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Last updated:
11 April 2014

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Check out this week's special inbetween list:
NEW ARRIVALS List #448.5
aQ RECORD STORE DAY 2014 Releases (18 April 2014)

Highlights of the week of 45 items on
NEW ARRIVALS List #448 (11 April 2014)

album cover COHEN, CHARLES A Retrospective (Morphine) 2cd 28.00
Never heard of Charles Cohen? Neither had we. Which is really not surprising, considering this composer and master of the Buchla Music Easel synthesizer (he's one of the few Buchla masters in the world), managed to remain largely unknown outside of Philadelphia, where he spent the late seventies and eighties composing for dance performances and art installations, famously refusing to record, concerned with the 'ephemerality' of his music, and being somewhat of a recluse outside of his music making. But oh the music he made! In a world and time where pretty much any unheard record is considered reissue-able, very little of it truly is, and yet Cohen's music is so well deserving of a wider audience, especially considering how sonically prescient his music truly was.
A mix of musique concrete, kosmische new age, electronic krautrock, alien exotica and layered dronemusic, the sounds collected here are at once all over the map and unpredictable, but also all somehow also sonically linked. It's impossible to describe two discs' worth of Cohen's music in shorthand, but too daunting two go through each of the 22 tracks, one by one, but imagine, a fluid soundscape in constant flux: murky, lo-fi flurries of percussion wreathed in swirling electronics, almost like some alien gamelan - weird abstract dub, all glitchy and spaced out, almost industrial, but also sort of dreamy and ambient - very Kraftwerk sounding propulsive electro grooves, squelchy and shimmery, but hazy and psychedelically cosmic - Les Baxter like electro-exotica, maybe as envisioned by Nurse With Wound, and that's just the first four tracks. From there on out, it just gets cooler and weirder, more mysterious and even more abstractly beautiful.
"Sonomama" sounds almost like Asian folk music, again as re-envisioned by someone like the Residents, especially the second half when the sounds become more frantic and chaotic. Some tracks almost sound like eighties Carpenter soundtracks, check out the "Velcro Dance", which totally sounds like it could be playing as the credits roll on some old VHS tape, but then seconds later, there's the darkly delicate "Sunrise Women-Men", which almost sounds like Morricone, a wistful, cinematic sprawl, laced with muted melody and occasional percussion, before transforming surprisingly into something way more futuristic! At this point, we essentially are going track by track through the whole collection, but it's hard not to. Every track here is a mysterious gem, sonic surprises lurk around every corner, some short bursts, others, long, slow building epics, some playful and almost goofy, others somber and haunting, even sinister, but again, every second of sound here is utterly stunning.
There's tons more info in the liner notes, lots of rare photos and different writers and fellow composers offering their impressions of Cohen and his music, much of it truly fascinating, but like all great music, even knowing nothing about its provenance, doesn't take away from the magic and power of the sounds here. A truly fantastic discovery, and no doubt a contender for reissue of the year!
MPEG Stream: "Club Revival Performance"
MPEG Stream: "Tubs"
MPEG Stream: "Ukip2"
MPEG Stream: "Blue Krishna"
MPEG Stream: "Sonomama"
MPEG Stream: "Velcro Dance"

album cover MEDICO DOKTOR VIBES Liter Thru Dorker Vibes (Companion) cd 14.98
Few records in recent memory have had us so excited in anticipation for their release, but this outsider visionary gem is so unquantifiably unique that it has worked its magical charm on us in such an intense way that we knew we had to make it Record Of The Week. Even before we heard a lick of music, the album cover, title and artist had us asking so many questions. That simple but puzzling orange cover with a vintage stock photo of San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge, the mysterious and oddly misspelled title, Liter Thru Dorker Vibes, by an even more mysterious and misspelled artist name, Medico Doktor Vibes. Dorker Vibes??? What on earth could this be? Only a small text in the bottom right corner that said, 1979 Compton, CA and the record label Bi-Russell Records offered any clues to its origins. But the music inside, even stranger still is a primitive bedroom concoction of Caribbean-inflected outsider rock made with electric guitar, kalimba, synthesizer and drum machine that is an equally woozy, weird and introspective set of spell-casting witch-doctor psych groove.
Folks who bought Johan Kugelberg's excellent book on Private Press records, Enjoy The Experience, may recognize the cover as it was featured in that book as well as the opening song, "Diska Limba Man" which was included on the companion musical compilation, but its curious lack of back story in the book only give the record a more mysterious aura as if beamed into our world from another dimension. And it's almost like it was, as this record was just discovered at an Oakland Colosseum flea market only a few years back and made its way to the ever-curious vanity record enthusiasts at Companion Records. Companion, who have brought us some incredible private press reissues from Stan Hubbs, Michael Farneti, The New Creation, Marc Mundy and Luie Luie, did the legwork (with help from Rob Sevier of Numero Group) to track down the artist, who it turns out is a Guyanese man named Bill Russell, and worked with him to see this unique release resurrected. True to Companion's mission, they have reissued the record in the same form as the original with an old style tip-on sleeve, blank back cover and no liner notes, so as to experience the record as it is, unfettered from preconceptions. However, we did press the label for a little context and we'll get into some of the record's back-story a little later.
Each of the seven songs here vary in tone, but they are united by the instrumentation mentioned above in different combinations and Russell's accented softly mumbled delivery, as well as a seemingly urgent determination to get each song recorded as envisioned. As primitive as the recording and performances are, every song seems to have a deliberate focus, with moodier songs on side one and more rocking songs on side two. The record doesn't seem to have been made to promote himself as a professional or as a demo to make better produced recordings. In that, it is a perfect one-off record, its only obvious influential musical touchstones apart from some Caribbean musical rhythms, might be a bit of Santana and Hendrix perhaps (though this doesn't quite reach their heights, quite the opposite), but we're hearing a bit of Chrissy Zebby Tembo, Otis G. Johnson and even some Suicide in there too. It really just sounds like Russell plugged all his instruments directly into a 4-track, hit record and worked around the mistakes, never letting them curtail his vision.
The opener, "Diska Limba Man" sets the tone with an off-kilter synth sequencer and wonky slow-disco rhythm, the tempo slowing down and speeding up in an elliptical groove while an electric guitar and a tinny kalimba add melody and texture respectively. Russell's voice thickly accented but emerging from an introspective murmer sings of a small musical instrument and the man who plays it, embarking on a hypnotic repetition as the song progresses into a sort of subdued dark disco trance. The second track, "Kalimba Tune", is just that, the kalimba alone in a beautifully played magical weaving instrumental that borders on the minimalist composition of Philip Glass. The third track, "Take A Closer Look" ends the first side with a slow looping organ dirge with a loping martial rhythm, inflected with a simmering guitar melody that adds a mystical resonance. The song urging the listener to "take a closer look at the life you are living" points to the lighter ("liter") and darker ("dorker") vibes the album title implies.
Side two has more of a heavier rock feel. "Givers of Affection" opens with a motorcycle blues guitar riff and what sound like harmonica blasts and rudimentary drum machine in a Canned Heat style, Russell's voice double tracked in a driving falsetto. "Lonely No More" has a more laid back sunbaked Zam-rock vibe, with funky Caribbean rhythms and freaked out synth leads, filtered through homegrown distortion and double tracked vocals layered incongruously into a strange psychedelic brew. "Dig This Calypso" is a stoned sunny and breezy take on the origins of the calypso beat, and we're usually not that big on calypso, but as with all the songs on the second side, this one layered with warm distortion and gritty guitar squalls all filtered back in a lo-fi Caribbean funk groove, makes it one of the better calypso inspired songs we've heard. The final track, "Water Late" is an instrumental with a medium-fast shuffled martial rhythm, and some seriously wonky exploratory guitar leads as if Doug Blunt was fronting some primitive cave rock band like Cromagnon. It ends the record on a slightly open ended note as we're left to wonder what in the hell did we just listen to? But that is exactly the kind of naive quality in this record that makes us want to put it back on and listen to it again, figure out the words and try and put together what it all means, and why for all of its outsider artistry, these songs remain so hopelessly and wonderfully implanted in our brains. And most importantly, who or what is Medico Doktor Vibes?
The folks at Companion filled us in a bit. Bill Russell is an immigrant from Guyana who came to the United States and served in the U.S. military in the seventies. He came from a musical family and after serving, settled in the LA suburb of Compton and decided to make a record. He bought the recording equipment and instruments he used on the record all at once and set about making this one and only lp. He chose the cover image carefully by color because he thought it matched the mood of the record and thought it would appeal to people, even though he oddly didn't notice the Golden Gate Bridge, or at least it didn't register any additional symbolic meaning for him and he didn't have any Bay Area connection. The title though intentional is logically vague. The story goes that Russell saw the recording as a bridge between "light" and "dark" people, but felt that just calling it Lighter Through Darker Vibes was too politically charged and so he twisted the words to "Liter" and "Dorker" in avoidance (this must have been before the word "dork" came into a more common parlance). His hopes were that both Light and Dark people would come together and groove out to his music , though it was distributed modestly with only 100 original copies and went absolutely nowhere. Perhaps now with this reissue, Russell's original vision will finally come to pass. We certainly hope so.
MPEG Stream: "Diska Limba Man"
MPEG Stream: "Kalimba Tune"
MPEG Stream: "Take A Closer Look"
MPEG Stream: "Givers of Affection"

album cover NIGHT TERRORS, THE Spiral Vortex (Homeless) lp 21.00
We got turned on to the synth-heavy, cinematic post-rock of this Aussie outfit last year, when their previous album Back To Zero was released on vinyl. Their secret weapon, a virtuoso theremin player, who coaxes all manner of weepy, wavery giallo-worthy ooohs and aaahs from that electronic instrument, its lovely, lachrymose vocal-like-timbre soaring over some seriously intense sci-fi zip-zap synth sounds and the massive momentum of the heavy, propulsive rhythm section. So powerful, and melodic! We're excited that they're now back with a brand new album, albeit with a stripped-down lineup: they're just a duo now, not that you could tell, having shed a couple of synth players in the interim (and switching out drummers, too). Multi-instrumentalist Miles Brown, he who plays the theremin, as well synths, bass, and "noise", takes up any and all slack, however. This sounds BIG.
When we reviewed Back To Zero, we noted that they had opened for Goblin, and that their own brand of soundtrack-y, Goblin-y horror movie prog sounded like it should have been released as an lp on the Death Waltz label. Perhaps you should just go read that review elsewhere on our site ('cause for one thing, the compact disc version of this new record is actually a double disc set, also including a reissued cd of that album as well), but we'll quote ourselves a bit: "Sometimes gently atmospheric (someone mentioned Sigur Ros), sometimes noisy and distorted (someone mentioned MBV), always compelling and evocative, The Night Terrors almost seem specifically designed for aQ appreciation." Indeed they do. We love this stuff! The new record has perhaps less of the gentle moments, devoting even more of its considerable energy to the crunching keyboards and math-rock rhythms. Tracks like "Monster" even hint at some form of adrenalized Euro-disco techno. Taken in sum, this almost approaches overload. Spiral Vortex is the perfect title; the sheer buzz and bombast of it all becomes quite headspinning. And demands to be played LOUD!! In a car, driving fast, even better. Makes us think of, like, if Emeralds got hopped up on Red Bull and challenged the Trans Am guys to a synthesizer drag race (whatever that means, but you know what we mean). This could be the soundtrack to all manner of suspenseful, futuristic action noir scenarios. Melody, majestic melody, is effectively employed throughout, not just on moodier cuts like "Celeste". Always, the awesomely distorted, low-end tones from the synths and bass are perfectly balanced by the more ethereal, high-end "singing" of the theremin. Technically, though, this is mostly instrumental, but for some uber-distorted robot vox on the very last track, "Force Field".
We mentioned Zombi in our other review - and basically these guys sound a lot like an over-the-top Zombi, if Clara Rockmore (you know, the famous classical thereminist) joined that band. Other obvious "recommended-if-you-like" references include: Umberto, The Oscillation, Maserati, Majeure, Nightsatan, and even the likes of Fuck Buttons and Black Moth Super Rainbow.
As mentioned, the cd edition, is a double with Spiral Vortex on one disc and Back To Zero on the other. Whatta deal! Meanwhile, Spiral Vortex is also available by itself on limited edition 180 gram red vinyl w/ download code.
MPEG Stream: "Lasers For Eyes"
MPEG Stream: "Space Sickness"
MPEG Stream: "Force Field"

album cover A PLACE TO BURY STRANGERS / CEREMONY split (LAMC #1) (Famous Class) 7" 8.98
After reviewing parts #11 (Mikal Cronin / Wand), #10 (Fuzz / CCR Headcleaner), #7 (Ty Segall / Chad & The Meatbodies) and #3 (Thee Oh Sees / The Mallard) of this 7" series where some of our favorite bands offer up an exclusive A side jam, and introduce us on the B side to one of their favorite up and coming groups, we've finally started getting a bunch of the other installments in the series, and this one is the very first, #1, featuring 'the loudest band in New York', A Place To Bury Strangers, who dial back their usual psychedelic squall for something a bit more skittery and shuffly. It's a gloomy, druggy ditty driven by drums that sound programmed, beneath deep crooned, echo drenched vocals, and spidery almost surfy sounding guitars, a gorgeous, weirdly propulsive bit of gloom-kraut garage that aligns itself sonically with other outfits like Moon Duo or Spacemen 3.
APTBS's choice for the B side is Ceremony, who we only just realized has never been featured on the aQ list/site, which is weird, cuz lots of aQ-ers are big fans - and their track here makes it easy to see why, as it's a noise drenched shoegaze post punk dirge that blurs guitars into sheets of shimmery buzz, the drums buried in the mix, the vocals a hushed whisper, a gloomy pop song wrapped in layer after layer of swirling guitarnoise and blown out psychedelic skree. So good. And a good reminder that we definitely need to give some love to their albums proper.
And yeah, like the others in the series, very, very LIMITED!
MPEG Stream: A PLACE TO BURY STANGERS "Burning Plastic"
MPEG Stream: CEREMONY "Send Me Your Dreams"

album cover ANDERSON, MARISA Mercury ( Important) cd 15.98
Full length number two (originally released on vinyl by Mississippi in 2013) from this Portland guitarist, whose debut The Golden Hour was a huge hit around here, and who delivered a truly stunning instore performance a couple years back. A modern master of classic Appalachia, Anderson is of course beholden to the greats: Fahey, Kottke, Basho, etc. As we mentioned in our review of her debut, should really be getting the same sort of accolades as her modern post-Fahey peers like Richard Bishop, Jack Rose, James Blackshaw, and the rest. Anderson is perfectly capable of aping Fahey, but usually chooses to forge her own sonic path, her take on Appalachia remains more psychedelic, more loose and noisy and a bit experimental, Mercury, like The Golden Hour, almost plays more like a collection than an album proper, the songs and sounds so all over the map, as if these records were just a sampling of what Anderson is capable of, which appears to be quite a bit.
Lush distortion drenched melodies unfurl into spare twang flecked drift, folky campfire blues blossoms into dense frantic picking, the sound gets jazzy at times, psychedelic at others, spare and hushed one moment, brooding and slow building the next. Some of the songs here seem informed by distinctly non-Appalachian sounds, at least one track sounds like Fahey via Godspeed, which is as cool as it sounds, while elsewhere, Anderson gets dirgey and distorted, adding slippery slide, letting notes ring out, rife with tension and pathos, woozy, dreamy psychedelia is transformed into spare, spacious dream folk drift, before slipping effortlessly into some vintage sounding classic Appalachia. A near perfect mix of modern and classic sounds, interpretations and variations of each, that are uniquely Anderson's. Gorgeous! And so totally recommended.
MPEG Stream: "Down Off The Mountain"
MPEG Stream: "Furnace Creek"
MPEG Stream: "Mesquite Shade"

album cover BLOOD FARMERS Headless Eyes (Resurrection Productions) cd 14.98
Appropriately enuff, back from the dead it would seem. Bear witness to the long, long awaited return of psychedelic doomsters the Blood Farmers! After almost twenty years, the cult is alive. Still unhealthily obsessed with Z-grade schlock horror films - we'd love to dig into the the insane VHS collection we figure these guys must have - this NYC stoner/sludge/doom trio hit us here with only their second proper full-length album since their self-titled debut from 1995! (There's been just one other Blood Farmers cd, Permanent Brain Damage, previously reviewed by us, containing an earlier demo + live tracks).
It's been worth the wait, for those of us who love fuzzed-out downer psych trudgery with oodles of heavier-than-thou atmosphere, yep. Not much has changed over the years, Blood Farmers still sounding beholden to Black Sabbath, Saint Vitus, and that aforementioned vintage VHS collection - this album's title track, ferinstance, is inspired by the 1971 film The Headless Eyes, about a one-eyed, eye-gouging serial killer/artist. Fans of some bands that have become popular more recently, like Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats, definitely ought to check this out, they'll appreciate the synthesis of '70s exploitation cinema subject matter and Sabbatherian riffery that Blood Farmers dish out here. Part psych, part metal, it's a stripped down, garagey, lumberingly groovy sort of sound they have, embellished with some sinister synths, and the use of samples from the old movies they reference. Imagine The Heads, jamming with Electric Wizard. Or early Monster Magnet, but much more doom, with a huge horror vibe.
There's plenty in the way of moody, spaced/nodded out, almost-ambient interludes betwixt the more punishing fare, lots of this largely instrumental - however, the deep voiced holler of singer Eli Brown (often treated with underwatery FX) is definitely heard from, alongside the slo-mo six-string wizardry of guitarist Dave "Depraved" Szulkin, whose blown out riffs and acid rock leads have a hypnotic effect, abetted by the thumping rhythms of drummer Tad Leger (formerly of '80s technical thrashers Toxik, not that that has much to do with anything you'll hear here, nor does the further trivia that he also played with The Great Kat too at one time).
Blood Farmers do an amazing job of creating a heavy MOOD as well as making heavy sounds, a mood in keeping with their cinematic inspirations, but actually much more affecting and less ridiculously kitschy than a lot of those low-budget movies actually are. Speaking of mood, one of our favorite tracks here is the final one, an especially doomed-out cover of a beautiful song called "The Road Leads To Nowhere" from the David Hess soundtrack to The Last House On The Left (the vinyl reissue of which was reviewed by us not loo long ago). It's real nice, taking that song and turning it (after an acoustic guitar intro) into a heavy rock track, quite different from the original, but retaining the melodiousness of it, Eli's vocals also more restrained and melodious here as well.
We're really digging that song, and the rest of this, A LOT, and just hope they don't take another 19 years to make their next album! FYI, vinyl folks, an lp version is planned for release on the Patac label in the (hopefully) near future...
MPEG Stream: "Headless Eyes"
MPEG Stream: "The Creeper"
MPEG Stream: "The Road Leads To Nowhere"

album cover BODY, THE (& HAXAN CLOAK) I Shall Die Here (RVNG Intl.) lp 16.98
We discovered experimental doomlords The Body via their 2004 self titled debut, a crushing slab of slo-mo dirgery, that at the time we compared to other sonically like minded bands like Conifer, The Ocean, Pelican, and Isis. It was all pounding moody mathiness and churning downtuned doom chaos. But it was really on 2010's All The Waters Of The Earth Turn To Blood, where the Body transformed into something way more than doom-dirge knuckle draggers, expanding their sound to include multiple drummers, electronics and samples, and a full female choir. That record definitely set a benchmark for avant-doom, and with each release since, the band seem dead set on continuing that drift into the outer realms, although odds are you won't find a more twisted and sonically abstract corner of the doomworld than I Shall Die Here, which finds the Body submitting to a serious sonic makeover from Haxan Cloak, who transforms the sound into something bleak and abstract, the resulting sound something that seems like it might be more at home on Tri Angle or Blackest Ever Black, so no surprise we're flipping out big time.
The opener sets the template, with fragments of the original sound recast in a whole new context the big crashing drums, super distorted and blown out, laying down a mesmeric tarpit groove, the guitars muted and muddied, and blurred into a soft swirling, distorto churn, at this point, it could still be a proper doom record, the weird shrieked vokills swoop in, howl abjectly in the background, buried in the mix, and then suddenly, a cloud of digital glitchery erupts, the guitar churn peels back, those shrieked vocals become a disembodied loop, in come deep bass pulsations, and the song settles into a super minimal electronic creep, skittery, and glitchy, and staticky, and so heady and hypnotic. It ends way too soon, would have loved to see that final part stretch out for another 10-15 minutes of moody electro-murk, but instead, the process begins again, distorto drums, this time dubbed out a but, more buzzing riff-blur, wailed high pitch screeches, and then right back into another sprawl of electro-doom minimalism, this time eventually erupting into a wild, gristly squall of blown out tribal drumming, and layered drones, sounding a bit like a million copies of Tusk being played at 16 rpm.
And so it goes, some tracks are dirgey stretches of oozing black riffage, spread out into slowly churning landscapes of crumbling distortion, others fuse warped psychedelic techno with grim, gristly buzz, and still others actually sound a bit like the recent Coil / Nine Inch Nails 'collab', heaving industrial weirdness and fractured electronic experimentation, here of course fused to gargantuan black doom crush. The final track spends most of its time drifting moodily, a spare stretch of dreamily divine ambience, peppered with hushed pulsations, before it too eventually explodes into one final burst of pounding, howling, blown out electro-doom pummel. Awesome.
MPEG Stream: "To Carry The Seeds Of Death Within Me"
MPEG Stream: "The Night Knows No Dawn"
MPEG Stream: "Hail To Thee, Everlasting Pain"

album cover BRE'R Mobility In Six Parts (Sanity Muffin) cassette 5.98
Blurry, dusty, and hazy. That's how we like 'em. It's no secret that we've long had a soft spot for the woozily droning psychedelic sounds of Stars Of The Lid and Tim Hecker, and this template for ambient driftscapes can be all the more effective when dumped onto cassette with all of the tape hiss and aural detritus adding to the dreaminess of it all. Mobility In Six Parts by Oakland's Bre'r falls down this aesthetic rabbit hole thanks once again to Sanity Muffin. These longform, meditative tracks swirl and whirl with hypnotic slow-burning melodies repeating through the shimmering guitars and lonely soft-noise smolder. It's hardly the shoegaze model of overblown distortion denatured through an excess of reverb; Bre'r is far more of a lush minimalism run through pools of echo and the ambient hushed shadowiness of a late-night recording session in a rumpled bedroom studio in constructing an emotional soundtrack for somebody's personal communion with a lonely street light whose luminous sulfur glows in the night sky, oblivious to everything around it. Somewhere near the drum-less space of Tarentel and the instrumental folk-drone of Natural Snow Buildings. Limited to just 100 copies as well.
MPEG Stream: "Mobility Part One"
MPEG Stream: "Mobility Part Four"

album cover BYRNE, JULIE Rooms With Walls And Windows (Orindal) cd 11.98
NOW ALSO ON CD! And with bonus tracks!!
The sheepish smile of Julie Byrne on the cover of this album belies the plaintive, minimalist patter of her beguiling yet melancholy songwriting. The image could very well be a lone snapshot of this woman caught in the daylight and slightly embarrassed that her photo is being taken. The simple and earnest songs of this album paint her more as one who stays inside for the bulk of her existence, with her face shrouded behind that brown mane of hers, hunched in the corner of a bedroom where she gently strums the accompaniments to her weary songs - oftimes bittersweet, wistful, full of longing. Her intimate compositions are little more than acoustic guitar and voice (with that 'little more' often being some tape hiss, or a light wash of reverb, or the sun-flecked monochord organ solos that end each side of this album), recalling the mood of those early Cat Power recordings, Sibylle Baier's hushed hymns of everyday life, and even the moonlit folk ballads of Nick Drake.
This lp was dusted off from a couple of cassettes by Owen 'Casiotone For The Painfully Alone' Ashworth for his new imprint Orindal Records. Really lovely stuff!
MPEG Stream: "Prism Song"
MPEG Stream: "Holiday"

album cover C., BERNARD Lieu Magique (Sanity Muffin) cassette 5.98
Here's a 'what the fuck?' tape for you to sink your teeth into. Bernard C. was part of a French DIY avant-garde community which loosely banded together under the flag of Illusion Production beginning in 1979. The surrealistically charged ensemble DDAA was probably the best known entity that came out of Illusion Production. Stylistically, DDAA came across somewhere between Nurse With Wound's autodidacticism, Franco Battiato's concrete-songwriting, and Alain Neffe's idiosyncratic vision across all of his Insane Music projects; and Bernard C. is not all that far removed from that aesthetic synthesis.
Lieu Magique was Bernard's only full album, getting pressed up in 1985, sporting a broad catalogue of aesthetic frameworks all of which are typically sparse, held together by minimal electronic rhythms and loosely clattering tribal percussion that bend more towards a free-jazz mode than the ritual-industrial sound that was commonplace in the underground at the time. The vocals, often whispered or situated low in the mix, seem to harken from the sound-poetry of Dada and some of the tamer variations of the Aktionists. It's an eclectic mix for sure, but one that held nicely by the claustrophobic atmosphere and primitive use of effects / electronics. On this Sanity Muffin reissue of Lieu Magique, one of Bernard C.'s other rare recordings - the Socialist Realism single from 1981 - is tossed in at the end as bonus tracks. Limited to 100 copies!!!
MPEG Stream: "8000 Hz"
MPEG Stream: "Totem Electronique"

album cover DOPETHRONE III (Totem Cat) lp 22.00
We sorta flipped for these Canadian stoner sludge doomlords, their self-released Demonsmoke record was a huge hit around here, but when we ran out, we were suddenly unable to get more. Then, the group released two more records, and both seemed somehow impossible to track down. We couldn't even get 'em from the band, so we just assumed they were living up to their Electric Wizard beholden moniker, all seated in massive, spiked dopethrones, high as fuck, and unable to do anything more that stumble into the practice space and lay down some of the heaviest, grooviest, stoner sludge EVER.
Well, record number three FINALLY showed up at one of our distributors, so we grabbed as many as we could, while we could, before they disappeared back into a cloud of bongsmoke. And like Demonsmoke, this most recent record is about as sick as stuff like this gets. Laced with samples, the guitars are MASSIVE, thick, and super distorted, the drums crushing, the vocals a demonic, almost black metal rasp, swaggery and stonery and very very Sabbathy, it's easy to hear Eyehategod and Bongzilla and Church Of Misery and all the rest in their sound, and yeah, fans of any and all of those bands will lose their shit for these guys, cuz somehow they take that sound and crank it WAY up, it's fiercer and more fiery, blown out and seriously crushingly HEAVY. Total wasted stoner metal doom sludge bliss out of the highest order. Surprised these guys aren't way more popular, but then, considering how hard it is to track down their records, maybe it makes sense. Regardless, if this is your cup of bongwater tea, grab one of these before they're gone!
LIMITED TO 300 COPIES, pressed on blue/brown wax, in heavy full color psychedelic covers, with a 4 page booklet.
MPEG Stream: "Hooked"
MPEG Stream: "Reverb Deep"

album cover FRAHM, NILS Spaces (Erased Tapes) 2lp 23.00
We've been hearing about this release for some time now. It was supposed to be out last November, but somehow it took forever for our suppliers to carry it. Nils Frahm is a modern German pianist and composer who has been releasing piano and synth-based ambient music since 2005. But we hear it's his live performances that are truly compelling as he showcases an incredible sense of control and restraint while at the same time opening up to all kinds of musical experimentation through building of passages and filtering and electronic processing. Spaces is the result of such experiments combining two years of live recordings and weaving them into each other, building up from organically plaintive melodies into full range ambient fields of sound and back to cascading watery piano passages. Gorgeous stuff!
MPEG Stream: "An Aborted Beginning"
MPEG Stream: "Says"
MPEG Stream: "Over There, It's Raining"

album cover HUBBS, STAN Crystal (Companion / Gloriette) cd 14.98
We can always count on local reissue label Companion Records to foster the kind of rare hidden musical gem that perhaps won't appeal to everyone, but will get a select group of enthusiasts very excited over the discovery of someone's sincerely unique, but oftentimes misguided musical vision. Companion's specialty has always been reissues of vintage private press vanity releases, such as the Luie Luie, Charlie Tweddle, Marc Mundy, and New Creation records, and most recently three quite amazing but very different musical visionaries: the Caribbean bedroom psych of Medico Doktor Vibes, the spirited orchestral lounge stylings of Michael Farneti, and this one, the latent stoner mope-psych of Stan Hubbs.
Released in collaboration with Gloriette Records (Nite Jewel, Ariel Pink, and Puro Instinct), Stan Hubbs' 1982 recording Crystal is more out of its time than ahead of it. Recorded in his rural Sonoma County living room, it seems like the band almost can't decide if they're latent hippie stoner boogie-folk, eighties shred-guitar rock or progressively disaffected mope wave, which makes for an unusually intriguing sound that is hard to pin down. Hubbs' vocals sometimes sung in a near monotone with female singer Kriss O'Neil can sound as much like a downer Fleetwood Mac as it can resemble some of today's gloomy pop found in Beach Fossils or Crystal Ships. But it's Larry Doyle's kitchen sink electric guitar approach that makes it really out of sync in an amazing way. Using lots of psychedelic effects and sounding like he's eager to show off his shredding licks to anyone who comes along, Doyle shows just barely enough restraint not to overstep the hazy vibe the singers and keyboards are laying down. Imagine if Simply Saucer did a cover of America's "Tin Man", and you'll sort of get the idea. But this is regionalism at its best, taking lots of big musical ideas from different popular styles and making something completely home-brewed, a bit oft-kilter and super genuine. Limited to 500 copies, comes with a full reproduction of the 16 page booklet of lyrics and drawings that came with the original release. Hot Damn!
MPEG Stream: "Joe and Gina"
MPEG Stream: "Let's Go On Back To Camp"
MPEG Stream: "Golden Rose"
MPEG Stream: "Seems Like It's A Rich Man's World"

album cover JUTE GYTE / VENOWL split (Black Horizons) cassette 8.98
Seems like local label Black Horizons must have put this split together just for us. Two of our noisy outsider black metal faves together on one tape, up first, microtonal black metal one man band Jute Gyte, whose sound is a strange sonic brew, the microtonality, sounding just out of tune at first blush, but lending the sound a super twisted, off kilter, psychedelic vibe, the first track here is a dizzying, clean guitar sprawl, all woozy overtones and eye watering melodies, but then when the metal kicks in, it's crushing, and tripped out and impossibly heavy, almost industrial sounding, the churning black buzz riffage, peppered with weird atonal psychedelic squiggles, and fracture melodic shards, and the vocals, a sick, hellish gargle, mathy and progged out, with some super dense tranced out breakdowns, where it sounds like the riffs are melting or slowing down, before erupting into another blast of twisted buzz, that somehow gets impossibly more and more chaotic and sonically off kilter as it goes. The second JG track begins as a loping, lumbering dirge, with weirdly placed pauses, the sound lurching, weirdly detuned and fucked up sounding, warped and woozy, and after a long stretch of cool, softnoise ambience, explodes into a metallic noise rock blowout, all grinding and pounding and howling, before fracturing and devolving into that original atonal avant detuned creep. So weird, but SO cool.
The other side is a single, 27+ minute epic from USBM noiseniks Venowl, who drape pizzicato plucks and scraped strings, over a bed of dense, downtuned rumble, and sporadic caveman drumming, some inhuman shrieking vokills too give this a sort of Khanate vibe, but even more sick and sinister, abstract and lo-fi. It's like black doom musique concrete. The rumbles and whirs to coalesce into a sort-of-riff at times, a churning, crumbling, brittle beast of a riff, which seems to be haphazardly looped, giving everything a super off kilter feel, structureless almost, the sound not metal so much as a sort of avant experimental minimal 20th century doom, riffs become grinding scrapes, drums come in blurts and blats, and those vocals, like insane backwards demonic pig squeal shrieks, that raise the hair on the back of your neck, as does the music really, abject avant blackened horror doom of the highest order, recommended for fans of things grim, and twisted, hateful, harsh and harrowing.
Like all Black Horizons release, the packaging is over the top, the J-card this time, all silver and gold metallic ink on a fold out black matte cardstock, gorgeous design too, the tapes themselves as well, and as always, EXTREMELY LIMITED.

album cover MB (MAURIZIO BIANCHI) Mectpyo Bakterium (Menstrual Recordings) lp 30.00
Maurizio Bianchi is one the pioneers of Italian Industrial music, transforming the psychedelic electronics of the likes of Conrad Schniztler, Cluster, Eno, Neu!, etc. into a chilling, dark theater of cancerous sounds that had become the template for the countless dark ambient / industrialists who followed. His story is a peculiar one, as he was incessantly productive throughout the late '70s and early '80s until he unexpectedly stopped in 1984. This musical cessation served to heighten the mystique around the man, as rumors and falsehoods swirled around his legacy, followed by numerous bootleg tapes and LPs of his rarities. Mectpyo Bakterium was an album originally released on lp back in 1982 on the Mnemonists' imprint DYS out of Colorado, and then later in 1998 on cd through the Alga Marghen reissue campaign of his major records. And here is the first repress of the vinyl which goes for a very pretty penny on the collector's market.
Mectpyo Bakterium is a bleak piece of electronic expressionism, with shivering tones and slashing bursts of clinical noise meandering through minefields of grim atmospheres. As it was originally released on LP, the two main tracks of this album are each side-long excursions that mutate and fold on top of themselves, beginning at very dark, very grim launching points and ending up in an entirely different mindframe, having rotated through dour melodies, squalid noises, funeral drum machine marches, and further bleak electronics. It makes sense for this to be a worthy contemporary of TG, Cabaret Voltaire, and Whitehouse! This officially sanctioned lp is limited to 275 copies in a nearly exact reproduction of the original.
MPEG Stream: "Festish Pinksha"
MPEG Stream: "Sterile Regles"

album cover MILLIE & ANDREA Drop The Vowels (Modern Love) cd 19.98
When we first heard about Millie & Andrea, the duo of Miles Whittaker aka Miles, whose brilliant Faint Hearted record we raved about here a while back, and Andy Stott, whose gorgeous, ultra minimal techno we've been raving abut forever, we were expecting this collaboration to be some fusion of the two - skeletal, abstract, ambient, hauntological, ultra minimal. For the first few seconds, our guess was pretty much right on, the first track beginning with a field of reverb heavy clattery rhythm, deep bass pulses, but with something lurking just below the surface, as if the sound could take off in any direction. The sound grew more dense, more secondary rhythms surfaced, the results super hypnotic almost trancey, but still plenty spaced out and abstract... So, we were settling in for an extended occultic electro bliss out, when track two kicked in and BAM, suddenly, we're transported directly from our insular listening space, to some nineties dancefloor, the duo laying down some skittery, swirly, crunchy, clattery techno, with super distorted synth sweeps, and stuttery hiccuping beats, the vibe hovering right between old school ravery, and something more modern and freaky, some heavy IDM influences too, as well as jungle, drum and bass, garage, but the production changes everything, fantastically blown out and in the red, which gives every sound a weird psychedelic feel, like some weird sonic halo, transforming what could have been straight up dance music into something noisy and trippy and fucking awesome! The next few songs offer up variations on this way back electronic time trip, with "Temper Tantrum" getting straight up jungle, pretty sure that's a mutated 'Amen' break, but again Whittaker and Stott fuck it up big time, adding all sorts of rhythmic filigree, and part way through, some swoonsome synth swirl. "Spectral Source" is another fantastic throwback, with a stuttery vocal snippet peppered amidst synth squelch, hand claps, gristly bass buzz, and a murky pulse, all transformed by the gloriously cheesy late night chill out synths, which like much of the record, finds its niche in this weird push and pull between avant electronic experimentation, and pure, sweat soaked dancefloor groove from back in the day.
"Corrosive" begins all robotic electro draped over a background of blooping bleeping melodies and gurgling low end before exploding into full on No U-Turn style tech-step, a killer blast of distorted noisy jungle that no one makes anymore, but we still LOVE. The title track two, a churning bass heavy slab of classic jungle/drum & bass, albeit plenty fucked up, and of course midway through, they fuck it up even more, pulling it apart, and cranking up the bass, thick buzzing, undulating rumbles and whirs.
Nearing the end of the record, things seem to start drifting closer to the sounds we were expecting from Whittaker and Stott, albeit fused to the jungliness that came before. "Back Down" is all murky swirling melodies, hazy vocal harmonies blurred into black smears, churning, grinding bass, skittery rhythms, all wreathed in a dense sonic murk, sounding almost industrial, industrial via Huperdub maybe, and finally, the closer, wraps things up with a gorgeous bit of haunting ambience, swirling Basinski like loops beneath weird bits of rhythmic clatter, gristly tape hiss, static and glitch, all washed out, hazy, druggy, dreamy and divine.
MPEG Stream: "Gif Riff"
MPEG Stream: "Stay Ugly"
MPEG Stream: "Temper Tanturm"
MPEG Stream: "Corrosive"

album cover MIMAROGLU, ILHAN Wings Of The Delirious Demon And Other Electronic Works By Ilhan Mimaroglu (Sanity Muffin) cassette 5.98
Ilhan Mimaroglu is a composer more people have heard of than actually heard. We probably have Keith Fullerton Whitman to thank for that as he christened his distribution empire Mimaroglu Music Sales in homage to the pioneering composer. In the early '60s, Mimaroglu studied at the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Center under Vladimir Ussachevsky, occasionally finding time to work with Edgard Varese from time to time. While Mimaroglu went onto compose a large body of work for ensembles and orchestras, his biggest impact was through his dense squiggles of electro-acoustics and controlled tape splutter. His first recording was released on one of those compendiums of electro-acoustic music finding himself in good company next to John Cage and Luciano Berio. His own imprint Finnadar Records was responsible for the bulk of his discography; and during the 1970s, Mimaroglu was quite active in getting his work out in the world. Unfortunately, there's been little in the way of reissues since then, with this cassette version of Wings of the Delirious Demon being a rare exception to that rule. The title track is a mind-bending exploration of radiophonic tone-bleeps and flutter-n-wow tape manipulation coupled with a ring-modulated clarinet in full-spectrum free-jazz skronk. The electronics quickly rip through the various effects with an amazing speed (probably with everything sped up on tape in order to achieve the color-coordinated-with-corduroy tone-splutter), with arching squalid vibratos from some stringed instrument and doppler-effected echoes acting as the rare bridges between Mimaroglu's dense collages. Mimaroglu states that the work is programmatic in its conceptualization from literature and geometry (to name two concepts on this album); but it's very difficult to hear much beyond the multidimensional polygons of sound slicing through each other. LIMITED TO 100 COPIES!!!
MPEG Stream: "Wings Of The Delirious Demon"
MPEG Stream: "Interlude II"

album cover MOLINA, TONY Dissed And Dismissed (Slumberland) cassette 6.98
Finally reissued and available once again, thanks to the fine folks at Slumberland, this time on colored vinyl [whoops, almost all gone already, being repressed though], and CASSETTE!!
Fans of local pop geniuses the Ovens, which are a whole lot of you, but should really be ALL of you, rejoice, and enjoy another incredible blast of noise pop songsmithery courtesy of Ovens mainman Tony Molina, whose solo sound is essentially, and really EXACTLY like the Ovens, fuzzed out pop, metallic chugging, soaring harmonized guitars, a dreamy croon, and ridiculous self deprecating lyrics, INCREDIBLE hooks, and the sort of poppiness that will get lodged in your head forEVER. SO yeah, anyone who bought and loved the Ovens cd Andee released on his tUMULt label, well, you're gonna want, nay, NEED this. As always, Molina's songs (and by extension, the Ovens' as well) are equal parts Weezer, Thin Lizzy, the Beatles, Guided By Voices, Dinosaur Jr, Teenage Fanclub, and pretty much every other fuzzy jangly pop band you ever loved, but all that boiled down and rendered into ultra brief, fragmented blasts of micro pop brevity, and we're talking boiled down as in thirteen songs in twelve minutes! One of those records you'll no doubt play over and over and over.
There are tracks like opener "Nowhere To Go", which sounds like it could have been plucked right off the Ovens cd proper, so much crammed into so little time, soaring harmonized guitars, the occasional metallic chug, the fuzzy main riff, the laid back vox, the melodies impossible to resist, and like many Ovens songs, blink and you'll miss it. None of that verse chorus verse shit, if you're lucky, you'll get verse chorus. Sometimes just verse! Like on tracks like "Sick As Riff", where you don't even get a riff, more like a dreamy little acoustic guitar interlude. Check out "Change My Ways", which should most definitely have J Mascis looking over his shoulder, the Dinosaur Jr vibe HUGE, right down to the guitar tone. And like we've said before, if Tony wasn't so brilliantly ADD, and could make a song longer than 90 seconds, he and the Ovens could/would/should be HUGE. But we're not complaining, it's part of their charm, the barrage of crazy hooks, perfect melodies, definitely pushing a lot of the same buttons Guided By Voices do.
So yeah, needless to say, these 12 minutes the probably gonna be our favorite 12 minutes of pop music this year, so grab one of these before they're gone, and leave a little space at the top of your 2013 year end lists, cuz even only two months in, and we're pretty sure, unless there's a new Ovens record that somehow pops up, this one's gonna be tough to beat.
MPEG Stream: "Nowhere To Go"
MPEG Stream: "Change My Ways"
MPEG Stream: "Can't Believe"
MPEG Stream: "Spoke Too Soon"
MPEG Stream: "Walk Away"

album cover MOLOCH Depressive Black Metal Plague (Acephale Winter Productions) cassette 3.98
These two most recent release from Ukrainian one man black metal band had us seriously confused. We originally reviewed the OTHER one that wasn't out yet, thinking it was this one, then did properly review that one, and are now finally reviewing THIS one, a 4 song, 20 minute ep that was originally released as a super limited lp on Prison Tatt records. Not surprising we'd be confused, as we mentioned in out other review of the OTHER new Moloch tape, these two come on the heels of over ONE HUNDRED releases! And yet, every time we hear something new, we immediately remember why we've always dug Moloch so much, and Depressive Black Metal Plague is no different, a loping, dirgey, depressive black metal that is thick with crumbling buzz, primitive stumbling drumming, sung/spoken vocals, the first track a slo-mo creep, that lumbers along before the sound grows gradually more and more noisy and buzzy, building to an almost psychedelic blackened squall before the guitars and drums drift away, leaving just the bass to wind down to the end. Somehow the second track cranks up the distortion even more, thick swirls of blown out crumbling buzz, the vocals too, and anguished wail way up in the mix, those two elements almost entirely obscuring the haphazard drumming below, harsh and lo-fi, grim and melancholically black, that sound oozing into the next track, droned out and trancey, the biggest sonic shift coming in the final track, which sounds almost freeform by comparison, the guitars cranked and in-the-red, the drums total free jazz freakout mode, a dense dizzying blast of black buzz dirgery, before everything drops out, leaving the final few minutes to just stately synths, and mournful melodies.
MPEG Stream: "Plague I"
MPEG Stream: "Plague IV"

album cover MOUNT CARMEL Get Pure (Alive) lp 21.00
We're really gonna have to reassess our stance (that means, Andee's stance) on 'blues rock', cuz this is the THIRD record from these Ohio hard rocking blooze blasters, and the third of their records that we're CRAZY into, even though it seems like we really shouldn't be. It's not super psychedelic, not crazy weird, not experimental, not very metal, not avant, not even noisy or lo-fi or anything, it's really just seriously kick ass, hook heavy, hard blues rock, and it kills. Imagine a way more hard rocking Black Crowes, or modern Southern rockers Antler, or all time aQ faves Raging Slab, these guys definitely fit somewhere in there, we're hearing a lot of psychedelic hard rock and proto-metal too, but they kind of fall closer to straight up blues rock, but still, there's just something about these guys, that even the most blues rock phobic here at aQ, i.e. Andee, maybe even especially, ends up flipping out over every record. And this new one is no different. Shit kicking hard rocking psychedelic blooze, with big killer riffs, muscly drumming, a killer production, raspy whiskey and cigarettes, Chris Robinson like vocals, hooks like crazy, and some kick ass shredding leads, it's hard to resist, but it's also easy to see these guys being the perfect match for groups like Howlin' Rain and the Chris Robinson Brotherhood, the kind of thing fans of those bands would and should be losing their shit for. But by the same token, there's still plenty here for folks into the current crop of retro psych heaviness, all those Rise Above bands, Sir Admiral Cloudsley Shovell, Uncle Acid, etc.
So yeah, if you like hard rocking psychedelic blues, and count bands like Jerusalem, Blue Cheer, Budgie, Captain Beyond, Leaf Hound, Ten Years After, Humble Pie, Zeppelin and cream among your faves, might as well add Mount Carmel to the list. If you haven't already!
MPEG Stream: "Gold"
MPEG Stream: "Back On It"
MPEG Stream: "Whisper"

album cover MSHR Liquid Hand / Time Blade (MSHR) cassette 5.98
Brenna Murphy and Birch Cooper are two Portland-based multimedia artists who have collaborated over the past six or seven years in various guises, first being the Oregon Painting Society, which was a loose collective that also included Matt Carlson (of Golden Retriever and Bonus) and Barbara Kinzle (of The Slaves with Birch Cooper). MSHR (pronounced 'mesher') has been the main project for Murphy and Cooper for a couple of years now, with the duo garnering installations and performances at such high profile venues as the Yerba Buena Center For The Arts in San Francisco and the Transmediale Festival in Berlin. Murphy's sculptural elements appear as some weird hybrid of Thai architecture and sci-fi futurism affixed to a latticework of mirrored surfaces and backlit illumination; and Cooper's hand-built electronics are often interwoven into the sculptural elements, activated in part by motion and light sensors. Their performances can appear to be a kaleidoscopic / libertine explosion of circuit bent squiggliness and saw-tooth wave acceleration, that has its sonic aesthetics which bridge the gap between Nautical Almanac's day-glo / haywired electro-blurt and Francoise Bayle's pioneering freeform sampledelic research at INA-GRM. Limited to 100 copies, and it is extremely unlikely that we will be able to get more once these are gone.
MPEG Stream: "Liquid Hand "

album cover NOTHING Guilty Of Everything (Relapse) lp 19.98
The shoegaze renaissance continues! This is the debut full length from this Philadelphia band after a string of singles and EPs, and alongside aQ faves True Widow, shows the typically metal-centric Relapse Records branching out further into the realms of atmospheric rock. Guilty Of Everything (a title that's leant an added weight by founder Dominic Polermo's two year jail stint prior to the band's formation) is an enormous monument of heavy shoegaze, loaded with bittersweet hooks and infectious melodies. What sets Nothing apart from most of their contemporaries, and even a lot of the first wave shoegaze bands, is how song oriented they are. Buried underneath an absolutely massive overwhelming production and what feels like a thousand layers of guitar, is an album full of genuinely moving nostalgic pop melodies and arena sized hooks that bring to mind the epic dreamy dirge of bands like Hum and Catherine Wheel. The contrast between these beautifully fragile yet addictive melodies and the wash of reverbed guitar, crunchy low end distortion and bombastic drumming is dramatic and totally perfect, and it plays a massive part in setting Nothing apart in a musical movement that's in constant danger of oversaturation. All the while the vocals hazily drift in and out, the lyrics just on the border of being indecipherable, fragments of sentences floating to the surface like half remembered afterthoughts. While the album is mostly pretty mid paced, there are also moments of driving groove and uptempo punk rock bop that help to momentarily break the hypnosis, but all the while the songs still drip with that same starry-eyed melancholic wonder. Catchy and immersive, rousing yet introspective and totally addictive. A no-brainer when it comes to your 2014 year end list. If you've lately found yourself smitten by the likes of Weekend, Alcest, Deafheaven and Whirr (with whom these guys will be releasing a split later this year) then this is absolutely essential.
MPEG Stream: "Hymn To The Pillory"
MPEG Stream: "Dig"
MPEG Stream: "Get Well"

album cover NOVY SVET / SPETTRO FAMILY split (Black Horizons) 7" 11.98
A split release between like-minded, combat-folk minstrels Novy Svet and Spettro Family on the local imprint Black Horizons. Novy Svet hail from the Death In June / Der Blutharsch aesthetic of an elegant and bleak romanticism bathed in the pomp of militaristic chic and a fast-n-loose use of totalitarian imagery. This track marks the first recorded material from Novy Svet in close to five years. The band's ringleader Jurgen Weber has oft proclaimed his current release as Novy Svet's final statement; and the pronouncement in 2008 looked to be conclusive. But once again, Novy Svet return even if it is a brief exegesis in the form one half of a split seven inch. Here, the band delivers a quiet, dark, and impassioned ballad through an acoustically strummed dark folk laced with polyglot lyrics. Spettro Family delivers more of a cinematic prog-horror with the heavy synth arpeggiations channelled directly from John Carpenter and Goblin. With the single cut at 45 rpm, the tracks from both acts are teasingly short. The cover features a split portrait of Jarboe and Jessica Way of Worm Ouroboros, neither of whom have anything to do with the musical content within. Limited? You bet.
MPEG Stream: NOVY SVET "en soledad perfecta"
MPEG Stream: SPETTRO FAMILY "hotel del salto"

album cover PERFECT PUSSY Say Yes To Love (Captured Tracks) cd 15.98
There's hype, and then there's HYPE. And we can't really remember a band as hyped as Perfect Pussy. Most folks had heard all about them, read all about them, knew way more than they had any right to before hearing a single lick of music. The risk with that sort of hype, is that the actual music could never ever live up to the expectation, and how PP stacks up is really pretty subjective. Assuming for one second, PP wasn't a ubiquitous news item on Pitchfork every day for the last year, hearing Say Yes To Love is kinda revelatory, the sort of record that could easily knock you on your ass. One thing we can say, is it's weird that a record this noisy and abrasive and UNcommercial is getting so much popular approval, but all we can say to that is hell yeah!
So yeah, but what the hell does it sound like? Well imagine classic Riot Grrl, nineties noise rock, all wound up in wild squalls of psychedelic shoegaze, with frantic bleated vocals that are a dead ringer for Melt-Banana, and you'd be getting close. The opening one-two punch of "Driver" and "Bells" might as well be one song, four minutes of keening high end ferocity, and in fact high end is where PP spend much of their time, would be surprised to discover there was no bass player, cuz really, it's all sharp and jagged, slashing noiseguitar, crunchy jangle, it's not until the third track "Big Stars" that things slow down, but even then, it remains fierce and feral, a little more aligned with that classic nineties era, but wreathed in feedback and noise, and the end of the track tapering off into some tripped out psychedelic drift. But hold up, some bass pops up on the beginning of "Work", before being quickly swallowed whole by a cloud of swirling guitar skree, and then weirdly, midway through, are those synths, somehow, the song becomes all cosmic and celestial, just for a minute, before stumbling back into more jagged noise pop / noise punk pound.
This is the sort of record, that squares will claim sounds like 'noise', and really they're not far off, this is some seriously noisy stuff, so much so, that on the shitty stereos this stuff was meant to be listened to on, it's really impossible to differentiate nuance, in the store it sounds almost like a Merzbow remix of Melt-Banana (not a bad thing mind you), but strap on some headphones, or blast it through a killer sound system at deafening volume, and PP's master sonic craft reveals itself for sure.
Our favorite moment might be right at the end, with the two minute blast of "Advance Upon The Real", which fills up it's remaining 3+ minutes with a barely audible bit of strange industrial ambience, buried melodies, blurred shimmers, the perfect intro to the weirdo experimental closer "VII" which IS noise, vocals drifting through fields of grinding distorted crunch, blooping synth melodies hovering amidst sheets of caustic gristle, rhythmic and blown out, a weirdly beautiful bit of extreme noise punk, and the perfect way to finish things off.
The cd comes in a cool glittery slipcase, with ultra minimal artwork, and while we did have the lp (back in soon, hopefully), it's not the oft remarked upon menstrual blood infused vinyl. Sorry.
MPEG Stream: "Driver"
MPEG Stream: "Bells"
MPEG Stream: "Work"
MPEG Stream: "VII"

album cover PERSSON, BO ANDERS Love Is Here To Stay (Subliminal Sounds) cd 16.98
We heart Bo Anders Persson! What a hero. Still going strong well into (and beyond?) his sixties, leading a band that's been around in one form or another more or less SINCE the sixties - we're talking about the those joyful psychedelic heavies, legendary Swedish "krautrockers", the timeless Trad Gras Och Stenar, and the group's prior incarnations as International Harvester, Harvester, and Parson Sound. The amazing archival release of Parson Sound's Terry Riley inspired drone-psych, circa 1967-'68, was until now the earliest music we'd heard from Bo Anders. But what was he up to even before that? We know that as a guitar player, he was hugely influenced by seeing Jimi Hendrix. But this new disc of his earliest, previously unreleased recordings, brought to us by the same label that did the Parson Sound set, shows a different side to Persson, being a portrait of the artist as a young academic composer. Persson has tape machines in hand, not an electric guitar. It's some wonderfully droney, avant garde 20th century classical music, from before Persson heard Hendrix and got into more rock-oriented music making. The experimental nature of these compositions however is in keeping with the adventurous direction of Parson Sound,, later on.
These pieces, recorded when Persson was a student at the Royal Academy Of Music In Stockholm, from 1965 to '67, constitute a mixture of eerie drones, minimalist electronic loopscapes, and, at times, what we might describe as beatnik sci-fi exotica. There's a female singer on much of this who provides wordless, abstract vocal acrobatics (she's good - this type of singing requires a lot of control), her delicate cries variously accompanied by fluttering flute and unidentified electro-acoustic noises, jazzbo hand percussion and equally jazzical contrabass, as well as the ever-present shivering electronic atmospheres. It's all very out-there, but still quite listenable, even as it sometimes gets darker and more dramatic, almost claustrophobic in its subtle intensity. We kept being reminded of some of the music from the original Star Trek TV series soundtrack! Also, Luigi Nono and Luciano Berio, composers like that. We're no experts, but this sounds pretty good to us, and we'd guess Persson could have continued on with a highbrow career as an arty musique concrete composer, if radical hippie communal psych sounds hadn't become his thing.
Our favorite track may be the last, the disc's longest at over 24 minutes - a rhythmic abstract dronescape constructed from a short sampled bit of speech, that as it's looped and layered becomes more blurred and burbling, turning into a mesmeric mumbled murmur. Nice! Dronophiles will want this for that track, "Proteinimperialism", alone.
Includes a booklet, with vintage photos & graphics and extensive liner notes (in the form of an essay entitled "The Utopian Dreams of Bo Anders Persson") Note: there's a much more expensive double-lp vinyl version of this as well, currently on backorder, but we will be able to get more eventually if you're interested, let us know!
MPEG Stream: "Invention II"
MPEG Stream: "Love Is Here To Stay"
MPEG Stream: "Proteinimperialism"

album cover POLYPHONY Without Introduction (Out-Sider) lp 28.00
You know with a name like Polyphony, this '70s outfit is all about making music for music's sake. Factor in the trippy psychedelic/mythological album cover art, and it's really no surprise that these guys are in fact a full-on prog rock band, making COMPLEX music for complex music's sake, in the vein of the English masters like ELP, Yes, Genesis, and King Crimson. But they're not British (or even Italian), they're Americans, early adopters of that classic progressive rock sound, releasing this, their sole opus, back in 1972. It's one of the best underground hard prog artifacts from the USA which which we're familiar. Utterly bombastic and boisterous, with tons of crazy Moog synth and ponderous Hammond organ, lighter melodic la-la-la moments but plenty of acid guitar heaviness too, long-form, multi-part song suites, mystical lyrics, the works.
Track one, a 14 minute epic, is aptly titled "Juggernaut", its many moods encompassing frenzied rhythms, distorted riffage, and spaced out vocals. If you dig it, you'll dig the rest of the album. Which, we should mention, boasts some great track titles: "40 Second Thing In 39 Seconds" (which is actually more like 77 seconds, an instrumental mostly consisting of pulsating Moog-fart noises), "Gorgons Of The Glade" (the first of three parts that make up the headspinning 15 minute "Ariel's Flight" suite), and "Crimson Dagger" (a track that is as lovely and ethereal as it is quirky and violent). Prospective purchasers of this remastered vinyl reissue are pretty much required to be down with the PROG, and if you are (like we are!), you'll find lots of enjoy here. The Out-Sider label has provided an insert with photos and liner notes as well.
MPEG Stream: "Juggernaut"
MPEG Stream: "Crimson Dagger"

album cover RAPOON Seeds In The Tide Volume 02 (Zoharum) 2cd 21.00
Here's the second volume of reissued rarities from the post-industrial mesmerist Rapoon, mined from the period of 2000 to 2003. At his best, Robin Storey finds himself entrenched in a confluence of tape loops, time-lag accumulation systems, and dub tricknology, which he developed in the early '80s through his work in the pioneering collective :zoviet*france: and continued with as a solo artist under the moniker Rapoon. Since his time in :zoviet*france:, he's often incorporated newer forms of technologies such as drum machines, soft-synth programming, and digital sampling processes. Admittedly, these explorations of newer technologies can appear stilted, in contrast with the fluid cascades from his analogue signal transmission. The bulk of Rapoon's research on Seeds In The Tide Volume 2 hedges toward an analogue sound, with only a few instances where the digital forms dominate the proceedings. The first disc is comprised of compilation tracks, almost all of which were originally released on obscure European compilations that probably didn't have much in the way of US distribution to begin with. The best track is probably the unpublished "Trace Area", which lilts across a liquid-uranium drone of nuclear-decayed sparkle with a plethora of ghostly-dub emissions from some unknown dimension via EVP. The diaphanous dub-ambient networks of echo patterns continue throughout the subterranean murk of "Ep Et Vee" and the quite pop-ambient blur of "Zoom Extract 2". The second disc is a live Rapoon set recorded back in 2000 in Vienna, which was originally a cassette released by Klanggalerie. Here, Storey glides through less of the ambient explorations and more of the rhythmic excursion that veers deep into a cybernetic electronica due to a remix that Rapoon did for the Clock DVA-esque project Black Faction. Super limited stock on this Polish import.
MPEG Stream: "Your Cheating Lies"
MPEG Stream: "Trace Area"
MPEG Stream: "Zoom Extract"
MPEG Stream: "Live At Klanggalerie"

album cover SEA KNIGHT Where Are You (self-released) cd ep 5.00
Where Are You is the first we've heard from local outfit Sea Knight, but it's a stunner, dreamy, and strummy, and psychedelic, moody and melancholic, the traditional guitar/bass/drums augmented by violin, which gives the sound a sweeping, epic and emotional vibe, not to mention the powerful vocals. All it takes is about two minutes of opener "Chasm", and you'll be sold, equal parts Pixies / Breeders pop smarts, and shoegaze-y Mazzy Star haze, simple steel string strum, chiming melody, a spidery guitar, the vocals dreamy and ethereal, the sound laid back and soft focus, slow building to something much more epic, maybe like a girl pop Godspeed if that makes any sense. It's definitely indie pop, but with a lush sonic palette, and a propensity for epicry that definitely makes Sea Knight something special. And is often the case, it took about 10 listens of the first track before we were able to dig any deeper. Which is always a good sign. The rest of the record holds up just as well, a perfect mix of folky strum, a little twang, classic old school indie rock, heavy on the nineties, with plenty of noisiness and unexpected mathiness mixed in, check out the sweetly melodic "Concrete", which blossoms into something much noise poppier, or the heavy droned out modern rock-ish "Crows Came And Spoke Of New Beginnings", with its smoldering buzzguitars, and haunting soaring vocals, again the Godspeed as indie pop band definitely comes into play, and apparently, as a live proposition, these songs all get a lot heavier and noiser, which is something we definitely wanna hear!
MPEG Stream: "Chasm"
MPEG Stream: "Concrete"
MPEG Stream: "Crows Came And Spoke Of New Beginnings"

album cover SIGILLUM S Studs And Divinity (Monochrome Vision) cd 14.98
Another obscure chapter in post-industrial history is reopened thanks to Russia's Monochrome Vision label. Sigillum S is an Italian project which began in the mid '80s, landing their first outing on the tastemaking label Broken Flag in 1985. The trio mined the sex'n'death concepts which Throbbing Gristle and SPK brought to the foreground through their autopsy and porno collages as part of their social critique through extreme imagery. Sigillum S was far more sensationalist in their use of this imagery, to the point where much of their titles hold the same poetic wordsmithery of death metal's ultra-violence. "Five Or Six Corpses" and "Chewing A Just Used Condom In Her After Coming Bliss... Ageing And Death Of Masses" are just two of the more colorful titles to be found on Studs And Divinity, a super rare cassette originally released on the cult-industrial label Minus Habens back in 1989. Crowlian ritual, dissolute hedonism, and sexual transgression were some of the other theatrically 'taboo' subjects for Sigillum S (along with plenty of other modern primitives from that era); but like Clock DVA and their offshoot The Anti Group (TAGC), Sigillum S stood as technologically savvy engineers of cybernetic noise, dark-minded ambience, and sporadic rhythmic excursions that could transcend some of their dodgier concepts. Studs And Divinity is one of the more successful ventures of Sigillum S, opening with a scalding piece of high-frequency plasma that spills through a minimalist/maximalist network of hiss and white noise. The aforementioned "Chewed A Just Used Condom..." is a cross between the roughly hewn loop practices of Phillip Jeck or Christian Marclay and the depressively neo-folk orchestrations for maudlin strings and electronics from Der Blutharsch or Novy Svet. For such a title, the piece is surprisingly lovely. Elsewhere, splintered electronics and flanging power-drones entangle within decentered arrangements, splattered crescendos, and the occasionally rhythmic lockstep that parallels what Greater Than One was doing around the same time. Remastered from the original cassette and now fleshed out with two bonus tracks from back then as well. Nice.
MPEG Stream: "Priesthood Of Whore Kaosdom"
MPEG Stream: "Chewing A Just Used Condom In Her..."
MPEG Stream: "Plague Privilege Plug "
MPEG Stream: "Accident Theology Through A Burst..."

album cover SPIES, THE The Battle Of Bosworth Terrace (Siltbreeze) lp 15.98
Siltbreeze continue to dig deep into the New Zealand underground, and it doesn't get more underground than this, a band who never released ANYthing, as in if you weren't in Wellington, in the late seventies, or knew someone who was, you literally never heard or heard of The Spies. Which is a shame, as The Battle Of Bosworth Terrace is a NZ pop gem, one that is seeing the light of day now for the first time ever! Featuring a few NZ luminaries, members of the Puddle, and the recently reviewed here Shoes This High, The Spies deliver a sort of noisy, jangly, lo-fi pop that wrapped jagged shards of guitar, around loose drumming, buzzing primitive synths, and alternating sweetly crooned high vox, and more swaggery, yowled gruff vocals, the guitars occasionally erupting into psychedelic tangles, but just as often unfurling spidery melodies, or groovy post punk jangle. The brief opener is a gorgeous little lo-fi pop gem, all busy blooping bass, carnivalesque keyboards, and judiciously employed almost Marc Ribot like guitar melodies, all beneath some angelic ethereal vocals. The second track though is more gritty, mush mouthed sung/spoken vocals over a bed of crunchy, brittle guitar, and swirling psychedelic keyboards, the rest of the record balancing a mix of the two, some like laid back Velvets inspired druggy drifts, others like warped reinterpretations of some alien classic rock sound, and still others, seriously tripped out and experimental, reverb drenched stretches of bedroom dub via NZ noise rock, sprawls of bleating horns over gristly buzz and woozy, minor key jangle, or twisted loner, folk pop, all 4-track warble and druggy Jandekian croon. For every bit of brilliant classic pop inspired tunesmithery, there's some seriously drug addled, WTF avant pop deconstruction or druggy home brewed psychedelia. The most minimal tracks here reminds us a bit of the legendary Wreck Small Speakers On Expensive Stereos, while much of the rest of this sonically aligns the Spies with the rest of the Flying Nun / Xpressway regulars. NZ nerds are in for a treat!
LIMITED TO 500 COPIES!! Includes a download card.
MPEG Stream: "Egyptian Bird Song"
MPEG Stream: "Collided And Collected"
MPEG Stream: "Wait Don't Wait"
MPEG Stream: "Teenage Lightning"

album cover TELLUSIAN Collision (Pillowscars) lp 13.98
First full length from these Swedish metalheads, after a 7" we reviewed a few lists back that kicked our asses, and like that 7" Tellusian, featuring members of late great grinders Crowpath, while still plenty grindy, are way more melodic metal, and it totally suits them. The songs heavy and furious and fast, but crazy catchy, epically hooky.
A long time ago, we reviewed a grind comp, and on it, a seriously sick grind band did a cover of an old track by pop punks Propaghandi, a it was the best, an impossible fix of incredible poppiness, and frantic heaviness, and we remarked, how come bands don't just SOUND like that, it's only when a band is doing a cover of another band, but that's the first thing we thought of when we heard these guys, and this record especially, it's exactly THAT, a super heavy grind metal band, not at all afraid of melody, who manage to merge those two elements seamlessly, without taking away from either. Check out opener "Rivalry", a sub two minute blast of everything that makes these guys so great, frenzied lightning fast riffing, impossibly chaotic mathed out drumming, loads of metallic chug, but killer harmonized guitars, crazy catchy melodies, a little churning downtuned doom, and heck even an extremely brief bit of (very) surprising almost funk bass, literally a second or two, before it's right back into the chug and churn. And it continues like that, dizzyingly flitting from tangled math metal, to churning metallic grind, to soaring melodic epicry, and usually some killer mix of all of those. But for a metal/grind band, the melodies and arrangements are pretty goddamn stunning, and the sound not as grind or metal as you might expect, instead, almost like a metallized noise rock band, or a super heavy, slightly grindy math rock band, so much so, that with a slight tweak, even with a proper clean singer, it would be a whole different kind of band, but as it is, Tellusian deliver some seriously addictive, and ultra catchy pop flecked, melodic grind metal, that KILLS, and that we've been listening to pretty much nonstop since we got this in. WAY recommended!
MPEG Stream: "Rivalry"
MPEG Stream: "The Collyer Brothers"
MPEG Stream: "The Saw Collector"
MPEG Stream: "In The Wake Of Cicruses And Parades"

album cover TEMPEL On the Steps of the Temple (Prosthetic) lp 19.98
On The Steps Of The Temple is the debut from this Arizona duo, who offer up a killer slab of instrumental post-black metal, their sound thick and downtuned, the guitars MASSIVE, slipping easily from buzzing blast, to something more churning and mathy, the songs laced with soaring melodies, subtle swirling synths, grinding and metallic one second, with lots of stop/starts and tangled almost progged out arrangements, soaring and majestic the next, with a serious post rock vibe running throughout, at times sounding a bit like a blackened, more metallic Godspeed, and at others, ditching the metal completely, and unfurling some fantastically brooding musical moodiness that manages to be tense and intense without ever exploding into actual metal. That said, the bulk of the record IS spent in metal mode, somewhere between the doomy bombast of Neurosis, the epic slow build of Isis, mixed with some serious metallic mathiness and some furious blackened blasting, with much of the record mixing being a dizzying mix of all of those, the end result something melancholy and mesmerizing, moody and metallic, atmospheric and HEAVY.
MPEG Stream: "Mountain"
MPEG Stream: "Rising From The Abyss"
MPEG Stream: "Final years"

album cover THX113 s/t (Sanity Muffin) cassette 5.98
No, this is not the soundtrack to the George Lucas film THX1138; this is a project called THX113 which presumably is a quartet of unknown characters who issued a private pressing of nocturnally painted quasi-songs and tape-loop driven abstractions back in 1980. There's no documentation of the existence of the private pressing in question, nor are any citations that we can find of the members of THX113 doing anything hither or yon. So, we'll state our skepticism and agnosticism as to the plausibility of this actually being of the era. Eh, there are worse problems to have. If we are to believe the backstory, then we could easily imagine this quartet developing in the late '70s from an electronic music class at some sodden community college in the cornfields of Iowa where the earnest and bearded professor proclaimed Steve Reich's It's Gonna Rain as the pinnacle of achievement for tape music with Morton Subotnik's Silver Apples On The Moon holding the same title in terms of pure electronic composition. The advent of punk, new wave, and no wave may have been irrelevant to this imagined professor; but to the young men of THX113, the Promethean spark of DIY recording and raw expressionism was already lit inside their collective heads. Armed with a primitive knowledge of electronics, tape loop techniques, and even a small ability to play guitar and bass, THX113 crafted nine untitled tracks of ghostly loops for jangled 12-string guitar, sonar-pulse synth tones, sunbleached electronics that allude to an Ash Ra Tempel album degraded over multiple generations of home copies upon copies, and even some of the hand-percussion hippie-dom of Woo. A weird one for sure! Limited to 100 copies!!!!
MPEG Stream: "1"
MPEG Stream: "5"

album cover TRAPS, THE Boom Pow Awesome Wow (Castle Face) lp 14.98
Another twisted chunk of archival Rhode Island underground rock from John Dwyer's Castle Face label. A little while back, Dwyer resurrected the weird stripped down Six Finger Satellite offshoot La Machine, whose sound was all minimal stripped down rhythmic punk-dub and psychedelic bunkurfunk, and while the Traps are similarly minimal, their jams falls much closer to the Castle Face 'sound', a murky, churning, distortion drenched, sweat soaked, bloody knuckled, garage rock, that in a lot of ways reminds us of Dwyer's old band the Coachwhips, the sort of band you can imagine playing in some crumbling warehouse, and tearing the fucking roof off. Two guitars, no bass, those guitars jangly and noisy, the sound seriously lo-fi, heavy and gloriously blown out, gloriously Neanderthal drumming, locked into simple pounding grooves, and the vocals, wild and wooly, howled and shrieked, mush mouthed, and belted through what sounds like a damaged megaphone, we were actually reminded a little bit of another Rhode Island outfit, Thee Hydrogen Terrors, but the Traps were way more raw, their sound way more murky and minimal, it's easy to see why Dwyer wanted to reissue this, cuz it actually sounds like the kind of band he would have played in back in the day. So yeah, fans of the Coachwhips, Pink And Brown, the noisier, more blown out Oh Sees jams, and just wild, loose, noisy, blown out garage rock minimalism, this is your shit.
By the way, the album title is also a song lyric, but the vocals and everything else are so distorted that when one of us here heard it (not knowing what it was), he guessed it was some Japanese speed freak garage/noise band like High Rise!
MPEG Stream: "Boom Pow Awesome Wow"
MPEG Stream: "All Night"
MPEG Stream: "Mr. H"

album cover ULAAN PASSERINE s/t (Worstword) cd 11.98
Originally released as an ultra limited (just 100 copies) double cassette on Brave Mysteries in 2013, this sprawling songsuite from longtime fave and aQ pal Steven R. Smith, gets new life in the form of this not so limited cd, and finds Smith, slightly altering his constantly in flux Ulaan monicker, conjuring up 4 side long (at least on the original tape) sprawls of haunting, contemplative, abstract, psychedelic drift. Fans of Smith's other recordings will immediately feel right at home, plaintive piano, soft shimmering swells, chiming bells, softly moaning strings, the sound slowly unfurling and blossoming, moving from a freeform psychedelic dronescape, to a brooding dark folk balladry, to a murky minimal softnoise drift, to hushed droned wreathed steel string strum, a sort of droned out Appalachia, to lush string swaddled epic psych folk majesty and finally to a lush, layered raga-like ambience, that gradually fades into silence. And that's just the first side/track! The other three tracks are equally epic and mesmerizing, darkly melodic, hauntingly psychedelic, lush and lovely, the sort of endless epic psychedelia that is so easy to get swept away by, a few minutes into any of the tracks here, you'll find yourself gloriously lost in Smith's mysterious soundworld, drifting weightlessly above fields of Appalachia flecked droned, or softly submerged beneath dreamlike billows of serene psychedelia, or propelled by heady sprawls of minimal psych-kraut mesmer. As always, FANTASTIC!
Housed in super swank, silkscreened Stumptown cardstock sleeves. LIMITED TO 300 COPIES!! Each one hand numbered.
MPEG Stream: "Side 1 (excerpt)"
MPEG Stream: "Side 4 (excerpt)"

album cover ULAAN PASSERINE Byzantium Crow (Worstword) cd 11.98
Two new releases this week from aQ pal, and longtime favorite Steven R. Smith, in his latest Ulaan guise, the other is a reissue of a long out of print double cassette originally released on Brave Mysteries, and this one, which is a brand new recording, two sprawling, nearly twenty minute tracks. The first opens with a soft cacophony of bells, before some mournful fiddle, wreathed in reverb, and set atop soft billows of low end thrum, a gorgeous, haunting threnody, which gradually blossoms into a sort of swampy folky dirge, immediately reminiscent of Woven Hand / Sixteen Horsepower. But soon, the strum dissipates, leaving, long tones, lushly layered atmospheres, abstract percussion, and soft shimmers, the vibe dusky and windblown, a little bit twangy, easy to imagine, a landscape painted in reds and oranges from the setting sun, and the slowly encroaching shadows. Soon the strings sweep back in, and the sound is transformed into an almost baroque sounding darkfolk drift, underpinned by swoonsome chordal swells, and sitar like drones, giving the sound an almost raga like vibe. After a bit of distorted psychedelia, the sound settles into a strummy, drifty finale, again, lots of twang, and some crackling electric guitar buzz. Moody and mesmeric. The second track starts off all campfire Appalachian folk, before quickly mutating into a droned out tribal drift, muted pulsing rhythms, beneath soft swirls and layered drones, another sort-of-raga, but with some psych-kraut like propulsion, which gives way to some broody gypsy folk, still wreathed in drones, washed out and woozy, a hazy sprawl of dark dream-drone psych folk ambience, that gradually becomes more and more Appalachian again, lots of buzzy twang, long tones, and lush overtones, all over a bed of softly roiling rumbles, and a hushed, distant, slow fading soft psych finale, before those opening bells return...
Housed in super swank, silkscreened Stumptown cardstock sleeves. LIMITED TO 300 COPIES!! Each one hand numbered.
MPEG Stream: "Untitled"

album cover VAURA The Missing (The Flenser) lp 25.00
NOW ON VINYL, via The Flenser (cd previously released last fall on Profound Lore)...
Emerging once more from the shadowy subterranean recesses of bleary Brooklyn, aQ's favorite misery merchants Vaura have returned with their second dose of heavy glistening gloom rock (and their first for avant-metal tastemakers Profound Lore). By definition a side project of sorts, Vaura features members of Dysrhythmia, Kayo Dot, Gorguts and Secret Chiefs 3... and sound exactly nothing like you would expect a band with that pedigree to sound. There's a myriad of influences here - all brought together with an admirable cohesion. Black metal, '80s goth, post rock, psychedelia... The elements are all there, but The Missing is at its core an atmospheric rock record. Although you wouldn't believe that from the first 30 seconds of the album. The introductory title track opens with a gorgeous wall of sound black metal tremolo grind, a pummeling frantic drum blast and a minimal spacey guitar lead, immediately bringing to mind the recent crop of euphoric black metal bands like Alcest or Deafheaven. But only half a minute later the track crumbles into a bittersweet mid paced dirge of plodding toms, shuffling militaristic snares and deep brooding vocals - much more akin to Ian McCulloch or Andrew Eldritch than any spike gauntleted shrieker. There's also a distinct similarity to mid period Katatonia in the numbed, almost frail vocal approach. Much of The Missing in fact seems to recall a very specific time in recent metal history - a period in the late '90s when extreme metal bands, usually on the doomier end of the spectrum, started experimenting with more traditional rock & roll elements. The uptempo mournful melodic rock of "Incomplete Burning", with its strummed acoustic guitar mingled with distant distorted leads and reverb washed vocals, is pure Judgement-era Anathema - invoking the same sense of wistful psychedelic melancholy. Elsewhere on songs like "Pleasure Blind" and "Putting Flesh to Bone" the slinking basslines creeping under warm ethereal strings bring to mind Beyond Dawn's subtly surreal Electric Sulking Machine. "The Things We Hide", with its dissonant plucked Eastern melodies and sinister echoed vocals, even recalls the more atmospheric moments of British avant-death weirdos Akercocke, as does the pummeling blasting, warped clean guitar and droning synths of "Passage to Vice". It's not all so wonderfully obscure though. There's plenty of Joy Division in those distinctive post-punk basslines and that disjointed repetitive drumming, and the aforementioned Sisters of Mercy are clearly a big influence. "Braced for Collapse" even brings to mind some of Sunny Day Real Estate's more downtempo moments. And could this record have come at a more perfect time? It's that time of the year... The days are getting darker, the winds are getting more bitter, and our playlists are getting even gloomier to match. If the atmospheric goth tinged heaviness of Pinkish Black - or maybe even In Solitude's latest - are your idea of a perfectly dismal night in, then you couldn't do much better than lighting those ceremonial candles, laying out your finest black velvet, and spending some quality alone time with The Missing.
MPEG Stream: "The Missing"
MPEG Stream: "Incomplete"
MPEG Stream: "Pleasure Blind"

album cover WARM SODA Young Reckless Hearts (Castleface) lp 15.98
Record number two from local retro garage power pop geniuses Warm Soda, fronted by none other than Mr. Matthew Melton, who avid readers of the aQ list no doubt remember from his previous outfits, the equally genius Bare Wires and Snake Flower 2. But with Warm Soda, Melton and crew continue to hone a practically perfect strain of Yellow Pills style power pop, that sounds, right down to the production, and the songwriting, straight out of the seventies. In fact, if this was 1978, we can only imagine these guys would be HUGE, playing with Dwight Twilley and Cheap Trick, and heck, it's not hard to imagine a WARM SODA LIVE AT BUDOKAN record, cuz holy shit, if we dug the first Warm Soda record, this one is even better. In fact, EVERY time we play this in the store, someone comes up to see what we're playing, and often ends up surprised that it's in fact actually a NEW band. But it's easy to see why, Warm Soda's sound is pitch perfect, jangly fuzzy guitars, woozy super melodic basslines, simple propulsive drumming, and Melton's whispery croon, and of course the SONGS, which are amazing, so catchy, the sort of songs, that even on first listen, sound like you've heard them before, and get immediately lodged in your head, and even after only hearing them a couple times, you'll find yourself humming them days later. Assuming it was something you might have just heard on the radio. The production too, somehow manages to sound modern, while still sounding exactly like some classic vintage recording from back in the day. And the way the choruses are all fuzzy and washed out and reverb drenched, it's hard to explain, but they seem to just soar. We could go on and on and on, as we like to do, and describe this record song by song, but why bother, if you dug the first record, or any of Melton's other projects, you NEED this, and if you've never heard anything, all it should take is a couple of the samples below to convince you, that like us, you might have just found your new favorite retro-garage power pop record!!!
MPEG Stream: "Going In Circles"
MPEG Stream: "Postcards"
MPEG Stream: "Someday You Will Understand"

album cover WEN Signals (Keysound) cd 17.98
Not sure if the distinctive arrow-in-a-circle on the cover is meant to reference legendary label No U-Turn, but it had us expecting some sort of throwback jungle, some dense tech-step style drum & bass, but instead, Signals is a modern take on classic dubstep and grime, sounding a bit like a slightly less minimal Burial, if that makes any sense, it's still all slo-mo and murky, but the beats are a lot heavier, and there are a lot more vocals, mostly fragmented snippets, which are all over the brief intro, but when "Galactic" kicks in, it's a fierce fucker, all stuttery skitter, beneath weird monk like chants, a twisted little metallic melody, the various sounds and samples in constant flux, slowing down, speeding up, the whole thing a lurching, lumbering, woozy creep, that mysterious little Close Encounters melody will stick in your head like crazy, and then in swoop some strings, and suddenly it's some sort of symphonic dubstep epic, and it's so good. Listen to the sample, if that doesn't do it for you, we don't know what will.
Much of the rest of the record is a bit more low slung, more blissed out, the electro-drift of "Lunar", adds a sort of washed out kosmische vibe, while "You Know" adds some female vox to the mix, but then "Persian" kicks in, all electro-murk, laced with cool Middle Eastern melodies, the result is haunting and mysterious, almost like a dubstep Muslimgauze. A bunch of the tracks have a hip hop vibe, big beats and serious swagger, albeit run through a cracked techno/dubstep filter, but others, like "Time", remains stripped down and skeletal, laced with brief bits of vocals, and weirdly psychedelic atmospheres, or the title track which is straight up grime, wound around a seriously jungly groove, the vocals chopped up and swirled into a dizzying beat heavy mix, which reminded us how much we love grime! Speaking of which, record closer "Play Your Corner" is a serious sick slab of classic grime, with some killer vocals over a sinister bed of strings, draped over tangled rhythms and wound up with a dizzying production. Love it!
MPEG Stream: "Galactic"
MPEG Stream: "Persian"
MPEG Stream: "Signal"
MPEG Stream: "Play Your Corner"

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