KREIDLER Tank (Bureau B) cd 17.98
It makes perfect sense that Bureau B has released this new album by Kreidler, if you were to hear this without having any idea who it was, and you were told it was a long lost early '80s electronic proto-techno exploration by Moebius and members of Neu!, you would have no reason NOT to believe it. These are dark, motorik, trance inducing sounds at their best. More than any of their modern day German peers, Kreidler really have been the ones to build on what their krautrock forefathers and mothers (don't forget Deutsche Wertabreit!) laid down the blueprints for. Mixing their instrumentation and electronics with organic ease, the album flows start to finish with a late night K-hole seedy sensation. Kind of like Villalabos remixing Jonas Reinhardt, Arp, or White Rainbow. You can hear echoes of Cluster deep in these tracks as you can tell Kreidler have gained much inspiration from albums of theirs like Zukerzeit and especially the Moebius/Beerbohm outing Double Cut. We could also see folks who have been digging lots of the John Carpenter/Goblin inspired sounds by folks like Zombi, Umberto, Xander Harris, Black Devil Disco Club, and The Oscillation getting way into Tank. The live drumming really helps fuel the record and the undercurrents of such a dark and sinister soundworld have drawn us so deep into this recording. This is shaping up to be our favorite Kreidler outing yet!
"Jaguar" MPEG Stream:
"New Earth" MPEG Stream:
KROKO Furia (Verdura) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Circle's Jussi Lehtisalo recommended this to us: another Finnish band that operates in the in-between realm of rock, improv, jazz, and prog. Kroko are an all-instrumental basso/perkussio/kitara trio featuring the guitarist from Bad Vugum recording artists Deep Turtle (Finland's answer to Mr. Bungle, y'know). The band's music possesses a variety of moods and textures, ranging from dense free-improv jazziness (not unlike AQ-faves the Nels Cline Trio) to more aggressive, heavier fare on a few tracks, with riffing a la the Melvins (or, more accurately, the Ruins, what with the complex twists these songs sometimes take). At one point things get so heavy and distorted it approaches Merzbow-style noise. But that's balanced by the many quieter, more delicate, atmospheric tracks. And then there's the others that sound like Gregg Ginn's Gone, gone Mahavishnu... Recorded live to digital, with some overdubs and edits. There's 18 tracks, and while a few come off merely as skronky, sometimes humorous live jams, most go far beyond that.
"Sol Ist" RealAudio clip:
"Agent Weird" RealAudio clip:
"Polanski After Ski" RealAudio clip:
"Liero" RealAudio clip:
"Setzur Au Naturelle"
KRYPT AXERIPPER Mechanical Witch (Ektro Records Archive) cd ep 7.98
Finland's Ektro Records label (run by Jussi from Circle/Pharaoh Overlord as you may know) would have us believe that this four-song ep is one from the vaults, supposedly a reissue of singles tracks recorded back in '83 by the mysterious metal entity known as Krypt Axeripper. Obscure cult '80s metal, eh? Well it looks like it: it's got a suitable logo, fantastical n' scary artwork, and the cd booklet even reproduces the labels from the "original" vinyl release of the tracks "Battle Of The Axehammer" and "Possessed (By Trees)". Wait a sec, "Battle Of The Axehammer"? Isn't that also the title of the live Pharaoh Overlord album? Indeed it is, and we're about 99.666 percent sure that "Krypt Axeripper" is in fact the heavy metal alter ego of our friend Jussi! Playing guitars, bass, synths, and singing, Axeripper is joined by "Rattfinder" on drums, who from the sound of it is probably one of Jussi's colleagues in Circle... And of course, as with *anything* Circle-related, no matter what the concept, it's got that hypnotic Circle-sound at its base. In fact, we'd say that there's stuff on Circle's Sunrise or Pharaoh Overlord 4 that's actually way more metal than the songs here. Yes, they're all got a bunch of very metal (and crudely catchy) guitar riffing going on, albeit ramshackle and lo-fi. But then there's the vocals, which despite lyrics about Lucifer, have a very woozy, weirdly crooned, eccentrically pop quality to them, pitched high in a much more gentle way than a real metal screecher would do. And the guitar solos -- those are all totally psychedelic, Floydian/Frippian washes, really nice as well. And the drums, we mentioned, not metal at all. Too wimpy and motorikally rhythmic. So it's a truly unique and amusing mix, and we LOVE it. Sure the vocals come across as a bit silly at first, but they're actually pretty cool when you really listen, and it's impressive how the vocal parts are arranged, with various lead and backing vocals interwoven, all sung by Mr. Axeripper hisownself. False metal? More like freak metal. Krypt Axeripper may be fake (and funny) but we're still fans for real. It's interesting how in trying to make a pastiche of heavy metal music (if that's really what he was trying to do...), Jussi came up with something that, if we had to compare it to an actual metal record, reminds us of Voivod's most controversially "alternative" album, the college radio confusional Angel Rat from 1991. We also appreciate that this experiment was kept to just 11 minutes, four amazing, strange songs, not overdoing it, just enough to give his inner metalfan a chuckle -- and to get us to keep hitting play again and again and again on this wacked-out quartet of relaxed, quasi-metallic tracks. Krypt Axeripper seriously (or maybe not-so-seriously) rules!
"High Speed Thunder Forever Gone" MPEG Stream:
"Possessed (By Trees)"
KTL s/t (Editions Mego) cd 16.98
SUNNO)))-worshippers alert! 1/2 of that drone metal behemoth, our pal Stephen O'Malley (who has also piloted or participated in such units as Khanate, Burning Witch, Ginnungagap, Teeth Of The Lions Rule The Divine, Thorr's Hammer, Fungal Hex, Lotus Eaters, etc.) has travelled to Europe to collaborate with Austrian experimental digital noise artist Peter "Pita" Rehberg! They're calling themselves KTL because the music they made is to be the soundtrack to some sort of stage piece called Kindertotenlieder by performance artist Gisele Vienne and novelist Dennis Cooper ("Closer") due to debut at a festival in France next year. Judging from the music, not to mention the people involved, we imagine it's gonna be beautiful, but also somehow disturbing and dark... This cd certainly is. It starts off with the 24 minute drone "Estranged", blissful and spooky piece that builds towards its end to noisier heights, threatening the storms to come on this album. And yes, the four parts of "Forest Floor" that take up the main, middle part of the disc are a harrowing journey indeed, into a buzzing, claustrophobic realm of dangerous digital sonics and heavy drone, like SUNNO)))'s lugubrious riffage mixed with the glitchy crunch of Pita -- which is what it is, of course! Not for the faint of heart. Part four, in particular, sounds like a doomed prop engine airplane rumbling over a dark forest landscape from some black metal album cover, at night... Finally O'Malley and Rehberg wind things up with the quieter (but still creepy) 13 minutes of "Snow", a softly pulsing, detailed improv exploration of lowercase sounds... Very nice! Let's hope KTL isn't just a one-off collaboration, we'd like to hear more from these two! Their mastery of minimalist ambient music, electronic glitchology and Earthy guitar sludge make a fine sipping brew. A note for all you object fetishizing consumerist completist types, be forewarned that there will eventually also be a vinyl version of this on the Aurora Borealis label, a double LP limited to 500 copies... we can take preorders now...
"Estranged" MPEG Stream:
"Forest Floor 4"
KULTIVATOR Barndomens Stigar (Mellotronen) 2cd 28.00
We're always on about '70s prog. Well what about prog in the '80s? Here's a nice example, though it's from the very early in the decade (recorded 1980, released 1981) so it's practically '70s anyway. A rather obscure Swedish outfit called Kultivator, whose sole album Barndomens Stigar (which boasts a b&w engraving on the cover by none other than conceptual artist & experimental musician Leif Elggren) blends the quirky herky jerky of prog complexity with blissful melody, tilting at times towards the twee whilst menacingly muscle-flexing at others. There's sizzling instrumental solo sections, and also much in the way of delightful female vocals (mostly wordless ba-ba-ba's). Kultivator were a quartet, with lots of Fender Rhodes electric piano, as well as other organ and synth keyboards. Also recorder and/or flute. And on occasional backing vocals, a boy's choir. Yup, very proggy indeed. Armchair prog percussionists are provided with their fair share of air-drumming opportunities, percolating energetically as the drumming here does! All those keyboards create a moody, slightly jazzistic sound which reminds us a bit of the brilliant Bo Hansson, '70s Swedish prog royalty. There's also a definite Magma influence at work (the thick bass riffing and martial drumming in the middle of "Kara Jord" for instance, leading some to go so far as to label Kultivator a genuine "zeuhl" band), and you'll hear hints of traditional Scandinavian folk music as well. Further reference points: fellow Swedes Samla Mammas Manna and Kebnekajse, also '70s UK prog like Genesis and Gentle Giant, RIO a la Henry Cow, and specifically Canterbury groups like Soft Machine, among others. Guess that's what happens when you make prog in 1980, with a whole previous decade of genius from which to draw inspiration! Although Kultivator, um, certainly cultivated their own unique spin on what came before. We'd also say this is a good one for folks who enjoyed the modern day Swedish prog of Gosta Berlings Saga, reviewed here last year. This brand-new reissue on the Mellotronen label features three bonus tracks added to the original LP's eight cuts, plus a whole extra bonus disc, called Waiting Paths, featuring four songs recorded by the now-reunited band in 2006. Since they already seemed a bit "out of time" (& we don't mean rhythmically!) even back in '81, it's no surprise that this more recent material sounds like a more modern Kultivator... but not that much more modern. Also included in this nice digipacked reissue, a big booklet with vintage photos and lengthy liner notes. Prog-lovin' AQ customers, check this out!
"Grottekvarnen" MPEG Stream:
L'INFONIE Vol. 333 (Tir Groupe / Mucho Gusto) 2cd 21.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. This swank double cd reissues the 1972 third album from Canada's craziest new music/psychedelic rock collective, the anarchic L'Infonie which flourished from '67-'74. (Giving you some clue about their methodical madness, their other LPs were titled "Vol. 3", "Vol. 33", and "Vol. 3333", of which only the first has also been reissued on cd as yet -- we recommended it here back in '01.) Hailing from Montreal, Quebec these academic avant-garde freaks mixed classical chamber music, acid fuzz rock, weird warbling vocal babble, jazzy groove, free improv, musique concrete, prog overload, etc. etc. into a confusing, chaotic, comedic happening that should appeal equally to Terry Riley and Zappa fans. I know sometimes mentioning Zappa is the kiss of death, so don't take it the wrong way. Let's mention some other stuff this reminds us of, in part: Soft Machine Goblin New Trolls Univers Zero Faust Mahogany Brain Art Zoyd Nurse With Wound. This is pretty darn cool and weird and original, bizarrely funny sometimes and simply strange and beautiful on other occasions. Disc one is more "rock", disc two more "classical." What it all means, I don't know -- there's lotsa liner notes, but useful only to the francophones among us.
"Section 19-23" MPEG Stream:
LA OTRACINA Reality Has Got To Die (Holy Mountain) cd 14.98
Brooklyn trio La Otracina have always been about the spaced out heavy jammy psychedelic proggy stoner riffed awesomeness. But now, with their third full-length Holy Mountain monument, they're REALLY starting to fuck shit up. Reality Has Got To Die is their most gonzo album yet, and definitely their most metal! Opener "Hail Fire" sets the scene, with singer/drummer Adam Kriney, tongue perhaps in cheek, rallying La Otracina's jackbooted troops to march forth and pillage some alien landscape, riffs stabbing down from on high like laser blasts from orbiting star destroyers. Melancholic neo-classical guitar melodies lend some pathos to the scene, but pretty soon La Otracina are retro-thrashing it up like Early Man at a kegger. That sort of behavior continues into the next cut, "Raze The Sky", which also manages to up the quota of sci-fi synths, AND throw in a bit of boogie, and visit the set of an Italian suspense movie... Then "Crystal Wizards Of The Cosmic Weird" launches. It's over ten minutes long and thus no surprise even more ridiculously proggy than what's come before, tossing in all that and more, sounding one second like Sleep, another like King Crimson. Clearly this record isn't for those who think bands should be restrained and tasteful in their application of whatever rad '70s stuff in their record collections turns them on. INDULGE! La Otracina aren't holding anything back, but they ARE making damn sure they're tighter and heavier and probably catchier than your band. Unless your band is, like, Pharaoh Overlord or Mammatus or Danava or something, in whose illustrious company La Otracina definitely belong. But for every metallic part that sounds like it could be off an album by Early Man or The Sword, there's another trippier one that could be by White Hills, Acid Mothers Temple, or even Jonas Reinhardt. In fact, the title track, stretching out over almost 20 minutes, is definitely towards the kosmik krauty spacey psychy side of the La Otracina equation, complete with lengthy distorto-drone maelstroms, and even a drum solo! And when all is said and done, if you can imagine a New Age version of the Saviours you'd be close to a guess at what this record sounds like overall. Enough with the hypothetical comparisons, though, on Reality Has Got To Die these guys have almost moved beyond comparison, whilst making an album seemingly focus-group tested entirely at Aquarius Records. In other words, recommended! The double lp version comes with mp3 download coupon. The cd version comes with the cd!
"Hail Fire" MPEG Stream:
"Raze The Sky" MPEG Stream:
"Mass Meteoric Mind"
LA OTRACINA Skyblazer (In For The Kill) 7" 5.98
Brooklyn's La Otracina, whom we first knew as a "space rock" band, sure have gotten a bit more "metal" lately; their most recent full length for Holy Mountain, Reality Has Got To Die, incorporated a whole lotta retro-thrash headbanging amidst their usual psychedelic stoner groove and progged out excess. On this brand new 7" single, with no room for 20 minute space rock jams anyway, they definitely set their controls for the heart of the mosh pit... Raucous rockin' A-side "Madness Of Mind" careens along like a garagey NWOBHM throwback, motorin' most enjoyably as their singing drummer belts (and bashes) it out. They chug it up even more on the B-side, "Twisted Branches", more heads down metallized thump there, it's almost like they've been listening to old Anthrax! Though both trax have their psych side to 'em too, wild guitar soloing in that mode for sure. For fans of Danava, Saviours, the latest Pharaoh Overlord, and local boys Glitter Wizard... First release on the new label run by one of the La Otracina guys, named after a Budgie Song, natch. On see-thru green vinyl.
"Madness Of Mind"
LA PLANETE SAUVAGE (GORAGUER, ALAIN) OST (Pathe Marconi) lp 16.98
Repressed and BACK IN STOCK (for now...). Super limited, lovingly presented reissue of this legendary record. Long out of print (minus the briefly available reissue on DC / Intoxica, now also out of print) and heavily sought after soundtrack to Rene Laloux's 1973 Cannes Grand Prix winning animated feature "La Planete Sauvage." If the film itself is a hallucinatory masterpiece, the soundtrack - composed by Alain Goraguer (long time arranger for Serge Gainsbourg) - is as fitting as it is brilliant. Like an LSD dosed Isaac Hayes score, the music herein is at the same time both reminiscent of classic early seventies drama soundtracks and completely surreal and strange. Lots of recurring leitmotifs recast in ever building and changing arrangements, including marimba, Theremin and bird whistles as well as the standard orchestral elements, guitars and funky organs. So great!
"Dehominisation (I)" MPEG Stream:
"Le Bracelet" MPEG Stream:
"Ten Et Tiwa"
LAKE OF DRACULA Skeletal Remains (Savage Land) cd 13.98
BACK IN STOCK! What's weird is we don't remember liking Lake Of Dracula very much back in the day, but listening to this now, it's sort of kicking our ass in a huge way. Pounding sludgy new wavish punk rock, with a serious gothy dark vibe. Sort of like Chrome playing Interpol or something. Big crunchy guitars playing doomy angular riffs, a simple garagerock thud, thick swaths of feedback, occasional squalls of psychedelic freakout, and vocals that rant and rave in a super dramatic croon. Most of this disc is take from a live radio broadcast recorded May 28th, 1997, but there are a handful of extra tracks taken from singles and compilations. This short lived combo ('95-'97) featured Flying Luttenbachers drummer extrordinaire Weasel Walter on the GUITAR, Marlon Magas from Couch and Magas on vocals, Jessica from the Jacks on bass and Heather M. from the Scissor Girls on the drumkit as well as some guest rock action from Al of U.S. Maple fame. Shit, the more we listen to this, the more we're digging it. An ultra chaotic mix of old school industrial thud, gloomy depressive punk rock, psychedelic garage rock stomp, a hellish sort-of-rockabilly with reverbed guitars and galloping drums, gloomy doom and in-your-face no-wave freakout. Seems like it would be a big ol' mess and it sort of is, but it sounds so impossibly good. Like the Strokes with frontal lobotomies recording for Bulb, or some caveman doom band covering Franz Ferdinand after taking huge handfuls of horse tranquilizers. Getting a jump on the current crop of new wave revivalists by a decade. But their new wave was a whole lot darker, damaged and demented!
"Four Teachers" MPEG Stream:
"Plague Of Frogs" MPEG Stream:
"Biographers Of The Flaming Druglords" MPEG Stream:
"Cherries And Socks"
LAKE OF DRACULA Skeletal Remains (Rococo) lp 15.98
Now on vinyl! Here's what we said about the cd edition when it came out a few years back: What's weird is we don't remember liking Lake Of Dracula very much back in the day, but listening to this now, it's sort of kicking our ass in a huge way. Pounding sludgy new wavish punk rock, with a serious gothy dark vibe. Sort of like Chrome playing Interpol or something. Big crunchy guitars playing doomy angular riffs, a simple garagerock thud, thick swaths of feedback, occasional squalls of psychedelic freakout, and vocals that rant and rave in a super dramatic croon. Most of this disc is take from a live radio broadcast recorded May 28th, 1997, but there are a handful of extra tracks taken from singles and compilations. This short lived combo ('95-'97) featured Flying Luttenbachers drummer extraordinaire Weasel Walter on the GUITAR, Marlon Magas from Couch and Magas on vocals, Jessica from the Jacks on bass and Heather M. from the Scissor Girls on the drumkit as well as some guest rock action from Al of U.S. Maple fame. Shit, the more we listen to this, the more we're digging it. An ultra chaotic mix of old school industrial thud, gloomy depressive punk rock, psychedelic garage rock stomp, a hellish sort-of-rockabilly with reverbed guitars and galloping drums, gloomy doom and in-your-face no-wave freakout. Seems like it would be a big ol' mess and it sort of is, but it sounds so impossibly good. Like the Strokes with frontal lobotomies recording for Bulb, or some caveman doom band covering Franz Ferdinand after taking huge handfuls of horse tranquilizers. Getting a jump on the current crop of new wave revivalists by a decade. But their new wave was a whole lot darker, damaged and demented!
"Four Teachers" MPEG Stream:
"Plague Of Frogs" MPEG Stream:
"Biographers Of The Flaming Druglords" MPEG Stream:
"Cherries And Socks"
LARD FREE Unnamed (Spalax) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
LE SCRAWL Eager To Please (Life Is Abuse) cd ep 8.98
The crazed, genre-scrambling grindcore of Germany's Le Scrawl is, as threatened, back! This new 13-song, 16-minute cdep will either bring a big smile to your face or confuse and annoy you utterly. Imagine Napalm Death teamed up with Uz Jsme Doma. That is, political punk metal all fucked up with horns and a weird sense of humor. Keyboards and flugelhorn aren't normally part of an underground grind band's arsenal, but Le Scrawl aren't normal... Metal nerds should note that this was recorded by Harris Johns, whose previous credits include numerous Sodom albums as well as Voivod, Helloween, Coroner, Tankard, Pestilence, Saint Vitus, Therion, S.A.D.O., and more. But this definitely must have been a unique session for Johns! Scrawl are one of the original wacky grind outfits, and they sure know how to mix up the gruff and the smooth. Metal riff one moment, lounge groove the next. And having just seen 'em live on a rare US tour, I have to say I was amazed at their deadpan delivery of their complex and, well, silly material. Oh yeah, if you don't like ska...well just wait 5 seconds...every five seconds.
"Boiling Point" MPEG Stream:
LE SCRAWL Too Short To Ignore (Life Is Abuse) cd 10.98
Ignore the "Le", that's just a silly way to differentiate this Scrawl from the '90s US indie rock girl group. And they are VERY different. "Le" Scrawl is a schizoid grind band straight out of the German peace punk underground, doing the rapid-fire genre-mash thing. They belong in the same record bin with the likes of Naked City, Exit 13, People, Mexican Power Authority, Spazztic Blurr, Alboth!, Boredoms, and Anal Cunt (whose Seth Putnam guests vocalizes on one song here). If you're thinking that's a very '90s list of mostly avantgarde/novelty grind bands well, yes, this Scrawl stuff was recorded between 1990-1999. And we'd all but forgotten this band until the excellent Oakland label Life Is Abuse (purveyors of metallic weirdness like Tarantula Hawk and Ludicra) took it upon themselves to put together this cd, the complete Scrawl discography on one disc, essentially a deluxe, expanded version of Scrawl's "Q" album originally issued in 1995 by Germany's Ecocentric Records. Expanded in that you get the original disc's 24 tracks plus *another* 42 songs (!!) including their self-titled 1993 album, live stuff, singles, demos, and incongrous covers (De La Soul, The Exploited, Terrorizer, Chic, and the Mission Impossible theme!). Their humorous, herky-jerky musical juxtapositions plus their totally grim punk political lyrix (that you can't understand anyway 'cause they're all gruff and screamy) equals weird, radical, action-oriented artcore. Imagine the quirky European chamber prog of a group like Etron Fou Leloublan colliding with the 20-second blast beat grindcore of a Napalm Death, or Mr. Bungle gone crusty punk, or, when the horn section kicks in, some sort of ADD Fishbone/Uz Jsme Doma hybrid playing in the midst of a Drop Dead practice session. The booklet -- chock full of photos, flyers, and discographical information -- has a 2002 note from main man Mario Anders, promising some new (Le) Scrawl material coming soon! Yikes!
"If Everything Fails" RealAudio clip:
"100 Doors" RealAudio clip:
"Dare!" RealAudio clip:
LEFT SENSORY BYPASS Temporal Exclusion (Paradigms) cd 12.98
We carried a cd-r version of Temporal Exclusion a short time ago, but the Paradigms label has scooped it up for a proper cd release, albeit a limited pressing of 750. In the interim, mainman Kris Berry fleshed out the 4-track ep into a 7-track full length. It now comes in cardboard sleeve within one of the series' now familiar printed envelopes. Berry is joined by Ronald Aveling (voices and samples), percussionists Ches Smith, Stephen Flinn and Mike Hoffman, Faraz Minooei on Santour, and Monica Aiken on cello. Their strings, percussion, vocals and collaged samples weave together and apart in this an industrial edged dismemberment which inhabits a dank, gloom filled theatrical setting. It's a work haunted by intercepted television or radio broadcasts and other mysterious transmissions encountering pregnant pause piano strikes, the chanting of monks, deep choral intonations and other anguished distorted voices which often offer more texture than words. Enshrouded and somber.
"Tabula Rasa" MPEG Stream:
LEHTISALO, JUSSI Interludes For Prepared Beast (Full Contact / Svart) lp 22.00
NOW ON VINYL!! We raved about this a couple months ago when it first came out on cassette via the Sige imprint. That tape is now sold out, and we're not sure how long these lps will last, either... Solo record number two from aQ pal Jussi Lehtisalo, frontman of Finnish hypnorockers Circle, Ektro / Full Contact label head honcho, and member of too many outfits to count, a few of which would include Ektroverde, Ratto Ja Lehtisalo, Doktor Kettu, Pharaoh Overlord, Rakhim, Grumbling Fur, Krypt Axeripper, Motorspandex, Split Cranium, Steel Mammoth... Sadly, we haven't yet managed to get Jussi's first solo lp, by all accounts a surprisingly beautiful and subdued album, but we did manage to get a bunch of these, the tape version at least (there's a vinyl version as well, which we hope to have soon too), which is also beautiful, but about as far from subdued as you can get. Both side long tracks are dense and layered, and constantly shifting. In some ways taking all the disparate sounds of Jussi's other bands, and somehow mashing them all together, into something surprisingly cohesive. The A side, "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 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!! WAY recommended.
"Caterpillars (excerpt)" MPEG Stream:
"Here Come The Cranes (excerpt)"
LEHTISALO, JUSSI Interludes For Prepared Beast (Sige / Full Contact) cassette 11.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Solo record number two from aQ pal Jussi Lehtisalo, frontman of Finnish hypnorockers Circle, Ektro / Full Contact label head honcho, and member of too many outfits to count, a few of which would include Ektroverde, Ratto Ja Lehtisalo, Doktor Kettu, Pharaoh Overlord, Rakhim, Grumbling Fur, Krypt Axeripper, Motorspandex, Split Cranium, Steel Mammoth... Sadly, we haven't yet managed to get Jussi's first solo lp, by all accounts a surprisingly beautiful and subdued album, but we did manage to get a bunch of these, the tape version at least (there's a vinyl version as well, which we hope to have soon too), which is also beautiful, but about as far from subdued as you can get. Both side long tracks are dense and layered, and constantly shifting. In some ways taking all the disparate sounds of Jussi's other bands, and somehow mashing them all together, into something surprisingly cohesive. The A side, "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 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!! WAY recommended. And limited, limited TO JUST 100 COPIES!!! The cassette comes sealed in a stickered little bag, inside a cool cd sized box, artwork affixed to the inside and outside, and sealed shut with another sticker.
"Caterpillars (excerpt)" MPEG Stream:
"Here Come The Cranes (excerpt)"
LENO s/t (BMG Spain) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. From the album cover -- an oddly staged photo featuring four long haired dudes with peculiar, only-in the-seventies fashion sense (high top Converse sneakers or bare feet, tube socks, floral print shirt and white vest and pants, bathrobe, shorts, little red hat...) relaxing at a cafe table -- you wouldn't necessarily guess that this is as heavy as it is. But it is. Though this first (and best) album by Spanish hard rockers Leno dates from 1979, it definitely sounds a few years older than that. Total early '70s heavy proto-metal in sound (which means that if you come into the store looking for it, you'll find it in our new "heavy '70s proto metal" section that lives in our "vintage psych rock" rack) for fans of all that stuff like Dust, Toad, Bang, Buffalo, Budgie, Blues Creation, Socrates Drank The Conium, etc. Wild, riffy rock with tough, rough wailing (Spanish-language) vocals and lots and lots of *killer* guitar that gets almost Sabbathy in spots. Man, we love finding obscure stuff like this that sounds so classic the second you put it on. Pretty darn kick ass.
"El Oportunista" MPEG Stream:
LENO s/t (Vinilisssimo) lp 27.00
Vinyl reissue of this sorta Sabbathy '70s stormer from Spain. We're stoked, 'cause we stocked a cd reissue some years back, that's now out of print. This is how we praised it then: You wouldn't necessarily guess from the album cover - an oddly staged photo featuring four long haired dudes with peculiar, only-in the-seventies fashion sense (high top Converse sneakers or bare feet, tube socks, floral print shirt and white vest and pants, bathrobe, shorts, little red hat...) relaxing at a cafe table - that this is as heavy as it is. But it is. Though this first (and best) album by Spanish hard rockers Leno dates from 1979, it definitely sounds a few years older than that. Total early '70s heavy proto-metal in sound for fans of all that stuff like Dust, Toad, Bang, Buffalo, Budgie, Blues Creation, Socrates Drank The Conium, etc. Wild, riffy rock with tough, rough wailing (Spanish-language) vocals and lots and lots of *killer* guitar that gets almost Sabbathy in spots. Man, we love finding obscure stuff like this that sounds so classic the second you put it on. Pretty darn kick ass. Limited edition, 180 gram vinyl.
"El Oportunista" MPEG Stream:
LENTO Earthen (Supernatural Cat) cd 21.00
When we got the Supernaturals Vol.1 cd that teamed up Italy's UFOmammut and Lento (or Lent0?) we knew who UFOmammut were. The snailkings of psychedelic heavy sludge stoner metal awesomeness, a perfect hybrid of Electric Wizard's drugged-out doom and Hawkwind's even spacier, uh, spaciness. Big fans of UFOmammut we already were. But who were this Lento?? Now we have that band's out-on-their-own debut, and now we know. Lento are Italy's all-instrumental answer to Isis. They're Italy's masters of sinister, atmospheric, super-heavy post rock chugga chugga. The seven tracks of Earthen are divided between full-on, blown-out, heavy-riffing clobber and more restrained, near-ambient dronology, usually dynamically within the same song, though there's several tracks given over entirely to the latter, as on "Emersion Of The Islands" a drone-piece with crackling sferic-like sounds... It's a majestic, metallic post-rock soundtrack to a trudging trip across the cratered surface of some airless planetoid, an epic slog under unknown stars, bathed in space radiation, amidst the ruined remains of ancient alien technology... Or at least that's what we're getting from all their drone and grit and feedback, crashing cymbals, and monolithic riffage. Though Earthen's theme, as expressed in the song titles and artwork, appears actually to be more "Subterrestrial" than extra-terrestrial. First off & obviously we'd recommend this to fans of their pals UFOmammut... the rigid, mechanical Godflesh-like elements that we've detected in UFOmammut's music are more prominent here, with some isolationist Lustmord ambience thrown in as well. Certainly check out Lento if you're into Godflesh (and Justin Broadrick's Jesu too), Isis, Nadja, Dumb & The Ugly, Hyatari... and of course if you liked that Supernaturals Vol.1 disc. This, and UFOmammut's new one Idolum also reviewed this list, are both fine follow-ups to that. Similar to that new UFOmammut, this "regular" edition of Earthen is packaged in one of those newfangled rounded-corner jewel cases. There is (or was) a special limited edition of Earthen, too, with arty inserts and all, but we got precisely one of those 'cause they cost so damn much. If you're interested, ask, we might still have it... $49! Otherwise, this $21.00 edition is recommended!
"Need" MPEG Stream:
"Subterrestrial" MPEG Stream:
LESBIAN Stratospheria Cubensis (Important) cd 14.98
Er, we've never been sure that Lesbian was such a good name for this all-dude band from up north Seattle way. Unfortunately not an easily Googleable choice either, if you're just trying to find the band. But in its seeming inappropriateness, it does at least represent the "not quite what you expected" nature of their sound. And we HAVE always liked 'em; their debut for Holy Mountain, Power Hor, was a bit of a heavy fave here when it came out in 2007, we compared it to both Pelican and Wolves In The Throne Room! Now moved over to the Important imprint (they have good taste in labels, and vice versa), Lesbian present a solid follow-up in the form of Stratospheria Cubensis. Giving off a serious, melancholic vibe, this new opus, resplendent in Seldon Hunt artwork, should meet all your epic prog-doom-stoner-psych-metal needs quite handily. The disc starts off with a great song, with a great title: "Poisonous Witchball", full of proggy angular riffs, and very metal ones too. It's the shortest song on the album, but still manages to fit in a great number of shifts and surprises, foreshadowing what's in store on the rest of the disc, which consists of looooong songs, five of 'em, that shortest one a relatively brief 8'28", the others in the double digits, up to 22'31", which gives them plenty of space to stretch out and psychedelicize... rather than go track by track, let's just say you get a smorgasbord of avant-metal mayhem and majesty, with repetitive sludge-bludgeon, speedy attacks, postrock soft-loud dynamics, sharp shredding guitar shards of quirky math metal, mammoth doom riffage, shoegazing melodic pretty parts, and more. It flows, though, how it flows. From ripping it up like Darkthrone one minute to crushing like Conifer or Samothrace another, there's no false steps, and no boring (but many beautiful) moments. We note that the "Lesbros" thanks list does not omit drugs, and likewise *your* thanks list should not omit Lesbian!
"Poisonous Witchball" MPEG Stream:
"Poverty And War Forever" MPEG Stream:
LIBRA Schock (Cinevox) cd 22.00
Compact disc reissue of a rare '70s Italian horror movie soundtrack (for Mario Bava's 1977 film "Schock") from a very Goblin-like band called Libra. Fittingly for the murderous, paranormal goings-on of Bava's flick, this album is full of gothic keyboards, eerie wordless vocal choirs, queasy prog-funk synth vamps, and ominous drum-scapes. Libra really rock out on the Schock theme, while elsewhere they deal in creepy electronic ambience. Bands like Libra can make sweet lullabies seem scarier than full-on screams and metal guitars, and yet their spooky piano instrumentals wouldn't be out of place if used as intros for Cradle of Filth songs. Soundtrack/horror/Goblin fans will be pleased.
"The Shock" RealAudio clip:
"L'Incubo" RealAudio clip:
"Transfert III" RealAudio clip:
"Il Fantasma Suona Il Piano"
LIFE s/t (Mellotronen) cd 17.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. All right. Now this is what I'm talkin' about. 1971, yeah! Andee's always kidding me that I (Allan) think 1971 is the best year for rock music ever. That's not true of course ('69 and '70 and '72 were no slouches either!), but I do rate it pretty highly. There were SO MANY great records that year, among them Tago Mago, First Utterance, Nursery Cryme, Music To Eat, Satori, Master Of Reality, Funkadelic, Neu! 1, Culpeper's Orchard, Demon And Eleven Children, Love It To Death, In Search Of Space, Stormcock...ohmigod...there's so many. I don't know how I would have survived if I was of a music-buying age in 1971. But I was only two years old. It's sure would have been tough to make a top ten list if I was working at Aquarius back then!! But I'm pretty sure that this Life album (if I even woulda known about it, I wonder if Aquarius ever stocked the original import LP?) would have made that list. Seriously. Of course, even if folks back then probably didn't appreciate it (foolishly thinking that rock was in some sorta prog-clogged doldrums) they were living in some special times. Especially special if you like the hard/heavy/acid rock like I do. Ok, more about Life then: they were a skilled Swedish psych-prog trio that spun songs that incorporate (sometimes in the same composition) two quite different but equally excellent extremes -- they do some light n' lush, very pretty pop with piano and full orchestration. But then there's also a lotta rib-rattling dirge-rock with glacial, gargantuan guitars! The combination is epic and elegant, and puts 'em (in my book) almost in the same league as Queen and Deep Purple and Uriah Heep! A quick n' dirty description might be Cream-meets-Queen. And this was before Queen ever released an album. For '71, the heaviness is right up there. Killer songs, stellar vocals, a definite stoner spirit. I can't imagine any of AQ's customers who are real '70s proto-metal freaks not digging this album, even if you don't normally get into the poppier stuff...just 'cause it's SO GOOD. And the lighter fare is integral even to the slabs of heaviosity for which you're really gonna worship this album. Yeah, it's heavy, and even when not, it's damn bombastic. In a way that makes even the tracks that are the most doomy and downer definitely also have a lively, uplifting vibe. I'm telling you, if Life were British and had made more than one album (instead of breaking up 'cause of joining the cast of the Swedish touring production of Hair!), you'd know about 'em already. I mean, they'd be '70s classic rock royalty for sure, at least as famous as, I dunno, Nazareth. Getting back to the whole 1971 thing: in actuality, this album was originally released in 1970 with Swedish lyrics, then released with English language vocals in '71, and that version is the only one to be reissued on cd. Normally I prefer bands to sing in their native tongue, but this guy is a such a good singer, and avoids any embarrassing accent-issues, and the lyrics are pretty cool ("Once I saw a castle / made by rocks and sand / I used to touch that castle / with my magic hand"). A couple of the bonus tracks are in Swedish, too (where they suddenly sound like Dungen gone arena!). Now I don't want to freak out and make like this is the best record EVER or anything, but it's really really good and is something that should be much better known that's for sure. So we've ordered a few to try and spread the word...
"Many Years Ago" MPEG Stream:
"She Walks Across The Room" MPEG Stream:
"Sailing In The Sunshine"
LITMUS Aurora (Metal Blade / Rise Above) cd 14.98
This week's AQ-list has got the goods for Hawkwind fans all right - not only do we have that Harvestman / Minsk / U.S. Christmas disc of Hawkwind covers, but we're also highlighting the latest from Litmus, the Head Heritage and Rise Above approved British band who are basically a more-metallic Hawkwind for the current millennium. We doubt they'd deny it. Taking off (in rocket ships, of course) from where their countrymen left off (not that Hawkwind ever actually did leave off, we're pretty sure that venerable institution is still at it in some incarnation or other, but you know what we mean), Litmus do the space rock thing with an abundance of youthful energy and verve, rocking hard and spacing out in the best spirit of vintage '70s Hawkwind, to the over-the-top utmost really. Not only are the riffs big and heavy, not only are the rhythms propulsive and ecstatic, not only is everything infused with all the electronic sci-fi whooshings, bloops and blips, zips and zaps, etc. that you'd expect, but most crucially they also possess the POP element that Hawkwind also had, something that often gets overlooked by a lot of the other current bands who cite Hawkwind as an influence. These songs are damn hooky and melodic, destined to lodge in your skull, and not just due to the use of mantra-like repetition, which of course is also a Hawkwind derived feature too. Bands like White Hills and Cave share some of these tendencies, but none are more Hawkwindlike than Litmus! We loved their 2007 Rise Above debut Planetfall, and this follow-up pushes all the same buttons, providing another excellent, epic hour of heavy duty space-prog bliss, complete with soaring vocal uplift, loads of searing synth, and ripping guitar leads. These lads are so pro, and aglow. Needless to say, for fans of Hawkwind. Also other old, bold, cosmic prog. And more modern stoner(henge) metal. Thus for fans of labelmates Astra, too. Man, we'd love to see 'em live...
"Beyond The Sun" MPEG Stream:
"In The Burning Light" MPEG Stream:
LITMUS Planetfall (Rise Above / Candlelight) cd 13.98
We're pretty sure that the guys in England's Litmus, a new space rock / stoner metal outfit on Lee Dorrian of Cathedral's Rise Above records (home to Electric Wizard and Witchcraft among others), won't mind us -- and everybody else who reviews this -- saying that, basically, Litmus is a more modern, much more metal, version of Hawkwind. If you're at all familiar with the peculiar genius of that British prog/psych institution, particularly their early '70s classics like Hall Of The Mountain Grill and Space Ritual, you'll hear the Hawkwind just as soon as you start spinning Litmus' debut album Planetfall. And that's no bad thing. In fact, we're all for it. This is awesome! Litmus kick out an absurd, energetic overload of outer space anthems, mixing headbanging riffage that Lemmy would love with a mad scientist's laboratory's worth of sci-fi bleeps and swooshes, on songs with titles like "Destroy The Mothership" and "Expanding Universe (Twinstar Pt.2)". The album's centerpiece is the 15 minute fourth track, "Under The Sign", a triumphant and impetuous epic full of heavy heads-down chuggery and soaring refrains. Among the five psychic space warriors in the band, there's one guy credited with playing these three things: "Mellotron, synthesizers, and gong". So prog! As are the contents of the cd booklet: pages of lyrics (we assume) inscribed in some sort of alien glyphs or ancient runes or something. We also appreciate that the "space noises" with which this disc is abundantly and enthusiastically littered are mixed pretty much higher than just about anything else. It really makes it sound like Litmus are rocking out from within some sort of cosmic storm of chaotic radiation. Where else are you gonna hear the howling Hawkwind blowing with such gusto? We doubt that the actual Hawkwind, in whatever incarnation they currently exist, could match this. Only maybe Acid Mothers Temple comes close, but they aren't metallized OR poppy enough to be exact competition for what Litmus is doing here. Voivod circa "Outer Limits" and old Pink Floyd are also orbiting in proximity to Litmus, with the likes of Tarantula Hawk and Morkobot somewhere in nearby space. All 72 minutes of Planetfall are utterly black-hole dense with bombastic, hooky, Hawkwindy space metal gloriousness. Even if you haven't ever heard Hawkwind, this is recommended (but of course then you should check 'em out too)!
"Under The Sign" MPEG Stream:
LOIRI, VESA-MATTI 4+20 (Porter) lp 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. This 1971 Finnish flute folk jazz freakout, now available on vinyl too!! If you're anything like us, all it will take is three simple words to convince you that you need this: FLUTE. FINLAND. 1971. Okay, so that last one's not really a word, but yes, this fantastic chunk of Finnish Flute heavy jazz folk was indeed released in that magical year, and is pretty much everything you could hope for from a seventies Finnish flautist, it's groovy, jazzy, folky, a little bit rocking and a lot bit pretty goddamn weird. Just take the opening track, after some field recordings of seagulls and lapping waves on the shore, Loiri whistles along to some simply strummed acoustic guitar, and suddenly you realize it's essentially a jazzed up cover of Blind Faith's "Can't Find My Way Home", hand drums and flutes swing in, some deep wordless "la la" vocalizing and then it's back to the waves and birds. Definitely an odd way to start a record, but these guys are Finnish after all. The rest of the record is not so obviously strange (or is it?), the second track is some groovy flute driven folk, the flute playing is stellar, woozy stand up bass, intricate hand drumming and more steel string strum, there's some bluesy psychedelic guitar leads, and then there's a drum solo, accompanied by humming (or is that kazoo), and then it's right back into it, Loiri often singing and vocalizing through the flute (a la Roland Kirk), which makes it even more far out. The record shifts gears constantly, the next track begins playful sing songy lullaby, suddenly transforming into some sort of gypsy folk music the next, what sounds like a drunken tavern sing along, and then it's right back to the lullaby like fluttery flute of the opening, and then a strange old field recording of a carnival or circus. All a single track. The next track is more straight ahead jazz, some incredible flute playing and amazing drumming, the next track too, sounding almost Latin Jazz, but then along comes "Mummon Kaappikello" a groovy bit of big band jazz, backing up some sped up chipmunk vocals, turning the otherwise trade jazz into something totally warped, and then it's right back into it, some seriously swinging seventies jazz funk, and still more kick ass flute. The final three tracks are more folky jazzy grooviness, some serious strum heavy drum driven rhythmic jazz, gives way to some jazzy cabaret, with deep crooned dramatic vocals, and finally finishing off with a brief bit of folky flute and acoustic guitar that returns to the opening bit of Blind Faith. Wow. Awesome, and bizarre and amazing and easily one of the coolest things Porter has dug up. And again: FINLAND. FLUTE. 1971. Eye popping pop art cover with a big foldout poster, both depicting Loiri in aviator's helmet and goggles, with a painted on bright yellow and red bullseye shirt and little angle's wings!
"4 + 20 (Session 1. A)" MPEG Stream:
"Turkish Coffee" MPEG Stream:
"Candle Dance" MPEG Stream:
"Coming Home Baby"
LOS NATAS Toba-Trance (Ektro) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Argentina's Los Natas were once a Kyuss clone (and a good one) but now they're really come into their own. First they impressed us with last year's mighty rockin' Corsario Negro opus (second in our personal Stoner Rock Of The Year estimation only to Heavy Rocks from Japan's Boris, maybe even tied with 'em), now they branch out further with this psychedelic "trance" album released on Jussi of Circle's Ektro label. And they fit right in with the likes of Ektro labelmates Circle and Acid Mothers Temple. The Los Natas trio has emerged from the pot haze of their Buenos Aires "Death Studios" to unfurl the banner of Toba-Trance, a mostly instrumental (though we like the brief vocal "hoo hoo" bit in the middle of track 2) laid-back spacey exploratory opus that's not really "heavy" in the way we were expecting. The metal part of the stoner rock equation is mostly missing. Rather, the acoustic guitars and Latin flavored jazz improv elements of the druggier, more atmospheric tracks found on Corsario Negro set the standard here. Droney, melodic, extended (three tracks, fifty-two minutes total)...this is a very nice lil' trip. Guitarist Sergio Chotsourian channels his '70s heroes with some lengthy psych solos. Flutes and South American Indian instruments also show up in the mix. Immediate references might be Circle's stoner-rock side-project Pharoah Overlord, or the lighter side of Boris's semi-acoustic Flood. Byram's thinking of Grateful Dead jams (and we know Jussi loves the Greatful Dead) but this is as much Agitation Free or some other Krautrock hippy stuff. What it definitely is, is spacerock, mostly mellow and quite pretty, mesmerizing and intricate, great going-to-bed-at-night music. As we said, it never gets really heavy, though there's some riffier moments throughout and distorted noisiness that kicks in towards the end of track three, not loud but satisfying nonetheless. The more we listen, the more we like. Recommended.
"Que Rico..." MPEG Stream:
LOS NATAS Toba-Trance II (Ektro) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Argentinian stoner rock heroes Los Natas are a band that definitely seems to have shifted their allegiance from the all-too-common-inspiration Kyuss to the real ancient old stuff, getting really into Pink Floyd and the Greatful Dead and all their own '70s South American psychedelic forebears (obscure bands we gringos don't even know about). You can still hear the Kyuss in 'em, but filtered through an original Latin American/psych record collector creativity. Los Natas' last two records have been great -- both the harder-rockin' Corsario Negro and the spacier, mellower, mostly instrumental Toba-Trance. Now comes Toba-Trance II! While it reprises many of the elements of the first Toba-Trance (ending even with a live version of "Que Rico..." from that album), in parts this sequel seems way proggier. Hard prog. With flutes. Squawking fucked up horn bleats. Serious riffage. Especially on the eleven-minute "Tracion En El Arrocero" which we could imagine as music for some sort of medieval asskicker procession. That's not the lengthiest track on here, either: the 15 minute "Humo de Marihuana" is a genuine spaghetti western epic. Of course it wouldn't be Toba-Trance (or Los Natas) without hippy percussion and limpid, liquid bass undulations, mellow stoned spaced out maaaann. And mention must be made of the Flamenco stylings and psychedelic soloing of guitarist Sergio -- he smokes! Gently beautiful and meltingly mesmeric, the Latin American answer to Pharaoh Overlord or Ghost perhaps. And it's as beautifully packaged as the first Toba-Trance -- great looking graphics, Ektro!
"Traicion En El Arrocero" MPEG Stream:
LOUDEST WHISPER The Children Of Lir (Sunbeam Records) cd 16.98
A 1974 folk rock concept album outta County Cork... a real rare record, reissued for the ye olde hippie folk interested among you. 'Tis all about the old Irish myth of King Lir and his cursed swan-children, in a dramatic presentation of lilting Celtic folk melodies with proggish majesty, full of sweet male/female vocal harmonies and electric psych guitar leads. At many moments mellow and dainty, at others darker and fairly rockin', this is nice enough, though they're no Comus (who is?). Often pretty but also a bit precious, perhaps. Includes full liner notes, photos, and 6 bonus tracks including a 10+ minute television broadcast soundtrack complete with narration, which should help out those of us not up on our Irish mythology. Also there's disparate demos and singles tracks (one of 'em, "False Prophets" is quite the stormer, sounding almost proto-metal with Neil Youngish vocals).
"Mannanan II" MPEG Stream:
"Children Of The Dawn"
LUCIFER Big Gun (Dynamic) lp 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. We've been waiting to hear THIS for YEARS. An extremely rare and mysterious circa '71 underground UK psych LP of which we knew little and had been able to find out less. But it seemingly promised great things, as we shall explain in just a sec. Now that, thanks to the Dynamic label who have reissued this at long last, we've -finally- heard the thing, we can say that while it's not exactly what we hoped it would be, it turned out to be something quite, um, remarkable nonetheless. And after all, what we'd hoped for might have been a (literal) pipe dream anyway... Lucifer really couldn't be all it was cracked up to be, could it?? I mean, the band's very name, the all-black Smell The Glove style cover, the hairy/scary band photos, the song titles -- "Banshee", "Prick", "Winter", "What Was That Thing I Saw You With Last Night" -- all portend something impossibly dark and heavy, leaving us hoping that Lucifer would sound like some sort of unknown, underground, creepy cousins to Black Sabbath! And the album's original, rather confusional liner notes also hint in that direction, spouting wonderful nonsense about how the band has "this cave in Arizona" where they like to record their "evil music"! We're also informed that they did a single called "Fuck You" that was never released, having been confiscated by the police!! Sounds pretty darn metal, right? Add to that the fact that the first time we ever heard of Lucifer, years ago, was in an old interview with none other than Ozzy Osbourne, wherein he mentioned this album as being something he and his Black Sabbath mates dug back in the day! That's a lot of expectation to build up. And the truth of course is that Lucifer sound NOTHING like Black Sabbath, or metal in general. They're not even particularly heavy in the guitar dep't -- heck, quite a lot of this is acoustic. Yet they ARE totally weird and fucked up and cool and a bit ridiculous, and definitely "heavy" in the "heavy, maaaan" stoner hippy sense of the word. We'd compare 'em to contemporaries in the British busking free fest hippy druggy psych scene like the Edgar Broughton Band and (lighter) Hawkwind, or (maybe) to NYC's Godz. And at their heaviest, when guitars are plugged in and all, some of this is murky and dismal enough to sound like something by AQ obscure Krautrock faves German Oak. Some other primitive, blues-damaged Krautrock we like also comes to mind, like Kalacakra, Siloah and Zippo Zetterlink. The unlucky thirteen tracks here consist in the main of meanderingly simple and repetitive hippy guitar riffing, gruff freaky vocals, subversively anti-establishment lyrics ("working is just a bore, smoking's against the law, I'm just a natural man"), and junky rhythms, all contributing to a definitely underground, overwhelmingly wastoid vibe. It makes the Pink Fairies sound almost straight. Definitely dated, yeah, but a charming artifact of a long-gone, LSD-lifestyle... NB just in case, be aware there are other Lucifers out there, including one from 'round the same era but from NY instead, more of a garage band that one.
"Banshee" MPEG Stream:
LUCIFER WAS In Anadi's Bower (Record Heaven) cd 18.98
This mysterious Swedish band sounds kind of like a cross between Jethro Tull (but with not just one, but two duelling flutes!) and Black Sabbath (due to the heavy riffs and Gibson Les Paul guitar work)É Although they're a current band, they began in the early '70s, but just hadn't record an album until recently!! (1998's "Underground And Beyond", on which the original band lineup used vintage equipment to record vintage written-in-'72 tunes... making for one of Allan's favorite records of that year, 'cause they really don't make 'em like that anymore!) Now, this, their second album, expands upon their Tull / Sabbath sound, becoming a little more prog rock, with the addition of the ultimate prog rock instrument, the mellotron (and not one, but two, of course!) and a new, more capable, vocalist. This goes straight into Allan's year 2000 top ten. There's one song that's a little too, uh, poppy that I tend to skip over, but the rest is amazing '70s style psych/metal/prog nirvana. Flutes! Riffs! Genius!
LUCIFER'S FRIEND s/t (Repertoire) cd 17.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. This is one of those bands where we'd heard the name (cool name, eh?) but nobody really ever said, man, you gotta check 'em out! Then, when we finally hear Lucifer's Friend, we wondered, why didn't someone turn us on to this band sooner??! They're an early '70s German hard rock band with an English vocalist, that on this record (circa 1970) comes on like a cross between Led Zep and Uriah Heep. All you stoner rockers, this is the real deal. Classic stuff! (And if you're one of those, like us, who loved that The Want album recently released on Southern Lord, you'll love LF for sure.) Lucifer's Friend's status as a bonafide "krautrock" outfit is sorta peripheral by today's Can/Faust/Cluster/Kraftwerk standards, kinda like the Scorpions, although krautrock fans might note that this was recorded by Conny Plank. Includes 5 bonus tracks from various singles of the period.
LUCIFER'S FRIEND s/t (Revisited) cd 17.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. From the vaults of the legendary krautrock label Brain comes another cool digipacked reissue on Revisited. We've been fans of this particular album for a long time, previously stocking a Repertoire reissue when we could get it. In fact, looking into our archives, we see that we reviewed it on two separate occasions, giving it quite similar but different reviews. Well, here's a third, based on those. This self-titled 1970 debut album is one of the two early Lucifer's Friend albums we recommend, the other being its 1972 sequel, Where The Groupies Killed The Blues, which perhaps will be reissued again as well. After that, the records we've heard aren't as good. But THIS, this is a great piece of '70s proto-metal very much akin to Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Budgie, and (especially) Uriah Heep! Some psychedelic weirdness, lots of heavy riffing (on guitars and organ) and total wailin' rock god vocals (courtesy of British singer John Lawton, who later DID join the Heep). As krautrock goes, they're more like early Scorpions than the more out there stuff you might be thinking of (Faust, Can, Kraftwerk, Cluster...) but this -was- recorded by Conny Plank. The first track, the triumphal rocker "Ride The Sky" (recently covered by doomsters Trouble on their abortive comeback Simple Mind Condition) begins with a trumpeting French horn motif that will definitely make you think of Led Zep, sounding uncannily like the "ah ahhhhhh ahh" intro to "The Immigrant Song", though this came first. There's a cool live video of this track on YouTube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5DpOdf-_yM&feature=related. If you dig that, you'll dig this album... !!! For fans of the above, as well as the likes of Leaf Hound, Weed, Toad, other more obscure proto-metal gems... (FYI, Revisited has included 2 bonus tracks this time 'round.)
"Ride The Sky" MPEG Stream:
LUMERIANS s/t (Subterranean Elephants Recording Company) 12" 12.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Well, it looks like the Wooden Shjips don't have the market cornered on sixties inspired drone drenched psychedelic drug rock after all. The Lumerians offer up their own take on modern psych with their debut ep, 5 songs, all of them looooong and gorgeously tripped out. Where as the Shjips seem to be channeling the Doors, the Lumerians take ? And The Mysterians, mix in some Fuzztones, and filter it through the sound of Spacemen 3 and Loop resulting in a mesmerizing, repetitive organ infused doped up hypnorock. The second the opening track kicked in we were SOLD. Fuzzy blown organ, pounding simple drum beat, super sixties vibe, buzzy and trippy and druggy and totally divine. The vocals drawling over that relentless beat and that warm thick organ. Wooden Shjips fans will freak, and just might have found a new favorite local band. The second track is just as cool, but way different, super minimal, almost jazzy, with muted percussion, subtle bass grooves, soft shimmery synths, very spacious (and space-y) and laid back, like a druggier more psychedelic Necks. The B side is all slow lugubrious organ drenched crawl, shuffling drums, a wall of washed out buzz, with one track introducing some ethereal, blissed out female vocals, drifting weightless above the fuzzy groove, giving that track a serious shoegaze vibe. Killer stuff. Super limited. Only 500 copies, each pressed on nice thick clear vinyl, housed in a plastic PVC jacket with a thick color cardstock insert, and comes with a code, so you can download MP3's for your iPod as well.
LUNDBORG, PATRICK The Acid Archives (Lysergia) book 29.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Two fine record reference works on the list this week, there's the Encyclopedia of Swedish Progressive Music (reviewed below), and this one, a tome devoted American private press musical weirdness from the psychedelic era; its subtitle is "Guide To Underground Sounds 1965-1982". And yes, it's an A-to-Z of bands, each release getting an opinionated write-up, sometimes from more than one reviewer, who don't always agree! Not just psych bands, but also folk-rock, hard rock, "incredibly strange music", sunshine pop, all sorts of stuff. As long as it's rare and obscure and has collectors salivating... Here's a few of the bands included: Anonymous, BF Trike, Cromagnon, David Allen Coe, Euphoria, Francisco, Josephus, New Hobbits, Charles Mason, Peace Pipe, Ya Ho Wha 13... that's a very small fraction (hey I bet Fraction is in here... let's see, yep) of what you'll find. There's literally hundreds and of entries. Hours of browsing to be had. In addition to this "Acid Archive" of reviews, which include discographical info on both the original releases -and- (where applicable) reissues, there's some other special features to this volume. You'll find top tens and "fave raves" from the book's various contributors, also a buying guide for collectors on a budget, and a forward by Mike Stax of Ugly Things magazine -- and if you're a dedicated Ugly Things reader, you definitely want this book!! 15 years in the making, this is as authoritative and indispensable as it gets, when it comes to weird music from way back. It's not quite as deluxe as that Swedish Encyclopedia (and not as expensive, either), but still really nicely put together. Paperback, 11 3/4" x 8 1/4", 298 pages, three columns per page of text, lots of cool b&w graphics (album covers, record labels, promo photos). Trippy!!
LYD s/t (Akarma) cd 15.98
MAGMA button 1.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Magma fans! We now stock these black and silver half-inch buttons with just the ubiquitious Magma symbol (no words) -- you know, that spiky winged semi-circle. Sport one on your leather jacket lapel.
MAGMA 2: 1001 Degrees Centigrades (Seventh) cd 21.00
MAGMA Attahk (Seventh) cd 21.00
Late '70s Magma, with more fusion and even gospel influences present. Fantastic cover by H.R. Giger! Much better sounding than the Tomato-label version some may be familiar with.
MAGMA Baba Yaga La Sorciere (Seventh) cd 19.98
"Quand Les Enfants Chantent Magma" actually: meaning this is a group of French school-kids singing Magma! Cool.
MAGMA BBC 1974 Londres (Seventh) cd 19.98
We just got a few of this great new live disc, French progsters performing two epic compositions ('Theusz Hamtaahk' and 'Kohntarkosz') for BBC Radio in '74. Inspired.
MAGMA Concert 1976 - Opera de Reims (Seventh / AKT) 3cd 33.00
MAGMA Concert Bobino 1981 (Seventh / AKT) dvd 27.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. This has been around on VHS before, but we're in the DVD age now (heck, aren't we all watching TV shows on DVD these days, renting whole seasons to devour in a weekend?). So this live Magma concert from 1981 thereby gets reissued in the DVD format, though the video quality still looks second or third generation. Magma fans, you may want/need this... sure, the early '80s weren't prime years for the band, as these French prog-rock weirdoes best albums belong to the early to mid '70s. But we know that even now, in 2005, Magma still kick ass (both live and on their new album K.A) so in 1981 they could hardly be considered over-the-hill. This ain't their strongest material, though, as they do concentrate on their more jazz-fusiony, gospel-influenced later sound of the era, which means this includes a manaically happy Christian Vander, who seems totally high on life, stepping out from behind his drum kit to take a star turn singing his always-bizarre, bug-eyed, alien-soul standard "Otis"! Plus they were at their most Spinal Tap back then, with shiny sci-fi costumes in full effect!! Ah, the '80s. Kinda cool now though. One of the strangest, most amazing (we think) bands EVER goes completely over the top here, basically. This is NOT the Magma document to convince people that they're not the most absurd band ever, quite the opposite in fact. Magma *and* non-Magma fans will both find this good for a laugh. I mean, this IS ridiculous, from the band's disco/Battlestar Galactica styled get-ups to Vander's facial expressions... it's not the oh-so-serious Magma of the M.D.K era, or today. 112 minutes, NTSC, region free.
MAGMA Floe Essi / Ektah (Seventh) cdep 11.98
New (well, 1998) two-song single, from the current incarnation of Christian Vander's Magma. But it sounds more 1978 than 1998. Good!
MAGMA Hhai Live (Seventh) 2cd 29.00
Great live document from 1975. Quoting Vander: "It contains 'Kohntark', which is indeed 'Kohntarkosz' renamed for a problem with a producer, and also an extract of 'MDK', our famous tune. 'Mekanik Zain' let us hear one of the most paroxystic moment of the concert: the chorus of Didier Lockwood with a 7/4 rhythm which brings him in outer limits. It's the first live album of Magma. There is a contained violence, such a musicality, with also improvisation and such a cohesion. In 'Hhai!'(=Alive!), on a 4/3 rhythm, it's a song of hope, a call of life where you can hear sorrow, joy and eternity..."
MAGMA Inedits (Seventh) cd 21.00
MAGMA K.A (Seventh) cd 29.00
At loooong last...and not just 'cause it's been, like, seventeen years since they last released a studio album, or even longer than that since they put out a really classic studio album (1978's Attahk), here's the new (NEW!) Magma album. It's at loooong last also in part 'cause our copies got lost in the mail coming over from France, and now *three* months after ordering 'em, a second box was shipped and we've finally got them in. Whoo-hoo! And what's the really good news? This album, K.A (short for Khontarkosz Anteria), is freakin' great! Actually, we expected it to be good. Of course we're Magma fanatics and all, but we're realistic about bands doing stuff thirty years past their prime. But we had high hopes nonetheless 'cause 1) the current incarnation of Magma absolutely slays live which Allan for one can attest from life-changing experience and 2) the material on this disc was in fact written back in the '70s, but never recorded for an album back then. (So, this is kind of Christian Vander's Brian Wilson's Smile, I guess, but better.) The results are magnificent, and gratifying. Imagine if any amazing band from the '70s suddenly came out with a new album, that actually could fit in comfortably with one of their beloved old LPs? Hard to imagine, actually. Like if Led Zeppelin suddenly reformed (with a Bonzo clone, say) and recorded some hitherto unknown, lost link between Houses Of The Holy and Physical Graffiti. Impossible right? Well Magma's basically done the impossible here. You won't be entirely fooled into thinking this is a vintage '70s release -- the production and some of the synth sounds give it away -- but it comes darn close. And the composition K.A is without a doubt an authentic Magma masterpiece worthy of their reputation. Three tracks, one long piece. Pretty sure this is a for-fans-already oriented release, so I dunno if we need to try and describe Magma here or not. And they're not that easy to describe anyway, being a French '70s avant-rock band that combined John Coltrane and Richard Wagner (to use the usual shorthand) in a spiritual, sci-fi, jazz-prog stew that sounds nothing like any of the other prog rock or jazz fusion bands of the day, really. Except for the ones they then influenced, of course. K.A will indeed give the uninitiated a full grounding in the classic Magma sound, that's for sure. Bombastic, epic, large-scale stuff dominated by chanting, acrobatic vocals and relentless rhythms. There's perhaps more guitar than you might expect, along with all the choirs and keyboards -- and of course, drums! Magma mainman Christian Vander is a god among drummers and shows no signs of slacking on this album. The packaging is pretty special too...I've never seen a digipack quite like this one. There's two booklets -- one half sized. The bigger one is devoted to all of K.A's lyrics, in Magma's own made-up language Kobaian (no translations, sorry -- I guess this is just for singing-along-to purposes: "Wi wi siwili do ri / siwi do woh wehre sehn deweloi / hel hel...") And the cover art, a moss-covered gravestone carved with the Magma logo, jutting out of the dirt against a star-strewn sky, might be a bit silly but I love it. So, it's kind of cool, for those of us who weren't of record-buying age in the '70s, but got into Magma from buying cds by such bands as Ruins and Guapo and Koenjihyakkei and even Flying Luttenbachers, that we can now go purchase a brand new Magma!
"K.A I" MPEG Stream:
MAGMA Kobaia (Seventh) 2cd 32.00
Amazing Magma debut. Magma mastermind Christian Vander comments: "After the death of John Coltrane (41) in 1967, I composed 'Kobaia' (=eternal) in front of the musical chaos and the misunderstanding of mankind; and then I created Magma and the 'Zeuhl Wortz' (=music of the universal might). To Life, to Death and after... It brought me to my real work on earth. My unique and true function. this album was a renewal, a complete rebirth. Many enjoyed it. This allowed the birth of many new groups in France, creating a new musical trend: the zeuhl music."
MAGMA Kohntarkosz (Seventh) cd 21.00
From 1974. In Vander's words: "It's perhaps the more misunderstood of all the Magma's tunes, and the more complex one. It's based on a very syncopated rhythm where Time seems to be Counter time, and where Counter times emerge from Counter time ... leading to a very original spatial position. It provokes a physical and psychic feeling that is totally new, even by now. Still nowadays, many people Ñ and many musicians Ñ do think that this tune is based only on Counter time, and that's why they can't listen to or play it rightly. The tune is about a story between a Master and a disciple. To be followed..." This album also happens to feature the English guitarist Brian Godding, previously of the psych-prog band Blossom Toes!
MAGMA Les Voix (Seventh) cd 19.98