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IMPORTANT (Please read to avoid confusion):
Some items below may be tagged with a bold, red, all-caps "out of print/unavailable" notice. This does NOT mean that all other items not so tagged are, in fact, in stock -- or for that matter, in print and available, though there's a good chance they are. Some folks get confused on this point, and we can see why, so please read this for further clarification and other important before-you-order information. Unlike some mailorder websites, we don't have an electronic inventory system linked to our site, so you can't be sure of what we actually have or don't have in stock at any given moment without asking us -- please email our mailorder department for availability status -- or better yet, just go ahead and place your order using our shopping cart function and we'll get back to you with the status of each item. If you have general non-mailorder questions, email the store.


album cover W.A.I.L. (WISDOM THROUGH AGONY INTO ILLUMINATION AND LUNACY) s/t (Ahdistuksen Aihio) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
We may proclaim our love of French black metal practically every list, but if there was a single country who threatened the blackened supremacy, it would be Finland. And yeah, we know we're already pretty obsessed with Finnish music in general, and how could we not be, it's so amazing and weird and demented and over the top and unlike almost anything we've ever heard. So of course that weird/unique/whatthefuck vibe spills over into the real of the buzz and the black. Off the top of our heads: Ride For Revenge, Aanal Beehemoth, Circle Of Ouroborus, Dead Reptile Shrine, Jumalhamara, Behexen, Clandestine Blaze, Beherit, Azaghal, Horna, Diaboli, Sargeist, Trollheim's Grott, Barathrum, Satanic Warmaster, Ajattara, TorturiumÉ well, you get the drift. So you can now add the oddly monikered W.A.I.L. to the list. W.A.I.L. of course standing for Wisdom through Agony into Illumination and Lunacy, and while we weren't able to discover too much about the band, other than that they were indeed from Finland, it hardly matters, this is some creepy and blackly doomy heaviness, which we're digging big time.
After a repetitive trancelike intro, all chanted vox, weird glitches, and looped melody, the band unwind some dirgey low slung bass, before slipping into some classic sounding doom, downtuned and lumbering, a lurching plod, that soon explodes into chugging, pounding stretch of murky metallic heaviness, equal parts classic metal, twisted death metal, and black buzz, the vox a sinister croak, the song flitting from murk dirge to thrashing churn, before a cool droned out stretch of horn laden hypnorock, sorta wish that part would never end, totally creepy and mesmerizingly weird, before returning to the blackened metal fray.
The record continues on its black path, slipping from martial drumming laced old school doom, with deep moaned clean vox, to tripped out mathy post black metal, sounding almost like a way more minimal Deathspell, to some woozy double kick driven creepy crawly dirgery, to some classic metal worship, before returning to another creeping chunk of ambient blackness, with the churning doom backed off, now beneath more moaning horns and plinking piano. The final track is a 12 minute monster, with a killer main riff, some stretches of serious thrashery, but with a gorgeous middle section that explodes from a flurry of eighties metal shredding, only to settle into a weird bit of gypsy strum, muted and minimal, before finishing off with a frenzy of lightning fast blackness, peppered with brief bits of doomy lope, it's a dizzying tripped out, kick ass finish, to a record that definitely has us hankering for more...
MPEG Stream: "Wisdom"
MPEG Stream: "Agony"

WABI SABI (A-Musik) cd 16.98
German producer Markus Schmickler -- who was responsible for that great Tortoise-beating Pluramon record on Mille Plateaux a little while ago, the one with the cameo from Can's Jaki Liebezeit -- turns his talents to full-on abstract drone electronica with Wabi Sabi. Forced Exposure's Jimmy Johnson calls it "...a staggering sounding, beautifully packaged and simply significant contemporary electronic album..."

WACHSMANN, PHILIPP & LYTTON, PAUL Some Other Season (ECM) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
When you first heard Godspeed You Black Emperor, did you think it was a new ECM release before that guy started grumbling about the apocalypse?
Two staples of European free music. Wachsmann on violin and viola, Lytton plays percussion, both use live electronics. These improvisations are calm, methodic and sometimes melodic, usually taking the minimal less-is-more approach over high kinetics.

WACO BROTHERS Electric Waco Chair (Bloodshot) cd 14.98
Accurately described as "Cash meets Clash", Chicago's Waco Brothers bestow their fifth release on the world. A twangin' country party of a band featuring Mekons leader Jon Langford along with members of Pine Valley Cosmonauts, KMFDM and Jesus Jones(!), Waco Brothers actually sound a lot like a more focused Mekons -- which is a very good thing, especially if, like me, you think the Mekons started to suck right after their amazing early albums "Honky Tonkin'" and "Rock 'n Roll". Lots of sublime pedal steel and mandolin augment the bright electric guitars. Full of whiskey-soaked energy!
RealAudio clip: "It's Not Enough"

album cover WACO BROTHERS Freedom And Weep (Bloodshot) cd 14.98
Although this band is made up of Jon Langford, Steve Goulding, Alan Doughty, Deano, Tracey Dear, and Marc Durnate... aka members of Mekons, Pine Valley Cosmonauts, Graham Parker & The Rumour, Jesus Jones, Dollar Store, Wreck and KMFDM (!), more that a few folks around here have commented about just how much this actually sounds like ol' AQ faves Uncle Tupelo. It really does!! The contrasting male lead vocals even resemble those of U.T.'s Jeff Tweedy and Jay Farrar. Midway through the proceedings though they veer towards Social Distortion goes honky tonk (about which we're not quite sure how feel). Either way, we're sure some stiff shots of whisky, a string of broken hearts and many pairs of well-worn cowboy boots were involved.
MPEG Stream: "Nothing At All"
MPEG Stream: "Join The Club"

album cover WADA, TASHI Alignment (Yik Yak) lp 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Here's a pretty stellar set of classical minimalism from the San Francisco based composer Tashi Wada, son of Yoshi Wada. "Direct" repeats a series of five detuned notes on a violin, and with each repetition, Wada interjects incremental steps of harmonic overtones and dissonance. The rasping, singing drones build into an incredibly complex, yet wholly acoustic swarm that eagerly applies the classic strategies of the '60s minimalists (e.g. LaMonte Young, Tony Conrad, Alvin Lucier, and of course, Tashi Wada's father Yoshi Wada). The B-side contains "Retrograde" an exact reversal of the "Direct" composition, and through the act of flipping the record over and over again, there's an infinity loop / Moebius strip of harmonic drones that begins to evolve through the speakers.
Yik Yak pressed-up Alignment to be spun at 45 rpm. So, of course, we spun this at 33 rpm and fucking loved it! The raga-drones crawl slower, the overtones ring a little longer, and the whole mood of the composition is all the more ominous. Wada may not care for this bit of instruction on our part, but it's gotta be mentioned as it just sounds so good at that speed!

album cover WADA, YOSHI Earth Horns With Electronic Drone (Omega Point / EM) cd 22.00
Droooooooooooooone... Yep, it's another amazing archival release in the Yoshi Wada reissue campaign from Japan's wonderful EM label, in conjunction with their colleagues at avant-electronics specialists Omega Point. This one's from earlier in his career than the other Wada pieces previously documented in the series, but is no less droney! Recorded in 1974, and unreleased until now, Earth Horns With Electronic Drone is just that. Four players blowing into Wada-built "earth horns" (absurdly long alpenhorn style instruments, "constructed from ordinary plumbing materials and steam fittings"), resonating in an acoustic environment wherein the horns interact with an electronic feedback/looping system designed by Liz Phillips and Yoshi Wada that responds to and reinforces subtle alterations in the volume and pitch of the pipehorns. It's explained in the liner notes, but still a little difficult to understand. Somehow the pipehorn tones are recycled, extended, modulated and mixed, essentially enhanced by the electronics for extra droning effect, that much is obvious! The results are lovely, mesmeric... though, it's hard to come up with much of a description besides, do you like foghorns? Being in San Francisco, we know we do! This is like endless foghorns, mixed with answering whale calls. Or imagine the Himalayan horns of hyperventilating Tibetan monks, high on cough syrup, slowed down and stretched out. Screwed but not chopped.
Occasionally punctuated by what must be the coughs and echoing rustle of the close-to-dozing audience members in the gallery of the art museum where this took place, the pipehorns blow (and the electronics further generate) low, ever so slightly wavering tones that weave together forever... well, if not forever, for about three hours at the original performance!! Of which 77 minutes are presented here on the cd format. There's also the fancy, much more expensive triple vinyl version, which runs to 2 hours and 42 minutes! In metal parlance, that would be the "diehard" edition. But we only have three copies of that, and aren't too sure about whether we can ever get more. Still, even only 77 minutes of Earth Horns With Electronic Drone is a decent dose, with no flipping of sides also.
For those just now tuning in to the ritualistic, minimalistic, ultra-droned-out works of Wada, we'll refer you to our reviews of his three previous discs on EM for more info on this Fluxus-associated composer and sculptor. But you can certainly see from the vintage b&w photos on the sleeve, including one of Wada's ensemble accompanying a Merce Cunningham dance performance in Nassau Coliseum, that his pipehorns have an impressive physical dimension and shape suitable for display and demonstration in art galleries, or other public spaces. And on this recording you can certainly HEAR their impressive physical dimension and sound-shapes they make as well!
MPEG Stream: "Earth Horns With Electronic Drone [excerpt 1]"
MPEG Stream: "Earth Horns With Electronic Drone [excerpt 2]"

album cover WADA, YOSHI Earth Horns With Electronic Drone (Omega Point / EM) 3lp 71.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Droooooooooooooone... Yep, it's another amazing archival release in the Yoshi Wada reissue campaign from Japan's wonderful EM label, in conjunction with their colleagues at avant-electronics specialists Omega Point. This one's from earlier in his career than the other Wada pieces previously documented in the series, but is no less droney! Recorded in 1974, and unreleased until now, Earth Horns With Electronic Drone is just that. Four players blowing into Wada-built "earth horns" (absurdly long alpenhorn style instruments, "constructed from ordinary plumbing materials and steam fittings"), resonating in an acoustic environment wherein the horns interact with an electronic feedback/looping system designed by Liz Phillips and Yoshi Wada that responds to and reinforces subtle alterations in the volume and pitch of the pipehorns. It's explained in the liner notes, but still a little difficult to understand. Somehow the pipehorn tones are recycled, extended, modulated and mixed, essentially enhanced by the electronics for extra droning effect, that much is obvious! The results are lovely, mesmeric... though, it's hard to come up with much of a description besides, do you like foghorns? Being in San Francisco, we know we do! This is like endless foghorns, mixed with answering whale calls. Or imagine the Himalayan horns of hyperventilating Tibetan monks, high on cough syrup, slowed down and stretched out. Screwed but not chopped.
Occasionally punctuated by what must be the coughs and echoing rustle of the close-to-dozing audience members in the gallery of the art museum where this took place, the pipehorns blow (and the electronics further generate) low, ever so slightly wavering tones that weave together forever... well, if not forever, for about three hours at the original performance!! Of which 77 minutes are presented here on the cd format. There's also the fancy, much more expensive triple vinyl version, which runs to 2 hours and 42 minutes! In metal parlance, that would be the "diehard" edition. But we only have three copies of that, and aren't too sure about whether we can ever get more. Still, even only 77 minutes of Earth Horns With Electronic Drone is a decent dose, with no flipping of sides also.
For those just now tuning in to the ritualistic, minimalistic, ultra-droned-out works of Wada, we'll refer you to our reviews of his three previous discs on EM for more info on this Fluxus-associated composer and sculptor. But you can certainly see from the vintage b&w photos on the sleeve, including one of Wada's ensemble accompanying a Merce Cunningham dance performance in Nassau Coliseum, that his pipehorns have an impressive physical dimension and shape suitable for display and demonstration in art galleries, or other public spaces. And on this recording you can certainly HEAR their impressive physical dimension and sound-shapes they make as well!
MPEG Stream: "Earth Horns With Electronic Drone [excerpt 1]"
MPEG Stream: "Earth Horns With Electronic Drone [excerpt 2]"

album cover WADA, YOSHI Lament For The Rise And Fall Of Elephantine Crocodile (EM Records) cd 21.00
EM Records of Japan is a label from which we *always* are eager to hear more, specializing as they do in the most odd, obscure, awesome reissues EVER. Without them, we wouldn't have such a great selection of musical saw cds here at Aquarius. Or '70s New Age weirdness. Or psychedelic surf music soundtracks. Or (most recently) steel drum jazz funk!
While the steel drum jazz funk might have appealed mostly to the more eccentric crate digging DJ types, we know that THIS release is gonna really take off here. That's 'cause it's all about the DRONE. And y'all love drone we know.
Yoshi Wada is a Japanese artist who relocated to New York City in the late '60s and (just like another Japanese expatriate, Yoko Ono) got heavily involved with the conceptual art movement known as Fluxus. Doing sculpture, performance, and sound installations, he rubbed elbows with the likes of minimalist maverick LaMonte Young, studying with both him and Indian vocal guru Pandit Pran Nath. That's very evident on this album, the intriguingly titled Lament For The Rise And Fall Of The Elephantine Crocodile, which was originally released on vinyl in 1982 by the avant garde label India Navigation (responsible for important Dreyblatt and Niblock documents as well). Wada only made two records, of which this one is considered his most significant, not to mention rarest.
There's two long tracks here (over a half-hour each). Both are utter drooooooooooone nirvana. Track one, "Singing" (31:06), is ALL voice, Wada giving long guttural throat-bleatings (waaaaah waaaaaah ooooooooo....) that he builds into a gorgeous, rising and falling soundscape of overtones and drones. He recorded it in an empty swimming pool for extra bass and natural echoing effect... the results are serene yet joyous, somehow liturgical, suggestive of blissful monkish raptures. Wada certainly got into it, actually spending the night before this recording *sleeping* alone in the pool, and (he says) almost experiencing auditory hallucinations due to the resonant acoustics of the space.
The second track, side two of the original LP, is a continuation of the first with even MORE drone. Entitled "Bagpipe" (33:17), it adds to Wada's vocal intonations the sound of experimental homebuilt reed instruments of Wada's own devising, "adapted bagpipes with sympathy" made of plumbing tubes, powered by an air compressor. Improvising with voice and "bagpipe", this piece is much louder, denser, and grindingly trance-like than the far more delicate first track. The two instruments he used are pictured on this cd's back cover. One is called The Elephantine Crocodile, and another The Alligator. Both are Partch-like sound-making sculptural objects in their own right. They're carefully tuned to take advantage of higher octave harmonics and microtonal partials and other things that we'd need more study of music theory to understand exactly, but obviously with which Wada is fully conversant. What we do know for sure is that with his voice and unusual instruments he's conjured a deeply psychedelic and meditative dronescape that we're darn glad EM (in conjunction with another cool Japanese label, Omega Point) have seen fit to unearth and reissue!!
If you like drones, this not only a worthy historical document, but also would be a fantastic listen even if it had just been recorded yesterday. In fact, it compares interestingly to another drone release reviewed this list, Schmickler and Chisholm's Amazing Daze. But Wada achieved these drones without the aid of electronics or computers. About the only complaint we could make about it is the rather abrupt ending! We realize that it can't go on forever (as much as we'd like it to) but its sudden cessation (instead of a gradual fade out) can harsh one's mellow... though if you're like us you'll listen to this going to sleep at night and won't ever make it conscious to the end anyway.
This has been digitally remastered from the original tapes, with the two pieces restored to their original intended lengths (they'd been edited down to fit on the LP release). And as usual, it gets a fabulous EM packaging job, complete with vintage b&w photos and extensive 1982 and 2007 liner notes in both English and Japanese, written by Wada himself. This one is definitely up there in the pantheon of EM essentials, and that's saying a lot.
MPEG Stream: "Singing"
MPEG Stream: "Bagpipe"

album cover WADA, YOSHI Off The Wall (EM Records / Omega Point) cd 21.00
We have to thank Japan's EM Records - actually, we've been doing that a lot lately - but this time we have to thank 'em for turning us on to the celestial soundworlds of dronologist Yoshi Wada. If you've read our reviews of EM's two previous Wada reissues, you know he's a Japanese sculptor/composer who made his way to New York City in the late '60s, delving into the Fluxus conceptual art movement and hanging out with folks like pioneering minimalist LaMonte Young. In 1982, Wada issued an LP entitled Lament For The Rise And Fall Of Elephantine Crocodile, featuring his voice and homebuilt instruments. When it was reissued on EM last year, we were bowled over by its unique deep drone soundings. EM's second Wada reissue, The Appointed Cloud, from 1987, was equally amazing.
Happily, there's more Wada releases in the vaults than we'd thought. Now EM has brought out a cd version this one, Off The Wall, which was originally released on vinyl in 1985 by the German free improv label FMP. Dubbed a "majestic minimalist monsterpiece" by EM, it consists of two long tracks (over twenty minutes each), a part one and part two of the same performance, which features the bagpipe blowing of Yoshi Wada and colleague Wayne Hankin, along with the "adapted organ" (pipe organ put together by Wada) played by Marilyn Bogerd, and the percussion of Andreas Schmidt-Neri.
EM have also added a bonus cut - this third (and even longer than either of the others, at 27:14) track, "Die Konsonanten Pfeifen", was recorded in Berlin in 1983 and originally issued as a cassette. Again, Wada and Hankin play the bagpipes, this time accompanied by percussion (tympani, tam tam, and cymbal) from one Kevin Newhoff, which kicks in, with a hiccup, near about the halfway point, providing steady, ominous pulsations that bring to mind some of the portentous mood of Strauss's "Also Sprach Zarathustra".
Bagpipes, that's right, this is bagpipe music. But it doesn't sound much like Scotland's The Black Watch. Maybe if the Royal Highland Regiment were marching to 20th century avant-classical. Keening endlessly, the twin bagpipes of Wada and Hankin weave exotic-sounding tones and overtones together in slowly shifting, shimmering patterns, that seem to keep one step head of your sensory apparatus, so that you realize there's something new going on in the piece only after you've been hearing it already for a few moments. The effect of these modulations is quite mesmeric, almost meditative, New Age with an edge, like Phill Niblock meets Terry Riley, taken to a Far Eastern extreme. The multiple instrumental voices blend into one total drone, yet upon examination each has its own wending and winding part to play. The usual repetition of "minimalist" music isn't so mechanically evident here, Wada's drones floating high into the expanses of space, combining with the rumbling earth-bound drums to achieve a sort of ceremonial aspect and dramatic impact.
Yes, thank you EM! This is packaged in the usual excellent EM fashion, in a tri-fold sleeve with original liner notes in both English and Japanese translation, also b&w photographs, and a full-color reproduction of the original graphic score for "Off The Wall".
MPEG Stream: "Off The Wall I"
MPEG Stream: "Die Konsonanten Pfeifen"

album cover WADA, YOSHI Singing In Unison (EM Records) cd 22.00

album cover WADA, YOSHI The Appointed Cloud (EM Records) cd 21.00
In reality, this was recorded live at the Great Hall of New York Hall of Science in New York, November 8th 1987. But listening to it, you could easily imagine it being part of some mysterious & portentous religious ritual, enacted high on the slopes of some vast Himalayan mountain by horn-blowing, drum-beating Tibetan monks... these monks perhaps being part of an aktion under the direction of dramatic drone artist Hermann Nitsch. Seriously. Well it's not Nitsch, it's Yoshi Wada, and there were no monks involved, but we're sure it was an impressive performance to witness in its own right. Certainly to hear, which thanks to EM Records, we all now can.
This is the sequel to EM's previous reissue, some months ago, of Yoshi Wada's first album, Lament For The Rise And Fall Of Elephantine Crocodile. While that 1982 LP may have more rare record collector cachet, and be more historically significant chronologically speaking, we have to say that this one is at least as amazing. As we explained in our review of Lament, Wada is a Japanese visual artist and sound sculptor who relocated to New York in the '60s, where he aligned himself with the Fluxus conceptual art movement and definitely got deep into dronology. (He now lives in San Francisco, and for more information on his career, check out the June '08 issue of The Wire, #292, which features an interview with Wada conducted by AQ's own Jim Haynes.)
The Appointed Cloud, a composition/sound installation "designed specifically for the acoustics of the cobalt blue cathedral of the Great Hall", utilized a massive Wada-designed soundmaking assemblage controlled by a computer interface, this unusual "pipe organ" constructed from compressed-air powered pipes, a suspended 20 foot long sheet of metal, and a steam pipe gong. In addition, Wada and the other musicians involved play timpani, tam tam, sirens, and a trio of keening bagpipes. All this in the majestic, modernistic stained-glass setting of the Great Hall.
As alluded to above, this is somewhat suggestive of Buddhist ritual, and reminds us of Nitsch's large-scale symphonics as well. Rather than give a minute by minute play by play of this piece's hour-long duration, we'd encourage you to experience it for yourself. Experience the thundering drum vibrations, the percussive rattle, the quiet gentle tones and hushed rustle that erupt into dense bagpiping drone squeals and resonating rumble... it's grand and gorgeous.
Physically this cd reish is up to EM's usual high standards, packaged in a gatefold sleeve with color photos, a reduced reproduction of the piece's graphic score, liner notes by Wada as well as the original program notes, in both English and Japanese. Soundwise, it's also up there with that first Wada disc among our favorite stuff that EM has yet released -- in other words, highly recommended!! Even moreso for those especially dronologically and/or 20th century classically inclined.
MPEG Stream: "excerpt 1"
MPEG Stream: "excerpt 2"

album cover WADLEY, IAN Three Uneasy Pieces (Sweat Lung) cd 8.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
With all these warehouse finds we've been reviewing and listing, you might imagine aQ was like that last scene in Raiders Of The Last Ark, cd shelves as far as the eye can see. And while that's not really at all accurate, we do have a closet, and a back room, and piles of stuff and boxes everywhere, which means, stuff gets forgotten, overlooked, misplaced, and what not. Lots of stuff we order with the intention of getting more, but then for whatever reason we don't, maybe the release sold out, the label stopped pressing them, and then we don't have enough to review it, and it somehow slips through the cracks.
Which is what seemed to have happened with Three Uneasy Pieces, a solo guitar record from Aussie axeman Ian Wadley, who is probably better know as the guitarist in garage rockers the Bird Blobs, but here, he creates, just as the title suggests, three uneasy pieces for guitar, and a handful of pedals, and nothing else, and creates a gorgeously abstract, dreamy meandering soft focus tangle of spidery melodies, of deconstructed chords and of haunting effects wreathed atmospherics. Minimal and minor key, the tracks range from near psychedelic swirl, to brooding dramatic abstract folk drift, to hushes minimal twang flecked drone, and within each of those pieces, Wadley deftly conjures up surprising moods, and emotions, subtly shifting textures and timbres, and creating some gorgeous guitar ambience.
While their sounds are not all that similar, this seems like something that would definitely appeal to fans of Roy Montgomery. And really, anyone into dark dreamy contemplative guitar music, or just ambient atmospheric soundscaping in general, should really check this out. VERY FEW COPIES LEFT, grab one before they're gone.
MPEG Stream: "Hopeful Doubtful"
MPEG Stream: "Snowed Under Glass"

album cover WAGNER, JEFF Mean Deviation: Four Decades Of Progressive Heavy Metal (Bazillion Points) book 24.95
A tome focused on the progressive metal music genre has been long overdue... perhaps in part due to the fact that the genre is so expansive and there are so many debatable definitions. Author Jeff Wagner (former editor for Metal Maniacs magazine) has taken the bull by the horns, focusing the spotlight on prog metal heavyweights Rush, Queensryche, Voivod, and Meshuggah - all very deservingly so - but we take a bit of issue with his grouping Dream Theater in with those true pioneers (yeah, we're going to catch some flak from DT fans for questioning their inclusion amongst those ranks, aren't we?!). Wagner presents the five bands as the standards by which pretty much all others covered in this book are held. Indeed, most of the other bands he features were inspired by one or more of those abovementioned innovators. Many nail 'the sound' very well, but break little new ground themselves. So we ponder, can they truly be permitted in the progressive metal arena? Hmmmm, 'tis something of a quandary when trying to define something which is supposed to be ever exploring, innovating and evolving. Nevertheless, if you are new to the genre (and would prefer to read a book than scour the internet to get yourself up to speed on the subject), this book is a terrific starting point... especially for the revisiting of the truly unique trailblazers Fates Warning, Thought Industry, and Celtic Frost. Particularly useful are the lists of recommendations in the back of the book to get any neophyte up to speed or to flesh out the collections of older fans. Oh, and the book features original cover artwork by Michel "Away" Langevin of Voivod. 400 page paperback.
Andee has only one comment: E.L.P.!!!!!!!!!!!

album cover WAGNER, MIREL s/t (Friendly Fire Recordings) cd 14.98
As long time readers of the aQ list no doubt know by now, we definitely have a thing for Finnish music, and Finnish music of all stripes, be it freaky forest folk, churning metallic hypnorock, twisted outsider cabaret, or progged out whatthefuck weirdness, but not all Finnish music is so flat out twisted, there's plenty of other amazing stuff going on, a lot of which we're not always hip to. Which is why we can thank local label Friendly Fire for introducing us to Ethiopian-Finnish folk singer Mirel Wagner, who conjures up a darkly haunting soundworld of bleak murder balladry, and grim blackened doom folk, her voice gorgeous and mysterious, childlike at times, but definitely with a chilling world weariness, perfectly accompanied by Wagner's spare skeletal acoustic guitar, the sound alternatingly clear and crystalline, murky and deeply reverbed, but always lush and lovely, hypnotic and tranced out, the vibe bleak and brooding, the soundtrack for shadowy late nights, for vast expanses of wind swept emptiness, the sort of mysterious songsmithery you might expect to discover next to a campfire, in some post apocalyptic otherworld, a dusty cloaked figure, hunched over the fire, face obscured by shadows, fingers deftly moving along the neck of a battered old guitar, the music drifting heavenward, through clouds of fireflies bleeding into fields of glimmering stars, Wagner's music like some end of the world lullaby. So gorgeous.
MPEG Stream: "To The Bone"
MPEG Stream: "The Well"
MPEG Stream: "No Death"

album cover WAGNER, MIREL When The Cellar Children See The Light Of Day (Sub Pop) cd 14.98
A while back we reviewed the self titled debut from Ethiopian-Finnish guitarist/vocalist Mirel Wagner, released on local label Friendly Fire, and we were pretty smitten, a haunting collection of lush, almost murder ballads, the sound crystalline and clear, but the vibe and the mood murky and ominous. Not sure what we were expecting, but it definitely wasn't something nearly that bleak and dark. And with a jump to Sub Pop, we were perhaps expecting Wagner to deliver something more polished, less intimate, less sonically harrowing than that debut, but we're beginning to think this is just where she wants to be, and while it sounds like a frightening, heart breaking place to be, she manages to make it sound strangely inviting.
Right from the opener, Wagner conjures up a mysterious world of sound, one that's mostly just guitar and vocals, the guitar generally spare, the vocals deep, and smokey, "1 2 3 4" is almost like a lullaby or a nursery rhyme, but one of those cautionary tales, that warns children what terrible end awaits if they disobey. "The Dirt" is a bit folkier, but has the same sort of sinister vibe, a dark slo-mo folk-blooze, that again, seem to be all about loss and death, the sounds as spare as they are, wreathed in clouds and shadow, and emotionally overcast, and soul baring threnody.
And even later in the record, when the sound blossoms, and the production follows suit, the music stays dark and mournful, every track some kind of lament, and when the subtle strings surface, it only adds to the pretty pathos. The rest of the record finds an uneasy balance between darkly psychedelic dreamfolk ("The Devil's Tongue"), haunting chamber folk ("Dreamt Of A Wave"), and moody almost country ("What Love Looks Like"). The more we listen, the more it makes sense that this record ended up on Sub Pop, as it wouldn't be entirely out of place on your shelf somewhere in-between Fleet Foxes, Red Red Meat, Iron & Wine and Codeine, although wherever it ended up, would darken that corner of your collection considerably. Haunting, harrowing and pretty goddamn fantastic.
MPEG Stream: "1 2 3 4"
MPEG Stream: "The Dirt"
MPEG Stream: "Ellipsis"

album cover WAGNER, MIREL When The Cellar Children See The Light Of Day (Sub Pop) lp 15.98
A while back we reviewed the self titled debut from Ethiopian-Finnish guitarist/vocalist Mirel Wagner, released on local label Friendly Fire, and we were pretty smitten, a haunting collection of lush, almost murder ballads, the sound crystalline and clear, but the vibe and the mood murky and ominous. Not sure what we were expecting, but it definitely wasn't something nearly that bleak and dark. And with a jump to Sub Pop, we were perhaps expecting Wagner to deliver something more polished, less intimate, less sonically harrowing than that debut, but we're beginning to think this is just where she wants to be, and while it sounds like a frightening, heart breaking place to be, she manages to make it sound strangely inviting.
Right from the opener, Wagner conjures up a mysterious world of sound, one that's mostly just guitar and vocals, the guitar generally spare, the vocals deep, and smokey, "1 2 3 4" is almost like a lullaby or a nursery rhyme, but one of those cautionary tales, that warns children what terrible end awaits if they disobey. "The Dirt" is a bit folkier, but has the same sort of sinister vibe, a dark slo-mo folk-blooze, that again, seem to be all about loss and death, the sounds as spare as they are, wreathed in clouds and shadow, and emotionally overcast, and soul baring threnody.
And even later in the record, when the sound blossoms, and the production follows suit, the music stays dark and mournful, every track some kind of lament, and when the subtle strings surface, it only adds to the pretty pathos. The rest of the record finds an uneasy balance between darkly psychedelic dreamfolk ("The Devil's Tongue"), haunting chamber folk ("Dreamt Of A Wave"), and moody almost country ("What Love Looks Like"). The more we listen, the more it makes sense that this record ended up on Sub Pop, as it wouldn't be entirely out of place on your shelf somewhere in-between Fleet Foxes, Red Red Meat, Iron & Wine and Codeine, although wherever it ended up, would darken that corner of your collection considerably. Haunting, harrowing and pretty goddamn fantastic.
MPEG Stream: "1 2 3 4"
MPEG Stream: "The Dirt"
MPEG Stream: "Ellipsis"

WAGON CHRIST Musipal (Ninja Tune) cd 14.98
Luke Vibert, who also records under his own name and as Plug, here delivers another album of bouncy and fresh electronica. This is happy go lucky dance music whose dark edges bubble forth only occasionally (a bass heavy jungle break here and there). Lots of vocal snippets and fun samples -- jazz vibes, gunshots, handclaps -- add to the playful atmosphere. You could watch the Powerpuff Girls with this as the soundtrack. There's nothing here to show that Vibert's style is evolving, though, he's just showing off his expertise at a genre he's mastered.
RealAudio clip: "The Premise"
RealAudio clip: "Natural Suction"

WAGON CHRIST Musipal (Ninja Tune) 2lp 16.98
Luke Vibert, who also records under his own name and as Plug, here delivers another album of bouncy and fresh electronica. This is happy go lucky dance music whose dark edges bubble forth only occasionally (a bass heavy jungle break here and there). Lots of vocal snippets and fun samples -- jazz vibes, gunshots, handclaps -- add to the playful atmosphere. You could watch the Powerpuff Girls with this as the soundtrack. There's nothing here to show that Vibert's style is evolving, though, he's just showing off his expertise at a genre he's mastered.

WAGON CHRIST Sorry I Make You Lush (Ninjatune) cd 14.98

WAGON CHRIST Tally Ho (Astralwerks) cd 15.98
Before Plug, Luke Vibert recorded some wacky off-kilter trip hop under the guise Wagon Christ... If anyone is curious what 'clown hop' is as Aquarius' (via Sean Cooper's) taxonomic definition of this specific sub-genre of electronica (see also u-Ziq and Dr. Rockit), Wagon Christ's records are exemplary of the definition. Tally Ho, his latest release, shows a clear influence from the awesome Amon Tobin. And yeah, the vinyl is import only... sorry.

WAGON CHRIST Tally Ho (Astralwerks) 2lp 29.00
Before Plug, Luke Vibert recorded some wacky off-kilter trip hop under the guise Wagon Christ... If anyone is curious what 'clown hop' is as Aquarius' (via Sean Cooper's) taxonomic definition of this specific sub-genre of electronica (see also u-Ziq and Dr. Rockit), Wagon Christ's records are exemplary of the definition. Tally Ho, his latest release, shows a clear influence from the awesome Amon Tobin. And yeah, the vinyl is import only... sorry.

album cover WAGONER, PORTER The Bottom Of The Bottle (The Omni Recording Corporation) cd 17.98
Country music is all about drinking. Even songs about heartbreak or cheating spouses or the one that got away, somehow end up in a bar, or an alley or the bottom of a bottle. And no one did drinking songs better than Porter Wagoner. We've raved about this country legend on past lists, besides being an incredible musician with a clutch of amazing songs, he was also a total nut, who whipped up some of the weirdest country songs ever. He's the man responsible for "the Rubber Room" after all, a little ditty about mental illness, and as we mentioned in other reviews, almost every record, no matter how seemingly mainstream, always featured a track or two with seriously unseemly subject matter, murder, revenge, arson, suicide, prison and of course DRINKING.
So here we have two more classic PW albums, reissued by the fine folks at Omni, the first of which is an ode to country music's favorite past time, getting drunk, and of course, searching desperately for that next drink. Just a quick look through the song titles says it all: "Wino", "Daddy And The Wine", "The Bottom Of The Bottle", "In The Shadows Of The Wine", "The Bottle Let Me Down", "One Dime For Wine", "Bottle, Bottle", you get the idea, drinking, drinking and more drinking. Oh and a jaunty little ditty about a spurned woman who burns down her lover's favorite roadside tavern, which is also sort of about drinking...
But the sound is of course fantastic, lots of amazing guitar playing, wild slippery slide guitar, Wagoner's distinctive voice, the songs crazy catchy, and pretty dang weird in places. "Wino" begins with the sound of footsteps, then trash cans being dug through, the yowl of an alley cat, before unfurling as a Ken Nordine style bit of beatnik jazziness, which is soon augmented by some moody piano and swirly slide guitar. That's the weirdest track, but there are moments throughout, and of course, even when the music sounds like classic country, Wagoner will deliver some insane lyrics like it weren't nothing.
The second record here, Confessions Of A Broken Man, of course features some drinking songs, but for the most part focuses on the dark side of life, somber songs about folks down on their luck, the misunderstood, the forgotten, the dying and despondent, and the broken hearted. Gorgeous stuff, and a good companion to the more over the top drinking record that precedes it. As always, totally fantastic. And like every Omni release, gorgeously packaged, with tons of rare photos, and extensive liner notes in a big booklet.
MPEG Stream: "Wino"
MPEG Stream: "Daddy And The Wine"
MPEG Stream: "The Bottom Of The Bottle"
MPEG Stream: "She Burnt The Little Roadside Tavern Down"
MPEG Stream: "Wine"

album cover WAGONER, PORTER The Cold Hard Facts Of Life / Soul Of a Convict (The Omni Recording Corporation) cd 17.98
"Who taught who the cold hard facts of life?" is the chilling question at the heart of this bitter tale of betrayal and revenge between husband and wife. It's also the title track of this Porter Wagoner two-fer which combines two early seventies concept records, The Cold Hard Facts of Life and The Soul of The Convict, providing a narrative arc of love, sin, murder, redemption and salvation. We absolutely loved The Rubber Room (also put out by The Omni Recording Corporation), an anthology of Wagoner's less known Southern Gothic sides that painted a much darker picture of the kind of singer we thought he was. Now that the man is gone at the height of a career revival, we get a chance to hear some of his best full lengths, recorded at a time of deep personal anguish. On this two-fer (which shares only five tracks with The Rubber Room anthology), he sings plenty, first about the consequences of cheating and then sings plenty more about the consequences of killing. Includes a cover of "Folsom Prison Blues" and six extra single tracks. Porter shows us once again he's a man to be reckoned with in this life or the next. As he queries at the end of "The First Mrs. Jones", "Did my little song scare you?"
Yes, yes it did.
Rest in Peace, Porter!
MPEG Stream: "First Mrs. Jones"
MPEG Stream: "Cold Hard Facts of Life"
MPEG Stream: "Boston Jail"
MPEG Stream: "Snakes Crawl at Night"

album cover WAGONER, PORTER The Rubber Room: The Haunting Poetic Songs of Porter Wagoner 1966-1977 (The Omni Recording Corporation) cd 17.98
Well Dang! Why it seems we're in the midst of a full-on Porter Wagoner revival. Not only has the man just released one of the best country albums of the year (Wagonmaster, which we reviewed last list), but at the ripe old age of 80, just played to a sell-out audience at Madison Square Garden opening for The White Stripes. While for a time, he seemed to epitomize everything that was old-fashioned about Nashville, from his vintage glittering suits to his often overtly pained and sentimental delivery on many a song about love and The Lord. No truer did that image seem to be when Dolly Parton, who first debuted on Wagoner's T V show before becoming his most popular singing and song-writing partner for nearly ten years, decided to part ways for a solo career in the mid-seventies. Surely a low point in his career, but the man never went away, quietly releasing records and remaining an ambassadorial presence on the Grand Ole Opry circuit ever since.
Yet, it also looks like all that flash and kitsch so present in Wagoner's performances and recordings have inspired a hip cult following through the years after all. But not because of his more popular hits. We mentioned in the Wagonmaster review about an early seventies song that was a bit of a novelty hit, called "The Rubber Room", a dark, wrenching, reverb-soaked ode to mental illness. Well, most of his records from the mid-sixties onward had a track or two that delved similarly into the darkest of themes: revenge, murder, murder-suicide, insanity, prison, parental abuse, neglect, drinking, punishment, and redemption. The album covers similarly shared his fondness for theatricality, sometimes dressing up as a hobo, wino, prisoner, or shown walking in on his unfaithful wife. These songs weren't always his biggest hits but they had the highest Nashville production values with strings, choirs and dramatic special effects, and put together they create a bizarrely surreal patchwork of the Southern Gothic. So what better way to celebrate Porter Wagoner's big career revival with this mighty anthology put out by the awesome folks at Omni (who also brought us the Bruce Haack Electric Lucifer reissue we made record of the week, a couple lists back). Instead of focusing on charted singles and successes, this anthology compiles together 29 left-field tracks recorded between 1966 and 1977 (with the exception of only one charted single, "The Carroll County Accident") that cover all the dark themes mentioned above, many in poetical song-story form and loosely sequenced in themes.
So let's give a brief summary here of the main themes, after "The Rubber Room", there are some country-crossover songs, reminiscent in style to Lee Hazlewood and Jimmy Webb, that deal with the savage life of Native Americans outlaws ("George Leroy Chickashea", "Indian Creek"). Then, there are the achingly lonely tear-in-your-beer songs ("Lonely Comin' Down", "Lonelyville"), which then segue into the cheating songs, ("My Many Hurried Southern Trips", "Woman Hungry") then the wife-killing and wife/other man-killing songs ("First Mrs. Jones", "The Cold Hard Facts of Life" "Julie"). After that there are some tear-in-your-BOTTLE songs ("Wino", "Bottom of The Bottle") then the hobo songs ("Life Rides The Train", "My Last Two Tens"), then a prison song sung from the point of view of the prisoner's only son ("Let Me In"). Then the devastating Dolly Parton duet, "The Party" about a couple's children who die tragically while the parents were out partying. And finally a couple of songs about prayer and redemption ("Little Boy's Prayer" and "Moments of Meditation") just to give a slight semblence of hope to things. Phew! and there's so much more!
Surely not the happiest of records, but one that will still undoubtedly put a smile on your face. It's definitely one of the most well curated, intriguing and exciting country collections to be put to disc from a man who is finally getting his due. Absolutely Essential!!!!!!!!!!!
Please note: The first pressing is currently out of print. We've got a bunch of these, but it may take a while to get the next batch, so please be patient if and when we run out.
MPEG Stream: "Rubber Room"
MPEG Stream: "Cassie"
MPEG Stream: "First Mrs. Jones"
MPEG Stream: "The Party"

album cover WAGONER, PORTER Wagonmaster (Anti) cd 16.98
For his eightieth birthday and fifty-fifth year as one of Nashville's most striking country music ambassadors, Porter Wagoner delivers an amazingly solid new recording that shows him still at the top of his game. Simply and starkly produced by the legendary Marty Stuart, there are no hipster cameos or attempts to contemporaneously connect to a modern sound or scene, just lots of pedal steel and an aged baritone tinged with loss and redemption. Most people who aren't avid country music fans, probably know Porter Wagoner for two things: he made Dolly Parton famous (though, he did try to hold her career back), and "The Rubber Room", one of the eerily strangest but coolest country songs ever recorded. That song was on a classic album from 1972 called What Ain't To Be, Just Might Happen and it's full of low-life characters losing their grips on reality, and recorded with lots of tape echo and other studio effects amongst the standard twang which really made it stand apart. On Wagonmaster, Wagoner revisits those themes on "Committed To Parkview", a song written for him by Johnny Cash but was never recorded until now. For those who like a little Nick Cave in their country music but have exhausted the Johnny Cash catalog, you should take a listen here to a country master who can delve fearlessly into the dark side while wearing the most sparkling of Nashville finery.
MPEG Stream: "Committed To Parkview"
MPEG Stream: "Agony Of Waiting"
MPEG Stream: "Hot Wired"

album cover WAGONER, PORTER What Ain't To Be, Just Might Happen / Sings His Own (The Omni Recording Corporation) cd 17.98
Finally, these two legendary records from the late, great Porter Wagoner get a well deserved 2-on-1 cd reissue courtesy of the amazing Omni Recording Corporation, who've done some other Wagoner releases, including the Rubber Room compilation.
By the early 1970s, Wagoner's career had stumbled a bit as the charts shifted their focus to the hairier, more socially irredeemable characters within the outlaw movement. Wagoner, however, maintained the regal image he always presented with sparkly nudie suits and his giant golden pompadour. With his skills still fully intact, his personal struggles helped to create an amazing and dark album with What Ain't To Be..., which includes the timeless and depressive ode to losing your mind in "The Rubber Room". Released in 1972, the album also features the amazing "Waldo The Weirdo", which some of you may remember from the recent Troubled Troubadours comp (also on Omni) and a slew of tunes that somehow manage to incorporate a mild but undeniable element of psychedelic weirdness to the affair.
Originally released in 1971, Porter Wagoner Sings His Own is more traditional in its execution but no less enjoyable, with tunes like "Albert Erving", "The Agony Of Waiting", and "Be A Little Quieter" all focusing on the personal torment explored later on What Ain't To Be...
This massive 30 song collection also features 10 bonus tracks, including "I Haven't Learned A Thing" with Merle Haggard and an ill-advised but still enjoyable foray into clavinet/synth driven funkiness with "I'm Gonna Feed 'Em Now". All in all, another great reissue from one of country music's greatest and most respected ambassadors.
MPEG Stream: "The Rubber Room"
MPEG Stream: "More Than Words Can Tell"
MPEG Stream: "The Agony Of Waiting"
MPEG Stream: "Stranger's Song"

WAGONER, PORTER & DOLLY PARTON Always, Always / Two Of A Kind (American Beat) cd 14.98

WAI, SU Gita Pon Yeik (Little Axe) lp 14.98

WAIFFLE And The Blood Will Come Down Like A Curtain (Magic Bullet) cd 5.98
This started out sounding like any post rock record, good enough, but just not all that remarkable. Until a few minutes in, when the whole thing explodes into a crushing frenzy of howled vocals, rumbling low end, and very un-post rock metal! Then for the rest of the record it's a battle to the death between metal bombast and subtle textures, between thundererous pummel and delicate, complex rhythms. Fucking great.

WAILERS, THE Catch A Fire (Tuff Gong / Island) 2cd 27.00
Remastered version of Bob Marley & The Wailers major label debut. This, deluxe, version not only contains the remastered album that put Bob Marley on the map internationally, but also contains a second disc of the original Jamaican version of the album -- previously unreleased outside of Jamaica -- which not only contains different versions of the songs on Catch A Fire, but is sequenced differently and includes extra tracks that never made it to the European release. Comes handsomely packaged in a fold out case in a slip cover that features the original (Jamaican) artwork. This edition also includes extensive annotation on all the tracks, photos and an essay

album cover WAINWRIGHT, MARTHA s/t (Zoe) cd 14.98
Hello Martha! Here's another member of the Canadian musical family Wainwright (her brother Rufus and their folks Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle). However, she's sure not riding on anyone's coattails, she's garnered quite a bit of attention for herself. Did ya hear/see her on tour recently opening for Stephen Malkmus? There's plenty of fine traits running in this family, she definitely shares a flair for the dramatic with her brother and a grounded earthiness with her mother. That said, her voice fits somewhere between Tegan & Sara, Joni Mitchell and Mazzy Star. While we're not so sure about her song "Bloody Motherfucking Asshole", we're sure about the fantastic duet with her brother "The Maker". Splendid!
MPEG Stream: "The Maker"
MPEG Stream: "Factory"

album cover WAINWRIGHT, RUFUS All Days Are Nights: Songs For Lulu (Decca) cd 16.98
It's been about three years since Rufus Wainwright released a proper album, but the wait seems to have been worth it, with possibly his most emotionally engaging and honest record yet.
Way stripped down, the entire album is just Rufus and piano. There is a stark and poetic nature to these songs that find him being a bit less snarky and clever than in the past instead opting for something more bare, mournful and sincere. We have always loved Wainwright's records, and are always in awe of his grandiose arrangements, but it's so cool how even with just his voice and piano he is still able to create such elaborate and interesting songs. We're also struck with what an amazing pianist he is, his playing both sparse and dizzying, lush and intricate, subtle and melodic. At times it's almost like this amazing version of piano virtuoso Lubomyr Melnyk joined by Scott Walker or Leonard Cohen. It's always a good sign when you can't think of many contemporary peers an artist has, showing how unique and singular their vision is. Besides maybe Antony & The Johnsons and Fiona Apple (by the way where are you Fiona, we miss you!!!) we can't think of many modern folks who have the same kind of talent and ability to create such dynamic and emotional songs.
And while on past efforts, there was usually always a song or two that try to get all rock and always seem a bit forced and out of place, on this album with only him and piano, there is no room for rock n' roll posturing, as he really zones in to what is at the core of his songwriting. Emotional, dramatic and richly crafted songs that have the power to leave you frozen in your tracks as you sit stunned and moved by these songs' bold and devastating honesty.
MPEG Stream: "True Loves"
MPEG Stream: "Les Feux D'Artifice T'Appellent"
MPEG Stream: "Martha"

album cover WAINWRIGHT, RUFUS All I Want (Geffen) dvd 25.00
Wow! This is one heckuva fan pleasin' dvd. It really is packed oh so generously with all you really do want! Over three hours worth of Rufus! Where do we start? Well, there's a frank and intimate documentary about Wainwright's life story thus far, there's a baker's dozen wonderful live performances, four music videos, some Wainwrights' home video footage, a bunch of interviews with Rufus, his family (sister Martha and mom Kate McGarrigle) as well as with a number of his celebrity fans such as Elton John and Sting. And the cherry on top? A spiffy new song titled "The Maker Makes". Whew! Need we say more?

WAINWRIGHT, RUFUS Out Of The Game (Decca) cd 15.98

WAINWRIGHT, RUFUS Out Of The Game (Decca) lp 30.00

album cover WAINWRIGHT, RUFUS Poses (Dreamworks) cd 17.98
The sad voiced, troubled troubadour of the moment is... well... probably Radiohead's Thom Yorke. If Jeff Buckley were still alive he'd be releasing his fourth album around now and *he* would be the man. But I know that AQ customers are musically large-hearted folk, and there's got to be room in your universe for someone else too, perhaps someone who does it as well as Radiohead -- well then, Rufus Wainwright. Sure Radiohead is great, but sometimes I get a little tired of our Thom's slightly clinical depression. Wainwright, on the other hand, knows exactly how to balance out his bone-tired world-weary voice (which is sort of similar to Yorke's; in fact the whole time I have been playing this Wainwright cd, Allan thought it was Radiohead) -- he balances it out with the most lush, graceful, interesting musical accompaniment. Thus the grave seriousness of his voice is countered with music that is so pretty it acts as a positive weight. A lot of it is similar to Radiohead (minus the overriding moroseness), with all of the epic drama but none of the hype, and thus much more intimacy. At times the album also reminds me of '70s-pop-era Brian Eno (think Taking Tiger Mountain) and there's a hint of paino bar / cabaret in his tone. but mostly it's an intimate record free from the relentless bombastic experimentation that Radiohead has set themselves to.
There's dobro, mandolin, ethereal girl backup singers, french horn, soaring violin, cello, piano, Wurlitzer and Hammond organs and much more. The music plays off his voice so beautifully and he's got lyric talents too -- spitting out lines like "whiffs of freon", and "three cubic feet of blood and bone and meat" and "all the pearls of china fade astride a volta".
All songs written by Rufus, except for one which was written by his dad, the legendary Loudon Wainwright III. Yes, he comes from an exceptionally musical family -- in addition to dad, his aunt and mom, otherwise known as Kate and Anna McGarrigle, are musical legends in their own right who were last seen enhancing Nick Cave's most recent record. Come to think of it, fans of Nick Cave might actually like this record too. Check it out for sure. Contender for record of the year.
RealAudio clip: "Greek Song"
RealAudio clip: "One Man Guy"
RealAudio clip: "California"
RealAudio clip: "Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk"

album cover WAINWRIGHT, RUFUS Release The Stars (Geffen) cd 15.98
Here we have another beautiful record from Mr. Rufus Wainwright. The album's opening track asks "Do I Disappoint You?" The answer in regards to his latest effort is (not surprisingly) absolutely not. Release The Stars might be Wainwright's most personal and frank work to date, and in that spirit, let us be frank with you, we're not sure Rufus Wainwright's music could disappoint. Ever. He may be the only artist who could write an entire song dedicated to Tulsa, OK including the line "you taste of potato chips in the morning" and later cram the words "antique shop that I want to go back to and visit when it's open" into a chunk of music far too short for that much verbiage, AND get away with it, because well, his voice melts your heart and delights your soul no matter how silly the lyrics may be. Fortunately, silly moments are few and far between and obvious pop hits are replaced here by his richest orchestral arrangements to date, lush and layered over gorgeous piano. His signature velvet croon comes through as rich and expressive as ever as he navigates through themes like stardom, love, and leaving and sometimes the intersection of all three. In "Leaving For Paris No.2" he describes these crossroads with unapologetic frankness stating: "I'm leaving for Paris/No I don't think that I'll see you/I pray you won't follow like so many who have known me/And when I get there, I will lose the ring you gave me/take care of yourself/goodbye." It's been a joy watching Wainwright boldly catapult his unique baroque pop into the spotlight. He's taken full advantage of this new found attention, by collaborating with a slew of interesting guests including Pet Shop Boy Neil Tennant (who is also the album's executive producer) and AQ fave Sharon Jones. This one's not to be missed!
MPEG Stream: "Do I Disappoint You"
MPEG Stream: "Between My Legs"

album cover WAINWRIGHT, RUFUS s/t (Dreamworks) cd 12.98
Loudon Wainwright's son writes achingly pretty, heartfelt songs strikingly similar to the late Jeff Buckley, himself the son of a lauded folk icon. Rufus' voice, in particular, is incredible. Singing and playing his piano with a totally passionate almost old time cabaret flair. Produced by Van Dyke Parks.

album cover WAINWRIGHT, RUFUS s/t (Plain) lp 23.00
For many of us the debut by Rufus Wainwright still stands as the shining light in his entire catalog. With arrangements and production by Van Dyke Parks this was the record that totally captured the lavish and grandiose drama and decadence of Rufus at his greatest. It's easy to forget that when this came out in 1999, it really had no scene or peer group to be placed with. This was a few years before full blown orchestrated pop made a renaissance in the indie music landscape. This was a trailblazing record in so many ways. It was still not the norm for a good looking heartthrob major label artist to be totally out of the closet. It also wasn't the norm for a pop record to come out that was filled with intense and colorful piano, stunning orchestration and such confident, romantic and tragic male vocals. Songs of yearning, unrequited love, and monumental memories delivered with such sweeping and riveting flair. So nice to have this one on vinyl now!
MPEG Stream: "Foolish Love"
MPEG Stream: "Beauty Mark"
MPEG Stream: "Imaginary Love"

album cover WAINWRIGHT, RUFUS Want One (Dreamworks) cd 17.98
On its own, Rufus Wainwright's voice can take you away better than any ol' Calgon bath salts. Positively swoon-inducing, he's fully capable of performing gloriously stirring renditions of just about anything... a grocery list, the alphabet, 99 Bottles of Beer? Okay, we're exaggerating, but there's no question that Wainwright is more than just a very pretty voice. Fortunately for the music lovin' world he's using it for 'good'... which is, finely crafting sophisticated chamber pop songs a-plenty that are unmistakably his own. On Want One, the assemblage of instruments surrounding him is lusher than ever, but it doesn't crowd him. His oft-flamboyant cabaret piano stylings rub velvety shoulders with the sweeping orchestrations -- certainly not shying away from grand theatrical flair. Sure to please his legions of adoring fans and make him a fair number of new ones too.
MPEG Stream: "Go Or Go Ahead"
MPEG Stream: "Harvester Of Hearts "

album cover WAINWRIGHT, RUFUS Want Two (Dreamworks) cd + dvd 21.00
Sir Rufus has always had a refined flair for the dramatic, and for the most part his music thus far has been draped with velvety elegance and cabaret candlelight. His has been the music that could appeal to both your young NY hipster cousin and your grandmother alike. However, on Want Two he dares to stick his neck out a bit farther, delving into more adventurous and flamboyant territory, squarely addressing his status as a gay icon, and thus challenging himself and his audience. Whereas it predecessor Want One was a lush chamber pop album that featured Wainwright in full gallant knight regalia on the cover art, Want Two is perhaps his most un-pop and most empassioned album of his career. The photo this time shows him dressed as a distraught maiden figure. At times his highly stylized ballads and operettas reach grandiose heights filled with over-the-top spiralling orchestral runs and soaring backing vocals, only to immediately follow them with achingly direct moments stripped bare of any excessive accoutrements with just his unmistakable voice and a strummed guitar or cascading piano. An absolutely sumptuous, gorgeous work. Plus, there's an added attraction, and quite a fabulous bonus it is! A dvd of a stunning Rufus Wainwright performance at the Fillmore here in San Francisco.
MPEG Stream: "The Art Teacher"
MPEG Stream: "Gay Messiah"

album cover WAITS, TOM Alice (Anti) cd 14.98
Approaching 30 years of making music, Tom Waits presents two wonderful albums at once, Blood Money and Alice. This collection, actually recorded many years ago but only now seeing its proper release, richly evokes particular moods and sounds of a world long gone, yet also captures a pure timeless beauty just like that of the Lewis Carroll tale. After all these years, it's truly a pleasure to see that he's still quite the wise, eccentric and immensely romantic fellow. There's such a consistency to all that he does, and that is made no clearer than when you stack these two albums up against one other. Alice is a mournful, weathered variety of songs one might just as fittingly hear coming out of a shady speakeasy or from a roaming band of minstrels. Twisting strings, subdued horns and piano, plodding rhythms and his unmistakably sandpaper-raw, billy goat's gruff voice. Smoky, sinister jazz and blues numbers entwine with looming, somber waltzes and darkly creeping, gutwrenching ballads. Although the music is definitely much more fleshed out than his great works like the Spare Change or Swordfishtrombones, this album offers many moments reminiscent of those releases. So enveloping and theatrical, if anyone's music can transport you spiralling down rabbit holes or indeed through the looking glass, his most definitely can. Recommended.
RealAudio clip: "Everything You Can Think"
RealAudio clip: "Kommienezuspadt"
RealAudio clip: "Barcarolle"
RealAudio clip: "Table Top Joe"

WAITS, TOM Alice (Anti) lp 11.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Now also on very reasonably priced vinyl!
Here's what we said about the cd: Approaching 30 years of making music, Tom Waits presents two wonderful albums at once, Blood Money and Alice. This collection, actually recorded many years ago but only now seeing its proper release, richly evokes particular moods and sounds of a world long gone, yet also captures a pure timeless beauty just like that of the Lewis Carroll tale. After all these years, it's truly a pleasure to see that he's still quite the wise, eccentric and immensely romantic fellow. There's such a consistency to all that he does, and that is made no clearer than when you stack these two albums up against one other. Alice is a mournful, weathered variety of songs one might just as fittingly hear coming out of a shady speakeasy or from a roaming band of minstrels. Twisting strings, subdued horns and piano, plodding rhythms and his unmistakably sandpaper-raw, billy goat's gruff voice. Smoky, sinister jazz and blues numbers entwine with looming, somber waltzes and darkly creeping, gutwrenching ballads. Although the music is definitely much more fleshed out than his great works like the Spare Change or Swordfishtrombones, this album offers many moments reminiscent of those releases. So enveloping and theatrical, if anyone's music can transport you spiralling down rabbit holes or indeed through the looking glass, his most definitely can. Recommended.
RealAudio clip: "Everything You Can Think"
RealAudio clip: "Kommienezuspadt"
RealAudio clip: "Barcarolle"
RealAudio clip: "Table Top Joe"

album cover WAITS, TOM Bad As Me (Anti) cd 17.98

album cover WAITS, TOM Bad As Me (Anti) lp 24.00

album cover WAITS, TOM Bad As Me (Deluxe Edition) (Anti) 2cd 26.00

WAITS, TOM Beautiful Maladies (Island) cd 15.98
A compilation of Tom's favorite songs ("Hang On St. Christopher," "Downtown Train," "Temptation," etc...) while signed to Island, handpicked by the artist himself... [Plea: If you have a video copy of the Tom Waits episode of Fishing With John, please get in touch!]

WAITS, TOM Black Rider (Island) cd 15.98

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