WEEN Quebec (Sanctuary) cd 17.98
Gene and Dean Ween are back, which is sure to be a cause for jubilation among many. However, we're not diehard Ween fans, and while there's titles in the Ween catalog we definitely enjoy, Quebec's not high up on that list. The best thing about it is the Motorhead pastiche that leads off the album. After that, they do what they do, but it's just not as funny as old Ween, although still quite as proficient musically. Total studio musician/songwriting hack chopsism. There's no easily-discerned theme, and we quickly lost interest after that Motorhead bit, as we said. *However*, had a hardcore Ween fan reviewed this for us, there's always the chance that they'd say we were missing something, so don't let us stop you from Ween-ing out with this one.
"It's Gonna Be a Long Night"
WEEN Shinola Vol. 1 (Chocodog) cd 16.98
WEEN The Mollusk (Elektra) cd 15.98
WEEN The Pod (Elektra) cd 18.98
WEEN White Pepper (Elektra) cd 16.98
With tons of cash for studio musicians and recording time you'd think a couple of creative stoners like Gene and Dean Ween could come up with gem after gem of sugary sweet and entertaining pop, but for some reason this ain't happening. The production is great, the musicians are great, but the joke is tired. Never the less, if you want a grandly produced effort of mock early eighties radio rock (a la Bread or America), this is your bag.
WEEVIL SERIES, THE Larva / Pupa / Adult 3 x 12" 31.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. We've been trying to track these down for ages, a mysterious set of dubstep 12"s, some of the coolest, darkest, grimiest dubstep we've heard, all housed in plain white sleeves, no info except for a stamp of either a larva, a pupa or an adult Weevil, that symbol designating which of the three Weevil Series 12"s it is. We decided it was probably better to sell these as a set, as they were difficult to track down, and had to be shipped overseas, and odds are if you want one, you're probably gonna want the set. Originally a customer sent us a link to some samples online and all it took was about 30 seconds and we were hooked. Dark and creepy, ominous and menacing, the sound rough and textured and raw and not at all slick or glossy, the beats, slipping from dubstep stutter to almost jungle skitter, the background a swirl of spaced out effects, deep bass swells, mysterious voices, and when the beat drops, it drops hard, the bass buzzing, thick and corrosive. The first volume, Larva, is seriously grimy, muted buried rhythms and roiling black clouds, the beat gradually growing more intense, the drop huge, the beat nearly knocking us over, the dubstep definitely a little jungly. The second track offers up some super effected distorted dancehall style toasting over an echo drenched beat, and warped bass warble, and the drop here too is fierce, the bass a fat fuzzed out wobble, the beat jagged and stuttery, a super raga style dubbed out groove that kills. The final track gets a bit more darksteppy, the tempo cranked up, definitely more jungle than dubstep, the beat wreathed in clouds of squelch and synthy squiggle, and peppered with bits of African Head Charge like ambience. So good. And the second volume, Pupa, is just as good, starting out with a clipped lurching groove, and some vocals that are chopped up and transformed into a weird sort of bassy hiccup, almost like a croaking frog, the beat stripped down and minimal, all skitter, wreathed in clouds of swirling psychedelic hiss and whir, and haunting black ambience, a strangely off kilter hip hop-ish chunk of dark dark dubstep. The second track mixes it up again, setting the beat against a backdrop of woozy synth swirl, wrapped around a skipping chunk of warbly bass buzz, wrapped in swirls of glitch and static, the sound more laid back and droney, hypnotic and washed out, which leads into the final track, a big block rockin beat, laid over fuzzed out bass, and all sorts of dubby effects and extra percussion, again, with some swirly synths laid down in the background. Finally, the set finishes off with part three, Adult, which shifts gears again, the first track a murky bit of super minimal droned out mesmer, the beat, muted and buried beneath a field of static, and blurred low end fuzz, laced with random bits of clatter, like some super abstract Chain Reaction Heroin House take on lo-fi dubstep, crusty, and sinister, and abstract and haunting and AWESOME. The second track continues in the same direction, similarly minimal and stripped down, not nearly as murky, but with a seriously clinical, motorik clipped beat, surrounded by Geiger counter like chitter, all over little flurries of high hat, and subtle bits of dubbed out FX, super hypnotic and WAY too short. Finally, the closing track picks up the pace, that creepy processed raga like toasting returns, over metallic clouds of billowy bass, the beats laid back and stripped way down, the thick buzzing bass pulse driving the groove, everything surrounded by what sounds like field recordings of a forest or jungle, a darkly psychedelic bit of dubbed out bass heavy murk. So good. We haven't stopped listening to these since we first got them in. Dubstep jam of the year? Last year? This year? Any year? Hell yeah!! Each 12" is limited to 300 copies, hand numbered, and hand stamped, all in plain white sleeves. And remember we're selling all three 12"s together as a single set.
"Larve A1" MPEG Stream:
"Larve A2" MPEG Stream:
WEEZER Hurley (Epitaph) cd 15.98
No one with a pop bone in their bodies can argue that the first Weezer record (the Blue album) is anything but an all time classic pop record, a practically perfect slab of indie rock / power pop. Most of those same folks loved Pinkerton too, record number two, flawed, but in an awesomely idiosyncratic and crazy catchy way. Even the Green album, record #3, had some great songs, the Weezer sound was still intact, and sure there were some misfires, but those were made up for by some serious gems. Maladroit was an underdog record, revisiting it now, it's pretty dang good, but at the time, it was, to Weezer fans, all but the most obsessive, the beginning of the end. Make Believe is where most of us gave up, the insipid hit single "Beverly Hills" the worst offender, but the record, as well as the one that followed, the Red album, were pretty much total writeoffs. Mainman Rivers Cuomo was more of a novelty song writer and occasional tabloid personality. Then something happened with Raditude. The last record, awesomely stupid cover art, and some lame collaborations, but there were some seriously almost classic Weezer jams hidden in there. And now we come to Hurley, their latest, and maybe best in a long while, weirdly enough, it's also their first NOT on a major label, but whatever, the important thing is, this record is pretty good. That classic Weezer sound in full effect, the thick chugging guitars, the vocal harmonies, the soaring power pop choruses, the goofy pop culture referencing lyrics, but for the first time in a long time it actually works, and even the weird experimental bits, acoustic ballads, some synth drum machine drive groovers, they all sort of work. It's no masterpiece, that's for sure, if you want a Weezer masterpiece, go get the self titled debut, or if you want some Weezerish perfect pop, check out the Ovens, but if you've been dying for a great Weezer record, well then this might be the one. Or if not great, pretty dang good. And we're digging it more and more with every listen! And did we mention the awesomely ridiculous cover art, a picture of Hurley from the TV show Lost! Recommended, mostly for longtime Weezer fans, but heck, it's definitely good enough that it might win over some new fans for sure...
"Memories" MPEG Stream:
"Ruling Me" MPEG Stream:
WEEZER Make Believe (Geffen) cd 16.98
Oh Weezer, we read and hear so much about Rivers Cuomo and his dysfunctional band, and all the lineup changes and how he's giving up music to go back to school and he's going to be celibate but then WAIT, a new record is in the works, but the band hates each other, but he is still the master of pop music, and they're on the cover of Rolling Stone and on and on and on. You think with that kind of drama and attention this 5 years in the works new Weezer record would be tense and intense and emotionally fragile and darkly aggressive and maybe the pop record to end all pop records. But it's not. Not even close. It's tepid, Weezer-by-the-numbers, the single "Beverly Hills" is the most anemic pop song we've heard in ages, with embarassingly trite lyrics and a hook that has been used in no less than 5 other Weezer songs. But wait, things definitely pick up after that, a return to Weezer of old? Not quite, but it's not all that bad, in fact some of the songs are pretty darn good. It's no blue album, it's no Pinkerton, it's no green album either. But that's a whole lot to hope for. And while he may be a pop genius, anyone so distracted by school and personal insecurity and band unrest would be hard pressed to squeeze out a masterpiece. But a masterpiece is what we expect, and we know he's capable of it. He's pulled it off at least three times! It just feels like the passion is gone, the fire, the emotion, like Weezer is no longer something he NEEDS to do, just something he has to do. It still sounds great, in fact better than ever, BIG Rick Rubin production, big guitars, lush harmonies, but the songs just don't live up to the sound. That said, we still LOVE Weezer, we've been dying for this record to come out, and we'll hang on to this, and listen to it over and over, hoping that the pop genius is of the slow growing variety, and eventually it will just hit us, and then we'll feel pretty dumb for writing this review. Here's hoping!
"Beverly Hills" MPEG Stream:
"Perfect Situation" MPEG Stream:
"This Is Such A Pity"
WEEZER Maladroit (Geffen) cd 16.98
I have to be honest, I sort of outgrew Weezer (or maybe they outgrew me) after their second record, Pinkerton, which while not a bad record at all, in fact a fantastic record, definitely showed signs of, how can I say this, a sort of laziness, a "the sound is there but where are the songs?" sort of thing. I think one of the problems is that they set the bar so high with the first record, where EVERY song was, or could have been a huge hit. Pinkerton was about half and half, and after that they seemd to just be going through the motions. That said, there -were- some kick ass tunes on the 'green' record, and there are some awesome tracks on this here record too. Check out the sound clip for 'Keep Fishin', kind of Cheap Trick and the Sweet with a sort of MTV pop punk vibe. Fans already obviously have this, but newcomers to the land of Weezer would be better served picking up the first two Weezer records before venturing into records three and four.
"American Gigolo" RealAudio clip:
"Dope Nose" RealAudio clip:
WEEZER Pinkerton (DGC) cd 12.98
WEEZER s/t (red) (Geffen) cd 17.98
Just knowing that this band made Pinkerton makes the fact that this record sounds like a weird mash up of Sugar Ray and The Offspring that much more depressing. Though the YouTube based single/video "Frank and Beans" is pretty funny.
"Pork And Beans" MPEG Stream:
WEEZER Weezer (Geffen) cd 17.98
The first peep from these guys after a five year absence! And sure as heck it's full of those familiar power guitar melodies and sunshine-y, super-boy vocal harmonies. So why don't I feel any better? What's wrong? What's missing? Well for one thing the lyrical twists and odd subject matter for which Weezer were well known are nowhere to be found. And there just doesn't seem to be anything to distinguish this album as a Weezer record. Certainly it's got good pop tunes, but sorta in a faceless not-really-all-that-catchy kind of way. Fans obviously must own this, but even their admittedly weak last album Pinkerton was catchier and more distinctly Weezer. Oh well. Check out records by The Stereo, or the Get Up Kids or Reggie and the Full Effect to see how the students have surpassed their teachers.
WEGMULLER, WALTER Tarot (Spalax) 2cd 32.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. This 1973 krautrock rarity was reissued a few years ago as a deluxe box set complete with reproductions of the Tarot cards designed by German gypsy painter Walter Wegmuller. That uber-expensive deluxe version quickly went out of print, and now we have a nicely presented double cd set of the same music, minus the cards. The 21 tracks on here are, however, dedicated to the Major Arcana of the Tarot deck. Whether you're into the mysticism of this or not, its the trippy "kosmiche" krautrock music that makes this worthy of purchase. Wegmuller (with producer Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser) directed an all-star cast of German underground musicians including Manuel Gottsching, Walter Westrupp, and Dieter Dirks in creating a sometimes maniacal, sometimes zoned-out krautrock classic. It really is similar to early Ash Ra Tempel, Brainticket, or the Cosmic Jokers (indeed, the cast of musicians pretty much IS the Cosmic Jokers). Wild, weird stuff that wanders from electronic soundscapes with portentous voice-overs to acid guitar freakouts to mellow flute-led folk jams... Every track/card is different. If you can tolerate some of the hippy excesses (and the talking), this has much to offer. We can imagine that the Current 93/NWW folks must have been really into this!
"Die Hohepriesterin" RealAudio clip:
WEGNER, BASTIAN Elmsfeuer (Sahko) cd 24.00
WEHOWSKY, RALF & BRUCE RUSSELL Sights (Corpus Hermeticum) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
WEINBERG METHOD, THE ...of Non-Synthetic Electronic Rock (Normal ) cd 14.98
One of the most gleefully eccentric albums around right now is a re-issue from 1970! Fans of the bizarre genius of Bruce Haack and Raymond Scott gather 'round! Heck, you're undoubtedly already more than familiar with Mr. Fred Weinberg, but for those of us who missed it the first time around... Here's 18 tinkly twinky twisted compositions (including 7 bonus tracks) that would probably be deadringers for television theme songs and commercial jingles if they were being performed on a more - ahem! - traditional array of instruments, but such is not the case! The Weinberg Method involves the electronic manipulation and mutation of "natural" sounds (y'know, from the world around you: car horns honking, sirens squealing, toilets flushing, hearts beating, etc). These sounds are then inserted where those of the string, horn or percussion instruments would have been. Incredibly strange music indeed! We should also note that the liner notes suggest "this album be played at 33, 45 and 78 rpm." Kinda hard to do on a cd, but probably well worth the effort!
"A Child's Life" RealAudio clip:
"Animosity" RealAudio clip:
"Keen Machine" RealAudio clip:
WEINBERG METHOD, THE ...of Non-Synthetic Electronic Rock (Normal ) lp 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. One of the most gleefully eccentric albums around right now is a re-issue from 1970! Fans of the bizarre genius of Bruce Haack and Raymond Scott gather 'round! Heck, you're undoubtedly already more than familiar with Mr. Fred Weinberg, but for those of us who missed it the first time around... Here's 18 tinkly twinky twisted compositions (including 7 bonus tracks) that would probably be deadringers for television theme songs and commercial jingles if they were being performed on a more - ahem! - traditional array of instruments, but such is not the case! The Weinberg Method involves the electronic manipulation and mutation of "natural" sounds (y'know, from the world around you: car horns honking, sirens squealing, toilets flushing, hearts beating, etc). These sounds are then inserted where those of the string, horn or percussion instruments would have been. Incredibly strange music indeed! We should also note that the liner notes suggest "this album be played at 33, 45 and 78 rpm." Kinda hard to do on a cd, but probably well worth the effort!
"A Child's Life" RealAudio clip:
"Animosity" RealAudio clip:
"Keen Machine" RealAudio clip:
WEINSTEIN, DAVID Perfume (Avant) cd 19.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Equipped with naught but a sampler, Weinstein creates disjointed, alienated soundtracks that sound like Tipsy without the groove. His pieces swing between a nostalgia for the music of the past, and premonition of the music of the future.
WEINSTEIN, DEENA Heavy Metal: The Music And Its Culture (Da Capo Press) book 17.00
Chicago university professor Deena Weinstein unleashes the revised edition of her 1991 scholarly study of heavy metal!! We loved her on NPR's Anthem talkshow, playing Emperor and other metal, and discussing the differences between speed metal, thrash metal, and black metal, in an intellectual, but genuinely enthusiastic manner, unlike some of the 'ironic' poseurs featured on the same show, who shall remain nameless. Weinstein's book is a balanced and academic look at heavy metal music, its fans, and its role in society. This new edition adds a new 'Metal in the '90s' chapter, as well as an updated list of '100 Definitive Metal Albums' that now includes Arcturus and At The Gates, In Flames and Hammerfall, etc. Essential for all serious fans of either cultural studies or heavy metal, preferably both!
WEIRD OWL Ever The Silver Cord Be Loosed (Tee Pee) cd 14.98
WEIRD WAR If You Can't Beat 'Em, Bite 'Em (Drag City) cd 14.98
Aka the Scene Creamers.
WEIRD WAR Illuminated By The Light (Drag City) cd 14.98
"Mental Poisoning" MPEG Stream:
"Put It In Your Pocket"
WEIRD WEEDS Hold Me (Zum) lp 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Now on Vinyl! We listed the latest record by Texas folk pop ensemble the Weird Weeds a few lists back, and everybody dug it like crazy, so we got in touch with the band and got a handful of their first record, Hold Me. Which is just as good! A dizzying blend of random ethereal popness and shimmery dreamlike folkiness with a healthy heaping of arty angularity. Slightly confusional and a little schizophrenic, but the Weird Weeds' off kilter playfulness is exactly what makes this combo so totally appealing. Fun and freaked out, but always soft and dreamy, even at their most convoluted. One side of the band's sound is all fluttery flutes and swoonsome strings, little bits of strum and twang wrapped into perfect little nuggets of sunshine-y West Coast pop. A little country, a little hippy, all super sun dappled with plaintive vocals and simple minor key strumming. The other side of their sound is a much more obtuse assemblage of stumbling drums, twinkling guitar harmonics, lots of tangled squiggly almost metallic guitar solos over wildly strummed acoustic guitars, a constant angular Deerhoof art-rockiness that perfectly plays to the interaction between super high sad boy vocals and dreamy angelic female vocals. While these guys are definitely far out, and these songs are not at all straight forward, the weirdness never overshadows their pop sense, which makes Hold Me a total delight for pop kidz and artrock nerds alike.
"Paratrooper Seed" MPEG Stream:
WEIRD WEEDS Weird Feelings (Sounds Are Active) cd 11.98
We're not exactly sure how we stumbled upon the Weird Weeds, a mysterious experimental pop outfit from Texas, but we're sure glad we did. This, their second full length, is totally captivating and weird as fuck. Even the opening one two punch is sort of confusingly brilliant, the sweet opening track, softly strummed guitar, simple chimes, and harmonized female vocals, followed by the bizarre rhythmic workout of the second track, a processed whump of a rhythm track, quickly surrounded by effervescent swirls of droning high end, and gorgeous intertwined vocals. It is definitely pop, but unlike any pop we've ever heard. Maybe the closest comparison would be Animal Collective, but Weird Weeds are a whole different animal, the core of their sound seems to be an upper register drift, be it some weird metallic shimmer, high end guitar jangle, or the dreamy female vocals combined with the mostly falsetto male vocals. And just as important to WW's sound is percussion. Every song leans heavily on whatever off kilter rhythm the band establishes, often lurching from near static shuffle to a loping pound, and just as quickly back again. The song structure is a bit off kilter as well, super complex and convoluted, sounding either like a pop band afflicted with the worse case of ADD ever, or like each song is a composite of 10 or 20 other little songs. The effect is intoxicating, and when the band unfurls a twangy little ditty, you find yourself braced for the inevitable shift to some other random melodic tangent, and when it sometimes doesn't come, you find yourself being almost disappointed. Hard to believe such a massive expansive sound could come from such a compact ensemble. And that the simplest ingredients, guitar, percussion and vocals, could be whipped into such a heady psychedelia! Droney, drifty, twangy, dreamy and strangely lovely.
"Weird Feelings" MPEG Stream:
"Nose To The Wind" MPEG Stream:
"In Your Arms" MPEG Stream:
WEIRD WEEDS, THE Hold Me (Digitalis) cd 11.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. We listed the latest record by Texas folk pop ensemble the Weird Weeds a few lists back, and everybody dug it like crazy, so we got in touch with the band and got a handful of their first record, Hold Me. Which is just as good! A dizzying blend of random ethereal popness and shimmery dreamlike folkiness with a healthy heaping of arty angularity. Slightly confusional and a little schizophrenic, but the Weird Weeds' off kilter playfulness is exactly what makes this combo so totally appealing. Fun and freaked out, but always soft and dreamy, even at their most convoluted. One side of the band's sound is all fluttery flutes and swoonsome strings, little bits of strum and twang wrapped into perfect little nuggets of sunshine-y West Coast pop. A little country, a little hippy, all super sun dappled with plaintive vocals and simple minor key strumming. The other side of their sound is a much more obtuse assemblage of stumbling drums, twinkling guitar harmonics, lots of tangled squiggly almost metallic guitar solos over wildly strummed acoustic guitars, a constant angular Deerhoof art-rockiness that perfectly plays to the interaction between super high sad boy vocals and dreamy angelic female vocals. While these guys are definitely far out, and these songs are not at all straight forward, the weirdness never overshadows their pop sense, which makes Hold Me a total delight for pop kidz and artrock nerds alike.
"Paratrooper Seed" MPEG Stream:
WEIRD WEEDS, THE I Miss This (Auto Bus) cd 14.98
WEIS, MIKE Loop Current (Barge) lp 14.98
WEISMAN, KURT Spiritual Sci-Fi (Important Records) cd 14.98
While we were fans of Kurt Weisman's previous project Feathers, this first solo outing on Important has really thrown us for a loop. Spazzy sped up strings, sprightly jigs, woodwind-led free jazz and wincing pitch-shifted vocals remind us more of Cocorosie than the Van Dyke Parks comparisons touted on the label. Weird? Definitely. Wonderful? Not so much.
"The Young Pioneers Discover Magic" MPEG Stream:
"Mother Daughter Day"
WEISMAN, KURT (FEATHERS) More is More (Mad Monk) 7" 8.98
We had Kurt from Feathers' solo cd-r in stock a while ago and we loved it. A warbly and weird lo-fi folk, but it sounded like his little brother was constantly fucking with the knobs on his 4-track while he was recording it. Slowing down, speeding up, weird little glitchy hiccups. It added a whole 'nother layer of weirdness to what was essentially dreamy fey folk. On this most recent 7", everything we loved about the cd-r is pushed even farther out. The high reedy vocals are now even higher and sound almost like the Chipmunks. The sonic irregularities and recording glitches that peppered the cd-r, are now EVERYWHERE, the whole record is buried under strange effects, warbling warpage, squiggles of psychedelic guitar are splattered all over the place. This is seriously druggy and tripped out stuff. The first things that came to mind when we threw this on were: Ariel Pink, Christmas carols and It's A Small World After All. That should give you a good idea of the glorious strangeness we're talking about here. A glitchy lo fi psychedelia equal parts Feathers, Tiny Tim, Daniel Johnston, Ariel Pink, nursery rhymes and lots and lots of weed! Packaged in a goofy comic book style sleeve with a hot pink insert/lyric sheet. SUPER LIMITED. WE ONLY GOT 10 COPIES FROM THE BAND WHEN THEY WERE HERE ON TOUR...
WEISS, ALEX QUARTET Make Your Own Lightning (Chahatatadra Music) cd 10.98
WEISS, DAVID Virtuoso Saw (EM Records) cd 19.98
Ok, it's definitely a gimmick. But a good one. David Weiss's 1985 album Virtuoso Saw is not just skating on "novelty record" ice, but actively sawing through the stuff (sorry). This is the fourth cd we've listed from the quirky Japanese label EM Records that showcases their obsession (quickly becoming ours too) with the instrument known as the musical, or singing, saw. A carpenter's steel saw bowed in such a way as to make a mellifluous sound, not unlike the wavering, haunting tones of an electronic Theremin. Virtuoso Saw sees Weiss, as one of the few, proud, masters of the instrument, showing how it can transform both classical and pop tunes. You'll hear his saw sing on such chestnuts as "Misty" (with the saw, soooo dreamy) and "Sweet Georgia Brown" (jaunty, yet given a dose of the unfamiliar with the saw). In addition, Weiss plays Simon and Garfunkel, Gershwin, Satie, Saint-Saens, Ravel, Bizet, Bach, and the Beatles -- three tunes from them, "Eleanor Rigby", "Yesterday", and "When I'm 64". Oh, and he even does, believe it or not, "Rainbow Connection" from The Muppet Movie. How cool is that? Sends the kitsch value of this, already high, through the roof!! Weiss's saw is set against lush orchestrations for strings performed by members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic (there's photos in the cd booklet of them playing at the Hollywood Bowl). Doubtless it was considered funny to see a guy in a tuxedo playing a saw... but maybe for us it's also a good excuse to listen to unique versions of some music that would otherwise not get a lot of play here at AQ even though we've got to admit it's quite nice! So if you've got EM's Jim Leonard and Sam Moore and Noahlewis' Mahlon Taits cds, your collection is not complete until you pick this up too... particularly if you were into Leonard's Super Saw disc, you'll want this, as it's a similarly impressive technical tour-de-force, updating the saw's repertoire to include a few more popular tunes of the rock era, such as those by Lennon/McCartney. We wonder what EM's gonna dig up next for our musical saw section!
"Misty" MPEG Stream:
WELCH, GILLIAN Hell Among the Yearlings (Almo Sounds) cd 12.98
Lauded alt.country singer's second album produced by T-Bone Burnett. It's Allan's favorite of her several fine albums so far.
"My Morphine" MPEG Stream:
WELCH, GILLIAN Revival (Acony) cd 13.98
Debut release from this amazing country singer songwriter, an all time AQ favorite.
WELCH, GILLIAN Soul Journey (Acony) cd 12.98
Why do I love Ms. Welch SO much? I dunno. Love is like that. Maybe 'cause of her careworn, exquisite voice, which she puts to such good use on songs that channel Appalachian woe and slacker angst. Maybe because she's so smart and charming and talented. Maybe 'cause she's so funny in concert... Ah, yes, she's wonderful. And so of course people like me are gonna be thrilled to hear her new album. While the title "Soul Journey" might sound corny this record isn't. Much of this sees Welch with a full backing band (including one guy from Son Volt), but it still sounds real intimate. And don't worry, Welch's partner, guitarist David Rawlings is on board too. From slow, rocking numbers to old timey ballads, Welch, Rawlings, and co. mesh rootsy "Oh Brother Where Art Thou" stuff with an indie-rock, alt-country perspective. Her songs are sad and forlorn, but also so gorgeous and comforting. What a treasure.
"Look At Miss Ohio" MPEG Stream:
"No One Knows My Name"
WELCH, GILLIAN The Harrow & The Harvest (Acony) cd 16.98
Geez, has it really been 8 years since Gillian Welch last captivated us with a new album? It's hard to believe we've gone on all this time without her darkly bittersweet country-folk songs applying a soothing balm to our troubled souls. But her return to recording couldn't have had better timing as her music, so rooted in Depression-era bluegrass and early country styles, gels so well with our currently dire economic times, offering a gothic and desperate vision of heartbreak, loss and courage that is instantly relatable, yet makes us feel less vulnerable to the harsh cruelties of living that her protagonists endure. Besides the long gap in time, not much has changed in Welch's (and her musical partner David Rawlings) sound or approach and that is just fine! Keeping the arrangements as stark as ever, there is only acoustic guitar, banjo, harmonicas and some hand and knee slaps along with the couple's peerless vocal harmonies as they waver between fatalistic folk songs, gospel-tinged bluegrass, and murder ballads. This is one of Welch's best records in a discography that has never wavered far from stunning. And speaking of stunning, the cover designed by Baroness singer, John Dyer Baizley is a beautifully unique letterpress print on thick handmade paper stock. A video of how the cover was made can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_Mz_imdISk. Of course long-time fans will want to scoop this up, but if you are new to Welch's haunting and harrowing voice and vision, The Harrow and The Harvest is a good place to start. It's definitely as good as if not better than Time (the Revelator) and Hell Among The Yearlings (our other two favorites of hers), making this absolutely essential!!
"The Way It Goes" MPEG Stream:
"Silver Dagger" MPEG Stream:
"The Way The Whole Thing Ends"
WELCH, GILLIAN The Revelator Collection (Acony) dvd 19.98
Who doesn't love alt-country songstress Gillian Welch and her musical partner David Rawlings? I kinda feel sorry for you if you don't. Anyway, chances are you're a fan, it seems most AQ-customers are. And fans should be pretty happy with this release, a DVD featuring the three videos shot for Welch's last release "Time (The Revelator)", plus nine songs filmed live in concert last year, five of which don't appear on any of Welch's albums! It's about an hour's worth of music total, and best of all -- it's in black and white! That's just perfect. Welch and Rawlings are wonderful live performers, so charming and funny that they make what they do seem easy, when of course it's not. Rawlings' impressive guitar solos, the duo's lovely vocal harmonies, Welch's brilliant lyrics...so good. See 'em live if you can -- checking out this DVD should definitely inspire you to do so. If it's not too early to start thinking about Christmas gifts, this seems like an idea...
WELCH, GILLIAN Time (The Revelator) (Acony Records) cd 16.98
The third album of (alternative is it?) country-folk from singer/songwriter Gillian Welch, following up 1998's "Hell Among The Yearlings", which became a big favorite here at Aquarius (and elsewhere too of course!). Primarily focused on lonely acoustic guitar and Welch's lovely voice, "Time" is generally slow, quiet and melancholy, but perhaps with less of the dark Appalchian death ride vibe that "Hell" possessed -- Welch mixes things up with the very pretty Patsy Cline-ish track "Dear Someone", and there's a couple of other more up-beat numbers on here too, but the achingly beautiful, old-timey downer Welch-songs that we love so much aren't neglected. Heck, the album closes with the nearly fifteen-minute long (!) slow-mo lovesong "I Dream A Highway".
"Everything Is Free" RealAudio clip:
"Dear Someone" RealAudio clip:
"My First Lover"
WELCOME Sirs (Fat Cat) cd 14.98
This Seattle band has a name and album title ripe for an Abbott & Costello skit. Welcome! Sirs! Polite niceties aside, this is some tweaked, disjointed retro-pop that seems deeply indebted to The Soft Boys, The Pixies, The Breeders, Pavement and oh, maybe a little (or a lot) of The Beatles too. The ten tunes are played out on lanky electric guitar and loosely slung bass with singers who could almost convince us that they're the rambunctious offspring of Kim Deal and Robyn Hitchcock.
"All Set" MPEG Stream:
WELCOME WAGON Welcome To The Welcome Wagon (Asthmatic kitty) cd 14.98
WELL OF SOULS s/t (Brainticket) cd 13.98
Elsewhere on this week's list you'll find a review of Into The Depths of Sorrow, the reissued 1991 debut from Texan doomsters Solitude Aeturnus. From the same label also comes this brand-new debut from another Texas EPIC DOOM METAL act who obviously take after Solitude Aeturnus in many ways. On Well of Souls' self-titled album, fans of doomful epickosity will find much in the way of chunky guitar riffage, utter dark dirge atmosphere, and tricky, technical prog parts, over which clean, witchy male vocals wave like a clenched fist in the air. There's light and shade, but mostly shade. They don't stray far from their influences (Solitude Aeturnus, Candlemass, Confessor, modern Euro power metal, and old-school '80s American Metal Blade bands like Fates Warning) but they do what they do with power and perfection. The second half of the disc is occupied by the impressively indulgent "Black Reign" -- a suite in three parts, each around ten minutes in length. Epic indeed!
"The Realms Of Reverie" MPEG Stream:
"Black Reign Pt. 1 - The Dawn Of Antiquity"
WELLES, ORSON Your Obedient Servant (El Records) cd 17.98
WELLINGTON DYAA (Deep Six Records) cd 9.98
Super-heavy crusty metal merchants from Tempe, Arizona. Pretty intense. For fans of Dystopia, Eyehategod, that sort of thing. We like. This discography cd collects the complete works of this now defunct band: their LP, 7"s, comp tracks, unreleased songs, that sort of thing.
WELLS, BILL & ISOBEL CAMPBELL Ghost Of Yesterday (Creeping Bent) cd ep 12.98
Isobel Campbell seems to be making the most of her post Belle & Sebastian music making days. Exploring different sides of herself and collaborating with a range of artists. After her recent outings with Mark Lanegan she now takes off the boots and and handkerchief and trades them in for some dim light, red wine and her take on some lesser know Billy Holiday gems. Bill Wells, a great piano player who has released some great records on Geographic as well as Leaf lays down the keys, guitar and some tasteful electronics that allow Campbell's totally enticing voice to create the tender mood that these songs call for. Like the best kind of covers these songs use just a skeleton of the original's in making something that stand's on its own while bowing gracefully to legacy of Billie Holiday. This recording was actually made a few years ago and was pretty much impossible to get hands on but luckily it has finally been made available. This melts so deliciously!
"Who Needs You?" MPEG Stream:
"Somebody's On My Mind"
WELLS, BILL & MAHER SHALAL HASH BAZ Osaka Bridge (Karaoke Kalk) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. For a Scottish so-called jazz pianist, Bill Wells sure has lots of indie-rock cred, having had help at times in making his dreamy, mellow music from members of Belle and Sebastian and The Pastels, fellow Glaswegians to be sure. But with this new Osaka Bridge album he taps into the willfully naive soundworld of one of our very favorite underground Japanese psych-pop ensembles, the one and only Maher Shalal Hash Baz, teaming up with them presumably thanks to their shared connection with The Pastels' Geographic label. The music here is mostly written by Wells, but when filtered through the playing of his Japanese friends, it sounds so much like theirs. MSHB's childlike, almost Shaggsy musicianship semi-struggles playfully with Wells' compositions, making each track all the more beautiful for its fragility and simplicity of execution. Their approach, however lacking in musical chops, is perfect for what we know of Wells' penchant for melodious sound-sketches. In collaboration with MSHB, this is slow, languid, rainy day music... even the poppiest moments have a bittersweet aura. MSHB's trademark wavering horns are in full not-quite-jazz mode, and some of this sort of sounds like a '60s or '70 TV show theme music in spots, like Love American Style or a sitcom or something -- but that's not a diss, it's really pretty. Even prettier, are the tracks featuring beautiful, sad singing from Reiko Kudo, wife of MSHB leader Tori Kudo. Exquisite.
"Liquorice Tics" MPEG Stream:
"Time Takes Me So Back"
WELLS, BILL / STEFAN SCHNEIDER / ANNIE WHITEHEAD / BARBARA MORGENSTERN Pick Up Sticks (Leaf) cd 11.98
Bill Wells and co. keep it short 'n' sweet on Pick Up Sticks (just shy of 21 minutes long) -- a subdued and unobtrusive improv of brass, synths, bass, keyboards and melodica. Although the overall atmosphere is airy and drifting, the focus of the eight numbers is on the smattering of Annie Whitehead's hazily hushed trombone. Slow, cautious and contemplative much like the title suggests. Nice!
"Family Sighs" MPEG Stream:
WELLS, BILL TRIO Also In White (Geographic) cd 16.98
Whoa! The Bill Wells Trio are pouring out some smooth, easy-listenin' jazz full of mellow piano, baritone sax, trumpet, and harmonica. It immediately transported me back to the highschool years. Y'know, the kind of dinner jazz performed by the school's senior ensemble at the year-end assembly that made the brass players' parents beam with pride and want to dance the night away? There's even a song called "Jab The Chemistry Teacher"! In indie circles, this may succeed in doing for soft jazz just what Rachel's did a few years back for chamber music. The lone track that differs in pace among the ten - much more antsy and perked up - is "New Ascending Staircase" (catch that Marcel Duchamp/Salvador Dali reference?). The guest list runs the music gamut, from avant-jazz multi-instrumentalist Lindsay Cooper (playing tuba on "Presentation Piece #1" and bass on "D.A.D.E.") to The Pastels' Stephen and Katrina (providing keyboards and vocals respectively on "D.A.D.E.").
"Presentation Piece #1" RealAudio clip:
"New Ascending Staircase" RealAudio clip:
WELLS, BILL TRIO Also In White (Geographic) lp 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Whoa! The Bill Wells Trio are pouring out some smooth, easy-listenin' jazz full of mellow piano, baritone sax, trumpet, and harmonica. It immediately transported me back to the highschool years. Y'know, the kind of dinner jazz performed by the school's senior ensemble at the year-end assembly that made the brass players' parents beam with pride and want to dance the night away? There's even a song called "Jab The Chemistry Teacher"! In indie circles, this may succeed in doing for soft jazz just what Rachel's did a few years back for chamber music. The lone track that differs in pace among the ten - much more antsy and perked up - is "New Ascending Staircase" (catch that Marcel Duchamp/Salvador Dali reference?). The guest list runs the music gamut, from avant-jazz multi-instrumentalist Lindsay Cooper (playing tuba on "Presentation Piece #1" and bass on "D.A.D.E.") to The Pastels' Stephen and Katrina (providing keyboards and vocals respectively on "D.A.D.E.").
"Presentation Piece #1" RealAudio clip:
"New Ascending Staircase" RealAudio clip:
WELLS, BILL TRIO Incorrect Practice (Geographic) cd 14.98
A refreshing surprise from the Geographic label out of Scotland (said label headed by Stephen of the Pastels), the Bill Wells Trio is an instrumental outfit composed primarily of piano, trumpet, and harmonica. While this is certainly not jazz, or even jazz lite, there's something in the delicate evocative quietness of this group that nonetheless reminds us of late '50s cool jazz -- unhurried, purposeful, swirling pastoral sketches that wouldn't be out of place in some arthouse film about a boy coming of age, or "Love Story", or a French new wave film set in a fishing village. Heartbreaking chord changes. Modest grandiosity. Stevie Jackson (Belle and Sebastian second guitarist) contributes just gorgeous, wistful, Morricone-worthy harmonica. It's lovely! Fans of the Rachels, Halifax Pier -- heads up! We can only hope for another album, and soon, 'cause our only complaint about this one is that it's way too short (20 minutes or so!)...
"Incorrect Practice" RealAudio clip:
WELLS, SCOTT Day Songs (Root Strata) cd-r 9.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Another ultra limited cd-r from Root Strata, only 100 copies, most of which are already gone, so we'll be brief, but grab one of these before they're gone, it's quite lovely. A mere 20 minutes long, a series of hushed barely there ultra delicate guitarscapes, all drift and shimmer, breathless and minimal, a glacial swirl of muted tones, and subtle overtones, no attack, just decay, notes left to hang as they slowly fade out, only to have another hazy note laid over the top. Dreamy and ethereal and ephemeral, strap on some headphones to truly get lost in these blurred stretches of soft focus guitar, you'll most likely end up setting your player on repeat, laying back, and letting these sounds carry you away. So gorgeous. As is the packaging, brown chipboard, sleeves with a hole cut out, each one displaying a water colored insert, every one unique, all done by hand, and LIMITED TO 100 COPIES...
"Untitled I" MPEG Stream:
WELLWATER CONSPIRACY Declaration of Conformity (Third Gear) cd 12.98
Ex-Monster Magnet member and 2 ex-Soundgarden folks delve into 60's psyche-pop. Includes covers of obscure Japanese beat groups. Limited lp version on Super-Electro also available. The tastemakers at Ptolemaic Terrascope are big fans of this group.