HORRID RED Silent Party (Soft Abuse) cassette 6.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. NOW ON CASSETTE WITH ADDITIONAL MATERIAL!!! Another blast of post-apocalyptic cold-wave inspired dark goth-pop from Horrid Red. Comprised of members of Teenage Panzerkorps, including the ever prolific and talented Glenn Donaldson (Art Museums, Skygreen Leopards, Jewelled Antler, etc.) as well as a rotating cast of band members including some AQ alumni. "Silent Party" is perhaps the most infectious song Horrid Red have crafted yet. Sounding like some lost gem of gloomy dark wave pop that one might hear on some awesome reissue by Dark Entries. But just as we played that song over and over several times and finally allowed ourselves to hear the next track "The Horror & The Cruelty" we had to seriously rethink if this track now takes the cake for their best blast of sneering motorik Fad Gaget inspired darkness. "Marble Staircase" and "Parts I & II" are less immediate but showcase their ability to create a downer atmosphere with such success. And, another 20 minutes of material is included on the tape, not found on the original single!
HTRK Work (Work, Work) (Ghostly International) cd 12.98
It's a bleak world for HTRK, as tragedy and death has surrounded this outfit which has only been around for a couple of years. In 2010, the band's bassist Sean Stewart committed suicide and the producer of their haunted album Marry Me Tonight, Rowland S. Howard died of cancer a year earlier. All of these elements make a connection to The Birthday Party almost inevitable, especially given their historical mirroring in relocation from Melbourne to Berlin and the manifestation of the id through a very raw sound. But where The Birthday Party was an expression of violence, HTRK are in constant search of desire, occasionally finding it only to have it frustratingly fizzle out before anything ecstatic can be achieved. As a result, HTRK's sensual bleariness is in an emotional feedback loop that never can spiral beyond the longing for sex, love, a relationship, etc, without anything ever attained. HTRK's existential portraits of being trapped by one's own desires are in direct opposition to the hedonism found in most electronica. Here on Work (Work, Work), the band parallels some of the horror-affected reverberation of the flash-in-the-pan Witch House crowd; but instead of drawing on unremembered memories of the forgotten '80s, HTRK has profound pain to draw upon... and they want their audience to feel that too. The band had been shifting their sound even before Stewart's death, with a greater reliance on electronics and subharmonic tones girding the spindly guitar work from Nigel Yang and the self-composed breathiness of Jonnine Standish. They were moving away from the rock trio and towards a miasma of voice, guitar, bass, and electronics with boundaries between these sounds far more permeable. The closest references to HTRK's sound would be Ike Yard and Dome, although HTRK are much more interested in building tension with their teasing melodicism through their droning electronics. The first track on the album features a weird collage that Stewart had made of late nite TV sex ads in Berlin amidst slow-motion sighs caught in a half-melodic drone and crawling drum machine pulse. "Eat Yr Heart" ramps a quarter-speed Giorgio Moroder sequence above heroin paced rhythm with Jonnine crooning a sultry melody counterpointed by breathy exhalations. Sexually charged yes, but more of a downward spiral into dejection rather than release. "Poison" is more in keeping with the bass and guitar structures found on Marry Me Tonight, with Sean Stewart's bass clearly present next to the twilight flickering drone-riffs from Yang. "Body Double" overhauls Suicide's classic sound of metallic synth / drum interplay with undulating melodies that stretch into a magnificent coda of cascading melancholy for what amounts to a masterful album. Highly recommended.
"Ice Eyes Eis" MPEG Stream:
"Eat Yr Heart" MPEG Stream:
"Poison" MPEG Stream:
HTRK Work (Work, Work) (Ghostly International) lp 17.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. It's a bleak world for HTRK, as tragedy and death has surrounded this outfit which has only been around for a couple of years. In 2010, the band's bassist Sean Stewart committed suicide and the producer of their haunted album Marry Me Tonight, Rowland S. Howard died of cancer a year earlier. All of these elements make a connection to The Birthday Party almost inevitable, especially given their historical mirroring in relocation from Melbourne to Berlin and the manifestation of the id through a very raw sound. But where The Birthday Party was an expression of violence, HTRK are in constant search of desire, occasionally finding it only to have it frustratingly fizzle out before anything ecstatic can be achieved. As a result, HTRK's sensual bleariness is in an emotional feedback loop that never can spiral beyond the longing for sex, love, a relationship, etc, without anything ever attained. HTRK's existential portraits of being trapped by one's own desires are in direct opposition to the hedonism found in most electronica. Here on Work (Work, Work), the band parallels some of the horror-affected reverberation of the flash-in-the-pan Witch House crowd; but instead of drawing on unremembered memories of the forgotten '80s, HTRK has profound pain to draw upon... and they want their audience to feel that too. The band had been shifting their sound even before Stewart's death, with a greater reliance on electronics and subharmonic tones girding the spindly guitar work from Nigel Yang and the self-composed breathiness of Jonnine Standish. They were moving away from the rock trio and towards a miasma of voice, guitar, bass, and electronics with boundaries between these sounds far more permeable. The closest references to HTRK's sound would be Ike Yard and Dome, although HTRK are much more interested in building tension with their teasing melodicism through their droning electronics. The first track on the album features a weird collage that Stewart had made of late nite TV sex ads in Berlin amidst slow-motion sighs caught in a half-melodic drone and crawling drum machine pulse. "Eat Yr Heart" ramps a quarter-speed Giorgio Moroder sequence above heroin paced rhythm with Jonnine crooning a sultry melody counterpointed by breathy exhalations. Sexually charged yes, but more of a downward spiral into dejection rather than release. "Poison" is more in keeping with the bass and guitar structures found on Marry Me Tonight, with Sean Stewart's bass clearly present next to the twilight flickering drone-riffs from Yang. "Body Double" overhauls Suicide's classic sound of metallic synth / drum interplay with undulating melodies that stretch into a magnificent coda of cascading melancholy for what amounts to a masterful album. Highly recommended.
"Ice Eyes Eis" MPEG Stream:
"Eat Yr Heart" MPEG Stream:
"Poison" MPEG Stream:
ICE Code: Quarantine (Carcrashh) cd ep 7.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Folks who flipped over the recent copies of Techno Animal's Ghosts we dug up and listed a while back, are probably gonna flip over this too, a long lost remix ep from the group Ice, that like Techno Animal, featured both Kevin Martin of The Bug and Justin Broadrick of Godflesh, Jesu and lots and lots of other stuff. There was plenty of overlap between Techno Animal and Ice, both being sort of avant industrial hip hop /dub groups, the big difference was that Ice included sax (played here by both Martin and 16-17's Alex Buess!!), which gave it a sort of free jazz vibe, although that was balanced by Ice's overall lurching, lumbering industrial crunch. On Code:Quarantine, two tracks from Ice's Under The Skin record get reworked, as does one from that awesome long out of print Isolationism compilations. "Juggernaut Kiss (Deaf, Dumb Blind)" is all nineties industrial thump and skitter, the beats dubbed WAY out, all tangled up in squiggles of distorted guitars, swinging wildly from speaker to speaker, thick low slung bass rumbles and thrums, sax squeals and skronks, the vocals are spoken or mumbled, the whole thing is a constant barrage of dizzying beats, twisted production, and staggering deconstructed beats, like some sort of Godflesh / 16-17 mash up, pulled apart and reassembled as something much more spaced out and skeletal. "The Dredger (Titanic)" is mostly beatless, long stretches of moaning horn and reverbed string buzz, loads of echo and delay, plenty of reverb, streaks of feedback, when the beats to come in, they're pretty abstract, shuffly and skittery, more about texture that rhythm, building to a skronky psychedelic freakout, before locking back into a more stripped down groove, as it slithers through billowing clouds of twisted FX and whirling fragmented melody. Finally, "Implosion (Flying Machine)" gets WAY dubbed out, thick syrupy basslines under horns and vox and drums, that get slathered in effects and sent spinning, a looped tripped out cracked looking glass bit of free jazz industrial dubbiness, with some seriously killer long stretches of stripped down minimal skitter that makes up almost the whole second half of the song, various beats all space echo-ed and Lee Perry-ed, the motorik rhythm pounding and shuffling its way through occasional fields of crumbling distortion, insectoid buzz, and swirling psychedelic chaos. WAY OUT OF PRINT. We got a small handful of these direct from the label, who discovered a small stash, so odds are these will be gone before you know it, so buy one now cheap, or pay way too much later for it on eBay...
"Juggernaut Kiss (Deaf, Dumb, Blind)" MPEG Stream:
"The Dredger (Titanic)"
IN SLAUGHTER NATIVES Resurrection: the Return of a King (Cold Meat Industry) cd 21.00
INHALT Vehicle (Dark Entries) lp 11.98
INK & DAGGER Philapsychosis (Revelation) 7" 3.99
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
INK & DAGGER The Fine Art Of Original Sin (Initial) cd 13.98
Vampiric emo-no-wave-techno-metal. Listen to them. The Philadelphian children of the night. What beautiful music they make. ...Take the weirdest keyboard black metal (Arcturus/Septic Flesh), the prog-post-punk & male vocals of Dischord band Circus Lupus, occasional Cradle of Filth style female vocals, and gothic corpsepaint (really) and add a little Autechre & you've got Ink & Dagger, more or less.
INK AND DAGGER s/t (Buddyhead) cd 14.98
Long, long awaited final release from this now sadly defunct Philadelphia band, who blazed their own musical trail combining emo punk rock, math-core, electronics, and no-wave...that unique formula, not to mention their kick-ass guitarist and of course their band-defining obsession with vampires, made Ink & Dagger a big AQ favorite. This self-titled album, released after many months delay, sees them incorporating more of a riffy '70s metal influence, while still retaining their moody, complex mix of weirdness. For fans of Circus Lupus, Ruin, Coalesce, Fugazi, and, let's face it, Led Zeppelin! In other words, recommended.
"The Lines Of Lies" RealAudio clip:
"Part Time Prophet"
INTERPOL Try It On (Matador) 12" 11.98
Three remixes of this track from Interpol's most recent record, reworked by Ikonika, Banjo Or Freakout and Salem. Yep, Salem! Odds are while all three mixes are pretty cool, that's the one that will most likely seal the deal. Ikonika takes Paul Banks' original vox and drapes them over some swirling strings, and some skittery dubstep big beats, lacing the track with squiggly effects and bloopy synth melodies. Banjo Or Freakout leave some of the original track intact, but bookend those bits with some heady psychedelic swirl and dreamy looped mesmer. Salem basically obliterate any trace of the original track, barring some chopped and screwed snippets of Banks' vox and a tiny bit of guitar right at the end, leaving just a fantastically twisted wreckage of classic cough syrupy Salem trip out, the sounds all woozy and warped, total dreamy drag, the primitive drum programming, over thick crunchy swells of symphonic synth, effects swirling all over the places. Hell, if you didn't know it was a remix, you could easily believe this was yanked right off their King Night full length. Worth it for the Salem mix alone for sure, but even more worth it for all three!!
"Try it On (Salem Remix)"
JARBOE Over (Crouton) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Although this release is primarily credited to former Swan, Jarboe, it is actually just as much the work of Chris Rosenau and Jon Mueller (aka Telecognac). She wrote and recorded the song "Under" which would become the raw material for the tracks that make up "Over". The duo deconstructed the song, chopping both the vocals and instrumentation (mainly piano and postrock-ish guitar) to pieces, and adding their own percussion, synths and clarinet. Be forewarned the Jarboe's vocals have been so masticated that they're barely recognizable. Three tracks in all (the first and last are quite lengthy).
JOY DIVISION Closer (London) lp 24.00
JOY DIVISION Unknown Pleasures (Factory Records) lp 24.00
KA-SPEL, EDWARD Red Letters (Cacciocavallo) cd 14.98
With the evidence clearly stated in Ka-Spel's solo projects, no one can doubt who wears the pants in the extended family of the Legendary Pink Dots. Edward Ka-Spel expands the downer psychedelic strum frosted with ample doom & gloom found on the "Hallway of the Gods" Pink Dots album into smoldering experimental if baroque arrangemnts maintaining his Syd Barrett vocal mimicry all the while.
KILLING JOKE Inside Extremities: Mixes, Rehearsals And Live (Candlelight USA) 2cd 14.98
We have mixed feelings about dvds and cds that come with bonus material that are primarily comprised of demos, alternate versions, etc... amounting to a mountain of stuff that was rejected for the album or movie proper in the first place. In one hand we have the "More is better, isn't it?" argument and in the other we have the "It wasn't intended to be heard by the public, was it?" debate. More often than not the extras and bonus material serve as nothing more than filler. Enter Killing Joke's new double disc compilation titled Inside Extremities: Mixes, Rehearsals And Live -- a standalone release which in its entirety is a bit of a convulsive listen, but an electrifying document of the band circa 1990-91. Simply stated, with a band like Killing Joke virtually everything is invaluable, nothing is extraneous. For fans and recording geeks (like us!), the first disc of rehearsal recordings is a fascinating peek behind the curtain of this mighty band's process in preparation for the recording of their 1990 album Extremities, Dirt & Various Repressed Emotions. It features undeniably the band's finest, most potent lineup: Geordie Walker's massive guitars snake and roam, but are never ever aimless; Paul Raven's bass is a dirty molten boil; Martin Atkins' drums with a precise yet thunderous tribal pummel; and Jaz Coleman's bracing vocals slice through anything in its path. Even with the (we assume) one microphone room recordings on a lot of these tracks, Killing Joke's raw ideas and raw performances are riveting and filled with conviction. Oh yes, and let's not forget that there's a second disc too which is a recording of a 1991 live concert in France. The band's performance is blistering, a phenomenal rock maelstrom. Actually we were surprised that it wasn't made the central focus of the release. The disc of rehearsal recordings could easily have been made the bonus accompaniment to the live cd (or to the forthcoming reissue of the album proper for that matter). A strange decision, but nevertheless, as a whole this makes for perfect preparation for the imminent reissue of the Extremities, Dirt & Various Repressed Emotions.
"Money Is Not Our God (rehearsal)" MPEG Stream:
KING DUDE Burning Daylight (Dais) cd 14.98
It's too bad sometimes that we don't get to really sit down with some records until right before it's time to review them for the list, cuz often, records that we were only able to hear once or twice in the shop, or briefly on the computer, reveal themselves as something super special, and in the case of this latest full length from the oddly and somewhat inappropriately monikered King Dude, a potential Record Of The Week! All the promise of past releases seems to be full realized here, in what is no longer really neo-folk, or post industrial, but is instead, some sort of alternate reality classic country music. Imagine some dark shadow version Johnny Cash, and that's King Dude, aka T.J Cowgill, a modern man in black, whose sound is equal parts classic country songsmithery, warped echo drenched rockabilly, and brooding sinister balladry. All reverbed twang, murky percussion, and Cowgill's impossibly deep croon. It's like some fantastically demonic Johnny Cash / Woven Hand / Der Blutharsch hybrid, the sound sinister, and haunting, emotionally heavy, dark and shadow, death ballads from beyond. The opener "Holy Land" is a roiling murky twang flecked dirge, a churning rhythmic backdrop, wreathed in washed out chords, the vocals a woozy croon, everything so doused in delay and echo, that the sounds blur into one single hazy sprawl of black country shimmer. But King Dude ain't no one trick pony, "Barbara Ann" ditches pretty much all the effects, leaving just acoustic guitar and vocals, Cowgills deep voice, made even more so (almost cartoonishly), but the effect is simply harrowing and haunting, it's on tracks like these, that the classic country comparisons are so apt, albeit with a slight twist making the sound just that little bit darker. "Im Cold" returns to the cavernous sonic underworld of the opener, with jagged twangy strumming, swaggery snarled vox, lots of percussion, again everything hazy and indistinct, the verses super dynamic, but the chorus is a druggy, drowsy sonic blur, the sound reminding us of Dirty Beaches, but a much more sinister, demonic version of them. It's a modern post industrial trip to the fabled crossroads, where the power of the blues was given to Cowgill, but stained black, with the blood all who came before. The songs here are so dark, and ominously powerful, whether it's the bluesy country dirge of "Jesus In The Courtyard" rife with muted industrial percussion, those deep growled vox, and a crooned chorus, or the soft focus twang-gaze dream drift of "My Mother Was The Moon", with fantastic female vox, over simple muted strum, everything gauzy and washed out and otherworldly, the woozy ooooooh vocal refrain utterly captivating and spellbinding, maybe the best track here, the post industrial black country analog to the Afghan Whigs' "My Curse". The rest of the record unfurls darkly and dreamily, the weird processed vocals on "Lorraine" leading into the classic fifties style country pop of "You Can Break My Heart", all dark torch song balladry, but sprinkled with soft swirls of celestial synth, the sounds weaving from speaker to speaker, wrapped in some extra grit and noise, and laced with ghostly female backup vocals, finally finishing with "Lord I'm Coming Home", which like the title suggests, the intro a dark, shadowy spiritual, all echo drenched chorale voices, and muted smears of soft focus feedback, before the song proper kicks in, that deep dramatic croon, over urgently strummed steel string guitar, all beneath a haze of chiming ethereal melodies, the vocals blurring into the background, taking on the form of some alternate reality spiritual, drifting dreamily on a bed of warm whirring organ, before finally fading out for good. So fantastic, and another one of those records that makes it hard to review anything else, since this is all we want to listen to. Consider this a could have / should have / would have been Record Of The Week, and thus consider it highly and extremely recommended!
"Holy Land" MPEG Stream:
"Barbara Anne" MPEG Stream:
"Jesus In The Courtyard" MPEG Stream:
"My Mother Was The Moon" MPEG Stream:
"Lord, I'm Coming Home"
KISS THE ANUS OF A BLACK CAT Weltuntergangsstimmung (Zeal) cd 13.98
Hey, we like surprises, especially pleasant ones like this. The return of longtime aQ faves Kiss The Anus Of A Black Cat, the project of Belgian musician Stef Heeren, is indeed a bit of a darkwave departure from his previous work, but still totally welcome, once we got our heads around it. Perhaps the purple-and-black cover graphics should have been a clue to something new, 'cause all earlier Kiss The Anus Of A Black Cat covers were black-and-white. KTAOABC's previous four albums, while each varied to some degree (the introduction of drums, and heavier drones, on 2008's The Nebulous Dreams being a bold move back then), all hewed to the same basic sound/concept: foreboding experimental apocalyptic doom folk, that caused us to draw strong comparisons to the likes of Current 93 (especially Current 93!), Comus, Richard Youngs, Swans, and even Woven Hand. KTAOBAC's witchy rituals were dark and ghostly, a mix of sparse pagan folk and deathly industrial drone, with vocals intoned like David Tibet. But, with Weltuntergangsstimmung, Kiss The Anus Of A Black Cat has really taken a new tack. If we thought drums were a change, how about drum machines? The sinister old KTAOABC sound is present, but transformed. It sounds like Heeren has been listening to a lot of early '80s minimal new wave music (perhaps there's influence here from Belgium's own Snowy Red and The Neon Judgement?), and has now made a very song-based album with electronic instruments that, if it were an authentic release from the era, would fit in nicely on a reissue label like Dark Entries. Or indeed, we wouldn't have been surprised had this come out on Wierd, alongside the likes of Xeno & Oaklander. His vocals here are reminding us less of C93's Tibet, and more of another favorite folk shaman, Daniel Higgs. But imagine Daniel Higgs making a gothic coldwave record!! Clicking-ticking drum machine beats and electronic handclaps underpin reverb heavy electric guitar lines and washes of analog synth, over which Heeren croons his lyrics of sadness and surrender, baring his soul in a catchy new gloom-pop context. (There's also a bass player, and some female backing vox.) We're loving it, even though now KTAOBAC sounds more like Bauhaus or The Cure, than Comus. But, while quite different, this is rapidly becoming one of our favorite KTAOABC albums yet, we can't stop playing it. And, we all can be happy that Heeren at least didn't see any need to change the delightful name of his band. FYI, there's a vinyl version of this too, on OnderStroom Records, that we hope to get in sometime soon as well.
"My Word As Gospel" MPEG Stream:
"The Shadows Are You" MPEG Stream:
KOMMUNITY FK The Vision And The Voice (Mobilization) cd 14.98
KOPP, HERMANN Nekronology (Red Stream) cd 12.98
Some of us here are definitely beginning to show our age, as we got this in, a collection of soundtracks from these cult eighties (and nineties) horror films, we wanted to reminisce about the movies, and pretty much no one we asked had even heard of them! But for those of you who ARE our age, and who came of age in the eighties and nineties, or who are just weird transgressive film obsessives, you are no doubt familiar with cult horror film director by Jorg Buttgereit, and if not, you are probably at least familiar with his most infamous film, Nekromantik, Buttgereit was the toast of underground film (although was also loathed by many), his films were ridiculous, and gross, and sometimes hilarious, other times totally disturbing, 1987's Nekromantik is arguably his masterpiece, focusing on a guy who does crime scene clean up and who finds a corpse and brings it home for his wife and him to have a menage a trois with, but then his wife leaves him and takes the corpse with her after he is fired (there's an infamous scene where she sticks a steel pipe into the corpse's pelvis and puts a rubber on it so she can have sex with the corpse), he hires a prostitute, kills her and has sex with here, then kills himself, and ejaculates while dying, nice huh? But at the time, it was like nothing any of us had ever scene. 1989's Ter Todesking was way more disturbing, very abstract and experimental, an episodic look at suicide and violent death, each episode corresponding to a day of the week, and a different death, culminating in an infamous scene where a character bangs his head against the wall until he finally dies (one which aQ Jim remembers as being particularly disturbing), and then finally, the Nekromatik sequel from 1991, with the new main character digging up the old main character from the first film, then of course lots of killing and sex with dead people, severed heads (a scene where the new main character decapitates her partners head and replaces it with the head from the corpse she dug up in the beginning of the film), and so on. Like we said, ridiculous and over the top, perversely entertaining. We had sort of forgotten about the music, the visuals being so completely mesmerizing, but we just managed to scare up a handful of these collections, which gather the music from all three films, and holy cow, even, removed from the films, these tracks are surprisingly haunting and powerful, darkly evocative and mysterious, strange operatic vocalisations, haunting gypsy folk, minor key string sections augmented by moody synths, chanted voices, chiming bells, wheezing violins, sound effects liberally included, dripping water, which in some cases are heavily effected and transformed into weirdly rhythmic arrangements, mournful horns bleat, drones drift and undulate, a lot of this sounds a bit like those funerary violin cd-r's, super freaky instrumental squeals that ends with what can only be the sounds of a dead limb being hacked off, haunting almost atonal string quartet. like a slowed down, warped Balanescu Quartet, haunting Tom Waits-ish creepy clatter, with whining violing being transmitted through a crappy little transistor radio, with clanking slow motion rhythms, creepy underwater sound scapes of burbling and swooshing space sound effects, industrial buzz, with a distant mournful melody, all scratchy played over the top and even occasional full on synth heavy Goblin horrorscapes, all of the tracks here are pretty great, weird and moody, dark and a little bit ominous, definitely has us wanting to see the movies again, but on their own, if you're after some dark sonic mystery, this stuff might just do the trick.
"The Loving Dead" MPEG Stream:
"Poison" MPEG Stream:
"Unholy" MPEG Stream:
"Man Drowning Himself In Bathtub" MPEG Stream:
KORPSES KATATONIK Oeuvres Completes (Klanggalerie) cd 21.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. The Austrian post-industrial provocateur Michael DeWitt attained notoriety in the mid-'80s for his project Zero Kama whose sole album was sourced entirely from human bones and skulls, with plenty of smoke and mirror production techniques to arrive at a Crowleyian sound parallel to the likes of early Current 93, Coil, and Psychic TV. Beyond the one album as Zero Kama, DeWitt released another obscure recording in 1982 under the moniker Korpses Katatonik. This cassette - sometimes referred to as Sensitive Liberated Autistiks, sometimes as Subklinikal Leukotomy Aphrenia Spasmophilik Lyssophobo Asphyxia Sinister Lethal Anorex - delved into parallel concerns of societal pathologies and death-obsessed transgressions through very dark electronics. It's very much in step with the classic industrial productions of SPK (when is anybody going to reissue those records again?) and the pre-Brighter Death Now project Lille Roger, with blackened squalls of grim noise belched through slow-grinding rhythms and an ominous proclamation that "we're all fucked." Such doomspeak from Industrial Culture was commonplace, but DeWitt's Korpses Katatonik said it with just as much brutalist force and conviction as SPK, TG, and Cabaret Voltaire at their most zombified. All of the tracks from that cassette and a compilation track make up the entire body of work for Korpses Katatonik, which have been remastered and repackaged for this anthology. The template for much of what Wolf Eyes did later is found here. Terrifyingly great.
"Nekom" MPEG Stream:
"Kcock Transplant" MPEG Stream:
LAIBACH Anthems (Mute) 2cd 25.00
The art of Laibach can be found in their precise engineering of context, as they specialize in the cross-pollenization of musical archetypes and political rhetoric in an effort to undermine the totalitarian forces at work within consumer culture. The Laibach iconography emerges as a complex and purposefully contradictory concoction of Nazi-kunst, Wagnerian pomp, and Teutonic disco. When Laibach gets their hands on them, these forms become especially absurd, as they fuse such industrialized, miltaristic aesthetics to the songs of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Queen, Pink Floyd, Europe, and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Yes, some of these Frankensteinian marches are a little clumsy; if you've heard their infamous reinterpretation of the Beatles' Let It Be, and particularly the comically fumbled version of "Get Back", then you know that Laibach's iron fist has the potential to crack a pretty bad joke from time to time. Anthems is the self-explanitory anthology of Laibach's most bombastic, and well, anthemic work. In many ways, Anthems is a "best of" compilation for Laibach, dating back to such classics as "Brat Moj" a turgid, solemn oath delivered with the sanguine baritone voice that has become a trademark for Laibach. But the bulk of Anthems feature the jackhammered, post-Wax Trax rhythms, incendiary guitar riffs, and claustrophobic electronics which Rammstein shamelessly stole on their way to MTV domination. Laibach probably didn't care, as they obviously did it much better and with a smug intelligence that Rammstein wholly lacks. Along with a great retrospective of this self-proclaimed retro-garde band, Anthems also features a second disc of remixes which apply a greater dancefloor sheen to Laibach's sound.
"Die Liebe" MPEG Stream:
"Panorama" MPEG Stream:
"Sympathy For The Devil" MPEG Stream:
"Wirtschaft Is Tot"
LAIBACH Rekapitulacija 1980 + 1984 (NSK / EFA) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. If one were to take the logic of appropriative artists like Warhol or Rauschenberg, to the extremities of absurdity and dehumanization through the procress of mechanical reproduction, you would have Laibach. Perhaps the most misunderstood post-modern project to infiltrate pop culture, Laibach has often been associated with the proliferation of totalitarianism and Nazi culture, simply because they used those higly charged symbols and images and projected them back into the mass culture. However, Laibach's intent is to reinvest not just those symbols, but any symbol of authority and power, with the question of why is this symbol important to our culture. In many ways, Laibach was continuing in the same paths of inquiry found in their British compatriots Throbbing Gristle and The Hafler Trio; however, Laibach never cracked a smile, an attitude exemplified in their triumphant reinterpretations of the Beatles "Let It Be" as a series of miliaristic dirges and patriotic medleys. "Rekapitulacija 1980 + 1984" was their first album, released as a double LP set with a beautiful series of reproduced woodcuts, offering portraits of the noble spirit from the agrarian worker married to the industrial landscapes, mirroring the same totalitarian artforms that had been thrust upon their native Slovenia during the Nazi occupation and later behind the Iron Curtain, when Yugoslavia was a Communist country. Despite this being their earliest set of recordings, Laibach's skill in the studio is tremendous, as heard in their epic piece 'Ti, Ki Izzivas' transforming Bernhard Hermann's soundtrack for "Psycho" into a punishing uber-motif coupled with a relentless drum machine pound and discordant organ blasts. Other tracks such as 'Brat Moj' or 'Smrt Za Smrt' are brooding no wave constructions, taking the best and most haunting elements of early Swans and early Cabaret Voltaire and fusing them into a skeletal anti-groove laced with growling vocals and commanding basslines. But Laibach themselves have said it best in their early masterpiece 'Perspektive' : "By darkening the consumers' mind, it drives them into a state of humble contrition and total obedience and self-sacrifice, by destroying every track of individuality, it melts the individuals into a mass and a mass into a humble collective body... Our basic inspiration (ideals which are not ideals through their form but the material of Laibach manipulation itself) remains an industrial production, the art of the third Reich, totalitarianism, taylorism, bruitism, disco... The disco rhythm as a regular repetition, is the purest / the most radical form of the militantly organized rhythmicity of technicist production, and as such the most appropriate means of media manipulation." To hear this recited in the style of a Russian propagandist over a ominous thud of drum machines and triumphant Wagnerian horns, one can't help but laugh at the absurdity of such a statement; however, the logic quickly sinks in that Laibach are 100% correct. A brilliant album. Perhaps the greatest and most challenging pieces of conceptual art disguised as a pop album. Truly awesome.
"Brat Moj" MPEG Stream:
"Slovenska Zena" MPEG Stream:
"Ti, Ki Izzivas"
LAIBACH Wat (Mute) cd 16.98
What with the sad recent history of the former Yugoslovia -- conflicting ethnicities and religions, horrible atrocities, wars upon wars -- Laibach's perspectives on politics and culture appear as ghastly premonitions, which unfortunately have come true. Since the early '80s Laibach has located their Slovenia at the crossroads of the many forces (e.g. Nazi fascism, Communism, Western consumerism, fundamentalist religions, etc.) which all attempt to exact their wills upon the people of their nation, who in turn have had to adapt culturally, politically, or otherwise to such forces. In turn, Laibach and their larger organization NSK has embraced this behavior for adaptation and appropriation as a means of both celebrating the Slovenian spirit and criticizing the invasive forces. At times, the Laibach ethos spoke through grim industrial mantras (e.g. "Rekapitulacija" and "Nova Akropola"); yet others, Laibach's message came through the pastiche of their bizarrely comical cover album of the Beatles "Let It Be." So strong are their convictions about their own concepts, politics, and aesthetics that Laibach runs dangerously close to self-parody. Of course, Laibach has plenty of rhetoric to defend their conceptual agenda; but it's hard for them to hide behind tautologies in defense of "Wat," a strange album that jack hammers 909 rhythms, Wagnerian samples, Chain Reactive synth pads, and growling vocals into a slick production not unlike a guitarless Rammstein, who in turn are the most egregious of Laibach copyists. That said, Laibach unwaveringly believes that "Wat" is a relevant pop album disguising their interrogative practices. The bombast of these ideals is what makes Laibach so effective, but at the same time Laibach can stumble over their own tongues.
"B Mashina" MPEG Stream:
"Du Bist Unser" MPEG Stream:
"Now You Will Pay"
LED ER EST Dust On Common (Wierd) cd 11.98
NOW ON CD! Glad they did, this album's so great, cold wavers who missed it before, pay attention! Belgium 1982 or Brooklyn 2009? Dust On Common is one of those albums that could herald from either time and space with its dark-eyed synth-pop aesthetic complete with a wardrobe of black jackets and skinny ties. Yes, Led Er Est are New Yorkers of today, reclaiming the forgotten future with considerable aplomb and fitting in very nicely next to Cold Cave and fellow Wierd recording artists Xeno & Oaklander. The Led Er Est trio are quite deft at the synth melody, building terse and catchy, if minor key, tunes out of repetition & difference, and grafting those melodies onto uptempo mechanoid rhythm tracks. Guitars, bass, and vocals also make themselves known throughout the album, but the synths are the dominant machines at hand, marching along with icy detachment, primitive sparkplug buzzing, and occasional bursts of cinematic grandeur. Fad Gadget, Xymox, early Skinny Puppy (i.e. Bites), Dark Day, Chris & Cosey, and Cabaret Voltaire are all within the sonic vocabulary of Led Er Est (and maybe even some Goblin, too). Another excellent release from Wierd.
"Port Isabel" MPEG Stream:
"Laredo" MPEG Stream:
LED ER EST Dust On Common (Wierd Records) lp 14.98
Belgium 1982 or Brooklyn 2009? Dust On Common is one of those albums that could herald from either time and space with its dark-eyed synth-pop aesthetic complete with a wardrobe of black jackets and skinny ties. Yes, Led Er Est are New Yorkers of today, reclaiming the forgotten future with considerable aplomb and fitting in very nicely next to Cold Cave and fellow Wierd recording artists Xeno & Oaklander. The Led Er Est trio are quite deft at the synth melody, building terse and catchy, if minor key, tunes out of repetition & difference, and grafting those melodies onto uptempo mechanoid rhythm tracks. Guitars, bass, and vocals also make themselves known throughout the album, but the synths are the dominant machines at hand, marching along with icy detachment, primitive sparkplug buzzing, and occasional bursts of cinematic grandeur. Fad Gadget, Xymox, early Skinny Puppy (i.e. Bites), Dark Day, Chris & Cosey, and Cabaret Voltaire are all within the sonic vocabulary of Led Er Est. Another excellent release from Wierd. Vinyl only!
"Port Isabel" MPEG Stream:
"Laredo" MPEG Stream:
LED ER EST Pool Gorm / Man And Tree (Captured Tracks) 7" 6.98
We can't blame Cold Cave for everything, but someone has to take the blame (or credit!) for the seemingly endless supply of cold wave / new wave / minimal wave that seem to be pouring out of the woodwork. Where were these bands a couple years ago, did they not exist? Or did they just exist in some radically different form? Thankfully, at least a handful of these bands, are doing more than aping their predecessors, and are taking the elements of those 'waves and turning them into something, if not wholly original, at least dark and catchy and kick ass. The latest additions to the NU-new wave onslaught are this trio from NY called Led Er Est, we have their full length record reviewed elsewhere on this list as well, and it too is killer, but this is definitely the sort of band who sound perfect on a 7"s, two short hook filled gloom pop gems, 45 rpm, the sort of songs you play over and over and over, skittery clipped drum machines, swoonsome minor key guitars, throbbing joy division synthesized basslines, looped synth melodies, subtle guitars, a killer main riff, echoey vox, it's pretty irresistible. The flipside is more spacey and psychedelic, with chiming guitars, crooned vocals and a woozy off kilter rhythm, like some lost eighties new wave gloom pop ballad. Led Er Est are balanced right between old school eighties new wave, and the current wave of Captured Tracks revivalists: Blank Dogs, Gary War, Girls At War, Silk Flowers, Mayfair Set, etcÉ which is not a bad place to be as far as we're concerned.
LEGENDARY PINK DOTS A Perfect Mystery (Caciocavallo / Soleilmoon) cd 14.98
The Legendary Pink Dots venture further into 70s Germanic trance / space rock (Neu!, Gunter Schickert) with hypno-motorik bass thudding and repetitive rhythms becoming the prime elements for the LPD songwriting ---this mainly due to the increased presence and influence of the astoundingly talented Ryan Moore (aka Twilight Circus Dub Sound System). The album flows with wonderful transitions from rich drones to Niels Van Hoornblower's complex sax arrangements. In spite of the title "A Perfect Mystery", Edward Ka-Spel's lyrics here are less cryptic (and perhaps a little pedestrian) on a couple of tracks. However, as most LPD records are full of indiscretions (notably bad Fellini-esque carnival tunes), this is a minor infraction to an otherwise great record by an ever-evolving group of musicians. LPD's crushed velvet and black nail polish romanticism is retained in a baroque sheen that coats the album, but they have long ventured forth from their goth beginnings. And if their recent SF performance ---a beautifully enveloping evening that enthralled all present at the sold-out Slim's--- is any indication this album is destined to reach perhaps LPD's widest audience yet, and deservingly so.
LEGENDARY PINK DOTS Nemesis Online (Soleilmoon) cd 15.98
The initial listen to each unheard Legendary Pink Dots album is a frustrating experience as one waits for that one utterly crappy piece of carnivalesque junk to ruin an otherwise decent album of gothic psychedelia. Fortunately for Nemesis Online, that one song is missing... Making this quite an enjoyable LPD record of unnerving lullabies and noirish beats not too disimilar to Portishead.
LEGENDARY PINK DOTS Stained Glass Soma Fountains (Soleilmoon) 2cd 21.00
The Legendary Pink Dots is an unusual crypto-pop collective whose expressive sonic adventures blur the well-demarcated subcultures of '60s psychedelia and '80s doom 'n' gloom. Stained Glass Soma Fountain, a collection of LPD rarities from the early '80s. Primitive keyboards and drum machines playfully march through baroque fusions of New Wave and psychedelia, hinting perhaps at the underappreciated pop of Brian Eno.
LIFELOVER Dekadens (Osmose) cd ep 10.98
Latest from Swedish blackened doom pop weirdos Lifelover, which we have been trying to get for a while, and it's a doozy, melding the twisted demented depressive black metal strangeness of their early records, with the more streamlined, lush heaviness of their most recent recordings, resulting in what might be their most full realized release yet. Featuring members of Ondskapt, Hypothermia, Dimhymn and IXXI, one could be forgiven for expecting something much more grim and black, hateful and harrowing, but instead, the band have been moving more toward a sound much more akin to groups like Katatonia, epic, lush, depressive doom pop, the guitars and drums massive, the melodies melancholy and mournful, but with the unhinged maniacal vocals that defined the first few records. Live videos display the group's incredible (and incredibly bloody) stage presence, with the vocalist, wearing a white long sleeve dress shirt, and doing some strange herky jerky dances, but within a few songs, things get decidedly darker, that white shirt soaked through with blood, the band locked into a frenzied fierce assault, but STILL, the music manages to be lush and sprawling and epic and weirdly impossibly poppy. Not sure why it works, or even how, but Lifelover are not only master showmen, but masters of crafting off kilter blackened pop. And Dekadens is most definitely testament to that. Not nearly as weird or experimental as past records, the first four tracks are a practically flawless explosion of the sound these guys have seemed to master, the production loud and lush, the riffing incredible, the drums not blasting, but pounding, the vocals a shrieking caterwaul, all wound into some incredible heavy pop music, still with hints of blackness, some double kick drumming, chugging guitars, those vocals, but however much of that there is, this still is ultimately pop music. The second half of the record, things get a bit weirder; "Androider" almost sounds like some sort of alien modern rock, if it weren't for those unhinged vocals, it's not hard to imagine a song like this ending up on MTV, with some woozy clean guitar breaks, a soaring chorus, and some clean crooning vox, eventually slipping into a gorgeous minor key lament. "Visomdsord" is all clean guitar and skeletal drumming, soaring melancholy melodies, weirdly processed spoken vocals, gloomy Joy Divisiony basslines, and a second half that gets more and more dreamy and abstract. And then finally "Destination: Ingenstans" has possibly the poppiest main riff of the bunch, total sugary sweet, still distorted and crunchy, but majestic and major key, before a brief hushed drifty interlude, and then a burst of mathy proggy blackened heaviness, maybe the heaviest thing on the record, before the song chills out again, returning to something much more meditative, clean guitars, jangly and shimmery, the only vestige of blackened weirdness, a still tortured hellish howl, creating something at once dreamlike and melodic, haunting and harrowing. So goddamn good. Lifelover are probably one of the most original 'black metal' bands around. And one of our favorites, and it's hard for us to imagine anyone listening to Dekadens not agreeing wholeheartedly...
"Luguber Framtid" MPEG Stream:
"Myspys" MPEG Stream:
"Androider" MPEG Stream:
LINEA ASPERA s/t (Dark Entries) lp 15.98
One of the rare contemporary bands to be released on the ever exceptional Dark Entries label, typically known for reissues of classic and / or obscure minimal wave and post-punk electronics from the late '70s to mid '80s. But this is an album that's firmly grafted to the aesthetic that Dark Entries has honed through their fine curatorial ear; so much so that if we were told that Linea Aspera were some rare Sheffield band from 1981 featuring an undiscovered Anne Clark on vocals, we wouldn't be surprised one bit. The sequenced electronics, drum machines, and minimalist melodies are ice cold in their production thanks to the engineering prowess of Ryan Ambridge, who taps into the darker synth wrangling of Chris & Cosey, Psyche, Soft Cell, Human League, and even the Eurythmics in an experimental mood. That Eurythmics reference is furthered along by the full-throated vocals of Allison Lewis, whose poetics of despair and sexual miserablism are couched in the industrialist appropriation of neuroscience and various medical pathologies. There's a considerable amount of dark tension between the cold electronics and Lewis' vocals that really makes this record quite special and worthy of being included in the hallowed Dark Entries pantheon. To be completely honest, this is really what Xeno & Oaklander *want* to sound like if either of those Anglophiles could really rise above their well crafted electronic starkness. Kudos, once again to Dark Entries for introducing us to another great minimal wave find!
"Synapse" MPEG Stream:
"Fer-De-Lance" MPEG Stream:
LORD BUCKLEY The Royal Court Of Lord Buckley (El Records) cd 16.98
LOU CHAMPAGNE SYSTEM No Visible Means (Medical Records) lp 19.98
We were pretty much sold before we'd even heard a single note from the bizarrely name Lou Champagne System, which is indeed the work of Mr. Lou Champagne, and that 'System' is actually a thing, not just a cool band name appellation, it's some sort of "guitar and hookup" invented by Lou himself which "allows him to play guitar and sound like a whole band with no tapes!" There's a picture of him on the cover too, skinny mustache, and skinny Cylon style new wave shades. Plus it's on Medical Records, who were responsible for another recent Record Of The Week, Novels For The Moons by Axxess. And if you thought that one was weird, this one is gonna blow your mind. "The Lou Champagne System is a real time guitar synth solo act" the original liner notes go on to explain, who with the help of that aforementioned system, whipped up some of the coolest, weirdest post punk / new wave we've heard in ages. A rare private press lp from Canada, originally released in 1983 on Champagne's own label, this unearthed gem, on first listen, elicited a whole range of reactions, ranging from "this is freaking amazing?!" to "what the fuck is this?!", and in most cases it was a little bit of both, cuz while this stuff is pretty weird and a little bit goofy, it's also totally kick ass. And the fact that he played this stuff live using a whole array of pedals and switches and that system. Just check out the opener "Don't Say I'm Here", which takes crunchy almost metallic guitars, swirling analog synths, and primitive skeletal drum machines, and crams it all into some dense, claustrophobic punk wave weirdness. Ranting vocals, hysterical laughter, a bizarre back and forth dialogue between someone called "Fred" and a "Narrator", there's also some rad shredding psychedelic leads. It's the sort of retro weirdness that the current crop of outsider synth wave revivalists are channeling, but nothing compares to the sheer madness/brilliance of the original. "Broken Hearts" is a bit more poppy, the same sonic layout as "Don't Say I'm Here", but for a brief minute it sounds way more commercial like it could have been some obscure eighties hit, but then BAM, the synths get all squiggly, the vocals get even more unhinged, a woozy weirdly psychedelic synth punk freakout that is so fucked and bizarrely brilliant, there's another wild squall of guitar leads, this time sounding like some tangle of malfunctioning electronics. The other jam here we're obsessing on is the awesomely titled "Propaganda Frustration", with its smoldering slow build synth intro, that explodes into a droned out sprawl of skeletal drum skitter and pulsing synths, and when the song proper kicks in, it's all dark and heavy and propulsive, a sort of Goblin / Carpenter sound transformed into something much more electro-pop, the vocal heavily effected and buried in the mix, a driving late night future groove that sound like those sunglasses on the cover. Then there's "Another Dimension", with a sort of faux synth horn intro, that gives way to some chugging metallic guitars, that almost sounds like Motorhead or something, until those primitive programmed drums come in, then it becomes this weirdly metallic driving synth punk, the vocals over the top and dramatic, you can almost imagine the sort of low budget cable access video that would have accompanied this jam. Oh and did we mention the insane chorus, where the drums go all wobbly and chaotic and sound like they're totally malfunctioning beneath the howled vox? So fucking nuts! From there on out it doesn't get any less weird, in fact, if anything it continues on its warped trajectory, squiggly synths, skittery stuttery drums, strange synth melodies, the vocals unhinged and maniacal, the songs heavy and punky and fuzzy and synth and totally catchy and baffling bizarre, but we definitely have to mention the awesomely brooding closer, which is quickly becoming our favorite, sounding like some outsider synth dirge version of Blue Oyster Cult's "Veteran Of The Psychic Wars" from the Heavy Metal soundtrack, with it's haunting creep and weird field recorded honking horns and crickets, all beneath super psychedelic swirls of synth and some seriously tripped out gorgeously multi-tracked harmonized vocals, including the way too appropriate lyric "I'm like a man in a fantasy, maybe I should just get stoned..." Totally and utterly amazing, and baffling, and so obviously absolutely recommended. Total fractured genius outsider post-punk synth wave weirdness that is threatening to become the only thing we want to listen to! Pressed on white vinyl, LIMITED TO 1000 COPIES, each one hand numbered. Includes a 12" x 12" insert with liner notes / lyrics.
"Don't Say I'm Here" MPEG Stream:
"Broken Hearts" MPEG Stream:
"Propaganda Frustration" MPEG Stream:
LUST FOR YOUTH Chasing The Light (Sacred Bones) 12" 12.98
Latest from this Euro synthwave/gloom pop combo, a three song 12", the new track "Chasing The Light", contains everything we loved about the last LFY full length, a buzzy, murky artpunk new wave creep, all pulsing synths and crooned, almost yowled vox, robotic beats fashioned into some sort of Eurodisco glooom/goth synth pop, swirling and psychedelic, a darkly droning electro-pop dirge. That track gets a reworking on the A side, which transforms the song into something a bit more murky and Skinny Puppy sounding, loads of echo and delay, the whole song seemingly being transmitted though a pillow, the beat more industrial, tranced out, droney and super hypnotic. The flipside is a sidelong sprawl of gloomy, gothy electro, clubbed up just a bit, a more house-y beat driving the proceedings, but the whole thing still muddy and washed out, the various sounds buried beneath all manned of deathrock sonic grime, a gristle soaked electronic doomscape, that definitely reminds us of some of Dominick Fernow's projects, like Christian Cosmos or Vatican Shadow, which is most definitely NOT a bad thing!
LUSTMORD Heresy (Soleilmoon) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Believe it or not, Lustmord's Heresy was the first cd I (Allan) ever bought, back in 1990 when it was first released. (Not my first tape or LP, but my first cd -- the second, if I recollect correctly, was either Nirvana's Bleach or Lights...Camera...Revolution by the Suicidal Tendencies...someday I'm gonna do a 'zine on the subject of 'first records purchased', but I digress). I think I'd read about it in some magazine, and was intrigued that it was apparently recorded deep underground in some cave or crypt. These subterranean origins are certainly believable when you listen -- it's dark and deep indeed, an ambient well of sound echoing with what sounds like the cries of buried, ghostly whales, a fog-shrouded hour of droning unease. Haunting, beautiful, something enjoyably scary to listen to alone at night. As the first-ever cd in my collection, of course it's near and dear to my heart, but it's the music that prompts me to tell you it's a great album. We're glad that it's finally now been reissued (in a spiffy digipack, still sporting the fantastic, apocalyptic cover piece "The Great Day Of His Wrath" by English Romantic painter John Martin), all tracks remastered by Brian Lustmord in 2004. Highly recommended. If you're at all into dark/ambient/drone musics, you ought to have one or two or more Lustmord discs in your collection, and I'd say Heresy should be one of them.
"Heresy Part I" MPEG Stream:
"Heresy Part IV"
LUSTMORD Metavoid (Nextera) cd 15.98
Perhaps beginning with the soundtracks that Throbbing Gristle supplied to Derek Jarman films and Coil's rejected score to "Hellraiser," industrial culture has slowly been creeping into more and more mainstream venues through its affiliation with film. Brian "Lustmord" Williams' work is certainly no exception as he began his musical career during SPK's most devistating period back in the early '80s and continued with his solo work creating incredibly bleak soundscapes that always seemed to allude to some unmade Lovecraftian horror film. "Heresy" and "The Monstrous Soul" were two of Lustmord's albums that set the standard for the "dark ambient" subgenre of industrial culture. Built upon environmental recordings of catatombs and subterranean passages, these albums manifested deep growling drones, rich not only in their psychoacoustic darkness but in their ability to evoke so much horror out of these dense low end frequencies. In the mid '90s, Williams followed the lead of SPK's Graeme Revell by working on the sound design for big Hollywood movies. Revell, in fact, is credited with scoring the "Tombraider" soundtrack (amongst 30+ others)... Quite a long way from the autopsy imagery of SPK's "Information Overload Unit!!!" Anyway, "Metavoid" marks the first proper Lustmord album in almost seven years, and the time that Wiliams has spent toiling for Hollywood has undoubtably affected his own work as Lustmord. While the slashing drills and unnerving screeches blast from his gaping drones, Lustmord has laced these already threatening pieces with unneccessarily theatrical synthetic strings and mystical flutes that seem better suited for "Xena" than a Lustmord album. A disappointing return.
LUSTMORD The Monstrous Soul (Soleilmoon) cd 12.98
Lustmord's nightmare aesthetic continues to map out aural manifestations of subconscious terror. "The Monstrous Soul" was originally released through World Serpant in 1990. While the earlier Lustmord records had been acoutic in nature, this time, the digital prowess of Adi Newton (Clock DVA, T.A.G.C.) was enlisted to add a digital clarity to the psychoacoustic malevolence. "The Monstrous Soul" is a series of dark ambient environments sounding like some Lovecraftian haunted forest ready to send its trees tumbling on top of any trespassers. Ominous tectonic plods, loops of Crowley's incantations, and samples pronouncing the intention of demonic possession are interspersed between the dark ambient passages rich in deep reverberations. A perfect bridge between the avant black-metal of Skepticism and the dadaist dirges of early Current 93.
MAEROR TRI Language of Flames and Sound (Old Europa Cafe) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
MAEROR TRI Meditamentum II (Manifold) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. While Maeror Tri ceased activities and 2/3 of the band continued on with Troum last year, archival recordings of this very prolific outfit have finally resurfaced. With more than a dozen albums, Maeror Tri released countless limited edition collects the best work from those tapes. Maeror Tri (as well as Troum) excel at the dynamics of the repetitive drone, from slow steady darkness to dense crashing guitar noise. One of Jim's all-time favourite bands... and this certainly does not disappoint!
MALDITOS s/t (Alchemy Coffin) lp 14.98
The self-titled debut release from Malditos is a minimal and dark synthesizer driven ep filled peppered with some unlikely but super awesome electric tablas! Because most of the songs are sung in French you might be tempted to think this is a slab of obscure European '80s gothic vinyl reissued by Dark Entries; but no, this Oakland, CA band is comprised of current or former members of Swann Danger, The Phantom Limbs, and Black Ice. The aforementioned tablas and Eastern scales recall more than a few of the moodier aspects of Dead Can Dance, but there's also echoes of Rowland S. Howard's angular phased guitar work. The record is quite heavy, the two synths proving a driving and repetitive low end while occasionally swirling around the upper registers. As previously mentioned, three out of the four vocal tracks are in French. Pretty much the only French word you need to know, however, is "Noir". When listening to lyrics in a foreign (to this reviewer) language, what is said is less important than how it's sung and Cyn M. does an excellent job of setting a brooding and dark mood with her powerful vibrato. The last track is an almost industrialized cover of Serge Gainsbourg's "Requiem Por Un C..." (sung in French, of course). Limited to 259 hand numbered copies, this record is sure to go fast.
"La Nuit Noir" MPEG Stream:
"Burning Eyes" MPEG Stream:
"Requiem Por Un C..."
MALLARD, THE Yes On Blood (Castle Face) lp 14.98
You may have seen the oddly named SF garage psych trio The Mallard opening for folks like Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, Blasted Canyons, thus it makes sense that they would end up on John Dwyer of the Oh Sees' Castle Face label, and once you get an earful off their twisted lo-fi FX drenched garage pop wooze, we imagine you'll be pretty smitten. Unlike many of the other female fronted garage rock combos, The Mallard don't get all warm and shimmery sixties girl group, instead they traffic in something much more off kilter and tweaked, sorta like Syd Barrett if he were a woman, fronting some twisted drug addled art rock combo, but here filtered through the occasional classic garage rock trope, although for every bit of poppy jangle or sweet harmony, there's a cracked bit of detuned stumble, or a bizarre stretch with droned out chords and strange alien vocal yips, and did we mention effects, at times it's like they stomped on a pedal and forgot all about it, until eventually and usually unexpectedly, the sound will shift and suddenly it's all low slug slithery groove, or dirgey gloom pop bounce, and the production too, just as fucked up, with various instruments and vocal parts exploding into shards of buzzing crunch, stretched out into blurry drones, pushed so loud it sounds like the speakers might blow, but somehow, even at its most demented and deliriously twisted, the songs, especially on repeated listens, blossom into some of the most imperfectly perfect pop we've heard in ages. And weirdly enough (or maybe not), fans of Thee Oh Sees with find that of all the groups out there doing this sort of thing, The Mallard's sound / style / songs might just come closest to the OCS mothership, which is absolutely not a bad thing. Killer bear-barfing-blood cover art. Includes a download coupon so you can listen to these jamz on your computer.
"Ants" MPEG Stream:
"Fog" MPEG Stream:
MANSON, MARILYN Holywood (Nothing) cd 16.98
Like it or not, Marilyn Manson has become a prophet for the white teenage disenfranchised, preaching all sorts of ill-conceived / anti-establishment messages against the existence of God, the authority of family, school, or state, and anything that the right wing of mainstream America would qualify as morally upstanding. It would be another thing if Marilyn Manson the prophet could actually incite revolutionary thought or action, rather than highly theatrical shock tactics, but he doesn't. Marilyn Manson is pure entertainment, and there's no way that he could deny that. I think it's a stretch to discuss Manson within the discourse of the Gothic, simply because in my opinion, he fails to invoke terror or horror (except in the minds of the right wing -- but what doesn't startle them?). It would be far more repulsive, abject, and grotesque if all of the things which Manson professes to worship were done within a belief system which attempted to understand the nature of God and of divine punishment. Then the damnation which he has already put upon his head would actually mean something. Without any guiding belief system or agenda of existential questioning, Marilyn Manson is nothing but a run of the mill Relativist, which -- while antithetical to Christianity -- does not make Manson a Satanist or the Anti-Christ. Musically is where Manson has the better chance of success -- and yeah, it's pretty catchy -- sorta like a pop grindcore version of Adam Ant. Lead single "Disposable Teens" is a carbon copy of "Beautiful People". But no, it's certainly not scary.
MENACE RUINE The Die Is Cast (Alien8) cd 15.98
For their sophomore full length, Canada's Menace Ruine return not exactly as the heavy noise inspired black metal band you know and love, but as a neo-folk, noise-rock powerhouse. You may be wondering like us: did we miss something? And what exactly is the link? Well, maybe it's the misanthropic, anti-humanist ethos shared by both neo-folk and black metal artists that somehow ties them together. Or maybe it's the fascination with all things medieval. Or maybe it's the general brooding and ever-present sense of darkness. Could it be written off as a shared love of sonic tension? Wait, wait ... there is a difference between them somewhere, right? As the label astutely points out, in the wake of both Leviathan and Nachtmystium covering Death in June, this sort of explicit crossover makes tons of sense. And really, it might be a tad reductive to simply say that this sounds like a black metal band that wrote songs for Der Blutharsch, but it's not too far off the mark. Menace Ruine probably couldn't escape their uber-noise tendencies even if they wanted to, but other than that, the comparison essentially holds true. It is also worth noting that the label mentions an upcoming Merzbow collaboration. Woah! Man, you know a record is good when it isn't simply good, but it leaves your head spinning trying to figure out what just fucking happened, and if you've read this far then you've seen all our questions. This is what you'd hear if Moss, The Dead C, and Douglas P were caught in the middle of some bizarre, church burning audial orgy. Potential fans of something that could convolutedly be described as tortured, grim, militaristic folk-noise will absolutely want this. And if that doesn't scream recommended, then we're not really sure what the hell does.
"One Too Many" MPEG Stream:
"This Place of Power"
MENACE RUINE Union Of Reconcilables (Aurora Borealis) cd 17.98
Not quite black metal, though doubtless Menace Ruine would happily bask in the smoldering embers of a charred church somewheres up north. Not exactly militaristic neo-folk either. Nor are they a noise band. Well, maybe noise. But that's only part of it. Their dark, distorted drone textures are also often adorned with witchy female vocals, a la Jex Thoth. So, three albums in, this Quebec girl-boy duo of Genevive and S. de la Moth are still quite hard to define, though we know we like 'em, and the Menace Ruine music they make (indeed a mix of noise, drone, folk, and black metal moves) is grim as well as sometimes quite gorgeous, that is if you're like us and can find the beauty in ten-minute long tracks of misanthropic sonic miasma. Perhaps it's the way the ceremonial lamentation of Genevive's gentle singing merges with the slowly churning electronic extremes of intense, dense distortion and feedback... Certainly this new release via Aurora Borealis (following previous efforts on Alien8 and Tour De Garde) is a fine continuation of their unique post-black metal noise-folk aesthetic. If you liked The Die Is Cast that came before this, you'll probably like this too. And fans of bands as diverse as Burial Hex, Dead Raven Choir, Velvet Cacoon, Current 93, Wolf Eyes, and Alcest, among others, ought to check out Menace Ruine if you haven't already.
"Collapse" MPEG Stream:
"The Upper Hand" MPEG Stream:
"Not Only A Break In The Clouds But A Permanent Clearing Of The Sky"
MINISTRY Early Trax (RykoDisc) cd 15.98
Probably for diehard, longtime Ministry fanatics only! Early Trax is the very-similarly packaged companion disc to Side Trax (which we reviewed in the last AQ List). This compilation of, yes, early '80s Ministry 12" faves features multiple mixes of "Every Day Is Halloween", "All Day", Nature Of Love", and "I'm Falling", plus individual versions of "He's Angry", "Move" and "Overkill". Definitely from their more gothy, less overtly politicized, dancing-in-the-batcave days than their later times of harder living, sharp-tongued nu-metal. Recent Ministry fans might find their young synth and drum machine sound a bit too foreign and fey for their fist-pumpin' aggro taste, but for those whose black pointy toed buckle boots still lurk in their closets' shadowy depths, it's pretty great to have these tracks available once more along with four previously unreleased.
"Every Day Is Halloween" MPEG Stream:
"He's Angry (Unreleased)"
MINISTRY Rantology (Sanctuary) cd 16.98
MINISTRY Side Trax (Rykodisc) cd 15.98
We all loved Ministry at some point or another. Whether it was the deathlike disco of "Every Day Is Halloween", the pummelling metal/techno hybrid of The Land Of Rape And Honey and The Mind Is Terrible Thing To Taste, or the goofy White Zombie-ish "Jesus Built My Hotrod". But it was easy to miss some of Al Jougenson's finest moments as they didn't necessarily occur in Ministry. There were a handful of side projects that are as good as, if not better than the best Ministry. There was Pailhead, a slowly building powderkeg of emo aggression and soul shearing cascades of metal guitar and big beat pummel, featuring Fugazi's Ian Mackaye on vocals and folks from Naked Raygun. And wwho can forget 1000 Homo DJs, who reinvent Black Sabbath's "Supernaut" as a relentless, crushing industrial metal hybrid! This collection also includes tracks from PTP, a very early nineties sounding industrial pop, featuring Chris Connelly and Ogre from Skinny Puppy, and Acid Horse, which teamed up Ministry and Cabaret Voltaire for some gothy techno goofiness, complete with deep vocals and simple 4/4 rhythms and surfy guitar, sort of like Ministry with a Depeche Mode makeover. All cool stuff, but the 1000 Homo DJs and Pailhead tracks are all you really need. In fact, just throw on "Supernaut", crank your stereo, and find yourself in an alternate universe where Black Sabbath were not just metal demigods, but also dance floor destroyers!
PAILHEAD "I Will Refuse" MPEG Stream:
1000 HOMO DJS "Supernaut"
MONOTONIX Body Language (Drag City) lp 12.98
Also we got this on vinyl, here's what we said about the cd last time.... First off, go see these guys if you get the chance. It's a crazed rock spectacle, kinda like DMBQ but more dangerous, or at least shirtless. They live up to the hype you may have heard about their live performances, that's for sure. This guitar/drums/vocals trio from Israel are very, very rock n' roll, and they know how to put on a show. Probably everyone who's ever seen them has a good story, likely to include the drummer soloing whilst simultaneously crowd surfing, and the band's wiry, longhaired, mustachioed frontman (who looks like a cross between Iggy Pop and Doug Henning) energetically scampering about, spilling many, many audience members' beers (grabbing 'em with his teeth and tossing them back over his head, usually, at least if they're served in plastic cups). Allan's Monotonix show story even involves a goat! But, the question remains, does any of that translate on record? Well this six song, 24 minute Drag City debut should answer that question. It reveals some depth to the riffy, hard and heavy, good times rock they dish out at their shows, with more melody and intricacy certainly (surprisingly). The title track, ferinstance, is almost prog pop! Yet, they don't stint on the fuzzy guitar and pounding drums we were expecting either, so if you play it loud, you might manage to spill a beer or two on yourself at home. If you just see 'em live, what you'll remember is how they played, not what they played. But spin this a few times, and some of these riffs may get stuck in your bangin' head. However, Monotonix live is a tough act to follow, which is their own damn fault, and so this still seems a bit secondary, like, they've gotta make records, if only to have something to sell on tour. But it is nice to see that they've put some effort into this aspect of the Monotonix experience too, instead of totally coasting on their live insanity.
"Body Language" MPEG Stream:
MORBID ANGEL Illud Divinum Insanus - THE REMIXES (Season Of Mist) 2cd 16.98
We rarely get hate mail, but when we do, it's usually pretty good. And our positive review of Morbid Angel's most recent record, Illud Divinum Insanus, elicited some of the best hate mail ever. We were accused, among other things, of being poseurs, of being the whole problem with San Francisco, and why no one wants to live here, and of liking that Morbid Angel record ironically (all somehow connected). We'd like to believe none of that is true, especially the part about our ironic love of that Morbid Angel album. As long time readers of the aQ list must certainly know by now, we tend to love lots of ridiculous, crazy, stupid, demented shit, and if anything qualified as all of those, it was Illud Divinum Insanus. Have a look at that review if you missed it the first time, and you can see what all the hubbub was about. Sure that record had some classic death metal, but it also had some weird nineties style industrialisms, and some (sort of) rapping. Even the folks here that hated that record, were perversely obsessed with it. And the folks who loved it were also perversely obsessed with it, and even THOSE folks found at least one of the tracks nearly impossible to like. So really, it came as no surprise that the whole record was due for a double disc remix, with all the tracks redone, remixed, reimagined and reworked by all manner of industrial / techno musicians / producers. And again, the haters were appalled, but strangely intrigued, and the rest of us, well, we were pushing it for Record Of The Week, cuz really, this is some Judgement Night style shit, a maybe bad idea pushed about as far as it could go, and in the process, becoming something strangely cool, and surprisingly listenable (for some of us, at least). So yeah, the vestiges of the originals are nearly wiped completely away on most of these tracks, and what's left is usually just a riff, or only the vocals, the originals totally transformed into pounding gabber, or martial industrial, or creepy electronica, or glitched out weirdness, the sound definitely heavily nineties, hard to avoid when the core of the sound is electronica/industrial crossed with metal guitars, the Ministry vibe looms large, but somehow, these songs work better as nineties industrial metal jams than death metal, especially the more problematic tracks like "Too Extreme". No matter what, or how much, we write, most haters will not be swayed, which is totally fine, but for folks into the WAY weirder/demented side of metal, or who dig nineties industrial metal, or even folks just into the whole traffic accident can't look away vibe of this ridiculous release, this is pretty fucking cool/weird. And if it wasn't actually a Morbid Angel record, and was instead just some super fucked up comp of metal industrial, we imagine lots of folks might be a little obsessed. Cuz lots of this is really fucking cool. Igorrr (1/2 of aQ faves Whourkr) turn their track into a dizzying chopped up, head spinning collage of stuttering guitars and processed riffs, the sound blenderized and junglized and blasted into a squall of fractured melodies and skittery beats, a track then sounds like it could have come off the Igorrr record proper. The Laibach remix is incredible, adding harpsichord, flutes, swooping backwards guitars, and the vox from the original into a dizzying psychedelic Teutonic pound that KILLS. cEvin Key of Skinny Puppy takes his track and adds a tolling bell, chanted vox, squiggly sci-fi effects, and transforms it into a weirdly cinematic string laden dirge. Tek-One adds thick rib cage rattling bass warble for a bad ass death metaldubstep mash-up, DJ Ruffneck goes full on gabber, pounding and relentless, laced with shards of guitar solos from the original, Black Lung takes the original and blurs it into a murky smear, and spreads that out beneath a heavy house music churn, while Mondkopf buries the original in squelches and low end buzz, turning it into a lurching low end creep, Scott Brown turns his track into full on HI-NRG rave, which is hilarious, but kind of awesome, Fixhead offers up another crazy head spinning heavy dubstep workout, we could go on and on, but they're all pretty great, and weird, and while some are dumb and fun, others are dark and fucked up and fierce, others still tripped out and confusional. Folks who hated the original, and who were offended by our UN-ironic love of that record (we're not poseurs dude - we're TOO EXTREME!!) will most definitely want to steer WELL clear of this monstrosity, but for everyone else, we have to say, we've been listening to this like crazy, nonstop, and that shows no sign of changing any time soon, which always the real measure of a record. In fact, folks who hated Illud Divinum Insanus for being a mockery of a Morbid Angel album, might be able to like this, since it's not even pretending to be death metal. Includes a download coupon for even MORE remixes, not included on the discs proper.
LAIBACH "I Am Morbid" MPEG Stream:
CEVIN KEY / HIWATT MARSHALL "Omnidead" MPEG Stream:
IGORR "Remix Morbidou" MPEG Stream:
TEK-ONE "10 More Dead" MPEG Stream:
DJ RUFFNECK "I Am Morbid"
MORTIIS The Smell of Rain (Earache) cd 15.98
What can one say about Mortiis? Hmmm, he's apparently acquired a new set of ears since his last pair were stolen while on tour many moons ago. But one may ask, "has along with his new elfin ears come a new look and sound too?" An emphatic "yes!" From the cover of this album you'd think either Mortiis is trying to look like a mummified Ani Difranco or has decided to do a roots reggae album (he's gnarled up his glossy Norwegian tresses into matted ropes). Actually it's neither, in fact Mortiis wants to sex you up and shake your goth booty down. That's right, it seems Mortiis' days of haunting the stage to dat tapes are over. In favor of what? Well, the follow-up to 1999's dark ambient "The Stargate" is dominated by rock guitar, pounding programmed beats, a veritable synth orchestra, and his effected vocals front and center. He does bring it down though, all soft and sentimental like, for one track called "Everyone Leaves", and I'd swear he scooped the main melody from Harry Chapin's "Cat's In The Cradle" for "Antimental". Allan compared it to Gary Numan, The Faint and Fischerspooner. I'd agree with the first (but only his very recent efforts) and maybe the third (especially when the female vocals come in to counter Mortiis' very Peter Murphy-esque emoting - just give "Spirits In A Vacuum" a listen). Byram compared it to Ministry or Lords Of The New Church. This is Industrial Dance / Dark Wave, and strangely it's on Earache (the second of his four album contract)! Heck, it made Andee do the robot dance... a lot, and made a customer snap his fingers. At any rate, I'd definitely recommend oHgr's "Welt" album instead. Oh, I forget to mention that the closing track is titled "Smell The Witch".
"Spirit In A Vacuum" RealAudio clip: