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Last updated:
08 February 2016

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Check out this week's special inbetween list:
NEW ARRIVALS List #493.5 - Super Bowl Sunday Sale (Seriously) (05 February 2016)

Just some of the Highlights of the week of 45 items on
NEW ARRIVALS #493 (29 January 2016)

album cover THIS HEAT s/t (Modern Classics) lp 26.00
Oooh, at last nicely reissued on vinyl, automatic Records Of The Week!!! What more is there to say that we haven't already said (at length, below, you'll see) about these This Heat records? Other than that these new vinyl editions, timed for the band's 40th anniversary, are on 180-gram vinyl in gatefold jackets, with booklet insert.
Trying to explain why this record is so good is sort of like trying to explain why ice cream is so delicious.
Or maybe it's kind of like writing an introduction for the new Pynchon novel. Or telling a few jokes before Richard Pryor comes on stage. Or throwing a couple quick passes before Joe Montana comes on the field. It's that daunting, that overwhelming, that impossible.
The trio of Charles Hayward, Charles Bullen, and Gareth Williams known collectively as This Heat were one of the few bands that literally changed people's lives. Changed the way folks thought about music. I (Andee) couldn't believe music like this actually existed. It was everything I wanted to listen to before I knew that THIS was exactly what I wanted to listen to. Hit It Or Quit It publisher / rock critic / indie scenstress Jessica Hopper once wrote that she literally pee'd her pants the first time she heard This Heat. And it's not hard to see why. Without This Heat, modern, alternative, avant garde music as we know it would be a whole different beast. Post rock, math rock, avant rock are hugely indebted to the genre shattering experimentalism of This Heat. Tortoise, You Fantastic, Yona Kit, Brise Glace, Psychic Paramount, Laddio Bolocko, Radian, Village Of Savoonga, Larsen, Starfuckers, Circle, Salvatore, I Am Spoonbender - none of those bands would even exist if it weren't for This Heat, or if they still did you can bet they would sound a whole lot different. And that's just off the top of our heads, AND that's -just- bands whose sound directly reflects the influence of This Heat. Imagine how many performers and artists were influenced by This Heat but who let that influence manifest itself in not so obvious ways.
We once described This Heat as "Krautrock-ish hyper rhythmic tape-looped prog." Which comes close to succinctly describing the magical musical alchemy of This Heat, but still only scratches the surface. This is their self titled debut, originally released in 1979, which manages over the course of about 50 minutes to redefine almost all music that has come before.
The sound of This Heat is rhythm and texture and dynamics. The recording studio as instrument. Every sound and every song is based on rhythm and texture. There are hooks, and melodies, but they exist to serve the rhythm and are often born from the deft manipulation of sound and tempo. Even the most static and repetitive parts manage to sound -musical-. There are vocals, but they are minimal and otherworldly, weary and sing songy and completely mesmerizing. A droning musical accompaniment to the haunting whirs and clanging percussion in the background. This record is such a totally immersive and strangely lovely musical environment. From the machinelike Krautrock of "Horizontal Hold" to the dreamy contemplative "Twilight Furniture" with its simple chiming guitars, muted tribal percussion and keening vocals, to the bizarre affected drum workout of "24 Track Loop", it's like wandering through some alien musical world. As sky full of greys and blues, smeary drones floating gently by, haunting quavering vocals drifting below, like tendrils of smoke, the barren landscape littered with all manner of rhythmic outcroppings, harsh jagged crashes and booms, as well as low rolling thumps and stutters, off in the distance simple spare melodies float and hover, each note a glowing spot on the horizon. Absolutely and utterly overwhelmingly brilliant.
There are plenty of places on the web and in magazines to read more about the history of the band, the band members, the various releases and reissues (see elsewhere on the AQ website for reviews of past editions of various TH recordings) but none of that ultimately matters as much as the sound. And oh the glorious sound. Just take a listen to the sound samples and no words will be necessary.
MPEG Stream: "Horizontal Hold"
MPEG Stream: "24 Track Loop"
MPEG Stream: "The Fall Of Saigon"

album cover THIS HEAT Deceit (Modern Classics) lp 26.00
Oooh, at last nicely reissued on vinyl, automatic Records Of The Week!!! All three of 'em, 'cause as we've said before, we know very few people, whom upon hearing any music from This Heat, even a single song, weren't immediately compelled to get their hands on every single bit of recorded material they could find. The music of This Heat is most definitely that powerful, that intense, having informed almost all of the music we've loved since. And sounding as fresh and forward thinking today as it did when it was first recorded.
We're almost jealous of folks who have never even heard This Heat. The thought of entering into this music completely blind, is almost frightening, as the world of This Heat is so singular, so powerful, it will be difficult to ever listen to music the same way again. Trust us.
Deceit was This Heat's second full length album, released in 1980, hot on the heels of the Health And Efficiency ep from earlier that same year, and sadly ended up being their final proper release. Deceit found the band continuing to expand and explore, consisting of shorter songs, but that didn't mean their process, or disdain for convention was altered. If anything, they managed to subvert pop music in a way never thought possible. Imagine Brian Eno circa Taking Tiger Mountain, but filter that through some avant industrialism, angular new wave and hyper rhythmic krautrock and you'll begin to get the picture. The songs on Deceit are impossibly catchy, especially when examined closely. Abstract, obtuse, angular, convoluted, tangled up but without ever losing that thread, that melodic sensibility that grounded the songs, kept them from falling apart completely, instead, the perilous arrangements only added tension and emotion. An incredibly explosive sound that somehow hybridized all of the countercultural fury of punk and situationism, within a sonic context informed by the technological advances of musique concrete and electro-acoustic experimentation. The sound was definitely punk in its own way, but certainly wasn't expressed through three chord song structures or snarling postures, instead This Heat injected their own complex pop agendas with a jittery nervous tension always building to a dramatic and cathartic release.
180-gram vinyl packaged in gatefold jacket with a booklet.
MPEG Stream: "Paper Hats"

album cover THIS HEAT Health And Efficiency (Modern Classics) 12" 22.00
Oooh, at last nicely reissued on vinyl, This Heat's three records from '79, '80 and '81, reissued by Light In The Attic subsidiary Modern Classics to celebrate the band's 40th anniversary! Talk about modern classics!!! Automatic Records Of The Week in aQ-land.
The Health And Efficiency ep (which we've never had a vinyl reissue of before) followed This Heat's self-titled debut and took their sound in a strangely pop (for them at least) direction, sounding like some tweaked and twisted version of Wire, the title track all angular new wave guitars, monotone vocals, driving drums, strange convoluted arrangements and creepy background sound effects before the whole thing splinters into super abstract rhythmic experimentalism, looped grooves, played over and over, while sounds float and careen in the background, so incredibly hypnotic and repetitive. The second track on Health And Efficiency is "Graphic/Varispeed (45rpm)", a lengthy drone, a warm synth whir that surfaces within other This Heat tracks, recontextualized and often chopped up and reassembled, but here, it's a slow shifting slow motion single tone soundscape, with the tone occasionally being pitched up or down, very simple but quite haunting, and a cool glimpse at how This Heat managed to mix and match, use and reuse, without ever treading water. This ep is only 20 minutes long, consisting of just two songs, but it's still well worth it!!
180 gram, gatefold, with booklet.
MPEG Stream: "Health And Efficiency"

album cover AEVANGELIST Enthrall To The Void Of Bliss (20 Buck Spin) lp 17.98
Enthrall To The Void Of Bliss is a twisted mass of psychotic riffage and insanity-inducing atmospherics, total musical madness and sonic depravity. Weird vocals that have no problem shifting between out-and-out slamz style gutturals, black metal shrieking, and operatic howls. Sometimes the songs have so much happening at once, it almost feels like two totally different songs playing simultaneously. Samples, organ, some sort of harp instrument, and saxophone combine with the already massive sounding guitars and drums and vocals to create an even bigger, grosser wall of sound. Take the dense and lysergic doom-laden death and black riffage of some of those recent Ajna Offensive bands like Saturnalia Temple and Aluk Todolo and combine them with the total WTF? weirdness of Sigh and throw in some seriously hateful riffing of Nuclear War Now! style war metal and you're sorta getting the idea here. You also get songs like "Alchemy" and "Meditation of Transcendental Evil" which totally come out of nowhere, being witch-housey, programmed-drum numbers that may not sound like the other tracks on here but somehow still completely fit in to the total carnival-like madness. Totally a must-listen for fans of Gnaw Their Tongues, Mitochondrian, Saturnalia Temple, Sigh, and anything on Crucial Blast.
MPEG Stream: "Cloister Of The Temple Of Death"
MPEG Stream: "Gatekeeper's Scroll"
MPEG Stream: "Levitating Stones "

album cover ALUK TODOLO Occult Rock (Ajna) 2lp 22.00
REPRESSED! This former Record Of The Week at last back in stock on vinyl - and fyi, we also just got Aluk Todolo's brand new album "Voix" on cd, you'll find it in the "in stock, not yet reviewed" section - look for our review next time!
Third album from French post black metal instrumental kraut-psych occult rock trio Aluk Todolo, and third time Record Of The Week! We've just resigned ourselves to the fact, that every record from these guys is gonna blow our minds, and by extension, we imagine, yours as well. In the musical math that makes up many of the bands we love, the convoluted equation that resulted in Aluk Todolo is tough to beat. Featuring members of black metal horde Diamatregon (whose last two records were released on Andee's tUMULt label) and psych rock outfit Gunslingers, AT takes some elements from both of those groups, but also This Heat, Faust, Can, the Necks, Circle, Hawkwind, and Taj Mahal Travellers... They are most definitely sonic alchemists, as we've described them in every review so far, distilling all of these disparate sounds and influences into something all their own, and something that obviously pushes all our buttons.
This latest double disc takes everything we dug about them before, and somehow makes those things more, and better, given the space to stretch out, the songs become MORE epic, MORE intense, MORE tranced out, MORE heavy. There's 8 songs over 2 discs/lps and 2+ hours. Imagine a super charged Necks or Circle fused to the blaring psychedelic heaviosity of Psychic Paramount, and the furious grim buzz of some obscure black metal horde, the sounds repetitive and cyclical, hypnotic and mesmerizing, the opener here displaying their black metal roots, and just how those roots can be sculpted into something trance-y and droned out, while remaining pretty goddamn grim and blackened. Launching immediately into a fierce frenzied blast, all tremelo picking and blast beats, a churning, roiling single riff, overlaid with soaring minor key melodies, slipping easily from classic black metal blast to dense static mesmer and back again, until almost 4 minutes in when everything is swallowed up in a blast of whit noise, before the frenetic riffing tapers off, leaving just the bass and drums to churn frantically, beneath thick swirls of effects, only to gradually build back up, and during the last three minutes, unleash the sort of dense, brutal, buzzing black metal, most proper BM bands can barely pull off.
If that opening track is sort of the shot across the bow, the second track is when things get serious, slowing things down to a super distorted post-rock lope, the drums driving and the guitars thick and distorted, keening melodies, the Slint vibe looms large, before the band dial it down, and lock into a totally mesmerizing, dizzyingly dense roiling 'groove', that sounds like amped up Circle, grinding away hypnotically, peppered with occasional bursts of metallic crunch, and near black metal blowouts, always slipping right back into that mesmeric churn, the guitars impossibly distorted and fuzzed out, the bass super melodic, the sort of track you never want to end, slipping easily from progged out psychedelic buzz drenched tangle to warped noise rock minimalism and back again.
The rest of disc one finds AT dialing back the buzz and crunch, and weaving lush landscapes of woozy melody, and darkly driving hypnorock, the songs wreathed in keening feedback, moaning melodies, lush layered guitars, swaths of melodic jangle, of shimmering chiming harmonics, the sound drifting from minimal chugging dirge to loping psych rock meander, and from wild krautpsych blowout to swoonsome Slintish slither.
Disc two offers up 4 more sonic invocations, heavy on the noise rock, but dipping into super minimal minor key mesmer, low slung almost gothic sounding dirgery, the seriously Circle-like seventh track, that takes the sound of our favorite Finns, and douses it in clouds of shimmering noise, and freaked out freeform psychedelic shimmer, and finally, the record finishes off with an epic doom jam, the band pounding away malevolently, the bass distorted and blown out, shards of feedback everywhere, noisy and psychedelic and a bit chaotic, but all anchored to the unwavering rhythm section, the song gradually losing momentum, slowing way down, getting doomier and doomier and dirgier and dirgier, transformed into a slo-mo tarpit crawl, the riffing bleeding into long droned out tones, the sort of doom-noise creep that folks into Bunkur and Monarch and the like will flip over, but here it's more atmospheric, a heady doomic coda, the sound seeming to decay naturally, shedding layers along the way, until finally the drums go too, the record continuing to fade away, to drift heavenward, eventually dissolving into a cloud of feedback.
Like past Aluk Todolo releases, the sounds and songs here are so intense and hypnotic, heavy and heady, it's the rare sort of record that somehow appeals to metalheads and post rockers as much as experimentalists and avant gardists, a sound transcendent and tranced out, dense and sinister and somehow still strangely beautiful, and obviously well worth Record Of The Week honors for sure. And then some.
MPEG Stream: "Occult Rock 1"
MPEG Stream: "Occult Rock 2"
MPEG Stream: "Occult Rock 3"
MPEG Stream: "Occult Rock 5"
MPEG Stream: "Occult Rock 7"

album cover ASHWORTH, GORDON Tree Of Heaven (Iatrogenesis) cassette 6.98
The second of the two tour tapes we got from the ever-prolific Gordon Ashworth, a tape made for his (kind of insane) 82-day European tour. This one is a lovely collection of various home recordings of piano, banjo, and cassette tape manipulation, all dense, woozy, analog warble, but melancholic melodies always lurk beneath the hazy surface. A pleasant change of pace from the violent outbursts Ashworth's music normally employs. A very nice companion piece to the tape we listed last week, of which we have just a couple of copies left before it's likely gone forever!
MPEG Stream: "Untitled 05"
MPEG Stream: "Untitled 07"

album cover ATRAX MORGUE Necro Box (Urashima) 3lp+cd 85.00
Atrax Morgue was the principle creative outlet of Marco Corbelli, the grim Italian industrialist who produced an obsessive catalogue of extreme, blackened noise and hellishly dark ambient music before taking his own life in 2007. The subject matter of much of the Atrax Morgue catalog (spanning close to 70 titles in 15 years) engaged unseemly and transgressive fascinations with death, mental illness, and sexual depravity, making the fact of his own suicide an uncomfortably close reality to the phantasmagoric excesses of these dark dark dark sounds. The Necro Box collects three albums from the Atrax Morgue early years - Necro-Sintesi (1993), Necrophiliac Experience (1994), and Basic Autopsy Procedure (1995) - all of which had been self-released through Corbelli's Slaughter Productions. Much of the work here dwells on thrumming low-end electronics, synth-noise degradation, and plenty of depressive drones, whose macabre overtures can easily be sublimated into an all-consuming hypnosis, only to be ruptured by a depth-charge of noise attack or a garbled tape-recording of sexual congress. Parallels to Anenzephalia and Morthond and Brighter Death Now certainly can be made, with Corbelli emblazoning his aesthetic and his proclivities on these recordings. Sick. Sick. Sick.
Oh, yeah, the cd in the box contains everything pressed on the vinyl!
MPEG Stream: "Macabro Orgasmo"
MPEG Stream: "Necrophiliac Experience 3"
MPEG Stream: "Sektion 4"

album cover BLUE SABBATH BLACK CHEER & WICKED KING WICKER Bonkers In Yonkers (The Omega Order) cassette 7.98
Don't let the title fool you, Bonkers In Yonkers might have you imagining some sort of party band playing a happy hour with Jell-O shooters, but nope, you all should know by now what to expect from both of these noise making beasties. We've give much love to both bands on the list over the years, so this is a pretty dream match-up for us. And instead of a split, this is the BWSKBWC Big Band, with everybody going at once, teaming up for two lovely ditties entitled "Born To Hate" and "Scum Licker", kicking up a roiling, shrieking, brutal avalanche of distorto-brutality. Vocal shrieks, gristly electronics, huge, churning, crumblingly distorted riffage, loads of feedback, and ear shredding skree, total electro-noise mega-doom-destruction. Punishing and kinda fucking awesome.
LIMITED TO 300 COPIES. Bright green tapes with silkscreened J-cards.

album cover BONNIE PRINCE BILLY Pond Scum (Drag City) lp 17.98
ions now that John Peel is gone (R.I.P.), but some of our favorite recordings over the years were Peel Sessions (the Loop one comes to mind!). Almost any band you can think of from the last few decades probably ended up recording a Peel Session, and it probably ruled. Bands would record live, often trying new sounds, redoing old songs, whatever stuck their fancy at the time.
This new Bonnie 'Prince' Billy record is not in fact a new record, but instead collects some vintage Peel Sessions from back in the day. And finds Will Oldham, aka BPB, in fine fettle, that instantly recognizable creaky vocal warble crooning achingly over stripped down versions of Palace / Oldham / BPB songs, including some definite fan faves ("Trudy Dies", "Stable Will") as well as an amazing cover of "The Cross", from Sign 'O' The Times by Prince (the other Prince!), and goddamn if it doesn't sound like a Palace Brothers song proper. The instrumentation is mostly acoustic guitar, or low volume electric, with the occasional vocal harmonies, but really, the sound is super intimate, with a sort of back porch / campfire vibe but beautifully record. Absolutely essential listening for fans, and not a bad place to start for beginners too.
MPEG Stream: "(I Was Drunk At The) Pulpit"
MPEG Stream: "Trudy Dies"
MPEG Stream: "The Cross"

album cover BREN'T LEWIIS ENSEMBLE The Thirteenth Century German Poet (And Who Can Forget Him) (Butte County Free Music Society) cd-r 8.98
Tape splice surrealism of the Californian variety, care of the madmen and women of the Butte County Free Music Society, which began as something of a homage and something of a challenge to the more well known Los Angeles Free Music Society. Pseudonyms abound here, starting with the fictional Bren't Lewiis, though we can track some of these characters back to the olden days of Bananafish, that now defunct yet still delicious literary journal of crackpot / cracked-out critique. Those familiar with the unhinged, aestheticized helter-skelter of LAMFS's tape trawling, or the exasperated comedic collages of Nurse With Wound and irr. app. (ext.), or the Don Joyce era Negativland will STILL be baffled by the out-there, freeform, musique concrete sleights of hand of the Bren't Lewiis Ensemble, whose effluvia of found-sound, thoroughly fucked songsmithery (yes, there is a Van Morrison cover of one of his infamous contractual obligation tracks), radio drama gone wrong, culture jammed radiophonia, YouTube sensations, and straight-up bullshit about jellyfish make for one hell of a listen.
MPEG Stream: "Ringworm"
MPEG Stream: "Chewing Gum Makes You Fall Over"
MPEG Stream: "T.V. Cheese"

album cover CARTER TUTTI VOID f(x) (Industrial) lp 30.00
That's Nik Void of Factory Floor once again joining the esteemed duo of Cosey Fanny Tutti and Chris Carter, proving that their first collaboration was not just a flippant one-off romp betwixt likeminded technicians; and hopefully, f(x) will be just one of many albums produced by this meeting of minds. As we experienced on the outstanding album of rebooted Chris & Cosey material, Carter Tutti has been exceptionally good as of late; and the insertion of Void into the mix changes that not one bit. If anything the pop quotient from the Carter Tutti productions has been distilled into faint melodies swimming amongst a chemical amalgam of hyper-processed / semi-aqueous sounds that are all suspended upon the girders of an almighty cybernetic whump generated with teethclenched tension. The rhythms begin and end with a chest-rattling pulse that is omnidirectionally nowhere and everywhere - the beat of an underground nightclub whose entrance cannot be found... the hollow-body vibrations from a multitude of car stereos straining at the urgency of those Gas albums from nearly 20 years ago... the chrome-plated precision of perfectly tuned machines purring at 126 bpm. Vocals and guitars from both Void and Cosey lock into place within these rhythms, albeit throughly processed, abstracted, haunted, and disembodied. The amount of details that pop into focus is startlingly dense for an album so overtly minimal, yet the trio effortlessly corral all of the component parts into one hell of a great electronic album.
MPEG Stream: "f (2.2)"
MPEG Stream: "f (2.3)"
MPEG Stream: "f (2.7)"

album cover CHTHE'LIST Le Dernier Crepuscle (Profound Lore) cd 13.98
Debut full length from these Demlich obsessed death metalers, and damn, is it a good one! And, even though it seems as if these precocious Quebecois riffers take a little online umbrage at constantly being compared to those masters of warped Finnish space riffing, we don't think it's a bad thing to be held up amongst the absolute best-of-the-best death metal records of all time! It really is remarkable what a nasty, unholy, labyrinthine record these guys managed to crank out at such a young age - ugly, knuckle dragging riffs lock in with drumming that is equal parts furious hyper blasting and groovy, mid-tempo stomp, all drenched in a putrid atmosphere that actually does, at times, incorporate actual swamp sounds. Not to mention unpronounceable, quasi-Lovecraftian terminology & mythology they made up themselves. We think this will be an automatic new obsession for fans of the aforementioned Finns Demilich, but also fans of all manner of twisted death metal like Portal, Abyssal, Timeghoul, and Gorguts. Heck, Melt Banana fans might dig parts of this too. Tres magnifique!
MPEG Stream: "Into The Vaults of Ingurgitating Obscurity"
MPEG Stream: "Voidspawn"
MPEG Stream: "The Voices From Beyond the Well"

album cover COLOSSLOTH Outstretch Your Hand For The Impress Of Truth (Cold Spring) cd 15.98
It's been years and years since we last heard from Colossloth, a one man dronedoomdirge unit from the UK, who on previous records whipped up just about the perfect aQ concoction - heaving drones, dense rumbles, psychedelic noise and blown out industrial doom, all blurred and smeared and tangled up into one huge shape shifting behemoth. Very little has changed all these years later and Outstretch Your Hand For The Impress Of Truth is another baffling batch of avant noise and synth soaked psychedelia, that's pretty tough to classify, even moreso here, with caustic squelches peppered with FX laden scrapes and creaks, all wound up into some sort of rhythm, but most certainly not groovy, and underpinned by layers of haunting shimmer, and beautiful buried melodies. The sound is definitely noisy, but not really noise, flitting from lush, layers fields of backwards shimmer, to blown out organ jams that sound like isolated tracks from some lost ELP record run through a battery of boomboxes, to what sounds like some John Carpenter soundtrack melted down into a gorgeously abstract ooze. There are heavy moments for sure, but mostly, the sounds seem hazy and smoothed around the edges, giving everything a druggy, soft psych feel, with plenty of prickle just below the surface, and for what IS essentially kind of a noise record, it's pretty goddamn hypnotic, every track here locking into mesmerizing loops, and tripped out avant industrial/electronic ambience. Awesome.
MPEG Stream: "The Flavour Of The Weak"
MPEG Stream: "Your Flag Stands For Nothing"
MPEG Stream: "Of Talons And Teeth"

album cover CURRENT 93 The Moons At Your Door (The Spheres) lp 29.00
A very spooky album from Current 93, which finds David Tibet working alongside Andrew Liles as his only comrade in arms; this was released in conjunction with a book of the same title of macabre tales that Tibet compiled for Strange Attractor Press. This is not the avant-folk minstrel side of Current 93, but the devilish abstraction of dark, sicktone sound design, overlaid with a deconstructed collage of a gravel throated gentleman (not Tibet) reciting and chanting in monotone various elements from the book. Yes, this does hark back to the Crowleyian incantations from Current 93's Nature Unveiled and the Thomas Ligotti collaborations In A Foreign Land, In A Foreign Town and I Have A Special Plan For This World. These albums continue to appear within Current 93's visionary work, and always act as huge gravity well, grasping from depths of the macabre and the supernatural. Nightmare music, par excellance!
MPEG Stream: "The Moons at Your Door"
MPEG Stream: "There Is a Graveyard That Dwells in Man"

album cover DECHIRICO Kumamoto / Kumaso (Jacktone Records) 7" 9.98
Some serious Klaus Dinger worship here from electronic producer Adam Douglas (aka Kemek) whose new Dechirico project employs motorik rhythms to two sunny vibrational pop-kraut instrumentals. While those influences have been mined plenty over the years, there is something still so deeply satisfying in these two buoyant and bouncy tracks that avoid an obvious aping of style but instead get to the sweet core of why that music still matters. Ear-candy!

album cover FERRARO, JAMES Skid Row (Break World Records) 2lp 29.00
For the most part, we REALLY don't know LA; we know Hollywood's LA. However, the polished yet twisted, glitchy-Blade-Runner soundscapes of James Ferraro's Skid Row make us feel like we know LA... intimately. Lyrically, this album offers a story of the city that is far from the mythically glamorous Los Angeles, pulling from a number of apocalyptic broadcast television samples and simultaneously acknowledging gentrification and crime and environmental degradation. Ferraro deftly plays with slowed-down 80s power licks and funky keyboard grooves over radio fuzz and metallic beats to the effect of creating a haunting base for his almost sultry-smooth verses. Skid Row echoes like a nightmare of Southern California that we can't wake up from, but for its warped honesty and washed-out, jumbled-funk vibes, we almost don't want to.
MPEG Stream: "White Bronco"
MPEG Stream: "Pollution"
MPEG Stream: "Thrash & Escalate"

album cover FRIEL, DAN Life (Thrill Jockey) lp 19.98
Life (this album) is another fantastic(al) blast of dizzyingly prismatic, distorto-pop cotton candy psychedelia, a swirling sonic funhouse of sound, that like Friel's previous disc, Total Folklore (a Record Of The Week, btw), sounds like it should be on your shelf somewhere between Black Moth Super Rainbow, early Flaming Lips, Our Love Will Destroy The World, Sunroof!, and Zomes (that is, if you have the weirdest method of arranging your records). Playful and dayglo, distorted and noisy, glitchy and billowy, in a way, it sort of sounds like a SUPER poppy, 8-bit version of Lightning Bolt, some of the tracks sounding like music for the most drugged out, psychedelic video game ever, others getting downright noisy, but in that dreamy, deliriously blissed out noise way, the sounds totally in-the-red, but that saturation just making the various rhythms and melodies all bleed into one another and sounding like the musical version of a room full of preschoolers fighting with fingerprint and silly string. Totally over the top, and fantastically ebullient, it's pretty much impossible not to love Friel's maddening magical musical wonderland.
MPEG Stream: "Cirrus"
MPEG Stream: "Rattler"
MPEG Stream: "Lungs"

album cover FULL OF HELL / MERZBOW Sister Fawn (A389) lp 21.00
Remember the double cd we listed last year? East Coast metalcore band Full Of Hell teaming up with Masami "Merzbow" Akita for not one but two cd's worth of intense destructo mayhem. The 1st half came out on vinyl not long after, and now at long last also on vinyl is this, the even noisier 2nd part, which finds Full Of Hell and Merzbow fully enmeshed, lines blurred, the noise to the fore with beats and demented vocals in the background, one more for the noisefreaks than the metalheads.
Merzbow, Merzbow, Merzbow. We love the ultra-prolific king of Japanese noise as much as the next person - maybe even more, since several of us here own the 50-cd Merzbox! But, it's almost impossible to keep up - and also, when you've already got at least 50 cds of Merzbow's noise, do you really need any more? However, we do still get intrigued whenever Merzbow goes and collaborates with (or remixes) some other artist, like a rock or metal band. Maybe 'cause we like our Merzbow rhythmic, as in, with drumming. Also a little bit of, uh, music, in the mix tends to make the noise parts even MORE effective and interesting in our opinion. The blasting drum battery, filthy riffage and throat-shredded vokills are all par for the course with Full Of Hell, but the presence of Merzbow's mad noise skillz tips the scales further into the extreme and avantgarde! More "power electronics" feedback, more hellish drone and distortion, more abstract abjection. It sounds as if the pit is feasting upon itself, as FoH's fierce metal core breaks loose from its moorings and plunges into the abyss, accompanied by what sounds like 1,000 vacuum cleaners in a windtunnel, that sort of thing.
MPEG Stream: "Aphid"

album cover HILLS Frid (Rocket) lp 27.00
FINALLY NOW ON VINYL!! We've been been waitin' since the cd version came out last year...
Ah, Hills! We looooooove Hills. Rhymes with pills. Not to be confused with White Hills, whom we also love, most folks would be into both. This is plain ol' Hills from planet Sweden, doing timeless, kraut-channelling hypno-rock bliss, cyclic and psychedelic, totally in the ancestral tradition of their fellow countrymen / like minded souls from the '60s and '70s in the Parson Sound / International Harvester / Harvester / Trad Gras Och Stenar collective (also aQ faves, of course). What is it with Sweden, anyway? Good grief, both Hills and the mighty Goat aren't just on the same label Rocket Recordings, they're from the same town. Maybe they should have the water supply there analyzed. Anyway, yay, these particular master mantric jammers from Sweden now offer up their 3rd album (4th if you count the live lp on Cardinal Fuzz), and it's thankfully more of what we dig about them - deeply droned, trance-inducing excursions into higher mind states, filled with fuzz & wah, Scandinavian folk motifs, floatational flute flutter, ecstatic chant-like vocals, spacey fx, and endless krauty grooves. Tracks like "National Drone" or the ten-minute "Och Solen Sankte Sig Rod" just send you far into some fantastical ceremonial '70s zone, where you want to be. "Milarepa" is heavy-duty Parson Sound worship, "Anukthal Is Here" channels krautrock tribe Siloah, and then, like, on previous album Master Sleeps, the record ends with an especially ceremonial sounding track, the Lizard King meets OM chant, "Death Will Find A Way"... Altogether beautiful thing, heavy in a "heavy, maaaan" sort of way, once again for fans of their forefathers in TGOS et. al., also White Hills of course, Wooden Shjips definitely too, certainly their buddies Goat (throw on some Goat after this, it segues quite well), Circle at their hippiest, and the like... yeah!!
MPEG Stream: "National Drone"
MPEG Stream: "Anukthal Is Here"
MPEG Stream: "Milarepa"

album cover INFERNAL SLAVE Oppressed By Inferior (Life Sucker) cassette 5.98
From the Life Sucker label, who also brought us the Provoker cassette (who share at least one member with Infernal Slave), comes this filthy reel of tape. Evil, oppressive black metal that nods its head towards the obvious classics but also has a midtempo stomp that calls to mind the more ugly sounds of bands like Bone Awl or Raspberry Bulbs. 20 minutes of no-nonsense, teeth kicking black metal shrouded in tape hiss and with some eerie synth to boot. Sadly, unlike the Provoker tape, no download code.
MPEG Stream: "Provocation of Infernal Conqueror"
MPEG Stream: "Primal Litany of Domination"
MPEG Stream: "Thick Virgin Blood"

album cover KRALLICE Ygg Huur (Gilead Media) lp 25.00
VINYL NOW HERE of the latest from Krallice, here's what we said about the cd version the band put out a few months ago:
The unchallenged masters of space-tech interdimensional black metal, Krallice, have returned with a new slab of labyrinthine insanity. Krallice, strangely, is Mick Barr and Colin Marston's most restrained project, and with each release, they continue to refine the songwriting that their other projects (among them Behold The Arctopus, Dysrhythmia, Infdel?Castro!, Gorguts, Orthrelm, and Encenathrakh) don't necessarily focus on, and despite most of us already being huge Krallice fans, this was the first to really impress this particular reviewer. On Ygg Huur, you obviously get the dizzying space-riffage, but refined into easily their best written SONGS yet. Incredibly hard to pigeonhole, too, Krallice have managed to craft a sound that isn't strictly black metal but definitely isn't death metal either. Idiosyncratic, obtuse, and strange, yet somehow catchy and powerful. Tech done right.
MPEG Stream: "Wastes Of Ocean"
MPEG Stream: "Tyranny Of Thought"
MPEG Stream: "Bitter Meditation"

album cover KRANIUM Complete Recordings (Urashima) 3 x cassette 33.00
Kranium was a short-lived project of Marco Corbelli (aka Atrax Morgue) from 1993 to 1995, with all three Kranium cassettes originally self-released via his Slaughter Productions. These recordings took a more restrained approach to Corbelli's obsessive aesthetics for sexual depravity, psychological disturbances, and ultra-violence. The three albums paralleled the dark ambient pursuits of contemporaries in Lustmord, Brighter Death Now, and Raison D'Etre. It's an album dripping with cavernous reverberations, lumbering synth pulsations of keening low-end oscillations and dead-eyed drones. Throughout, Corbelli plunks slow-motion rhythms in deep resonant pools of echo and reverb, buttressed by liturgical chants, sepulchral ambient passages, subterranean atmospheres, and snippets of horror movie dialogue. Corbelli's compositions and strategies are simple yet thoroughly effective in crafting this hypnotic yet terrifying album of gothic darkness. We did stock a few of the Urashima lp reissues in the recent past; but with all of those sold out, we're now very pleased to have the full Kranium catalog available in this triple cassette boxset, if only for a limited time. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
MPEG Stream: "Insanitorium III"
MPEG Stream: "Tenebra Rervm"

album cover MAGIC CIRCLE Journey Blind (20 Buck Spin) lp 17.98
There have been a lot of bands over the years who've worshipped at the altar of Black Sabbath (some of 'em becoming doom metal legends in their own right) and in our estimation currently the reigning kings of Sabbatherian doom majesty might well be this outfit made up of guys from hardcore punk bands from Boston, Magic Circle, whom we're excited to report have just returned with their second full-length, Journey Blind, which ups the ante on their their phenomenal self-titled 2013 debut, a huge fave among aQ's true doom loving contingent. Magic Circle once again show the metal guys a thing or two, bringing forth the thundering riffs and towering, emotive vocals (the dude RULES!!), somehow channelling both classic Ozzy *and* Dio era Sabbath at the same time. Goddamn, it's quite remarkable how this makes most other Sabbath-beholden bands ever sound like they really didn't quite get it, while the masterful epic energy of this spirited album could almost convince you that THEY'RE the originals.
MPEG Stream: "The Damned Man"
MPEG Stream: "A Ballad For The Vultures"
MPEG Stream: "Lightning Cage"

album cover MOLJEBKA PVLSE In Love And Death You Are Alone (Substantia Innominata / Drone Records) 10" 19.98
Thick, turbulent, and tearjerking dronemusik from the Swedish project Moljebka Pvlse, making for a pitch perfect contribution to Drone Records' 10" inch series. So many FX and organically accreted layers swirl together in these heavily processed tracks of unrecognizable field recordings, electronics, guitar, and voice. Within these long and drawn out shimmers of truly sad intonations Moljebka Pvlse sets forth waves of subtle melodies caught in deepwater, oceanic tides to arrive at a majestic pairing of sublime ambient tracks. One of the best things we've heard from Moljebka Pvlse, and one of the best from the always superb Drone Records, certainly on par with Troum, Tim Hecker, and Jonathan Coleclough.
MPEG Stream: "In Love And Death"

album cover MOLOCH Die Isolation (Cold Spring) cd 15.98
A quick glance at the Moloch page on Metal Archives (your online source for all metal minutiae) reveals maybe THEE craziest discography of any metal band we can think of. This Ukrainian one man black metal horde has SO many albums and eps and demos boxsets (!) and splits, and oh SO many splits, teaming up with artists like Wedard, I Shalt Become, Nunslaughter, Krieg, Sabbat, Tomhet, Evil, Persistence In Mourning, Uruk-Hai, Deathrow, Moonknight and about a million other bands we've never heard or heard of. You'd think all these releases might dilute the potency of Moloch's sonic black energy, but pretty much every record we've heard we've dug, in fact our very own Andee went through a phase of trying to order ever single Moloch release there was, before finally giving up.
And this new one is yet another good one, mixing howled, anguished, depressive black metal buzz, with lumbering doominess and bleak melancholy ambience. The guitar tone is MASSIVE, all blown out, crumbling sheets of thick, ultra distorted thrum, the vocals a tortured hellish shriek, all wound around minor key melodies and surprisingly lush textures. The sound falls somewhere between Burzum and Striborg, but with some Expo 70 style cosmic drift swirled into the mix!
MPEG Stream: "Depressive Visionen Eines Sterbenden Horizonts"
MPEG Stream: "Das Leben Ist Wie Ein Verwundeter Vogel..."
MPEG Stream: "Abgrund Meines Wesenz"

album cover MONSIEUR JACK Flute (self-released) cd-r 13.98
We're big suckers for any music with flutes, especially flutey prog and new age music, and while this cd may look like something you would see for sale at a Starbucks, it's actually quite beautiful. A set of mysterious and alluring eastern-tinged flute instrumentals augmented by various ethnic percussion instruments and bells. Hugo Paris of Lavender turned us on to it and as it turns out, Monsieur Jack is Hugo's dad!
Jacques "Monsieur Jack" Vicensini is a French multi-instrumentalist active in jazz combos in the eighties and nineties in Paris, who studied flute and played with Didier Malherbe of Gong. There is an audible thread of influence back to the genesis of French progressive music, marrying a spiritual dynamic to long-form classically-based compositions that overall are cinematic in tone, traveling to far off spaces. Very nice indeed!
MPEG Stream: "Invitation Huppee"
MPEG Stream: "Alleurs C'est Toujours Mieux"
MPEG Stream: "Tout Bas"

album cover ODI ME tilde (Jacktone Records) cassette 8.98
Oh, the tilde symbol would no doubt cause problems displaying on our antiquated website, but that squiggly symbol and not the word is the actual title of this new tape from Oakland-based electronic ambient producer odi me. As a mathematical symbol, the tilde means "approximately" and in logic it means "not", and that kind of makes sense when thinking about this music that touches on variant ideas of sound and space, but is not easily identifiable. Long alien-ish instrumentals constructed from cinematic interplanetary drones, dark new-agey soundscapes and hazy field recordings of crowds and static, that occasionally unfurl in deep techno pulses, but take their time building up from slow drawn out throbbing textural bursts. Meditative and yet rather menacing as well.
MPEG Stream: "Three Different Crystal Therapists"
MPEG Stream: "Bent Up"
MPEG Stream: "Cropped"

album cover OZKENT, MUSTAFA Genclik Ile Elele (Jackpot) lp 22.00
REISSUED! We first listed this almost ten years ago when B-Music issued it as part of their "Anatolian Invasion" series along with Selda, and now it's been brought back into print domestically by Jackpot - and it's a bit cheaper than the previous edition, too.
This is an incredibly groovy 1973 instrumental album from super-obscure Turkish artist Mustafa Ozkent and his "orkestrasi". We're told (and we believe it) that this is one REALLY obscure album, definitely a find for any digger and a welcome reissue. It's simply jazzy, sazzy, dancefloor fodder here folks, nothing but a party. Fuzz guitar and Turkish trad. folk grooves like we like, but done all badass as if the JBs, "funky drummer" included, were ushered into the studio with a bunch of Turkish musicians, each teaching the other some new tricks. '70s funk, Istanbul-style! Totally full of beats and breaks that pioneering hip hop DJs woulda been all over, had hip hop originated in the on the banks of the Bosphorus rather than in the Bronx... The acid organ spasms and rhythmic workouts found here are still fresh and fun today. We know a lot of you dig the Turkish psych reissues we've been freaking on, this one should definitely appeal to those who liked the '70s cop show car chase sounding numbers found on the Edip Akbayram reish. Your body WILL be moving.
MPEG Stream: "Burcak"
MPEG Stream: "Silifke"

album cover PROVOKER Sneak Peek! (Life Sucker) cassette 5.98
Woah! cool! Out of nowhere comes this amazing tape on San Jose-based Life Sucker records, who also put out another great release on this list, that being the debut of San Jose's Infernal Slave. As anyone keeping up with our list knows, we LOVE weirdo B-movie soundtracks, the more weirdo, and the more "B" the movie, the better, and it doesn't get much more out there than a soundtrack for a fake movie! This, the soundtrack to "Mercy Stroke," which doesn't exist, by Provoker, who totally worship at the altar of '80s soundtrack classics. Weird Soft Moon-style '80s obsessed pop run through the CRT-lens of a Dario Argento movie. Catchy and poppy, but dripping with warbling tape and bizarre production that put it right up there with aQ faves like the Street Trash soundtrack. Only four songs, but so SO promising! And - awesome move on the band's part - it comes with a download code!
MPEG Stream: "Sex With My Ex"
MPEG Stream: "Call You Again"

album cover SEGALL, TY Emotional Mugger (Drag City) lp 17.98
Latest blast of sixties styled psychedelic glam stomp from this longtime aQ fave, and while the sound is pretty similar to previous records, Segall's songwriting somehow just keeps getting better and better, which is even more notable this time around, cuz he also seems to have upped the weirdness quotient, adding plenty of twisted WTF filigree, and messing with all sorts of craziness, somehow only making it that much more catchy. Case in point, "California Hills", with its weird little shreddy wild psych blurts that will get lodged in your head just as much as the hooks proper.
The whole record is like that - what in other hands might be perfect pop songs, here are doused in wild distorted guitars, or buried beneath tons of layers, and multiple melodies. Some songs devolve into droned out jams, others get almost new wave-y, and still others sound like some warped strain of industrial / coldwave via flowery sixties psych. But really, at its heart, Emotional Mugger is a genius mix of super charged paisley pop, loose limbed garage rock, and home brewed psych, all informed by Segalls's wickedly cracked pop smarts and twisted, masterful songsmithery. And even though we want to, it's hard to claim this as Segall's best, or even our favorite, but it could be both, and it's definitely the weirdest.
MPEG Stream: "Squealer"
MPEG Stream: "Emotional Mugger / Leopard Priestess"
MPEG Stream: "Breakfast Eggs"

album cover TEETH OF THE SEA Highly Deadly Black Tarantula (Rocket) cd 17.98
What began life as a straight up heavy psychedelic space rock band quickly evolved into something much more and much different, as UK psychedelic experimentalists Teeth Of The Sea began to push their sound in all sorts of uniquely directions, mixing eighties style soundtrackery with cosmic kraut grooves and loops and drones and all sorts of other weirdness. On the awesomely titled Highly Deadly Black Tarantula, the imaginary seventies giallo that the title evokes is made manifest in the distinctly soundtrack vibe, on the first track alone, with mariachi brass, twangy almost Morricone-esque guitar figures, pulsing synths, rumbling drones - by the end those sounds are doused in grit and distortion and augmented with wild programmed rhythms, not to mention almost black metal vokills. Confusing? Maybe, but also strangely thrilling. As is the rest of the record, the band truly coming into their own as they ditch all musical convention, for something that sounds fresh and original and pretty goddamn strange. The second track is all Throbbing Gristle style industrial crunch, replete with those distorted vox, and some frenzied drum machine, as well as swoonsome strings, and the brass returns, sounding at once totally out of place, like it's being piped in from a different record, but also impossibly perfect. And again the sound, at first amorphous, gradually coalesces into what sounds like it could be the soundtrack for the weirdest, coolest movie EVER.
MPEG Stream: "All My Venom"
MPEG Stream: "Animal Manservant"
MPEG Stream: "Love Theme For 1984"

album cover UHUSHUHU Geoscience (Zhelezobeton) cassette 9.98
A reissue of an aQ favorite, now on cassette! Huge sweeping Aeolian drones seem to match the complex wind patterns of that cross back and forth from the Arctic Circle down to the Central Asian steppes, with tactile flurries of bark, branches, and beetles carrying about unconcerned with the blurred sound of the wind. These environmental recordings and mimetic sounds accompany a far more hallowed set of electrical and harmonic intonations more commonplace in the holy minimalism of LaMonte Young or Charlemagne Palestine. Not necessarily a dark trip, but certainly a gripping one. The accompanying dvd-r features a 54 minute video of algorithmic animations that fractalize into crystalline structures and shatter into component parts in dense thickets of light. Quite lovely! Hand numbered and limited to a mere 55 copies. Restocks unlikely.
MPEG Stream: "Firm Ground"
MPEG Stream: "Windbody"
MPEG Stream: "Coal Harbour"

album cover UHUSHUHU Long Songs Pleasant For Hearing (Zhelezobeton) cassette 9.98
Reissued on cassette, but not for long! The Uhushuhu collective have been known to perform and produce their work under the canopy of the Russian forests outside of St. Petersburg, making them something of a Russian reincarnation of Jewelled Antler. There's much more of an electronic underbelly to Uhushuhu than Jewelled Antler, while retaining the pine-cone drone ethos of luminously radiant psychedelic dronescaping. The first track actually holds a number of aesthetic similarities to the long form works of Motion Sickness Of Time Travel - sinewy, seductive, and slippery passages of intertwining synth melodies softened through reverb and spaciousness, furthered along by watery field recordings and damp ruminations on subterranean lairs, wormholes, and caves. Each of the album's three tracks clock well past the 15 minute mark, leading towards deeper, more shambolic explorations of sublime atmosphere. Quite a lovely piece of work, with the cassette limited to 55 copies.
MPEG Stream: "Surface"
MPEG Stream: "Underwater"
MPEG Stream: "Underground"

album cover UHUSHUHU Onega (Zhelezobeton) cassette 9.98
Along with two reissues on cassette of quickly sold-out cdrs over the past few years, we have a new album from the enigmatic Russian collective Uhushuhu. These are drones to sink into - deep, thrumming tones, nocturnal field recordings, accreted electronic vibration, and wind-swept aeration that appear to emit from the depth of the Russian forest, all embued with a transcendent, mystically dark quality that immediately makes us think back to those early Andrew Chalk albums, especially his beloved Sumac disc with Jonathan Coleclough. As with the other cassettes, this too is limited to 55 copies; but unlike the others, the plastic casing is swaddled in an O-card.
MPEG Stream: "Onega"

album cover URTHONA Plays Atlantis? (Heavy Rural) cd 13.98
We're always pleased to receive a new opus from the 'heavy rural psych' act Urthona, headed up by guitarist Neil Mortimer, whose droning, amplifier-worshipping sounds also worship the pagan gods and natural landscapes of his native England. Naturally enough, he's a colleague of the druid-dude himself, Julian Cope, and Cope again joins Urthona for this one, playing drums and cymbals - and he also, in fact, inspired the disc's music, 'cause it's sorta meant to be the soundtrack to Cope's novel One Three One, in which some fictitious psych bands from the island of Sardinia in the early '70s apparently figure into the narrative. So, this is Urthona's imagining of what one of those bands, called Atlantis?, fronted by Sardinia's own Hendrix, a teenage guitarist named Gennargentu, might have sounded like - hmm, a lot like the Urthona we're used to! All of that's very confusional but the end result is another great Urthona disc of guitar drone nirvana, enhanced by organic percussion and Devonian field recordings.
There are two long tracks, "Bruxo" and "Reppu", super slo-mo, feedback and fuzz-distorted drone-adelia, rising and falling like the wind or the tide; massive, yet light and luminous. From the bed of drone of "Bruxo" eventually arises another strain of sound, a plaintive melody, presumably Mortimer, channelling "Gennargentu", double tracking or using pedals to sculpt these layers. "Reppu", which begins with a percussive flurry, offers more of a metallic edge of darkness to its drone and mighty heft, sounding a bit like Black Sabbath, but over the course of its 20 minutes finally enters into a bliss-out zone towards the end. Both tracks are very much not static, with constant motion and development, and are ultimately exceedingly mesmerizing!
MPEG Stream: "Bruxo"
MPEG Stream: "Reppu"

album cover V/A Rise and Run: Pre-War Country & String Band 1925-1938 (Sanity Muffin) cassette 9.98
The latest archival release from Oakland based cassette label Sanity Muffin probably carries some of the rarest pre-war country music you've never heard, lovingly curated from an amazing collection of 78's. Featuring tracks by Fred Hutchison, Foolin' John Carson, South Georgia Highballers, Uncle Dave Macon, North Carolina Ramblers, Kelly Harrell, Clayton McMichen, Virginia Snake Handlers, Hall Brothers, Red Mountain Trio, Roe Brothers, Louisiana Rounders, and The Allen Brothers. Come bask in their warm crackling glory before they disappear again. Limited to 100 copies.

album cover VANAY, LAURENCE Galaxies (Lion) 2lp 28.00
Reissued once again, now with a whole extra lp included presumably containgin the bonus tracks that were only on the cd reissue last time around. Here is what we said about this fantastic record before:
Brigitte Fontaine wasn't the only influential feminine avant-gardist of French chanson. The recently celebrated domestic reissues of Fontaine's first two records have coincided with this incredible reissue of obscure cosmic dream-prog by Jacqueline Thibaullt, better known under her recording pseudonym Laurence Vanay. Vanay, wife of Laurent Thibault, the bassist and guitarist for Magma, recorded Galaxies in 1974, and on it, the classically trained composer, keyboardist and songwriter takes us on a deeply epic trip of dreamy Hammond organ and Fender Rhodes led spacy jazz-prog that is incredibly beautiful and unique. A mysterious and moving mix of Gong, Alain Goraguer, Igor Wakhevitch, Catherine Ribeiro + Alpes, and even Magma at their most gentle. Yet the music seems to have teleported from some insular private place in a far-off dimension. Its intricate arrangements, and the complex moods they convey seem very otherworldly, like the lonely astral-psych chanson of a remote dying alien race. Listening to a song like "Le Bateau", it's apparent Vanay had as much an influence on bands like Stereolab as Brigitte Fontaine did. Wonderful.
MPEG Stream: "Demain"
MPEG Stream: "Galaxies"
MPEG Stream: "Soleil Rouge"
MPEG Stream: "Le Bateau"

album cover WHITFIELD, JT s/t (Rural Isolation ) lp 14.98
Quickly following the exceptional Adjustment cassette on Chondritic, we have another four tracks of industrial strength bad-vibes from JT Whitfield. The synthetic murk and tangled ectoplasm which Whitfield dubbed out on that the previous cassette continue here with the heavily thumped rhythms swapped for more of a ritualized, nocturnal set. At times, this has the feel of clandestine happenings by denizens of a subterranean community who have constructed dank hymns and electric chorales in the only cathedrals they ever knew - sewers, drain pipes, and cisterns. Much more akin to Lustmord's Heresy or Paradise Disowned, as a result, and excellent.
MPEG Stream: "Crawling Home"
MPEG Stream: "Hunting And Ingrown"
MPEG Stream: "Quatro Plate"

album cover WIRE, THE #384 February 2016 magazine 9.98
Great cover shot of cover stars Alan & Sir Richard Bishop, Alan in particular... Also this issue: "A User's Guide To This Heat" (yay), Josephine Foster, Puce Mary (Invisible Jukebox participant, nailing a Sewer Election track!), and the usual cornucopia of reviews, including big ones on Linda Sharrock, Andrew Weatherall, Herbie Hancock... As usual, an indispensable magazine of all things cool & new (and old too) in music.

album cover WUCAN Sow The Wind (Hansel & Gretel / MIG) cd 16.98
Inspired perhaps by that brief moment in 1968 when Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi was a member of Jethro Tull, German throwback psychedelic blues rockers Wucan specialize in bellbottomed HEAVY FLUTE JAMS MAN!!!!!! Or wo-man. 'Cause Wucan is one of those female fronted retro-proto-metal bands that are so happenin' today. Female-fronted (she sings, in English and German, and is the one playing the flute) but not as "occult" as a lot of the other groups that have jumped on this particular bandwagon (a bandwagon we aren't at all opposed to, by the way). They've got the flute and the tough heavy fuzz riffs, but Wucan's jams come to reveal more of a funky/groovy vibe rather than a witchy one. And they bring in some of their trippy native krautrock heritage, as well (being German they also think it's ok to use the punning song title "Face In The Kraut" on here), wrapping things up with the 15+ minute "Wandersmann" filled with blues licks and lotsa spacey, freaky FX, choogling along, space truckin' all the way far out. So stuff here for Blood Ceremony fans and Acid Mothers Temple types too.
MPEG Stream: "Father Storm"
MPEG Stream: "Owl Eyes"
MPEG Stream: "Wandersmann"

red dot See ALL of NEW ARRIVALS List #493...

Also, just a few of the Highlights of the previous week, of 50 items on
NEW ARRIVALS #492 (15 January 2016)

album cover COREY, GILES s/t (The Flenser) 2lp 45.00
Giles Corey is not a person. Not Exactly. It's simply (or not so simply) another musical alter ego of Have A Nice Life's Dan Barrett, who is also Black Wing (reviewed recently here) AND the head honcho of the awesome Enemies List label, and much like HANL and Black Wing, Giles Corey is a fantastically idiosyncratic slab of gloomy, dreamy weirdness, and like those other projects, the sound of GC is really difficult to describe. The first song alone seems to be in a constant state of metamorphosis, from haunting piano driven balladry, to chaotic collaged noisiness, to abject angsty howl, to lumbering industrial creep, to freaky field recording soundscape, to noisy psychedelic skree, to drowsy, downer slowcore. It sounds kind of scattered, but it all somehow hangs together. Perfectly. The rest of the tracks, while occasionally a heady mix of sounds, are all rooted in a surprisingly classic songsmithery. "Blackest Bile" sounds a bit like a more reverby, noisier Elliott Smith, while "Grave Filled With Books" is something close to classic torchsong, a little like Low maybe, and closer "Buried Above Ground" is some kind of baroque pop, replete with horns and an almost impossibly anthemic chorus. The sound of the record touches on lush cinematic swirl, breathy, bedroom folk, and moody minimalism, but certainly more than any of Barrett's projects hews closest to proper indie rock, or at least some psychedelic variant, with voice and guitar forming the backbone of most of the tracks here, and it's a testament to Barrett that the songs are equally effective whether left unadorned, or wildly kitchen sinked. And while we generally recommend Barrett's records to fans of weird sounds, there's definitely much to love here, even if your tastes tend toward the not so wild side. In fact adventurous indie rockers would do well to explore this (and potentially Have A Nice Life and Black Wing as well)!
This reissue is a fancy double lp box set, that includes the book that originally accompanied the long out of print cd version, presented here housed in a foam block(!). Hence the price. Shipping might be extra too, cuz it's a lot bigger than your average lp!
MPEG Stream: "Blackest Bile"
MPEG Stream: "Empty Churches"
MPEG Stream: "I'm Going To Do It"
MPEG Stream: "No One Is Ever Going To Want Me"

album cover PIG DNA Mob Shity (La Vida Es Un Mus) 12" 17.98
Local gutter dwellers Pig DNA are only one full-length deep and already they're a no-brainer for Record Of The Week. It was precisely 34 seconds into Mob Shity that we knew this one was special, a drum fill that queues an almighty wall of blown out fury, a cathartic release of energy that does not let up for one second on the rest of the record. While Pig DNA's aesthetic has obvious nods to Japanese hardcore legends like G.I.S.M. and first-wavers like Discharge, the sound on here has much more in common with the fucked up anti-music of infamous Japanese noise group The Gerogerigegege than Randy Uchida's lobotomized take on hardcore and metal in G.I.S.M. Despite the franticness of Mob Shity, these 14 minutes or so of music are surprisingly rhythmic and calculated, also calling to mind the overblown pounding of early Whitehouse material, done without the aid of electronics.
This is punk music stripped down to its most pure musical form, primal, furious, relentless, and totally out-of-control. Easily one of the best punk records to come out on this side of the Pacific Ocean last year.
MPEG Stream: "Foire"
MPEG Stream: "Wolf"

album cover SUN CITY GIRLS Torch Of The Mystics (Abduction) lp 19.98
REPRESSED ON VINYL!! This super mega Record Of The Week from last year flew off the shelves fast, but if you somehow missed it, it's now been repressed... An absolute must-buy, a record that DESPERATELY needed to be reissued (along with almost all 10,000 other Sun City Girls records, certain crazy people would argue).
So what to say about this fuckin' record? Originally recorded in 1988 during a time when the Bishop brothers and Charles Gocher had been making much more overtly subversive work. 1987's Horse Cock Phepner (an album that could use this reissue treatment, by the way) experimented with drug-addled spoken word, hypno-percussive vulgarity-ridden tributes to Nancy Reagan, and Urinals-esque minimalist noise-punk. This makes sense given the Bishop brothers' musical upbringing in the early '80s Arizona punk and hardcore world. But the recordings sessions that would become Torch of the Mystics had such a different result. Like we mentioned last week, due in large part to the success of labels like Bishop's Sublime Frequencies, in making the SCG's third world influences more familiar to us, this record does get the "most accessible" label, maybe even more than it seemed originally. It's still fantastically out-there, but yeah, compared to other Sun City Girls output before and after this record, this is downright radio friendly.
It's hard to talk about records that are this fantastic, we don't really have words that can do it justice. Right from the first snare crack of opener "Blue Mamba", it's impossible not to get sucked into another world. The first notes of the bass line immediately floor us, then the whole band comes in, with droll vocals not even really saying coherent words over some sort of desert-scorched melody, part Sahara and part Sonoran. "Tarmac 23" is up next, a total outsider improvised psych freak-out, the guitar line an off-kilter loop, Gocher's drumming managing to keep the whole thing together. "Esoterica Of Abyssynia" and "Space Prophet Dogon" are, of course, the masterpieces of this record. "Esoterica" has a twisting and looping guitar line like something John Fahey would play if he studied under the tutelage of Ravi Shankar, and also owned a distortion pedal. "Space Prophet Dogon" is one of those instances that makes us all go full Andee and say "perhaps THEE greatest song EVER!" Seriously, without trying to sound too over-the-top hyperbolic, "Space Prophet Dogon" (later covered by the Grails) is one of those songs that should be played at funerals. A spiritual, otherworldly lick with its roots somewhere in Egypt or maybe a Moroccan hash cafe, but in true Sun City Girls fashion, twisted and warped to their liking. The longest song on the record (a scant 7 minutes) with the last 2 and a half completely improvised, and perhaps the most beautiful part, a bleary-eyed psych trip. This record would be totally worth it if it just played this song 11 times, trust us. But there's so much more! "Cafe Batik", "The Flower", "Papa Legba", and "Burial In The Sky" all follow in the footsteps of "Tarmac 23", improvised, warped, outsider-jazz-raga-middle eastern psych-folk numbers with Gocher's percussive mastery and Alan Bishop's sung/shouted vocals taking front row. "The Shining Path" could be a lost track off a Morricone soundtrack, a whistle-and-acoustic guitar number with that catchy and haunting melody line sung over it. "Radar 1941" is like the Ventures on thorazine, a slowed down, chewed up and spit-out attempt at surfy skronk. Like a foreshadowing of his solo career, "The Vinegar Stroke" is a classic Sir Richard Bishop piece, a masterfully played acoustic guitar track that feels like it's pulling inspiration from 5 different musical styles at once.
In short, (ha!) Torch Of The Mystics is an album that is from both everywhere and nowhere. It constantly plays with things you've maybe heard, but can't quite recall. It's at once high and low brow, mimicking some criminally underheard guitarist in the Sahal, or a drunkard trying to recite the Rigveda from memory. The babbling of Charles and Alan are in either some unknown foreign language or complete gibberish, perhaps playing with some sort of postmodern idea of Western cultural appropriation and our often naive and hamfisted takes on "world" music, or maybe they were just high and fucking around.
An utter masterpiece, a no-brainer must-have piece of every music collection.
MPEG Stream: "Blue Mambo"
MPEG Stream: "Esoterica Of Abyssynia"
MPEG Stream: "Space Prophet Dogon"
MPEG Stream: "The Vinegar Stroke"

album cover SWEAT LODGE Talismana (Ripple) lp 24.00
FINALLY HERE ON VINYL AND BACK IN STOCK ON CD TOO!! This Record Of The Week (and Allan's #1 of the year), went completely AWOL from distribution shortly after we first listed it last summer, d'oh. Now at last the label sorted out a new distro, and so we have the cd back from limbo, and also the vinyl version now available too for the first time!!! Here's our original review...
Not to be confused with a few other Sweat Lodges out there (we reviewed a tape by a screamo punk band called Sweat Lodge a few years back), this Sweat Lodge is a heavy psych stoner rock band outta Austin, Texas, and they are AWESOME. Seriously, all the stoner rock digging peeps here at AQ immediately fell in love at first listen, they're that good. Actually we meant to list it a few weeks ago, but our supplier was out of stock - but now we've 'em are not only listing it, but making it Record Of The Week, just 'cause everybody here (not just the stoner rock digging peeps) has been digging it so much and we're still spinning it a LOT.
There's a big Black Sabbath influence evident here, you know, jamming grooves, powerful riffage, and Ozzy-ish (but not too Ozzy-ish) vocals... Sure, lots of bands play that game these days, but these guys are winners. Just super solid, with catchy songs, a dark and trippy vibe, and maybe most crucially, those vocals - the guy is good! Also the sound and mix is just right, clean but not too polished or produced, just a very satisfying, listenable sound, heavy but accessible and melodic. Along with the Sabbath, what we're hearing reminds us of the likes of Uncle Acid, Freedom Hawk, (fellow Austinites) Fogg, maybe even some Golden Void, and other heavy, rockin' faves so if you're into stuff like that, do yourself a favor and check out Sweat Lodge!!!
Weirdly, this band started out as a three piece, of just bass, drums, and vocals - no guitar! They performed and even put out a 7" and demo tape with that lineup, and that stuff WAS cool (lotsa heavy fuzz bass and those killer vocals, yeah why not?) but really they made the right decision recently to expand the band to its current five-piece format, as documented on this debut full-length, bringing in not just one but two guitarists for not just a fuller, even heavier sound but a lot more interesting psychedelic interplay and texture. Sabbath with twin guitars, nice idea. Just listen. Everybody we've played it for so far has gotten hooked!
MPEG Stream: "Bed Of Ashes"
MPEG Stream: "Slow Burn"
MPEG Stream: "Black Horizon"

album cover BOWIE, DAVID Blackstar (Columbia) cd 14.98
Although it is impossible not to think about David Bowie's death when listening to Blackstar, to his immense credit that is most likely exactly what he wanted. Eighteen months is reported to be how long Bowie spent fighting cancer - about the length of time since the release of his previous release The Next Day - and he filled that time creating art that will live in the world long after his body. His lyrics are open to a variety of interpretations, but "Lazarus," his last single in a career that touched six decades, seems to be an honest acceptance of his own death and the creative legacy he would leave behind. From heaven Bowie consoles us, his fans, those who loved him, with the knowledge that his body of work will be raised every time his records play.
Blackstar is a phenomenal album, filled with moodily beautiful horn and synth melodies that simultaneously reference Bowie's entire career and find an individual place within it. Bowie's haunting vocals on the opening title track sound as good as anything he's ever done. Much of the album's percussion seems to initially draw from - and improve on - Earthling's drum 'n' bass worship. Blackstar, however, is much darker and less playful, more somber and purposeful. The title track is ten minutes long, and yet totally engrossing, setting the scene for the rest of the album: the frenetic energy of the rhythm section often tempered by the horns and Bowie's voice. Along with the two singles released before his death, the rock 'n' roll drama of the penultimate song "Dollar Days" is a definite highlight. Many people will want to own Blackstar because it is not only Bowie's last studio record, it is truly amazing in its own right. It would be easy to go on forever about each song, but like the man, the album is more than the sum of its parts and will speak for itself.
MPEG Stream: "Blackstar"
MPEG Stream: "Lazarus"
MPEG Stream: "Sue (Or In A Season Of Crime)"

album cover CABARET CONTEMPORAIN Moondog (Sub Rosa) lp 16.98
If The Boredoms and The Singers Unlimited somehow managed to work out a repertoire of Moondog covers, it may sound something close to this. Or perhaps more accurately, imagine if Juana Molina and OOIOO married folk electronics to a heavy percussive tumult in dizzyingly ecstatic chirping odes to the eccentric avant-street classicist. However you swing it, this is great! Cabaret Contemporain are a modern French quintet who bring an electro-rock performative approach to the avant aesthetics of 20th century maverick compositions of John Cage, Terry Riley, and notably on this release, Moondog. Enlisting Swedish vocalists Isabel Sorling and Linda Olah, the pair charge the material with rapid-fire vocal acrobatics that add another layer of interwoven rhythm and texture to the plucked strings, sputtering electronics and crashing symbols that all together give the music such amazing energy. Includes the master's most endearing songs, "Enough About Human Rights" and "All is Loneliness". If you have never heard Moondog before, we'd recommend you check out Viking of Sixth Ave. first. But for fans, this is some brilliantly crazy interpretation!
MPEG Stream: "My Tiny Butterfly"
MPEG Stream: "Why Spend The Dark Night With You"
MPEG Stream: "I'm Just A Hop Head"
MPEG Stream: "All Is Loneliness"

album cover CONAN NEUTRON AND THE SECRET FRIENDS The Enemy Of Everyone (Seismic Wave) lp 17.98
We've been meaning to review this for a while now, the latest from local rocker Conan Neutron, and his Secret Friends (which just so happen to include members of the Melvins, Coliseum and Oxbow, and apparently also David Yow of the Jesus Lizard, who supplied the tripped out cover art) and while that might have you expecting some sort of fucked up noise rock, or warped metal weirdness, you'd be WAY off the mark. The sound is straight up hard rock, crunchy pop, arena rock, rife with classic seventies riffage, big choruses, hooks galore, plenty of phaser and flanger, a little new wave, a little power pop, shades of Van Halen, seventies Ted Nugent, Boston, BTO, Kiss and for some reason, we get a serious Aldo Nova vibe! Rare is the band that attempts to pull off this sort of thing, rarer still is the band that succeeds. The best part about Neutron and his pals, is there's no tongue in cheek, hipster, nudge-and-wink, ironic retro-rocking going on, this is just some seriously solid, goddamn rock and roll, that we find ourselves listening to like crazy!
MPEG Stream: "Casually Intense"
MPEG Stream: "Fight Math"
MPEG Stream: "R.I.P. Anger"

album cover CRYPT VAPOR Erotik Maniac ( Death Shadow) lp 16.98
Vinyl version of (a portion of) this Record Of The Week from back in July!!! Originally released on cassette by Heavy Chains Records And Tapes, then put out as an expanded cd with two other Crypt Vapor eps included. Now the original Erotik Maniac ep is available again, on vinyl, via the Death Shadow label, though we're surprised it wasn't Death Waltz who picked it up! Here's some of what we said before about the Tombe Della Citta cd which included these seven Erotik Maniac tracks, including one of our faves, the creepy "Subway Crawler":
Terror from Tasmania!! (Or perhaps from Italy, depending on what you wish to believe). The mysterious Crypt Vapor is the latest and one of the greatest, we think, in the realm of the New Wave Of Horror Soundtrack Sounding Stuff or whatever we ought to call it (there's gotta be a better name for this phenomenon, but we can't think of one right now). You know, underground musicians making Goblin and John Carpenter inspired, instrumental "imaginary soundtracks" that sound like they come from obscure '80s witchcult slasher flicks and badly-dubbed sci-fi suspense films. We're thinking of such VHS-loving artists as Umberto, The Night Terrors, Nightsatan, Zombi, Zombie Zombie, and of course John Carpenter himself, whose Lost Themes album on Sacred Bones we also made a Record Of The Week recently. If you loved that, you'll love this, though rather than an actual band recording, Crypt Vapor are very much a DIY, lo-fi deal, probably just one guy alone in a bedroom, basement (or crypt) with a 4-track and some secondhand electronic gear. Almost comes across like sinister "skwee" music at times.
These exceedingly spooky synth ditties are full of creepy drones and thudding heartbeat bass lines, urgent reverbed-out rhythms and eerie atmosphere. Plus a dose of almost-psychedelic synth soloing let loose here and there. Very effective, all of it, really pretty much exactly what we want from this sort of thing. Reminds us of what felt when we heard the very first Umberto cd-r, just YEAH, this perfectly captures that '80s synth-laden, hypnotically groovy, sinister soundtrack vibe. Crypt Vapor's style is simple and to the point, doing nothing unnecessary or unwanted. The synths are so raw and fuzzed out; the melodies eerie and earwormy. Ideal for listening to on a night drive through the wrong side of town, or waiting for the train on a desolate subway platform. If you dare.
Each moment of music on here, even the most danceable, sounds like it could be the last thing you'll ever hear - as your life is suddenly ended by the thrust of a knife in the back, or a blade across the throat. STAB! SNIP! Or, fade any track out, and it's a slow death, strangulation by black-gloved hands, or suffocation in the vacuum of space as the airlock is emptied...
MPEG Stream: "Subway Crawler"

album cover FLOATING POINTS Elaenia (Luaka Bop) cd 17.98
After releasing 11 singles and 2 eps since 2009, Floating Points - aka the British electronic producer and neuroscientist (!) Sam Shepherd - finally put out his debut studio full length late last year on the Luaka Bop label. One of our favorite electronic releases from last year, we're just getting around to reviewing it now that it's been repressed. Shepherd employs a cosmic cerebral minimalism infusing tracks with the spiritual jazz flourishes reminiscent of Herbie Hancock and Alice Coltrane as well as a coolly remote rhythmic bounciness that feels like footworking in outer space. Cinematic and majestic yet carefully restrained, like a more cosmically focussed version of The Necks. Highly Recommended!
MPEG Stream: "Silhouettes (I,II,III)"
MPEG Stream: "Elaenia"
MPEG Stream: "Argente"
MPEG Stream: "For Marmish"

album cover HOX Duke Of York (Editions Mego) lp 22.00
Here stands one of the many on-again / off-again projects by Graham Lewis outside of his continuing position as the bassist for Wire. Hox finds Lewis working with the Swedish electronic technician Andreas Karperyd, who began recording in the late '80s as Omala, with a handful of industrially minded abstract recordings that looked to Coil, 23 Skidoo, and certainly Dome as references. Lewis and Karperyd recorded a handful of albums in the late '90s under the monikers He Said Omala and Hox. Jump well over a decade later, and we get the Duke Of York from Hox, an album that has the fingerprints of Lewis all over it, mining the off-kilter electronica and avant-pop complexity that Lewis crafted during the late '80s in Wire and He Said. His weary baritone lilts across much of the fractal blossoms of electronic cross-hatched patterns twisted into a darkly elegant if thoroughly mutated collection of well-crafted pop song.
MPEG Stream: "White Space Conflict"
MPEG Stream: "Goodbye"

album cover JENERIK, SCOT Soundtrack For The Dead: Eli (Mobilization) 10"+ cement 10" 83.00
Two records come in this object d'art from fire and noise artist Scot Jenerik; one of the records is actually cast in concrete. Both are housed in a well-crafted oversized wooden box, with considerable care put into to protecting both formats. This ain't like the Christian Marclay album with no cover that is supposed to collect surface noise; but fear not, there's plenty of noise to go around on this set! On both the concrete record and the red vinyl, Jenerik has engineered a reverse cut on the b-side, meaning that plays from the inside out, and even so the b-side is the backwards rendition of the a-side. As for the content of the red vinyl, Jenerik offers forth a bombastic thrum of guitar noise that buzzes and swarms from caustic noise to melancholy harmonics and back along a bed of somber piano arrangements. Very much akin to the more ambient aspects of Tribes Of Neurot or even the pregnant atmospheres conjured by Swans before they would rip into a bombastic crescendo. The concrete record contains quite a lot of surface noise as you would suspect, but there is a surprisingly clarity that can be heard from the original composition. The more weight one puts on the needle, the more comes through... but no matter what, you will run the risk of damaging your needle by playing the concrete. Jenerik has thoughtfully included various recordings of him playing the concrete record as downloads, with those often snapping into lock grooves. It should go without saying that this is fucking heavy, certainly in terms of physical weight and also in terms of being fucking heavy, man! We've only got a few of these in the shop; and given their weight and difficulty in shipping, we probably will not be stocking these again. That said, if you are ordering via mail order, we will insist on sending this UPS for domestic customers, and we will have to charge according to weight instead of our normal flat fee.
MPEG Stream: "Eli (Side A)"
MPEG Stream: "Cement"

album cover LAURICE Best of Laurice Vol. 1 (Mighty Mouth Music) lp 19.98
We listed the cd-r version of this not long ago, now it's been repressed on vinyl, yay!
Even with the endless barrage of reissues over the last decade, the music headz here at aQ are still so psyched when something shows up that none of us have heard, or even heard of, only to fall in love with it and wonder where the heck that record had been our whole life?!
Such is the case with this awesome and endearing set of '70s outsider jams from the singularly monikered Laurice, who apparently went on to have a big career and even hit the top of the charts in Canada with some dance-pop and smooth-jazz. But this collection is pre-Canada Laurice, when he was still living in the UK in the '70s and creating seriously infectious proto-punk (and proto-disco!) with a keen pop sensibility and a sweet girl-group like vibe. It seems like you can draw a pretty direct line from many of the early releases on Lookout! to the music of Laurice, which is equal part rock crunch, pop hooks and punk energy. There's doubt Pansy Division would freak the fuck out hearing these songs, and really, if anybody was down with Laurice, it would probably be them! It's not difficult to imagine everyone from The Cramps to B-52's being influenced by these songs, if in fact they ever actually heard them.
Turns out it wasn't just Jobriath who was out and proud in the 70's, cuz Laurice holds nothing back with songs like "He's My Guy" and several tracks like "Born To Serve", "Wild Sugar", and "Rock Hard" that directly reference gay S&M/leather culture. In fact, as much as we love Jobriath (which is a LOT), we find Laurice to be way more up our alley, with sound that at times is totally blown out, raw and fuzzy and would sound right at home right now on Burger records.
Lots of modern groups like Shannon & The Clams, Wand, and Hunx & His Punx also seem sonically (and spiritually) aligned with Laurice, whose tracks do seem like blueprints for the warped garage-pop those groups specialize in. If John Waters were ever to curate a Nuggets-like compilation there's no doubt any and all of the songs here would feature prominently. We could just imagine Divine, in full force, with these songs blasting on the soundtrack. Lots and lots of fun. Plus, the poppy proto-punk of "I'm Gonna Smash Your Face In" and others here is pretty classic even without any campy/gay angle to it.
MPEG Stream: "When Christine Comes Around"
MPEG Stream: "I'm Gonna Smash Your Face In"
MPEG Stream: "That's Nice"

album cover OAKEATER Aquarius (Sige) lp 17.98
Bleak anxiety and depressive tension bellow from horrific chimera that is Oakeater, the gnarled trio of Alex Barnett, Jeremiah Fisher, and Seth Sher who skirt the realms of primitive industrial, dark ambient, power electronics, and black metal without ever landing in any one particular arena. That's no small feat, and to pull it off with such a singular vision of intensity and vigor makes for one hell of a great record in Aquarius. Surging guitars, cybernetic rhythms, and scream-against-the-sky vocals crawl out of the gloomy menace that permeates this record of subterranean murk and consumed-by-fire catharsis. Highly recommended! (Also we like the title!)
MPEG Stream: "All That Is Sacred"
MPEG Stream: "Aquarius"
MPEG Stream: "Respite"

album cover PARADISE LOST The Plague Within (Century Media) cd 15.98
After spearheading the UK's gothic death/doom scene in the early '90s (along with equally gloomy comrades My Dying Bride and Anathema) Paradise Lost have enjoyed a long and varied career, but even their most fervent supporters would be hard pressed to argue that they've remained essential - a career metal band with their best days 20 years behind them, like so many others. Well, no more! Suddenly and without warning, these once-masters of trudging crumbling doomy magick have returned with easily one of the best records of their career. What is most immediate and impressive about The Plague Within is how classic it sounds, but somehow without ever sounding exactly like any other iteration of PL (so, think of it as their Painkiller). Dancing ever mournfully between their earlier theatrical death metal mysticism and their later Metallica-on-depressants stab at super-stardom (but thankfully abandoning the ill-thought techno dabbling of their even later albums), their latest is an enormous testament to gloomy, lamenting, dramatic HEAVINESS. Nick Holmes' vocals drift between anguished growls & shadowy croon, and while the tunes do incorporate some more lush elements (violin, piano, etc), there is a real grit to this record that's been missing from Paradise Lost since the Olde Days. A crumbling tombstone landscape of melodic, powerful metal, as catchy as it is heartwrenching. Highly recommended!
MPEG Stream: "No Hope In Sight"
MPEG Stream: "Terminal"
MPEG Stream: "An Eternity Of Lies"

album cover PISSGRAVE Suicide Euphoria (Profound Lore) lp 17.98
NOW ON VINYL, one of Kirk's putrid metal faves of the year...
With a name like Pissgrave, you might already have an idea of what you're likely in for. But even then, you might not be prepared for the all out ferocity of these Philly death metallers' debut, a furious, frenzied aural assault that takes pretty dense technical death metal and douses it in noise and utter sonic chaos. The recording is not lo-fi, but somehow the sound is filthy, and grimy, and gritty, and at times borders on full on, blown-out white noise. The vocals too - unlike the guttural cookie monster vox of most death metal outfits, here they're super-distorted, a caustic caterwaul, that not only sounds inhuman, they're also somehow beyond demonic, almost alien, like the band have some weird Man Is The Bastard style noise-ician, injecting bristling gouts of crumbling, garbled FX into (or, out of) Pissgrave's sick sonic maw instead of actual vokills.
It's a dizzying, and dizzyingly dense onslaught, not that far removed from the likes of Portal or Wold, but somehow, Pissgrave take the noisy experimentation of those groups and fuse it to a more classic metal sound. Roiling swaths of death-noise occasionally part, revealing a frantic bit of riffing, or some progged out burst of tech-death, or a wild splatter of octopoidal drumming, inevitably collapsing again into a blurred black maelstrom. And did we mention the shredding leads? They don't pop up often, but when they do, they're wild, freaked out tangles that sound totally unhinged. The band do slow things down here and there, unfurling massive walls of deathmarch doom, but those moments too are fleeting, quickly erupting into another barrage of deathlike brutality.
We're total suckers for classic, old school death metal. And even moreso for fucked up, weirdo, avant death metal, and somehow, Pissgrave satisfies our love of both. Big time!
MPEG Stream: "Pain Enchantment"
MPEG Stream: "Suicide Euphoria"
MPEG Stream: "Blood Fog"

album cover ROCKET ROBERT s/t (Got Kinda Lost) lp 28.00
Blast off! Have a close encounter here with some spaced out, switched-on analog synthesizer overload from the early '80s, total DIY Moog madness for fans of Bruce Haack, Gershon Kingsley and Dick Hyman. Amazing how there ALWAYS seem to be totally, totally obscure records out there still to be reissued, Rocket Robert's eponymous 1982 album (142 copies pressed, originally, on his own label) being the latest discovery we think you'll flip over, if you're into swooshing, whooshing, throbulating electronics and hyperkinetic video game soundtracks! It lives up to the sci-fi name and sleeve artwork for sure, and ranges in mood from totally playful to darkly sinister. First time reissue from master tapes, includes liner notes and 2 previously unreleased bonus tracks of quirky, new wave synthpop w/ vocals.
MPEG Stream: "Star Flight"
MPEG Stream: "Dance Of The Droids"
MPEG Stream: "I've Got My Helmet On"

album cover RUNNING Wake Up Applauding (Castle Face) lp 15.98
When we reviewed the last record from these Chicago garage punks, we described them as sounding like a meaner, punker version of Thee Oh Sees, and thankfully not a whole lot has changed! Wake Up Applauding is another supercharged blast of furious fuzz and primal pound, everything doused in sheets of feedback, the whole record basically a gloriously haphazard arrangement of buzz and echo and reverb, howl and chug and crunch. The songs hide their pop smarts beneath lurching, noise rock stumbles, and loose limbed, galloping grooves. Guitars get all tangled up into woozy detuned melodies while the bass emits fat fuzzy rumbles. There are some cool creepy moments of psychedelic synthiness peppered throughout the record, which are balanced by some Butthole Surfers style drugrock pound which was all over the last record as well.
MPEG Stream: "Reclaimed Would"
MPEG Stream: "Speed Camera"
MPEG Stream: "No Wave Jose"

album cover SHE SPREAD SORROW Rumspringa (Cold Spring) cd 17.98
A harrowingly good introduction to the bleak power electronics from She Spread Sorrow, the nom de guerre for the Italian transgressive artist Alice Kundalini. The industrial culture has long employed the language of violence as an aesthetic and conceptual tool, with varying degrees of grand rigor and varying degrees of thrill-seeking titillation. Kundalini certainly positions her work on this continuum, though there is more of a personal horror which she seems to wish to exorcise through the work. While she never outwardly expresses what that is, all of the signifiers point to some sort of sexual abuse; with the whispering declarations above the rasping low-end distortion holding a very uncomfortable position as a nexus of unmentionable past events of cruelty, present states of shame, and a future that grips with a potent sense of control of self. Kundalini's production stands solidly on foundations constructed by the likes of Anenzephalia, Puce Mary, and Atrax Morgue, with belicose noise, anxiously claustrophobic gloom, and an obsessive discipline all on display on this unblinking album. Would have been on the aQ best of 2015 had we gotten this in earlier.
MPEG Stream: "Spring Of Regret"
MPEG Stream: "Herself Denial"
MPEG Stream: "Inertia Malaise"

album cover SISSY SPACEK Gate (Helicopter) cd 10.98
Sissy Spacek are the face-melting noisecore duo of John Wiese and Charlie Mumma, who've recruited various guests to shred their vocals in the live context, including Sara Taylor of Youth Code and Aaron Hemphill of The Liars. The job entails staccato screaming at the top of one's lungs whilst rampaging through the audience as Wiese and Mumma create an insanely explosive, hyper-reductive form of punk and grindcore. These are not so much songs as unrestrained nuclear detonations of exhilarating fury that lasts maybe 30 seconds at the most, stopping abruptly and moving onto the next violation of music through bass, drums, voice, and a hell of a lot of feedback. If you've never seen Sissy Spacek, you fucking should. If not, this cd comes damn close. Gate collects two previous releases, an eponymous ep and one aptly titled "Incomprehensible Dehumanization" along with a deliciously shitty live recording as a bonus track.
MPEG Stream: "Dynasty"
MPEG Stream: "Mutual Assured Destruction"
MPEG Stream: "No Relief"

album cover SPACIN' Total Freedom (Richie) lp 15.98
Another batch of Deep Thuds from these Philly psych rock deadbeats, a gloriously distorted, FX drenched concoction of warped power pop, boozy blooze and twangy, spacey swagger. Pounding slabs of Stoogesy stomp meet hazy, hook heavy groovers meet hippy dippy, paisley pop, sing-along anthems. Spacin' consist of members of Birds Of Maya and the Steve Gunn Band, but this is a whole 'nother animal, one that's wasted and woozy, lo-fi and laid back, an endless bummer, lysergic jam rock fused to some sweet strain of bedroom drug pop and blasted from a broken boombox on a stoop littered with empty 40s, in front of an old crumbling old house in the sketchiest part of town.
MPEG Stream: "Over Uneasy"

album cover SUNRUNNER Heliodromus (Minotauro) cd 17.98
Italian metal/doom label Minotauro, home of Paul Chain, brings us the latest from this fairly new American prog-metal band, well worth checking out if you're a fan of, say, Hammers Of Misfortune. This is Sunrunner's third album and by far their most metal, almost power metal at points, but very proggy indeed, with lots of technically complex, spiraling herky-jerkiness to the quite epic proceedings - extra epic when it comes to the 21 minute long final cut! And they can get ploddingly doomy too, even as they blend in acoustic instrumentation (including violin and oud) on the likes of "Corax". There's a mellow side to 'em, part of their pensive prog rock heritage, that seeps in amidst the serious shred. The clean & "heroic" vocals also often have a melodic softness to 'em, so Sunrunner definitely set a mood, sounding very somber, very earnest, more like music schooled minstrels at times, than headbanging metal maniacs, despite the definite heaviness on offer.
Btw, the guitarist's dad was in the '70s band Seth that Minotauro just reissued (see our review also this list).
MPEG Stream: "Keepers Of The Rite"
MPEG Stream: "Corax"
MPEG Stream: "Star Messenger"

album cover TETSUO (CHU ISHIKAWA) OST (Kaijyu Theater) lp 25.00
The films Tetsuo: Iron Man (1989) and Tetsuo II: Body Hammer (1992) are two completely amazing pieces of Japanese sci-fi / horror splattered with a hyper-exaggeration of sexual desire, megalomania, haywired man-machine hybrids, and one massive cyborg drill for a penis. The soundtracks, especially for the first movie, are of equal acclaim, both scored by Chu Ishihawa, who created masterpieces that hold up to much of the explosive industrial and noise that Japan was producing in astronomical proportions at that time. This was less of the Merzbow / Hijokaidan model, and much more of the tightly controlled sound of Dissecting Table / K2 / Grim / Contagious Orgasm of metal-machine jackhammering on junk steel along to synchronized electronic anxiety, gloom, and psychic unease. The edition pulls the best material from both soundtracks (which had been issued in Japan as part of a triple cd set a while back), marking the first time any of this material has been on vinyl.
MPEG Stream: "Megatron"
MPEG Stream: "Mausoleum"
MPEG Stream: "The Sixth Tooth"

album cover V/A Dope, Guns, & Fucking In The Streets 1-11 (Amphetamine Reptile) 3lp 38.00
Like some long lost noise rock manifesto, all three volumes of this legendary Amphetamine Reptile compilation, gets bundled into a single double disc primer, that lays out everything you could ever want to know about nineties noise rock, but were too much of a pussy to ask.
Detuned blues rock meets pigfuck scuzz, near metallic riffage, collides with knuckle dragging stumble, howling noise drenched bombast wraps it's filthy tendrils around some seriously hook heavy pop tuneage. There's not a dud in the bunch, just check out the list of bands: Mudhoney, Helios Creed, Boss Hog, Vertigo, King Snake Roost, Surgery, Guzzard, Jawbox, godheadSilo, Boredoms, Superchunk, Jesus Lizard, Dwarves, Tad, God Bullies, Halo Of Flies, Cows, Lubricated Goat, Helmet, gas Huffer, Unsane, Cosmic Psychos, Chokebore, the U-Men, Bailter Space, Steel Pole Bath Tub, Braniac, Today Is The Day, Rocket From The Crypt, Gaunt, the Chrome Cranks and more more more! Comps can definitely be a dicey proposition, more miss than hit, but goddamn if this isn't practically perfect, wild, noisy, spastic, chaotic, grungy, blown out, swaggery, snarly, pissed as fuck, and somehow still crazy catchy.
Needless to say, this is abso-fucking-lutely essential, and if you're new to the whole nineties noise rock thing, this might be all you ever need (but probably not haha!)... (Fyi, vinyl includes download.)
MPEG Stream: MUDHONEY "Twenty Four"
MPEG Stream: TAR "Antlers"
MPEG Stream: JAWBOX "Low Strung"

album cover VATTNET VISKAR Settler (Century Media) cd 15.98
The United States is ripe with young, creative, genre-pushing black metal(ish) bands right now, but Vattnet Viskar manage to stand out from the crowd with their powerful, visceral blend of raging melodic black metal and Neurosis/Isis influenced post-heaviness. Complete with eye catching (and gloriously un-metal) album cover and captivating concept (the album was inspired by Christa McAuliffe, the teacher/astronaut who died in the Challenger disaster), Settler is equal parts ferocious, contemplative and engrossing - its myriad tracks (most of which clock in around the 4 minute mark - an anomaly in the modern metal world!) seamlessly leading into one another, giving the album a liquidity which makes it all the more hypnotic - even when bouncing between punishing blast beats, math rock rhythms and monolithic doom. It's a brave, cathartic and emotionally draining album - dynamic, powerful and immense. Certainly a must-have for fans of all things post and metal!
MPEG Stream: "Dawnlands"
MPEG Stream: "Colony"
MPEG Stream: "Yearn"

album cover ZIPPER s/t (Official 40th Anniversary Reissue) (Permanent) lp 21.00
SWEET! REISSUED ON VINYL. We listed an earlier (and now out of print) cd reissue of this gem a while back, thusly...
Awesome garagey/glammy '70s hard rock that sounds like a demented Led Zeppelin some of the time, featuring frontman Fred Cole, future co-founder of the legendary Pacific NW punks Dead Moon! For as big of proto-metal, '70s rock nerds as we are here at aQuarius, we don't understand how we'd somehow NEVER heard of this band until quite recently.
So, Zipper's sole album, originally released as a private pressing (by the Cole's own "Whizeagle Records") in 1975, features nine cuts of high energy ramalama and bluesy grunge. The album opens with a bang, the song "Bullets" being the one that immediately made us think Led Zeppelin, with extremely lewd & lascivious lyrics delivered in what sounds like an exaggerated parody of a lemon-squeezin' Robert Plant. The sexual innuendo here is pretty outrageous / hilarious if you pay attention ("wanna stuff my face in your swimming hole, stroke it so hard I'm gonna break my pole", for example) and the guitars riff it up with wild abandon.
Cole's over the top vocals are big part of Zipper's sound, for sure, and at first (before we realized it was Fred Cole singing) we were kind of taken aback by his style, sneering and screeching, part Percy, part Mick Jagger, often doing a scrappy, campy falsetto that makes us think of Wayne Kramer warbling "Rambing Rose" on the MC5's Kick Out The Jams! Overwrought and ridiculous, but damn it works, with the downer epic "Face Of Stone" ferinstance being truly emotional wrenching. Some big influences are probably late '60s Stones, Zeppelin of course, perhaps early Detroit-era Alice Cooper, and maybe a bit of Black Sabbath. There's some sweet aching ballads, some lumbering blues rawk blasters, some glammed-up punkers, and even a '50s style raver. Good stuff - for raunchy, kickass, low-budget heavy jams from the garage circa '75, look no further!
MPEG Stream: "Bullets "
MPEG Stream: "Born Yesterday"
MPEG Stream: "Let It Freeze"

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