "Baby You're So Repulsive"
MPEG Stream: "Terminal Boredom"
MPEG Stream: "Murder By Guitar"

album cover PALLBEARER Foundations Of Burden (Profound Lore) cd 13.98
Soaring, heartbreaking, really heavy and *gasp* REALLY CATCHY. The treacherous "difficult second album" from Arkansas' epic doom dealers Pallbearer is one of those records that you kind of wish every doom album sounded like, yet so few seem to pull it off. A heavy metal record absolutely unashamed to wear its heart on its sleeve and to embrace shimmering melodic bliss, Foundations Of Burden joins such classics as Solstice's New Dark Age, While Heaven Wept's Of Empires Forlorn and Warning's Watching From A Distance as a towering testament to how beautiful, cathartic, honest and human doom metal can really be. (Although we're guessing this is the only one on that list that debuted in the Billboard Top 100 - Wha???). All pretenses are stripped away. There's no concern here with sounding evil, occult or clinically suicidal. Instead this is gut wrenching, soul baring stuff. As a band Pallbearer have improved immensely since their already highly acclaimed debut Sorrow And Extinction, and no element more so than Brett Campbell's vocals. While before they took a bit of a backseat to the immense riffery, here the vocals are much more in focus, no longer buried in the sludge, sounding like some shadow cast hybrid of Ozzy, Trouble's Eric Wagner and Patrick Walker from the aforementioned, much missed and deeply mourned Warning/40 Watt Sun. The balance of weariness and drama he's able to convey really elevates Pallbearer's songs, imbuing them with a sort of classic theatrical tragedy. The production on the record (courtesy of Billy Anderson) is also perfectly enormous. There seems to be space everywhere, but also a real warmth and cohesion between the instruments - overwhelming, crushing, but strangely comforting. And as for that catchiness we mentioned earlier╔ These songs have some serious hooks, and for 10+ minute songs that move approximately apace of a huge and heavily sedated prehistoric snail, that's no small feat. But there's a real ear for songwriting and harmony here, that manages never to sacrifice the heaviness or punishing plod of the music. And while heaviness, heartbreak and humongous riffs are all well and good, the album's true highlight might come in the form of the penultimate "Ashes" - clocking in at only three minutes and consisting mostly of electric piano and vocals, it sounds like it would be more at home on a Mogwai record. It's easily the album's least heavy and most sparse moment, but it's also the most devastating and beautiful, and a perfect offset to the slow motion crushing gravity of the rest of the album. Doom album of the year contender. Metal album of the year contender. Let's just say album of the year contender and leave it at that.
FYI, the vinyl double lp version pretty much sold out already, but is being repressed...
MPEG Stream: "Worlds Apart"
MPEG Stream: "The Ghost I Used To be"
MPEG Stream: "Ashes"

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

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

album cover KHUN NARIN ELECTRIC PHIN BAND s/t (Innovative Leisure) lp 16.98
It all started with a video on YouTube. Odds are one of your music nerd friends sent it to you already, or maybe you WERE one of those music nerds, sending it to everyone you know. Check it out:
http://youtu.be/IYGl-l0Toig?list=FLCuwmGlbaOAStwXMiPVY5Kw
A mysterious video with very little in the way of description, but really, it hardly needed a description, the sound was incredible, a wild, percussive, effusive, droning psychedelia, like a Thai version of Konono No.1, all buzzing distorted melodies, hypnotic rhythms, we, like many of you, must have watched that video a hundred times. And the visuals too, a group of musicians, relaxing in plastic chairs, in a town square, all in matching red vests, presumably from their jobs as taxi drivers, the sound pumped out through a wheeled, home built PA, all manner of instruments, double necked guitar style lutes, hand cymbals, drums, percussion, while all around them, people mill about, seemingly oblivious, to the psychedelic genius going on right before their strangely averted eyes!
Well somehow, some fella got in touch with the band in the video, and organized a proper recording for the group, which we discovered was in fact, Khun Narin Phin Sing, or Khun Narin's Electric Phin Band, the name taken from the group's use of an electrified, double necked version of a traditional Thai instrument, the lute-like phin. As for the folks in the video that seem to be ignoring the music and the musicians, apparently this sort of music is pretty commonplace in Thailand, even former aQ staffer Byram, who lived there for the last few years, told us he'd wander past bands like this playing all over, all the time, but for the rest of us, this stuff is a revelation, and Khun Narin Phin Sing crazy new Thai psych rock stars that we're totally obsessed with.
The record itself was recorded in a way to as closely as possible replicate the YouTube video, no fancy studios, no expensive mics and multi-track recorders, no overdubs, instead, the band set up in a field right outside their town, in the mountains on Thailand's Northern border, and the music was captured field recording style, live, one take, the group made up of multiple generations, from kids in high school, to men in their '60s, the band running their instruments through chains of guitar pedals, using home built instruments and amplifiers, and of course that custom PA system, a visually and sonically striking behemoth made of 8 loudspeaker horns mounted atop a huge bass cabinet, with wheels of course, and the group just let loose, unfurling a glorious sprawl of droning, buzzy, heady, hypnotic Thai psychedelia, spidery distorted guitar melodies over motorik rhythms, minimal percussion, loping sinewy basslines, the sounds growing more urgent and frenzied, the wild phin shredding drifting atop a roiling bed of constantly swirling and shimmering buzz and thrum, gloriously mesmerizing, and totally transcendent, so utterly amazing, and absolutely recommended to anyone into weird and wonderful sounds, but especially fans of Sublime Frequencies style desert psych, who will be in heaven!!
Vinyl version comes with a download card, btw.
MPEG Stream: "Lam Phu Thai"
MPEG Stream: "Lai Sing"
MPEG Stream: "Show Wong Khun Narin"

album cover JERUSALEM s/t (Rockadrome / Lion) lp 23.00
AFTER A TWO YEAR ABSENCE, FINALLY REPRESSED!!
This asskicking, best selling proto metal aQ favorite now gets its long overdue VINYL reissue! In a fancy gatefold jacket to boot. Here's what we said when we made the cd version a Record Of The Week a couple years back:
Here's one of those albums that we KNEW we'd make Record Of The Week - IF ever it was reissued. And now it has been! Here's a fully legit reish of this cult '70s hard rock rarity, a record by one of those bands who seem simultaneously to be both testosterone-tanked young men and wizened ol' wise wizards. Yeah, a Record Of The Week easy, on account of it not only being an old fave of some of us here, but something that immediately caught on with the AQ staffers who hadn't heard it before, this reissue getting played in the store quite steadily (and loudly!) since it arrived. Let's listen in, as Jerusalem's vocalist belts it out, in an emotive yowl a bit like Robert Plant but with Ozzy Osbourne's paranoid feelings: "Hey girl, will you never learn? Who d'you think you're fooling with your lyin' and your cryin'? You'll only be happy the day you see me dyin'!" But then, in more of a normal speaking voice, we get the casual aside: "Oh yeah, that's the way it happens sometimes. Ha."
Right on, brilliant. That's from "Frustration", the first of nine fantastic tracks on the one and only album by this English band, recorded in 1971, released in '72 on Deram/Decca, produced by Deep Purple's Ian Gillan. Why Jerusalem didn't get big is a mystery, though the liner notes give some clues as to why they disbanded. Heck they're even fairly unknown (or a well-kept secret) among connoisseurs of '70s heavy psych and hard rock, with this being its first ever official, non-bootleg reissue on compact disc. Now, there's lots of great obscure heavy rock rarities from the early '70s. We've raved about reissues of many of them (Dust, Leaf Hound, Toad, Bang, T2, etc.). But as far as unheralded proto-metal goes, this belongs pretty much at the top of that longhaired, bellbottomed heap, as essential as any of 'em anyway. Pentagram, Bedemon, Blues Creation, Budgie, Night Sun, you name it.
Allan here first heard Jerusalem a few years back when a friend who shares his taste for proto-metal passed along a cd-r copy of this otherwise unavailable album (thanks, Glenn!). Killer stuff indeed, damn it was good. One of the heaviest things from the era he'd ever heard, Jerusalem took it to an extreme that most of their peers didn't approach. With elements of both biggies Sabbath and Zeppelin, but more frenzied and frantic on one hand, more plodding and suicidal on the other.
Crashing, fuzzed out guitars. Energetic hectic riffage. Doomy, thudding blues. Wicked stinging, sliding soloing. Punkish attitude (competitive with contemporaries Crushed Butler). The vocals often hoarse, on the verge of screaming, or gone over that edge. Yeah, pretty heavy for '72! This is rough, raw, proto headbanging mania mixed with mystical, melodic proggy interludes, of course we love it. Plus it's got a genuine dark, occult, despairing vibe, with poetic lyrics about madness, murder and death... And you can't get much more "downer rock genocidal" sounding than the truly, uh, primitive bludgeon what might be the heaviest track here, "Primitive Man".
Pretty darn metal when it comes down to it, forget the "proto". In their own way though, Jerusalem sounding halfway betwixt '60s garage rock and '80s New Wave Of British Heavy Metal... which on balance puts them a bit ahead of their time. In fact, since what's old is new again, this actually sounds like if could have been made now, not because it sounds modern (it doesn't) but because it's so line with certain stonery retro-stylings popular today, particularly in Sweden. In other words, if you like Witchcraft, you'll love Jerusalem!! We always thought that of all the obscure '70s bands that are their forebears, Witchcraft sound most like Jerusalem (well, next to Pentagram). Remember what we said in all caps about Witchcraft's debut? "PERHAPS THEE BEST '70s INSPIRED DOOM ALBUM EVER!" Well the same would go for this, except that it's the real deal, which makes it even better.
Anyway, to return to our story, after Allan got that cd-r dub, he knew he had to find a proper cd. There HAD to be one, this was too good not to have been reissued, right? But, after looking and looking, no luck. Then, one day, Allan came to work at Aquarius and lo and behold what did he hear, but Jerusalem blaring from the store stereo! No, it wasn't this reissue. This was still a few years ago. Turns out, Andee had found a used copy of a bootleg cd someplace, and had bought it simply 'cause he thought the cover looked cool (he's like that), without knowing anything about the band. Life is so unfair, thought Allan. But he was able to eventually guilt Andee into giving him the cd for a birthday present (thanks, Andee! You can have that one back now). Later on, we discovered a Japanese reissue that may or may not have been a boot but in any event was way too expensive and hard to get, nothing we could easily stock and sell for a reasonable price. But NOW, we happily are able to share Jerusalem with you thanks to this nicely done reissue on the Rockadrome label's Vintage imprint! Yeah!
MPEG Stream: "Hooded Eagle"
MPEG Stream: "When The Wolf Sits"
MPEG Stream: "Primitive Man"

album cover GUN CLUB, THE Fire of Love (Munster) lp 21.00
We made the Superior Viaduct cd reissue of The Gun Club's Fire Of Love one our Records Of The Week last time, and now have the 2014 repress of the Munster lp reissue too! Here is what we said about the cd:
Death, drugs, sex, voodoo, evil blues, macabre horror and a sublimely detached southern gothic sensibility pervade the music of The Gun Club who sat somewhere between the margins of the "death rock" and "cowpunk" or "gothabilly" genres of the LA punk scene of the late seventies and early eighties without fitting neatly into either.
The commanding vocal prowess of Jeffrey Lee Pierce leads the band's scorched delta blues, a darkened mixture of Johnny Cash, Charley Patton and Elvis recycled through a furious yowling intensity. The band rotated line-ups often and has featured throughout their existence key players of the LA punk scene such as Kid Congo Powers (The Cramps, The Bad Seeds), Patricia Morrison (Sisters of Mercy, The Damned, The Bags) and Terry Graham and Rob Ritter (The Bags). While the band had a run of great albums, Fire of Love is largely regarded as their most influential, containing an impressive string of punk hits: "Sex Beat", She's Like Heroin To Me", "Fire Spirit" "For The Love of Ivy", "Ghost on The Highway", and "Jack On Fire", many of them produced by Chris D. of The Flesh Eaters.
Such a great album and without it bands like The White Stripes and The Black Keys simply wouldn't exist.
MPEG Stream: "Sex Beat"
MPEG Stream: "For The Love of Ivy"
MPEG Stream: "She's Like Heroin To Me"

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

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

album cover CLEAN, THE Anthology (Merge) 4lp 44.00
This past Record Of The Week finally available on VINYL, and a fancy quadruple lp boxset at that!!!
The history of the legendary New Zealand indie label Flying Nun quite literally begins with The Clean. Impressed by a slew of The Clean's live performances in their home town of Dunedin, New Zealand back in 1980, Roger Shepherd began Flying Nun, simply in order to release the band's first single "Tally Ho." That song, an upbeat but simple post-punk number that crashed together jangling guitars and persistent organ melodies, surprised everybody with a considerable amount of commercial success in New Zealand, and became one of many songs by The Clean that found enthusiastic audiences in the US during the college rock days of the '80s, offering a quirky, exotic alternative to staples like REM, the Replacements, Robyn Hitchcock, and Elvis Costello.
Formed in 1978 by the Kilgour brothers David and Hamish, The Clean never stooped to the depths of the Gallagher brother's public fisticuffs; but the band - which flushed out its membership with Robert Scott and (in the early days) Peter Gutteridge - spent more time broken up than together. Yet, their eternally catchy pop songs became the blueprint for almost all of the other Flying Nun bands (in part due to the numerous Clean related projects on Flying Nun, including The Bats, The Great Unwashed, Bailter Space, Snapper, Stephen, and others). The Clean's self-explanatory "Anthology" runs through their numerous albums, offering a good chunk of their fantastic early work (the aforementioned "Tally Ho," the "Boodle Boodle Boodle" ep, the "Great Sounds..." ep, and a couple of oddities) all in one epic collection. Edgy yet unswervingly optimistic, these songs were sloppy four-track recordings of monomaniacally simple rhythms, cacophonously jangly guitar melodies, and happy-go-lucky vocals. Also included are excerpts from the '90s albums "Vehicle," "Modern Rock," and "Unknown Country," which marked a considerable polishing of The Clean's sound, in part because they recorded that material in well established studios like Blackwing studios in London, but also the songs, while still simple in their own right, became slightly more restrained.
Highly recommended!
RealAudio clip: "At The Bottom"
RealAudio clip: "Tally Ho"
RealAudio clip: "Point That Thing Somewhere Else"

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

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

album cover FLESH EATERS A Minute To Pray, A Second To Die (Superior Viaduct) cd 15.98
Superior Viaduct does it again, bringing us much needed reissues of not only one but two classic LA underground records from 1981: The Flesh Eaters' amazing A Minute To Pray, A Second To Die, and The Gun Club's incredible debut, Fire of Love. We're gonna (gotta!) make 'em both Records Of The Week!
Death, drugs, sex, voodoo, evil blues, macabre horror and a sublimely detached southern gothic sensibility pervades the sound of these two bands who sat somewhere between the margins of the "death rock" and "cowpunk" or "gothabilly" genres in the LA punk scene of the late seventies and early eighties without fitting neatly into either.
Chris Desjardins, or Chris D., was the central force behind The Flesh Eaters as well as producer for The Gun Club, and other bands of the era such as Tex and The Horseheads (featuring his then girlfriend Texicala Jones) and his later band, The Divine Horsemen. Once a writer for the popular underground fanzine Slash, Chris D assembled The Flesh Eaters from many bands of the scene, such as The Blasters, Wall of Voodoo, Los Lobos, and X, and indeed no Flesh Eaters record had quite the same line-up. Their second release, A Minute to Pray, A Second to Die remains the band's most critically regarded effort and it's easy to see why. Featuring John Doe and DJ Bonebrake from X on bass and marimbas respectively, Dave Alvin and Bill Bateman from The Blasters on guitar and drums and Steve Berlin from Los Lobos on sax, the band's swampy but driving voodoo rhythms marked most notably by the unusual use of marimbas and saxophone and Chris D's horror-spun lyricism and guttural vocals put them in a similar scene as bands like 45 Grave and The Cramps, but with a fiercer edge and far less campy aesthetic. Instead, A Minute to Pray, A Second to Die is like a dark spaghetti western full of werewolf marauders, evil curses, night fevers, grave-digging and a rollicking hell-bent fury. Essential listening for fans of The Birthday Party, Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, and any of the bands mentioned above.
MPEG Stream: "Digging My Grave"
MPEG Stream: "Divine Horseman"
MPEG Stream: "River of Fever"
MPEG Stream: "Satan's Stomp"

album cover FLESH EATERS A Minute To Pray, A Second To Die (Superior Viaduct) lp 17.98
Superior Viaduct does it again, bringing us much needed reissues of not only one but two classic LA underground records from 1981: The Flesh Eaters' amazing A Minute To Pray, A Second To Die, and The Gun Club's incredible debut, Fire of Love. We're gonna (gotta!) make 'em both Records Of The Week!
Death, drugs, sex, voodoo, evil blues, macabre horror and a sublimely detached southern gothic sensibility pervades the sound of these two bands who sat somewhere between the margins of the "death rock" and "cowpunk" or "gothabilly" genres in the LA punk scene of the late seventies and early eighties without fitting neatly into either.
Chris Desjardins, or Chris D., was the central force behind The Flesh Eaters as well as producer for The Gun Club, and other bands of the era such as Tex and The Horseheads (featuring his then girlfriend Texicala Jones) and his later band, The Divine Horsemen. Once a writer for the popular underground fanzine Slash, Chris D assembled The Flesh Eaters from many bands of the scene, such as The Blasters, Wall of Voodoo, Los Lobos, and X, and indeed no Flesh Eaters record had quite the same line-up. Their second release, A Minute to Pray, A Second to Die remains the band's most critically regarded effort and it's easy to see why. Featuring John Doe and DJ Bonebrake from X on bass and marimbas respectively, Dave Alvin and Bill Bateman from The Blasters on guitar and drums and Steve Berlin from Los Lobos on sax, the band's swampy but driving voodoo rhythms marked most notably by the unusual use of marimbas and saxophone and Chris D's horror-spun lyricism and guttural vocals put them in a similar scene as bands like 45 Grave and The Cramps, but with a fiercer edge and far less campy aesthetic. Instead, A Minute to Pray, A Second to Die is like a dark spaghetti western full of werewolf marauders, evil curses, night fevers, grave-digging and a rollicking hell-bent fury. Essential listening for fans of The Birthday Party, Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, and any of the bands mentioned above.
MPEG Stream: "Digging My Grave"
MPEG Stream: "Divine Horseman"
MPEG Stream: "River of Fever"
MPEG Stream: "Satan's Stomp"

album cover GUN CLUB, THE Fire Of Love (Superior Viaduct) cd 15.98
Superior Viaduct does it again, bringing us much needed reissues of not only one but two classic LA underground records from 1981: The Flesh Eaters' amazing A Minute To Pray, A Second To Die, and The Gun Club's incredible debut, Fire of Love. We're gonna (gotta!) make 'em both Records Of The Week!
Death, drugs, sex, voodoo, evil blues, macabre horror and a sublimely detached southern gothic sensibility pervade the music of these two bands who sat somewhere between the margins of the "death rock" and "cowpunk" or "gothabilly" genres of the LA punk scene of the late seventies and early eighties without fitting neatly into either.
The commanding vocal prowess of Jeffrey Lee Pierce leads the scorched delta blues of The Gun Club, a darkened mixture of Johnny Cash, Charley Patton and Elvis recycled through a furious yowling intensity. The band rotated line-ups often and has featured throughout their existence key players of the LA punk scene such as Kid Congo Powers (The Cramps, The Bad Seeds), Patricia Morrison (Sisters of Mercy, The Damned, The Bags) and Terry Graham and Rob Ritter (The Bags). While the band had a run of great albums, Fire of Love is largely regarded as their most influential, containing an impressive string of punk hits: "Sex Beat", She's Like Heroin To Me", "Fire Spirit" "For The Love of Ivy", "Ghost on The Highway", and "Jack On Fire", many of them produced by Chris D. of The Flesh Eaters.
Such a great album and without it bands like The White Stripes and The Black Keys simply wouldn't exist.
Note: Unlike The Flesh Eaters, Superior Viaduct didn't do a vinyl version of this reissue - but it turns out there was a vinyl reish on Spain's Munster records a few years back that has been recently repressed, so we'll probably get copies in sometime soon...
MPEG Stream: "Sex Beat"
MPEG Stream: "For The Love of Ivy"
MPEG Stream: "She's Like Heroin To Me"

album cover THOMAS EDISUN'S ELECTRIC LIGHT BULB BAND The Red Day Album (Guerssen) lp+7" 32.00
THIS RECENT RECORD OF THE WEEK, NOW OUT ON VINYL TOO! Here's what we said about the cd version on Gear Fab just a few months ago...
Holy moly, this is quite a discovery. A hitherto unknown album of wonderful Sgt. Peppery (flower) power pop, that ought to make fans of the Beatles, early Bee Gees, The Kinks, Big Star and so forth very, very happy indeed.
We admit were a bit skeptical when we first heard about it, 'cause there's so many reissues and whatnot these days that claim to be lost classics, but as soon as we put this on we were hooked! And more amazingly, while we'd certainly consider this a lost classic, it isn't even technically a reissue. Except for two songs here that appeared on a 7" single, this material was never actually released to the public, until now! Recorded in 1967, yes, but the tapes languished forgotten all these years, which is hard for us to understand - how could this gem stay unknown for 46 years?! These songs are so great! As always, makes you wonder what else is out there... And, at first, it also made us wonder if this was even really a group from the sixties - we suspected it could be a more modern-day band (a really good one!) emulating the sounds of yesteryear, a la The Dukes Of Stratosphear, The High Llamas, or Jellyfish. Especially since the production job, while vintage-sounding, is also so top notch (even though the liner notes tell us the whole thing was recorded and mixed in merely a weekend). Heck, a modern band trying to put one over could have added the analog tape hiss. But no, our skeptical conspiracy theories are all wrong, we have it from trusted sources that this is indeed for real, from 1967, the work of a bunch of talented, Anglophilic youngsters from Louisiana. But the vocals here are often (but not always) delivered in a lilting faux English accent, a common practice amongst the paisley-clad syke popsters of the day, wherever they were from, wanting to sound like they too were a part of the British Invasion. So, definitely Beatles-esque; as with Peru's We All Together, there's quite a few tunes here, like "Marigold", that sound like they were written by Paul McCartney - and the band name is an obvious homage to a certain Sgt.'s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Though this is sometimes more White Album than Sgt. Pepper's, really, the band even pushing into edgier sounds like the rather manic "Have You Been To The Light" - that's a weird one, and great. "Hope" is another of the album's harder, garage rockin' tunes.
But so much of this just delightfully sunshiney stuff, sometimes quite melancholic too. There's super melodic, energetic toe tappers and dreamy blissouts both, stuff that will get stuck in your head immediately, sounding so lovely and familiar right from the get go. There's the gentle, hushed intimacy of "Merlin", the lively, layered "Alexander Graham Bell", the heartfelt grandeur of the ELO-ish "Walk Out With Your Heart", the sweet & mellow soft pop of "Common Attitude" (which reminds us of Curt Boettcher's Millennium), and so many, many more highlights, that we can't possibly detail them all (and deciding which ones to make sound samples of was tough!). Oh, and the album's final track, a brief "outro" of druggy, tape-manipulated studio trickery, is titled "Dream Me Up Snotty"!!!
So, grab this and get in on the ground floor with the first ever release of an unheard, utterly obscure '60s artifact that ought to be way up there in the psych power pop pantheon!!
This new vinyl version is an improvement over the cd with better cover art and graphic design (and has a blurb from AQ on the cover sticker too!). It comes with an insert with photos and detailed liner notes by Jeremy Cargill (Ugly Things/Got Kinda Lost). And the two songs from the cd that were previously released on that 7", are included here on a separate 7", a repro of the rare original single. Nice!
MPEG Stream: "Red Day"
MPEG Stream: "Have You Been To The Light"
MPEG Stream: "No One's Been Here For Weeks"
MPEG Stream: "Walk Out With Your Heart"

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

album cover FOSSIL AEROSOL MINING PROJECT 17 Years In Ektachrome (Hand-Held Recordings) cd 14.98
We first heard of the Fossil Aerosol Mining Project on :zoviet*france:'s fantastic podcast A Duck In Tree, and we were certainly baffled to discover that this enigmatic project from the outskirts of Chicago has been in existence since the early '80s. A cassette here or there might have materialized throughout the years, but it seems that the bulk of the output was just secreted away until some of this stuff started showing up on their website, revealing a dreamy, narcotic ethos of post-industrial tape-loopery. Think Phillip Jeck. Think Terry Riley. And most of all, think :zoviet*france:! The etymology behind the name Fossil Aerosol Mining Project harkens to the act of rummaging through abandoned warehouses, whose crumbled surfaces were dappled with graffiti. The remnant waste from all that graffiti was the never-ending supply of crushed and spent spraypaint aerosol cans. So, the punk-scavenger miscreants who would find themselves sifting through the rubbish of those abandoned warehouses in search of a motherlode of 16mm film or reel-to-reel tape machines would undoubtably come across countless, discarded cans. Quite a poetic allusion for this tape-heavy Mining Project.
The quotations of bird song and the pleasant ambient wash of the initial 30 seconds snap into something quite foreign with a series of radio communication bursts and snippets of slow-motion monologues from Ronald Reagan, whose soothing, patronizing declarations would raise the hackles of many critical thinkers and agit-prop artists during his presidency. Nowadays, it's something of a distant, sonorous ghost, something that we're supposed to dread but can't quite figure out why. The Fossil Aerosol Mining Project cycles through a myriad of sympathetic loops, each of which harbors its own patter of delay, lending to a complex web of crumbling sound furthered along by backward tapes of textural scrabblings and iridescent drones. This network of eerie, diaphanous sounds and hypnotizingly soft-focus rhythms which may have their origins in a thoroughly forgotten fragment of a song, whose content was wholly lost to the magnetic erasures, dubbing-upon-dubbing-upon-dubbing, and / or the bacterial decay which flecked away the ferric oxide leaving behind an entirely different set of chemical stains. What's left is just a shadow of whatever emotion might have been imprinted onto the tape. It's a beautiful coagulation of sound, the musical equivalent of a Joseph Cornell box... either that or the recapitulation of the classic :zoviet*france: albums (e.g. Look Into Me, Assault & Mirrage, Just An Illusion, etc.). One of the best albums of 2014.
MPEG Stream: "Backbone 1982"
MPEG Stream: "From The Lowlands"
MPEG Stream: "Systems Clock"

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

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

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

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

album cover SD LAIKA That's Harakiri (Tri Angle) lp 18.98
The Tri Angle label has brought us some of our favorite weirdo electronica, from witch house to slo-mo-soul, from dronestep to warped hip hop, just a quick list of some of our favorite Triangle artists speaks volumes: Forest Swords, Vessel, FiS, Haxan Cloak, Water Borders, oOoOO, Clams Casino, Balam Acab, Holy Other, How To Dress Well...
So the fact that this might be the weirdest, noisiest, most out there Triangle release yet should not be taken lightly, cuz the bar had already been set pretty goddamn high, but the oddly monikered Sd Laika, aka Milwaukee producer Peter Runge, knocks it out of the park, with what is some sort of post grime, post dubstep, electro noise oddity, that pushes ALL our buttons. The sort of thing that you might have expected to come out on DHR back in the day. The opening one two punch is all it should take, the 90 seconds of "Peace", all grinding gristly synth buzz, keening high end skree and squiggly psychedelic melody, wreathed in swaths of hiss and him, fragmented and blown out, noisy, lurching and lumbering, it kills us that that song didn't stretch out to fill up the whole record. But then comes "Great God Pan", which eases our pain a little, with big billowing clouds of buzzing low end, glitches out drones, and staticky buzz, a field of hazy drift, that is soon interrupted by a seriously twisted beat, that sounds like it was assembled from discarded fragments of others songs, noisy, clattery, skittery, stuttery, all the while, in the background, thick swells of black buzz pulse ominously, and over the top, haunting alien melodies, all tethered to that super sick, unholy anti-groove. Murky and sinister and seriously fucking next level.
And it never lets up, all the beats sound like they were filtered through some homespun analog telephone transistor radio broadcast system, fuzzy, and crackly, always dropping out, and then swooping back in, imagine a grime record recorded onto a wax cylinder and then broadcast via short wave radio, in a moving vehicle so the reception is in constant flux. And even when everything is in range, and the sound is relatively hi-fi, the sounds are still warped and woozy, and before long the sound devolves into another gloriously distortion drenched sprawl, often sounding like Leyland Kirby's Caretaker having a go at dubstep, and failing spectacularly.
There are some mysterious shards of 8bit sound, some twisted fragmented samples, some flurries of tangled melody, and cascades of synth blorp and grinding fields of staticky thrum, the sound occasionally dipping into cubby tranquility, but again, quickly snapping back into a twisted variant of alien IDM. The whole record is a dizzying collage of fractured sonics, of shattered rhythms, reassembled into damaged, demented rhythms, hints of minimal techno, Pop Ambient, dub, house, electro, all find their way into the sound, but in true mad scientist fashion, those elements are melted down, dissected, and transformed utterly and completely into some strange hybrid of experimental dada-soundscapery and avant electronica, a gloriously mind bending, brain melting, dance floor defying masterpiece.
MPEG Stream: "Peace"
MPEG Stream: "Great God Pan"
MPEG Stream: "Gutter Vibrations"
MPEG Stream: "Percressing"

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

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

album cover MUGSTAR Sun Broken (Cardinal Fuzz) lp 24.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Yet another former aQ Record Of The Week, now available on vinyl! Sadly, it's super limited, and we're one of the only stores in the US carrying it. And like all the Cardinal Fuzz releases, it's super fancy as well, pressed on heavy 2 color swirled vinyl, housed in an ultra swank embossed sleeve, with new artwork and printed in metallic ink, with an insert as well!
Here's our review from back in 2010 when we first listed the cd version:
It was inevitable really. After a handful of 7"s, and a single mostly overlooked and way under appreciated full length that we raved about way back when, these guys are finally getting their due. This new full length on Important should finally position these guys at the head of the class, in the pantheon of modern spacerockers. White Hills, The Heads, Burnt Hills, Gnod, 3 Leafs, Bardo Pond, Gunslingers, Eternal Tapestry, Heavy Winged, Sleepy Sun, Plastic Crimewave, Titan, we love em all, but they're all gonna have to step up their games, cuz Mugstar has definitely thrown down the drug rock heart of the sun gauntlet. Sun, Broken is a colossal slab of speaker shredding, in-the-red, druggy, psychedelic, hypnotic Hawkwind channeling space rock bliss. Heavy, lush, dense, mesmerizing, sprawling and expansive, epic and majestic, incredible drumming, tangled guitars, warm whirring organs, complex mathy almost proggy arrangements, songs that lock into looped stretches of near static throb and pulse, before splintering into convoluted freakouts only to explode moments later into black hole supernova psychspace blowouts.
"Technical Knowledge As A Weapon" pretty much sets the stage, a swirling cloud of effects gives way to a tribal chunk of primal hypnorock pound, which lurches into a killer stop start Hammond organ stutter, before launching right back into the fray, the track growing ever more urgent and explosive, peppered with organ breaks, the whole thing dense and repetitive, and so so epic. "Ouroboros" starts out all tangled and mathy, a churning hypnotic almost looped sounding sprawl of metallic prog, which slowly transforms into a sort of muted pulsing minimal space rock, swirling effects surround a static guitar melody, and dense drum flurries, and tripped out vox, before the inevitable psych-skree outro, all tangled and jagged fucking FIERCE.
"Labrador Hatchet" is the record's first breather, a two and a half minute space-y trip out, all thum and throb, through a billowing cloud of heavily effected scrapes and clicks and glitches, which gives way to "Today Is The Wrong Shape", a dead ringer for Finnish hypnorockers Circle at their leanest and meanest, the main riff and the pounding krautrock rhythm, like a super charged way revved up Circle, with a cool, angular proggy breakdown, before yet another crushing bout of extreme spaced out damaged FX heaviness.
Another brief bit of swirly psychedelic effects weirdness leads into the nearly 14 minute closer, "Furklausundbo", which begins with warm melodic swells, before the bassline slips in, then the simple stripped down rhythm, and from there it's a totally mesmerizing slow build, locked and looped, riff and rhythm in perfect sync, while all around, streaks of sound swirl and swoop, unlike the other tracks, there's no explosive climax, no freaked out space rock free for all, instead the songs twists and transforms, slipping into a doomy plod at one point, getting downright twangy at another, the main groove getting doused in clouds of reverbed high end guitar at another, but all the while, the pulse, the beat, stays solid, and unfailing, total mind trancelike hypnotic dronerock mesmer, that eventually dissipates in a blurred smear of layered organ and washed out drones.
Easily the space rock, kraut drone, buzz drug, psych swirl jam of the year!
MPEG Stream: "Technical Knowledge As A Weapon"
MPEG Stream: "Ouroboros"
MPEG Stream: "Furklausundbo"

album cover FENNESZ Becs (Editions Mego) lp 22.00
Aside from a couple of respectable collaborations and some soundtrack work, Christian Fennesz hasn't released a proper solo album since the album Black Sea, which came out on Touch WAY back in 2008. On Becs, Fennesz returns to the label that introduced him to the world, in Editions Mego; and he pretty much continues along the same path that he set for himself on that last album he recorded for them, the much lauded Endless Summer from 2001. That was a fracturous record of polygonal melodies bathed in a candy-crush fuzz of pixelated, shoegazing blur, always alluding to the sunkissed glow of the California Dream, whatever that may be. Becs may not have the advantage of following up one hell of a single by Fennesz (in the very late '90s, he covered The Beach Boys and The Rolling Stones, the latter of which was originally commissioned for tUMULt's Painted Black anthology!), whereby he contextualized his sonic dislocation within the lineage of rock'n'roll and all of its mythologies of dissent, rebellion, sex, and whatnot. Yeah, it's a tough act to follow; but Becs is a wildly adventurous album with a substantial parity when it comes to the risk/reward equation. A heavily flanged, blindingly bright corona of digital treatments surrounds the Fennesz' guitar sound at the album's introduction, with all of the soft melodies buried in twinkling electronics and mirrored refractions. Fennesz follows this with a detuned alarm-call pulse that forms an insistently crawling rhythmic structure blasted with a malleable distortion, which in turn he counterpoints with a gorgeous, cathedral drone of sustained harmonics. An incremental retinal burn of guitar distortion shapes the brilliant track "Liminality" built upon a beautifully bittersweet, slowcore guitar chord whose roots lie in Slint, Codeine, or maybe even the Durutti Column. Sparkling ambient passages beget discordant piano treatments akin to a computer-cracked Angelo Badalamenti which in turn beget more blossoming noise. Fucking brilliant.
MPEG Stream: "The Liar"
MPEG Stream: "Liminality"
MPEG Stream: "Pallas Athene"

album cover GEZAN Katsute Uta Toiwaretasore (aka It Was Once Said To Be A Song) (Important) cd 15.98
It seems Japanese psychedelic noiserock insanity in the tradition of the good ol' Boredoms is alive and well! We're talking crazy Boredoms back in the day, at their hyperdelic height, but NOISIER. This debut album from Japanese outfit Gezan (in English, that may mean Descending, which makes sense given a close look at the cover art), unleashed over there in 2012, now gets a domestic release via Important and we gotta say, hell yeah, 'cuz Gezan rulez! Don't just take it from us - Gezan has garnered adulatory cover-blurb endorsements from the likes of Merzbow, Tatsuya Yoshida (Ruins) and Agata (Melt-Banana); and apparently Acid Mothers Temple guru Makato Kawabata was the one that brought 'em to the attention of Important, citing Gezan as his favorite live band in Japan. Seems like those guys all think of Gezan as nextgen torchbearers for the classic Japanoise surreal psych sound, and we're hearing it here, freshly intense and energized, dark and psychotic.
The buzzing distortodelic chaos of the aforementioned early Boredoms comes to mind right away, as leadoff track "Mishima To Kuchibeni" hoves into earshot, riding a headcaving Butthole Surfers sorta riff, warped and damaged, FX bubbling up everywhere. The in-the-red 'Tokyo Flashback' acid rock sound of psychedelic speed freak gangs like High Rise and Mainliner is obviously also deeply encoded in Gezan's DNA. And even harsher stuff, like Eye from the Boredoms' earlier noise unit Hanatarash, is touched upon here too - the industrial-strength devastation of "Kouchuu No Wakai", ferinstance, sounds like Merzbow meets Guitar Wolf! Meanwhile, the likes of "Kyoushin" channel the blackhole heaviness and lumbering, lurching feedback-drenched doomic riffery of such notorious Japanese psych-prog heavies as Zeni Geva, YBO2 and even Fushitsusha. Dang. Gezan do it all, in terms of freeform, unafraid, bold & bombastic freak flag flyin'. Never a dull moment.
You get glitched-out rhythmic cut-up shenanigans, organized screaming, spacey shoegaze warble, fractured blues, even some bleakly beautiful parts. There's often strange, sudden segues into cinematic samples, echoing whisper-voiced interludes, and distortion-bombed soundscapes. But these are structured songs, mind you, and as experimental and extended and distended as they are, there's eventual rock n' roll payoff, usually. Also, Gezan are capable of surprises all the way through to the end, treating us to the (mostly) melodic blissed out finale "Haru No Hiza", didn't see that one coming. Nice.
We've made a ton of references here to other Japanese bands - and should also mention some more, Gezan is likely also for fans of LSD-March, DMBQ, Omiode Hatoba, Up-Tight, and Boris (if they went totally nuts). But you don't have to be a Japanoise nerd to get into Gezan. Or at least, you don't have to know you're a Japanoise nerd, yet. Gezan's blown-out, blown-up brand of noisy psychedelic mayhem could and should appeal to lots of folks yet to delve into Gezan's overt antecedents. Just be into distorted, damaged, freaky, rocking WTF-ness and you'll dig this!
MPEG Stream: "Mishima To Kuchibeni"
MPEG Stream: "Kocyuu, Shitatarazu"
MPEG Stream: "MAN Machine"

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

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

album cover LEON, CRAIG Nommos (Superior Viaduct) cd 15.98
THIS RECORD OF THE WEEK FROM LAST YEAR, NOW ON CD!
This is a reissue of one of those deep "in-the-know" records that we're perplexed that we had somehow never heard of before now, especially given its pedigree. It seems to be one of those weird anomaly recordings that when it's not acting as a "proto" example of genres that now exist today (dub-step and minimal techno), it works as a bridge between genres we never imagined being connected before (new age and industrial music, minimalist composition and new wave, minimal synth and ethno-folk music). It's a rare six-degrees-of-separation record that bafflingly connects Suicide to John Fahey, and it's utterly gorgeous to boot.
Craig Leon may not be a well-known name to most, but he was the producer or co-producer behind many of the bands of our youth including Blondie, The Ramones, Talking Heads, Richard Hell, Suicide, The Weirdos, DMZ, The Zero's. The Bangles and 45 Grave. But he's also a classically trained composer and orchestrator who has worked with Lucio Pavoratti, Sir James Galway and The London Symphony Orchestra. Nommos was the first album of his own material, originally released in 1981 on John Fahey's Takoma label and there really is just nothing quite like it.
With evocative titles like "Donkeys Bearing Cups", "Four Eyes To See The Afterlife" and "She Wears A Hemispherical Skull Cap", Leon uses minimal synthesis to explore repetitive rhythm and texture in hypnotic trance inducing compositions. The opener, "Ring With Three Concentric Circles" explores a kraut-y kosmiche sound employing cosmic synth washes over skeletal mechanical rhythms, but it's the second track, "Donkeys Bearing Cups" that prognosticates many of the production tropes of modern dubstep and minimal techno, the shuffling almost dance-y mechanized rhythms, as well as the squelched siren noise that opens it. Many of the tracks could be paired down backing tracks for Suicide songs, minus Alan Vega's vocals and Martin Rev's knack for propulsion. Instead Leon seems to dwell on the nuance of his robotic rhythms, tweaking the reverb and decay in bass pulses and cymbal clangs, but encasing them in a beautiful floating stasis.
The longest track at nearly 12 minutes, "Four Eyes To See The Afterlife", seems to have the least going on. It's plodding hiccupping rhythm stretching for minutes before we notice a woman's voice almost operatically singing way off in the background. Her voice almost feels like another synthetic texture in the composition and we at first had to turn the volume down to see if we were hearing things, but it's just another impeccable detail that Leon is carefully layering and weaving into seemingly bare-bone compositions making us ever conscious of the meditative nature of the work. This is definitely a producer's record, and an incredible one at that! If you are a fan of modern techno composers like Vladislav Delay, Andy Stott, Demdike Stare, anything on the Dead-Cert label, or even outlier composers like Moondog, Julius Eastman or Barton Smith, this is essential!
Download card included!
MPEG Stream: "Ring With Three Concentric Circles"
MPEG Stream: "Donkeys Bearing Cups"
MPEG Stream: "Four Eyes To See The Afterlife"

album cover FENNESZ Becs (Editions Mego) cd 16.98
Aside from a couple of respectable collaborations and some soundtrack work, Christian Fennesz hasn't released a proper solo album since the album Black Sea, which came out on Touch WAY back in 2008. On Becs, Fennesz returns to the label that introduced him to the world, in Editions Mego; and he pretty much continues along the same path that he set for himself on that last album he recorded for them, the much lauded Endless Summer from 2001. That was a fracturous record of polygonal melodies bathed in a candy-crush fuzz of pixelated, shoegazing blur, always alluding to the sunkissed glow of the California Dream, whatever that may be. Becs may not have the advantage of following up one hell of a single by Fennesz (in the very late '90s, he covered The Beach Boys and The Rolling Stones, the latter of which was originally commissioned for tUMULt's Painted Black anthology!), whereby he contextualized his sonic dislocation within the lineage of rock'n'roll and all of its mythologies of dissent, rebellion, sex, and whatnot. Yeah, it's a tough act to follow; but Becs is a wildly adventurous album with a substantial parity when it comes to the risk/reward equation. A heavily flanged, blindingly bright corona of digital treatments surrounds the Fennesz' guitar sound at the album's introduction, with all of the soft melodies buried in twinkling electronics and mirrored refractions. Fennesz follows this with a detuned alarm-call pulse that forms an insistently crawling rhythmic structure blasted with a malleable distortion, which in turn he counterpoints with a gorgeous, cathedral drone of sustained harmonics. An incremental retinal burn of guitar distortion shapes the brilliant track "Liminality" built upon a beautifully bittersweet, slowcore guitar chord whose roots lie in Slint, Codeine, or maybe even the Durutti Column. Sparkling ambient passages beget discordant piano treatments akin to a computer-cracked Angelo Badalamenti which in turn beget more blossoming noise. Fucking brilliant.
MPEG Stream: "The Liar"
MPEG Stream: "Liminality"
MPEG Stream: "Pallas Athene"

album cover SATAN'S SATYRS Die Screaming (Trash King) lp 24.00
Remember the movie 2000 Maniacs? Where tourists are lured to a small Southern town and are forced to participate in 'games' that are essentially elaborate and ultra gory (and quite inventive) excuses for extreme torture that ultimately lead to their deaths. Or howabout the sixties biker classic Easy Rider? The ultimate drugged out hippie motorcycle road movie. Or maybe the seventies British horror flick Psychomania, about psychopathic suicidal bikers who make a pact with the devil, kill themselves and return from the dead to terrorize the squares? So now, imagine some crazed, druggy, doomy, psychedelic, psychotropic, head spinning mix of all three, and Satan's Satyrs are pretty much the perfect house band. Similarly, Die Screaming is essentially the soundtrack to the above, some impossibly insane, low budget, blood drenched, exploitation-splatter Z-grade alien biker undead epic. The opening track "Thumper's Theme" is uncharacteristically upbeat, but you can almost imagine this fuzzed out organ fueled jam playing beneath the credits as a porky, leather vested biker, presumably "Thumper" rolls into town, as the townsfolk lock their doors and lower their blinds, all to the strains of fuzzed out distorto riffage, wheezing organ, tumbling toms, all a little bit surfy, infused with just a bit of sonic swagger. But it's on "Instruments Of Hellfire" where things get really good, or perhaps bad if you're one of those innocent bystanders, wild squiggly psychedelic leads over blown out Stooges-y metallic garage punk pound, plenty of wild wah wah guitars, totally tripped out, and when the vocals swoop in, totally whiney, high pitched, and echo drenched, somewhere between a young Ozzy, and a more unhinged hysterical version of Uncle Acid, and in fact, Uncle Acid fans should be ALL over this. It's like a more raw and primitive take on the same sort of seventies psychedelic hard rock, but with SS, it all sounds so much more desperate and unhinged, frantic and dangerous. Oh and then out of nowhere, in comes a barrage of bongos and hand percussion, that gives the sound a little bit of a Goat vibe, but only for like 10 seconds, and then it's right back into another, lurching, lumbering psych-doom garage rock blowout.
Apparently UK doomlords Electric Wizard are huge fans, which makes sense, as they share much of the same sonic DNA, a similar psych-doom bent, and the same obsession with exploitation movies, horror flicks from the sixties and seventies, SS's jams even more that EW's evoking rubber suited beasties, blood spurting ultra violence, greasy bikers and bodacious bikini babes, if it's possible for a 'sound' to be greasy, and filthy, dirty and caked in dried blood, well, Die Screaming is as filthy, bloody and lysergic as it gets. And stick around for the sprawling creepfest closer, the 12+ minute title track, which is a drugged out doom crawl: over a bed of whirring organs, SS unfurl a lumbering dirge, a wasted psychedelic downer rock sprawl, that explodes in the last few minutes into a final, frenzied blast of heavy-horror biker rock crush that KILLS!!!
All that, and then when you add in the blood dripping logo, and melting skull cover art, it's pretty much a guaranteed aQ Record Of The Week! YOU WILL DIE SCREAMING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
MPEG Stream: "Thumper's Theme"
MPEG Stream: "Instruments Of Hellfire"
MPEG Stream: "Curse Of The Corpse"
MPEG Stream: "Die Screaming"

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

album cover MEDICO DOKTOR VIBES Liter Thru Dorker Vibes (Companion) cd 14.98
THIS AMAZING REISSUE, A RECORD OF THE WEEK FROM LAST YEAR, NOW AVAILABLE ON CD! AND RECORD OF THE WEEK AGAIN OF COURSE!! Here's what we said 'bout the vinyl version:
Few records in recent memory have had us so excited in anticipation for their release, but this outsider visionary gem is so unquantifiably unique that it has worked its magical charm on us in such an intense way that we knew we had to make it Record Of The Week. Even before we heard a lick of music, the album cover, title and artist had us asking so many questions. That simple but puzzling orange cover with a vintage stock photo of San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge, the mysterious and oddly misspelled title, Liter Thru Dorker Vibes, by an even more mysterious and misspelled artist name, Medico Doktor Vibes. Dorker Vibes??? What on earth could this be? Only a small text in the bottom right corner that said, 1979 Compton, CA and the record label Bi-Russell Records offered any clues to its origins. But the music inside, even stranger still is a primitive bedroom concoction of Caribbean-inflected outsider rock made with electric guitar, kalimba, synthesizer and drum machine that is an equally woozy, weird and introspective set of spell-casting witch-doctor psych groove.
Folks who bought Johan Kugelberg's excellent book on Private Press records, Enjoy The Experience, may recognize the cover as it was featured in that book as well as the opening song, "Diska Limba Man" which was included on the companion musical compilation, but its curious lack of back story in the book only give the record a more mysterious aura as if beamed into our world from another dimension. And it's almost like it was, as this record was just discovered at an Oakland Colosseum flea market only a few years back and made its way to the ever-curious vanity record enthusiasts at Companion Records. Companion, who have brought us some incredible private press reissues from Stan Hubbs, Michael Farneti, The New Creation, Marc Mundy and Luie Luie, did the legwork (with help from Rob Sevier of Numero Group) to track down the artist, who it turns out is a Guyanese man named Bill Russell, and worked with him to see this unique release resurrected. True to Companion's mission, they have reissued the record in the same form as the original with an old style tip-on sleeve, blank back cover and no liner notes, so as to experience the record as it is, unfettered from preconceptions. However, we did press the label for a little context and we'll get into some of the record's back-story a little later.
Each of the seven songs here vary in tone, but they are united by the instrumentation mentioned above in different combinations and Russell's accented softly mumbled delivery, as well as a seemingly urgent determination to get each song recorded as envisioned. As primitive as the recording and performances are, every song seems to have a deliberate focus, with moodier songs on side one and more rocking songs on side two. The record doesn't seem to have been made to promote himself as a professional or as a demo to make better produced recordings. In that, it is a perfect one-off record, its only obvious influential musical touchstones apart from some Caribbean musical rhythms, might be a bit of Santana and Hendrix perhaps (though this doesn't quite reach their heights, quite the opposite), but we're hearing a bit of Chrissy Zebby Tembo, Otis G. Johnson and even some Suicide in there too. It really just sounds like Russell plugged all his instruments directly into a 4-track, hit record and worked around the mistakes, never letting them curtail his vision.
The opener, "Diska Limba Man" sets the tone with an off-kilter synth sequencer and wonky slow-disco rhythm, the tempo slowing down and speeding up in an elliptical groove while an electric guitar and a tinny kalimba add melody and texture respectively. Russell's voice thickly accented but emerging from an introspective murmer sings of a small musical instrument and the man who plays it, embarking on a hypnotic repetition as the song progresses into a sort of subdued dark disco trance. The second track, "Kalimba Tune", is just that, the kalimba alone in a beautifully played magical weaving instrumental that borders on the minimalist composition of Philip Glass. The third track, "Take A Closer Look" ends the first side with a slow looping organ dirge with a loping martial rhythm, inflected with a simmering guitar melody that adds a mystical resonance. The song urging the listener to "take a closer look at the life you are living" points to the lighter ("liter") and darker ("dorker") vibes the album title implies.
Side two has more of a heavier rock feel. "Givers of Affection" opens with a motorcycle blues guitar riff and what sound like harmonica blasts and rudimentary drum machine in a Canned Heat style, Russell's voice double tracked in a driving falsetto. "Lonely No More" has a more laid back sunbaked Zam-rock vibe, with funky Caribbean rhythms and freaked out synth leads, filtered through homegrown distortion and double tracked vocals layered incongruously into a strange psychedelic brew. "Dig This Calypso" is a stoned sunny and breezy take on the origins of the calypso beat, and we're usually not that big on calypso, but as with all the songs on the second side, this one layered with warm distortion and gritty guitar squalls all filtered back in a lo-fi Caribbean funk groove, makes it one of the better calypso inspired songs we've heard. The final track, "Water Late" is an instrumental with a medium-fast shuffled martial rhythm, and some seriously wonky exploratory guitar leads as if Doug Blunt was fronting some primitive cave rock band like Cromagnon. It ends the record on a slightly open ended note as we're left to wonder what in the hell did we just listen to? But that is exactly the kind of naive quality in this record that makes us want to put it back on and listen to it again, figure out the words and try and put together what it all means, and why for all of its outsider artistry, these songs remain so hopelessly and wonderfully implanted in our brains. And most importantly, who or what is Medico Doktor Vibes?
The folks at Companion filled us in a bit. Bill Russell is an immigrant from Guyana who came to the United States and served in the U.S. military in the seventies. He came from a musical family and after serving, settled in the LA suburb of Compton and decided to make a record. He bought the recording equipment and instruments he used on the record all at once and set about making this one and only lp. He chose the cover image carefully by color because he thought it matched the mood of the record and thought it would appeal to people, even though he oddly didn't notice the Golden Gate Bridge, or at least it didn't register any additional symbolic meaning for him and he didn't have any Bay Area connection. The title though intentional is logically vague. The story goes that Russell saw the recording as a bridge between "light" and "dark" people, but felt that just calling it Lighter Through Darker Vibes was too politically charged and so he twisted the words to "Liter" and "Dorker" in avoidance (this must have been before the word "dork" came into a more common parlance). His hopes were that both Light and Dark people would come together and groove out to his music , though it was distributed modestly with only 100 original copies and went absolutely nowhere. Perhaps now with this reissue, Russell's original vision will finally come to pass. We certainly hope so.
MPEG Stream: "Diska Limba Man"
MPEG Stream: "Kalimba Tune"
MPEG Stream: "Take A Closer Look"
MPEG Stream: "Givers of Affection"

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

album cover TRUE WIDOW s/t (End Sounds) 2lp 40.00
This all time aQ favorite, and past Record Of The Week, re-pressed and reissued for Record Store Day. We have a handful left, this time on 180 gram yellow/creme vinyl!!! Here's what we had to say about True Widow's self titled debut, when we made it ROTW way back in 2009...
Records like this come along so rarely. The sort of record that immediately reveals itself as something so more then just another disc to add to your collection, or the sort of record you play once or twice and then file. The second we heard this, we knew we had to hear more, and hear it over and over and over again. We discovered these guys online, heard a few songs and immediately bought a copy, and then set out to order them for the store (one of us was so obsessed, he even ordered all the records by the True Widow mainman's OLD band).
Not sure what it is exactly about True Widow, it could be that after hundreds of records of rumbling dronemusic and blasting grim buzz and hushed ambient shimmer, that a band that writes songs, incredibly catchy and melodic and heavy songs, is exactly what our ears craved. Not to take anything away from the band, even if we were immersed in straight up pop and heavy rock (which we sort of are also), these guys (and gal) would most definitely shine. This is the sort of music we rarely hear anymore. We originally expected this to be metal, maybe some sort of heavy post rock metal hybrid, and while it is heavy, it's way more indie rock, or maybe slowcore, more like some haunting mix of the two, the guitars are thick and distorted, but not metallic, and they drift into slow drifting creeps as easily as they do pounding majestic roars. Other reviewers have described True Widow as 'sonic noir' and 'stonegaze', both of which are fairly appropriate, it's definitely dark and moody, certainly shoegazey, and a little bit stonery, but it's really just some sort of perfect gloomy heavy postrock. We hear Codeine, Low, Seam, the vibe is laid back and disaffected, weary and washed out, but still somehow completely rocking.
Every song here is practically perfect, and each one segues seamlessly into the next, the sort of record where you don't just remember the melody or the lyrics, but which songs comes next, and how long the pause between songs is, the sound just so hypnotic and mesmerizing, a sort of lyseric doom pop, a druggy post rock, but the thing is, none of that really explains how addictive these songs seem to be. Literally, from the moment we first heard this record, we have not been able to stop listening to it. We've found other reviewers elsewhere who had the same reaction. Which speaks to the power of the songs, so well crafted, brooding, yet incredibly catchy. Just check out opener "Aka", with its strange mesmerizing main riff, the mysterious pause, and then when the band kicks in, it give you chills, and it's 40 seconds into the record.
The second track, "Duelist", is one of the few tracks that features vocals from bassist Nicole Estill, her warm purr draped over big drums and a simple minimal bass throb, before the band launches into a slow burning minor key lope, only to crank up that opening part, infusing it with just a bit more muscle, and peppering the proceedings with a cool woozy chorus. Then there's "Sunday Driver", a gorgeous hazy reverby almost ballad, skeletal guitars, the drums still solid and loud, the vocals laid back and drugged out, the main melody so catchy, and a chorus that kills. Just writing this now, we've skipped back to the beginning of that song 3 times!
This isn't really new, it came out last year, but we only just discovered it, and it had such an impact on us, we figured it was worth sharing with the rest of you. Cuz even if only a fraction of you have the same sort of response to True Widow that we did, it was well worth it. This has immediately leapt to the top of our year end best of list, even though it didn't come out this year, and hell, for some of us, True Widow immediately made it onto our best EVER list. And yeah we know, we traffic in hyperbole a lot around here, we can't help it cuz we love music so much and are excited to turn people on to the music we love, but there's no denying the empirical evidence, we can't seem to listen to anything else but this record. And that doesn't look like it will be changing anytime soon.
Just listen to the sound samples, the first two tracks alone should do the trick. So goddamn good.
Super deluxe (hence the price, sorry), 180 gram vinyl, full color ultra thick gatefold sleeve, two printed color inserts, very fancy, and like the first pressing, very limited.
MPEG Stream: "AKA"
MPEG Stream: "Duelist"
MPEG Stream: "Sunday Driver"
MPEG Stream: "Flat Black"

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

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

album cover CLOUD NOTHINGS Here And Nowhere Else (Carpark / Mom + Pop) lp 19.98
Cleveland's Cloud Nothings began life as fuzzy jangle poppers, but even in those early days, the group displayed a knack for not just crafting killer hooks, but also for being pretty adept and serious psychedelic noisiness and blown out bombast, which all came to a head with their most recent full length, Attack On Memory, which was way darker and noisier than anything that came before. If anything, this new one splits the difference, still heavily indebted to that classic nineties indie/college rock sound, Cloud Nothings make it their own, crafting noisy, poppy gems that slip easily from hooky, fuzzy crunch, to wild, blown out shoegaze noise rock pound. Opener "Now Hear In" sounds like something you could have heard on the radio back in the day, roughed up a bit and doused in distortion. Which when we think about it pretty much describes the whole record. If you love that sound, and as we've established by now, most of us do, then Here And Nowhere Else is about as good as it gets, a perfect approximation of that sound, but cranked to high heaven, rife with impossible hooks, raspy vocal howl, wild tangled of buzzy guitars, sheets of noisy distortion, wild chaotic drumming, some tracks slowing it down a bit, but even those seem to always eventually explode into full on frantic and frenetic noise rock blowouts, that like on Attack On Memory, often verge on total emo/screamo, and all with a bit of gothy, gloominess running throughout, which means fans of Interpol, Ceremony, Holograms, Iceage and the like will dig this too.
Closing track "I'm Not Part Of Me" might be the catchiest jam here - which is weird, cuz what band tucks their catchiest potential hit way at the end of a record? A band like Cloud Nothings with hooks and potential hits to spare!
We loved this the very first time we played it, but with every listen we dig this record more and more, and for the noise pop nerds around aQ, this is fast becoming a contender for our favorite record of the year! Definitely a Record Of The Week.
MPEG Stream: "Now Hear In"
MPEG Stream: "Quieter Today"
MPEG Stream: "Psychic Trauma"

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

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

album cover NIGHT TERRORS, THE Spiral Vortex / Back To Zero (Homeless) 2cd 15.98
We got turned on to the synth-heavy, cinematic post-rock of this Aussie outfit last year, when their previous album Back To Zero was released on vinyl. Their secret weapon, a virtuoso theremin player, who coaxes all manner of weepy, wavery giallo-worthy ooohs and aaahs from that electronic instrument, its lovely, lachrymose vocal-like-timbre soaring over some seriously intense sci-fi zip-zap synth sounds and the massive momentum of the heavy, propulsive rhythm section. So powerful, and melodic! We're excited that they're now back with a brand new album, albeit with a stripped-down lineup: they're just a duo now, not that you could tell, having shed a couple of synth players in the interim (and switching out drummers, too). Multi-instrumentalist Miles Brown, he who plays the theremin, as well synths, bass, and "noise", takes up any and all slack, however. This sounds BIG.
When we reviewed Back To Zero, we noted that they had opened for Goblin, and that their own brand of soundtrack-y, Goblin-y horror movie prog sounded like it should have been released as an lp on the Death Waltz label. Perhaps you should just go read that review elsewhere on our site ('cause for one thing, the compact disc version of this new record is actually a double disc set, also including a reissued cd of that album as well), but we'll quote ourselves a bit: "Sometimes gently atmospheric (someone mentioned Sigur Ros), sometimes noisy and distorted (someone mentioned MBV), always compelling and evocative, The Night Terrors almost seem specifically designed for aQ appreciation." Indeed they do. We love this stuff! The new record has perhaps less of the gentle moments, devoting even more of its considerable energy to the crunching keyboards and math-rock rhythms. Tracks like "Monster" even hint at some form of adrenalized Euro-disco techno. Taken in sum, this almost approaches overload. Spiral Vortex is the perfect title; the sheer buzz and bombast of it all becomes quite headspinning. And demands to be played LOUD!! In a car, driving fast, even better. Makes us think of, like, if Emeralds got hopped up on Red Bull and challenged the Trans Am guys to a synthesizer drag race (whatever that means, but you know what we mean). This could be the soundtrack to all manner of suspenseful, futuristic action noir scenarios. Melody, majestic melody, is effectively employed throughout, not just on moodier cuts like "Celeste". Always, the awesomely distorted, low-end tones from the synths and bass are perfectly balanced by the more ethereal, high-end "singing" of the theremin. Technically, though, this is mostly instrumental, but for some uber-distorted robot vox on the very last track, "Force Field".
We mentioned Zombi in our other review - and basically these guys sound a lot like an over-the-top Zombi, if Clara Rockmore (you know, the famous classical thereminist) joined that band. Other obvious "recommended-if-you-like" references include: Umberto, The Oscillation, Maserati, Majeure, Nightsatan, and even the likes of Fuck Buttons and Black Moth Super Rainbow.
As mentioned, the cd edition, is a double with Spiral Vortex on one disc and Back To Zero on the other. Whatta deal! Meanwhile, Spiral Vortex is also available by itself on limited edition 180 gram red vinyl w/ download code.
MPEG Stream: "Lasers For Eyes"
MPEG Stream: "Space Sickness"
MPEG Stream: "Force Field"

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

NIGHT TERRORS, THE Spiral Vortex (Homeless) lp 21.00
We got turned on to the synth-heavy, cinematic post-rock of this Aussie outfit last year, when their previous album Back To Zero was released on vinyl. Their secret weapon, a virtuoso theremin player, who coaxes all manner of weepy, wavery giallo-worthy ooohs and aaahs from that electronic instrument, its lovely, lachrymose vocal-like-timbre soaring over some seriously intense sci-fi zip-zap synth sounds and the massive momentum of the heavy, propulsive rhythm section. So powerful, and melodic! We're excited that they're now back with a brand new album, albeit with a stripped-down lineup: they're just a duo now, not that you could tell, having shed a couple of synth players in the interim (and switching out drummers, too). Multi-instrumentalist Miles Brown, he who plays the theremin, as well synths, bass, and "noise", takes up any and all slack, however. This sounds BIG.
When we reviewed Back To Zero, we noted that they had opened for Goblin, and that their own brand of soundtrack-y, Goblin-y horror movie prog sounded like it should have been released as an lp on the Death Waltz label. Perhaps you should just go read that review elsewhere on our site ('cause for one thing, the compact disc version of this new record is actually a double disc set, also including a reissued cd of that album as well), but we'll quote ourselves a bit: "Sometimes gently atmospheric (someone mentioned Sigur Ros), sometimes noisy and distorted (someone mentioned MBV), always compelling and evocative, The Night Terrors almost seem specifically designed for aQ appreciation." Indeed they do. We love this stuff! The new record has perhaps less of the gentle moments, devoting even more of its considerable energy to the crunching keyboards and math-rock rhythms. Tracks like "Monster" even hint at some form of adrenalized Euro-disco techno. Taken in sum, this almost approaches overload. Spiral Vortex is the perfect title; the sheer buzz and bombast of it all becomes quite headspinning. And demands to be played LOUD!! In a car, driving fast, even better. Makes us think of, like, if Emeralds got hopped up on Red Bull and challenged the Trans Am guys to a synthesizer drag race (whatever that means, but you know what we mean). This could be the soundtrack to all manner of suspenseful, futuristic action noir scenarios. Melody, majestic melody, is effectively employed throughout, not just on moodier cuts like "Celeste". Always, the awesomely distorted, low-end tones from the synths and bass are perfectly balanced by the more ethereal, high-end "singing" of the theremin. Technically, though, this is mostly instrumental, but for some uber-distorted robot vox on the very last track, "Force Field".
We mentioned Zombi in our other review - and basically these guys sound a lot like an over-the-top Zombi, if Clara Rockmore (you know, the famous classical thereminist) joined that band. Other obvious "recommended-if-you-like" references include: Umberto, The Oscillation, Maserati, Majeure, Nightsatan, and even the likes of Fuck Buttons and Black Moth Super Rainbow.
As mentioned, the cd edition, is a double with Spiral Vortex on one disc and Back To Zero on the other. Whatta deal! Meanwhile, Spiral Vortex is also available by itself on limited edition 180 gram red vinyl w/ download code.
MPEG Stream: "Lasers For Eyes"
MPEG Stream: "Space Sickness"
MPEG Stream: "Force Field"

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

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

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

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

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

album cover VOX POPULI! / PACIFIC 231 Cut Chemist Presents ... Funk Off (A Stable Sound) 2lp + 7" 33.00
Somewhere in France, sometime in the '80s: a radical independent underground micro-scene peopled by creative teenagers who grew up listening to Kraftwerk, Throbbing Gristle, A Certain Ratio, Metal Urbain, and Cabaret Voltaire, making their own synth- and sample-based music, with heavy beats and noisy dubbed out FX, that's like a post-punk/industrial hybrid of old school hiphop, Detroit electro, and tape-splicing musique concrete experimentation, releasing it themselves on artfully packaged cassette tapes and occasional pieces of vinyl, in limited editions heard only by the most dedicated international networkers in that pre-internet age. Sound good? It is! That's what this release documents, remarkable DIY music that's been aptly described as "like Wild Style on dust". Or imagine some other underground '80s industrial experimentalists from France, like Le Syndicat, toning down the noise (a little) and trying to make tracks like Afrika Bambaataa.
And please don't get confused, either, 'cause noted turntablist, producer and crate digger Cut Chemist's name is on the cover. This isn't a DJ mix, or remix, or collaboration, or anything like that. Cut Chemist doesn't himself have anything to do with the music of the two closely related bands on here, Vox Populi! and Pacific 231, other than having discovered 'em on one of his record-buying excursions (specifically via finding Vox Populi!'s track "Megamix" on a rare compilation LP called Alternative Funk, released by VP!'s own Vox Man label), and then making it his mission to find out more about them and get their stuff reissued - which he did, after many years of research, and friendships forged with both Vox Populi's leader Axel Kyrou and his colleague Pierre Jolivet, whose own project Pacific 231 ran parallel to Vox Populi!, and was also an important part of the collective described above.
So, thanks to Cut Chemist, whose imprimatur will hopefully help get this music some additional well deserved attention, we've now got this fantastic anthology of twenty VP! and P231 tracks rescued & remastered from rare cassette and vinyl comps, eps, etc., with plenty of previously unreleased material too. It's a real treasure trove of headnodding, mindblowing, utterly rad stuff, what could be indeed called, "alternative funk". Make that, alternative WTF? funk. These wide-ranging tracks contain, in varying combinations and degrees, all manner of frizzled blip bloop electronics, propulsive drum machine rhythms, subversive cut-ups, spanking funk bass, gothic cold wave vocals, ambient synth trances, crazed echoing dub effects, and reel-to-reel tape manipulation (the DJ "scratching" sounds you'll hear). All we can say is, upon hearing this, we immediately understood Cut Chemist's obsession!
Musically, the French always seem to have their own unique, unusual take on things, whether it's disco or prog or black metal, and the hard-to-define genre this represents is no exception.
The thick cd booklet (or big lp insert) is full of detailed liner notes, graphics and photos, which should give one a good sense of the exciting artistic/cultural/musical milieu these folks inhabited. Highly, highly recommended. (Note, the double vinyl version comes with a bonus 7" of extra tracks, which are also included on the cd.)
MPEG Stream: VOX POPULI! "Bala Mala"
MPEG Stream: VOX POPULI! "Mind"
MPEG Stream: VOX POPULI! "Funk Off"
MPEG Stream: PACIFIC 231 "Radio Moscou/Satyriasis"

album cover WEED Deserve (Couple Skate) lp 16.98
The opening minute or so of "Heal", the first track on Deserve, at first blush seems like it could give very much the wrong impression of these Canadian noise poppers, although the more we listen to Deserve, the more it seems like maybe it was in fact ultimately the all together RIGHT impression. The record opens with a squall of swirling feedback, what sounds like multiple guitars unfurling layer upon layer of feedback, and even when the song kicks in proper, it's mostly a crumblingly distorted single chord, over pounding caveman drumming, until all of a sudden, that noisiness coalesces into some impossibly perfect pop, a twisted chunk of nineties style indie rock jangle, wistful and super melodic and crazy catchy, albeit, plenty noisy and fuzzy, distorted and blown out, and from there on out, the song swings deliriously from lilting, loping, Sebadoh-style lo-fi pop, to a full bore, buzzing psychedelic sort-of-chorus/refrain, howled vocals over one of those chord changes that gives you chills, the sort of thing most bands struggle to come up with, but throughout the course of Deserve, these guys seem to toss off those moments like there was some limitless supply, and who knows? Maybe for these guys there is. Deserve gives us no reason to think otherwise. But before we can get to more of those moments, the band finish off "Heal" with a full two minutes worth of abstract psychedelic feedback noise drenched drift, almost as if in the studio, they just leaned their guitars against the amps, and stepped out for a smoke. But it's that willful, listener baiting noisiness, and the fact that of "Heal"s six and a half minutes, less than three is proper 'song', that helps balance the group's popsmithery, with a sort of sneering punk rock energy, that as you might imagine, finds its way into even the poppiest moments here. And there's something about two minutes of droned out noise, that when the second track "Set Me Back" finally explodes, there's a sense of sonic relief, that only adds to what is yet another glorious slab of blown out fuzz pop, big guitars, deep crooned vocals buried in the mix, melodies to die for, and another one of those choruses, that sounds like it was plucked right out of some classic Dinosaur Jr jam, but Weed's sound is more muddy and murky, and all the better for it, swirling and psychedelic, every song here, sounds like one of those songs or one of those bands that should have been huge, but instead, stayed your little secret, the best band nobody else knew about, understood, or in most cases had ever even heard, or heard of. And that totally taps into something most music nerds hold near and dear, and positions Weed, no matter how popular they get, as the sort of band, that could easily become YOUR band.
And while there's nothing nearly as chaotic and freaked out as the opener, there is most definitely no shortage of fuzz pop bliss. "Gun Shy" is rollicking and punky, but again, crazy catchy, mixing droned out guitar, furious buzz, tangled melodies, and some super heavy, almost emo sounding noiserock blowouts. "Silent Partner" almost sounds like a slightly punkier, more youthful Swervedriver, and that shoegaze vibe surface throughout, giving all of Deserve a fantastically dreamy, druggy vibe, a sound that shifts easily from hazy, fuzzy drift, to grinding punkish pound and back again, often settling somewhere right in between, and again, amidst all this noisiness and sonic chaos, all this crunch and fuzz, blast and pound, is some of the craftiest popsmithery we've heard in ages, the sort of thing, that recast, and super polished, could have the potential to be the next big thing, thankfully, these guys seem to have no interest in that at all. The poppiness of these jams more like some sonic artifact, the seemingly random result of nothing but loud guitars, sweaty, bloody basement shows, lots of booze, youthful exuberance, and just fucking rocking, it's the perfect mix of that classic nineties indie rock sound that we can't ever seem to get enough of STILL, home brewed fuzz pop, and wild, chaotic noise rock crunch, all woven into something more fresh and and raw and punk and poppy, and it's just about the best thing we've heard in forever.
MPEG Stream: "Heal"
MPEG Stream: "Set Me Back"
MPEG Stream: "Gun Shy"
MPEG Stream: "Silent Partner"

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

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

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

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

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

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

album cover NADLER, MARISSA July (Sacred Bones) lp 15.98
For her first record for Sacred Bones, Marissa Nadler has put together a pretty heavy hitting band, one that features folks like Steve Moore of Zombi, and Eyvind Kang, but really, Nadler doesn't need anyone but her own bad self, her gorgeous, haunting vocals, and delicate guitar playing are practically perfect. Just check out opener "Drive (Fade Into)", the first two minutes of which are just Nadler singing and playing guitars, spare and sparse, ethereal and so lovely, lush, lustrous harmonies, the Mazzy Star vibe which was always present, is huge here, in the phrasing, the timbre of Nadler's voice, occasionally layered into gorgeous multi-tracked harmonies, and while we would have been happy with a solo acoustic record, the band deftly, and quite subtle, add perfect sonic colorations, soft streaks of feedback, shimmery swells of pedal steel, the final stretch all twang flecked and dusky.
From there on out, Nadler and her band deliver one gorgeous song after another, some funereal and somber, dark, dolorous torch songs, others dark slowcore dirges, others darkly dreamy psychedelic country. A few favorites include "1923", laced with Kang's lilting strings, the track peppered with bits of effects dusted guitar swirl, all driven by some gorgeously languid, muted percussion, gloomy downer pop bliss via classic old time songsmithery, or "Dead City Emily", with Nadler's vocals soaring over a tangle of steel string buzz, everything wreathed in echo and reverb, with some surprising bits of piano and synth, the song blossoming into something impossibly expansive and lush, or the haunting dark country of "Desire", which sounds like it could have been performed by Mark Lanegan or David Eugene Edwards from Woven Hand, but at the same time, it couldn't have been anyone but Nadler.
We've loved pretty much everything we've heard, and have raved about almost all of her records, but July definitely takes Nadler's sound, her voice, her songs, to the next level, and positions her as one of this generations most stunning songwriters. Certainly fans of Chelsea Wolfe and Zola Jesus will no doubt love Nadler, if they don't already, but Nadler's sound is much more pure, more classic, some of the songs here do of course have moments of gothiness, and gloominess, but it definitely transcends any micro genre classification, and manages to arrive at something truly timeless, and will definitely be vying for top spots on lots of folks best of 2014 year end lists, even though it's only February.
Fantastic!
MPEG Stream: "Drive (Fade Into)"
MPEG Stream: "1923"
MPEG Stream: "Dead City Emily"
MPEG Stream: "Desire"
MPEG Stream: "Anyone Else"

album cover OH SEES, THEE The Master's Bedroom Is Worth Spending A Night In / Help (Burger) cassette 5.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Another very affordable, but limited, 2-fer cassette from Thee Oh Sees, this time with both 2008's full band debut The Master's Bedroom Is Worth Spending A Night In, and 2009's Help (an AQ Record Of The Week!). Limited to 250 copies, act fast!!!
Here's our massive original reviews of those two records...
Master's Bedroom: The Oh Sees have changed a lot since they were the OCS. Back then, Oh Sees frontman John Dwyer had his Coachwhips, a wild sweat soaked, garage stomp party, furious and frenzied, throbbing and in-the-red, so OCS was the outlet for Dwyer to explore the other sides of his multiple musical personality. The debut OCS record (released on tUMULt) was two discs, one of mostly solo acoustic guitar, a super intimate bedroom folk, all dusty and crackly, warm and super intimate, bits of damaged Casio, warbly old vinyl, damaged FX, lovingly crafted into some sort of heartfelt lo-fi sonic loveletter. The other disc was more noisy, super abstract, blown out blasts of free jazz weirdness, drones and rumbles, howling feedback, white noise, pink noise, and every color in between. OCS 2, 3 and 4 followed a similar pattern, a sort of lonely lo-fi homebrewed indie folk, off kilter and melancholy, wistful, damaged and dreamy.
But with the dissolution of the Coachwhips, came a name change for OCS, now The Ohsees, or sometimes The Oh Sees, a change in sound, and a transformation into a full band.
While not as freaked out and furious as the Coachwhips, the Oh Sees new record sounds more like the long lost CW's than any of Dwyer's records since. Garage-y jangle, shuffling drums, the vocals distorted, the songs simple and stripped down, but the big difference is that here Dwyer splits the vocals with bandmate Brigid Dawson, the result is truly endearing harmonies, with Dwyer often the wailing counterpoint to Dawson's sweet angelic croon. And songs that sometimes sound like alien versions of that classic Phil Spector girl group sound. But at its heart, the sound is still fuzzy and buzzy and skeletal, groovy and garage rocky, wouldn't be hard to imagine this disc on In The Red, or see these guys on tour with the Dirtbombs or the Country Teasers or the Husbands. (Bonus points for having a song about aQ pal and local artist extraordinaire Maria Forde!)
Help: Listening to Help, it's almost impossible to hear anything but mere traces of the chaotic noise rock path John Dwyer followed to make it to Thee Oh Sees (aka OCS, and Ohsees), but it's that noisy past, and penchant for musical shit stirring, that informs the jangly garage pop on Help, and transforms the band's jangle and shuffle and pound into near perfect buzzy fuzzy catchy retro pop, and makes it easily the best Oh Sees record yet. And a definite contended for (garage) pop record of the year.
Most of us were introduced to Dwyer via his two piece noise rock costume rock combo Pink And Brown (after brief stints in some well known Providence outfits), but unlike most of the costumed joke bands at the time, P&B offered some serious songsmithery along with the unhinged live shows and audience baiting. A brief stint drumming for SF grindlords Burmese led directly into the band that brought Dwyer to worldwide attention, the Coachwhips. Arguably one of the best live bands around, the Coachwhips made up for what they lacked in actual songs with sweat and alcohol soaked performances, utter chaos, and sometimes literally, ultra destructive houseshows. Coachwhips shows were all about the energy, the vibe, jumping around, flailing wildly, getting wrecked and having a blast. Sometimes though, that energy was difficult to translate to home listening. Take away the sweaty throng and the deafening volume and, well why would you want to do that?
And so came the Oh Sees, originally called OCS, and a double cd release on Andee's tUMULt label a few years back, essentially a solo record, one disc of folky fluttery lo-fi twang flecked pop, another of corrosive textured noise experiments, which ended up being, for many of us, one of our favorite post Pink And Brown Dwyer documents. OCS transformed into The Oh Sees and became a real band, and seemed poised to follow in the sonic footsteps of the Coachwhips, stripped down garage rock, super lo-fi, lost of brittle high end, yelped distorted vocals, tribal drumming, but there was definitely something more, more refined, more catchy, more timeless sounding, something much more than garage rock, a sound that reminded us of sixties girl groups, of Phil Spector productions, raw and primal, but lush and expansive and catchy. But that catchy lush side of the Oh Sees remained hidden beneath squalls of tweeter abuse and fractured effects, a wall of fuzz and buzz more than an actual wall of sound. Until now.
Help finds the band making their first record for garage rock stalwarts In The Red, which is ironic as this is Thee Oh Sees' least typically garage rock record yet. Instead, the sound is total pop, plucked fresh from a time capsule buried in the sixties, the guitars jangle as much as crunch, lots of reverb, the vocals wreathed in a haze of delay, lots of female vox, the choruses are lush, the drums are still tribal, but much more measured, often quite spare, the arrangements though are anything but classic, sometimes getting super abstract, but never losing their catchiness, sometimes adding all sorts of extra distorted overload, but just as quickly slipping into something smooth and groovy. Minus the weird moments and the fucked up productions, some of these songs do really sound like they were just transported forward four decades.
"Meat Step Lively" starts off all Cramps-y, with a fuzzy grinding main riff, simple pounding rhythm, but adds some awesome female vocals and background 'ooooohs', some spidery lead guitars, and coolest of all breaks it down with about a minute to go into a swinging sixties smoke-y jazzy flute flecked groove. "The Turn Around" is a minute of blown out drum damage and fractured effects, but wrapped around a sing songy main riff, and some cool distorted and reverbed vox, in total Guided By Voices fashion, they truncate what could have been the jam of the record, and launch into "Can You See", which is all slithery and washed out, with angelic background vocals, shuffling drums, and a cool dreamy bridge, but the whole thing still manages to sound ominous and intense and weirdly sexy.
The record closes with "Peanut Butter Oven", which we first heard on the recent (and sadly now out of print) Awesome Vistas 12", and it's obvious why this was the single, it definitely is THE jam of the record, with it's simple stripped down jangle, workmanlike drum beat, and soaring minor key strings, and let's not forget the gorgeous harmony vocals draped over the singing strings and that irresistible main riff.
And so it goes, every track here is a gem, each one offers up something new, some twisted take on that classic sixties garage rock sound, but it's that sound revved up and filtered through Dwyer's gloriously cracked pop sensibilities, bathed in buzz and fuzz or stripped way down and left shimmery and crystalline, sometimes wrapped in HUGE hooks or allowed to simmer and slither, the catchiness subtle yet so irresistible, and unlike past efforts, even at its noisiest, the noise element seems more an organic part of the sound, and is often shaped into something barely recognizable as noisy.
We knew Dwyer and company had it in them, and now they've proven it, BIG TIME. Dying to see what they come up with next, if they could possibly one up this here disc, but hell, for now, Help has us way satisfied. And records like these are exactly why they invented that repeat button on your cd player. Folks with turntable will just have to get up and flip the record over and over and over, again and again and again.
WAY recommended.
MPEG Stream: "Block Of Ice"
MPEG Stream: "Visit Colonel"
MPEG Stream: "Maria Stacks"
MPEG Stream: "Meat Step Lively"
MPEG Stream: "Ruby Go Home"
MPEG Stream: "Rainbow"

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

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

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

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

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

album cover DEMDIKE STARE Tryptych (Modern Love) 3cd 22.00
REISSUED! After being out of print for over a year or more, all three compact disc format releases by these aQ fave hauntologists have been repressed, two of the three now in new packaging (jewel cases instead of elaborate digi-sleeves) and at a lower prices! So, needless to say, if you somehow missed out on any of these before, two of which have been aQ Records Of The Week, we're very happy to present 'em to you now. All three - Symbiosis, Tryptych, and Elemental - are highly recommended. Read on...
Finally, Demdike Stare's dark and dizzying, murky and mysterious hauntological black dub triptych, previously available via three separate slabs of now very out of print vinyl, is now available on cd, gathered up into a single, nicely packaged triple disc set. And loaded with bonus tracks (nearly 40 minutes extra all told), which makes this pretty much a shoe-in for Record Of The Week...
Demdike Stare are one of the few bands who seem to be a unanimous aQ favorite, everyone here LOVES these guys, and judging on how many of the various lps we've sold, everyone out there does too. Which makes sense, when you consider, DS basically create a kind of black metal dubstep, or as we (and others) like to describe it, a blackened dub record on Chain Reaction. Either one should give you an idea of the sort of dark sonic energy these guys conjure up. Thick claustrophobic atmospheres, skeletal rhythms, thick throbbing bass, skittering dubbed out beats, disembodied voices, stuttering minimal sort-of-dubstep, looped and processed African folk music (??), swirling glitched out electronics, deeeep pulsing dronemusic, reverb drenched post-rock-via-techno skitter, all woven into a swirling organic mass of dub flecked blacktronica, dark and sinister and dubby, and weirdly house-y, sprawling and epic and creepy and so totally sweeping and cinematic.
The first disc, Forest Of Evil, was originally two sidelong tracks, the first starts out all deep shimmer, with a softly melodic buzz, spidery acoustic guitars, long stretches of billowy black ambience, bits of shuffly jazzy drift, peppered with thick shards of buzzy fractured dub bass and Kompakt style skitter, giving way to glistening late night techno, whirling pop ambient, and blissed out ethereal dronemusic, while the second is darkly dramatic, epic and majestic, like some lost Italian soundtrack, big drums, orchestral and ominous, looped samples, blurred melodic smears over deep pulsing bass, whirling clouds of cymbal shimmer, insectoid FX buzz, jumbled atonal melodies (hints of Bernard Herrmann), the vibe tense and haunting, with some dubstep bass buzz, that slowly dissolves into a Caretaker like outro, all layered strings wreathed in hiss and crackle, hazy and druggy and divine. The bonus track "Quiet Sky" conjures up just what the title implies, a quiet sky, but a dark, bruised midnight sky, flecked with stars, soft swirls of metallic shimmer like gauzy clouds, the song gradually developing a strange minimal hiccuppy rhythm, underpinning the deep melancholic swells, a strange almost industrial tinged bit of pop ambience.
The second disc, Liberation Through Hearing, is thematically related to the Book Of The Dead, and focuses on the space between death and rebirth. Rendered in greys and blacks, in buzz and rumble, beginning with some woozy late night Portishead style downtempo trip hop, low slung looped skitter and swell, lush swirls of cinematic strings, ghostly choirs, a softly lurching rhythmic stutter, a deep cavernous throb, sounding like a ghostly stripped down dubstep. Which gives way to heaving expanses of black tidal thrum, muted scrapings, all wound into hypnotic pulses of dark energy, laced with distant chiming melodies, a haunting, gauzey faded memory in sound, drawn from radios with dying batteries and gradually slowing turntables, a soft focus symphony of creaks and rumbles and blurred low end shimmer. The first half finishes with a swoonsome smear of looped ambience, like a field recording of an after hours nightclub captured in a temporal loop, warm and druggy and fuzzy, strangely hypnotic and rhythmic, totally trancelike, a creeped out wasteland soundscape, mysterious and chilling, which is eventually augmented by thick slabs of corrosive low end, and heavily reverbed industrial clatter, which eventually emerges into a strange sea of crackle and hum, of warbly rhythms, chiming bells and distorted crunch, sounding a bit like Jeck spinning Pole record, abstract and spaced out and hauntingly lovely.
The second half opens with thick streaks of ghostly mesmer, all washed out and slowly decaying, underpinned by thick swaths of dubstep style bass wobble, but muted and smoothed into soft smears of undulating blackness. Subtle skitter surfaces, as do distant voices, the sound getting more and more dubby, a bit like a Caretaker record on Chain Reaction, that sort of hazy abstract drift, but anchored to barely there beats, the buzz building to an intense coda, all the while wrapped in throbbing woofer punishing low end.
Some super stripped down rhythms are laid over a swirling ghostly backdrop of fragmented melodies and a buried house music thump, tangled and blurred strings wrap the proceedings in a veil of softened reverb and subtle echo, the almost Eastern sounding pulse and swell reminding us a bit of the late great Muslimgauze.
Finally, the record collapses into some sort of melancholic sonic reverie, a hushed ambient outro, a tranquil sea of soft swirling swells, clouds of echo and reverb, a dreamy darkness, a blackened bit of blurpop minimalism, laced with muted streaks of fuzz and hiss, but all gradually sinking into Demdike Stare's endless trancelike billowing blackness.
The bonus tracks on this one (3 of them, clocking in at nearly 20 minutes) continue the record's surreal sonic journey, spidery rhythms, and chiming melodies are looped and layered over a simple pulsing propulsive groove, the whole thing slightly warped and warbled, as if recorded onto an old piece of tape, and played back on some dusty old ramshackle tape player, ghostly, but surprisingly playful at first, before slipping into some seriously creepy, deeeeeep droning rumbles, wreathed in shimmering solar winds, softly billowing sheets of hiss and static, eventually shedding all of that, leaving just a thick morass of softly undulating low end, shot through with a slo-mo house music pulse, only to have the hiss and whir return, this time relegated to the background, until the track finishes surprisingly with what sounds like a bit of African style funkiness, before disappearing in a brief cloud of swirling hushed buzz.
Finally, the third disc, Voices Of Dust, unveils the Tryptych's final movement, opening with "Black Sun", a short stretch of some super minimal electronic dronemusic, all layered overtones and strange sonic shadings, which gives way to the chopped and looped and stuttery vocal driven "Hashshashin Chant" which takes tribal drums and traditional folk music vocals, and twists them all up, and tangles those elements with strange percussion, industrial buzz, the whole thing a dizzying chunk of hypno-electronic collaged psychedelic mashup weirdness, before slipping into the much murkier and minimal "Repository Of Light", which unfurls like some sort of Hawkwind-meets-Pole spaced out digi-dub drift. And so it goes, the sound flitting between impossibly realized miniature sound worlds, cinematic electronic ambience, ominously pulsing low end rumble, hazy glitchy dubbed out Jeckian smears, super blown out electronic big beat bombast, almost industrial sounding avant big band abstraction, roiling corrosive soft noise, bellowing foghorn-like melodies, warped and woozy scratchy old lp warblescapes and beyond.
The bonus tracks are the perfect, hazy, ghostly coda, the first, a warm, whispery bit of keening abstract melody and thick pulsing thrum, all very washed out and space-y and dreamlike, a constantly vibrating living thing, a throbbing organic expanse of minimal space drone psychedelic ambience, until finally, the whole disc is laid to rest with 9 minutes of heaving, glacial, metallic creep and creak, wreathed in record crackle, the final sounds unfurl like some old dusty Tim Hecker 45 spinning at 16rpm, mournful moaning melodies, buried rhythmic thumps, shimmery sitar like buzz, all hazy and smeared and lysergic and mysteriously murky, the perfect slipping-into-darkness, leaving-this-world-behind finale...
Gorgeously evocative, creepy and cinematic, abstract and otherworldly, druggy and dreamy, fantastically haunting and utterly spine tinglingly stunning. And thus, absolutely recommended.
Matt's addendum: "Really feeling this collection of tunes these days. Love blasting this spooky dub-collage REAL loud in the shop! Thee neighbors get upset, but they need to chill cuz it has to be MASSIVE!"
MPEG Stream: "Forest Of Evil (Dusk)"
MPEG Stream: "Caged In Stammheim"
MPEG Stream: "Eurydice"
MPEG Stream: "Regolith"
MPEG Stream: "Hashashin Chant"
MPEG Stream: "Repository Of Light"
MPEG Stream: "Rain And Shame"

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

album cover VOX POPULI! / PACIFIC 231 Cut Chemist Presents ... Funk Off (A Stable Sound) cd 17.98
Somewhere in France, sometime in the '80s: a radical independent underground micro-scene peopled by creative teenagers who grew up listening to Kraftwerk, Throbbing Gristle, A Certain Ratio, Metal Urbain, and Cabaret Voltaire, making their own synth- and sample-based music, with heavy beats and noisy dubbed out FX, that's like a post-punk/industrial hybrid of old school hiphop, Detroit electro, and tape-splicing musique concrete experimentation, releasing it themselves on artfully packaged cassette tapes and occasional pieces of vinyl, in limited editions heard only by the most dedicated international networkers in that pre-internet age. Sound good? It is! That's what this release documents, remarkable DIY music that's been aptly described as "like Wild Style on dust". Or imagine some other underground '80s industrial experimentalists from France, like Le Syndicat, toning down the noise (a little) and trying to make tracks like Afrika Bambaataa.
And please don't get confused, either, 'cause noted turntablist, producer and crate digger Cut Chemist's name is on the cover. This isn't a DJ mix, or remix, or collaboration, or anything like that. Cut Chemist doesn't himself have anything to do with the music of the two closely related bands on here, Vox Populi! and Pacific 231, other than having discovered 'em on one of his record-buying excursions (specifically via finding Vox Populi!'s track "Megamix" on a rare compilation LP called Alternative Funk, released by VP!'s own Vox Man label), and then making it his mission to find out more about them and get their stuff reissued - which he did, after many years of research, and friendships forged with both Vox Populi's leader Axel Kyrou and his colleague Pierre Jolivet, whose own project Pacific 231 ran parallel to Vox Populi!, and was also an important part of the collective described above.
So, thanks to Cut Chemist, whose imprimatur will hopefully help get this music some additional well deserved attention, we've now got this fantastic anthology of twenty VP! and P231 tracks rescued & remastered from rare cassette and vinyl comps, eps, etc., with plenty of previously unreleased material too. It's a real treasure trove of headnodding, mindblowing, utterly rad stuff, what could be indeed called, "alternative funk". Make that, alternative WTF? funk. These wide-ranging tracks contain, in varying combinations and degrees, all manner of frizzled blip bloop electronics, propulsive drum machine rhythms, subversive cut-ups, spanking funk bass, gothic cold wave vocals, ambient synth trances, crazed echoing dub effects, and reel-to-reel tape manipulation (the DJ "scratching" sounds you'll hear). All we can say is, upon hearing this, we immediately understood Cut Chemist's obsession!
Musically, the French always seem to have their own unique, unusual take on things, whether it's disco or prog or black metal, and the hard-to-define genre this represents is no exception.
The thick cd booklet (or big lp insert) is full of detailed liner notes, graphics and photos, which should give one a good sense of the exciting artistic/cultural/musical milieu these folks inhabited. Highly, highly recommended. (Note, the double vinyl version comes with a bonus 7" of extra tracks, which are also included on the cd.)
MPEG Stream: VOX POPULI! "Bala Mala"
MPEG Stream: VOX POPULI! "Mind"
MPEG Stream: VOX POPULI! "Funk Off"
MPEG Stream: PACIFIC 231 "Radio Moscou/Satyriasis"

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

album cover OH SEES, THEE Singles Vol. 1 & 2 (Castle Face) cd 13.98
FINALLY AVAILABLE ON CD!!!!
This one really shouldn't need too much of a description, this cd (previously a double lp) collects essentially ALL of the Oh Sees singles: The Carol Anne 7", Peanut Butter Oven 12", the split 7" with Paul Cary, the split 7" with The Intelligence, the Grave Blockers ep, the Tidal Wave single, the Blood In Your Ear single, the Sub Pop single, the tour split 7" with Jay Reatard, as well as a few previously unreleased surprises. The first half of this comp is actually the same stuff that was on the bonus cd that came with the Zork's Tape Bruise lp released on Kill Shamen way back when, while the rest is newly compiled. It's a pretty bad ass collection, Thee Oh Sees were and are definitely one of those bands who seem to do their best rocking in the short format, and these are definitely some of our favorite Oh Sees jams. Absolutely essential for fans of course, and newbies, well, we can't really think of a better place to start.
Need more? Here are several excerpts from reviews of a few of the singles included in this collection:
Blood In Your Ear: Some fuzzy, distorted lo-fi sixties pop infused garage rock that totally rocks. Crunchy, distorted, fuzzy, groovy, doused in reverb and delay, the vocals a distorted yelp, the guitars all jangly, this time around there's even some harmonica, stomping and hooky and kick ass. That's just the A side. The flipside just might be one of our favorite Oh Sees jams yet, all brooding and power poppy, reminding us of the Wipers, but with strange bloopy keyboards, and a weary washed out minor key vibe, so super catchy, we find ourselves humming it through the days, and running to the front of the store when it gets played. Awesome.
Peanut Butter Oven: Full of that sixties big beat cavernous murky wall of feedback pop that we love. "Kingsmeat" is all melancholy Farfisa over upbeat rhythms and ringing feedback tones before turning up the Bo Diddley pace for "The Freak Was Clean", before the almost shoe-gazy "Kids In Cars" winds us down quite nicely.
Tidal Wave: Totally perfect, ultra catchy blasts of pure garage pop genius!
Split with The Intelligence: The two Oh Sees songs end before you know it but they're so good and infectious that we've just been playing them over and over and over.
You get the picture. And like the lp version, killer topless magic marker fake tattoo Oh Sees fan boy sleeve too. Nice!
MPEG Stream: "Carol Ann"
MPEG Stream: "The Freak Was Clean"
MPEG Stream: "Bloody Water"
MPEG Stream: "Hey Buddy"
MPEG Stream: "Grave Blockers"

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

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

album cover IRON DOGS Free & Wild (Iron Bonehead) lp 17.98
Now at last we have a tiny handful (otherwise, we'd Highlight it) of this former Record Of The Week on vinyl, to list! Here's what we said 'bout the digipak cd, which we also still have copies of...
As promised, these brilliant Canadian metalpunks are now back with their second full-length album. Like their debut Cold Bitch, it's another "single-coil assault" of rollicking, punked-out, '80s influenced speed metal that's absolutely unfuckwithable. No, not in the sense that it's the most technically advanced musically, or super high in fidelity, no, we're talking about the sheer spirit of it. And it's the sort of thing that's just kind of perfect in its DIY imperfection. Not by any means a tired, unimaginative exercise in emulating the past that we hear from so many retro thrash bands, instead the Iron Dogs fashion inspiration from their '80s faves - the likes of early Iron Maiden, English Dogs, Exciter, Cirith Ungol, and Tank - into something newly vibrant and alive. Proudly old school while still sounding 'young'. Delightfully loose and exuberant, ready to rock right off the rails, but not careless or half-assed, despite the raw garaginess of it all.
As hopefully you well remember, we freakin' raved about Cold Bitch last year, likening it to a cross between Speedwolf and Slough Feg, and this new one takes the sound of that album and runs with it, delivering the goods with another batch of songs just as good or better than the first, if anything. So while Free & Wild isn't super different than Cold Bitch, that's just fine with us! Some bands are about 'progression', you want 'em exploring new sounds and ideas from record to record; others, you don't want anything to change, you just want MORE, new killer songs in the same style, which is what you get here. And since we loved Cold Bitch so much and spun it so often, we HAD to make Free & Wild a Record Of The Week. Free & Wild even sports a similar cover concept - a photo of a sword wielding, blood-drenched naked lady. She's being "Free & Wild" we guess, taking men's heads and putting them on stakes (or perhaps this tableau is inspired by track six here, "Cannibal Death Cult"). Cold Bitch's cover was a bit more clever but this one is no less striking.
One change with this album, not that you would notice it, is that Iron Dogs are no longer a trio, but a duo, with Dan Lee on on drums and Jo Capitalicide on vocals, guitar, bass, and even some synth. And as a two piece, Jo and Dan are now our favorite metal duo since Fenriz and Nocturno Culto - and we'd imagine that those two Darkthrone dudes would highly approve of what the Iron Dogs are up to, the mix of NWOBHM gallop and crusty punk fervor is right up their alley.
Now, some other, less enlightened people might find fault with the production (solid but certainly not slick), or not be on board with Capitalicide's untrained rough-and-tumble vocal holler (with Dan Lee's backing vox adding even more jubilance). But those folks are obviously not punk rock enough - and/or cult metal enough - to 'get it'. To us what makes this so special comes through loud and clear in each of this album's eight tracks, all of 'em exploding with energy, catchy hooks and epic feel, crammed full of delicious bits of metallic goodness. Opener "Firebird" (for which they've made an entertaining low-budget video, perhaps inspired by Benny Hill as much as the videos of Canadian antecedent Thor, see it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWZsD2kFeSo) is a melodic, motivational speedy anthem to get things going. From there, the half-hour run time of this album rips by with highlight after highlight, Jo singing of fighting, freedom, and fantasy. We love every bit of this. The heartracing riffage. The majestic Moog moments. The up-and-down cascade of wordless vocal woah-oh-oh-ohs in the middle of "Island Of The Dead". The way Jo's voice cracks on that one verse in "Storm Warning". The folky fast picked guitar motif on "Adversity" - indeed all the melodic guitar licks bursting out everywhere. This rousing Iron Dogs album, non-ironic but not over-serious, epitomizes the positive power of metal in a shitty world.
Ok, so we're hopeless Iron Dogs fanboys... but there's a reason for that! Listen and learn. If it's not your thing, it's not your thing. We won't call you a poseur. But we'll still be sorry for you. 'Cause Iron Dogs RULE!
MPEG Stream: "Adversity"
MPEG Stream: "Evil In The Keep"
MPEG Stream: "Storm Warning"

album cover COWLEY, PATRICK School Daze (Dark Entries) cd 14.98
NOW ON CD! (Fyi, for space reasons, it's one track shorter than the double vinyl version we previously made record of the week - and is currently being repressed).
For every ecstatic high, there often needs to be a soul crushing descent, a dark, dark comedown. San Francisco electronic music pioneer Patrick Cowley is best known for his trailblazing signature sound which helped spawn a whole dance music genre (Hi-NRG), as well as his amazing production work, not to mention guest spots on many of our favorite Sylvester tracks. But we always knew there was another side to Patrick Cowley's musical genius. His life ended way too early, as one of the first victims of the AIDS epidemic (before they even understood what AIDS was), but in the short time he was on this planet he recorded hours and hours of electronic music light-years ahead of its time. Most of those recordings have never seen the light of day.
In recent years it seems a whole genre of "space-disco" has emerged out of the influence of the Sylvester track "I Need Somebody To Love", produced by Cowley, who almost single handedly created the cut's distinctive minimal spacey/sensual sound. And within the many solo Cowley releases, there were hints of this darker sonic side, a whole part of his music making beyond the greatness he created for disco divas and sweaty dance floors. Tracks like "Mutant Man" and "Sea Hunt" gave us an intoxicating glimpse into a much weirder and way more abstract world of synth-sounds, that had us hungering for more...
Enter School Daze, a Dark Entries collection of previously unreleased tracks, which showcase that warped and dark side of Cowley's music. These tracks were originally commissioned by the LA-based Fox Studios, makers of gay porn, and as we listen to this over and over, we can only imagine what kind of hazy, foggy, fucked up, beyond high, drug addled state of mind that folks must have been in to watch pornography set to these dark & dizzying sounds!
The opening track is the outlier here, a chunk of classic Cowley Hi-NRG, but it's certainly a misleading introduction, as throughout the rest of School Daze, there is hardly a trace of Cowley's typical dance floor production, instead these songs much more concerned with capturing a mood and vibe that evokes melting and dripping trippiness, seemingly designed for late, late nights long after the party has ended. Tracks like "Tides Of Man" take us on a harrowing dark voyage, the listener losing control and spiralling deeper and deeper into the empty void. "Seven Sacred Pools" displays an epic side of Cowley's sound, the track drifts drowsily from underwater warble and woozy spaciness into shimmering and tranquil soft wave shimmer, the sort of soundworld we wish could get lost in forever. The title track reveals Cowley reigning over his own majestic prog sci-fi fantasyland. Whatever the sound, Cowley somehow makes it his own! And we love it!
Traces of Tangerine Dream, Vangelis, Jean Michel Jarre, Kraftwerk, Harmonia, Cluster, The BBC Radio Workshop and even musique concrete are woven throughout School Daze. We're also reminded quite a bit of some of the proto-dark techno records that Moebius was making in the early '80s with Conny Plank and Gerd Beerbohm, on albums like Double Cut, Strange Music, Material, and Zero Set. What's even more astonishing is how so many of these sounds predate by several decades the sound of so many of our favorite contemporary electronic artists. In fact, we might go so far as to call the sound on School Daze "proto-IDM", as these tracks contain blueprints to the more spaced-out sides of artists like Aphex Twin, Boards Of Canada, The Orb, Seefeel, Bola and Isolee, as well as some of our more recent faves like Glitterbug, Actress, Reuber, Gatekeeper, Delia Gonzalez & Gavin Russom.
It's unclear exactly how many of these tracks actually made it into the films, but we can safely say this is still some of the most fucked up, avant-garde porn music we've ever heard. In fact we wonder if Matmos took inspiration from some of these Cowley tracks when they were asked to create their own soundtracks to some underground kinked out porn...
While the circumstances of these songs being commissioned for porn makes for a fascinating and intriguing story, there's certainly no shortage of lost reissues with wild stories behind them. Sadly, it's often the case, that many of those super hyped releases, are way more interesting to read about than actually listen to. But in the case of School Daze, these are truly subversive and trance inducing sounds that still hold up after all these years. In fact, some of this stuff actually sounds way more damaged and avant than almost any new left-field electronic release that comes our way. For an artist so known for taking his listeners higher, School Daze plays out like the sonic version of what happens afterwards, the wasted aftermath of staying up all night, awake for days, smiling, sweating, arms in the air, it's the sound of bodily displacement, the dreadful coming down. When you can no longer dance, or even stand, but instead are left gliding, sliding, swirling, reaching, caressing, wishing, hallucinating, and grasping for one last chance of ecstatic bliss. This is the dark, drifty, drugged out record of the year!
HUGE kudos to Dark Entries not only for releasing this amazing artifact, but for donating the proceeds to Project Open Hand and AIDS Housing Alliance, two wonderful San Francisco nonprofits who do important work helping those whose lives have been impacted by HIV and AIDS.
***Prude Alert*** The cd booklet contains LOTS of explicit still images from the pornos that many of these songs were featured in!! You have been warned!
MPEG Stream: "Nightcrawler"
MPEG Stream: "Mockkingbird Dream"
MPEG Stream: "School Daze"
MPEG Stream: "Journey Home"

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

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

album cover IRON DOGS Free & Wild ( Dying Victims Productions) cd 12.98
As promised, these brilliant Canadian metalpunks are now back with their second full-length album. Like their debut Cold Bitch, it's another "single-coil assault" of rollicking, punked-out, '80s influenced speed metal that's absolutely unfuckwithable. No, not in the sense that it's the most technically advanced musically, or super high in fidelity, no, we're talking about the sheer spirit of it. And it's the sort of thing that's just kind of perfect in its DIY imperfection. Not by any means a tired, unimaginative exercise in emulating the past that we hear from so many retro thrash bands, instead the Iron Dogs fashion inspiration from their '80s faves - the likes of early Iron Maiden, English Dogs, Exciter, Cirith Ungol, and Tank - into something newly vibrant and alive. Proudly old school while still sounding 'young'. Delightfully loose and exuberant, ready to rock right off the rails, but not careless or half-assed, despite the raw garaginess of it all.
As hopefully you well remember, we freakin' raved about Cold Bitch last year, likening it to a cross between Speedwolf and Slough Feg, and this new one takes the sound of that album and runs with it, delivering the goods with another batch of songs just as good or better than the first, if anything. So while Free & Wild isn't super different than Cold Bitch, that's just fine with us! Some bands are about 'progression', you want 'em exploring new sounds and ideas from record to record; others, you don't want anything to change, you just want MORE, new killer songs in the same style, which is what you get here. And since we loved Cold Bitch so much and spun it so often, we HAD to make Free & Wild a Record Of The Week. Free & Wild even sports a similar cover concept - a photo of a sword wielding, blood-drenched naked lady. She's being "Free & Wild" we guess, taking men's heads and putting them on stakes (or perhaps this tableau is inspired by track six here, "Cannibal Death Cult"). Cold Bitch's cover was a bit more clever but this one is no less striking.
One change with this album, not that you would notice it, is that Iron Dogs are no longer a trio, but a duo, with Dan Lee on on drums and Jo Capitalicide on vocals, guitar, bass, and even some synth. And as a two piece, Jo and Dan are now our favorite metal duo since Fenriz and Nocturno Culto - and we'd imagine that those two Darkthrone dudes would highly approve of what the Iron Dogs are up to, the mix of NWOBHM gallop and crusty punk fervor is right up their alley.
Now, some other, less enlightened people might find fault with the production (solid but certainly not slick), or not be on board with Capitalicide's untrained rough-and-tumble vocal holler (with Dan Lee's backing vox adding even more jubilance). But those folks are obviously not punk rock enough - and/or cult metal enough - to 'get it'. To us what makes this so special comes through loud and clear in each of this album's eight tracks, all of 'em exploding with energy, catchy hooks and epic feel, crammed full of delicious bits of metallic goodness. Opener "Firebird" (for which they've made an entertaining low-budget video, perhaps inspired by Benny Hill as much as the videos of Canadian antecedent Thor, see it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWZsD2kFeSo) is a melodic, motivational speedy anthem to get things going. From there, the half-hour run time of this album rips by with highlight after highlight, Jo singing of fighting, freedom, and fantasy. We love every bit of this. The heartracing riffage. The majestic Moog moments. The up-and-down cascade of wordless vocal woah-oh-oh-ohs in the middle of "Island Of The Dead". The way Jo's voice cracks on that one verse in "Storm Warning". The folky fast picked guitar motif on "Adversity" - indeed all the melodic guitar licks bursting out everywhere. This rousing Iron Dogs album, non-ironic but not over-serious, epitomizes the positive power of metal in a shitty world.
Ok, so we're hopeless Iron Dogs fanboys... but there's a reason for that! Listen and learn. If it's not your thing, it's not your thing. We won't call you a poseur. But we'll still feel sorry for you. 'Cause Iron Dogs RULE!
(Note: this is the handsome cd digipack edition - but if you act fast and ask, you could possibly snag one of the few "vinyls" we have left, or even a cassette, neither of which we're actually listing 'cause we have so few.)
MPEG Stream: "Adversity"
MPEG Stream: "Evil In The Keep"
MPEG Stream: "Storm Warning"

album cover T.R.A.S.E. (TAPE RECORDER AND SYNTHESIZER ENSEMBLE) s/t (B-Music / Finders Keepers) 2lp 28.00
NOW WE'VE GOT THE IMPORT VINYL VERSION TO LIST OF THIS RECENT RECORD OF THE WEEK, AS WELL!
Sweet! This is the sort of thing that makes for a good Record Of The Week both 'cause of how it sounds (always the biggest consideration of course!!) and also 'cause the back story is pretty cool, too. We'll start with that. T.R.A.S.E. stands for Tape Recorder And Synthesizer Ensemble, a name that, if used by a band nowadays might seem just a bit unimaginatively straightforward & blandly self-explanatory, or perhaps meant ironically academic-sounding somehow. But when you learn that T.R.A.S.E. were a DIY "ensemble" masterminded by a precocious British schoolboy back in 1981, making experimental electronic home recordings that sound not too far from stuff such modern-day outfits as Emeralds and Umberto and Soft Moon would be doing years later, then the name becomes fairly endearing, eh? Just take a look at the cover photo, two skinny teenagers, one looking kinda cool in T-shirt and shades, standing with electric guitar in hand, the other kid in sweater and jeans, looking a bit dorkier as he sits amidst a cluttered array of electronic keyboards, amplifiers, reel-to-reel tape machines and other assorted audio gear. The latter teen is T.R.A.S.E. founder Andy Popplewell, most definitely an A/V geek at his school, who put together his own six-channel audio mixer at age 16 following plans in a issue of Practical Electronics magazine. Being into both sci-fi soundtracks and new wave music like The Human League, Ultravox and Gary Numan (one of the tracks here is a Tubeway Army cover) it wasn't long before that mixer, and other gear he built, like an "Elektor Chorosynth", was put to use to record his own music. Kraftwerk, Jean-Michel Jarre, and Giorgio Moroder where among his other inspirations. T.R.A.S.E. recorded one unreleased cassette lp called Electronic Rock, and the deep diggers at B-Music/Finders Keepers have compiled tracks from that tape here along with other home studio / real studio / demo tracks by Popplewell and T.R.A.S.E., 14 total cuts of adolescent outsider synthsplorations, all tick-tocking drum machines and swells of droning synth, adorned with phaser and fuzz FX, replete with gentle melodies and warped "cosmic" soundz. These tracks are mostly instrumental, though a few have vocals, like the Messethetics-ish downer electro pop of "Talk To Me" and the sad, fuzzy "Unrequited Love". So much primitive shimmering synth beauty, the more abstract of the tracks glistening rhythmically, the more song-like coming across like lo-fi coldwave cuts.
Perhaps the best recommendation we can give this, is that playing it in the store, generally results in customers asking about it and buying a copy. Probably the best "long lost tapes" release of vintage unknown electronica since that Rodion G.A. record!! One of those serendipitous discoveries, occasioned by a fortuitous meeting between Andy Popplewell and Andy Votel of Finders Keepers.
Includes color photos and vintage synth kit adverts, alongside detailed and very revealing liner notes penned by Popplewell himself, who in the wake of T.R.A.S.E. later became a BBC radio engineer, now works in audio media restoration, and who currently studies conspiracy theories and other esoteric knowledge in his spare time.
MPEG Stream: "T.R.A.S.E. Sketch-1"
MPEG Stream: "Harmonium"
MPEG Stream: "Talk To Me"
MPEG Stream: "Momento"

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

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

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

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

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

album cover COWLEY, PATRICK School Daze (Dark Entries) 2lp 25.00
For every ecstatic high, there often needs to be a soul crushing descent, a dark, dark comedown. San Francisco electronic music pioneer Patrick Cowley is best known for his trailblazing signature sound which helped spawn a whole dance music genre (Hi-NRG), as well as his amazing production work, not to mention guest spots on many of our favorite Sylvester tracks. But we always knew there was another side to Patrick Cowley's musical genius. His life ended way too early, as one of the first victims of the AIDS epidemic (before they even understood what AIDS was), but in the short time he was on this planet he recorded hours and hours of electronic music light-years ahead of its time. Most of those recordings have never seen the light of day.
In recent years it seems a whole genre of "space-disco" has emerged out of the influence of the Sylvester track "I Need Somebody To Love", produced by Cowley, who almost single handedly created the cut's distinctive minimal spacey/sensual sound. And within the many solo Cowley releases, there were hints of this darker sonic side, a whole part of his music making beyond the greatness he created for disco divas and sweaty dance floors. Tracks like "Mutant Man" and "Sea Hunt" gave us an intoxicating glimpse into a much weirder and way more abstract world of synth-sounds, that had us hungering for more...
Enter School Daze, a Dark Entries collection of previously unreleased tracks, which showcase that warped and dark side of Cowley's music. These tracks were originally commissioned by the LA-based Fox Studios, makers of gay porn, and as we listen to this over and over, we can only imagine what kind of hazy, foggy, fucked up, beyond high, drug addled state of mind that folks must have been in to watch pornography set to these dark & dizzying sounds!
The opening track is the outlier here, a chunk of classic Cowley Hi-NRG, but it's certainly a misleading introduction, as throughout the rest of School Daze, there is hardly a trace of Cowley's typical dance floor production, instead these songs much more concerned with capturing a mood and vibe that evokes melting and dripping trippiness, seemingly designed for late, late nights long after the party has ended. Tracks like "Tides Of Man" take us on a harrowing dark voyage, the listener losing control and spiralling deeper and deeper into the empty void. "Seven Sacred Pools" displays an epic side of Cowley's sound, the track drifts drowsily from underwater warble and woozy spaciness into shimmering and tranquil soft wave shimmer, the sort of soundworld we wish could get lost in forever. The title track reveals Cowley reigning over his own majestic prog sci-fi fantasyland. Whatever the sound, Cowley somehow makes it his own! And we love it!
Traces of Tangerine Dream, Vangelis, Jean Michel Jarre, Kraftwerk, Harmonia, Cluster, The BBC Radio Workshop and even musique concrete are woven throughout School Daze. We're also reminded quite a bit of some of the proto-dark techno records that Moebius was making in the early '80s with Conny Plank and Gerd Beerbohm, on albums like Double Cut, Strange Music, Material, and Zero Set. What's even more astonishing is how so many of these sounds predate by several decades the sound of so many of our favorite contemporary electronic artists. In fact, we might go so far as to call the sound on School Daze "proto-IDM", as these tracks contain blueprints to the more spaced-out sides of artists like Aphex Twin, Boards Of Canada, The Orb, Seefeel, Bola and Isolee, as well as some of our more recent faves like Glitterbug, Actress, Reuber, Gatekeeper, Delia Gonzalez & Gavin Russom.
It's unclear exactly how many of these tracks actually made it into the films, but we can safely say this is still some of the most fucked up, avant-garde porn music we've ever heard. In fact we wonder if Matmos took inspiration from some of these Cowley tracks when they were asked to create their own soundtracks to some underground kinked out porn...
While the circumstances of these songs being commissioned for porn makes for a fascinating and intriguing story, there's certainly no shortage of lost reissues with wild stories behind them. Sadly, it's often the case, that many of those super hyped releases, are way more interesting to read about than actually listen to. But in the case of School Daze, these are truly subversive and trance inducing sounds that still hold up after all these years. In fact, some of this stuff actually sounds way more damaged and avant than almost any new left-field electronic release that comes our way. For an artist so known for taking his listeners higher, School Daze plays out like the sonic version of what happens afterwards, the wasted aftermath of staying up all night, awake for days, smiling, sweating, arms in the air, it's the sound of bodily displacement, the dreadful coming down. When you can no longer dance, or even stand, but instead are left gliding, sliding, swirling, reaching, caressing, wishing, hallucinating, and grasping for one last chance of ecstatic bliss. This is the dark, drifty, drugged out record of the year!
HUGE kudos to Dark Entries not only for releasing this amazing artifact, but for donating the proceeds to Project Open Hand and AIDS Housing Alliance, two wonderful San Francisco nonprofits who do important work helping those whose lives have been impacted by HIV and AIDS.
***Prude Alert*** The inside sleeves of this gatefold double lp contain LOTS of explicit still images from the pornos that many of these songs were featured in!! You have been warned!
MPEG Stream: "Nightcrawler"
MPEG Stream: "Mockkingbird Dream"
MPEG Stream: "School Daze"
MPEG Stream: "Journey Home"

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

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

album cover MONOTON Monotonproduct 07 (Desire) 2lp 30.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
OOOHHH!!! NOW ON VINYL FOR THE FIRST TIME IN OVER THREE DECADES!!!
Konrad Becker released only a couple of albums in the early '80s under his moniker Monoton. The modest editions of his recordings relegated him to inevitable obscurity back then, but thankfully through the magic of reissue technology more folks now have had a chance to enjoy his genius work, a hyper-bleak precursor of electronica, that bridged the kosmische sounds of Cluster and Conrad Schnitzler with the more contemporary sounds of Pan Sonic and Coh to come.
We're sure that there are more than a few modern music nerds out there who hang on every word printed in The Wire, so the reissue of anything by Monoton will no doubt thrill those avid Wire readers. Of course, not everyone keeps one eye on The Wire; so allow us to reiterate what that fine British music magazine penned about this album in 1996, The Wire did a cover story entitled "100 Records that set the world on fire (when no one was listening)," and which featured plenty of favorites already heralded in their pages (Derek Bailey, Faust, Fushitsusha, Nurse With Wound, Bernhard Gunter, etc.) as well as a handful of brilliant records which apparently nobody else had ever heard. Monoton's 2nd album, Monotoprodukt 07, from 1982, found its way onto that list of 100 seminal albums, despite the fact that barely anyone actually owned copies of this self-released album of Germanic proto-electronica. Wire scribe Biba Kopf was one of those lucky few, and certainly said it better than we could have: "[This album] is so alive with the pulses that triggered many electronicas to come, from techno through trance to Mego's creeping static, you could make a case for Konrad Becker's guruhood. Yet for all its prescient washed out tones, threadbare textures and minimalist rigour, it has the edge on much that followed. Adopting an imperious art stance towards mainstreams and margins alike, Becker cast a cold analytic eye over electronica's urfathers, picking up on Suicide's jittertronic urgency, if not their melodrama, and DAF's throbbing sequencers, but with the sex threat removed, which he patched into his own crackling circuits, hissing vistas and tumbling beatstreams."
Lo and behold, the good people at Oral in Canada were kind enough to reissue Monotonprodukt 07 first on cd back in 2003 (long since out of print) and now at last on vinyl, complete with a beefed-up re-mastered sound complements of the best in the business, Rashad Becker (no relation?), making for a very cool and highly recommended listen! We concur with The Wire about this album's importance. This really is one of aQ's experimental electronica essentials.
MPEG Stream: "Dancing & Singing"
MPEG Stream: "Fire"
MPEG Stream: "Root Of 1 = 1"

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

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

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

album cover SENSATIONS' FIX Fragments Of Light (Superior Viaduct) lp 23.00
Spacey, synth-based prog/psych from the early '70s (or whenever!) doesn't get much better than this. The trio Sensations' Fix captured something pretty special on their tripped out, ultra-underground sounding debut, originally released by Italian Polydor in 1974 and now reissued on vinyl for the first time, by local archival label Superior Viaduct. While it sounds like it could have been made in a synth-stuffed bunker in Berlin, or somewhere in the pastoral English countryside (outside, under the stars, towards the break of dawn), this was actually recorded in an suburban basement in the USA, on a 4-track, by an Italian musician, Franco Falsini (the composer, credited with "guitars and synthesizers"), and two Americans he recruited, Richard Ursillo ("bass guitars and electronic pedals") and Keith Edwards ("drums and percussion"). Though for much of this, Mr. Edwards sits out, as the mysterious floating electronics and blissful strum of Fragments Of Light are ofttimes purely ethereal, only occasionally lashed to propulsive beats, and even those are may be machine-made, with what sounds like live drumming on really only one of the tracks (however, he's apparently the guy that turned Falsini on to LSD, so he should get some musical credit for that).
Song titles include "Nuclear War In Your Brain", "Music Without Gravity", "Music Is Painting In The Air" and "Telepathic Children"; all seem quite appropriate, even the cryptic ones we don't understand. The drifty, druggy, echoing synthed-out weirdness of this, however, is balanced (or, rather, enhanced) by Falsini's knack for wonderful melodies, that's the key to this varied and delightful basement-recorded, often melancholic Minimoog fantasia.
As you may recall, last year we were super excited to highlight a Sensations' Fix anthology, Music Is Painting In The Air, put out by the RVNG label. We mentioned then how we've been longtime fans of this band's hard-to-find debut record, which we hoped hoped hoped would someday be reissued in its entirety (the anthology included just a few tracks from Fragments Of Light, in alternate versions). So, big ups to Superior Viaduct for making this happen. Man, we're not engineers so we wouldn't know about the superiority of their viaducts, but we do know the label's choice of records to reissue certainly is superior! Third aQuarius Record Of The Week this year already - Craig Leon, Devo, now Sensations' Fix! And, there's *another* great SV reish reviewed this list too, Heldon's Interface - and we also just got in their lp of the Solaris soundtrack, too!
In our review of the RVNG collection we said some stuff we may as well more-or-less repeat 'cause it applies here completely. SF's electronic-based driftworks have a quite lovely "pop" side to 'em too, sometimes - while mostly instrumental, a few tracks do have gentle, breathy Robert Wyatt-ish singing to go with the hazy, meandering, meditative atmospheres. It's definitely not the usual sort of quasi-operatic, over-the-top, classically influenced Italian prog that we're used to (and love), from bands like Il Balletto Di Bronzo, Le Orme, or Osanna, no. Also fairly far from the sinister soundtrack funk of Goblin. Sensations' Fix are different, having more in common with the kosmiche krautrock electronics of the era - such as Klaus Schulze, Tangerine Dream, Cluster, Popul Vuh, Michael Rother, Ashra, A.R. & Machines, and You (among others who came before and after). They also may have indeed been influenced by the Canterbury sound of bands like the Soft Machine, so one Italian prog act we could compare them to would be Picchio Dal Pozzo. We could also compare 'em to a kinder, gentler version of Richard Pinhas & Heldon, from France, with a similar futuristic comingling of synthesizer and effected guitar, for sure (and thus is makes sense Superior Viaduct would release this simultaneously with the aforementioned Heldon lp too). Also the Heldon comparison brings up another big influence - Robert Fripp. Indeed, this record bears the inscription: "Dear Robert, you'll be glad to know that the heavenly music organisation is here too", a reference to the track "The Heavenly Music Corporation" on the A side of Fripp & Eno's No Pussyfooting album from '73. Oh, and on the surprisingly sunshiney vocal track "Do You Love Me?", we get a bit of an early Yes vibe.
So, if you want to something to enjoy that's just sooooooo very cosmic and dreamy and melodic, this is highly recommended!!
MPEG Stream: "Fragments Of Light"
MPEG Stream: "Music Is Painting In The Air"
MPEG Stream: "Spacer Energy Age"
MPEG Stream: "Space Closure"

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

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

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

album cover MAMMANE SANI ET SON ORGUE La Musique Electronique Du Niger (Sahel Sounds / Mississippi / Change) lp 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
The Sahel Sounds label (responsible for Music From Saharan Cel Phones, Harafin So, and many more great lps of music from the Sahel region of Africa) strikes again with this amazing reissue of an uber-rare vintage cassette, the lone album circa 1978 by Nigerian "electronic music pioneer" Mammane Sani Abdullaye. We're told that if you live in West Africa, you'd likely be familiar with Mammane's instrumental music to some extent, as his tunes have apparently been used frequently in the background on radio and TV broadcasts over the past three decades. For us though, his sounds are an exciting discovery! Mammane plays the electric organ, in a fairly minimalistic and repetitive style, his music full of charming, simple melodies; it sounds very live and intimate, recorded with hardly any overdubs (it was done on a 2 track machine) and pleasingly lo-fi, with a little bit of tape hiss (just like we like it).
Some of the songs are woozy, sweetly dreamy sound paintings, others are more uptempo and percussive, with tick-tocking rhythm backing tracks, and Mammane joyously tickling the keys over top. Chiptune/skweee fans might enjoy the more video-game-y blip blip bleep of the calm yet jaunty "Bodo", while the laidback grooviness of the likes of "Tunan" should appeal to fans of the Ethiopiques series, even though this is from a completely different region of Africa.
Many of the melodies are based on traditional Nigerian folk music - as the label's notes say, "Mammane electrifies the nomadic drum of the tende, the polyphonic ballads of the Woddaabe, and the pastoral hymns of the Sahelian herders". Others are entirely original. And all are quite lovely indeed. Such a find.
Highly recommended in particular to fans of Francis Bebey and his African Electronic Music 1975-1982 collection that we also made a Record Of The Week a while back. An absolutely delightful record!
It's a limited vinyl-only edition of 500 (for now, but we can hope that they'll do a cd too).
MPEG Stream: "Salamantu"
MPEG Stream: "Kobon Lerai"
MPEG Stream: "Bodo"

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

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

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

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

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

album cover ERICKSON, ROKY The Evil One (Light In The Attic) cd 16.98
At this point Roky Erickson's turbulent story has been pretty well documented (there's even a movie about it!), and it now seems to occupy the same strange annals of musical history as the Norwegian black metal murders and the rise/fall/rise/fall/rise again of Pentagram's unsinkable Bobby Liebling - gazed upon with morbid car-crash curiosity by the casual listening public! But it's still probably the best place to start for those uninitiated souls considering taking the one way trip into the bizarre landscape of The Evil One. The abridged version is this: Roky Erickson first made a name for himself as a founding member of psychedelic pioneers and vocal LSD proponents 13th Floor Elevators (bonus fact: they're thought to have invented the term "psychedelic rock"!), but as a result of a minor drug arrest and a schizophrenia diagnosis he wound up in a mental institution subjected to the horrors of involuntary electroshock therapy.
In the years that followed his release he publicly claimed that a Martian had begun inhabiting his body, was arrested for mail theft after developing an obsession with the postal system... only recently, in the 2000's, has seemingly pulled himself together, and thankfully has started playing live again. It's definitely a sad and a fascinating story, but all throughout those tumultuous years Roky kept putting out albums, and it's important not to let the backstory overshadow that fact. Because regardless of everything else, there is absolutely no doubt in our minds that The Evil One is a bona fide MASTERPIECE, and is probably as good as any hard rock record you will ever hear. Originally released in 1981 and collecting some of Roky's earliest solo material (a few of the tracks were featured on the I Have Always Been Here Before compilation that we reviewed some time back), The Evil One is as timeless a rock record as there's ever been. It seems to exist in some sort of vintage vacuum - it has that vague sense of sounding "old" but doesn't seem to belong to any specific period in music. It has the unique quality of sounding both ahead of its time and strangely retro, even for 1981 - like it was transported from some alternate rock & roll past where the Billboard charts were topped by pop/rock occult ballads and catchy demon worshipping jams.
"Two Headed Dog" opens the record with a jarring, almost post-punk wall of guitar dissonance before a snare drum ushers in an absolutely perfect swaggering proto metal riff - recalling the best moments of classic Alice Cooper and Blue Oyster Cult. Great leads and tight flawlessly simple drumming abounds, all while Erickson wails about children being nailed to crosses like some sort of deranged bizarro Neil Young, if he'd perhaps become a Satanist preacher or delirious doomsday prophesier. There's a Southern twang to Roky Erickson's vocals as well, that lend a certain Americana baptist noir to much of the record. The production is soft and almost subdued - but it's the perfect compliment to the deceptively simple songs and Erickson's surreal stream of consciousness lyrics (perfectly represented by the album cover's chaotic collage that seems to be exploding from Roky's head). The Evil One is certainly a strange record, but it's a subtle creeping strangeness. It's a strangeness that never compromises the songwriting. As we said earlier, first and foremost The Evil One is a fantastic rock record - chock full of catchy choruses, great guitar leads and extremely tight understated playing.
There's tons of variety too. You only need to look at the transition from the aforementioned "Two Headed Dog" into the album's second track "I Walked with a Zombie" - a pristine slab of Saturday night drive-in B-movie doo wop (complete with "I walked with a zombie"/"He walked with a zombie" backing vocal tradeoffs!). Elsewhere there are more upbeat cuts: it's not too hard to imagine "Mine Mine Mind" or "I Think of Demons" being played by Tom Petty or The Cars while "Don't Shake Me Lucifer" is classic Chuck Berry/Rolling Stones blues rock boogie woogie. But all the while Roky is still injecting even the album's poppiest moments with bizarre imagery about devils, goblins and gremlins. It's unsettling, fun and bewildering all at the same time. There's plenty of heaviness as well though. "Night of the Vampire" has a staggered militaristic intro that recalls Diamond Head's NWOBHM classic "Am I Evil" before slithering into repetitive clean guitar gloom accompanied by epic guitar leads and bubbling horror movie synthesizers. Then this incredible closing duel synth/guitar lead comes in that seems to recall the same crumbling castle gothic horror of Ozzy Osbourne's "Mr. Crowley." Elsewhere the loose driving groove and jagged guitar harmonies of "Click Your Fingers Applauding the Play" would totally do Thin Lizzy proud - you can almost hear the unquiet restless spirit of Phil Lynott singing over it!
But moreso than referencing older bands, this record's influence can be heard in so many places after its release - most notably in the current wave of modern witchy, occult obsessed groups. It's as essential to Witchcraft's hazy organic seance-rock as vintage Pentagram is. The glorious proto-doom of "Stand for the Fire Demon" is clearly the template for The Devil's Blood's entire sound. The opening riff of "White Faces" sounds more than just a little bit like Ghost's "Ritual" (and was covered by both The Devil's Blood AND Witchcraft to boot!). And one group of dudes from North Carolina just went ahead and named their entire band after the pulsing proto metal of "Bloody Hammer"! It's not even a stretch to imagine this could have been a pretty big influence of the stripped down rock & roll darkness of Danzig's first couple of solo albums - even the "whoa-oh"s in "The Wind and More" sound a bit Misfits-y!
Just in case it's not obvious yet, this comes with the highest recommendation, and we won't hesitate in declaring it absolutely one of the best hard rock/proto metal records ever recorded. And also one of the weirdest! It's so bursting with great songs and absolutely overflowing with character in fact that it's hard to imagine ANYONE not loving this record. So give yourself over to Roky's monstrous world. Stay a while! See what strange creatures you encounter there. But don't blame us if you never find your way back home again!
MPEG Stream: "Two Headed Dog"
MPEG Stream: "I Walked With A Zombie"
MPEG Stream: "Mine Mine Mind"
MPEG Stream: "Bloody Hammer"

album cover ERICKSON, ROKY The Evil One (Light In The Attic) 2lp 28.00
At this point Roky Erickson's turbulent story has been pretty well documented (there's even a movie about it!), and it now seems to occupy the same strange annals of musical history as the Norwegian black metal murders and the rise/fall/rise/fall/rise again of Pentagram's unsinkable Bobby Liebling - gazed upon with morbid car-crash curiosity by the casual listening public! But it's still probably the best place to start for those uninitiated souls considering taking the one way trip into the bizarre landscape of The Evil One. The abridged version is this: Roky Erickson first made a name for himself as a founding member of psychedelic pioneers and vocal LSD proponents 13th Floor Elevators (bonus fact: they're thought to have invented the term "psychedelic rock"!), but as a result of a minor drug arrest and a schizophrenia diagnosis he wound up in a mental institution subjected to the horrors of involuntary electroshock therapy.
In the years that followed his release he publicly claimed that a Martian had begun inhabiting his body, was arrested for mail theft after developing an obsession with the postal system... only recently, in the 2000's, has seemingly pulled himself together, and thankfully has started playing live again. It's definitely a sad and a fascinating story, but all throughout those tumultuous years Roky kept putting out albums, and it's important not to let the backstory overshadow that fact. Because regardless of everything else, there is absolutely no doubt in our minds that The Evil One is a bona fide MASTERPIECE, and is probably as good as any hard rock record you will ever hear. Originally released in 1981 and collecting some of Roky's earliest solo material (a few of the tracks were featured on the I Have Always Been Here Before compilation that we reviewed some time back), The Evil One is as timeless a rock record as there's ever been. It seems to exist in some sort of vintage vacuum - it has that vague sense of sounding "old" but doesn't seem to belong to any specific period in music. It has the unique quality of sounding both ahead of its time and strangely retro, even for 1981 - like it was transported from some alternate rock & roll past where the Billboard charts were topped by pop/rock occult ballads and catchy demon worshipping jams.
"Two Headed Dog" opens the record with a jarring, almost post-punk wall of guitar dissonance before a snare drum ushers in an absolutely perfect swaggering proto metal riff - recalling the best moments of classic Alice Cooper and Blue Oyster Cult. Great leads and tight flawlessly simple drumming abounds, all while Erickson wails about children being nailed to crosses like some sort of deranged bizarro Neil Young, if he'd perhaps become a Satanist preacher or delirious doomsday prophesier. There's a Southern twang to Roky Erickson's vocals as well, that lend a certain Americana baptist noir to much of the record. The production is soft and almost subdued - but it's the perfect compliment to the deceptively simple songs and Erickson's surreal stream of consciousness lyrics (perfectly represented by the album cover's chaotic collage that seems to be exploding from Roky's head). The Evil One is certainly a strange record, but it's a subtle creeping strangeness. It's a strangeness that never compromises the songwriting. As we said earlier, first and foremost The Evil One is a fantastic rock record - chock full of catchy choruses, great guitar leads and extremely tight understated playing.
There's tons of variety too. You only need to look at the transition from the aforementioned "Two Headed Dog" into the album's second track "I Walked with a Zombie" - a pristine slab of Saturday night drive-in B-movie doo wop (complete with "I walked with a zombie"/"He walked with a zombie" backing vocal tradeoffs!). Elsewhere there are more upbeat cuts: it's not too hard to imagine "Mine Mine Mind" or "I Think of Demons" being played by Tom Petty or The Cars while "Don't Shake Me Lucifer" is classic Chuck Berry/Rolling Stones blues rock boogie woogie. But all the while Roky is still injecting even the album's poppiest moments with bizarre imagery about devils, goblins and gremlins. It's unsettling, fun and bewildering all at the same time. There's plenty of heaviness as well though. "Night of the Vampire" has a staggered militaristic intro that recalls Diamond Head's NWOBHM classic "Am I Evil" before slithering into repetitive clean guitar gloom accompanied by epic guitar leads and bubbling horror movie synthesizers. Then this incredible closing duel synth/guitar lead comes in that seems to recall the same crumbling castle gothic horror of Ozzy Osbourne's "Mr. Crowley." Elsewhere the loose driving groove and jagged guitar harmonies of "Click Your Fingers Applauding the Play" would totally do Thin Lizzy proud - you can almost hear the unquiet restless spirit of Phil Lynott singing over it!
But moreso than referencing older bands, this record's influence can be heard in so many places after its release - most notably in the current wave of modern witchy, occult obsessed groups. It's as essential to Witchcraft's hazy organic seance-rock as vintage Pentagram is. The glorious proto-doom of "Stand for the Fire Demon" is clearly the template for The Devil's Blood's entire sound. The opening riff of "White Faces" sounds more than just a little bit like Ghost's "Ritual" (and was covered by both The Devil's Blood AND Witchcraft to boot!). And one group of dudes from North Carolina just went ahead and named their entire band after the pulsing proto metal of "Bloody Hammer"! It's not even a stretch to imagine this could have been a pretty big influence of the stripped down rock & roll darkness of Danzig's first couple of solo albums - even the "whoa-oh"s in "The Wind and More" sound a bit Misfits-y!
Just in case it's not obvious yet, this comes with the highest recommendation, and we won't hesitate in declaring it absolutely one of the best hard rock/proto metal records ever recorded. And also one of the weirdest! It's so bursting with great songs and absolutely overflowing with character in fact that it's hard to imagine ANYONE not loving this record. So give yourself over to Roky's monstrous world. Stay a while! See what strange creatures you encounter there. But don't blame us if you never find your way back home again!
MPEG Stream: "Two Headed Dog"
MPEG Stream: "I Walked With A Zombie"
MPEG Stream: "Mine Mine Mind"
MPEG Stream: "Bloody Hammer"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

album cover LOOP Fade Out (Reactor) 2lp 25.00
FINALLY, this all time psychedelic space rock trance out classic, and former aQ Record Of The Week, reissued on vinyl!!
When people think of spaced out, drone-y drug rock, Spacemen 3 seem to get all the love, which is of course fair, Spacemen 3 totally rule, their music is magical, especially for some of us who will probably only ever experience drug use by strapping on a pair of headphones and blasting Taking Drugs To Make Music To Take Drugs To. But c'mon, let's share the love, with another group, who existed during the same time, in basically the same place, and who were sonically quite similar, yet crafted their own distinctive and incredibly iconic body of work, one that has been criminally unavailable for years now. These two reissues are the first in what will hopefully be a comprehensive reissue campaign for London space rockers Loop.
For years, Loop have been a favorite of in-the-know music nerds, whose Spacemen 3 collection is most likely rivaled by their Loop collection, and basically, to love one, is indeed to love the other. You like thick looped guitars, blown out distorted buzz, krautrocky rhythms, song structures that are simple, cyclical, repetitive, hypnotic, guitars dripping with effects, vocals drawled lazily and buried in the mix, everything hazy and washed out and bleary eyed and druggy. Wait, were we talking about Loop or Spacemen 3? Exactly. The main difference to our ears, was that Loop always seemed to rock way harder. The Spacemen would often flutter off in tripped out ambient flights of fancy, dropping the drums completely, letting the guitar pulse and throb, the vocals drifting ethereally over the top. And sure, Loop were capable of that too, but seemed to hew closer to a more driving sound, the drums much more integral to their overall vibe. The sound of Loop was equal parts krautrock and space rock, and their name was definitely referenced their sound. Loop mainman Hampson would even go on to form Main, a more tranquil guitar loop based outfit, whose obsession with texture and loops absolutely informed all of the Loop recordings. The guitars were thick, wreathed in distortion, delay, reverb, doused in effects, that not only altered their timbre, and their tone, but also often made the guitars sound backwards, creating woozy of kilter jams that seemed to slowly and subtly shift and change shapes before our very ears. The vocals weary and washed out, the drums skeletal and simple, but all fused into totally tripped out, drugged out, kraut-infused space rock bliss.
Fade Out was record number two for Loop, and found the band making a definite move forward in terms of production and sound, and an obvious shift away fro a sound they shared with countrymen Spacemen 3. The sound on Fade Out is much heavier, and way louder, the guitars sharper and more jagged, the bass more present, the vocals way more prominent, the sound immediately less druggy and washed out and more rocking. "Black Sun" is a propulsive slab of spaced out garage-y krautrock, the guitars ringing out, the second guitar a buzzing over the top, the drums busy and powerful, the whole thing still wreathed in effects, but now the murk had been replaced with something much more effulgent, a strange burnished glow, suffusing the sound, less like laying in darkness and watching colors swirl and shimmer, and more like staring directly into the sun. "This Is Where You End" continues on in the same vein, with gruff almost growled vocals, over that distinctive looped guitar figure, with multiple guitars offering up extra melody and texture.
"Fever Knife" stands out as it slows things way down, and the guitars are muted, not quite as sharp, with plenty of squiggly fun house mirror guitar melodies intertwined with that main riff, the tempo, a head nodding soporific groove, definitely reaching back a bit to the sound of Heaven's End. But then comes "Torched" with a incendiary guitar sound so loud and in the red, it threatens to blow your speakers, dwarfing the drums and bass in the background, churning and soaring, white hot and blown out big time.
The title track is another slowed down druggy dirge, the main riff lumbering woozily along side a steady simple beat, haunting processed vocals, and chunks of extra guitar buzz, the whole thing downright doomy. The last three tracks are gorgeous squalls of druggy throb and crumbling guitar buzz, the record finishing up with a short stretch of shimmering ambient drift. SO GREAT!!
The deluxe cd reissue of Fade Out that we made Record Of The Week included a whole bonus disc, sadly this version doesn't, but it is on 45rpm double vinyl.
SO TOTALLY AND UTTERLY RECOMMENDED. ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL! And for recent converts to the world of druggy space rock, anyone who has been digging local droney drug rockers Wooden Shjips (and we know there are LOTS of you out there), will definitely fall in love with Loop!!
MPEG Stream: "Black Sun"
MPEG Stream: "This Is Where You End"
MPEG Stream: "Fade Out"

album cover RODION G.A. The Lost Tapes (Strut) cd 15.98
Wow! Ok, this is pretty darn amazing. We ordered a copy of this based on a brief description we read, something along the lines of: "long lost futuristic funky proggy electronic music from behind the Iron Curtain". That was enough for us. And maybe for you too, though we're gonna go on and on about this anyway. But yeah, if that description piques your interest, let us just say that you will NOT be disappointed. However incredibly weird and cool you might imagine this could be from that short synopsis, it is probably even better!
And we were listening to it, and loving it, before we delved into the detailed liner notes and found out what it was all about - or when exactly it was from. So that's another recommendation, the music stands on its own without prior awareness of its quite interesting historical aspects.
What you get here are ten killer tracks drenched in echo effects, dense with percolating beats, uber-distorted analog synths, and eerily ear-catching melodies, a sound utterly full of "flanged, phased, and fuzzed electricity". They're previously unreleased reel-to-reel recordings, circa 1978-1984, from the vaults of this pioneering Romanian DIY electro-prog-pop groop who only released two tracks officially during their career, on a state-sanctioned compilation lp in 1981, before fading into obscurity. Rodion G.A. was founded in 1975 by a fellow named Rodion Ladislau Rosca, who had been collecting prog records and experimenting with homebuilt electronic gear since the dawn of the '70s. The G.A. comes from the names of the other two founding members of the band, but it's really composer Rodion Rosca's show, the material here recorded in Rodion's home studio in Cluj, most instruments played and programmed by Rodion himself, with occasional 'real' drumming contributed by one of the other guys.
Despite the deprivations of living in an oppressive Communist dictatorship, Rodion's creativity flourished, and this music still sounds super fresh and ahead of its time, venturing even into full-on proto-techno with the likes of "Diagonala", though always in its own unique hybrid form, on that track ferinstance mixing in what sounds like Eastern European folk motifs and Goblin-y giallo soundtrack spookiness. Krautrock influences shine through too, Kraftwerk and Cluster for sure, plus we can't help but think of odd outsider aQ faves Bruce Haack and Wicked Witch - cool company to be in!
Rodion's bombastic "hairy funk" prog grooves are melded to melodic pop hooks, always cloaked with a wonderfully miasmic layer of lo-fi grime. Everything here has its unique charms, ranging from the sinister, grittily distorted bunkurfunk of "Citadela", to the motorik delightfulness of "Salt 83", so strangely warped and sunshiney, to "In Linistea Noptii", wherein lovely piano playing mixes it up with the electronic elements. Some tracks are instrumentals, some have catchy vocal choruses - and some are visited by what sound like the echoing cries of a prehistoric pterodactyl, presumably another synth effect, sizzling stabs of which are always swooshing around.
So THIS was the sound of underground Romania back in the day, who knew? We are so thankful this freaky music didn't stay a secret forever. Yep, these "lost tapes" are quite the discovery, minds have been blown for sure. Automatic Record Of The Week.
Packaged with extensive liner notes by Andy Thomas, illustrated with vintage photos, telling the whole fascinating story of Rodion's stunted career, and recent reemergence as the "Godfather of Romanian electronic music". Oh, and the vinyl version also comes with a cd!
MPEG Stream: "Cantec Fulger"
MPEG Stream: "Citadela"
MPEG Stream: "Disco Mania"
MPEG Stream: "Imagini Din Vis"

LEO BUGARILOVES, THE Feelings (Karkia Mistika / Ektro) cd 15.98

album cover LEO BUGARILOVES, THE Hits & Misses - Compilation 1988-2002 (Karkia Mistika / Ektro) 2cd 19.98
Once again, it's time to dig deep into the murky musical underground of the great white north, Finland in particular, home to sooooooooooo many aQ faves over the years: Circle, Aavikko, Pharaoh Overlord, Doktor Kettu, Islaja, Avarus, Circle Of Ouroborus, Dead Reptile Shrine, Cleaning Women, Fleshpress, Magyar Posse, Hanoi Rocks (!), Kemialliset Ystavat, Keuhkot, Smack, Mr. Peter Hayden, Death Trip, Worms, Nightsatan, Reverend Bizarre, Ride For Revenge, Skepticism, Tiermes, Uton, Will Over Matter, we could go on and on and on. Oh and let's not forget recent Record Of The Weekers Billy Boys, who seem like the perfect segue into THIS week's Record Of The Week from another group of Finnish oddballs, The Leo Bugariloves, who are most likely virtually unknown to all but the most obsessive Finnophiles, or Bad Vugum completists, their sound pretty warped and WTF? even by weirdo Finnish standards. The label mentions Suicide, the Residents, and krautrock, which all definitely apply, but the LB's also have a weird sort of lo-fi exotica vibe going on, fusing looped Casio rhythms, to warbly synths, primitive programmed skitter wrapped around angular detuned twang, deep growly vocals delivered in a gruff barked croon, bits of Morricone-ish melody surface throughout, but there's plenty of swagger too, some songs slip into full on glam rock Gary Glitter style big beats, all under fuzzy synthy swirls, and chiming almost rockabilly guitar crunch, others get all Stoogesy, bluesy and buzzy, and still others get sort of Gobliny, some tracks laced with woozy horn bleats, others with swoonsome faux strings, but always, the LB's transform the sounds into their own twisted home brewed outsider avant electro pop concoction, and it's one that's weirdly addictive, and unlike the willfully difficult damaged sonics of the Billy Boys, the music of the LB's is playful, and melodic, and actually pretty fun, sure it's dark and brooding and fractured and fucked up at times, but even then it's often shot through with goofy melodies, or gradually transforms into some weirdly abstract bit of stumbling carnivalesque exotica. We can't help but mention another past record of the week, local outsider one man band Fastest, there's much of the same sort of idiosyncratic cinematic electro rhythmic weirdness going on, but the LB's are Finnish too, so this definitely has that weird ineffable Finnish special something that transforms what could have been pure home recorded weirdness, into something that's kind of warped genius, the LB's peppering their difficult listening with quite a knack for melody, plenty of popsmithery lurking in these buzzing, skittering, twangy, quirky, fractured and fragmented electro pop oddities, so much so, that repeated listens reveal these tracks to be more than just oddities, more like some alternate universe pop gems, that seem to have maybe been slightly damaged in their transmission between universes, and odds are, you'll find yourself impossibly hooked, with any of these tracks liable to get lodged in your head like crazy.
The Leo Bugariloves features members of legendary Finnish punk outfits Terveet Kadet and Death Trip (whose collected works reissued on Jussi from Circle's Ektro label we reviewed and raved about recently) but this is about as far as you can get from either of those bands, sounding more like some lo-fi mad scientist concoction of Devo, Fastest, They Might Be Giants, Dirty Beaches and Felix Kubin all run through some cracked Finnish music filter, and then molded into some sort of surreal David Lynchian Las Vegas lounge act. This two disc collection gathers up all sort of vinyl only rarities, long out of print gems, as well as a ton of unreleased stuff, including a handful of live and demo tracks, those tracks in particular displaying more of the group's mesmeric and murky lo-fi krautrock vibe...
Twisted, and bizarre, and most definitely baffling, but crazy catchy, yet another batch of fantastically fucked Finnish weirdness that we can't recommend highly enough!
MPEG Stream: "Absoluuttinen Mies"
MPEG Stream: "Lammolla Ja Antaumuksella"
MPEG Stream: "Hyeena Stomp"
MPEG Stream: "Etsin Ihmista (Vaan Elpa Loydy)"
MPEG Stream: "Hei Kaikki Nuoret"
MPEG Stream: "60-Lukua"
MPEG Stream: "Muukalainen"

album cover JERI-JERI Ndagga Versions (Ndagga) cd 17.98
Mark Ernestus is probably best known as one half of the Basic Channel production team and record label (along with Moritz Von Oswald). The two also ran the Chain Reaction label, and both continue to make and release music, Ernestus most notably recently remixing tracks by Konono No.1 and Tony Allen as well as co-releasing the amazing Shangaan Electro compilation we reviewed a while back. Apparently, over the last few years, Ernestus became increasingly obsessed with Senegalese Mbalax music, which is super rhythmic, featuring multiple drummers playing wildly syncopated rhythms, the drums augmented with marimba like synths, the music wild and tangled, dense and driving, groovy and funky, dubbed out and super trancey - it's not hard to see why a techno visionary would find this stuff utterly mesmerizing. And thus was born Jeri-Jeri, a collaborative project between Ernestus and a griot clan of Senegalese drummers. At first we were maybe expecting a sort of African/techno hybrid, but wisely, Ernestus let's the drummers and other musicians do their thing, while he mostly mixes and produces. And that THING is track after track of hyper rhythmic grooviness that definitely speaks to the sort of looped mesmer of techno music, even moreso here, as this is the instrumental version of the Jeri-Jeri record, the 'versions' in dubspeak. Which is not to say the record proper is not great, it is, and features a handful of amazing vocalists including Baaba Maal and Youssou N'Dour doing their own thing over these rhythmic workouts (and we do have copies in stock, just ask!), but stripped of the vocals, it somehow becomes even more mesmerizing, the drums obviously the focal point, but there's also sinewy basslines, the occasional keyboard and synth, often adding yet another rhythmic component, and some subtle melodies, some guitar jangle here and there, adding some subtle tonal coloration, and remnants of the original vocals surface here and there, dubbed out and heavily effected, but really, every track here is a glorious celebration of rhythm and sound, of drums as divine, and they sound so divine here, with most tracks featuring both a complement of Sabar drummers as well as a drummer on a traditional kit, the overlapping rhythms, the syncopated grooves, the barrage of beats, cascading grooves, all wound around simple looped melodies, and locked tight, it's totally irresistible, the sort of singular sound that is both dancefloor ready, but also dense and nuanced enough for headphone listening, some track wild and raucous, others tightly wound and darkly groovy, all of them sublime, emotional, and energetic, lush and organic and ALIVE. Drummers, and fans of drum music will be in heaven, but really, anyone and everyone who is drawn to the rhythm in sound, whether it be techno music, world music, metal music, will be hard pressed not to be totally mesmerized by these sounds.
MPEG Stream: "Lignou Mome"
MPEG Stream: "Casamance Version"
MPEG Stream: "Sama Yaye Version"
MPEG Stream: "Xale Rhythm"

album cover DEVO Hardcore Volume 1 (Superior Viaduct) lp 17.98
Gonna try to keep this relatively short. 'Cause it would be easy to go on and on and on about what an amazing band Devo were back in the day and how absolutely ESSENTIAL these newly reissued collections of the earliest recorded Devo music are. Never before released on vinyl in the States, the original two volumes of Hardcore Devo came out on cd and cassette on Rykodisc in 1990 and 1991 respectively, and have been out of print (and sought after by fans) for many years. Now at last they've been reissued, as separate volumes on vinyl (one a single lp, the other double) and together as a double cd set.
Those of you already into Devo, who don't already have this, NEED this - and even if you do have it, you might want it again, either to get the vinyl versions, and/or for the 4 previously unreleased bonus tracks now included (on disc two / Volume Two). For others, well this is our opportunity to proselytize for the cult of Devo. Some folks out there who aren't that familiar with Devo might think of 'em as just some novelty new wave nerd-rock band doing goofy songs and wearing silly hats, one-hit wonders with 1980's "Whip It!". And while they did wear silly hats (pardon us, energy domes) and were plenty goofy, they were also super subversive and bizarre, both sonically and ideologically, true pioneers in the realm of synth-punk and new wave, coming up with a sound that somehow grafted Kraftwerk to punk rock before either were popular, promoting their own anticapitalist, antiestablishment agenda couched in irony and Dadaism. These early recordings, demos and rarities recorded on a 4-track in Akron, Ohio circa 1974-1977, reveal Devo at their most underground, raw and stripped down, but already possessed of both catchy songwriting brilliance and conceptual originality. Definitely not the hippie boogie rock popular at the time!
It's worth noting that both future Devo members Gerald Casale and Mark Mothersbaugh had been students at Kent State, SDS activists in fact, and Casale personally witnessed the shocking National Guard shooting of anti-war demonstrators there in 1970. In some ways, Devo was the direct result. It's just that their idea of "protest music" was a bit different that the norm up to that point.
These DIY recordings sound pretty darn good - Devo knew what they were doing, even before they hooked up with producer Brian Eno for their 1977 debut Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! recorded at Conny Plank's studio in Germany. In fact, these are the recordings that got Eno interested in working with them in the first place.
On Volume One there's early versions of such Devo classics as "Jocko Homo", "Mongoloid", and their brilliant cover of "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction", but otherwise it's a plenitude of (sub)genius tracks never re-recorded for any of their studio albums, though some were released as singles on their own Booji Boy label, or later as B sides. It's a treasure trove of prime Devo at their purest and most urgently devolved!!! It contains one of our all time favorite Devo toons: "Auto Modown", a simple slice of proto-no-wave funk with a stinging guitar riff and Mark Mothersbaugh crooning ghoulish lyrics about how "an acid head goon in a '55 Dodge didn't mean to do it / but a sidewalk run in the noonday sun ten to one he had to lose it". Similar traits are shared by most of the tracks on here - the distorted synth-ed out soundz, the trebly bug zapper guitar, the absurd lyrical content, the robotically rhythmic catchiness. If you're a spud who hasn't heard "Social Fools", "Buttered Beauties", "Mechanical Man", "I'm A Potato", or "Ono" (and the list goes on), you haven't lived. EVERYTHING on here is great, all 15 cuts. Like we said, we could go on and on, about such treats as the blissed out, moody "Golden Energy" or the perversely humorous "Midget", who has the body of a 2 and half year old baby but the brain of a man, and takes advantage of the situation - deviant, juvenile, and sometimes frustrated sexual humor being one foundation of Devo's aesthetic for sure, with an ironic misogyny certainly being a component of the band's radical and often misunderstood critique of American culture.
Meanwhile disc two / Volume Two is even more packed with tracks, 25 of 'em, including the rather un-PC "Bamboo Bimbo", the anthemic "Be Stiff", the raunchy "I Need A Chick", and the electronically spazzed "U Got Me Bugged" (sung by Booji Boy himself), among many other weirdass classics. Overall Volume Two tends towards the slightly hit-and-miss in comparison to the totally solid start-to-finish Volume One, the Volume Two material not always as tightly on target, but after all there's more here, and even the lesser tracks are still worth absorbing repeatedly. Again, there's only a few songs that surfaced again later on their studio albums, like "Clockout" and their cover of "Working In A Coal Mine", otherwise it's mostly stuff only dedicated Devo-tees have heard before. And maybe hardly anyone has ever heard the four bonus tracks now tacked on to the end of Volume Two, but they're a worthy, weird bunch, including a couple of that sound like twisted, tweaked blues, in particular the the electronics-invaded and lyrically crude "Hubert House".
If you couldn't tell, we're so thrilled this is back in print, what can we say: BUY IT!! It might not change your life, but it could. It should. Kudos to the Superior Viaduct label, they've been putting out all kinds of cool reissues lately, but for us, this is the biggest deal yet, even if these albums aren't the rarest that they've reissued. They're nicely done, of course, including amusingly enthused liner notes by Henry Rollins, someone who has quite obviously drunk deeply of Devo's Kool-Aid. Heed his words: "Spud, prepare to be amazed!"
MPEG Stream: "Auto Modown"
MPEG Stream: "Social Fools"
MPEG Stream: "Midget"

album cover MEDICO DOKTOR VIBES Liter Thru Dorker Vibes (Companion) lp 26.00
Few records in recent memory have had us so excited in anticipation for their release, but this outsider visionary gem is so unquantifiably unique that it has worked its magical charm on us in such an intense way that we knew we had to make it Record Of The Week. Even before we heard a lick of music, the album cover, title and artist had us asking so many questions. That simple but puzzling orange cover with a vintage stock photo of San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge, the mysterious and oddly misspelled title, Liter Thru Dorker Vibes, by an even more mysterious and misspelled artist name, Medico Doktor Vibes. Dorker Vibes??? What on earth could this be? Only a small text in the bottom right corner that said, 1979 Compton, CA and the record label Bi-Russell Records offered any clues to its origins. But the music inside, even stranger still is a primitive bedroom concoction of Caribbean-inflected outsider rock made with electric guitar, kalimba, synthesizer and drum machine that is an equally woozy, weird and introspective set of spell-casting witch-doctor psych groove.
Folks who bought Johan Kugelberg's excellent book on Private Press records, Enjoy The Experience, may recognize the cover as it was featured in that book as well as the opening song, "Diska Limba Man" which was included on the companion musical compilation, but its curious lack of back story in the book only give the record a more mysterious aura as if beamed into our world from another dimension. And it's almost like it was, as this record was just discovered at an Oakland Colosseum flea market only a few years back and made its way to the ever-curious vanity record enthusiasts at Companion Records. Companion, who has brought us some incredible private press reissues from Stan Hubbs, Michael Farneti, The New Creation (whose Troubled just got a vinyl release, reviewed elsewhere on this list), Marc Mundy and Luie Luie, did the legwork (with help from Rob Sevier of Numero Group) to track down the artist, who it turns out is a Guyanese man named Bill Russell, and worked with him to see this unique release resurrected. True to Companion's mission, they have reissued the record in the same form as the original with an old style tip-on sleeve, blank back cover and no liner notes, so as to experience the record as it is, unfettered from preconceptions. However, we did press the label for a little context and we'll get into some of the record's back-story a little later.
Each of the seven songs here vary in tone, but they are united by the instrumentation mentioned above in different combinations and Russell's accented softly mumbled delivery, as well as a seemingly urgent determination to get each song recorded as envisioned. As primitive as the recording and performances are, every song seems to have a deliberate focus, with moodier songs on side one and more rocking songs on side two. The record doesn't seem to have been made to promote himself as a professional or as a demo to make better produced recordings. In that, it is a perfect one-off record, its only obvious influential musical touchstones apart from some Caribbean musical rhythms, might be a bit of Santana and Hendrix perhaps (though this doesn't quite reach their heights, quite the opposite), but we're hearing a bit of Chrissy Zebby Tembo, Otis G. Johnson and even some Suicide in there too. It really just sounds like Russell plugged all his instruments directly into a 4-track, hit record and worked around the mistakes, never letting them curtail his vision.
The opener, "Diska Limba Man" sets the tone with an off-kilter synth sequencer and wonky slow-disco rhythm, the tempo slowing down and speeding up in an elliptical groove while an electric guitar and a tinny kalimba add melody and texture respectively. Russell's voice thickly accented but emerging from an introspective murmer sings of a small musical instrument and the man who plays it, embarking on a hypnotic repetition as the song progresses into a sort of subdued dark disco trance. The second track, "Kalimba Tune", is just that, the kalimba alone in a beautifully played magical weaving instrumental that borders on the minimalist composition of Philip Glass. The third track, "Take A Closer Look" ends the first side with a slow looping organ dirge with a loping martial rhythm, inflected with a simmering guitar melody that adds a mystical resonance. The song urging the listener to "take a closer look at the life you are living" points to the lighter ("liter") and darker ("dorker") vibes the album title implies.
Side two has more of a heavier rock feel. "Givers of Affection" opens with a motorcycle blues guitar riff and what sound like harmonica blasts and rudimentary drum machine in a Canned Heat style, Russell's voice double tracked in a driving falsetto. "Lonely No More" has a more laid back sunbaked Zam-rock vibe, with funky Caribbean rhythms and freaked out synth leads, filtered through homegrown distortion and double tracked vocals layered incongruously into a strange psychedelic brew. "Dig This Calypso" is a stoned sunny and breezy take on the origins of the calypso beat, and we're usually not that big on calypso, but as with all the songs on the second side, this one layered with warm distortion and gritty guitar squalls all filtered back in a lo-fi Caribbean funk groove, makes it one of the better calypso inspired songs we've heard. The final track, "Water Late" is an instrumental with a medium-fast shuffled martial rhythm, and some seriously wonky exploratory guitar leads as if Doug Blunt was fronting some primitive cave rock band like Cromagnon. It ends the record on a slightly open ended note as we're left to wonder what in the hell did we just listen to? But that is exactly the kind of naive quality in this record that makes us want to put it back on and listen to it again, figure out the words and try and put together what it all means, and why for all of its outsider artistry, these songs remain so hopelessly and wonderfully implanted in our brains. And most importantly, who or what is Medico Doktor Vibes?
The folks at Companion filled us in a bit. Bill Russell is an immigrant from Guyana who came to the United States and served in the U.S. military in the seventies. He came from a musical family and after serving, settled in the LA suburb of Compton and decided to make a record. He bought the recording equipment and instruments he used on the record all at once and set about making this one and only LP. He chose the cover image carefully by color because he thought it matched the mood of the record and thought it would appeal to people, even though he oddly didn't notice the Golden Gate Bridge, or at least it didn't register any additional symbolic meaning for him and he didn't have any Bay Area connection. The title though intentional is logically vague. The story goes that Russell saw the recording as a bridge between "light" and "dark" people, but felt that just calling it Lighter Through Darker Vibes was too politically charged and so he twisted the words to "Liter" and "Dorker" in avoidance (this must have been before the word "dork" came into a more common parlance). His hopes were that both Light and Dark people would come together and groove out to his music , though it was distributed modestly with only 100 original copies and went absolutely nowhere. Perhaps now with this reissue, Russell's original vision will finally come to pass. We certainly hope so.
Limited to 500 copies! Sorry no download code.
MPEG Stream: "Diska Limba Man"
MPEG Stream: "Kalimba Tune"
MPEG Stream: "Take A Closer Look"
MPEG Stream: "Givers of Affection"

album cover DEVO Hardcore (Superior Viaduct) 2cd 23.00
Gonna try to keep this relatively short. 'Cause it would be easy to go on and on and on about what an amazing band Devo were back in the day and how absolutely ESSENTIAL these newly reissued collections of the earliest recorded Devo music are. Never before released on vinyl in the States, the original two volumes of Hardcore Devo came out on cd and cassette on Rykodisc in 1990 and 1991 respectively, and have been out of print (and sought after by fans) for many years. Now at last they've been reissued, as separate volumes on vinyl (one a single lp, the other double) and together as a double cd set.
Those of you already into Devo, who don't already have this, NEED this - and even if you do have it, you might want it again, either to get the vinyl versions, and/or for the 4 previously unreleased bonus tracks now included (on disc two / Volume Two). For others, well this is our opportunity to proselytize for the cult of Devo. Some folks out there who aren't that familiar with Devo might think of 'em as just some novelty new wave nerd-rock band doing goofy songs and wearing silly hats, one-hit wonders with 1980's "Whip It!". And while they did wear silly hats (pardon us, energy domes) and were plenty goofy, they were also super subversive and bizarre, both sonically and ideologically, true pioneers in the realm of synth-punk and new wave, coming up with a sound that somehow grafted Kraftwerk to punk rock before either were popular, promoting their own anticapitalist, antiestablishment agenda couched in irony and Dadaism. These early recordings, demos and rarities recorded on a 4-track in Akron, Ohio circa 1974-1977, reveal Devo at their most underground, raw and stripped down, but already possessed of both catchy songwriting brilliance and conceptual originality. Definitely not the hippie boogie rock popular at the time!
It's worth noting that both future Devo members Gerald Casale and Mark Mothersbaugh had been students at Kent State, SDS activists in fact, and Casale personally witnessed the shocking National Guard shooting of anti-war demonstrators there in 1970. In some ways, Devo was the direct result. It's just that their idea of "protest music" was a bit different that the norm up to that point.
These DIY recordings sound pretty darn good - Devo knew what they were doing, even before they hooked up with producer Brian Eno for their 1977 debut Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! recorded at Conny Plank's studio in Germany. EVERYTHING on here is great, all 15 cuts. Like we said, we could go on and on, about such treats as the blissed out, moody "Golden Energy" or the perversely humorous "Midget", who has the body of a 2 and half year old baby but the brain of a man, and takes advantage of the situation - deviant, juvenile, and sometimes frustrated sexual humor being one foundation of Devo's aesthetic for sure, with an ironic misogyny certainly being a component of the band's radical and often misunderstood critique of American culture.
Meanwhile disc two / Volume Two is even more packed with tracks, 25 of 'em, including the rather un-PC "Bamboo Bimbo", the anthemic "Be Stiff", the raunchy "I Need A Chick", and the electronically spazzed "U Got Me Bugged" (sung by Booji Boy himself), among many other weirdass classics. Overall Volume Two tends towards the slightly hit-and-miss in comparison to the totally solid start-to-finish Volume One, the Volume Two material not always as tightly on target, but after all there's more here, and even the lesser tracks are still worth absorbing repeatedly. Again, there's only a few songs that surfaced again later on their studio albums, like "Clockout" and their cover of "Working In A Coal Mine", otherwise it's mostly stuff only dedicated Devo-tees have heard before. And maybe hardly anyone has ever heard the four bonus tracks now tacked on to the end of Volume Two, but they're a worthy, weird bunch, including a couple of that sound like twisted, tweaked blues, in particular the the electronics-invaded and lyrically crude "Hubert House".
If you couldn't tell, we're so thrilled this is back in print, what can we say: BUY IT!! It might not change your life, but it could. It should. Kudos to the Superior Viaduct label, they've been putting out all kinds of cool reissues lately, but for us, this is the biggest deal yet, even if these albums aren't the rarest that they've reissued. They're nicely done, of course, including amusingly enthused liner notes by Henry Rollins, someone who has quite obviously drunk deeply of Devo's Kool-Aid. Heed his words: "Spud, prepare to be amazed!"
MPEG Stream: "Auto Modown"
MPEG Stream: "Social Fools"
MPEG Stream: "Midget"
MPEG Stream: "The Rope Song"
MPEG Stream: "Be Stiff"
MPEG Stream: "Hubert House"

album cover DEVO Hardcore Volume 2 (Superior Viaduct) 2lp 25.00
Gonna try to keep this relatively short. 'Cause it would be easy to go on and on and on about what an amazing band Devo were back in the day and how absolutely ESSENTIAL these newly reissued collections of the earliest recorded Devo music are. Never before released on vinyl in the States, the original two volumes of Hardcore Devo came out on cd and cassette on Rykodisc in 1990 and 1991 respectively, and have been out of print (and sought after by fans) for many years. Now at last they've been reissued, as separate volumes on vinyl (one a single lp, the other double) and together as a double cd set.
Those of you already into Devo, who don't already have this, NEED this - and even if you do have it, you might want it again, either to get the vinyl versions, and/or for the 4 previously unreleased bonus tracks now included (on disc two / Volume Two). For others, well this is our opportunity to proselytize for the cult of Devo. Some folks out there who aren't that familiar with Devo might think of 'em as just some novelty new wave nerd-rock band doing goofy songs and wearing silly hats, one-hit wonders with 1980's "Whip It!". And while they did wear silly hats (pardon us, energy domes) and were plenty goofy, they were also super subversive and bizarre, both sonically and ideologically, true pioneers in the realm of synth-punk and new wave, coming up with a sound that somehow grafted Kraftwerk to punk rock before either were popular, promoting their own anticapitalist, antiestablishment agenda couched in irony and Dadaism. These early recordings, demos and rarities recorded on a 4-track in Akron, Ohio circa 1974-1977, reveal Devo at their most underground, raw and stripped down, but already possessed of both catchy songwriting brilliance and conceptual originality. Definitely not the hippie boogie rock popular at the time!
It's worth noting that both future Devo members Gerald Casale and Mark Mothersbaugh had been students at Kent State, SDS activists in fact, and Casale personally witnessed the shocking National Guard shooting of anti-war demonstrators there in 1970. In some ways, Devo was the direct result. It's just that their idea of "protest music" was a bit different that the norm up to that point.
These DIY recordings sound pretty darn good - Devo knew what they were doing, even before they hooked up with producer Brian Eno for their 1977 debut Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! recorded at Conny Plank's studio in Germany. In fact, these are the recordings that got Eno interested in working with them in the first place.
On Volume One there's early versions of such Devo classics as "Jocko Homo", "Mongoloid", and their brilliant cover of "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction", but otherwise it's a plenitude of (sub)genius tracks never re-recorded for any of their studio albums, though some were released as singles on their own Booji Boy label, or later as B sides. It's a treasure trove of prime Devo at their purest and most urgently devolved!!! It contains one of our all time favorite Devo toons: "Auto Modown", a simple slice of proto-no-wave funk with a stinging guitar riff and Mark Mothersbaugh crooning ghoulish lyrics about how "an acid head goon in a '55 Dodge didn't mean to do it / but a sidewalk run in the noonday sun ten to one he had to lose it". Similar traits are shared by most of the tracks on here - the distorted synth-ed out soundz, the trebly bug zapper guitar, the absurd lyrical content, the robotically rhythmic catchiness. If you're a spud who hasn't heard "Social Fools", "Buttered Beauties", "Mechanical Man", "I'm A Potato", or "Ono" (and the list goes on), you haven't lived. EVERYTHING on here is great, all 15 cuts. Like we said, we could go on and on, about such treats as the blissed out, moody "Golden Energy" or the perversely humorous "Midget", who has the body of a 2 and half year old baby but the brain of a man, and takes advantage of the situation - deviant, juvenile, and sometimes frustrated sexual humor being one foundation of Devo's aesthetic for sure, with an ironic misogyny certainly being a component of the band's radical and often misunderstood critique of American culture.
Meanwhile disc two / Volume Two is even more packed with tracks, 25 of 'em, including the rather un-PC "Bamboo Bimbo", the anthemic "Be Stiff", the raunchy "I Need A Chick", and the electronically spazzed "U Got Me Bugged" (sung by Booji Boy himself), among many other weirdass classics. Overall Volume Two tends towards the slightly hit-and-miss in comparison to the totally solid start-to-finish Volume One, the Volume Two material not always as tightly on target, but after all there's more here, and even the lesser tracks are still worth absorbing repeatedly. Again, there's only a few songs that surfaced again later on their studio albums, like "Clockout" and their cover of "Working In A Coal Mine", otherwise it's mostly stuff only dedicated Devo-tees have heard before. And maybe hardly anyone has ever heard the four bonus tracks now tacked on to the end of Volume Two, but they're a worthy, weird bunch, including a couple of that sound like twisted, tweaked blues, in particular the the electronics-invaded and lyrically crude "Hubert House".
If you couldn't tell, we're so thrilled this is back in print, what can we say: BUY IT!! It might not change your life, but it could. It should. Kudos to the Superior Viaduct label, they've been putting out all kinds of cool reissues lately, but for us, this is the biggest deal yet, even if these albums aren't the rarest that they've reissued. They're nicely done, of course, including amusingly enthused liner notes by Henry Rollins, someone who has quite obviously drunk deeply of Devo's Kool-Aid. Heed his words: "Spud, prepare to be amazed!"
MPEG Stream: "The Rope Song"
MPEG Stream: "Be Stiff"
MPEG Stream: "Hubert House"

album cover SKULLFLOWER / UTARM split (Turgid Animal) cd 14.98
As we've mentioned in our reviews of the last clutch of Skullflower releases, Matthew Bower's long running industrial/noise/power electronics/experimental guitar/drone outfit seems to be gradually growing blacker and blacker, with Bower's love of black metal transforming Skullflower's distortion drenched skree into some sort of avant black buzz. Now that blackness has manifested in a series of splits with 'actual' black metal bands, a forthcoming split with local one man band Mastery, and this one, with weirdo experimental Norwegian blackened doomlords Utarm, whose twisted Apocryphal Stories on Handmade Birds was a huge hit around here, and whose fractured and fucked up take on black buzz seems especially appropriate alongside Skullflower's own idiosyncratic noisemaking. That said, the SF tracks here might be the prettiest stuff we've heard from them/him in a while, the opener super melodic, ultra textural, distorted and crumbly, multiple layers buzz and undulate, buried melodies are looped and tangled into soft squalls of lushly textured crunch, and warped cascades of soft focus noise, even at ten minutes, it's the sort of dense, swirling psychedelia, that we could get lost in for a whole record. The second track, again, on the surface, a wild, noisy, washed out dronescape, but the crackling buzz and fractured FX seem to be draped over something much lovelier, a droned out thrum, a smoldering landscape of minor key shimmer, it's a heady concoction, a sort of pretty ambience in blacknoise clothing, but the prettiness seems to be the victor, infusing the caustic noisiness with a warm melodic glow, and again, we would have happily dug a whole record long version. So we were expecting the final track to be explosive and buzzy, but instead, it's even prettier, gentle guitar strum, pulsing electronics, a sky full of psychedelic squiggles, the pulsing building and intensifying throughout, eventually becoming the dominant presence, but even then, the sound is more moody and haunting than anything, the guitars doused in woozy effects, the overall sound almost jazzy, albeit some sort of black noise power electronics devil jazz.
Utarm keep the weird quotient pretty high with their two tracks, the first, a massive near 18 minute epic, all squiggly synths, and weird processed falsetto vocals, distorted spidery guitar melodies, almost like some sort of demonic lullaby, warped and damaged, until about 5 minutes in when an avalanche of crumblingly distorted downtuned riffage comes crashing in, the sound a black ooze, a sort of SUNNO))) like dirge, but wreathed in howled FX drenched vokills and wild squalls of high end guitar noise, super psychedelic drone-dirge weirdness that KILLS, and so it goes, for the duration of the track, a blown out, heady, heavy psychedelic noise dirge dronescape, that's weirdly hypnotic and melodic, while being darkly corrosive and caustic, some serious black beauty for sure, finally exploding into a closing burst of melody infused blacknoise howl.
The closer, clocking in at a conservative 10 minutes, starts out sounding like it could be Skullflower, noisy swirly and psychedelic, until the sound splinters into a weird sort of industrial creep, all processed vocal samples, churning dirgey basslines, anguished wails, heaving swell of crumbling low end, what sounds like dense collages samples, almost symphonic, all blurred into a wild but weirdly pretty din/skree, super tripped out, free form WTF psychedelic noisy weirdness.
Killer stuff from both groups and obviously WAY recommended!
MPEG Stream: SKULLFLOWER "Beneath Its Shady Lash, A Sudden Lightning Hid"
MPEG Stream: SKULLFLOWER "Trembling Mazes"
MPEG Stream: UTARM "Vanviddets Gledesrop Fra Juvets Dyp"

album cover WILL OVER MATTER Phenomenal Highways (White Denim) lp 14.98
Back in 2011, we made Might Of The Planet Eater, the debut from weirdo minimal blackened power electronic one man band Will Over Matter our Record Of The Week. We initially discovered WOM via the fact that the 'one man' behind that one man band, was none other than Harald Mentor, mastermind of aQ beloved Finnish rhythmic black metal minimalists Ride For Revenge, who for some crazy reason, we just realized, have never nabbed Record Of The Week honors, cuz in retrospect, any/all of their previous records were more than deserving.
As we mentioned in our reviews of the other Will Over Matter records, if you thought Ride For Revenge were weird, then prepare theyself to be blown away, baffled, confused, frustrated, thrilled, unnerved, disturbed, most likely all of the above. Will Over Matter takes the dense rhythmic churn, already sort of spaced out and abstract, and replaces the bass and drums and traditional instruments, with what sounds like a battery of cobbled together electronics, home made machines and invented instruments, it's tough not to envision Mentor as some sort of mad scientist, in his murky musical laboratory, surrounded by walls of primitive electronics, old computers, blinking lights, blown speakers, a room full of towering obelisks of obsolete technology, harnessed into something otherworldly, and improbably next level. The sounds these machines emit glitchy and gristly, jagged and hiss-drenched, in some ways the template for WOM is the same as it was for Ride For Revenge, the 'band' locked into simple, lurching, lumbering motorik grooves, the 'beat' wrapped in dense sonic swirls, thick fields of static, everything glitched out and in-the-red. A head spinning sprawl of blackened kraut-noise synth-drone power-electronic minimalism, that RULES. Which brings us to the latest missive from Mentor, which is another psychedelic minimal electro-noise WTF doozy, the vocals kept to a minimum this time, the three lengthy tracks, spaced out and droney, slow shifting layers, constantly morphing textures, pulsing and pulsating, the sounds raw and gristly, the tracks maniacally repetitive and cyclical, in a way that to our ears is total tranced out bliss, but to less adventurous ears, might be just the opposite. The lack of 'song' and 'structure', not that there was that much of either on past WoM release, but even less so here, is precisely what makes Phenomenal Highways a whole different beast, at times, it's like past WoM records stripped down to their very skeletal essence, the opening track some sort of primitive kosmische ritual, a single synth locked and looped into a seemingly endless cycle of simple pulses, weirdly warbly and super distorted, a heartbeat like pulse wreathed in filthy, crusty synth squelch, that squirms and oozes, occasionally shaped into actual melodies, but more often than not droning and buzzing hypnotically, the final few minutes, finds the sounds transformed into weird lazer blast like blurts before suddenly blinking out.
The second track is even MORE minimal, a super spare soundscape that sounds like some mysteriously manipulated alien field recording, something you might here on Editions Mego, a field of crumpled low end crackle, muted and murky, peppered with little bits of percussion, the sound a weird bit of grinding muddy noise, it's not until 7 minutes in that the sound splinters, the background smoothing out into a whirring distorted drone, while Mentor delivers some demonic sermon over the top, his voice processed and doused in distortion, before the track explodes into a field of grinding electronics, tangled melodies, swirling tones, a robotic psych-noise freakout that manages to be more listenable than it has any right to be, a head spinning psychedelic churn that blossom into a final super blown out speaker shredding blowout, before oozing into the final track, a weird shuffling sprawl of rib cage rattling low end, dense subsonic tones delivered through what sounds like slow motion helicopter rotor wash, weirdly rhythmic and mesmeric, this minimal ooze and creep soon joined by strange curlicues of melody, the deep tone gathering all sorts of acoustic crunch as it goes, and once again, about seven minutes in, a super distorted blast of fractured blown out melody surfaces, giving the whole thing a seriously psychedelic vibe, those tones totally overtaking the rest of the sound, before fading out, and returning us to the slow-swell pulsations of the first half, only to fade out into a crackly sprawl of sculpted feedback, wreathed in hiss and hum, the sound smoldering and sinister, draped over a buried barely there rhythm, some echo drenched vocals in there too, everything sort of washed out and blurry, drifting beneath sheets of feedback and fields of staticky hum, all culminating in a final freaked out psych-noise squall, that does little to disguise the haunting melodic beauty that lurks within.
As always, amazing, bizarre and bafflingly brilliant, a dizzyingly abstract, twisted industrial psychedelic drone-noise masterpiece. That is of course also extremely limited...
MPEG Stream: "Generous Is My Master"
MPEG Stream: "Phenomenal Highways"

album cover QUTTINIRPAAQ No Visitors (Rural Isolation Project) lp 13.98
We got our first taste of these Texas weirdos on a split with psychedelic drone-drug-doom heavies Bong, and the virtually unpronounceable Quttinirpaaq were definitely a good match, countering Bong's longform sonic explorations with their own heavy psych / caustic noise / kraut-sludge pummel. What we didn't know at the time, was that Quttinirpaaq includes among its membership, members of former Record Of The Weekers Rubble as well as Shit And Shine offshoot outfit Same Sac! Which totally makes sense, as No Visitors is a serious blast of drug addled Southern psych, the opening 90 second blast a crumbling almost industrial sounding dirge that sounds like Brainbombs at 16rpm, filtered through some seriously Butthole Surfers style drugginess. Which if you're anything like us, had us sold pretty much right away. And while not all of No Visitors is nearly so noisy, it is all pretty goddamn great. From pulsing low slung krautrock style murk, like on "Malvert", which drapes the motorik mesmer with wild squalls of caustic guitarnoise, and creepy hissy whispery vocals, and what might be some detuned pianos, to slo-mo black noise doom-dirge crumble, like on "Ex-Batts" which literally sounds like the tape has been slowed down, so all the instruments rumble and crumble and moan, everything wrapped in sheets of wild squealing feedback, and near Merzbowian noise, all the while lumbering and lurching like some lost Buttholes jam played back on a broken boombox.
These guys exist somewhere between skull crushing noise rock, atmospheric noise drenched Japanese style psych and primitive caveman dirgery, the comparisons we've read mention Brainbombs, Skullflower and Les Rallizes Denudes, but we'd probably also include Drunkdriver, Twin Stumps, Violent Students, Rusted Shut, Burmese, Liquorball, you can probably figure out what sort of glorious, druggy noisiness we're talking about. Super heavy, ultra psychedelic, stumbling and crushing, tranced out and woozily hypnotic, massive slabs of churning low end, beneath crunchy, jagged, distorto guitars, wild streaks of feedback everywhere, the vocals yelped and yowled, sometimes bellowed, here and there delivered in a deeply dramatic, and sort of creepy croon, the sound constantly on the verge of collapse, but always seeming to eventually coalesce into some seriously demented, kraut-sludge heaviness that will have most aQ customers losing their shit big time. And hell, there's even some faux techno, check out the gristly pulsating "Golden Needles", that sounds like Shit And Shine on Kompakt. Fuck yeah!
LIMITED TO 300 COPIES!!
MPEG Stream: "Suburban Roulette"
MPEG Stream: "Malvert"
MPEG Stream: "Ex-Batts"
MPEG Stream: "Golden Needles"
MPEG Stream: "Horsehead Bookends"

album cover CIRCLE Six Day Run (Full Contact Records) lp 22.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Perfect! Who better to do the soundtrack to a film about people running around in circle, than, of course, Finland's masters of repetitive hypno-rock, Circle?? Six Day Run is a short film made by Finnish documentarian Mika Taanila, all about something called "The Self-Transcendence Six Day Race", which takes place every year in the vicinity of New York City. No, we'd never heard of it either, but we'd be curious to see the movie sometime and find out more about this extreme endurance running event and the presumably equally extreme people who decide to compete in it. Sleeping as little as possible, the runners have six days to try and log the most miles around a paved one-mile loop in a park (Flushing Meadows, Queens). Apparently it's a tradition dating back to the 1870s! So it's sorta like an ultra-marathon run on a treadmill, running and running and never really getting anywhere (except maybe somewhere deep within/without yourself). You can check out the YouTube trailer for the film here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqTrJVMZnZE.
Of course, when we first heard about this, we imagined that the runners were running in, like, a ten foot diameter circle for the six days, with Circle playing in the middle the whole time, wouldn't that be cool?
The album contains six tracks, one for each day of the race. It starts off with the upbeat "Day One", with one of Circle's usual motorik rhythms in motion from the get-go, augmented with handclap/whipcrack sounds, sounding bright and jaunty, the sort of thing that in the headphones of a runner might help energize and encourage them, without making 'em burst into a sprint or anything, allowing them to pace themselves. On "Day Two", though, things get a bit darker and hazier, the music more nervous and pensive sounding, some sense of doubt creeping in: "Can I do this? Why AM I doing this?" one imagines the runners thinking as their bodies begin to grow weary. For those of us merely sitting still at home, though, it's another atmospheric and incessantly rhythmic Circle track, full of lovely floating tones and drones. And so it goes, each track/day offering moments of gauzey, gossamer beauty as well as constant, churning, endless rhythms. Definitely trance-inducing, as Circle so often is - and as the act of running in a circle for six days straight also must be, indeed HAS to be, if one were to ever hope to get through it!
Circle's music here gets at the intensity of the Six Day runners' extreme test of their own stamina physical and willpower, and yes also the transcendent quality of the experience, being at times both dense and exhausting, and also triumphantly airy and uplifting. And it's really some of the most straight-up "circular" Circle music we've heard from them in a while. Because it's a soundtrack, this album is all-instrumental, without any detours - none of the absurd, operatic vocal antics, no ironic faux-metal moves. Not that we don't love those common aspects of Circle, but this focuses pretty tightly on the repetition thing, and of course does it well. It's got a bit of an early '80s krauty/new age vibe, prominent use of synths reminding us a bit of recent works by Life Coach and Emeralds, and harking back of course to Michael Rother and Harmonia.
Good thing the filmmaker was Finnish, as Circle are certainly THEE obvious, best choice to make this soundtrack, one that is makes for a nicely trancey, energetically meditative (is that an oxymoron?) listen in the comfort of home too, for all of us armchair joggers, watching the record spin rather than running in circles ourselves. Although, one could also get up and clean the house, this would be good music for a task like that too!
MPEG Stream: "Day One"
MPEG Stream: "Day Four"
MPEG Stream: "Day Six"

album cover SKOGSBERG, JOAKIM Jola Rota (Subliminal Sound) lp 32.00
NOW ON VINYL!! Yes! Back in 2008 when we listed the Japanese import, Tiliqua label cd edition of this fantastic reissue and made it a Record Of The Week, we promised folks that there was going to be a super limited vinyl version too on Tiliqua coming out few months later, and people scrambled to pre-order it... but it never ever materialized. We hoped and waited but it never came out. Not sure what happened, but thankfully, though, at long last the Subliminal Sounds label (Dungen, Parson Sound, Baby Grandmothers, Peter Grudzien, etc.) from Skogsberg's home country of Sweden has taken charge and given life to this wonderful album again on vinyl for the first time in over 30 years. So, here's what we said before about the cd edition...
Even if we didn't make this Record of the Week, we'd probably still be selling quite a few of 'em, as we're sure we've got a lot of knowledgeable record-collector-type customers for whom adding this to cart will be but the work of a second, the second after their eyes bug out upon seeing the artist and title listed above. But since this reissue is not only of an incredible rarity but also of an incredible record, we wanted to make sure everybody heard about it, besides those for whom it's already a "holy grail". Yep, Joakim Skogberg's original 1972 Jola Rota lp definitely falls into the highly obscure "holy grail" category, a lost treasure for lovers of weird, wonderful acid-folk and underground psychedelia. The sort of thing that develops a legend that it can't possibly live up to... but then DOES, blowing minds when it's finally reissued. The sort of thing that's whispered about among connoisseurs of psych, written of in a few select fanzines and blogs, heard only by a lucky few who got an Nth generation cassette dub or cd-r burn from a friend, who got it from a friend, and so on. The sort of thing, that even a few years after a brief exposure to its wonders, will make you stop and think every once in a while, dang when is someone finally gonna reissue that amazing obscure album??? Some other recently excavated examples would include Moolah's Woe Ye Demons Possessed, Bobb Trimble's Harvest Of Dreams, and Gary Higgins's Red Hash... and before that, once upon a time Comus's First Utterance too would have fallen into that category. Bruce Haack's Electric Lucifer as well, though originals of that were and are much MUCH easier to come by. Whereas *this* album was originally pressed in an edition of around just one thousand copies - of which only a few hundred were ever sold back in the day, with the remainder of the pressing being, gasp, melted down to be recycled into other lps!
So, here it is, artist Joakim Skogsberg's lone album Jola Rota finally, officially reissued for the very first time! Our hearts went pitter pat when we found out. We first heard this when our friend Loren Chasse (of Of/Thuja/Jewelled Antler/etc. fame) floated us a cd-r burn he had gotten from a pal overseas a couple years ago, as per the scenario outlined above. He figured we'd like it, and of course he was right. What's not to like? Swedish-forest-folk hippie ritual mixed with droned-out psych guitar. Truly strange, and captivating, vocal mumble. And, get this, it was actually mostly recorded out in a forest, on portable reel-to-reel gear!! Once out of the woods, the raw recordings were overdubbed (Skogsberg being responsible for all sounds on this album) in studio, but remain quite raw, the mystery and majesty of northern landscapes, dark shadowy places, placid lakes, tall trees and moss-covered rocks utterly alive in the music of the nature-loving Skogsberg.
Side One starts off with "Jola Fran Ingbo", which introduces Joakim's unusual "Jola" singing style derived from Swedish trad folk, also heavily influenced by Buddhist chant, accompanied by staccato bowings of ominous violin. Immediately this is waaaay darker than most other Swedish folk/psych we've heard! Seriously droney and austere. That's followed by the more freaked out, rockier "Offer Rota", which finds Skogsberg singing whilst pounding away on percussion and unfurling a thick layer of distorted guitar murk, with what sounds like a Jew's Harp warbling in the background. The next piece, "Fridens Lijor", on the other hand, is an unaccompanied vocal piece, close-miced and intimate, all about Skogsberg's fragile Jola babble...
Beginning side two, "Besvarjelse Rota" builds up a dubby, bassy electronic rhythmic whomp-whomp throb beneath its damaged psych guitar wail, that (in our warped imagination) foreshadows modern minimal techno a la Chain Reaction, "heroin house" beats.... could almost be Pole jamming with Algarnas Tradgard or something! Later, the lengthy "Jola Fran Stensate" harkens back to the solemnity of the album's first track, and then "Jola Fran Leksand" winds up this unique, amazing trip with something of a pagan campfire dance piece, for folky fiddle and rattling hand percussion.
Overall, though, Jola Rota's mood is solitary and ceremonial. Skogsberg not a guru leading his followers, but rather one man, inspired, singing devotional songs to nature, in personal communion with the ancient deities of Sweden and the universe... it IS universal, probably why it sounds simultaneously like krautrock and Tibetan worship and Native American prayer-songs. The universality of the drone, and the human voice in spiritual reverence regardless of language. At its droniest, many moments here recall Parson Sound or the aforementioned Moolah. Totally, magically mesmeric. Wow... EVERYONE who's heard this since we got it in has been entranced.
Remastered from the original tapes with the help of Skogsberg himself. There's also new liner notes and previously unpublished photos of the long haired and bearded (of course) Skogsberg included, just like the cd version (which, being a Japanese import, isn't much cheaper than this Swedish import vinyl!).
Limited to 500 copies.
MPEG Stream: "Jola Fran Ingbo"
MPEG Stream: "Offer Rota "
MPEG Stream: "Besvarjelse Rota"

album cover RED TEMPLE SPIRITS s/t (Independent Project Records) 3cd 34.00
We have loved this band since we were in high school, when we first picked up a copy of the Red Temple Spirits' first record. That album - Dancing To Restore An Eclipsed Moon - became something we've returned to over and over again. Then, it was a more adventurous, post-apocalyptic, and lysergically tainted take on the British post-punk / goth-pop albums of my youth. You know, Love & Rockets, Siouxsie, The Smiths, The Cure. But later, upon discovering the Syd Barrett fronted Pink Floyd records, Twink's Think Pink, and the Outsiders' CQ, Red Temple Spirits seemed less to fit in with their contemporaries and more of a feral updated expression of psychedelic awakening of those bands from the '70s. The basslines from Red Temple Spirits may have been lifted wholesale from Steven Severin of Siouxsie & The Banshees, and the guitars could hit the jagged, sparkplug bursts of Gang Of Four or even Crime (but for the most part, they paralleled the dark-eyed jangle of the Abecedarians); but the arrangements were far more convoluted - at times shambolic and rambling, and at others ritualistically intense.
The band emerged out of the LA goth-punk scene in 1987, when bassist Dino Paredes departed Psi-Com, which was fronted by none other than Perry Farrell (who would go on to form Jane's Addiction) only to find another amazing frontman in the form of William Faircloth. This British ex-pat was equal parts doomsayer and acid casualty, eagerly waxing poetic about the latter through the lens of the former. Many of these visionary tales mapped out a basic philosophy of universalist gnosticism - "The Light Of Christ" addresses a common gnostic precept that an inner wisdom is trapped within the human condition and can be tapped through meditation, invocation, rigorous study, whatnot, but not before passing through allusions to Buddhism and animism. Vocally, Faircloth sounds a hell of a lot like Black Francis / Frank Black trying to do a Syd Barrett impersonation - a demonic, tonal yelp with a faint trace of a British lisp.
The band produced two albums, the aforementioned Dancing To Restore An Eclipsed Moon (1988) and the nearly impossible to find If Tomorrow I Were Leaving For Lhasa, I Wouldn't Stay A Minute More (1989). The bulk of copies of the latter all seemed to end up in Greece for whatever reason, and given the prices for the album online, must have been single handedly supporting the Greek economy. The debut is an astonishing album that sprawls from languid dirges to frenetic punk-pop songs all lead in dramatic fashion by Faircloth. The second album attempts to tighten up some of the more unhinged aspects, with a few more conventional psych-rock songs but when they hit the cover of Pink Floyd's "Set The Controls To The Heart Of The Sun," it really is a twisted acid trip launched beyond Earth's orbit, through pounding tribal rhythms, Keith Levene-esque guitar scratchiness, and Faircloth's belted vocals. Both of those albums are present in their entirety here, along with some choice bonus tracks (including a really tripped out version of 13th Floor Elevators' "Rollercoaster") as well as a third disc of demos.
This 3cd set also marks the reinvention/reactivation/resurfacing of Bruce Licher's Independent Project Records, complete with the amazing letterpress folios he was creating back in the '90s. Faircloth was actually one of Licher's press technicians after Red Temple Spirits broke up, and Red Temple Spirits and Licher's Savage Republic were certainly coming from the same headspace. The major difference being that Red Temple Spirits was actually a way better band, if criminally under-appreciated. Very highly recommended!
MPEG Stream: "Waiting For The Sun"
MPEG Stream: "Dark Spirits"
MPEG Stream: "Meltdown"
MPEG Stream: "In The Wild Hills"
MPEG Stream: "Set The Controls"

album cover DRUG HONKEY Ghost In The Fire (Transcending Obscurity) cd 10.98
We first discovered the awesomely named Drug Honkey a few years back, via their 2008 record Death Dub. And at the time, before having actually heard it, or then, we figured it was probably too much to hope for, that a band called Drug Honkey would actually be good, and not some dumb bad band inside joke, and that a record by said band, called Death Dub, would and/or could actually deliver on the promise of a title like that. Dubbed out death metal? Metallic dub? Some sort of blackened dubbed out weirdness? Well, happy to say we needn't have doubted, these Chicago experimental drug doom space psych heavies did not disappoint, that record a churning morass of noise drenched, dubbed out blackened heaviness, equal parts droned out, pounding almost-industrial crush, woozy, sludge-y slo-mo creep, and crumbling distorto-dub noise rock weirdness. Imagine the Butthole Surfers via Godflesh via the Scientist via Eyehategod. Noisy, druggy, damaged, super intense, and blown out, and heavily psychedelic, the vocals only adding to the WTF level, a super harsh demonic bellow one second, a weird high pitched yelp the next, the vocals bleeding into the sounds around them, and all of those sounds then doused in FX and super processed, into some seriously heady heaviness.
We were never able to get enough copies to review/list, so when we discovered there was a new Drug Honkey, full length number four if you're keeping track, we knew we had to get copies, and had a feeling it was probably gonna have to be Record Of The Week. And once again, Drug Honkey do not disappoint, if anything, Ghost In The Fire is like Death Dub part two, but if anything, everything we loved about Death Dub has been cranked up even more this time around, it's heavier, slower, dubbier, more tripped out, the production is MASSIVE, the sound filthy and crumbling and blown out, the band unfurling a loping, lumbering super psychedelic sludge-dub that once again sounds a bit like the Buttholes jamming with Godflesh, which is in fact a very very good thing.
Opening with a blast of detuned guitar churn, a pounding motorik rhythm, chiming distorted guitar melodies, looped and lurching, super tranced out and hypnotic, the vocals a bellowy demonic belch, that gets doused in FX and like much of the surrounding sounds, sometimes slows down to a grunting gurgle, other times splinters into weird swirling shards of sound, the music too, subtly dubbed out, but for the most part, roiling and churning relentlessly, the sort of super heavy psych-sludge trance-out, that could easily have stretched out for another 45 minutes and made for a super sweet single track drone-sludge epic.
But these guys have more sonic filth up their sleeves. The title track even slower, and dubbier, the guitars tarpit thick, the riffing spread out over a plodding death march rhythm, the vocals a throat shredding howl, and again, accompanied by various other processed voices, slowed down, sped up, doused in distortion, pitch shifted, like some sort of drugged out demonic choir, all over swirls of gristly effects, and crumbling distorted effects, and all driven by the group's impossibly dense chugging doom-sludge dirge, slipping from driving almost headbangable 16rpm demonic deathdub groove, to fractured, fucked up, psychedelic black-noise drift, but more often than not fusing the two into some seriously unholy union.
Some tracks are way more 'dubby' than others, like "Weight Of The World" which creeps and slithers, the guitars pushed into the background, laying down a softly undulating backdrop of droning rumble, over which a monstrous rhythm, pounds away in slow motion, beneath streaks of soaring fragmented high end melody, and some seriously fucked up and freaky vocals, lots of space and drift, swooping backwards effects, super psychedelic, totally hypnotic and tranced out, about as dubby as these guys get, but then there's tracks like "Dead Days ("Heroin III"), where the core sound is a super downtuned ultradoom sludge, the dubbiness seeping through in the form of the Gibby Haynes like vocals, and the atmospheric swirls, at one point slowing down to a near static drift, the only thing keeping it heavy, a super blown out distorted bass riff, over which all this other tripped out shit swirls and shimmers, and when the weird guitar that sounds like a proggy synth (or maybe a sitar?) pops up, total genius WTF trip out, the song drifting even further into tripped out zoner-psych territory. They even do a Scorn cover, which makes sonic sense for sure, Drug Honkey transforming the dark electronic skitter of the original into what sounds like a spaced out psychedelic sludge metal Necks, super drone out and loop-y, a little bit jazzy, but still heavy as fuck, before finishing off with a final fierce blast of dubbed out, super aggro, speaker shredding, doom-dub psych-sludge dirgery that KILLS. Holy shit. Imagine UK psych-drone space drifters Bong jamming with Godflesh, a dizzying concoction of super tripped out heaviness, ultra abstract sludge and blackened psychedelic dub that anyone into weird heaviness / heavy weirdness will lose their shit over! WAY WAY WAY recommended!
MPEG Stream: "Order Of The Solar Temple"
MPEG Stream: "Ghost In The Fire"
MPEG Stream: "Weight Of The World"
MPEG Stream: "Dead Days (Heroin III)"
MPEG Stream: "Twitcher (Scorn Cover)"

album cover BELL WITCH Longing (The Flenser) 2lp 23.00
Doom lovin' vinyl fetishists have indeed been 'longing' for this - the lp edition of this fantastic debut from Seattle doom duo Bell Witch, that we made a Record Of The Week when it came out on compact disc via Profound Lore last fall. Now at last The Flenser label has made it available on (double) vinyl, with sturdy gatefold jacket and insert. Here's what we said about it before:
Bell Witch are one of the heaviest doom outfits around, their sound achingly crushingly despondent, made all the more remarkable for the fact that they're just a duo of bass and drums. On the one hand, that makes sense, all low end, the perfect ingredients for dismal dirgery for sure, but the weird thing is, the most appealing part of this new record, and easily the most special, is the parts that are most definitely NOT metal at all. Not even not doom, we mean not METAL. On this, their debut full-length, the band have crafted an incredible hybrid of plodding miserablist ultra doom, and classic, minor key, slowcore, it's like Codeine crossed with Esoteric, or something.
Admittedly, the band do conjure up a pretty devastating sound, the bass super distorted and downright guitar like, churning and blown out, the drums a monstrous plod, the tracks laced with aching minor key melodies (also played on the bass we presume), the vocals an inhuman demonic rasp, perfectly suited to the group's death march trudge, but then, suddenly, the buzz and distortion peels away, leaving just a spare minimal rhythm, and soft warm chords, drifting in long expanses of soft focus shimmer, softly loping, a minor key slo-mo lament, made even more perfect by the clean crooned vox, emotional and heartfelt, hell, we probably would have dug this record just as much sans the crushing doom, but the two parts together, make this pretty spectacular.
"Rows (Of Endless Waves)" explodes right out of the gate, as a churning slab of downtuned extreme heaviness, bellowed howls, pounding drums, laced with demonic shrieks, the bass buzzing and blackened, but then suddenly, the sound begins to grow more melodic, even still in the heavy part, and then like the opener, the heaviness is gradually shed, and the song is reborn as a super spare stretch of haunting, softly strummed slow motion sad pop, sounding quite a bit like Low in fact, slightly heavier perhaps, but not much, and here, the heaviness creeps back in gradually, but without the track following, instead it seems to wrap its shadowy sonics around the dark dolorous sadcore, making it just that much darker and dolorous.
Almost the entirety of "Longing (The River Of Ash)", is spent in slowcore mode, the heaviness relegated to lazily crashing chords, but it's the sort of dark doom pop gem that could easily find its way on to some indie kids breakup mixtape. In fact in many ways, this is the kind of record that could very well open the doors to darker and heavier sounds.
For a heavy doom record, it's remarkable how much of the record is spent sounding not that heavy, or perhaps more 'emotionally' heavy, than sonically heavy. We'd almost classify this as some sort of slowcore/sadcore record with elements of doom, than the other way around. However you approach it, it's definitely one of the darkest, saddest, and most beautiful doom records we've heard in ages. Or if you'd rather, one of the doomiest, heaviest slowcore records. WAY recommended.
MPEG Stream: "Bails (Of Flesh)"
MPEG Stream: "Rows (Of Endless Waves)"
MPEG Stream: "Longing (The River Of Ash)"

album cover MELNYK, LUBOMYR Corollaries (Erased Tapes) 2lp 34.00
Lubomyr Melnyk is one of our favorite modern composers. The inventor and master of the Continuous Music technique, which has made him the Guinness-recognized fastest piano player in the world. But was we mentioned in other reviews, this speed and mastery is deftly employed, to create lush clouds of billowing chordal shimmer, the sort of dreamlike divine sound that should have Melnyk spoken about in the same sort or reverential tones reserved for legends like Reich and Riley and Palestine. Melnyk's method involves keeping the pedals on the piano depressed, allowing notes to ring out, bleed into each other, creating lush expanses of constantly shifting overtones, sounds layered and bleeding into one another, creating huge swaths of organic sound, a sound that seems to be alive, full of energy and emotion, not just Melnyk's technique, but his compositions as well, a true master who has created some of the most amazing modern piano music we've ever heard. The sad thing is that his records are quite difficult to find, and the fact that he has composed so many pieces, and his interest is in allowing people to hear as much of his music as possible, most of those records exist only as cd-r's. But gradually, it seems, interest in Melnyk has been growing, we've certainly been doing everything we can, constantly proselytizing, telling everyone we know about Melnyk and his music, reviewing them on our list, and getting as much of his music as we can into the ears of folks we think need to hear it, which we think is many of you.
So we're super excited whenever one of his records gets a proper worldwide release, and thus, we were thrilled when we first heard about Corollaries. Which besides being one of the few non-cd-r Melnyk releases, is also of note as it's the first collaboration we've heard from him. Even on past records where multiple pianos were used, Melnyk played all the parts. But here, Melnyk is joined by Peter Broderick and Martin Heyne, who give Melnyk's music an interesting, sort of washed out gauzy production, which really suits the sound, but beyond that, also contribute synthesizer, violin and vocals! We weren't at all sure what to expect, but were actually quite pleasantly surprised.
The opener here "Pockets Of Light" finds us in familiar territory, with Melnyk laying down a lush landscape of swirling notes, and lush chordal shimmer, and as we (and many of you) know by now, that's all we really need, Melnyk and his Continuous Music method are more than enough to fill the speakers, and your headphones and your ears with a wild field of sound, one that is so easy to get lost in, but here, the addition of violin, adds a fantastic element, a bit of a drone, and a melodic counterpoint, also complimented by the dreamlike production, we were pretty skeptical about the vocals, but when they come in, the sound is transformed into a gorgeous, shimmery sort of slowcore, Broderick's vocals high and clear, warm and emotional, drifting atop, Melnyk's lush landscape of chordal swirl, the more we listen, the more we realize we actually might have liked more of the songs to have vocals. Imagine Low with clouds of piano shimmer and you might be close. Divine and dreamlike and utterly mesmerizingly lovely.
"The Six Day Moment" is Melnyk solo, and is a delight of course, a dense, intricate classical music, that almost sounds like multiple players, but it's never too busy, or too chaotic, it's instead lush and lovely, melodic and moving, lyrical and haunting, we could listen to Melnyk play forever, and listening to this, we begin to wonder why someone hasn't asked him to score their film, the sound so evocative and cinematic, epic and intense. "A Warmer Place" finds Broderick returning again, this time playing violin, Melnyk's playing spare and minimal, demonstrating, that it's not just about speed or notes, lots of space, ambient and ethereal, Broderick's minimal melodies perfectly underpinning Melnyk's delicate crystalline arrangements, wintery and wonderfully melancholy.
"Nightrail From The Sun" might be the biggest surprise here, with its casual conversation laced false start, to the hypnotic piano/guitar interplay, some serious Reich/Riley style melodic mesmer going on here, Broderick adding some heft and background color via synth, but for the most part, it's the interplay between Melnyk's piano and Martyn Heyne's guitar that makes this so stunning, and like the other tracks, we find ourselves wishing for a whole record of this. And when Broderick amps up the synth, the sound becomes super dramatic, almost Godspeed-like in its brooding intensity. In many ways, it's like an even more intricate avant version of the recent collaboration between Melnyk and James Blackshaw. And finally, the record finishes off with another Melnyk / Broderick duet, this one with a distinctly mournful almost country feel, the violin unfurling an aching minor key melody, while Melnyk underpins Broderick's violin, with sweetly understated piano, the sound building to something extremely emotional and moving, again, evoking all sorts of images and emotions, and again making us wonder why Melnyk and Broderick aren't scoring films, the closer so cinematic, and expressively cinematic, lush and so so lovely.
Like everything we've heard from Melnyk, and absolute treasure, and a fantastic collaboration, that we hope will inspire many more, and will finally get the rest of the world to discover what we already know, that Melnyk is a genius. This record is simply more proof of that.
MPEG Stream: "Pockets Of Light"
MPEG Stream: "The Six Day Moment"
MPEG Stream: "Nightrail From The Sun"

album cover MAINLINER (KAWABATA MAKOTO'S) Revelation Space (Riot Season) cd 17.98
In some Spinal Tapped version of mythology, the gods of rock and roll, of noise, of distortion, of turning amps up to 11 and melting faces, having once said "let there be rock!", recently must have looked down in dismay from the heavens (where they dwell in castles made of ROCK, which float on puffy clouds generated by fog machines) upon their creation and found something in today's music scene sorely lacking. Where was the primal motorpsycho fuzz feedback rock freakery they originally had commanded? Not nearly enough of it about (and heck, even too much would never be enough). So, they summoned their loyal servitor, The Bearded One, Kawabata Makoto. As lead guitarist/guru of trippy Japanese jammers Acid Mothers Temple, Kawabata has always been a devout worshipper, doing the bidding of the gods with many, many Acid Mothers shows and releases month in and month out. But now he was called upon to do something more - to resurrect the mighty MAINLINER, power trio to end all power trios, and teach a lesson in transcendental distorto-delic mayhem to all mankind. And, lo, faithful Kawabata has not failed in this holy task!
Thus, Mainliner is back, with Revelation Space. It's been over a dozen years since the last proper Mainliner release, 2001's Imaginative Plain cd on PSF, and even longer since Mainliner made their debut with the unbeatable classic Mellow Out. The lineup has changed - in fact it's important to note that this is specifically billed as Kawabata Makoto's Mainliner, 'cause originally he was just the young hotshot guitarist in the band, which was in fact founded by bassist/vocalist Nanjo Asahito of the legendary High Rise, as an almost doppelganger version of that trio so Nanjo could go out on tour when High Rise couldn't. But now, for whatever reason, Nanjo's no longer participating in the band, presumably having given Kawabata his blessing to carry on with the name and mission. Kawabe Taigen, from new wave Japanese psych band Bo Ningen, has been chosen to replace him; and in addition to holding down the rumbling bottom end, he manages to emulate Nanjo's droning otherworldy croon quite capably.
They've had several different drummers on various releases (including Tatsuya Yoshida of Ruins); the drummer here, Koji Shimura, is from AMT, has played in High Rise and many other "Tokyo Flashback" acts, and appears on several previous Mainliner releases including Imaginative Plain. Thankfully, as it turns out, the "new" Mainliner is just as over-the-top and in-the-red as the old Mainliner ever was, maybe more!! They took this seriously - it's not just yet another freaky Kawabata album (as good as they always are), nope.
The opening title track drops the listener in at the deep end and then some, immediately unleashing insane blown out crumble and stutter, the guitar sounding like it's being run through an effects box labeled both Brainbombs AND Faxed Head, but then when it's wed to simple motorik drumming, and hazy, soft focus vox, the combination is strangely beautiful. Beautiful, too, the blurts of feedback shriek, the echo-drenched squalls, the chaotic drum splatter. Really, it's less about the songs, and more about the sound. If stripped of the insanely distorted guitars, this iteration of Mainliner would be a whole different, less beastly beast. And sure, white noise psych guitar freakouts were always a (big) part of Mainliner, but the sounds here seem so much more extreme, the guitarnoise utterly relentless, the whole record wreathed in a crackly field of malfunctioning guitar / damaged amp buzz skree, almost like something Editions Mego would put out, that caustic and corrosive.
But still, let's talk about the songs. The two-minute blast of "D.D.D" is like Aufgehoben doing a Stooges cover, playing through mile high Marshall stacks, and plugged into a daisy chain of dead battery stomp boxes, this time the maniacal vocals matching Kawabata's wild noise-shred with some seriously acrobatic, near falsetto wailing. Even the 'prettier' songs, like "Taitan", find Kawabata wrapping the tribal rhythms and swoonsome shimmer in wild tangled ribbons of strangled, distorto shred and stuttering, glitched out axe frenzy, so the prettiness is not just buried, but obliterated, or so it seems, until that guitarnoise is momentarily peeled back, eventually revealing the hushed mesmer still lurking just beneath the surface. "The Dispossessed" (found on the cd only) could be some classic proto-metal groover, with its busy drumming and woozy, bluesy groove, but there, the guitars seem to explode from within, a grinding blast of Hendrixian shreddery fused to Butthole Surfers style psychedelic freakery, again balanced by some truly haunting, ethereal vox.
And then there's the final track "New Sun", a 20+ minute epic, that begins with a gnarled churn of super distorted riffage, wrapped around an almost 'funky drummer' beat, those drifting spectral vocals hovering over the top, the band locked into a weird warped groove, a lurching metallic blues stomp, that about 4 minutes in slows down to a dirgey crawl, around the same time the guitars explode into some seriously heart of the sun super nova style fretboard freakery! And when they return to the main riff, the guitar is somehow even more distorted and blown out, and they cycle through the song proper one more time, before finishing off with 8 minutes of utter in-the-red cosmic guitar god freakout, with Kawabata flying high, his axe spitting sparks, the drums and bass buried beneath an avalanche of some of the freakiest, fantastically fucked up, psychedelic leads ever, building to a finale that cranks the drums to a frantic gallop, the bass thrumming fiercely, all within a swirling sonic cloud of Kawabata's amp destroying, soul searing psych-drone shred. Whew!!
The gods must be pleased. Any Mainliner fan will be too. But this is NOT just for Kawabata/AMT/Mainliner fanboys, excited though those folks should be. Nope, 'cause there's at least one aQ staffer who realized after hearing this that they NEEDED, but didn't have, all the previous Mainliner albums. You might too, and this would certainly make a good place to begin your lifetime of worship.
Not sure what the future holds for Kawabata Makoto's Mainliner, 'cause Kawabe Taigen's Bo Ningen band is based in London, where they seem to be making a name for themselves, collaborating with the Savages and such (we'll try to track down some imports by the way). But even if this is all we get out of this trio for another 12 years, it will suffice - it just might take that long for our ears to recover!!
As some of you mighty recall, the vinyl version of this was originally meant to be a Record Store Day release this year - they didn't get it pressed in time, so it was bumped back, but it's still hella limited - 500 copies for the world, either white or swamp green vinyl, released on what we're gonna call Mainliner Day. We've got about a dozen left and that's gonna be it. The good news is, though, that the compact disc version, which isn't quite so limited, contains a 9 and a half minute bonus track, the aforementioned "The Dispossessed". Other differences: the vinyl sleeve is black with gold print, while the cd comes in a white miniature lp-style sleeve likewise with gold print. And graphically, both kind of look a lot like Mellow Out, doubtless quite intentionally.
MPEG Stream: "Revelation Space"
MPEG Stream: "Taitan"
MPEG Stream: "New Sun"

album cover MAINLINER (KAWABATA MAKOTO'S) Revelation Space (Riot Season) lp 29.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
In some Spinal Tapped version of mythology, the gods of rock and roll, of noise, of distortion, of turning amps up to 11 and melting faces, having once said "let there be rock!", recently must have looked down in dismay from the heavens (where they dwell in castles made of ROCK, which float on puffy clouds generated by fog machines) upon their creation and found something in today's music scene sorely lacking. Where was the primal motorpsycho fuzz feedback rock freakery they originally had commanded? Not nearly enough of it about (and heck, even too much would never be enough). So, they summoned their loyal servitor, The Bearded One, Kawabata Makoto. As lead guitarist/guru of trippy Japanese jammers Acid Mothers Temple, Kawabata has always been a devout worshipper, doing the bidding of the gods with many, many Acid Mothers shows and releases month in and month out. But now he was called upon to do something more - to resurrect the mighty MAINLINER, power trio to end all power trios, and teach a lesson in transcendental distorto-delic mayhem to all mankind. And, lo, faithful Kawabata has not failed in this holy task!
Thus, Mainliner is back, with Revelation Space. It's been over a dozen years since the last proper Mainliner release, 2001's Imaginative Plain cd on PSF, and even longer since Mainliner made their debut with the unbeatable classic Mellow Out. The lineup has changed - in fact it's important to note that this is specifically billed as Kawabata Makoto's Mainliner, 'cause originally he was just the young hotshot guitarist in the band, which was in fact founded by bassist/vocalist Nanjo Asahito of the legendary High Rise, as an almost doppelganger version of that trio so Nanjo could go out on tour when High Rise couldn't. But now, for whatever reason, Nanjo's no longer participating in the band, presumably having given Kawabata his blessing to carry on with the name and mission. Kawabe Taigen, from new wave Japanese psych band Bo Ningen, has been chosen to replace him; and in addition to holding down the rumbling bottom end, he manages to emulate Nanjo's droning otherworldy croon quite capably.
They've had several different drummers on various releases (including Tatsuya Yoshida of Ruins); the drummer here, Koji Shimura, is from AMT, has played in High Rise and many other "Tokyo Flashback" acts, and appears on several previous Mainliner releases including Imaginative Plain. Thankfully, as it turns out, the "new" Mainliner is just as over-the-top and in-the-red as the old Mainliner ever was, maybe more!! They took this seriously - it's not just yet another freaky Kawabata album (as good as they always are), nope.
The opening title track drops the listener in at the deep end and then some, immediately unleashing insane blown out crumble and stutter, the guitar sounding like it's being run through an effects box labeled both Brainbombs AND Faxed Head, but then when it's wed to simple motorik drumming, and hazy, soft focus vox, the combination is strangely beautiful. Beautiful, too, the blurts of feedback shriek, the echo-drenched squalls, the chaotic drum splatter. Really, it's less about the songs, and more about the sound. If stripped of the insanely distorted guitars, this iteration of Mainliner would be a whole different, less beastly beast. And sure, white noise psych guitar freakouts were always a (big) part of Mainliner, but the sounds here seem so much more extreme, the guitarnoise utterly relentless, the whole record wreathed in a crackly field of malfunctioning guitar / damaged amp buzz skree, almost like something Editions Mego would put out, that caustic and corrosive.
But still, let's talk about the songs. The two-minute blast of "D.D.D" is like Aufgehoben doing a Stooges cover, playing through mile high Marshall stacks, and plugged into a daisy chain of dead battery stomp boxes, this time the maniacal vocals matching Kawabata's wild noise-shred with some seriously acrobatic, near falsetto wailing. Even the 'prettier' songs, like "Taitan", find Kawabata wrapping the tribal rhythms and swoonsome shimmer in wild tangled ribbons of strangled, distorto shred and stuttering, glitched out axe frenzy, so the prettiness is not just buried, but obliterated, or so it seems, until that guitarnoise is momentarily peeled back, eventually revealing the hushed mesmer still lurking just beneath the surface. "The Dispossessed" (found on the cd only) could be some classic proto-metal groover, with its busy drumming and woozy, bluesy groove, but there, the guitars seem to explode from within, a grinding blast of Hendrixian shreddery fused to Butthole Surfers style psychedelic freakery, again balanced by some truly haunting, ethereal vox.
And then there's the final track "New Sun", a 20+ minute epic, that begins with a gnarled churn of super distorted riffage, wrapped around an almost 'funky drummer' beat, those drifting spectral vocals hovering over the top, the band locked into a weird warped groove, a lurching metallic blues stomp, that about 4 minutes in slows down to a dirgey crawl, around the same time the guitars explode into some seriously heart of the sun super nova style fretboard freakery! And when they return to the main riff, the guitar is somehow even more distorted and blown out, and they cycle through the song proper one more time, before finishing off with 8 minutes of utter in-the-red cosmic guitar god freakout, with Kawabata flying high, his axe spitting sparks, the drums and bass buried beneath an avalanche of some of the freakiest, fantastically fucked up, psychedelic leads ever, building to a finale that cranks the drums to a frantic gallop, the bass thrumming fiercely, all within a swirling sonic cloud of Kawabata's amp destroying, soul searing psych-drone shred. Whew!!
The gods must be pleased. Any Mainliner fan will be too. But this is NOT just for Kawabata/AMT/Mainliner fanboys, excited though those folks should be. Nope, 'cause there's at least one aQ staffer who realized after hearing this that they NEEDED, but didn't have, all the previous Mainliner albums. You might too, and this would certainly make a good place to begin your lifetime of worship.
Not sure what the future holds for Kawabata Makoto's Mainliner, 'cause Kawabe Taigen's Bo Ningen band is based in London, where they seem to be making a name for themselves, collaborating with the Savages and such (we'll try to track down some imports by the way). But even if this is all we get out of this trio for another 12 years, it will suffice - it just might take that long for our ears to recover!!
As some of you mighty recall, the vinyl version of this was originally meant to be a Record Store Day release this year - they didn't get it pressed in time, so it was bumped back, but it's still hella limited - 500 copies for the world, either white or swamp green vinyl, released on what we're gonna call Mainliner Day. We've got about a dozen left and that's gonna be it. The good news is, though, that the compact disc version, which isn't quite so limited, contains a 9 and a half minute bonus track, the aforementioned "The Dispossessed". Other differences: the vinyl sleeve is black with gold print, while the cd comes in a white miniature lp-style sleeve likewise with gold print. And graphically, both kind of look a lot like Mellow Out, doubtless quite intentionally.
MPEG Stream: "Revelation Space"
MPEG Stream: "Taitan"
MPEG Stream: "New Sun"

album cover MELNYK, LUBOMYR Corollaries (Erased Tapes) cd 17.98
Lubomyr Melnyk is one of our favorite modern composers. The inventor and master of the Continuous Music technique, which has made him the Guinness-recognized fastest piano player in the world. But was we mentioned in other reviews, this speed and mastery is deftly employed, to create lush clouds of billowing chordal shimmer, the sort of dreamlike divine sound that should have Melnyk spoken about in the same sort or reverential tones reserved for legends like Reich and Riley and Palestine. Melnyk's method involves keeping the pedals on the piano depressed, allowing notes to ring out, bleed into each other, creating lush expanses of constantly shifting overtones, sounds layered and bleeding into one another, creating huge swaths of organic sound, a sound that seems to be alive, full of energy and emotion, not just Melnyk's technique, but his compositions as well, a true master who has created some of the most amazing modern piano music we've ever heard. The sad thing is that his records are quite difficult to find, and the fact that he has composed so many pieces, and his interest is in allowing people to hear as much of his music as possible, most of those records exist only as cd-r's. But gradually, it seems, interest in Melnyk has been growing, we've certainly been doing everything we can, constantly proselytizing, telling everyone we know about Melnyk and his music, reviewing them on our list, and getting as much of his music as we can into the ears of folks we think need to hear it, which we think is many of you.
So we're super excited whenever one of his records gets a proper worldwide release, and thus, we were thrilled when we first heard about Corollaries. Which besides being one of the few non-cd-r Melnyk releases, is also of note as it's the first collaboration we've heard from him. Even on past records where multiple pianos were used, Melnyk played all the parts. But here, Melnyk is joined by Peter Broderick and Martin Heyne, who give Melnyk's music an interesting, sort of washed out gauzy production, which really suits the sound, but beyond that, also contribute synthesizer, violin and vocals! We weren't at all sure what to expect, but were actually quite pleasantly surprised.
The opener here "Pockets Of Light" finds us in familiar territory, with Melnyk laying down a lush landscape of swirling notes, and lush chordal shimmer, and as we (and many of you) know by now, that's all we really need, Melnyk and his Continuous Music method are more than enough to fill the speakers, and your headphones and your ears with a wild field of sound, one that is so easy to get lost in, but here, the addition of violin, adds a fantastic element, a bit of a drone, and a melodic counterpoint, also complimented by the dreamlike production, we were pretty skeptical about the vocals, but when they come in, the sound is transformed into a gorgeous, shimmery sort of slowcore, Broderick's vocals high and clear, warm and emotional, drifting atop, Melnyk's lush landscape of chordal swirl, the more we listen, the more we realize we actually might have liked more of the songs to have vocals. Imagine Low with clouds of piano shimmer and you might be close. Divine and dreamlike and utterly mesmerizingly lovely.
"The Six Day Moment" is Melnyk solo, and is a delight of course, a dense, intricate classical music, that almost sounds like multiple players, but it's never too busy, or too chaotic, it's instead lush and lovely, melodic and moving, lyrical and haunting, we could listen to Melnyk play forever, and listening to this, we begin to wonder why someone hasn't asked him to score their film, the sound so evocative and cinematic, epic and intense. "A Warmer Place" finds Broderick returning again, this time playing violin, Melnyk's playing spare and minimal, demonstrating, that it's not just about speed or notes, lots of space, ambient and ethereal, Broderick's minimal melodies perfectly underpinning Melnyk's delicate crystalline arrangements, wintery and wonderfully melancholy.
"Nightrail From The Sun" might be the biggest surprise here, with its casual conversation laced false start, to the hypnotic piano/guitar interplay, some serious Reich/Riley style melodic mesmer going on here, Broderick adding some heft and background color via synth, but for the most part, it's the interplay between Melnyk's piano and Martyn Heyne's guitar that makes this so stunning, and like the other tracks, we find ourselves wishing for a whole record of this. And when Broderick amps up the synth, the sound becomes super dramatic, almost Godspeed-like in its brooding intensity. In many ways, it's like an even more intricate avant version of the recent collaboration between Melnyk and James Blackshaw. And finally, the record finishes off with another Melnyk / Broderick duet, this one with a distinctly mournful almost country feel, the violin unfurling an aching minor key melody, while Melnyk underpins Broderick's violin, with sweetly understated piano, the sound building to something extremely emotional and moving, again, evoking all sorts of images and emotions, and again making us wonder why Melnyk and Broderick aren't scoring films, the closer so cinematic, and expressively cinematic, lush and so so lovely.
Like everything we've heard from Melnyk, and absolute treasure, and a fantastic collaboration, that we hope will inspire many more, and will finally get the rest of the world to discover what we already know, that Melnyk is a genius. This record is simply more proof of that.
MPEG Stream: "Pockets Of Light"
MPEG Stream: "The Six Day Moment"
MPEG Stream: "Nightrail From The Sun"

album cover TWINK Think Pink (Sunbeam) lp+cd 29.00
THIS RECENT RECORD OF THE WEEK, NOW ON VINYL! First time we've had a vinyl reissue of this old fave, in fact. And, it comes with a free copy of the cd version tucked into the jacket, which means you do get all the bonus tracks described below, even though they didn't fit onto the vinyl itself. Here's what we said other other day when we listed the cd:
Along with the revamped Conet Project, here's another no-brainer for a Record Of The Week╔ We've listed it before, years and years ago, when there was a cd version on Akarma, but this is a much nicer, expanded, official reissue and it's good to give it a proper review for the first time (back then, we merely quoted The Seth Man from Julian Cope's Head Heritage website, waxing rhapsodic about this record, now we'll do it ourselves).
Oh boy. Do you like psychedelia? DO YOU HAVE THIS ALBUM? If not, you're in for a treat, a mindblowing treat. Think Pink was the brilliant solo effort from former Pretty Things drummer John "Twink" Alder, and it's an all-time aQ fave, an all-time underground psychedelic masterpiece, right up there with the essentials from the likes of Amon Duul II, Pink Floyd, Hawkwind, Sam Gopal, Kaleidoscope, and Tyrannosaurus Rex, and it's just been properly reissued on cd by the UK's Sunbeam label, with a whole bunch of bonus freakery added on. Not that this album NEEDS any bonus freakery, it's about as freaky as you can get to begin with, packed with droning chant, druidic prophecy, spaced-out psych jams, weird twisted pop, and acid-folk ramble. But, too much is never enough, right? So heck, we're happy to have the eight bonus tracks too. More on those later. First, let's discuss the original album itself. As we said, Twink played drums for The Pretty Things, but before that had his own sixties R&B outfit the Fairies. After that band, he was in Tomorrow ("My White Bicycle") with future Yes guitarist Steve Howe, around 1967. Twink then briefly formed a duo called The Aquarian Age, before joining up with The Pretty Things and appearing on their concept-album classic S.F. Sorrow in '68, another aQ fave. At that point, for some crazy reason (things were different/better back then) Twink was offered a deal by Sire to do a solo album, and Think Pink was the glorious, if at the time somewhat unheralded, result, recorded in 1969 with Mick Farren of The Deviants producing. Released in 1970 in the US & Europe, but not 'til '71 in the UK, it's been called the first Pink Fairies album, and in a way it is, as soon after making it, Twink did team up with several ex-members of The Deviants, most of whom played on this, to form that infamous proto-punk outfit. And several tracks here feature contributions from what's credited as "The Pink Fairies Motorcycle Club & All Star Rock & Roll Band".
Also participating are several of Twink's Pretty Things bandmates, his girlfriend Silver Darling, and Steve Peregrin Took, Marc Bolan's partner in Tyrannosaurus Rex and early T-Rex, who plays, among other things, "pixie horn". And one of the most crucial contributors to Think Pink, besides Twink himself, has to be guitarist Paul "Blackie" Rudolph, who really lets loose, earning a hallowed place in the annals of distortodelic guitar wrangling for his work on this album alone (though in the course of his career before and after, he also played with The Deviants, Pink Fairies, Hawkwind, Robert Calvert, and Brian Eno).
Eastern-tinged opener "The Coming Of The Other One" sets the scene, pulling us deep into its trippy Aquarian Age fantasy zone, with a solemn voice reciting Nostradamic verses ("In the year 1999 and seven months, from the skies shall come an alarming powerful king...") accompanied by tablas and sitar. Then comes Think Pink's biggest "hit" as far as we're concerned, an utterly perfect slice of stonery psych called "10,000 Words In A Cardboard Box", just listen to it! That's followed by "Dawn Of Magic" with its raga-like vocal ahhhaaaaahh sounds as if Pandit Pran Nath were on the mic, which suddenly segues into the space-out sike-pop of "Tiptoe On The Highest Hill", a lovely pastoral song that eventually builds into a howling guitar blow-out of the highest order. Then the trippy "Fluid" chimes into being, with its sexy heavy breathing and slinky, springy grooves, making us think of the acid-fried hippy orgasms of krautrockers Brainticket's classic Cottonwood Hill (released later on, in '71, we should also note).
Side two (track six here) opens with the martial fuzz-freakout of "Mexican Grass War", all chanting freaks and wild FX like early Amon Duul and Edgar Broughton Band. The freaky vibes continue, quite weird and wonderful, with the glammed up jam of "Rock An'Roll The Joint", the mellow morbid acoustic strum of "Suicide" and the maniacal "Three Little Piggies", before the album ends with the intense edgy psych pop of "The Sparrow Is A Sign", a song with a malevolent, sinister side to it that reminds us a little bit of Comus - and strangely too of the Sun City Girls, perhaps due to the vocals, provided by Steve Took.
Then, there's all those bonus tracks, the first two of which are actually from the lone 7" single released in '68 by The Aquarian Age, the immediate precursor to the Think Pink project. There's the A side, being the original version of "10,000 Words In A Cardboard Box", and the B side, an amusing number called "Good Wizard Meets Naughty Wizard", which displays just the sort of twee, hippie British humor the title suggests. It's great to hear both of those, and the bonus tracks proliferate further with unreleased, alternate versions of more Think Pink material, somewhat heavier or rawer or definitely different, including two takes of "Fluid" and another version of "10,000 Words...", which we can't get enough of anyway.
All in all, a nicely done reissue, as this deserves, with pages and pages of newly-written, informative liner notes, plus lyrics, credits, vintage photos & graphics. Plus, unlike that previous Akarma version, this is a fully-legit release, done with the participation of Twink himself ("issued under exclusive license from Mohammed Abdullah John Alder, February 2013" it says here, and there's even a picture of him today too - apparently he's become a Muslim, and looks quite happy).
By the way... Nobody here at aQ can think about Think Pink, though, and not also think about our "customer" whom we call The Twink Think Pink Guy. We don't believe he's ever actually bought anything, but he's this older guy that comes in once in a while (and has for years) and always, always, ONLY asks about Think Pink, whether we have it in stock or not, and then talks at great length to anyone who will listen about how great it is. It's his favorite record apparently, but don't let that dissuade you, if you get this you probably won't end up like him. Probably.
Message for The Twink Think Pink Guy, if you're reading this: we expect to see you soon!
MPEG Stream: "10,000 Words In A Cardboard Box"
MPEG Stream: "Tiptoe On The Highest Hill"
MPEG Stream: "Fluid"
MPEG Stream: "The Sparrow Is A Sign"
MPEG Stream: "Good Wizard Meets Naughty Wizard"

UNCLE ACID & THE DEADBEATS Blood Lust (Rise Above) lp 39.00
Hell yeah, at last! When this now-semi-legendary album was first released by UK heavy psych doom metal specialists Rise Above in 2011, it came out in an ultra limited edition of just three hundred vinyl-only copies, which proved almost impossible to come by. That first edition sold out instantly and those lps started trading for seriously ridiculous amounts of money on eBay and elsewhere. Even though, really, who the heck were Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats? Well it wasn't just the cool band name generating a buzz, the music was awesome, as we later were able to ascertain. Eventually Rise Above did a repress, of which we were able to get a few, though those were expensive too and we were never able to get enough of 'em to actually list. But, we did figure out why this record was in such demand (as we'll discuss in more detail in a moment). We also learned that Blood Lust had also come out on compact disc, but oddly enough via a small Finnish label instead of Rise Above, and again we never were able to get enough of those to list, either. But we had hope that someday, somehow, we'd be able to review this for you, 'cause eventually most Rise Above stuff gets released in the USA by licensees Metal Blade, and while its been a damn long time, we're now pleased to, ta da, finally have Blood Lust on cd at a domestic price. Record Of The Week? You bet!
So, what we thought we were in for, way back when all we knew about band was their name & label, was some lysergic sludgey doomy jamming, like maybe Electric Wizard (another Rise Above band) or UFOmammut. Which we would have been perfectly happy with, of course. But, instead, Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats proved to be a lot more song-oriented and more melodic than we expected, with a kind of poppy '60s garage psych rock side to 'em, amidst their heavy fuzz-filled riffage. The singer (that's ol' Uncle Acid himself, natch, also on guitar in this power trio, and mellotron and synths too) croons his twisted tales of witchburning, black magic, and murder, in a languid whine, his voice nasally pinched and reverb effected, reminding us a bit of Kyle Thomas of aQ faves Witch (and King Tuff and Happy Birthday too by the way). His delivery lends a delicate, decadent touch to the band's brand of both despondent plod and swinging catchiness, able to render lines like "I was born a bitter man, no hopes or dreams / I get my kicks from torturing and screams / I lust for womens blood, and their evil ways / I twist my words to what the good book says" with sick sincerity -and- showmanship, in a way that is surprisingly not very much metallic, instead staying (despite the music's undeniable heaviness) more in the pop realm, though one obsessed with vintage horror films.
These rollicking, but dread-infused tunes are further full of ripping fuzz guitar leads, and lumbering downer riffs. Without a doubt, doom originators Black Sabbath are a major factor in this band's sound, but they're doing something rather different with that particular inspiration than most do. And we're also reminded of some other British '60s/'70s proto-metallers like Stray, High Tide, T2, and May Blitz, who were quite heavy but psych-pop catchy as well. Perhaps very early, very psychedelic Alice Cooper could be added to Uncle Acid's roster of influences too, we're thinking of the way the song "Ritual Knife" marries a pounding tribal beat and urgently chugging ominous riffery with glorious bursts of shining melody come chorus time.
One much more recent band that these guys also remind us of, is Swedish occult rock sensations Ghost, another act whose "pop side" is so effective as to possibly threaten their "metal cred" among the more closeminded. We'd also recommend Uncle Acid to fans of that other recent, equally retro stunner from Rise Above, Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell. And, like last week's Record Of The Week by Golden Void, this has that laidback classic sounding '70s psychrock vibe, immediately familiar, though Uncle Acid comes across as much more dark and sinister to be sure. And lastly, fans of Witchcraft should pay attention - we'd rank this up there with that band's celebrated Rise Above debut, we're pretty sure this is gonna be considered a classic too. We're sooooooo glad they didn't just press only those 300 vinyl copies and leave it at that!! You will be too.
This cd reissue includes a bonus track not on vinyl, which provides a nice coda to the record proper, relinquishing the fuzz guitar for acoustic strum and hand percussion, Uncle Acid doing their doom-pop-psych in a more folky style a la, say, Bolan's Tyrannosaurus Rex.
MPEG Stream: "I'll Cut You Down"
MPEG Stream: "Curse In The Trees"
MPEG Stream: "13 Candles"

album cover UNCLE ACID & THE DEADBEATS Blood Lust (Picture Disc) (Metal Blade / Rise Above) lp 29.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Now available on domestic PICTURE DISC vinyl!
Hell yeah, at last! When this now-semi-legendary album was first released by UK heavy psych doom metal specialists Rise Above in 2011, it came out in an ultra limited edition of just three hundred vinyl-only copies, which proved almost impossible to come by. That first edition sold out instantly and those lps started trading for seriously ridiculous amounts of money on eBay and elsewhere. Even though, really, who the heck were Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats? Well it wasn't just the cool band name generating a buzz, the music was awesome, as we later were able to ascertain. Eventually Rise Above did a repress, of which we were able to get a few, though those were expensive too and we were never able to get enough of 'em to actually list. But, we did figure out why this record was in such demand (as we'll discuss in more detail in a moment). We also learned that Blood Lust had also come out on compact disc, but oddly enough via a small Finnish label instead of Rise Above, and again we never were able to get enough of those to list, either. But we had hope that someday, somehow, we'd be able to review this for you, 'cause eventually most Rise Above stuff gets released in the USA by licensees Metal Blade, and while its been a damn long time, we're now pleased to, ta da, finally have Blood Lust on cd at a domestic price. Record Of The Week? You bet!
So, what we thought we were in for, way back when all we knew about band was their name & label, was some lysergic sludgey doomy jamming, like maybe Electric Wizard (another Rise Above band) or UFOmammut. Which we would have been perfectly happy with, of course. But, instead, Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats proved to be a lot more song-oriented and more melodic than we expected, with a kind of poppy '60s garage psych rock side to 'em, amidst their heavy fuzz-filled riffage. The singer (that's ol' Uncle Acid himself, natch, also on guitar in this power trio, and mellotron and synths too) croons his twisted tales of witchburning, black magic, and murder, in a languid whine, his voice nasally pinched and reverb effected, reminding us a bit of Kyle Thomas of aQ faves Witch (and King Tuff and Happy Birthday too by the way). His delivery lends a delicate, decadent touch to the band's brand of both despondent plod and swinging catchiness, able to render lines like "I was born a bitter man, no hopes or dreams / I get my kicks from torturing and screams / I lust for womens blood, and their evil ways / I twist my words to what the good book says" with sick sincerity -and- showmanship, in a way that is surprisingly not very much metallic, instead staying (despite the music's undeniable heaviness) more in the pop realm, though one obsessed with vintage horror films.
These rollicking, but dread-infused tunes are further full of ripping fuzz guitar leads, and lumbering downer riffs. Without a doubt, doom originators Black Sabbath are a major factor in this band's sound, but they're doing something rather different with that particular inspiration than most do. And we're also reminded of some other British '60s/'70s proto-metallers like Stray, High Tide, T2, and May Blitz, who were quite heavy but psych-pop catchy as well. Perhaps very early, very psychedelic Alice Cooper could be added to Uncle Acid's roster of influences too, we're thinking of the way the song "Ritual Knife" marries a pounding tribal beat and urgently chugging ominous riffery with glorious bursts of shining melody come chorus time.
One much more recent band that these guys also remind us of, is Swedish occult rock sensations Ghost, another act whose "pop side" is so effective as to possibly threaten their "metal cred" among the more closeminded. We'd also recommend Uncle Acid to fans of that other recent, equally retro stunner from Rise Above, Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell. And, like last week's Record Of The Week by Golden Void, this has that laidback classic sounding '70s psychrock vibe, immediately familiar, though Uncle Acid comes across as much more dark and sinister to be sure. And lastly, fans of Witchcraft should pay attention - we'd rank this up there with that band's celebrated Rise Above debut, we're pretty sure this is gonna be considered a classic too. We're sooooooo glad they didn't just press only those 300 vinyl copies and leave it at that!! You will be too.
This cd reissue includes a bonus track not on vinyl, which provides a nice coda to the record proper, relinquishing the fuzz guitar for acoustic strum and hand percussion, Uncle Acid doing their doom-pop-psych in a more folky style a la, say, Bolan's Tyrannosaurus Rex.
MPEG Stream: "I'll Cut You Down"
MPEG Stream: "Curse In The Trees"
MPEG Stream: "13 Candles"

album cover LORELLE MEETS THE OBSOLETE Corruptible Faces (Captcha) lp 17.98
REPRESSED ON VINYL AND BACK IN STOCK!
We already loved this Mexican duo based entirely on the name, even more so when we discovered that it wasn't just a band name. Lorelle sings, plays guitar, bass and organ. The Obsolete plays drums, percussion, bass, Casiotone, organ, synth, piano guitar and also sings. Not sure if they're a proper couple, but they should be, so we're just gonna assume they are. And they do in fact make beautiful music together. A sort of psychedelic krautrock, noise pop, garage rock. In a way, they remind us of another recent fave Liminanas, but where that band channeled French pop, Lorelle Meets the Obsolete seem to be drawing their influence from something much more noisy and raw, psychedelic and dark. Sure it's jangly and poppy in places, but they lock into seriously hypnotic grooves, fans of outfits like the Moon Duo will be utterly enthralled for sure. They also have a bit of swaggery twang, reminding us at times of Crystal Stilts, and at others a little bit of Stereolab, albeit a much rougher low fidelity version.
The sound here is lush and warm, woozy and hypnotic, druggy and dreamy, tracks like "The December Riots" sound like the Dum Dum Girls slowed down to a gloriously murky crawl, slo-mo girl group bliss out, while tracks like "Art For Free", add some new wave to the group's garage pop crunch. All the songs here though at their core are jangly and catchy, Lorelle and her partner delivering them in varying states of decay, and varying states of tranced out drugginess. At their poppiest, this is the sort of thing fans of Ty Segall and Thee Oh Sees and Mikal Cronin will flip over, and at their droniest and druggiest, it's a sort of lysergic dirge that should appeal equally to fans of old school drug drift mesmer a la Spacemen 3, and more modern psychedelic noise purveyors like Carlton Melton. Although really, this is just some noisy krauty fuzzy pop, and we LOVE it. A new favorite for sure!
MPEG Stream: "Tales From A High Line"
MPEG Stream: "The In-Between"
MPEG Stream: "The December Riots"
MPEG Stream: "Art For Free"

album cover LORELLE MEETS THE OBSOLETE Corruptible Faces (Captcha) cd 11.98
We already loved this Mexican duo based entirely on the name, even more so when we discovered that it wasn't just a band name. Lorelle sings, plays guitar, bass and organ. The Obsolete plays drums, percussion, bass, Casiotone, organ, synth, piano guitar and also sings. Not sure if they're a proper couple, but they should be, so we're just gonna assume they are. And they do in fact make beautiful music together. A sort of psychedelic krautrock, noise pop, garage rock. In a way, they remind us of another recent fave Liminanas, but where that band channeled French pop, Lorelle Meets the Obsolete seem to be drawing their influence from something much more noisy and raw, psychedelic and dark. Sure it's jangly and poppy in places, but they lock into seriously hypnotic grooves, fans of outfits like the Moon Duo will be utterly enthralled for sure. They also have a bit of swaggery twang, reminding us at times of Crystal Stilts, and at others a little bit of Stereolab, albeit a much rougher low fidelity version.
The sound here is lush and warm, woozy and hypnotic, druggy and dreamy, tracks like "The December Riots" sound like the Dum Dum Girls slowed down to a gloriously murky crawl, slo-mo girl group bliss out, while tracks like "Art For Free", add some new wave to the group's garage pop crunch. All the songs here though at their core are jangly and catchy, Lorelle and her partner delivering them in varying states of decay, and varying states of tranced out drugginess. At their poppiest, this is the sort of thing fans of Ty Segall and Thee Oh Sees and Mikal Cronin will flip over, and at their droniest and druggiest, it's a sort of lysergic dirge that should appeal equally to fans of old school drug drift mesmer a la Spacemen 3, and more modern psychedelic noise purveyors like Carlton Melton. Although really, this is just some noisy krauty fuzzy pop, and we LOVE it. A new favorite for sure!
MPEG Stream: "Tales From A High Line"
MPEG Stream: "The In-Between"
MPEG Stream: "The December Riots"
MPEG Stream: "Art For Free"

album cover SCHICKERT, GUNTER Samtvogel (Important) cd 15.98
Years ago we fell in love with Gunter Schickert's album Uberfallig, a late-krautrock guitarscape epic from 1979. It was quite recently reissued on cd and vinyl by Germany's Bureau B label, and we made it a Record Of The Week as we hope you recall. Now here's another Shickert reissue, and yes indeed another Record Of The Week. Samtvogel was Gunter's debut, from five years previous, in 1974. This time the Important label has the honor of bringing this out again, and we thank them. We've had an expensive import vinyl reissue previously that we listed (now long gone) but this is the first time ever that has been available on compact disc, as far as we know.
Schickert, who besides playing guitar was employed as studio engineer working alongside better known krautrock legend Klaus Schulze, never made too many albums on his own but everything we've heard in his sparse discography has been amazing. If you liked Uberfallig, you'll like its predecessor Samtvogel too, a three track epic of cavernous space guitar explorations and buried lysergic vocal incantations that sounds like an alternate soundtrack to Fantastic Planet! The first track, "Apricot Brandy" gently introduces us into Schickert's sound world, a spacey lyrical repetitive commune riffscape with murmured vocals and spindly multi-layered guitar percolations that gently float in an echo-y atmospheric chamber (see Uberfallig for the sequel, "Apricot Brandy II"). The second track, "Kriegmaschinen, Fahrt Zur Holle" is nearly 17 minutes of space-echo, bell tones and strange echo effects that slowly build into more intense repetitive and multi-layered motifs, sometimes urgent and cinematic, and other moments more billowy and sinuous, reminding us of Achim Reichel and Manuel Gottsching, and the even obscure krautrock band Temple. Then the final twenty-one minute track, "Wald" brings the intensity to the fore, with a buzzing guitarscape that reminds us of John Carpenter, but soon gives way to a more lilting spacey bubbling and exploratory improvisation, before the intense riffs return and interject and subside in strange surges, finally dissipating in little clouds of helium. A beautiful piece of outsider kosmiche musik! Highly, highly recommended!
Now that both of Schickert's '70s masterpieces have been reissued, hopefully he can take his rightful place in the constellation of krautrock greats.
MPEG Stream: "Apricot Brandy"
MPEG Stream: "Kreigsmaschinen Fahrt Zur Holle"
MPEG Stream: "Wald"

album cover CORDIER, ERIC Breizhiselad (Erewhon) cd 14.98
This former aQ Record Of The Week (List #257), finally available again!!!
Making music is all about transporting the listener to another place. Creating sounds or songs that transform the listener's whole world, so with eyes closed, a person could be anywhere, drifting through space, wandering in caves miles below the surface of the earth, laying in tall grass in the countryside, holed up in a concrete bunker during a war, wandering through the smoking ruins of some ancient city, all through the magic of music.
Most of our favorite sound makers use their considerable talents to sonically alter the course of time, taking us back with them to some unrealized past, some mysterious otherworld where it's still the middle ages, or the 1900's, or the fifties or even just the seventies. Their sounds are faded postcards, old snapshots browned with age, glimpses of places and people long forgotten, it's all very evocative and hauntingly emotional. Philip Jeck, Tim Hecker, William Basinski, Jasper TX, Machinefabriek, they all meticulously craft windows to other worlds, using various instruments and techniques, they allow us to step through our speakers and into some rainy day, an overcast afternoon, in a barely populated city, an intimate get together with family and friends, a lonely walk through dark alleys and rain slicked streets, but unlike a film or a photo, these are less distinct, more like memories than actual visual images, and like memories, they are nothing but personal recollections of events long past, and like memories, some parts are fuzzy, indistinct, everything seems faded and ghostlike, on the verge of being lost forever. Capturing that ineffable sound, manufacturing a world of mysterious musical memories, with music, never fails to captivate us completely, and we could listen to those sounds, rich with nostalgia and warmth, rife with magic and mystery, pretty much forever...
French experimental sound artist Eric Cordier has taken a bit of a detour from his usual electro-improv and installation work and has joined the ranks of our favorite sound makers, with his latest, Breizhiselad, an epic and gorgeously inventive exploration of tape, the turntable and a single 78rpm 10" record found in the attic of a friend's grandmother. The original recording, one of the first to proudly feature the Breton language after years and years of persecution, was to Cordier's ears, "horrible because of the catechism-like vocal arrangements" but the conviction of the vocalists, as well as the condition of the record itself, convinced him that these were important sounds. SO he transferred the sounds to tape, and attempted to capture the essence of the music, the power and the passion, while discarding the rest.
The result is a haunting epic, an expansive drift through some lost era, the voices are disembodied and wreathed in murk and static, an EVP broadcast from the beyond, rhythms and melodies develop suddenly amidst a cacophony of distortion and processed voices.
The opening track sets the tone, with a looped low end rumble, fuzzy and mysterious, the rich warm sound of deep harmonies, amidst a bed of tangled crackle, looped and chopped into lurching rhythms, like some disembodied short wave doom, a creepy low end moaning melody that gradually fades into a soundscape of layered angelic voices, creating a stuttering blurry chorale. The record is peppered with field recordings and bits of found sound, whipping wind, footsteps, snippets of conversations, the crunch of boots in snow, all woven into the strangely liturgical sound of Cordier's mysterious world of sound.
Imagine the murky undersea drift of Oval's skipping cd-scapes, but wrapped in a thick cloak of analog imperfections, skips and pops and crackle and hiss, imbued with an ominous undercurrent, minor key melodies assembled from rumble and hum, thick swells of static and clipped stuttering snatches of organ or voice, all transformed into creepy complex squalls of sound, scraping and hiccuping, but just as often, smoothed into hushed, dreamlike drifts, warm and muted, almost like some analog Pop Ambient, letting us float serenely and ghostlike through a sonic world of dark forests and crumbling castles, small villages and rolling hillsides, battlefields and ruined cities, of war, famine and death, but also of hope and salvation.
MPEG Stream: "Breizhiselad / Ar Baradoz"
MPEG Stream: "Lieux De Repos"

album cover FLAMING LIPS The Terror (Warner Bros.) 2lp 39.00
Finally, this recent aQ Record Of The Week, now available on vinyl, which includes a sidelong bonus track NOT on the cd, called "We Don't Control The Controls", an epic mash-up collage by Dan Deacon, where he takes the entirety of The Terror, chops it up, slices and dices all the sounds and songs, and somehow mashes it all back together into one gloriously dense, super psychedelic, Flaming Lipped electro-noise blowout! Folks who bought the cd might just have to get another copy to get their hands on this vinyl only fourth side! Here's our review of the rest of The Terror, the album proper, from when we listed the cd version two weeks ago on list #423...
We never really stopped digging the Flaming Lips. We'll always probably be partial to the early days, the chaotic, drug addled noise rock psych pop era of course, but even more so that transitional three album arc that marked the band's transition from fucked up underground legends to weirdo stadium rock popstars, Hit To Death In The Future Head, Transmissions From The Satellite Heart and Clouds Taste Metallic. With The Soft Bulletin, the band embraced their pop side, and it paid off, and we have to say we're pretty thrilled, that a band this weird, could end up being one of the most popular bands in the world. And it's pretty heartening, that even while they were crafting these crazy commercial records, they continued to be willfully difficult, and extremely experimental and unconventional. From crazy elaborate performances to bizarre limited releases (thumb drive in a human sized gummy skull!), they're essentially one of the only bands who never seemed to be corrupted by success, and who never let that success go to their heads, or really affect their music. In fact, if anything, the Lips seem to have peaked pop wise with the trilogy of The Soft Bulletin, Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots and At War With The Mystics, and ever since, they seem to have been getting less and less commercial, like some sort of musical Benjamin Buttons. 2009's Embryonic was pretty weird, but The Terror trumps it big time.
Originally rumored to be a return to the band's old sound, The Terror instead finds the band slipping into a sort of abstract experimental almost krautrock sounding psychedelia. The sounds are lush and layered, fantastically atmospheric, the vocals sparse and minimal, no proper pop songs to be found anywhere, instead, The Terror delivers long sprawling dream-psych jams that are some of the best songs we've heard from these guys in ages. The opening tracks set the scene, pulsing electronics, woozy looped synth melodies, skittery drums, hazy vocals, the opener "Look... The Sun Is Rising" maybe the closest to modern Flaming Lips, and actual pop song structure, but even here, there's lots of jagged angular crunch, droned out synths, shimmering layers, everything washed out and hazy, the song leading directly into "Be Free, A Way", which is like an even more abstract extension of the opener, with a woozy soporific hook that will stick in your head forEVER, all over a lush landscape of synths and electronics, and murky pulsing rhythms. "Try To Explain" continues on in that drifting ethereal ephemeral psychedelic dream pop style, laying vocals over a lush bed of electronic pulsations, soaring symphonic arrangements and weird sound effects.
It's on "Your Lust" where the band seem to slough off the vestiges of pop that defined the opening few tracks, unfurling a heady sprawl of hypno rock electro-kraut grooviness, all sun dappled and woozy, eventually fading out into a lush and lovely coda of warble organ, and distorted chiming melodies.
And while there are moments of poppiness popping up throughout the record's remaining five tracks, those tracks seem to bleed together into one gorgeously lysergic sprawling songsuite. The rhythms minimal and motorik, the vocals wispy and ethereal, the sound often bursting into weirdly corrosive crumbles, or densely swirling buzz, blossoming into blown out shoegaze heaviness, before settling back into a twisted bit of swirling sci-fi kraut-pop drift, or some stripped down Can like minimal mesmer, but all wreathed in a constantly shifting cloud of effects and textures and disembodied voices, at one point the band slip into some hushed electronic creep, with falsetto vox, and lots of glitch and buzz, sounding a bit like Thom Yorke's solo record The Eraser, but things here are much weirder, the sound exploding into a noise drenched buzz pop, before devolving into the gorgeously abstract weirdo noise-pop prog of the closer "Always There In Our Hearts", which manages to be both poppy and impossibly catchy, as well as dense and claustrophobic, intense and super dramatic.
The whole record bleeds into one fantastic and lysergic whole, it's hard to pick out a single song, or even a single part. in fact we've yet to NOT listen to the whole record in a single sitting, the only thing that separates the songs for us is hearing a phrase, or part of a title, the record in many ways feels like one huge piece, an interconnected songsuite, and while with every listen, certain parts stick in our heads, certain melodies, specific sounds, even textures, or rhythms, we still just can't bring ourselves to not listen to the whole thing, all the way through, over and over and over.
MPEG Stream: "Look... The Sun Is Rising"
MPEG Stream: "Be Free, A Way"
MPEG Stream: "Your Lust"
MPEG Stream: "The Terror"
MPEG Stream: "You Are Alone"

album cover HOOKWORMS Pearl Mystic (Gringo) lp 28.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Pearl Mystic is the first we've heard from this UK psych rock outfit, and just describing them as 'psych rock' probably has most aQ psych-nerds frothing at the mouth, imagining long sprawling sheets of swirling guitar shimmer, and droned out, heart-of-the-sun mega space jams, and while that stuff is definitely part of Hookworms' sound, those are not the only parts, the band tending toward a sound much more song based and focused, sure fans of Carlton Melton and the Heads and White Hills and all the rest will no doubt dig, but so will folks more into outfits like Spiritualized and Psychic Ills. Imagine a strange fusion of Spiritualized's long-form tranced out psych soul mesmer, and the more blown out sonic explorations of those other above mentioned bands and you'll get a rough idea of what's in store for you from Hookworms.
Opener "Away/Towards" is the perfect opening blast, displaying both sides of the groups' sound in equal measure, the first few minutes, presumably the "Away" portion, finds Hookworms unfurling a slow, undulating dronescape of Spacemen 3 like guitar pulsations, over a bed of churning tribal rhythms, and a sky full of weird super FX heavy yowled vox, the sound a brooding slow build, that eventually explodes into full on space/psych pound, the guitars wild and fierce, everything wreathed in clouds of dense drugged out swirl, but that only last for less than a minute before the sound shifts gears again, moving into what can only be the "Towards" section, with the sound settling into something less crunchy and chaotic, and more woozy and washed out, pulsing and motorik, the guitars a bit muted, and now wrapped in whirring swaths of chordal organ, the vocals, still echo-ey, but much more 'sung', totally tranced out and hypnotically groovy, at one point getting kinda swaggery, with a soaring chorus, and some cool stretches of guitar buzz sixties style garage-drone psych groove, that we can not get enough of. And that's just the first song.
That swagger definitely informs much of the rest of the record, with the sound shifting easily from Stooges-y like stomp, to tripped out Moon Duo like mesmer, to explosive, blown out, noise drenched heavy psych crumble (check out the end of "Form And Function"!), to woozy, bongsmoke swirled, zoner psych drift, all dreamy and droney, often touching on all of those in a single track. The record is peppered with title-less interludes, which are cool abstract stretches of experimental guitar drift, and wild FX drenched freeform, backwards FX laced ambience, and murky, drug-drong dreamdrift mesmer. Those interludes alone could have easily been stretched out and expanded into their own record (also most likely an aQ ROTW!), but it's the songs here that drive Pearl Mystic, from the murky, psych ballad "In Our Time" that almost sounds like Sub Pop era Afghan Whigs recast as modern retro psych, with its crooned, reverby vocals, prickly distorted guitars, and gorgeous backdrop of lush psychedelic swirl, to the epic slow burn Spacemen 3 style drug-rock dirge, infused with lush, soaring, swirling shimmer, and driven by some super mesmerzing motorik rhythms, all the various parts swirled and smeared into what might be the dreamiest, druggiest jam here, to the wild, tribal pound of "Preservation" with its yowled vox, clouds of fierce blown out psych guitar, fierce drumming, and its crushing, speaker melting final blow out that would most definitely give any and all other aQ approved psychedelic space rockers a run for their money.
Hookworms deftly balance actual songs, with wild, free-form, heavy space-psych excursions, an experiment that could easily have blunted both, but instead ends up the best of both worlds, and might just coax drugged out psych nerds into the light, and drag the psychedelic dabblers just a little bit toward the dark side. Awesome.
MPEG Stream: "Away / Towards"
MPEG Stream: "Form And Function"
MPEG Stream: "I"
MPEG Stream: "Since We Had Changed"

album cover FLAMING LIPS The Terror (Warner Bros.) cd 14.98
We never really stopped digging the Flaming Lips. We'll always probably be partial to the early days, the chaotic, drug addled noise rock psych pop era of course, but even more so that transitional three album arc that marked the band's transition from fucked up underground legends to weirdo stadium rock popstars, Hit To Death In The Future Head, Transmissions From The Satellite Heart and Clouds Taste Metallic. With The Soft Bulletin, the band embraced their pop side, and it paid off, and we have to say we're pretty thrilled, that a band this weird, could end up being one of the most popular bands in the world. And it's pretty heartening, that even while they were crafting these crazy commercial records, they continued to be willfully difficult, and extremely experimental and unconventional. From crazy elaborate performances to bizarre limited releases (thumb drive in a human sized gummy skull!), they're essentially one of the only bands who never seemed to be corrupted by success, and who never let that success go to their heads, or really affect their music. In fact, if anything, the Lips seem to have peaked pop wise with the trilogy of The Soft Bulletin, Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots and At War With The Mystics, and ever since, they seem to have been getting less and less commercial, like some sort of musical Benjamin Buttons. 2009's Embryonic was pretty weird, but The Terror trumps it big time.
Originally rumored to be a return to the band's old sound, The Terror instead finds the band slipping into a sort of abstract experimental almost krautrock sounding psychedelia. The sounds are lush and layered, fantastically atmospheric, the vocals sparse and minimal, no proper pop songs to be found anywhere, instead, The Terror delivers long sprawling dream-psych jams that are some of the best songs we've heard from these guys in ages. The opening tracks set the scene, pulsing electronics, woozy looped synth melodies, skittery drums, hazy vocals, the opener "Look... The Sun Is Rising" maybe the closest to modern Flaming Lips, and actual pop song structure, but even here, there's lots of jagged angular crunch, droned out synths, shimmering layers, everything washed out and hazy, the song leading directly into "Be Free, A Way", which is like an even more abstract extension of the opener, with a woozy soporific hook that will stick in your head forEVER, all over a lush landscape of synths and electronics, and murky pulsing rhythms. "Try To Explain" continues on in that drifting ethereal ephemeral psychedelic dream pop style, laying vocals over a lush bed of electronic pulsations, soaring symphonic arrangements and weird sound effects.
It's on "Your Lust" where the band seem to slough off the vestiges of pop that defined the opening few tracks, unfurling a heady sprawl of hypno rock electro-kraut grooviness, all sun dappled and woozy, eventually fading out into a lush and lovely coda of warble organ, and distorted chiming melodies.
And while there are moments of poppiness popping up throughout the record's remaining five tracks, those tracks seem to bleed together into one gorgeously lysergic sprawling songsuite. The rhythms minimal and motorik, the vocals wispy and ethereal, the sound often bursting into weirdly corrosive crumbles, or densely swirling buzz, blossoming into blown out shoegaze heaviness, before settling back into a twisted bit of swirling sci-fi kraut-pop drift, or some stripped down Can like minimal mesmer, but all wreathed in a constantly shifting cloud of effects and textures and disembodied voices, at one point the band slip into some hushed electronic creep, with falsetto vox, and lots of glitch and buzz, sounding a bit like Thom Yorke's solo record The Eraser, but things here are much weirder, the sound exploding into a noise drenched buzz pop, before devolving into the gorgeously abstract weirdo noise-pop prog of the closer "Always There In Our Hearts", which manages to be both poppy and impossibly catchy, as well as dense and claustrophobic, intense and super dramatic.
The whole record bleeds into one fantastic and lysergic whole, it's hard to pick out a single song, or even a single part. in fact we've yet to NOT listen to the whole record in a single sitting, the only thing that separates the songs for us is hearing a phrase, or part of a title, the record in many ways feels like one huge piece, an interconnected songsuite, and while with every listen, certain parts stick in our heads, certain melodies, specific sounds, even textures, or rhythms, we still just can't bring ourselves to not listen to the whole thing, all the way through, over and over and over.
(By the way, we're still waiting for the vinyl version of this to arrive, we're now told next week, supposedly.)
MPEG Stream: "Look... The Sun Is Rising"
MPEG Stream: "Be Free, A Way"
MPEG Stream: "Your Lust"
MPEG Stream: "The Terror"
MPEG Stream: "You Are Alone"

album cover BLACK BUG Reflecting The Light (Hozac) lp 14.98
It's hard to be objective about this Swedish synth wave gloom punk garage rock outfit, 'cuz our very own Andee released their debut self titled record on cd back in 2011, and that record was a big time unanimous aQ store fave, not to mention a big hit with aQ customers. Heck how could it not be really? We probably won't be able to describe them better than we did in that review, so maybe we'll just borrow a bit for this new record.
We described that record as "visceral and immediate, emotional and bombastic, a bloody screaming sonic gem, equal parts heart and hooks, groove and grind, blast and buzz, an insanely catchy chunk of ultra blown out, bloodied and bruised GENIUS that we literally could NOT stop listening to." And the band specifically as "a furious feral synth driven monster, their sound equal parts cold wave gloom, riot grrl yowl, in-the-red punk rock, and ultra raw blown out garage pop, but even that's a bit reductive, there's something magical about what these three conjure up, both in sound and song, with just synth, bass, vocals and programmed drums. Their sound is all over the map, from howling pounding furious crunch, to warped woozy synthy drone, to dour pulsing minimal cold wave, to super anthemic almost emo garage rock, and every variation in between. The recording is raw and lo-fi, the drums, the synths, the bass, the vocals, in various stages of blown out distorted crumble, the drums are clipped and weirdly processed, pushed as loud as they can go, the synth too, fuzzy, buzzy, wreathed in a sort of decaying haze, the vocals of frontwoman Lily are wild and unhinged and super emotional, sometimes a playful yelp, sometimes a cold croon, other times a full on hysterical shriek."
Heck, it's obvious why we were and ARE so goddamn smitten. And if anything this new record is just as good. Managing to still sound buzzy and blown out, furious and fierce and punk as fuck, but also new wavey, and crazy poppy. The big difference this time around, is that there's way more boy vox, which gives this a whole different vibe, it sounds gloomier and more dramatically post punk, a quick run through of the first four songs, a head spinning 1-2-3-4 sonic punch that will have you reeling, and not only buying this record, but trying to track down everything they've ever recorded.
"You Scream" starts things off, all robotic rhythm, crumbling distorted riffage, a woozy dizzyingly psychedelic percussion, the vocals a brooding croon, the whole thing laced with little bits of twang, giving it a subtle whif of the Cramps, some serious garage rock stomp, but one that's driven by synths and drum machines as much as guitar. The second track is from a BB single we reviewed a while back and is all dirgey and ominous, a claustrophobic sprawl of futuristic sinister synthwave that could be some sort of soundtrack, some seventies zombie sci-fi thriller, the creeping, moody cinematic synths all tangled up into impossibly poppy hooks, the sort of hooks that you'll find yourself humming days later, the track continues to shift back and forth from hooky synthy fuzz pop to creepy seventies psychedelic soundtracky synth buzz and back again.
"Police Helicopter" is from the same 7" and lays down a weirdly jaunty beat, wreathes it in some low end synth buzz, before a creepy computerized voice intones some ominous phrase, and a second synth swoops in and wraps everything in thick crumbling melodic buzz, and then transforms into a crazy catchy melody, before peeling away, leaving a chiming music box melody, only to swoop right back in, another jam, that could be some modern re-envisioning of Carpenter/Goblin, and folks into the current wave of retro futuristic synthscapery, would do well do dig some Black Bug for sure. Then there's "TV Screen", which is from a BB single we never got, and is a fierce, muddy, murky blast of Brainbombs like buzz, the sound woozy and off-kilter, the drums buried in the mix, the main riff KILLER, and buried in all that buzz and fuzz are some squiggly sci-fi melodies. Weird thing is, it sounds a lot like one of our favorite Bongwater songs, albeit blown out and doused in buzz!
And heck that's just the first four songs. We're stopping right before "Masks", which might be the catchiest jam here, with the weirdest, most warped guitar sound yet, and "Delta" which sounds like it could have been plucked from some Dark Entries reissue, murky lo-fi synth wave gloominess, or "Threads" which is all lysergic dirge pop that should have John Maus and Ariel Pink looking over their shoulders.
Overall, Reflecting The Light is less fist in the face, guitar to the guy, synth to the solar plexus blown out noise drenched garage punk, although there's still plenty of that to be found, but the songs are more carefully crafted, the production varied, but at times massive, the synths so thick and caustic, it's like you have your headphones plugged directly into them, and then there's plenty of slow creepiness, that would most definitely sound right at home on any of those recent Death Waltz John Carpenter reissues. So good. And every time we review a BB record we wonder again, why aren't they huge?! Fans of weirdo garage rock who might be up for something even more weird and far out, we can't recommend Black Bug enough!!
MPEG Stream: "You Scream"
MPEG Stream: "Reflecting The Light"
MPEG Stream: "Police Helicopter"
MPEG Stream: "TV Screen"
MPEG Stream: "Onkestenen"

album cover CONET PROJECT, THE Recordings Of Shortwave Numbers Stations (Irdial Disc) 5cd+book 78.00
The Conet Project, originally released in 1997, has attained near mythical status around here. Many folks associate The Conet Project inextricably with our store itself. Which makes sense. We championed the Conet Project relentlessly, everyone here is obsessed, most of us owning multiple copies, some of us incorporating sounds from The Conet Project into our own music, and The Conet Project still ranks as probably THEE best selling release ever at aQuarius. Even more remarkable for the fact that it's not really music at all, at least not in the typical sense, and it is and always has been pretty expensive, as a deluxe 4-cd set initially, and import to boot. In fact until it went out of print for the last time a few years back, we had sold close to one thousand copies, and that's just in our little store. We even used to have a big chart on the wall, where we kept track of the sales, and for a while, we were even taking Polaroids of people who bought the Conet Project to display in the store, a snapshot of them holding what we can only imagine would become their new favorite record (buyer #382: Mike Patton!). Which all leads to the question some of you may have, what the heck is The Conet Project, and why are we (and many of you) so obsessed with it? And so thrilled that it's finally available again?! Yes, available again and obviously a big time Record Of The Week.
Basically, the Conet Project is a now FIVE-cd compilation (more details on the new 2013 edition's additional fifth disc is down below, near the end of this long review!) of recordings of mysterious shortwave radio broadcasts, known as "numbers stations". These numbers stations are generally believed to be encrypted spy transmissions, but no concrete evidence has ever surfaced proving that supposition. However, no credible *alternate* explanation has ever been demonstrated, either. For years (ever since the start of the Cold War), amateur radio enthusiasts have come across these sinister signals, and they continue to this day, broadcast in many languages all over the world (the theory is that some are CIA, some are KBG, some are Mossad, etc).
In general, the transmissions consist of a deadpan voice (sometimes an old man, sometimes a young woman, etc.) reading a seemingly random, meaningless series of numbers over and over. Sometimes the broadcasts are preceded by a musical cue (the "Swedish Rhapsody" music box one being a favorite of ours), and sometimes the numbers are not conveyed by voice but by even more cryptic electronics (as with "The Buzzer", and other noisy, abstract stuff found mainly on disc four).
Needless to say, hearing those amazing and baffling sounds collected on these cds is an unnerving experience. Not only does knowledge of the supposed purpose of these transmissions imbue them with a disturbing quality, but the repetition of the numbers combined with the background of shortwave radio static makes for a aurally hypnotic experience. If merely regarded as a piece of experimental ambient sound sculpture, The Conet Project would be a brilliant and affecting piece of work, yet with the added context of international intelligence and conspiracy theory, it becomes even more intriguing and creepy. Lots of information is included that provides a great deal of description of, and speculation about, The Conet Project. Which is possibly the most incredible, and weirdest, item of sound art/documentation that we've EVER had here at aQuarius. Mesmerizing, fascinating, unique, massive, scary, but sometimes even soothing. 100 percent recommended to the adventurous listener ('cause it's not for everyone!). And once you have it you'll understand why it had to be so many cds - being overwhelming is part of the obsessive allure of this Project. And it's not just us, The Conet Project has popped up in lots of unlikely places, most notably it was sampled on Wilco's breakthrough Yankee Hotel Foxtrot album, the title of which in fact comes from The Conet Project itself. Wilco were also famously sued by Irdial, the label who released it, and they lost! Some sounds from the Conet Project also popped up in that Tom Cruise movie Vanilla Sky, and over the years, we've heard it in various films and on various records, it shouldn't be surprising that so many weird music obsessives love The Conet Project.
Really, as we said, if there's one recording that seems to be most identified with aQuarius recOrds, or that at least we mention most often when trying to explain to people what it is that we're all about here, it's most definitely The Conet Project, and yeah, over the years there have been plenty of others, including Sounds of North American Frogs, Os Mutantes, Burzum's "Filosofem", Comus' "First Utterance", Boris, Circle, Philip Jeck, Village of Savoonga, and loads more since, many other records near and dear to our hearts (for instance, hearing the first Neutral Milk Hotel album always makes us nostalgic for the old 24th street store). But for some reason it's The Conet Project that really seems to sum it all up. It's all the things we really love: completely ridiculous (4, no, now 5 cds!), completely fucked (secret government spy transmissions), droning, weird. It's just so interesting and evocative on so many levels, both musical and totally non-musical, as a listening experience and also as a geopolitical cold war and beyond artifact. Definitely an all time perpetual aQ fave: Allan's got the whole thing on his iPod, so does Andee, he also owns multiple copies of the set, many of which found their way into his old band A Minor Forest's live performances, Jim has steadfastly maintained that this is the greatest record of all time, and who are we to argue? If it's not obvious, we all are a little bit obsessed.
And what this is all leading up to is that YES, finally after literally YEARS of being out of print and unavailable, The Conet Project, has been reissued AGAIN, but this time, with a WHOLE EXTRA DISC, with its own jewel case and booklet!! That's right, the new Conet Project is FIVE discs, not four, and if you're big Conet nerds like most of us, you might just have to buy a second (or even third!) copy. The new disc is not just another numbers station disc though, instead it's a collection of "noise stations", which essentially sound just like the numbers stations MINUS the numbers. So it's a series of gorgeous buzzes and strange hissing fields of blurred melody, lots of crunch and crackle, buried rhythms, whistling tones, strange textures, in fact, much of it is downright musical, so much so that we were musing, hmm, what if this new disc is in fact a hoax, a series of number/noise station like soundscapes created by some electronic musicians like Hrvatski? Naw... But there was in fact talk of a Conet remix project for years now, so it's not that far fetched, and in a way, if it WAS a hoax, it would be even cooler. But as far as we can tell, and according to our resident numbers stations / shortwave expert Jim, these are in fact that kind of weird alien sounds you can hear, tuned in to these mysterious stations. As much as we love the other four discs of The Conet Project, this new one is pretty exciting, and we have to say, definitely makes a case for buying it AGAIN! But for all the rest of you who have yet to discover the bizarre sonic mysteries of the Conet Project, there is no higher recommendation we can give, an all time unanimous aQ fave, our best selling record EVER. Sonically, and conceptually mind blowing. We never made it Record Of The Week before for some reason, but in our hearts, it has always been, and always will be, a perpetual aQ Record Of The Week!!! FOREVER.
BTW, this counts as a "box set" for shipping, it won't fit in the USPS flat rate box we use, so it'll have to go media mail or UPS if you're mailordering it domestically.
MPEG Stream: "Swedish Rhapsody"
MPEG Stream: "5 Dashes"
MPEG Stream: "Iran/Iraq Jamming Efficacy Testing"
MPEG Stream: "Magnetic Fields"
MPEG Stream: "Tyrolean Music Station"
MPEG Stream: "The Buzzer"
MPEG Stream: "Data Bursts, 5.201kHz (USB And AM) [Disc 5]"
MPEG Stream: "Exotic Cipher, 6.215kHz/AM October 5th, 2008 19:27 GMT [Disc 5]"
MPEG Stream: "Descending Jammer, 7.969kHz/USB [Disc 5]"
MPEG Stream: "Drone, 17.964kHz [Disc 5]"
MPEG Stream: "Oscillating, 5.178kHz, March 12th, 1997 [Disc 5]"
MPEG Stream: "348|10|13|36|19|21, 11.573kHz, 19:17 GMT [Disc 5]"

album cover BLACK BUG Reflecting The Light (Hozac) cd 10.98
It's hard to be objective about this Swedish synth wave gloom punk garage rock outfit, 'cuz our very own Andee released their debut self titled record on cd back in 2011, and that record was a big time unanimous aQ store fave, not to mention a big hit with aQ customers. Heck how could it not be really? We probably won't be able to describe them better than we did in that review, so maybe we'll just borrow a bit for this new record.
We described that record as "visceral and immediate, emotional and bombastic, a bloody screaming sonic gem, equal parts heart and hooks, groove and grind, blast and buzz, an insanely catchy chunk of ultra blown out, bloodied and bruised GENIUS that we literally could NOT stop listening to." And the band specifically as "a furious feral synth driven monster, their sound equal parts cold wave gloom, riot grrl yowl, in-the-red punk rock, and ultra raw blown out garage pop, but even that's a bit reductive, there's something magical about what these three conjure up, both in sound and song, with just synth, bass, vocals and programmed drums. Their sound is all over the map, from howling pounding furious crunch, to warped woozy synthy drone, to dour pulsing minimal cold wave, to super anthemic almost emo garage rock, and every variation in between. The recording is raw and lo-fi, the drums, the synths, the bass, the vocals, in various stages of blown out distorted crumble, the drums are clipped and weirdly processed, pushed as loud as they can go, the synth too, fuzzy, buzzy, wreathed in a sort of decaying haze, the vocals of frontwoman Lily are wild and unhinged and super emotional, sometimes a playful yelp, sometimes a cold croon, other times a full on hysterical shriek."
Heck, it's obvious why we were and ARE so goddamn smitten. And if anything this new record is just as good. Managing to still sound buzzy and blown out, furious and fierce and punk as fuck, but also new wavey, and crazy poppy. The big difference this time around, is that there's way more boy vox, which gives this a whole different vibe, it sounds gloomier and more dramatically post punk, a quick run through of the first four songs, a head spinning 1-2-3-4 sonic punch that will have you reeling, and not only buying this record, but trying to track down everything they've ever recorded.
"You Scream" starts things off, all robotic rhythm, crumbling distorted riffage, a woozy dizzyingly psychedelic percussion, the vocals a brooding croon, the whole thing laced with little bits of twang, giving it a subtle whif of the Cramps, some serious garage rock stomp, but one that's driven by synths and drum machines as much as guitar. The second track is from a BB single we reviewed a while back and is all dirgey and ominous, a claustrophobic sprawl of futuristic sinister synthwave that could be some sort of soundtrack, some seventies zombie sci-fi thriller, the creeping, moody cinematic synths all tangled up into impossibly poppy hooks, the sort of hooks that you'll find yourself humming days later, the track continues to shift back and forth from hooky synthy fuzz pop to creepy seventies psychedelic soundtracky synth buzz and back again.
"Police Helicopter" is from the same 7" and lays down a weirdly jaunty beat, wreathes it in some low end synth buzz, before a creepy computerized voice intones some ominous phrase, and a second synth swoops in and wraps everything in thick crumbling melodic buzz, and then transforms into a crazy catchy melody, before peeling away, leaving a chiming music box melody, only to swoop right back in, another jam, that could be some modern re-envisioning of Carpenter/Goblin, and folks into the current wave of retro futuristic synthscapery, would do well do dig some Black Bug for sure. Then there's "TV Screen", which is from a BB single we never got, and is a fierce, muddy, murky blast of Brainbombs like buzz, the sound woozy and off-kilter, the drums buried in the mix, the main riff KILLER, and buried in all that buzz and fuzz are some squiggly sci-fi melodies. Weird thing is, it sounds a lot like one of our favorite Bongwater songs, albeit blown out and doused in buzz!
And heck that's just the first four songs. We're stopping right before "Masks", which might be the catchiest jam here, with the weirdest, most warped guitar sound yet, and "Delta" which sounds like it could have been plucked from some Dark Entries reissue, murky lo-fi synth wave gloominess, or "Threads" which is all lysergic dirge pop that should have John Maus and Ariel Pink looking over their shoulders.
Overall, Reflecting The Light is less fist in the face, guitar to the guy, synth to the solar plexus blown out noise drenched garage punk, although there's still plenty of that to be found, but the songs are more carefully crafted, the production varied, but at times massive, the synths so thick and caustic, it's like you have your headphones plugged directly into them, and then there's plenty of slow creepiness, that would most definitely sound right at home on any of those recent Death Waltz John Carpenter reissues. So good. And every time we review a BB record we wonder again, why aren't they huge?! Fans of weirdo garage rock who might be up for something even more weird and far out, we can't recommend Black Bug enough!!
MPEG Stream: "You Scream"
MPEG Stream: "Reflecting The Light"
MPEG Stream: "Police Helicopter"
MPEG Stream: "TV Screen"
MPEG Stream: "Onkestenen"

album cover HOOKWORMS Pearl Mystic (Gringo) cd 17.98
Pearl Mystic is the first we've heard from this UK psych rock outfit, and just describing them as 'psych rock' probably has most aQ psych-nerds frothing at the mouth, imagining long sprawling sheets of swirling guitar shimmer, and droned out, heart-of-the-sun mega space jams, and while that stuff is definitely part of Hookworms' sound, those are not the only parts, the band tending toward a sound much more song based and focused, sure fans of Carlton Melton and the Heads and White Hills and all the rest will no doubt dig, but so will folks more into outfits like Spiritualized and Psychic Ills. Imagine a strange fusion of Spiritualized's long-form tranced out psych soul mesmer, and the more blown out sonic explorations of those other above mentioned bands and you'll get a rough idea of what's in store for you from Hookworms.
Opener "Away/Towards" is the perfect opening blast, displaying both sides of the groups' sound in equal measure, the first few minutes, presumably the "Away" portion, finds Hookworms unfurling a slow, undulating dronescape of Spacemen 3 like guitar pulsations, over a bed of churning tribal rhythms, and a sky full of weird super FX heavy yowled vox, the sound a brooding slow build, that eventually explodes into full on space/psych pound, the guitars wild and fierce, everything wreathed in clouds of dense drugged out swirl, but that only last for less than a minute before the sound shifts gears again, moving into what can only be the "Towards" section, with the sound settling into something less crunchy and chaotic, and more woozy and washed out, pulsing and motorik, the guitars a bit muted, and now wrapped in whirring swaths of chordal organ, the vocals, still echo-ey, but much more 'sung', totally tranced out and hypnotically groovy, at one point getting kinda swaggery, with a soaring chorus, and some cool stretches of guitar buzz sixties style garage-drone psych groove, that we can not get enough of. And that's just the first song.
That swagger definitely informs much of the rest of the record, with the sound shifting easily from Stooges-y like stomp, to tripped out Moon Duo like mesmer, to explosive, blown out, noise drenched heavy psych crumble (check out the end of "Form And Function"!), to woozy, bongsmoke swirled, zoner psych drift, all dreamy and droney, often touching on all of those in a single track. The record is peppered with title-less interludes, which are cool abstract stretches of experimental guitar drift, and wild FX drenched freeform, backwards FX laced ambience, and murky, drug-drong dreamdrift mesmer. Those interludes alone could have easily been stretched out and expanded into their own record (also most likely an aQ ROTW!), but it's the songs here that drive Pearl Mystic, from the murky, psych ballad "In Our Time" that almost sounds like Sub Pop era Afghan Whigs recast as modern retro psych, with its crooned, reverby vocals, prickly distorted guitars, and gorgeous backdrop of lush psychedelic swirl, to the epic slow burn Spacemen 3 style drug-rock dirge, infused with lush, soaring, swirling shimmer, and driven by some super mesmerzing motorik rhythms, all the various parts swirled and smeared into what might be the dreamiest, druggiest jam here, to the wild, tribal pound of "Preservation" with its yowled vox, clouds of fierce blown out psych guitar, fierce drumming, and its crushing, speaker melting final blow out that would most definitely give any and all other aQ approved psychedelic space rockers a run for their money.
Hookworms deftly balance actual songs, with wild, free-form, heavy space-psych excursions, an experiment that could easily have blunted both, but instead ends up the best of both worlds, and might just coax drugged out psych nerds into the light, and drag the psychedelic dabblers just a little bit toward the dark side. Awesome.
MPEG Stream: "Away / Towards"
MPEG Stream: "Form And Function"
MPEG Stream: "I"
MPEG Stream: "Since We Had Changed"

album cover TWINK Think Pink (Sunbeam) cd 17.98
Along with the revamped Conet Project, here's another no-brainer for a Record Of The Week╔ We've listed it before, years and years ago, when there was a cd version on Akarma, but this is a much nicer, expanded, official reissue and it's good to give it a proper review for the first time (back then, we merely quoted The Seth Man from Julian Cope's Head Heritage website, waxing rhapsodic about this record, now we'll do it ourselves).
Oh boy. Do you like psychedelia? DO YOU HAVE THIS ALBUM? If not, you're in for a treat, a mindblowing treat. Think Pink was the brilliant solo effort from former Pretty Things drummer John "Twink" Alder, and it's an all-time aQ fave, an all-time underground psychedelic masterpiece, right up there with the essentials from the likes of Amon Duul II, Pink Floyd, Hawkwind, Sam Gopal, Kaleidoscope, and Tyrannosaurus Rex, and it's just been properly reissued on cd by the UK's Sunbeam label, with a whole bunch of bonus freakery added on. Not that this album NEEDS any bonus freakery, it's about as freaky as you can get to begin with, packed with droning chant, druidic prophecy, spaced-out psych jams, weird twisted pop, and acid-folk ramble. But, too much is never enough, right? So heck, we're happy to have the eight bonus tracks too. More on those later. First, let's discuss the original album itself. As we said, Twink played drums for The Pretty Things, but before that had his own sixties R&B outfit the Fairies. After that band, he was in Tomorrow ("My White Bicycle") with future Yes guitarist Steve Howe, around 1967. Twink then briefly formed a duo called The Aquarian Age, before joining up with The Pretty Things and appearing on their concept-album classic S.F. Sorrow in '68, another aQ fave. At that point, for some crazy reason (things were different/better back then) Twink was offered a deal by Sire to do a solo album, and Think Pink was the glorious, if at the time somewhat unheralded, result, recorded in 1969 with Mick Farren of The Deviants producing. Released in 1970 in the US & Europe, but not 'til '71 in the UK, it's been called the first Pink Fairies album, and in a way it is, as soon after making it, Twink did team up with several ex-members of The Deviants, most of whom played on this, to form that infamous proto-punk outfit. And several tracks here feature contributions from what's credited as "The Pink Fairies Motorcycle Club & All Star Rock & Roll Band".
Also participating are several of Twink's Pretty Things bandmates, his girlfriend Silver Darling, and Steve Peregrin Took, Marc Bolan's partner in Tyrannosaurus Rex and early T-Rex, who plays, among other things, "pixie horn". And one of the most crucial contributors to Think Pink, besides Twink himself, has to be guitarist Paul "Blackie" Rudolph, who really lets loose, earning a hallowed place in the annals of distortodelic guitar wrangling for his work on this album alone (though in the course of his career before and after, he also played with The Deviants, Pink Fairies, Hawkwind, Robert Calvert, and Brian Eno).
Eastern-tinged opener "The Coming Of The Other One" sets the scene, pulling us deep into its trippy Aquarian Age fantasy zone, with a solemn voice reciting Nostradamic verses ("In the year 1999 and seven months, from the skies shall come an alarming powerful king...") accompanied by tablas and sitar. Then comes Think Pink's biggest "hit" as far as we're concerned, an utterly perfect slice of stonery psych called "10,000 Words In A Cardboard Box", just listen to it! That's followed by "Dawn Of Magic" with its raga-like vocal ahhhaaaaahh sounds as if Pandit Pran Nath were on the mic, which suddenly segues into the space-out sike-pop of "Tiptoe On The Highest Hill", a lovely pastoral song that eventually builds into a howling guitar blow-out of the highest order. Then the trippy "Fluid" chimes into being, with its sexy heavy breathing and slinky, springy grooves, making us think of the acid-fried hippy orgasms of krautrockers Brainticket's classic Cottonwood Hill (released later on, in '71, we should also note).
Side two (track six here) opens with the martial fuzz-freakout of "Mexican Grass War", all chanting freaks and wild FX like early Amon Duul and Edgar Broughton Band. The freaky vibes continue, quite weird and wonderful, with the glammed up jam of "Rock An'Roll The Joint", the mellow morbid acoustic strum of "Suicide" and the maniacal "Three Little Piggies", before the album ends with the intense edgy psych pop of "The Sparrow Is A Sign", a song with a malevolent, sinister side to it that reminds us a little bit of Comus - and strangely too of the Sun City Girls, perhaps due to the vocals, provided by Steve Took.
Then, there's all those bonus tracks, the first two of which are actually from the lone 7" single released in '68 by The Aquarian Age, the immediate precursor to the Think Pink project. There's the A side, being the original version of "10,000 Words In A Cardboard Box", and the B side, an amusing number called "Good Wizard Meets Naughty Wizard", which displays just the sort of twee, hippie British humor the title suggests. It's great to hear both of those, and the bonus tracks proliferate further with unreleased, alternate versions of more Think Pink material, somewhat heavier or rawer or definitely different, including two takes of "Fluid" and another version of "10,000 Words...", which we can't get enough of anyway.
All in all, a nicely done reissue, as this deserves, with pages and pages of newly-written, informative liner notes, plus lyrics, credits, vintage photos & graphics. Plus, unlike that previous Akarma version, this is a fully-legit release, done with the participation of Twink himself ("issued under exclusive license from Mohammed Abdullah John Alder, February 2013" it says here, and there's even a picture of him today too - apparently he's become a Muslim, and looks quite happy).
By the way... Nobody here at aQ can think about Think Pink, though, and not also think about our "customer" whom we call The Twink Think Pink Guy. We don't believe he's ever actually bought anything, but he's this older guy that comes in once in a while (and has for years) and always, always, ONLY asks about Think Pink, whether we have it in stock or not, and then talks at great length to anyone who will listen about how great it is. It's his favorite record apparently, but don't let that dissuade you, if you get this you probably won't end up like him. Probably.
Message for The Twink Think Pink Guy, if you're reading this: we expect to see you soon!
MPEG Stream: "10,000 Words In A Cardboard Box"
MPEG Stream: "Tiptoe On The Highest Hill"
MPEG Stream: "Fluid"
MPEG Stream: "The Sparrow Is A Sign"
MPEG Stream: "Good Wizard Meets Naughty Wizard"

album cover TYLER, WILLIAM Impossible Truth (Merge) cd 14.98
William Tyler has spent the last decade plus as a touring guitar player for both Nashville indie country combo Lambchop, and indie rockers the Silver Jews, but here on Impossible Truth he strikes out on his own, and comes up with something that harkens back to a different age, several different ages in fact, the obvious reference is the guitar soli / early Appalachia of folks like John Fahey, Leo Kottke and Robbie Basho, but imagine that sound filtered through something more Laurel Canyon-y, for a sort of seventies psychedelia, the sound evoking wide open expanses, big sky country, the soundtrack to a meandering drive in a big old car, top down, on single lane roads winding through rolling green hills, no destination, endless possibilities. Opener "Country Of Illusion" adds a bit of raga to the mix, giving the sound an exotic droney vibe, with a little bit of an Eastern tinge, but soon, a subtly rhythmic pulse, some slippery slide, a little bit of twang, and it's a whole different world, we're hearing Morricone, Pell Mell, James Blackshaw, all woven into a heady bit of sun dappled psychedelic folk, that is pretty divine. Steve Reich and Terry Riley may also be influences.
The mood darkens a bit on the "Geography Of Nowhere", the tones wreathed in reverb and delay, the sound looped and layered, minor key and melancholy, but then like the first track, the sound opens up, the mood shifts, as of the clouds parted revealing nothing but blue skies. The record tends toward dense melodic tangles and mesmerizingly repetitive arrangements, with the tone and timbre constantly changing between songs, some lush and warm, rich and lustrous, others more crystalline and high end, more shimmer and glimmer, all culminating in the closer, which might be the weirdest track of all, it starts out a sort of loping Western style Americana, looped melodic figures drifting over swoonsome slide and lush chordal swells, but then in creep what sound like horns, and maybe fiddles? The melodies get more playful, the slide more slippery, the sounds soar and swoop, the horns moaning and bleating, before finally exploding into a full on heavy psych drum heavy noise drenched freakout, the drums driving and motorik, beneath a cloud of roiling psych guitar tangle, that eventually fades out, into a shimmery sprawl of pulsing, echo drenched abstract guitar drift.
And everyone who buys a copy of Impossible Truth, cd OR vinyl, will be entered into a raffle to win a VERY RARE test pressing of the record!!
MPEG Stream: "Country Of Illusion"
MPEG Stream: "The Geography Of Nowhere"
MPEG Stream: "Cadillac Desert"
MPEG Stream: "The World Set Free"

album cover TYLER, WILLIAM Impossible Truth (Merge) 2lp 21.00
William Tyler has spent the last decade plus as a touring guitar player for both Nashville indie country combo Lambchop, and indie rockers the Silver Jews, but here on Impossible Truth he strikes out on his own, and comes up with something that harkens back to a different age, several different ages in fact, the obvious reference is the guitar soli / early Appalachia of folks like John Fahey, Leo Kottke and Robbie Basho, but imagine that sound filtered through something more Laurel Canyon-y, for a sort of seventies psychedelia, the sound evoking wide open expanses, big sky country, the soundtrack to a meandering drive in a big old car, top down, on single lane roads winding through rolling green hills, no destination, endless possibilities. Opener "Country Of Illusion" adds a bit of raga to the mix, giving the sound an exotic droney vibe, with a little bit of an Eastern tinge, but soon, a subtly rhythmic pulse, some slippery slide, a little bit of twang, and it's a whole different world, we're hearing Morricone, Pell Mell, James Blackshaw, all woven into a heady bit of sun dappled psychedelic folk, that is pretty divine. Steve Reich and Terry Riley may also be influences.
The mood darkens a bit on the "Geography Of Nowhere", the tones wreathed in reverb and delay, the sound looped and layered, minor key and melancholy, but then like the first track, the sound opens up, the mood shifts, as of the clouds parted revealing nothing but blue skies. The record tends toward dense melodic tangles and mesmerizingly repetitive arrangements, with the tone and timbre constantly changing between songs, some lush and warm, rich and lustrous, others more crystalline and high end, more shimmer and glimmer, all culminating in the closer, which might be the weirdest track of all, it starts out a sort of loping Western style Americana, looped melodic figures drifting over swoonsome slide and lush chordal swells, but then in creep what sound like horns, and maybe fiddles? The melodies get more playful, the slide more slippery, the sounds soar and swoop, the horns moaning and bleating, before finally exploding into a full on heavy psych drum heavy noise drenched freakout, the drums driving and motorik, beneath a cloud of roiling psych guitar tangle, that eventually fades out, into a shimmery sprawl of pulsing, echo drenched abstract guitar drift.
And everyone who buys a copy of Impossible Truth, cd OR vinyl, will be entered into a raffle to win a VERY RARE test pressing of the record!!
MPEG Stream: "Country Of Illusion"
MPEG Stream: "The Geography Of Nowhere"
MPEG Stream: "Cadillac Desert"
MPEG Stream: "The World Set Free"

album cover VIOLENT CHANGE s/t (Catholic Guilt) lp 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Finally, a full length lp from these Bay Area noise pop / post punks and it more that fulfills the promise of their debut 7", which we sold a ton of and still listen to constantly. Violent Change is mostly Matt Bleyle, of the late great Sopors, an unsung local outfit who managed an lp and a 7" before hanging it up, but check our reviews of those Sopors records (as well as the VC single), and it'll definitely give you a rough idea of what to expect from this new Violent Change. And while the new record is still mostly all recorded by Bleyle on his own, VC is actually a proper band, featuring none other than Tony Molina, from pop geniuses the Ovens, whose debut solo record Dissed And Dismissed we recently raved about on the aQ list. And there's definitely an Ovens like pop element to VC, in fact Molina sings a couple songs here, and as you might expect, those tracks sorta sound like the Ovens, which is not a bad thing at ALL. And as a band, live, they KILL, having recently opened for the Ovens on one of their very rare performances. But we've been waiting for this record for ages, and it RULES.
As if to purposefully frustrate and confuse, as both the Ovens, VC, and all the related groups seem dead set on doing, the record opens with a blast of raw super lo-fi knuckle dragging garage rock, with goofy lyrics, stumbly and chaotic. But then that's definitely a big part of their sound, as much as the weird Pink Floydian psych pop of "Wasted Poets Overflow", a jangly strummy dreamy psychedelic drift, or the Guided By Voices / Ovens style fuzz pop hookiness of "Word Around Town", sung here by Tony from the Ovens, and at just over a minute, a practically perfect slab of lo-fi indie rock / noise pop. Those three songs pretty much lay out the VC sonic blueprint. The rest of the record careening wildly from crunchy angular lo-fi jangle, like on "Hate Is Not An Enemy", with it classic pop chorus, that reminds us of Nick Lowe, albeit a lot more rough and raw, to fuzzed out Stoogesy stomp, like on "Detention Camp", to crunchy sixties pop jangle, a similar sound that the Ovens mine, like on "Bitch For The Blind".
Then there's the hiss drenched lo-fi home recorded ballad "Save My Story" and the fuzzy Teenage Fanclub like "No One Left To Blame" (once again sung by Tony from the Ovens), the stripped down jangle pop of "Don't Ask Why" the classic Yellow Pills power poppiness of "I Don't Know Why", and the killer closer "Wal-Mart Parking Lot", which is some seriously fuzzed out psych pop that wouldn't be out of place on a Purling Hiss record. We could go on and on and on, but needless to say, every track here is a warped pop gem.
Fans of the Ovens, the Sopors, Purling Hiss, Guided By Voices, and any other purveyors of short sharp psychedelic jangle/noise pop, post punk will dig this like crazy!
LIMITED TO 330 COPIES!!
MPEG Stream: "Wasted Poets Overflowed"
MPEG Stream: "Word Around Town"
MPEG Stream: "Hate Is Not An Enemy"
MPEG Stream: "Save My Story"
MPEG Stream: "No One Left To Blame"
MPEG Stream: "I Don't Know Why"

BATOH, MASAKI Collected Works 1995-1996 (Drag City) lp 16.98
Here's a welcome reissue of an old favorite, essential to any followers of the Japanese psych scene! It's Ghost leader Masaki Batoh's Collected Works 1995-1996, originally released on The Now Sound label and long out-of-print. The Works that this disc Collects consist of Batoh's two stellar solo LPs, A Ghost from the Darkened Sea and Kikaokubeshi, both recorded in the run-up to Ghost's crucial Lama Rabi Rabi album. Batoh's two LPs were somewhat different, with A Ghost From The Darkened Sea taking an intimate acid-folk song approach, including a damaged cover of Can's "Yoo Doo Right", while Kikaokubeshi is more droney and abstract, ambient with nocturnal nature whisperings around the blurry edges of his instruments. Together on this lp, it all makes for some dark and sad and beautiful, great late night listening. Batoh blends his acoustic guitar, marimba, harmonium, etc. with field recordings in a wonderfly dreamy, organic way. A must for all Ghost fans -- indeed, Andee contends that this is actually better than any other "Ghost" record! Thanks to Drag City for making this again available.
MPEG Stream: "World Of Pain"
MPEG Stream: "Death Star"

album cover MOONRISES Frozen Altars (Captcha Records) lp 17.98
Moonrises are the latest in a long line of psychedelic revivalists, many of whom we revere here at aQ, whether it's White Hills, or Carlton Melton, The Heads or Wooden Shjips, but these guys (and gal) have a leg up on lots of their psychedelic brethren in that they're led by none other than Plastic Crimewave, who oughta have a PhD in psychedelia at this point, and here, he puts that knowledge to work, crafting a gorgeous, intense, druggy and heavy modern psych rock that manages to channel jammed out space rock, with witchy occultic seventies acid folk, organ heavy prog and tranced out krautrock into some seriously heavy musical mayhem.
The opening one-two punch of the first two tracks definitely sets the stage, buzzing synths, dramatic female vocals, minimal drumming, soft swirls of guitar shimmer, woozy organ melodies, the vibe very witchy and demonic, keyboardist Libby Ramer's vocals a force of nature, slipping from whispery croon, to deep ominous drone to banshee like wail, the first track starting off all minimal and moody, but gradually building to a fierce psych rock blow out, the organ and guitar all tangled up in thick gouts of wah wah whirl, the drums wild and chaotic, the whole thing droned out and trancey, a fierce opener for sure, but it only get more fierce from there.
The second track, "Lorelei's Grasp" begins as a rumbling drone, which is soon joined by more of the creepy organ, some crumbling guitar noise, bursts of drum splatter, a free form space noise drift, that coalesces into some dense dark progginess, the organ letting loose a super intense minor key melody, the drums following with along, Ramer's vocals going crazy, a maniacal trill, a woman possessed, the whole thing so tense and intense, and unlike any of the so called space/psych rock we've been hearing. This could totally be some lost rare psych artifact, not just the sound, but the spirit, and the energy, the song settles down, and drones out, but soon, erupts into a final squall that sounds almost triumphant. Wow.
And so it goes, Moonrises effortlessly channeling the lost psychedelic seventies, the sonic spirits revealed through distorted organ buzz, and wild tangles psych guitar, deep chant like vocals, and skittering motorik rhythms, druggy clouds of hazy soft noise shimmer, but it's not all straight retro revival. The band are capable of seriously fucking shit up, check out "Eyelid Chamber", which sounds less like old psych folk, and more like some modern freakout avant noise rock, dizzying drumming, wrapped in thick organ drones, and peppered with swirling shards of jagged guitar crunch, before finally coalescing into a song proper, but even then it sounds like something more more modern, dirgey and grungey and heavy. Elsewhere they get into some tripped out rhythmic experimentalism, droney and woozy and looped, other descriptions we've seen mention This Heat and the Dead C, and yeah, there's a little of that going on, but to our ears, it's simply an extension of their tranced out psych, which already contains elements of both. Incredible stuff! Fans of all the current crop of psych/space revivalists, this is for YOU. And fans of the old stuff, who only dig the REAL thing, this could be the band that flips your lid and changes your mind.
MPEG Stream: "Oak Arena"
MPEG Stream: "Lorelei's Grasp"
MPEG Stream: "The Ivy Maze"
MPEG Stream: "Eyelid Chamber"

album cover SPEKTR Cypher (Agonia Records) lp 21.00
It's been five years since we last heard from these French outsider industrial black metal weirdos, with their last record Mescalyne, which was as freaky and as fucked as the two preceding albums, all three of which we consider to be pantheon-worthy examples of confusional twisted blackness. We weren't sure what to expect from this new one though, a lot can happen in five years, but we've certainly seen other bands change a lot, and sadly, there does seem to be a tendency for bands' sounds to grow less weird with time, which who knows might be an inevitable side effect of getting better at recording, or playing, or just wanting more from music than making seriously twisted sonic shit.
Well, we should have know better than to worry about these guys, cuz it seems they're just as warped and damaged as before. In fact it took us a few minutes into the second track to truly be sure, the opener is all thick low end throbs, keening drones, tripped out effects, static and crumbling distortion, creepy samples, so we expected the second track to explode right out of the gate, but instead, it was more ambience, a creepy music box, lots of crackle and more static, and way down in the mix, what sounds like drums way off in the distance, shards of feedback, then the drums kick in, and it almost sounds like DJ Shadow or something, all distorted skitter over woozy samples, but then finally, BAM, the song splinters into twisted, inhuman industrial black buzz, lightning fast drumming that if it isn't a machine, the drummer is some sort of cyborg, the guitars warped and melty and psychedelic, the structure fractured and constantly shifting, not smoothly either, guitars cut out, stutter and burst back in, the sound swings wildly from lightning fast blast to stumbling doomy tangle, and back, the riffs, as in the past, are mangled and slippery, but here, the metal drops out again, and we're returned to that weird DJ Shadow music box thing, before again, bursting into more detuned black savagery, and so it goes, it's a ten minute track, and they cram a lot into it, lots of drones, and weird industrial breakdowns, there are hardly any vocals, but when there are, they seem to be just a wordless bellow, and that could be some weird guitar thing too, it's hard to tell, everything is chaotic and woozy, warbly and seemingly in constant collapse.
And while there's SO much going on, that we could pick each and every track apart, and describe all the twisted fuckery these guys conjure up, that first track definitely sets the template, with the long tracks super progged out experiments in avant blackness, that once again, set these guys SOOO far apart from the pack, this stuff is SO fucking tripped out and bizarre, and gloriously and fantastically idiosyncratic, it's hard to believe a regular band of dudes could conjure up something this bafflingly brilliant. The whole record is super glitchy, almost like the player is malfunctioning, but really it's all part of their warped master plan, that creepy crackly music box effect employed throughout, often the main black buzz riff, rendered as some disembodied old time melody, often under some sort of disembodied chugging, but somehow, always seeming to lurch back into twisted black aktion. More than half of the record seems to be spent exploring specifically non black metal weirdness, in fact five of the nine tracks are more sort of ambient explorations, textural experiments, and the songs proper are constantly in flux, again spending much of the time drifting, droning or creeping, but when they do launch into their black buzz, it's an alien strain that is pretty difficult to parse, so it's probably best to just let yourself get lost in Spektr's confusional black soundworld. Black metal record of the year so far for SURE.
MPEG Stream: "Teratology"
MPEG Stream: "The Singularity"
MPEG Stream: "Cypher"

album cover BORNGRABER & STRUVER Clouds (M=Minimal) lp 24.00
A few lists back, we reviewed a cd from this German 'techno-kraut' duo, who as we mentioned in that review, we first heard remixing Conrad Schnitzler. That disc gathered togther two of B&G's recent 12"s, and was a perfect introduction to their strange string laden, motorik electronica, hypnotic and tranced out electro-kraut minimalism, that deftly fused techno, and dark hypno-jazz, pop ambience, and all sorts of disparate elements.
Clouds is something else altogether, but equally appealing. No beats to be found here, the vibe is about as far removed from krautrock as can be, or dark jazz, or any of the other sonic elements that made up those 12"s. Instead, Clouds finds the duo creating super abstract modern twenty first century classical minimalism, and experimental ambience. The opener reminds us of WIlliam Basinski, or maybe Philip Jeck, a gorgeous fragment of swoonsome melancholic symphonic strings, is manipulated into a hazy dreamscape of washed out loops, of blurred melodies, simple and cyclical, repetitive and gloriously hypnotic, the sound doesn't really change at all until about 5 minutes in, when haunting operatic female vocals join the strings, making it sound all the more dramatic and cinematic. And it's only briefly, soon, the voices fade, blurred into the background, and it's another gorgeous stretch of swirling strings.
The second track is similarly arranged, but much more percussive, a plucked guitar, a symphonic stab, those two elements spread out over an expanse of near silence, super dynamic, heavily reverbed, it's a strange, and strangely rhythmic composition, this track especially smacking of some super abstract Jeck experiment, two turntables set up in a huge empty room, one spinning a single orchestral burst, the other that guitar pluck, the speed constantly shifting, very weird, and very mesmerizing stuff.
"Secret Bells" is not bells at all, but instead, dark languorous piano, drifting in a sea of rumble and buzz, flecked with what sounds like mysterious field recordings, static and crackle, it's very hazy and dreamlike, a warm swirl of otherworldly chamber music.
The record finishes off with the three part, 14+ minute title suite, and begins as stately piano, wreathed in natural reverb, soon joined by woodwinds, the sound growing blurrier, and more dissonant, building to a strangely atonal crescendo, before easing back into the more tranquil drift of the opening, and so it goes back and forth, lush and hushed and delicate, dark and brooding and almost bombastic, before blossoming into the second movement, which is more driving and discordant, horns, piano, buzzing strings, locked into stuttering rhythms, darkly dramatic, and very cinematic, again very dynamic, and very hypnotic, before finally finishing off with a stretch of long tones, a more mournful dirge, the horns moaning, the strings keening, the vibe almost like some ancient court music, majestic and melancholy, finishing off with a final flurry of tangled melodies.
Quite cool, and yet so entirely unlike anything we were expecting from these two, which might be why we're digging it so much!
FYI there's an lp version too, with download code, but we only were able to get a few, not really enough to list, but you can ask...
MPEG Stream: "Wellen"
MPEG Stream: "Mobile"
MPEG Stream: "Secret Bells"

album cover ISENGRIND The Snowbringer Cult (Ba Da Bing!) lp 15.98
The Snowbringer Cult was a double cd originally released way back in 2008 on the Students of Decay label, and was the first proper cd release from French bedroom drone-psych-folk epic from Natural Snow Buildings, the boy/girl duo of Mehdi Amaziane and Solange Gularte, that double cd included a NSB full length, as well as an album from each of their solo projects, those being Isengrind and Twinsistermoon. That double cd is finally available again, but has also been reissued on vinyl for the first time, with each of the three parts being released separately as its own record.
Natural Snow Buildings have been a band since WAY back in 1999, toiling quietly WAY underground, and over the course of the last decade plus, have only really released a handful of records, and in the first 6 or 7 years, they only managed 4 cd-r's and two tapes, the total number of copies of all 6 of those releases hovering at about 250. That's insane! At the time we couldn't help wonder how a band with such a small catalog, that has reached so few ears, could generate so much fanboy freakout?! But that's precisely what happened. And thankfully, and perhaps surprisingly, in the case of NSB, and the two solo offshoots, the hype does not seem unwarranted. The freaking out more than merited. The music of Amaziane and Gularte is definitely something special, much more than the usual generic fx laden droned out abstract cd-r floor-core that seems to be constantly flooding the scene, this duo write actual songs, and create gorgeous soundscapes, they mix raga-like psych with fluttery folk, deep drones with pristine pop, weaving it all together into something spectacular.
The Isengrind record begins with some deep dark ambience, huge shimmering streaks of ominous sound, like an orchestra tuning up in a cave, drawn out into warm washes of dronelike sound, processed choral vocals, and wheezing accordions. That intro gives way to a buzzing Eastern style raga, lots of percussion, shakers, bells, hand drums, buried beneath a shimmery smear of thick coruscating buzz, a sea of sitars, with Solange's vocals soaring ghostlike over the top. The next track is a dark folky drift, a simple melody, fluttering flute, more abstract percussion, definitely reminiscent of Avarus and other Finnish forest folk, but somehow more ethereal, and genuinely folky. The rest of the Isengrind tracks drift from spectre like folk, simple strums soaked in reverb and wrapped around ethereal vocals, to more raga jams, Indian style buzz filtered through a fractured folk sensibility, to haunting cinematic ambience, abstract soundscapes rife with streaks of feedback and wheezing chordal whir, disembodied strum, mysterious vocals and sporadic percussion, tribal, primal, primitive and raw, but still dreamlike and lovely.
MPEG Stream: ISENGRIND "To Ride With Holle"

album cover NATURAL SNOW BUILDINGS The Snowbringer Cult (Ba Da Bing!) 2lp 21.00
The Snowbringer Cult was a double cd originally released way back in 2008 on the Students of Decay label, and was the first proper cd release from French bedroom drone-psych-folk epic from Natural Snow Buildings, the boy/girl duo of Mehdi Amaziane and Solange Gularte, that double cd included a NSB full length, as well as an album from each of their solo projects, those being Isengrind and Twinsistermoon. That double cd is finally available again, but has also been reissued on vinyl for the first time, with each of the three parts being released separately as its own record.
Natural Snow Buildings have been a band since WAY back in 1999, toiling quietly WAY underground, and over the course of the last decade plus, have only really released a handful of records, and in the first 6 or 7 years, they only managed 4 cd-r's and two tapes, the total number of copies of all 6 of those releases hovering at about 250. That's insane! At the time we couldn't help wonder how a band with such a small catalog, that has reached so few ears, could generate so much fanboy freakout?! But that's precisely what happened. And thankfully, and perhaps surprisingly, in the case of NSB, and the two solo offshoots, the hype does not seem unwarranted. The freaking out more than merited. The music of Amaziane and Gularte is definitely something special, much more than the usual generic fx laden droned out abstract cd-r floor-core that seems to be constantly flooding the scene, this duo write actual songs, and create gorgeous soundscapes, they mix raga-like psyche with fluttery folk, deep drones with pristine pop, weaving it all together into something spectacular.
What happens when the two join forces, becoming Natural Snow Buildings? It would be way too easy to say that the sum equaled the parts, that if you took the sound of Isengrind and Twinsistermoon and combined them, it would equal the whole of NSB. There is certainly -some- truth to that, but it's not math, it's magic. Alchemy, musical sorcery, these are sounds not numbers, and thus are governed by forces far more magical and mysterious than physics or science. The two together join spirits, their natures become entwined, they draw from one another, each offering the other part of their soul, rendered in music. The results are truly divine. An assemblage of sounds, deftly woven into expansive shapes and hushed mystery, landscapes of drone and shimmer, of cinematic wonder and dark introspection. Some tracks are super abstract, layered near static drifts, longform movements that sonically evoke other lands, other times, the past long forgotten, the future not yet experienced, other tracks are wheezing sun dappled Appalachia, but turned inside out, the chords and notes seemingly drawn inward, toward the speakers, the vocals breathless and mournful, all laid atop a thick swirl of distorted riffage, other tracks are fragmented folk, all murky blurred piano, backwards guitars, heartsick melodies, wrapped in a thick gauzy production, smeared into snapshots glimpsed through eyes brimming with tears. Other tracks are space rock writ small, minimal dirges, drone jams, chanted vocals, strange stuttery percussion, and glorious buzzing guitars, culminating in the final track, which begins much like the others, all hazy and dreamlike, vocals ethereal, guitars spare and skeletal, until unexpectedly the band lock into some serious droned out space rock. A serious dark and druggy looped riff, a la Spacemen 3, Hawkwind, Loop, anchored by a simple pounding thudrock rhythm, driving intensely through swirling clouds of FX and warm whirring ambience, a seriously dense, propulsive krautjam, that just so happens to hide a soft drifting pop shimmer underneath, and while the track rocks with a surprising intensity, it's precisely what's underneath that turns the jam into something resplendent.
MPEG Stream: NATURAL SNOW BUILDINGS "Resurrect Dead On Planet Six"
MPEG Stream: NATURAL SNOW BUILDINGS "Bear Hunting"

album cover TWINSISTERMOON The Snowbringer Cult (Ba Da Bing!) lp 15.98
The Snowbringer Cult was a double cd originally released way back in 2008 on the Students of Decay label, and was the first proper cd release from French bedroom drone-psych-folk epic from Natural Snow Buildings, the boy/girl duo of Mehdi Amaziane and Solange Gularte, that double cd included a NSB full length, as well as an album from each of their solo projects, those being Isengrind and Twinsistermoon. That double cd is finally available again, but has also been reissued on vinyl for the first time, with each of the three parts being released separately as its own record.
Natural Snow Buildings have been a band since WAY back in 1999, toiling quietly WAY underground, and over the course of the last decade plus, have only really released a handful of records, and in the first 6 or 7 years, they only managed 4 cd-r's and two tapes, the total number of copies of all 6 of those releases hovering at about 250. That's insane! At the time we couldn't help wonder how a band with such a small catalog, that has reached so few ears, could generate so much fanboy freakout?! But that's precisely what happened. And thankfully, and perhaps surprisingly, in the case of NSB, and the two solo offshoots, the hype does not seem unwarranted. The freaking out more than merited. The music of Amaziane and Gularte is definitely something special, much more than the usual generic fx laden droned out abstract cd-r floor-core that seems to be constantly flooding the scene, this duo write actual songs, and create gorgeous soundscapes, they mix raga-like psyche with fluttery folk, deep drones with pristine pop, weaving it all together into something spectacular.
Mehdi begins the Twinsistermoon record with a sound that perfectly compliments Solange's Isengrind record (and makes it obvious why the two work so well together in NSB), long drawn out glimmering high end tones, draped over a dark minor key folky strum, and simple percussion, while Mehdi's feminine sounding falsetto soars over the top, all infused with some sort of freaky folky Wickerman vibe. Gorgeous and haunting. That track is followed up by a short chunk of perfect dreamfolk, simple folky strum, and Mehdi's crystal clear vocals, ringing out, pure and impossibly high, if you didn't know better you might think this was some rare track by some lost seventies female folkie.
And so it goes, tracks weaving back and forth, from warm washed out blissy dreamy dronescapes, to simple stripped down folk, often the two sounds drifting into each other, cross pollinating, the folk songs short and seemingly serving to separate the longer sprawling expanses of drone and shimmer, the two sounds dramatically different, but somehow complimenting one another perfectly.
MPEG Stream: TWINSISTERMOON "Amantsokan"

album cover ISENGRIND / TWINSISTERMOON / NATURAL SNOW BUILDINGS The Snowbringer Cult (Ba Da Bing!) 2cd 14.98
Originally released way back in 2008 on the Students of Decay label, this sprawling French bedroom drone-psych-folk epic is available once again, this time reissued by the fine folks at Ba Da Bing.
Natural Snow Buildings, the boy/girl duo of Mehdi Amaziane and Solange Gularte, have been a band since WAY back in 1999, toiling quietly WAY underground, and over the course of the last decade plus, have only really released a handful of records, and in the first 6 or 7 years, they only managed 4 cd-r's and two tapes, the total number of copies of all 6 of those releases hovering at about 250. That's insane! At the time we couldn't help wonder how a band with such a small catalog, that has reached so few ears, could generate so much fanboy freakout?! But that's precisely what happened. And thankfully, and perhaps surprisingly, in the case of NSB, the hype does not seem unwarranted. The freaking out more than merited. The music of Natural Snow Buildings is definitely something special, much more than the usual generic fx laden droned out abstract cd-r floor-core that seems to be constantly flooding the scene, this duo write actual songs, and create gorgeous soundscapes, they mix raga-like psyche with fluttery folk, deep drones with pristine pop, weaving it all together into something spectacular. The Snowbringer Cult was the very first proper cd release from Natural Snow Buildings, which was, and still is, bundled with an extra disc, featuring a whole record from both NSB members' solo projects, Twinsistermoon and Isengrind.
Isengrind's half of disc one begins with some deep dark ambience, huge shimmering streaks of ominous sound, like an orchestra tuning up in a cave, drawn out into warm washes of dronelike sound, processed choral vocals, and wheezing accordions. That intro gives way to a buzzing Eastern style raga, lots of percussion, shakers, bells, hand drums, buried beneath a shimmery smear of thick coruscating buzz, a sea of sitars, with Solange's vocals soaring ghostlike over the top. The next track is a dark folky drift, a simple melody, fluttering flute, more abstract percussion, definitely reminiscent of Avarus and other Finnish forest folk, but somehow more ethereal, and genuinely folky. The rest of the Isengrind tracks drift from spectre like folk, simple strums soaked in reverb and wrapped around ethereal vocals, to more raga jams, Indian style buzz filtered through a fractured folk sensibility, to haunting cinematic ambience, abstract soundscapes rife with streaks of feedback and wheezing chordal whir, disembodied strum, mysterious vocals and sporadic percussion, tribal, primal, primitive and raw, but still dreamlike and lovely.
Mehdi begins his side of the disc, with a sound that perfectly compliments Solange's (and make it obvious why the two work so well together in NSB), long drawn out glimmering high end tones, draped over a dark minor key folky strum, and simple percussion, while Mehdi's feminine sounding falsetto soars over the top, all infused with some sort of freaky folky Wickerman vibe. Gorgeous and haunting. That track is followed up by a short chunk of perfect dreamfolk, simple folky strum, and Mehdi's crystal clear vocals, ringing out, pure and impossibly high, if you didn't know better you might think this was some rare track by some lost seventies female folkie.
And so it goes, tracks weaving back and forth, from warm washed out blissy dreamy dronescapes, to simple stripped down folk, often the two sounds drifting into each other, cross pollinating, the folk songs short and seemingly serving to separate the longer sprawling expanses of drone and shimmer, the two sounds dramatically different, but somehow complimenting one another perfectly.
So what happens when the two join forces, becoming Natural Snow Buildings? It would be way too easy to say that the sum equaled the parts, that if you took the sound of the two halves of the first disc, it would equal the whole of the second. There is certainly -some- truth to that, but it's not math, it's magic. Alchemy, musical sorcery, these are sounds not numbers, and thus are governed by forces far more magical and mysterious than physics or science. The two together join spirits, their natures become entwined, they draw from one another, each offering the other part of their soul, rendered in music. The results are truly divine. An assemblage of sounds, deftly woven into expansive shapes and hushed mystery, landscapes of drone and shimmer, of cinematic wonder and dark introspection. Some tracks are super abstract, layered near static drifts, longform movements that sonically evoke other lands, other times, the past long forgotten, the future not yet experienced, other tracks are wheezing sun dappled Appalachia, but turned inside out, the chords and notes seemingly drawn inward, toward the speakers, the vocals breathless and mournful, all laid atop a thick swirl of distorted riffage, other tracks are fragmented folk, all murky blurred piano, backwards guitars, heartsick melodies, wrapped in a thick gauzy production, smeared into snapshots glimpsed through eyes brimming with tears. Other tracks are space rock writ small, minimal dirges, drone jams, chanted vocals, strange stuttery percussion, and glorious buzzing guitars, culminating in the final track, which begins much like the others, all hazy and dreamlike, vocals ethereal, guitars spare and skeletal, until unexpectedly the band lock into some serious droned out space rock. A serious dark and druggy looped riff, a la Spacemen 3, Hawkwind, Loop, anchored by a simple pounding thudrock rhythm, driving intensely through swirling clouds of FX and warm whirring ambience, a seriously dense, propulsive krautjam, that just so happens to hide a soft drifting pop shimmer underneath, and while the track rocks with a surprising intensity, it's precisely what's underneath that turns the jam into something resplendent.
The new version replicates the gorgeous packaging of the original, a fancy 4 panel gatefold digisleeve, with super striking original artwork and liner notes all drawn by Solange.
MPEG Stream: NATURAL SNOW BUILDINGS "Resurrect Dead On Planet Six"
MPEG Stream: NATURAL SNOW BUILDINGS "Bear Hunting"
MPEG Stream: TWINSISTERMOON "Amantsokan"
MPEG Stream: ISENGRIND "To Ride With Holle"

album cover ENSEMBLE PEARL s/t (Drag City) 2lp 25.00
Ensemble Pearl is a new psychedelic supergroup of sorts, featuring SUNNO))) guitarist Stephen O'Malley, Boris basher Atsuo, legendary Japanese psychedelic axeman Michio Kurihara, and William Herzog (guitarist for Jesse Sykes & the Sweet Hereafter) along with a handful of guests including violinist extraordinare Eyvind Kang. This unlikely collective have whipped up a heady brew of smoldering slow motion doom psych lumber and blackened kosmische drift, all murky and muddy, wasted and washed out, the core sound a smoldering, twang flecked tarpit trudge, a little bit Earth, a little bit Barn Owl, a little bit former Record Of The Weekers Torlesse Super Group - the same sort of windswept, apocalyptic, desert drone dirge, only this time, imbued with a pulsing psychedelic cosmic energy, a ferocity and intensity that seems to lurk just below the surface, as if barely restrained, a glowing black heart beating within Ensemble Pearl's bleak, bleary, blackly blissful exterior.
The sounds here are dense and dark, and yet simultaneously free and abstract, a trudging rhythmic plod, offering the only real structure, the sounds only tenuously moored to the surface, as if all it would take is a subtle shift in the solar winds, for the whole thing to drift heavenward, which it does at several points, the sound then seeming to blur into a more spaced out version of modern minimal dronemusic, almost like a more blackened, demonic Tangerine Dream, or a seriously sinister Phill Niblock, a hazy, softly churning kosmische thrum, lush and layered, pulsing and rich with chordal coloration and slow shifting overtones, laced with all manner of mysterious tonal shifts, like the soundtrack to some super abstract sci-fi art film, those stretches of droned out buzz could be the music of the cosmos, the streaks and contrails in the night sky translated into sound, a haunting, serene sonic stasis, that still somehow seems to be in perpetual motion, tranquil, slow swirling clouds of sonic debris, imbued with a warm glow of divine dreaminess.
But those sounds invariably coalesce into the dark dirgery that defines Ensemble Pearl's soundworld, the record bookended by to slowburn epics, the closer maybe our favorite, an epic sprawl of smolder and shimmer, a dreamy sonic death march, the guitars doused in reverb, the drums subtly dubbed out, the whole thing a woozy weary wander, a skeletal slo-mo lope through softly undulating swirls of smokey chordal shimmer, and heaving hushed drones, wreathed, like the opener, in fragmented shards of blurry ambience, spidery melodic tangles, the soaring sheets of keening high end here muted and smeared into distant glimmers, the occasional howl of feedback, or soft squalls of achingly keening high end guitarnoise, disappearing into fields of dubdrone blur, before returning to the motorik dirge creep that churns ever onward, gradually disappearing into a hushed field of atmospheric black buzz, warm and darkly billowing.
Fans of minimal drone smolder and abstract cosmic psychedelic space-doom drift will be in heaven.
MPEG Stream: "Ghost Parade"
MPEG Stream: "Painting On A Corpse"
MPEG Stream: "Giant"
MPEG Stream: "Sexy Angle"

album cover ENSEMBLE PEARL s/t (Drag City) cd 14.98
Ensemble Pearl is a new psychedelic supergroup of sorts, featuring SUNNO))) guitarist Stephen O'Malley, Boris basher Atsuo, legendary Japanese psychedelic axeman Michio Kurihara, and William Herzog (guitarist for Jesse Sykes & the Sweet Hereafter) along with a handful of guests including violinist extraordinare Eyvind Kang. This unlikely collective have whipped up a heady brew of smoldering slow motion doom psych lumber and blackened kosmische drift, all murky and muddy, wasted and washed out, the core sound a smoldering, twang flecked tarpit trudge, a little bit Earth, a little bit Barn Owl, a little bit former Record Of The Weekers Torlesse Super Group - the same sort of windswept, apocalyptic, desert drone dirge, only this time, imbued with a pulsing psychedelic cosmic energy, a ferocity and intensity that seems to lurk just below the surface, as if barely restrained, a glowing black heart beating within Ensemble Pearl's bleak, bleary, blackly blissful exterior.
The sounds here are dense and dark, and yet simultaneously free and abstract, a trudging rhythmic plod, offering the only real structure, the sounds only tenuously moored to the surface, as if all it would take is a subtle shift in the solar winds, for the whole thing to drift heavenward, which it does at several points, the sound then seeming to blur into a more spaced out version of modern minimal dronemusic, almost like a more blackened, demonic Tangerine Dream, or a seriously sinister Phill Niblock, a hazy, softly churning kosmische thrum, lush and layered, pulsing and rich with chordal coloration and slow shifting overtones, laced with all manner of mysterious tonal shifts, like the soundtrack to some super abstract sci-fi art film, those stretches of droned out buzz could be the music of the cosmos, the streaks and contrails in the night sky translated into sound, a haunting, serene sonic stasis, that still somehow seems to be in perpetual motion, tranquil, slow swirling clouds of sonic debris, imbued with a warm glow of divine dreaminess.
But those sounds invariably coalesce into the dark dirgery that defines Ensemble Pearl's soundworld, the record bookended by to slowburn epics, the closer maybe our favorite, an epic sprawl of smolder and shimmer, a dreamy sonic death march, the guitars doused in reverb, the drums subtly dubbed out, the whole thing a woozy weary wander, a skeletal slo-mo lope through softly undulating swirls of smokey chordal shimmer, and heaving hushed drones, wreathed, like the opener, in fragmented shards of blurry ambience, spidery melodic tangles, the soaring sheets of keening high end here muted and smeared into distant glimmers, the occasional howl of feedback, or soft squalls of achingly keening high end guitarnoise, disappearing into fields of dubdrone blur, before returning to the motorik dirge creep that churns ever onward, gradually disappearing into a hushed field of atmospheric black buzz, warm and darkly billowing.
Fans of minimal drone smolder and abstract cosmic psychedelic space-doom drift will be in heaven.
MPEG Stream: "Ghost Parade"
MPEG Stream: "Painting On A Corpse"
MPEG Stream: "Giant"
MPEG Stream: "Sexy Angle"

album cover GORI, LALLO La Morte Scende Leggera OST (Quartet) cd 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 been on a bit of a soundtrack kick lately here at aQ, getting a lot of cool ones in over the past little while. We just came across this disc and figured we should give it a shot, even though we hadn't seen the movie and weren't that familiar with the composer - but it's from an early '70s Italian "giallo" style thriller after all, and that's pretty compelling piece of cover art, ain't it? (Grasping hands, witchy woman, supine topless beauty; possibly promising a cinematic / soundtrack experience equally creepy and occult and sexy). As it turns out, this soundtrack turned out to be even better than we had hoped!! Much of the music here is soooooo beautifully sinister and slinky, exotic and noirishly jazzy - but that's not all, what we weren't expecting was how much fuzzed out psych-rock guitar action was going to be on here, too. WOW. Amidst the suitably spooky, sometimes quite lovely atmospheric interludes that primarily comprise the soundtrack, there's sudden heavy parts that sound not unlike the intro to a Black Sabbath song!! Maybe Tony Iommi happened to be visiting ancestral homeland and got hired to do these sessions while he was there - ok, unlikely, but that's almost what it sounds like. And certainly it's not impossible that the same guys who made that Blue Phantom library record could have been involved with this... definitely the occasional isolated slice of Sabbathy fuzzy doom riffage should attract any adventurous proto-metal fiends also into Italian library music, Goblin, & stuff like that too.
Mostly, this consists of dark, suspenseful, instrumental grooves, tracks variously arranged for ticking, agitated percussion, zinging strings, eerie woodwinds, springy Jew's harp, bongo drums, smokey jazz trumpet, wordless haunting female vocals, wavery electric organ, electronic effects... These incidental tracks are sinister, but romantic. Like the theme song for a lover you don't trust to not kill you when she's done with you, but you're still gonna take that chance.
And then, oh yeah, there's that aforementioned fuzz guitar, putting this over the top for us. Sometimes just a stab of it here or there, a single chord ringing out, cranking up the intensity level of this spinetingling music. Or, a couple times, leading into a full-on heavy psychrock jam. Weird how this album at moments reminds us of Black Sabbath or Randy Holden's Population II - and also, at other times, when that trumpet gets a-swinging, of Herb Alpert!
Now it seems lots of times when we list a soundtrack, we mention that we haven't actually seen the movie - in part 'cause yes we haven't seen the movie and thus can't say a lot about it, but also to indicate that you don't HAVE to have seen a movie in order to enjoy a soundtrack - but you all get that already, right? Of course. So for this review, we decided that we'd make an effort to try and watch La Morte Scende Leggera (aka Death Comes Lightly), the soundtrack made us curious after all... but alas we didn't manage to track it down in time. So once again, this is an example of how you can absolutely LOVE a soundtrack without any idea what the movie was all about - although the copious liner notes in the cd booklet, illustrated with stills from the film, do give us an idea - directed by Leopoldo Savona and released in 1972, it was apparently a movie with a confusing plot somehow involving drug smuggling, political corruption, quasi-supernatural elements, a series of mysterious murders, and erotic interludes - part psychological thriller, part ghost story, part softcore porn. The liner notes don't exactly give it two thumbs up, but it sounds kinda cool to us. And the appropriately psychedelic soundtrack for sure is cool.
From reading the liner notes, we also got some notion of how exactly it ended up sounding the way it does. Turns out track one, the movie's theme song, "Sunday In Neon Light", was actually not specifically written for the soundtrack. It had originally appeared on an obscure 1972 album (which now we'd love to find) called Peace On You by the Mak Sigis Porter Ensemble, lead by an expatriate singer/musician from Ghana. Part aching ballad, part heavy psych jam, "Sunday In Neon Light" has a bit of the vibe of some of the Afro-fuzz garage records we've had reissues of lately, with crunching guitar chords and vocals that remind us of Jimi Hendrix or Malcolm Mooney from early Can (hearing it was the first thing that clued us in that this wasn't the usual giallo soundtrack). Then, 'cause they'd decided to use this song in the movie, composer Lallo Gori wrote the rest of the score around it, his orchestrations in a similar psychedelic style using fuzz rock guitar, etc. And, in our opinion, the results are up there with some of our favorite soundtracks like Klute, Psychomania, and Possession - the latter of which we made a Record Of The Week not long ago, so we're gonna do the same for La Morte Scende Leggera too. Also note, it's a limited edition release, our supplier apparently having some of the last copies around, and at a bargain price since it's normally an expensive import.
MPEG Stream: "Sunday In Neon Light"
MPEG Stream: "La Morte Scende Leggera - Seq. 2"
MPEG Stream: "La Morte Scende Leggera - Seq. 7"
MPEG Stream: "La Morte Scende Leggera - Seq. 12"
MPEG Stream: "La Morte Scende Leggera - Seq. 14"

album cover GNOD Chaudelande (Rocket Recordings) cd 17.98
Originally released as two separate, ultra limited vinyl volumes, this sprawling psychedelic opus has finally been combined onto epic psychedelic songsuite, all on one shiny aluminum disc - which gives us a chance to make it our Record Of The Week, which was impossible before.
Unlike Gnod's more experimental electronic Presents... Dwellings & Druss lp, which we reviewed recently, Chaudelande finds the band in full on kosmiche space-psych mode, the sort of thing fans of outfits like Carlton Melton, White Hills, The Heads, 3 Leafs and the like, will flip for, assuming those folks aren't already heavily into Gnod. Which many probably are, as we've raved about these UK psychedelic space rockers on past lists, and who we first discovered via a split with NY space rockers White Hills. Gnod would later go on to share a split with another aQ fave, Bong, as well as releasing a clutch of their own records, which as you might assume, had all the space/psych rock fans around here flipping their lids. Chaudelande, originally released in 2012 and split into two separate 12"s, is another heady concoction of heavy psych rock bliss, swaggery space rock crunch and shimmery lysergic sonic drift, the first three tracks, originally volume 1, are sprawling epics, the shortest a little over eight minutes, the longest originally taking up a whole side at 17+. Where on past records, Gnod did a lit of drifting and spaced out shimmering, the opening track here wastes no time, well, okay, a little time spent spaced out and ethereal, before exploding into some full on space rock stomp, equal parts Hawkwind, the Stooges, heck, even a little Monster Magnet, the drums are massive, pounding away, the guitars thick, and crumbling with distortion, swaggery and spacey and seriously psychedelic, everything wreathed in swirls of effects and swaths of blurred buzz, the vocals a reverbed yelp, the bass thick and slithery, the whole thing on the edge of slipping into full on freakout. Sort of mirroring the sonic shift White Hills displayed on their most recent record. The second track dials it back a bit, drifting into a more Moon Duo-ish territory, that sort of mesmerizingly cyclical propulsive space-kraut, but Gnod mix it up by adding some thick grinding bass buzz, and clouds of constantly shifting FX, not to mention layer upon layer of swirling guitar murk and celestial shimmer, and while it does go through several permutations, at its heart, it's a seriously heady slab of blissed out zoner psych.
But then the third track displays a whole different side of Gnod's sound, opening up with some fluttery folk, wreathed in field recordings of bird calls, and all manner of voices, as if it were some hippy commune fireside jam. The sound darkens considerably, a low slung bass line driving some skeletal rhythmic shuffle, the sound hazy and fuzzy and droned out, but peppered with bursts of incendiary guitar noise, wild squalls of psychedelic freakout, wheezing organs, eventually exploding into a pounding noise jam second half, that finds the sound cranked, all the pedals pushed to their limited, the whole thing held together by a raga like buzz, heady and heavy and gloriously noisily spaced out.
The second half of the cd, originally volume 2, begins very tranquilly, with some bells and chimes, a fluttering flute, bird song, and folky chanted vocals, all driven by a simple plodding rhythm, very old timey and ritualistic sounding, but then a few minutes in, the song gradually splinters into a murky, pounding punkish churn, that sounds almost industrial, like a space rockier version of Crash Worship, tribal drumming beneath chugging crumblingly distorted riffage, wrapped in keening synth drones, and pocked with yelped reverby vox, the vibe is very Circle-like, a sort of Neanderthal space-psych hypno-rock, that does eventually transform into something that sounds almost like death rock, or some sort of goth-psych, that shuffling almost disco-y rhythm, deep crooned vocals, slithery basslines, but all nearly obscured by sheets of wah wah-ed guitar noise, pretty goddamn weird, but also one of our favorite Gnod jams yet! The follow up track Entrance, is a similarly minded sprawl of psychedelic hypno-rock. churning, pulsing, pounding, the drumming much busier, but still seriously motorik, the sound growing gradually more intense and heavy and blown out, a sort of space-punk sprawl, and the sort of mesmerizingly tranced out psychedelic space jams that end way too soon, even after 10+ minutes.
And like the first volume, the second volume (and the collected compact disc version of Chaudelande) ends with an epic, previously sidelong mega-jam, this one the awesomely titled "Genocider", which begins with a full on "Hey Mickey" style drum beat, which is quickly buried under an avalanche of crumbling riffage and howled echo drenched megaphone vox, the song a mesmerizing space garage stomp, with the guitars growing ever more unhinged, spraying wild tangles of psych-freakout over everything, but then something strange happens, the guitars begin to recede, and the drums begin to become a bit dubby, the timbre shifting, the low end dissipating, with beats careening back and forth, the sound breaking down into a twisted brittle psych dub drum jam, before exploding right back into another stretch of roiling space stomp heaviness, that pounds on relentlessly, until crashing to a halt in a final squall of blown out noise-psych crunch. So awesome.
MPEG Stream: "Tron"
MPEG Stream: "The Vertical Dead"
MPEG Stream: "Entrance"
MPEG Stream: "Gender"

album cover SPEKTR Cypher (Agonia Records) cd 16.98
It's been five years since we last heard from these French outsider industrial black metal weirdos, with their last record Mescalyne, which was as freaky and as fucked as the two preceding albums, all three of which we consider to be pantheon-worthy examples of confusional twisted blackness. We weren't sure what to expect from this new one though, a lot can happen in five years, but we've certainly seen other bands change a lot, and sadly, there does seem to be a tendency for bands' sounds to grow less weird with time, which who knows might be an inevitable side effect of getting better at recording, or playing, or just wanting more from music than making seriously twisted sonic shit.
Well, we should have know better than to worry about these guys, cuz it seems they're just as warped and damaged as before. In fact it took us a few minutes into the second track to truly be sure, the opener is all thick low end throbs, keening drones, tripped out effects, static and crumbling distortion, creepy samples, so we expected the second track to explode right out of the gate, but instead, it was more ambience, a creepy music box, lots of crackle and more static, and way down in the mix, what sounds like drums way off in the distance, shards of feedback, then the drums kick in, and it almost sounds like DJ Shadow or something, all distorted skitter over woozy samples, but then finally, BAM, the song splinters into twisted, inhuman industrial black buzz, lightning fast drumming that if it isn't a machine, the drummer is some sort of cyborg, the guitars warped and melty and psychedelic, the structure fractured and constantly shifting, not smoothly either, guitars cut out, stutter and burst back in, the sound swings wildly from lightning fast blast to stumbling doomy tangle, and back, the riffs, as in the past, are mangled and slippery, but here, the metal drops out again, and we're returned to that weird DJ Shadow music box thing, before again, bursting into more detuned black savagery, and so it goes, it's a ten minute track, and they cram a lot into it, lots of drones, and weird industrial breakdowns, there are hardly any vocals, but when there are, they seem to be just a wordless bellow, and that could be some weird guitar thing too, it's hard to tell, everything is chaotic and woozy, warbly and seemingly in constant collapse.
And while there's SO much going on, that we could pick each and every track apart, and describe all the twisted fuckery these guys conjure up, that first track definitely sets the template, with the long tracks super progged out experiments in avant blackness, that once again, set these guys SOOO far apart from the pack, this stuff is SO fucking tripped out and bizarre, and gloriously and fantastically idiosyncratic, it's hard to believe a regular band of dudes could conjure up something this bafflingly brilliant. The whole record is super glitchy, almost like the player is malfunctioning, but really it's all part of their warped master plan, that creepy crackly music box effect employed throughout, often the main black buzz riff, rendered as some disembodied old time melody, often under some sort of disembodied chugging, but somehow, always seeming to lurch back into twisted black aktion. More than half of the record seems to be spent exploring specifically non black metal weirdness, in fact five of the nine tracks are more sort of ambient explorations, textural experiments, and the songs proper are constantly in flux, again spending much of the time drifting, droning or creeping, but when they do launch into their black buzz, it's an alien strain that is pretty difficult to parse, so it's probably best to just let yourself get lost in Spektr's confusional black soundworld. Black metal record of the year so far for SURE.
MPEG Stream: "Teratology"
MPEG Stream: "The Singularity"
MPEG Stream: "Cypher"

album cover FRIEL, DAN Total Folklore (Thrill Jockey) cd 14.98
We were immediately blown way by this twisted slab of primsatic psychedelia, all lo-fi rhythms, bagpipe like synth squelch, and spidery snakecharmer melodies. It's crunchy and fuzzy, feedback drenched, droned out and totally hypnotic, like a dizzying mix of the shamanistic mesmer of Dan Higgs, the minimal zoner kraut-psych of Zomes, and the warped rainbow rhythm-ed distorto-hop of Black Moth Super Rainbow (and BMSR offshoot Tobacco too)! And really, this record totally came from out of left field, we had no expectations, in fact at first we had no idea who Dan Friel even was, being mostly unacquainted with his band Parts & Labor, and what little we did know had us thinking maybe we wouldn't really even be all that into P&L anyway. But Total Folklore definitely has us rethinking everything.
The first track alone is worth the price of admission, and even if the record had consisted of nothing but that lumbering, 12+ minute chunk of deliriously distorted, noise drenched, outsider grooviness, we'd still have made it Record Of The Week. After a short squall of tangled buzz and swirling tones, the sounds coalesce into a buzzing raga like melody, draped over a super crunchy, crumbling rhythm, a sort of hip hop / industrial lumber, each beat a burst of staticky buzz, sculpted into a dense, driving, motorik caveman groove, while over the top, those melodies are constantly shifting and swirling, stretching out into layered drones, streaks of feedback doused shimmer, and when the melodies to abate, leaving just the beat, to pound and stutter, when they do swoop back in, the result is a sort of chaotic noise-raga, that manages to be loose and freeform, but simultaneously tranced out and hypnotic. Eventually, the sound slips back into that opening groove, this time, all the synths and buzzing melodies even more distorted and blown out, making for a heady chunk of multi-hued noise industrial drone-pop zoner-psych that will have you setting it on repeat for sure.
The rest of the record is divided into way shorter fragments, none of the remaining tracks clocking in at more than 3:45, with a handful of ultra short 'intermissions', but all of those tracks, intermissions and songs proper, displaying the same sort of blown out psychedelia. "Windmills" sounds like Sunroof! and Our Love Will Destroy The World mashed up and transformed into something a bit more playful and groovy, while "Valedictorian" drapes ethereal shimmer over what sounds like stuttering fuzz pop riffage, a swirling super catchy melody, and it's about as close as this comes to some mutant strain of ultra hook heavy noise pop. It's not hard to imagine this as some warped remix of a classic early era Flaming Lips jam. "Velocipede" is all woozy crumbling distortion, tweaked electronics, in-the-red synth buzz, a noisy blur that somehow ends up sounding more dreamy and psychedelic than chaotic.
The rest of the tracks split the difference between tripped out experimental electronic groovescapes, dense noisy psychedelic swirls, pulsing pulsating komische freakouts and crazy catchy pop in electronic mad scientist's clothing, with each and every variation displaying an impossible knack for dense, heavily layered, ultra distorted productions that are pure headphone blossouts, but also even the most obtuse fractured bit of noisiness is somehow hooky as hell, whether it's the chugging blurred out crunch of "Landslide", or the crumbling feedback drenched electro-kraut churn of "Badlands". AWESOME!
MPEG Stream: "Ulysses"
MPEG Stream: "Windmills"
MPEG Stream: "Valedictorian"
MPEG Stream: "Landslide"
MPEG Stream: "Badlands"

album cover FRIEL, DAN Total Folklore (Thrill Jockey) lp 16.98
We were immediately blown way by this twisted slab of primsatic psychedelia, all lo-fi rhythms, bagpipe like synth squelch, and spidery snakecharmer melodies. It's crunchy and fuzzy, feedback drenched, droned out and totally hypnotic, like a dizzying mix of the shamanistic mesmer of Dan Higgs, the minimal zoner kraut-psych of Zomes, and the warped rainbow rhythm-ed distorto-hop of Black Moth Super Rainbow (and BMSR offshoot Tobacco too)! And really, this record totally came from out of left field, we had no expectations, in fact at first we had no idea who Dan Friel even was, being mostly unacquainted with his band Parts & Labor, and what little we did know had us thinking maybe we wouldn't really even be all that into P&L anyway. But Total Folklore definitely has us rethinking everything.
The first track alone is worth the price of admission, and even if the record had consisted of nothing but that lumbering, 12+ minute chunk of deliriously distorted, noise drenched, outsider grooviness, we'd still have made it Record Of The Week. After a short squall of tangled buzz and swirling tones, the sounds coalesce into a buzzing raga like melody, draped over a super crunchy, crumbling rhythm, a sort of hip hop / industrial lumber, each beat a burst of staticky buzz, sculpted into a dense, driving, motorik caveman groove, while over the top, those melodies are constantly shifting and swirling, stretching out into layered drones, streaks of feedback doused shimmer, and when the melodies to abate, leaving just the beat, to pound and stutter, when they do swoop back in, the result is a sort of chaotic noise-raga, that manages to be loose and freeform, but simultaneously tranced out and hypnotic. Eventually, the sound slips back into that opening groove, this time, all the synths and buzzing melodies even more distorted and blown out, making for a heady chunk of multi-hued noise industrial drone-pop zoner-psych that will have you setting it on repeat for sure.
The rest of the record is divided into way shorter fragments, none of the remaining tracks clocking in at more than 3:45, with a handful of ultra short 'intermissions', but all of those tracks, intermissions and songs proper, displaying the same sort of blown out psychedelia. "Windmills" sounds like Sunroof! and Our Love Will Destroy The World mashed up and transformed into something a bit more playful and groovy, while "Valedictorian" drapes ethereal shimmer over what sounds like stuttering fuzz pop riffage, a swirling super catchy melody, and it's about as close as this comes to some mutant strain of ultra hook heavy noise pop. It's not hard to imagine this as some warped remix of a classic early era Flaming Lips jam. "Velocipede" is all woozy crumbling distortion, tweaked electronics, in-the-red synth buzz, a noisy blur that somehow ends up sounding more dreamy and psychedelic than chaotic.
The rest of the tracks split the difference between tripped out experimental electronic groovescapes, dense noisy psychedelic swirls, pulsing pulsating komische freakouts and crazy catchy pop in electronic mad scientist's clothing, with each and every variation displaying an impossible knack for dense, heavily layered, ultra distorted productions that are pure headphone blossouts, but also even the most obtuse fractured bit of noisiness is somehow hooky as hell, whether it's the chugging blurred out crunch of "Landslide", or the crumbling feedback drenched electro-kraut churn of "Badlands". AWESOME!
MPEG Stream: "Ulysses"
MPEG Stream: "Windmills"
MPEG Stream: "Valedictorian"
MPEG Stream: "Landslide"
MPEG Stream: "Badlands"

album cover NIHITI For Ostland (Lo Bit Landscapes) cd 11.98
We've long been fans of this mysterious NY outfit, whose past records found these guys brewing up a dizzying concoction of warped electro wave, haunting witch house-y minimalist creep, fuzzed out shoegazey ambience, and home brewed big beat crunch, all blurred and smeared into something way more abstract and psychedelic that its constituent parts. But here on their third and most recent, the band dial things way back, and craft a dark, gorgeous slab of introspective, electronic soundscapery, opening the proceedings with thick swaths of gristled, pixelated Tim Hecker like sonic haze. All washed out and dreamy and woozily lysergic, perfectly leading into a stunning Marissa Nadler cover, the already dark original transformed into an even darker lament, all swirling churns of mumblecore drift, heaving swells of black blurred fuzz, over skeletal rhythms, and moaned barely there vox, smeared and subtly processed, a plaintive whispery croon becomes a lush landscape of layered drones drifting dreamily and druggily, a ghostly and spectral electro-ambient threnody, that builds to a near squall of roiling riffs and tangled black melodies, the result still somehow warm and soft and utterly trancelike.
Elsewhere, the group unfurl smoldering cinematic soundscapes, strange slivers of shadowy sound, moaning fragmented melodies, all over a haunting heartbeat like pulse, a sort of slo-mo electronica, laced with strange hummed/sung vocals that remind us a bit of country weirdos the Reveries, who sing with cell phone speakers in their mouths, the same effect here, a wordless warble that ebbs and flows, slipping from near insectoid buzz to deep softly dramatic, barely there croon, and back again, all over slow swooping backwards guitars, and disembodied fragments of guitar melody.
Some tracks, like "Eisenbahnstrasse, January 1st 1946" shed some of the darkness, and blossom into dreamily prismatic swirls, all tinkling chimes, clean guitar jangle, soft psychedelic shimmer, all interwoven with random samples and brief blurts of FX heavy skree, but the sound always seems to drift back into the darkness.
As the record progresses, heavy machine like industrial beat, lumber through fields of clang and clatter and thump, all constructed into a dense driving blast of junkyard groove, the whole thing swaddled in a distant buzz, and slowly building swells of layered static drones, a sort of ultra minimal hypno-hop, like something you migh have heard on an old DHR record, or on one of those Electric Ladyland comps alongside Techno Animal, Spectre and the like. Eventually, the sound slows to a crawl, still beat heavy, but this time a tar pit drag, a lurching, looped lumber, all downtuned thrum, and disembodied voices, and some buried shuffling skitter.
"Sun Shatterer" is a heady sprawl of minimal gloom pop, minor key guitars, chiming through a cloud of woozy sonic warble, weird clipped whispers, tense strings, keening high end tones, what sounds like Hermann Nitsch like brass, which resolve into soft whorls of crumbling distortion and lush waves of fuzzed out feedback, before unexpectedly exploding into something much more in keeping with their old sound, big beats, a sort of post industrial electro wave downer dirge, with clean, dramatic new wave vocals, big melodies, buzzing synths, but all still wreathed in the weird droned out sounds that started the track off, like a noiser, more abstact Interpol maybe...
After a couple brief tracks of creepy, psychedelic ambience, the 30 second "Campfire Ashes" way too short, sounding like it could have blossomed into some dark Demdike Stare style epic, which thankfully is in a way what happens, as that track leads directly into the closer, a nearly nine minute sprawl called "Hymn Division". that lays down a simple pulsing beat, over which Nihiti lay thick swaths of black buzz, dense swirls of ribcage rattling low end reverberations, and finally deep, dramatic minor key melodies, that infuse the song with serious pathos, it's not hard to imagine this as the sound track to the denouement of some twisted, modern, avant indie film, a dizzying expanse of moving, emotional, electronic minimalism, but here drifting towrd maximalism, the tones expanding and exploding in slow motion, the melodies, bright, and eventually blinding, the tones strecthed way out, tense and intense, the coda a sort of Hecker / Nadja dreamdronedrift, but more soft focus here, heady and heavenly.
MPEG Stream: "Siobhan's Song For Jakob"
MPEG Stream: "Ghosts And Lovers"
MPEG Stream: "Eisenbahnstrasse, January 1st 1946"
MPEG Stream: "Sun Shatterer"
MPEG Stream: "Hymn Divisions"

album cover NIHITI For Ostland (Lo Bit Landscapes) lp 17.98
We've long been fans of this mysterious NY outfit, whose past records found these guys brewing up a dizzying concoction of warped electro wave, haunting witch house-y minimalist creep, fuzzed out shoegazey ambience, and home brewed big beat crunch, all blurred and smeared into something way more abstract and psychedelic that its constituent parts. But here on their third and most recent, the band dial things way back, and craft a dark, gorgeous slab of introspective, electronic soundscapery, opening the proceedings with thick swaths of gristled, pixelated Tim Hecker like sonic haze. All washed out and dreamy and woozily lysergic, perfectly leading into a stunning Marissa Nadler cover, the already dark original transformed into an even darker lament, all swirling churns of mumblecore drift, heaving swells of black blurred fuzz, over skeletal rhythms, and moaned barely there vox, smeared and subtly processed, a plaintive whispery croon becomes a lush landscape of layered drones drifting dreamily and druggily, a ghostly and spectral electro-ambient threnody, that builds to a near squall of roiling riffs and tangled black melodies, the result still somehow warm and soft and utterly trancelike.
Elsewhere, the goup unfurl smoldering cinematic soundscapes, strange slivers of shadowy sound, moaning fragmented melodies, all over a haunting heartbeat like pulse, a sort of slo-mo electronica, laced with strange hummed/sung vocals that remind us a bit of country weirdos the Reveries, who sing with cell phone speakers in their mouths, the same effect here, a worldless warble that ebbs and flows, slipping from near insectoid buzz to deep softly dramatic, barely there croon, and back again, all over slow swooping backwards guitars, and disembodied frgaments of guitar melody.
Some tracks, like "Eisenbahnstrasse, January 1st 1946" shed some of the darkness, and blossom into dreamily prismatic swirls, all tinkling chimes, clean guitar jangle, soft psychedelic shimmer, all interwoven with random samples and brief blurts of FX heavy skree, but the sound always seems to drift back into the darkness.
As the record progresses, heavy machine like industrial beat, lumber through fields of clang and clatter and thump, all constructed into a dense driving blast of junkyard groove, the whole thing swaddled in a distant buzz, and slowly building swells of layered static drones, a sort of ultra minimal hypno-hop, like something you migh have heard on an old DHR record, or on one of those Electric Ladyland comps alongside Techno Animal, Spectre and the like. Eventually, the sound slows to a crawl, still beat heavy, but this time a tar pit drag, a lurching, looped lumber, all downtuned thrum, and disembodied voices, and some buried shuffling skitter.
"Sun Shatterer" is a heady sprawl of minimal gloom pop, minor key guitars, chiming through a cloud of woozy sonic warble, weird clipped whispers, tense strings, keening high end tones, what sounds like Hermann Nitsch like brass, which resolve into soft whorls of crumbling distortion and lush waves of fuzzed out feedback, before unexpectedly exploding into something much more in keeping with their old sound, big beats, a sort of post industrial electro wave downer dirge, with clean, dramatic new wave vocals, big melodies, buzzing synths, but all still wreathed in the weird droned out sounds that started the track off, like a noiser, more abstact Interpol maybe...
After a couple brief tracks of creepy, psychedelic ambience, the 30 second "Campfire Ashes" way too short, sounding like it could have blossomed into some dark Demdike Stare style epic, which thankfully is in a way what happens, as that track leads directly into the closer, a nearly nine minute sprawl called "Hymn Division". that lays down a simple pulsing beat, over which Nihiti lay thick swaths of black buzz, dense swirls of ribcage rattling low end reverberations, and finally deep, dramatic minor key melodies, that infuse the song with serious pathos, it's not hard to imagine this as the sound track to the denouement of some twisted, modern, avant indie film, a dizzying expanse of moving, emotional, electronic minimalism, but here drifting towrd maximalism, the tones expanding and exploding in slow motion, the melodies, bright, and eventually blinding, the tones strecthed way out, tense and intense, the coda a sort of Hecker / Nadja dreamdronedrift, but more soft focus here, heady and heavenly.
MPEG Stream: "Siobhan's Song For Jakob"
MPEG Stream: "Ghosts And Lovers"
MPEG Stream: "Eisenbahnstrasse, January 1st 1946"
MPEG Stream: "Sun Shatterer"
MPEG Stream: "Hymn Divisions"

album cover UN FESTIN SAGITAL Bestias Solares (Black Horizons) cassette 8.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Holy shit, this is so fucked up, but in all the right ways. And thus, becomes our first ever CASSETTE Record Of The Week! One of those records that had EVERYone here sorta freaking out. And on it's first spin in the store, had all the folks in the back rushing up front to see what the heck was playing!
Un Festin Sagital are an occult prog-metal / angular post-punk / psychedelic free noise / black ambient orchestra out of Santiago, Chile that can strip down to the touring essentials of just flute, acoustic guitar, and voice, when need be, in bellowing their complex tales of a forthcoming lysergic apocalypse. But here, it's the full sonic onslaught of Satanic chanting, frenzied tribal rhythms, heavy anthemic riffs, acid-crazed arrangements, and witch/warlock vocals that sound as if they were recorded at the wrong speed, all dotted with some rather pretty moments of psychedelic impressionism. Diabolically strummed flamenco guitar riffs erupt into blisteringly rhythmic assaults of start/stop rhythms that are equal parts King Crimson, Comus, and Uz Jsme Doma. Or imagine Dutch punks the Ex crossed with aQ Record Of The Weekers Yamantaka // Sonic Titan!! A sound that somehow simultaneously reminds us of bedeviled Eastern European peasant folk songs that could very well be possessed gypsy curses from some remote old world village in a muddled sonic palette that also evokes the Art Bears mixed with ritualistic Hindustani vocal modulations, or the Vietnamese girls on Holgar Czukay's "Boat Woman Song". The sound washed out under layers of tape decay and warble, the music seemingly patched together and reassembled in beautiful, yet twisted psych-folk interludes which meander between the volatile rhythmic outbursts with wah-wah inflected, acidic guitar lines and long dizzying sprawls of cinematic creep and kosmische electronics, creating spellbinding atmospheres and gorgeously stunning modern avant heaviness. Strange, fucked-up stuff. Supposedly a new full length is in the works from Beta-Lactam Ring. C40. Limited to 100 copies! And so totally recommended!!
MPEG Stream: "Madre Bestia"
MPEG Stream: "Devocion"
MPEG Stream: "El Final (Tango Fallido)"
MPEG Stream: "El Asesino Del Sol"

album cover VON HIMMEL Rock N Roll Animal / Traum Esel (Donkey Disk) lp 17.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Within the last few years, the frequency of Von Himmel and related releases has picked up significantly, and thus, here we are with the band's long in the works follow up to their mighty Space Communion lp. Things have gotten even more insular with this two song monster, offering yet another glimpse into the band's strange and unique soundworld.
"Rock N Roll Animal", aka all of Side 1, comes across like some weird, warped Alice Coltrane number beamed in from another dimension, all woozy and queasy sounding. Stuttering drums merge with glorious cascades of jagged riffing to form a beautiful, strangely cohesive mess. We've mentioned legendary Texas psych pioneers the Red Krayola before when talking about Von Himmel, and the similarities are still evident in their expansive collage-like jams. Jams that manage to be hypnotic and quite lovely at times but also noisy as hell. Things are definitely chaotic, but it's a chaos with purpose, recalling previous VH releases but with what appears to be a new sense of direction, or at least forward momentum. Ramshackle bursts of melodic noise that sound a bit like an orchestra pit warming up, or fucking around, create a suspended dream state before switching gears at the midway point with some majestic cymbal washes and drones. Zoned out bits of German Oak style proto-industrial ambience appear, before things end in a swirling mass of pulsing noise that would make the Taj Mahal Travellers proud.
Side 2, "Traum Esel", begins with a sinister drone intro, heavy and sort of evil sounding, a bit like Harmonia at their most ominous. It's more meditative and subdued than the A side, maybe a little more "focused" than the freewheeling feel of the first track/side. As the song continues, things get seriously krauty with immersive, washed out melodies and sparse bits of looped percussion before ending in clouds of billowing GAS-styled bliss.
Another winner that somehow manages to top their previous release, pushing in new directions, but dragging much of what we loved about that record with them, this lp also marks the inaugural vinyl release for the band's Donkey Disc label. Grab it now!
MPEG Stream: "Rock N Roll Animal"
MPEG Stream: "Traum Esel"

album cover AX Metal Forest (Cold Spring) cd 17.98
Finally! The long out of print nineties releases from legendary industrial / power electronics / UK noise / black drone one man band AX once again see the light of day. Longtime fans of the mighty Skullflower, will no doubt be familiar with AX, the project of one time SF member Anthony Di Franco, who also did time in a number of other bands you might also be familiar with: Ramleh, Novatron, Ethnic Acid, JFK. But we always had a soft spot for AX, whose first two vinyl lps (collected here), Nova Feedback and II, originally released in 1994 and 1995 respectively, were for some of us our first taste of power electronics, and unlike much of the more harsh, ear shredding power electronics, AX trafficked in something much more droned out, a sound that whether intentionally or not, seemed to foreshadow the sort of slowburn sludge, and crumbling slo-mo ultra-doom that would follow. It's hard not to hear hints of Earth and SUNNO))) and Bunkur and Khanate or even groups like Troum and Maeror Tri, for all of its noise, and it IS noisy, that noise is sculpted in such a way as to render it impossibly listenable, totally hypnotic, and utterly mesmerizing. You can almost imagine a primitive hybrid of Troum and SUNNO))), the dark trancelike dronescape of the former, fused to the impossible black hole heaviness of the latter, but then the whole thing doused in a haze of caustic industrial crunch, and liberal swaths of grinding howling feedback.
This collection opens up strangely enough with one track that is NOT from either of those two 12"s, but is instead plucked off AX's only proper full length cd, 1997's Astronomy, but that track, "Kortex", is definitely the perfect opener, and in some ways the perfect introduction to AX. The doomiest of the bunch by far, due in no small part to its plodding slow motion 'beat', a gristly metronomic crunch, that sounds like a snare hit slowed down a hundred times and run through a bank of dead distortion pedals, over which Di Franco lays down a churning layer of crumbling blackened distortion, wreathing those plodding squashed bug beats in squalls of overloaded powergrid buzz, it's a sort of primitive electron-level ultra doom, snakelike tendrils of hiss wrapped around sheets of grinding metallic buzz, all driven by that sinister blacknoise pulse. Which leads directly into "Nova Feedback 1", a swirling psychedelic wash of rumbling black buzz, and phased out thrum, evoking the whole guitar-against-the-amp style near-static minimalist doomdirge. Fans of the late great Vulture Club and other practitioners of that sort of doomdronedrift will be in heaven.
"Heavy Fluid" is near symphonic, a sprawling 11 minute soundscape of layered guitar buzz, gristly electronics, shards of static, clouds of hiss, some serious proto-SUNN extreme slo-mo heaviness, which had us thinking a bit of another recent aQ fave, Blackwolfgoat, unfurling an endless cascade of woozy guitar buzz and melting blackened psychedelic riffage, the tones shifting constantly, as if someone was continually fiddling with the pitch knob, or more likely, an endless fiddling with the tuners, letting notes morph into other notes, to dip down into an even murkier thrum, before slowing drifting into a near howl. The sort of track, that we could listen to ENDLESSLY, only really exploding about 8 minutes in, when the original detuned creep is barraged by scrapes and squiggles and an avalanche of still more roiling guitarnoise. There are moments of pure noise, "Theme One", is in fact pretty much a four minute blast of face melting, ultra corrosive, blacknoise blur, but it almost acts like a palette cleanser, as it leads directly into the title track, which might be the most tranquil jam here, again foreshadowing the sort of bleak black soundscapery of groups like Wolf Eyes or Blue Sabbath Black Cheer or Gnaw Their Tongues, a gorgeously abject stretch of haunting post industrial buzz and hum, super cinematic, laced with all manner of grinding guitar noise, and strange moans and creaks, slipping easily from hushed drift, to cavernous bellow, and back again.
We then move into the two tracks from AX's II 12", the first a 10+ minute of grinding power electronics bliss out, which after an opening blast of speaker destroying crunch, seems to gradually settle into something more spaced out and atmospheric, but really no less noisy, buried voices, shards of feedback, and all manner of metallic crunch, are blurred and smeared into a softly heaving sprawl of dense, droned out, psychedelic free-noise drift. The second part begins as a low level hum, distant heaving moans buried beneath layers of static and hum, super dense and tense, the perfect cue for the final shot in some long lost seventies horror movie, but soon the haunting elements are all but subsumed by the swirling noise, the result a roiling sea of hiss and howl, grinding metals and churning buzz.
Finally, the collection finishes off with the last two tracks from Nova Feedback, the first, a dreamily psychedelic swirl of prismatic deconstructed guitar shimmer, and process chordal whirl, pulsing and pulsating, easily the prettiest track here, those strange melodies a recurring theme throughout the track, but gradually pulled apart and recontextualized, drifting dreamily one second, chopped up, looped and layered the next, wreathed in delay and reverb, and sent swirling into the ether, keening melodies over soft focus background guitarnoise, here rendered a dreamlike haze, totally hypnotic, and strangely tranquil. And finally, "Cluster" finishes things off, with what sounds like a classic chunk of black metal buzz, but here looped and layered and stretched out into an endless stretch of guitarbuzz mesmer, again reminding us of Blackwolfgoat, or perhaps Mick Barr, if he was restrained to just using the lowest strings, but that sort of near symphonic buzz, a churning tangle of blackened riffage, but blurred into something much more amorphous, a dreamlike cloud of psychedelic black shimmer, that is the perfect finish, to a near perfect collection.
Needless to say EXTREMELY recommended, and not just for nineties industrial obsessives (although obviously, for those folks, this is a no brainer), but if you dig minimal guitar mesmer, psychedelic doom, abstract heaviness, post industrial soundscaping, all strains of drone, especially heavy guitardrone, this collection will blow your mind.
MPEG Stream: "Kortex"
MPEG Stream: "Nova Feedback I"
MPEG Stream: "Heavy Fluid"
MPEG Stream: "Metal Forest"
MPEG Stream: "II"

album cover KERKAR, KESARBAI s/t (Mississippi / Change / Canary) lp 15.98
One of three neat new Mississippi titles in this week, and by far our favorite (and thus a Record Of The Week!) is this collection of archival recordings from famed female Hindustani classical singer, Kesarbai Kerkar. For fans of the Ustad Abdul Karim Khan and Pandit Pran Nath lps released previously on the label, this is an essential addition. What makes this release extra special is the lovingly designed booklet (with a beautiful tantric painting on the cover and English transcriptions of all the included ragas) that chronicles Kerkar's rise from her lower caste position as a courtesan to one of the most revered women in Indian classical music.
The lp consists of seven ragas, mostly morning ragas (but also an evening, late evening and monsoon raga), accompanied by saranji or harmonium that she recorded for the British label HMV on 78's between 1944 and 1949, Kerkar's unique style and vocal range is incredible to listen to, but is made more profound by the unfathomable struggles she had to endure throughout her life. Ridiculed at her very first public singing performance while employed as a kept women at the age of 26, she angrily vowed revenge by seeking to become one of the best singers India had ever witnessed. Her dedication to this task would not only involve some clever trickery, and ultimately separate her from her lover and patron and their only daughter, but also meant that she would have to enter into slavish servitude with her guru Ustad Alladiya Khan, and pay him for ten years of rigorous vocal training. But this ultimately paid off, for her master, who like many esteemed singers of his generation did not consider recording a necessary component of artistry, and had a devotional emphasis on obscure ragas, which gave Kerkar an unrivaled repertoire when it became her time to finally record while she was in her forties and fifties. Having toured the country extensively, the recordings only increased her fame and renown in India and beyond. Here we hear a voice that is unlike others we have heard before in its intricate extended modulations, sounding completely otherworldly and ritualistic, solemn and ceremonial, but with a devoutly serious temperament that singers like Maria Callas and Diamanda Galas could surely appreciate. So beautiful!

album cover V/A Pop Ambient 2013 (Kompakt) lp+cd 19.98
Of the now thirteen (!) volumes of Kompakt's Pop Ambient series, we've only ever made two of them Records Of The Week, at about three year intervals, which is a bit surprising considering how much we've dug them all, and the fact that the term itself, Pop Ambient, has become a frequent bit of aQ review shorthand we use all the time to describe the numerous variations of blissed out shimmer and dreamy washed out drift we can't seem to get enough of. And as with each past installment, this latest is another stunning collection of experimental ambient music, lush atmospheric electronica stripped of beats, the backgrounds pushed to the fore, abstract and hauntingly atmospheric, the lineup featuring a handful of familiar names, but some new faces as well. And another reason for making this latest Pop Ambient collection a ROTW, is that there seems to be a growing darkness in the sounds of these comps, a grim musical undercurrent that infuses these tracks with a brooding quality that most ambient music lacks, the artists pushing well past a sound that initially was simply a beatless Kompakt style techno, toward something that over the years morphed into fully fleshed out modern minimalism, expansive sprawls of cinematic soundscapery and gorgeous snippets of avant chamber music, but all retaining that sort of Pop Ambient haze, a soft focus murk that makes the music sound like it's being transmitted from some other world, or some other time.
Leandro Fresco starts things off with a gauzy bit of hushed shimmer, laced with what sound like alien field recordings, and pocked with haunting little sonar like pings, and wreathed in soft chordal swells. The vibe is very much like the soundtrack to some slow panning shot across a fog shrouded landscape, lit by the moon, and a sky full of flickering stars. Kompakt mainstay Michael Mayer follows up with a dark thrumming sprawl (remixed by another Kompakt regular Wolfgang Voigt), wedding a deep rumbling low end to a woozy looped susurrus, whispery and wispy, but shot through with a strangely sinister drone element, that lurks in the background, but gives the track some serious sonic malevolence. Jens-Uwe Beyer dials back the darkness, and unfurls a bit of slowly blossoming soft focus glimmer, the sound reminding us of Machinefabriek or Jasper TX, a slo-mo, melodic drift, all softly shifting overtones, and undulating layers, gauzy and darkly dreamlike. Triola delivers a strangely circus-like track, that conjures up images of a brightly lit carousel, viewed through a thick fog, a very Something Wicked This Way Comes vibe that is deftly molded into something much more playful and pretty.
Marsen Jules returns to the dark side, with a lush, layered landscape of long tones, of minimal percussion, and blurred melody, woven into a tense, slow building brood, before the sound bursts into a dense, percussive, almost doomlike lumber, almost like a fuzzy, soft focus, dreamdrift SUNNO))), crashing percussive bursts of swirling sound, surrounded by streaks of bleary hum and thrum, a darkly churning, hauntingly cinematic epic that is WAY to short. Mikkel Metal keeps it dark, introducing his track with a distorted churning rumble, laced with swirly psychedelic backwards swoops, and a clipped hissing pulse, the noise sculpted into majestic swells, the vibe blackened and industrial, building to a thick, caustic, but still woozy and washed out, climax of dense black swirl. Anton Kubikov brings things back into the light, but a grey, dying sun sort of light, wrapping reverbed piano in thick swaths of gauzey swirl and crumbling textures, sounding a bit like a lost Caretaker track, weathered and worn, melancholic and otherworldly. Wolfgang Voigt returns, this time with his own track, which plays like a collage of orchestras tuning up, simultaneously symphonic and cacophonous, a dizzying collage of tangled loops, of fuzzy textures, murky ambience, warbly melodies, flutes surface at one point, as do strings, not to mention some epic orchestral swells, but they all seem to be sinking into a gorgeous, whirring black sonic morass. Leandro Fresco lightens things up with his second track, sounding more traditionally Pop Ambient, all hazy, lush textures, slowly shifting, glimmering melodies, and softly pulsing overtones, again super cinematic, dreamily epic, gorgeously melodic, a sun dappled dreamdronedrift that definitely plays like the sonic denouement, the musical light at the end of this hauntingly dark tunnel. Which is followed up by the finale, another field recording flecked stretch of swirling electronics, and dark droning swells, adding shadow to the previous track's light, and then surprising us all but coalescing into an actual pop song, all strummed acoustic guitar, and echo drenched dreamy sad boy vox, all wreathed in softly swirling clouds of woozy thrum, and all manner of forest sounds and bird calls, pastoral but again, just slightly sinister. So good.
MPEG Stream: LEANDRO FRESCO "Cuando El Sol Grita La Manana"
MPEG Stream: MICHAEL MAYER "Sully (Wolfgang Voigt Mix)"
MPEG Stream: MARSEN JULES "Point Of No Return"
MPEG Stream: WOLFGANG VOIGT "Ruckverzauberung"
MPEG Stream: TERRAPIN "Cirrus Minor"

album cover V/A Pop Ambient 2013 (Kompakt) cd 16.98
Of the now thirteen (!) volumes of Kompakt's Pop Ambient series, we've only ever made two of them Records Of The Week, at about three year intervals, which is a bit surprising considering how much we've dug them all, and the fact that the term itself, Pop Ambient, has become a frequent bit of aQ review shorthand we use all the time to describe the numerous variations of blissed out shimmer and dreamy washed out drift we can't seem to get enough of. And as with each past installment, this latest is another stunning collection of experimental ambient music, lush atmospheric electronica stripped of beats, the backgrounds pushed to the fore, abstract and hauntingly atmospheric, the lineup featuring a handful of familiar names, but some new faces as well. And another reason for making this latest Pop Ambient collection a ROTW, is that there seems to be a growing darkness in the sounds of these comps, a grim musical undercurrent that infuses these tracks with a brooding quality that most ambient music lacks, the artists pushing well past a sound that initially was simply a beatless Kompakt style techno, toward something that over the years morphed into fully fleshed out modern minimalism, expansive sprawls of cinematic soundscapery and gorgeous snippets of avant chamber music, but all retaining that sort of Pop Ambient haze, a soft focus murk that makes the music sound like it's being transmitted from some other world, or some other time.
Leandro Fresco starts things off with a gauzy bit of hushed shimmer, laced with what sound like alien field recordings, and pocked with haunting little sonar like pings, and wreathed in soft chordal swells. The vibe is very much like the soundtrack to some slow panning shot across a fog shrouded landscape, lit by the moon, and a sky full of flickering stars. Kompakt mainstay Michael Mayer follows up with a dark thrumming sprawl (remixed by another Kompakt regular Wolfgang Voigt), wedding a deep rumbling low end to a woozy looped susurrus, whispery and wispy, but shot through with a strangely sinister drone element, that lurks in the background, but gives the track some serious sonic malevolence. Jens-Uwe Beyer dials back the darkness, and unfurls a bit of slowly blossoming soft focus glimmer, the sound reminding us of Machinefabriek or Jasper TX, a slo-mo, melodic drift, all softly shifting overtones, and undulating layers, gauzy and darkly dreamlike. Triola delivers a strangely circus-like track, that conjures up images of a brightly lit carousel, viewed through a thick fog, a very Something Wicked This Way Comes vibe that is deftly molded into something much more playful and pretty.
Marsen Jules returns to the dark side, with a lush, layered landscape of long tones, of minimal percussion, and blurred melody, woven into a tense, slow building brood, before the sound bursts into a dense, percussive, almost doomlike lumber, almost like a fuzzy, soft focus, dreamdrift SUNNO))), crashing percussive bursts of swirling sound, surrounded by streaks of bleary hum and thrum, a darkly churning, hauntingly cinematic epic that is WAY to short. Mikkel Metal keeps it dark, introducing his track with a distorted churning rumble, laced with swirly psychedelic backwards swoops, and a clipped hissing pulse, the noise sculpted into majestic swells, the vibe blackened and industrial, building to a thick, caustic, but still woozy and washed out, climax of dense black swirl. Anton Kubikov brings things back into the light, but a grey, dying sun sort of light, wrapping reverbed piano in thick swaths of gauzey swirl and crumbling textures, sounding a bit like a lost Caretaker track, weathered and worn, melancholic and otherworldly. Wolfgang Voigt returns, this time with his own track, which plays like a collage of orchestras tuning up, simultaneously symphonic and cacophonous, a dizzying collage of tangled loops, of fuzzy textures, murky ambience, warbly melodies, flutes surface at one point, as do strings, not to mention some epic orchestral swells, but they all seem to be sinking into a gorgeous, whirring black sonic morass. Leandro Fresco lightens things up with his second track, sounding more traditionally Pop Ambient, all hazy, lush textures, slowly shifting, glimmering melodies, and softly pulsing overtones, again super cinematic, dreamily epic, gorgeously melodic, a sun dappled dreamdronedrift that definitely plays like the sonic denouement, the musical light at the end of this hauntingly dark tunnel. Which is followed up by the finale, another field recording flecked stretch of swirling electronics, and dark droning swells, adding shadow to the previous track's light, and then surprising us all but coalescing into an actual pop song, all strummed acoustic guitar, and echo drenched dreamy sad boy vox, all wreathed in softly swirling clouds of woozy thrum, and all manner of forest sounds and bird calls, pastoral but again, just slightly sinister. So good.
MPEG Stream: LEANDRO FRESCO "Cuando El Sol Grita La Manana"
MPEG Stream: MICHAEL MAYER "Sully (Wolfgang Voigt Mix)"
MPEG Stream: MARSEN JULES "Point Of No Return"
MPEG Stream: WOLFGANG VOIGT "Ruckverzauberung"
MPEG Stream: TERRAPIN "Cirrus Minor"

album cover SLOMO The Grain (Trilithon) cd 11.98
Sleepers, awake! Or rather, the opposite, as we herald the return of Yorkshire, England's Slomo, a "Highly Ritualised Somnambulant Glumbient Downer band" as they describe themselves - and we couldn't have come up with a better description ourselves ("Glumbient", that's great!). The duo of Chris McGrail (aka Holy McGrail, leader of another, eponymous heavy pagan drone psych unit) and Howard Marsden continue to live up to their band name with over 67 minutes of slow-motion doomdrone bliss on The Grain. Two tracks this time, unlike the one apiece that appeared on their previous albums The Creep (2005) and The Bog (2008), but of course both tracks here are loooong.
McGrail is credited with "strings & reeds", Marsden with "machinery"; what we're hearing is a lot of synths and some guitar, but it all of course takes a while to come into focus, the opening title track, duration 42:15, being just about thee ultimate definition of a "slow-build" piece! At the start, it's as if the sounds are emerging from nothingness, the primordial soup of (near) silence. Gradually, subtly, slowly, creepily, they build and build, a deep tone, a drone, another drone, at first purring, then softly growling... the rumble becoming rhythmic over time, echoing, echoing, echoing... When finally recognizable, McGrail's guitar manifests as a gentle subterranean wind-howl, or subaquatic whale-call. The gritty synth machine drones are equally cavernous, and the entire effect, especially after you've experienced the lengthy build up to full mind-altering force, is massively mesmeric, and indeed rather "Glumbient", we agree!
Then, track two, "Against The Grain", while shorter (only 25:17) somehow sounds even more stretched-out, the grain of the drones here even more, uh, "granular", with sudden clouds of creaking clicking, like field recordings of some strange bird or insect, drifting about the soundfield, backed by deeper dronier windier waves. It really is a bit like one of those environmental recordings from a pond, the faux-electronic sound of amplified water beetles, their buzz and glitch married to the guitar-leaning-on-amp whoosh of any one of our favorite dronescapers. Nice! Somehow spooky -and- soothing, simultaneously.
Definitely recommended to all old-school SUNNO)))-worshippers, if you can imagine SUNNO))), as we stated in a previous Slomo review, "perhaps sleeping and snoring and drifting in dream". Other good references would be old Earth (circa 2), Bohren, Black Boned Angel, Jonathan Coleclough, and Slomo's fellow rural UK, J. Cope-approved dronesters Urthona, with a slight dose of Coh or Ryoji Ikeda in the drone-mix.
These two have also been known to refer to themselves as playing "agricultural" doom, as they they're some sort of slowly spreading strain of fungal potato blight or something. But, here, maybe we can hear it - tall fields of wheat, waving and rustling in the autumn wind, those sounds slowed down and amplified, likewise with the chittering of insects living it up inside the grain silos - but still, they sound more like guitar 'n' synth wielding dronologists than they sound like that long-ago AQ fave cd, Insect Noise In Stored Foodstuffs...
Slomo's latest sure gives this week's other Record Of The Week honoree, Kompakt's new Pop Ambient comp, a run for its money as ideal going-to-sleep music - and none of the Pop Ambient tracks are this long, either, ever!!
Coming packaged in an attractive, slender digi-sleeve, it's been worth the four year wait (with Slomo, naturally not unexpected), for this new dose of the duo's somnolent dronedoom. Highly recommended.
MPEG Stream: "The Grain (excerpt 1)"
MPEG Stream: "The Grain (excerpt 2)"
MPEG Stream: "Against The Grain"

album cover BILLY BOYS Anthology (Ektro) cd 14.98
We really wish we could tell you more about the Billy Boys. Other than that they're Finnish, and they're batshit bonkers (we suspect some causality there). Leave it to Jussi from Circle to unleash this sonic weirdness on an unsuspecting public. Ostensibly only of interest to the nerdiest of Finnish music historians, and of course aQuarius Records and all the weirdo Finnish music obsessives that sail with her, the Billy Boys were a super obscure Finnish outfit, featuring one member of legendary Finnish punk band Terveet Kadet, formed with the idea of creating a "country influenced trash rock band", which to a certain degree was a success. There are moments that definitely could be described that way, but as the label explains, that sound "mutated into something more grotesque". But then if you believe Jussi, the radiation from the Chernobyl meltdown poisoned the drinking water in Finland in the eighties, and did irreparable damaged to the Billy Boys, aka Mr. Hank Morlock, and Mr. Johnny Helicopters, actual brothers in fact.
Grotesque it is, label misinformation be damned, but gloriously grotesque, in that way it seems only Finnish music can truly be. Sure lots of you love Circle and Pharaoh Overlord, Avarus and Kemial