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Just some of the Highlights of the week of 53 items on
NEW ARRIVALS List #482 (28 August 2015)
:

album cover CLARA MONDSHINE Luna Africana (Fifth Dimension) cd 17.98
The music of such '70s krautrock pioneers as Kraftwerk and Can has long been treasured; and during the cd reissue boom of the '90s yet more classic kosmische & motorik sounds of the seventies were rediscovered, from the likes of Cluster and Neu!, along with many other amazing but lesser-known acts of the era revealed via the exhaustive efforts of dodgy but helpful labels like Germanofon. Yet, of course, there's always more! And now it seems that a second generation of rather more obscure cosmic, electronic krautrock from the eighties is giving up its secrets, little by little, with reissues by artists like You, Gunter Schickert (well, his later works), and Rudiger Lorenz, to name just a few. To name another: Clara Mondshine.
OH YES!!! We've been intrigued by this artist & album ever since seeing mention of it in a useful reference book we found called New Sounds: A Listener's Guide To New Music, published in 1987... After checking it out online (thank you, blogs and YouTube), we were like, someone really should reissue this! Happily, someone just did. And here it is. One might hope for Clara Mondshine to be the rare female (or perhaps transexual, a la Wendy Carlos) krautrock composer, but no, in fact Clara Mondshine was the pseudonym or project name for a man named Walter Bachauer, a radio director and journalist as well as composer and musician. His krautrock pedigree does extend back to the '70s when he played in Peter Michael Hamel's excellent improvising acoustic/ethnic ensemble, Between. As a solo artist, he released three albums under the Clara Mondshine moniker, starting with this one, Luna Africana, in 1981. (Perhaps he would have made more records, but he sadly passed away in 1989.)
Mondshine's music on Luna Africana is DIY cosmic electronica, 'Berlin School' style, made with analog synths and other probably fairly lo-tech, lo-fi electronic gear. Mondshine's repetitive machine mesmerism is super droney and trippy, and almost playful too, these all-instrumental space-outs also sometimes having a touch of ethnic/world music to 'em as well (a la Between). This is also another example of something at the intersection of krautrock and (good) new age. Hence titles, once translated into English, like "Raga Of The Rising Planet" and "Harp Of The Amazons". On one track, delightful melodic figures repeat over equally charming pulsing patterns of motorik rhythm, followed by a more atmospheric excursion into the outer space drone-zone on the next, and then it's back to relaxing runs of gentle tones over cyclic bleep-bleep-bloop, wreathed in whips of drone… What's not to like about that? Definitely for fans of much Cluster, Kraftwerk, A.R. & Machines, and Axxess from France, among others... Also, we just realized that an edit of the first track on here was included on that excellent Dirty Space Disco compilation we crushed on a few years back!
Note: also reissued on vinyl, but we couldn't get enough lps to list, hopefully more will be forthcoming soon.
MPEG Stream: "Die Drachentrommler"
MPEG Stream: "Lange Melodie Fur Den Countdown"
MPEG Stream: "Fischer Des Meeres Der Stille"

album cover CREEPING PINK Mirror Woods (Castle Face) lp 15.98
There's a dearth of actual info about the the 'band' Creeping Pink, whose Mirror Woods is the latest release on the Castle Face label run by Thee Oh Sees' John Dwyer and a couple of his cronies. All we could find was a picture of a long haired dude on a dirt road, and a poem-like description penned by Dwyer, in which he compares Creeping Pink to The United States Of America, Vangelis, July, Silver Apples and Arthur Russell (or at least AR's NY apartment). All of which we can definitely see. We might also add Sentridoh, the fucked up, home brewed, early acoustic alter ego of indie rock institution Sebadoh, cuz along with the various mutated psych elements, the fractured beats, the collaged samples, and melted melodies, there's a streak of outsider, avant, downer folk, fused to some serious psychedelic drug-pop. In fact if we had to whip up some band math, it might look something like: SENTRIDOH + TEENAGE FILMSTARS = CREEPING PINK!!! Or maybe WHITE FENCE x ELEPHANT SIX = CREEPING PINK. You probably get the idea. This stuff is damaged, and druggy, gorgeously shambolic, noisy, loose, but also pretty, lilting, shimmery, dreamlike and mesmerizingly melodic.
Many of the tracks here are more fragments than songs, but in the tradition of other lo-fi visionaries, those 'pieces' weave the proper 'songs' (themselves barely even songs by most traditional standards), into a lush, flowing psychscape, that drifts drowsily from the motorik, soft focus haze pop of "Come Into My World", pairing warbled vox with blurry, retro new-wave-isms, the whole thing seemingly recorded on some seriously fucked up old cassettes, to the baroque DIY pop of "Sour Fruit", which reminds us of a less purposefully antagonistic Strapping Fieldhands. From there on out, "Peaches" unfurls as a murky, smeary space jam, hypnotic and loopy, while "Bacavan Blues", is some sort of glam-folk piano ballad, one that's dipped in droning organs, and wreathed in yet still more warble. The bulk of he record tends toward a laid back and trippy, droned out zoner-fi folk-pop that over the course of the record, bolsters each chunk of perfect (albeit damaged) poppiness (the impossibly catchy "The Town"), with more abstract soundscapery (the gorgeously hazy "A Well Placed Mirror"), or FX drenched mellow creep (the haunting, brooder "By This River Again"), or even moments of straight up Joe Meek like sonic alchemy and kitchen sink experimentalism (the kosmische lullaby closer "Mirror Woods Abduction").
Plenty poppy, extremely trippy, easily on the far out side of the Castle Face canon, the sort of thing that will appeal to fans of weirdo/avant/outsider/lo-fi pop, and still definitely recommended for the more adventurous fans of the usual CF suspects (Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, White Fence, Fuzz, Bare Wires, Warm Soda, Trin Tran, etc.).
MPEG Stream: "Come Into My World"
MPEG Stream: "Peaches"

album cover NIBIRU Padmalotus (Argonauta) cd 13.98
Those who fancy a little didgeridoo in their doom, get ready for the latest from esoteric Italian doom-psych cult Nibiru, who have returned to visit our plane of existence again, bringing with them another intense new set of sonic rituals. The two previous albums from this trio of shamanic freaks, Caosgon and Netrayoni, were both throbbing slabs of trance-inducing, ceremonial stoner rhythm and riffage, and that heavy, and heavily rhythmic, aspect of earlier Nibiru is well represented here, for instance, by the repetitive, tumbling, bass heavy attack that kicks in about two thirds of the way through track 2, "Ashmadaeva", preceded however by an expanse of droned-out atmospherics. The pounding track 3, "Trikona", is another sludgey juggernaut, one positively slobbering with drug-gobbling madness. There's plenty of that, actually, all across all four of these lengthy, effects-laden invokations, but things also seem just a bit more sprawling and abstract, in all sorts of diverse, delirious directions. The vokills are taken to almost monstrous extremes, this time 'round almost black metallish, a rasping exhalation/exaltation of their godz, while all the hallucinogenic, hypnotic heaviness, seems borne on opium scented winds from outer space.
The nearly 29 minute finale, "Khem", is arguably the album's tour de force / piece de resistance, passing through many and varied episodes, from its monkish groaning-droning intro, veering into a blasting black metallish segment, from surprisingly catchy moments of lurching riff-rock to a sudden break into This Heat-ish drum-thwap and Fushitsusha-worthy feedback to shimmering spectral synthesis graced with some haunting, harrowing guest female vocals, and on to ambient-noise sequences morphing into glitchy quasi-techno industrial metal. Yeah, it's weird. All over the place.
Weird and warped, dense and distorted, sounding like drone-doom metal descendants of ESP-Disk's Cromagnon tribe at times... Also this Nibiriu is still for fans of Gnod, Bong, and fellow space traveling Italians UFOmammut, these these tracks suggestive of that band indulging in actual cult worship!!
MPEG Stream: "Krim"
MPEG Stream: "Ashmadeaeva"

album cover ASHTRAY NAVIGATIONS A Shimmering Replica (VHF) lp+cd 17.98
Anyone who's attempted to keep up with Phil Todd's long running (two decades plus) free-psych, experimental drone-folk project and its numerous releases and multiple micro-editions, well, you're a braver (and busier) soul than any of us. That said, we do our best to track down what we can, and have found very little cause for disappointment.
Rooted in the same scene that fostered such aQ faves as Sunroof! and Vibracathedral Orchestra, and for folks unfamiliar with Ashtray Navigations, if you dig either of those bands, you'll likely dig AN as well. Todd and partner Melanie O'Dubshlaine fuse far out guitar freakouts with a heady kitchen sink swirl and gorgeously garbled kosmische mesmer, sounding a bit like Our Love Will Destroy The World jamming with Six Organs Of Admittance, or like some fucked up freaked out lost krautrock artifact, doused in Hawkwind-y space-psych and delivered via a battery of blown amps and hand soldered stomp boxes.
Dense, and distorted, twisted and tripped out, the lengthy tracks here seem to lock into a riff, or a blurred bit of propulsive groove, and then let it roll, all the while wrapping whatever fractured groove they conjure up in sheets of howling guitar shred, dubbed out drums and shimmering FX. And while there's plenty of blown out noise-psych, and wasted, zoner warble, there are also blasts of brilliant, blistering noise, and maybe most surprisingly, some sweetly moody sprawls of hushed, minimal dronescapery, alongside hushed rumbles, and murky thrum. To top it all off, there also a far out cover of Les Baxter's "Quiet Village", which transforms the classic exotica of the original into a woozy slab of exotic psych-stomp.
A hundred minutes of music, spread out over a 'double' album of sorts, one lp AND one cd.
MPEG Stream: "Cold Lemon Door & Side Table"
MPEG Stream: "Mirror Disco Replica"
MPEG Stream: "Quiet Village"

album cover ATARAXIA The Unexplained (Fifth Dimension) lp 25.00
"Electronic Musical Impressions of the Occult" reads the subtitle to this album authored by the eccentric Mort Garson. For decades, Garson worked behind the scenes arranging, composing, and scoring hit songs for crooners like Mel Torme, Bobby Darin, and Doris Day; but he also applied his talents in the studio to a handful of outsider electronic gems, many of which dealt with the themes of the dark arts. There was his Black Mass album recorded under the moniker Lucifer, and there was an astrological album based on the signs of the zodiac, and there's this tripped-out recording of The Unexplained. Recorded under the moniker Ataraxia, this 1975 album took full advantage of the resurgent pop culture interest in the paranormal, basing all of its Moog-laden eccentricities on various components of the practice of magic and the paranormal through rather groovy numbers like "Tarot", "Astral Projection", "I Ching", and the eponymous single from the album as well. That's right, there was a single that RCA funded as well for this album during its original run way back when!
All the swirliness, frothy percolations, and bachelor pad swing that could be found in a Perrey & Kingsley or Dick Hyman Moog pop classic is found here on The Unexplained; though like Bruce Haack, Garson does whip his electronics into a tantalizingly evil psychedelia of bad-acid trips and scantily clad covens. When he cracks the snares (both live and metallically synthetic) into proto-italo grooves, these must have been at the root of what John Carpenter would use in his seminal horror-synth scores.
Yes, there have been a couple of reissues of this work before, but this is the first time it's been reissued in its entirety and as Garson originally intended with all of the original artwork, etc.
MPEG Stream: "Tarot"
MPEG Stream: "Deja Vu"
MPEG Stream: "The Unexplained"

album cover BEACH HOUSE Depression Cherry (Sub Pop) lp 19.98
On "Levitation", the opening track of Beach House's stellar new album Depression Cherry, it's difficult to not feel like you're doing just what the song title says: rising off the ground and peacefully floating into space. With every release, Beach House have reaffirmed themselves as one of our favorites, and with their fifth full-length, they most certainly have not broken this pattern. This beautiful shoegazey dream pop seems to pulse at the exactly the same rhythm of your heart as you drift off to sleep. The twinkling, subtly moving arrangement paired with Legrand's soft, sweet vocals recalls Yo La Tengo at their most tender, circa And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out.
Standout track "PPP" finds Legrand crooning in such a way that you could imagine the song echoing from a transistor radio, while Alex Scally's guitar lends it a sparkling quality which can only be described as intergalactic. Another favorite, "Days of Candy", begins with a stunning choral arrangement countered by Legrand's whispery falsetto, and delicately builds in volume and intensity before drifting away and leaving us speechless. The rich warmth of this album is as lush as its delightfully soft red velvet packaging - a sensation we imagine will be incredibly familiar after the many, many repeat listens it will surely warrant. Depression Cherry, as with all of Beach House's music, is a place of shelter for your deepest, most personal moments; let this music bring you home.
MPEG Stream: "Space Song"
MPEG Stream: "PPP"
MPEG Stream: "Days of Candy"

album cover BITCHIN BAJAS & NATURAL INFORMATION SOCIETY Automaginary (Drag City) lp 19.98
Yet another offering from Cave offshoot the Bitchin' Bajas, those Midwestern kosmik krautronic explorers, that shows up on the day of the list (thank you, the new Friday release date scheme imposed upon us from on high). Well we expect you'll be interested so we'll quickly review it... This album finds the Bitchin' ones in collaboration with Natural Information Society, aka Joshua Abrams, an improvising bassist from Chicago who has played with everybody from Hamid Drake to Town And Country, Joan Of Arc to the Cairo Gang, Alan Licht & Loren Connors to Rob Mazurek. Busy guy. But Abrams isn't playing bass here, apparently as of late he's been jamming on the guimbri, a three-stringed lute from West Africa. The guimbri's potential for making rhythmic, hypnotic music is aptly demonstrated here, beautifully blending with the usual drones and tones conjured by the BB's. You'll enjoy spacious, morning-rise, glory-of-the-day dronescapes, alongside relaxed (or otherwise) rhythmic patterning, while the lovely pluckings of the guimbri deftly meander in and out throughout.
Vinyl (with silkscreened covers) or cassette only.

album cover BOOGEY MAN OST (Keep Tapes Alive) cassette 9.98
A classic slasher from the eighties, The Boogeyman is crazy even by the standards of other classic B-movie horror flicks. The plot is confusing to say the least, childhood trauma, a young girl and her brother, a murdered mother, killed while having sex, a mute child grown up to be a knife hoarding mute, living with the seemingly well adjusted sister, terrifying reflections in mirrors, eventually painted black, a priest impaled by multiple blades, possession, levitation. It's actually a pretty fun movie, but it is NUTS.
The soundtrack is a doozy though, the classic sort of Carpenter style creep fest of the time, actually quite reminiscent of what might be THEE greatest horror score EVER (and one that has inexplicably not been reissued yet), Phantasm!
Composer Tim Krog offers up ominous sprawls of squiggly synths, dense swaths of kosmische creepiness, twisted sound effects, some Halloween like melodic themes, moody organs, dark drones and moody ambience, for a batshit movie, the score is actually pretty fantastic, lovely and terrifying in equal measure, swirling atmospherics laced with cool backwards psychedelia, stately minimal melancholia, some far out WTF electronics, and a main melodic refrain that after a couple listens could definitely join the horror score pantheon of classics like Friday The 13th, Halloween and again, Phantasm.
SUPER DUPER LIMITED!!!
MPEG Stream: "The Boogey Man"
MPEG Stream: "Explosion At The Well"
MPEG Stream: "Gloom"

album cover BULL TONGUE REVIEW No. 3 (self-released) magazine 8.98
You can't lick Bull Tongue when it comes to reviews (sorry). But it's true, this zine, excuse us, "Quarterly Journal of Post-Rock Cultural Pluralism" is nothin' but reviews, of all sort of interesting things - records, shows, film, restaurants, buildings, bike lanes...! And they're written by some extremely hip personages indeed, this issue featuring contributions from Alan Bishop, Sharon Cheslow, editor Byron Coley, Eddie Flowers, Michael Hurley, Mats Gustafsson, Ira Kaplan (the Yo La Tengo guitarist is the one who reviews the bike lane), Tom Lax, Samara Lubelski, Hisham Mayet, Gary Panter, Richard Meltzer (!!), Dylan Nyoukis, Savage Pencil, Naomi Yang, Brian Turner, Chris Stigliano, Thurston Moore, David Greenberger, and literally dozens more.
54 b&w pages, lots to delve into, both informative and amusing; grab one and you'll definitely get turned on to SOMETHING new and weird and interesting. What more would you want from a zine?

album cover CIRCLE Pharaoh Overlord (Ektro) lp 19.98
NOW HERE ON VINYL, as promised, at last. We reviewed this (and its twin by the band this album is named after) a couple months back, when they first showed up on cd, making 'em our Records Of The Week then, here's what we said...
Oh lord, what will the mischievous mind of Circle mainman Jussi Lehtisalo come up with next? Not long ago, there was the conceptually confusional arrangement under which our Finnish space rock faves Circle changed their name to Falcon (Ex-Circle), and then recruited a completely different group of musicians to record an album under their former name of Circle (which was great!), after which the original Circle guys switched back to being called Circle (Ex-Falcon). Whew. And now they're just Circle, again. BUT, how's this for another confusing idea: Circle, and their not-all-that-different-really side-project band Pharaoh Overlord have now simultaneously released albums with the titles "Circle" and "Pharaoh Overlord", no, not self-titled albums, the Circle one is called Pharaoh Overlord and the Pharaoh Overlord one is called Circle. And they have very similar art/graphics. Yep. That's what they do for laffs up in Finland, although knowing Jussi, he probably has some very serious, meaningful reason behind this scheme, but the explanation would be impossible to understand. It makes a circle or something. Regardless, what we've got here are TWO NEW Circle and/or Pharaoh Overlord albums, however you slice it, and that's a good thing! Of course, they just showed up yesterday, the day before our list, but we already have spun these a bunch of times and know we will spin them lots more, so sure let's make 'em both Records Of The Week!
The Circle album is quite, well, it's pretty much redundant and superfluous to say in a review of a Circle album that the music is "mesmeric" but goshdarnit, this is indeed mesmerizing. They don't try to sound especially like Pharaoh Overlord, by the way, whatever that would entail, not of course that they don't, either. Instead, the quick takeaway here would be that this is "the Circle album with horns". (Oh, wait, there's a PO album called Horn, maybe that's the weird connection, hmmm??) Anyway, the horns are the big X-factor here, tooting along syncopatedly and cyclically Circle-like. A little jazzy, certainly proggy, those horns, along with the wordless vocal choirs, make us think of Magma and other '70s large-ensemble prog symphonics. We're also put in mind of some suspenseful '60s/'70s film soundtracks, like David Shire's The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three just a bit. It gets intense, with stabs of distorted guitar chords to further intensify the mood. Meanwhile, the vocals, which include some impressive caveman freakout screams, are also crucial, and hark back to the early days of Circle, when they did the monk-chanting thing in their own made up language (a la Magma as well) on albums like Zopalki.
Ultimately, it's really gorgeous and, again, super mesmeric, these tracks all of course built around endless repetitive grooves, simple (deceptively so, we're sure) and effective in the usual Circle style. And the only reason one track ever ends, it seems, is that another one needs to begin. And we wouldn't have it any other way. This Circle consists of circles within circles to spin the mind around. Wow, nice. Recommended, as is the other one by the other band.
MPEG Stream: "Kavellen Luiden Paalla"
MPEG Stream: "Aldebaran"

album cover COSMIC PSYCHOS Cum The Raw Prawn (Desperate) lp 25.00
You've got to be a pretty good band to live up to a name like Cosmic Psychos, and as you may know already, these Aussies certainly DO, even though they're not the surrealistic hippy space rock freaks that one might initially think from the name. No, this is fuzzed out, beer swilling PUNK rock, heavy and catchy, beholden most of all probably to bands like The Stooges and Black Flag, made by self-described farmers whose main interests in life appear to be beer, sex, shotguns, and loud rock n' roll, not necessarily in that order. Which of course means they're awesome. The Cosmic Psychos have been around for forever - just a couple years ago their earliest albums from the late '80s were reissued on Goner and you can check elsewhere on our site for our enthusiastic reviews of those longtime faves. In fact, they've been around long enough for there to have been a documentary film made about them!
Cum The Raw Prawn (no, we don't know what that means exactly, and probably don't want to know) is their latest album, first in six years actually, and rest assured they're still as Psycho as ever. Bad (yet fun!) attitude, foul language and lots of volume, that's their formula, and therefore this album delivers an abundance of gruff aggro vocals and big bouncy riffage. In addition to the title track, this record features such ditties as "Fuckwit City", "Bum For Grubs", and "Pint Girl".
Basically, if you're ever loved the Cosmic Psychos, you'll love this. If you've ever loved kick your head in, cranked to ten, hammered on Foster's rock n' roll, you'll love this too. So there you go, have at it.
FYI if you get the vinyl, it includes a download code; if you get the cd, you probably don't need a download code.
MPEG Stream: "Better, Not Bitter"
MPEG Stream: "Come And Get Some"
MPEG Stream: "Cum The Raw Prawn"

album cover DEEP WHERE ALL DROWN Movement / The Marianas (self-released) 2cd 8.98
We first listed this double cd set a couple years ago, now we've got a whole bunch back in, direct from the band, and at a new, special, bargain price!! So if you missed it before, give it a shot now, it's great. Here's what we wrote about it originally...
Anybody remember the excellent Australian indie punk band Venom P. Stinger, circa the late '80s / early '90s? That Melbourne based outfit was guitarist Mick Turner's band before the Dirty Three. Well, turns out that two of Turner's former Venom P. Stinger bandmates, Nick Palmer and Alan Secher-Jensen, are still doing the underground Aussie noise rock thing, in a criminally under-publicized power trio that goes by the ominous name of Deep Where All Drown. They've recorded two albums worth of their powerful music thus far, 2004's The Marianas and 2008's Movement, and you'll find 'em both together here in this gatefold digipack double cd set, released in 2009 (of which we only just managed to track down some copies, as it's barely available at all outside of Australia). Being Venom P. Stinger fans from way back, we were curious, and when we finally heard these Deep Where All Drown discs, we were extremely pleased! Mostly instrumental (there's singing/shouting on only about half the songs on disc one, that's it), both discs add up to 22 tracks total of some seriously intense, ultimately hypnotic post-punk math-rock music chock full of chiming, noisy guitar wrangling, muscular bass, and insistent drumming. DWAD are tight and complex, and conjure atmospheres both grim and beautiful. Great stuff from Down Under! (And by Down Under we mean both Australia and also metaphorically, in keeping with one of DWAD's main themes, the lightless depths of the bottom of the ocean, viz. the Pacific's Marianas trench.)
MPEG Stream: "Movement"
MPEG Stream: "The Seducer"
MPEG Stream: "The Marianas"

album cover DESCLOUX, LIZZY MERCIER Press Color (Light in the Attic) 2lp 28.00
Somewhere amidst the rabble-rousing of the '70s New York punk scene, there was Lizzy Mercier Descloux - a Parisian transplant whose charms helped her navigate the Lower East Side when her barely passable English failed. She stood in contrast to so much of sneering and snarling, taking the punk flag and giddily skipping through the tropes of disco, high-life, and reggae with a wholly DIY attitude. Press Color was her first album, produced for the seminal No Wave imprint Ze Records in 1979 working with the mutant-disco templates Ze had so heavily promoted. Descloux's voice and chicken-scratch guitar riffage set itself on a parallel track to the James White and Blacks, with spacious recordings of the heavy rhythm section set in stark contrast to jittery guitars and voice. The liner notes suggest that many in New York at the time had encouraged Descloux to push her work in a darker direction, but she was too much of a free spirit for that and headstrong enough to realize that her vision was equally as valid as what these other people wanted. The original eight tracks of Press Color are a vivid aesthetic crash-landing in the heart of NYC - there's a coked-out disco jam on Arthur Brown's "Fire" and a mutoid cover of the Mission Impossible Theme that enjoys a slippery bossanova vibe, as well as the truly memorable "Wawa", an instrumental of tumbling basslines and Descloux' asynchronous guitar work. The inclusion of a cover of "Fever" (a song which never needs to reprised ever again) is only forgivable in the transmutation of the songs' titular affliction to "Tumor".
This reissue sports quite a chunk of interesting bonus material, including her ecstatic yelping as Rosa Yemen which predated Press Color and a short collaboration with Patti Smith upon which the two intertwine their lyrics in English and French.
MPEG Stream: "Fire"
MPEG Stream: "Wawa"
MPEG Stream: "Herpes Simplex"

album cover DUCKTAILS St. Catherine (Domino) cd 14.98
St. Catherine proves to be a triumphant return for Ducktails, the ever-changing hypnagogic pop project fronted by Matt Mondanile, also of the dreamy jangle pop outfit Real Estate. Matt's fifth Ducktails full length is filled with his usual gorgeously lilting, echoey loops. It feels as though they're floated towards us on refreshing, sun-dappled ripples of water. This album has found a wonderful balance between Ducktails' early woozy, psychedelic experimentation, as heard in this album's fuzzy, warm opener "The Disney Afternoon", and his more recent shift towards more structured compositions. The latter shows up in the second track, "Headbanging in the Mirror", which has such a smooth groove that we find ourselves moving and singing, if not headbanging, along.
The richness of this album is no doubt facilitated by producer Rob Schnapf, who has handled Mondanile's lovely sad boy vocals as deftly as he did Elliott Smith's on XO and Either/Or. The presence of Julia Holter also adds to the reverent fullness of this venture, her shimmery vocals delicately winding themselves around Mondanile's arrangements, particularly in accompaniment with the strings on the track "Heaven's Room", which builds to a point of serene grandeur so far above the clouds that for a moment we're left without air. "Krumme Lanke" rounds out this album with a shortened version of Ducktails' favored instrumental experimentation, sounding like a sugary, drugged-out version of the soundtrack from your favorite '80s movie set in the '60s. This hypnotic collection of jangly reflection is so very fitting as we begin to experience the slow transition of this summer's persistent warmth into autumn's cool brisk nights. Highly recommended!
MPEG Stream: "Headbanging In The Mirror"
MPEG Stream: "Into The Sky"
MPEG Stream: "St. Catherine"

album cover FLATLINER Black Medicine (Holodeck) 12" 17.98
Holodeck strikes again! The Austin-based electronic label has brought us all kinds of neat stuff, most recently releases by Marie Davidson and Boan, and this one's another cool catch. The two synth maniacs in Flatliner play, as the label puts it, what sounds like horror soundtrack music, produced like club anthems. Best of both worlds, right? Rave the night away, and indulge in the suspenseful atmospherics too. Eerie & ominous yet get-down groovy!
Mostly instrumental, but for some gloomy vocodered vocals on the coldwave-ish "City Lights Receding", this four track ep is a driving, detailed celebration of the duo's synth gear collecting obsession and finely-tuned production skills. They utilize a ton of equipment, both analog and digital, from the latest tech to some rare vintage gizmos. Heck they list some of it, for those of you who wanna know: Roland TR-808, SC Pro-One, Juno-6, Crumar Orchestrator, Ensoniq SQ-80, Oberheim Matrix 6, Emu Emax, Ensoniq ASR 10, Studio Electronics SE-1X, MFOS Modular, Dave Smith Mono Evolver, Doepfer Dark Energy, Sherman Filterbank.
In any case, for the gear-heads or not, some quite enjoyable 'dance' music. 45rpm, includes download! Limited to 500 copies.
MPEG Stream: "Blasted Highway"
MPEG Stream: "PC Corporation"

album cover FLYING SAUCER ATTACK Instrumentals 2015 (Drag City) cassette 9.98
THIS RECENT AQ RECORD OF THE WEEK, NOW ON, YES, CASSETTE!!
We had almost given up on ever hearing from Flying Saucer attack ever again. After all, it's been 15 years since the last record (2000's Mirror), and now nearly twenty since Rachel Brook left the band to focus on Movietone. They (or now he really, as it's essentially been a David Pearce solo project for a while now) still rank amongst our all time favorite psychedelic shoegaze outfits EVER. And even on this new one it's easy to see why.
While not a proper new -album- per se, Instrumentals plays out more like a collection of sonic sketches, impressionistic textures and guitarscapes, still covering much of the same found that FSA did back in the day, be it chiming, pastoral psych-folk, or shimmering ambient drift, or distorted, washed out soft-noise. The songs are mostly short here, none breaking the 10 minute mark, and many hovering around 90 seconds or less, and yet somehow, it manages to sound cohesive, these ideas, sonic suggestions, these hazy movements, all flow and ooze and bleed into one another, the whole thing gorgeously amorphous and mesmeric.
Fans of the group probably didn't have to even read this far, news of a new FSA record is likely all it took, and those folks will not be disappointed. But somehow, Instrumentals serves as a perfect introduction to the group, an easy entree into a catalog of subtly difficult music. And there are difficult moments here too, guitars detune, explode into squalls, settle into hushed whispery thrum, but even at its most caustic or bombastic, there's a tranquility, a depth and weight to these sounds, that unfurl like pieces not songs, fragmented for sure, but the fragments are allowed to billow and expand, the layers piling up, and often peeling away, as much about texture, timbre and tone as mood and melody, if not more so. The songs are even named generically, as if to not color the listener's impression, allowing the sound to reveal what lies beneath, and within. And like all the FSA records, this is far from a high fidelity affair, the sound gritty, and grimy, amp buzz, and tape warble, hiss and hum, all subtle shadings in the sound, and in many cases, perfectly blended with the music itself, to add heft, or gravitas, or hell, just some extra noise.
Throughout, it's hard not to be swept away. Pearce conjures up a musical world that's at once magical and mysterious, the sound transcendent and transformative, minimal on the surface, but hiding a maximal energy within. And yeah, we're far from objective. We've loved this band forEVER, and were dying for this record when we first heard about it, and were definitely inclined to love it no matter what. But after repeated listens, what at first seemed like a sonic sketchbook (albeit good one at that), has blossomed into something more purposeful. There's a melancholic, meandering, musical path that runs through these 15 tracks, a path that leads simultaneously inward and outward, and coheres into a darkly delicate songsuite of somnambulant lullabies and softly psychedelic threnodies.
MPEG Stream: "Instrumental 3"
MPEG Stream: "Instrumental 7"
MPEG Stream: "Instrumental 11"

album cover GNAW THEIR TONGUES Abyss Of Longing Throats (Crucial Blast) cd 13.98
The return of one of our favorite musical misanthropes, the singularly named Mories, and his one man, blackened, symphonic, cinematic doom outfit Gnaw Their Tongues. On Abyss Of Longing Throats, at least at first blush, the sound seems to have devolved into a more filthy black dirgery. Opener "Lick The Poison From The Cave Walls" seems to eschew the dramatic cabaret, and weird almost orchestral arrangements of other tracks/records, in favor of a pounding, noise drenched, blacknoise blowout, the vokills a hellish, distorted shriek, the track a lumbering, loping, sonic death march, that does display some moody drones and atmospherics, but they are buried a live by a barrage of metallic slo-mo crush.
But fear not, GTT have not ditched their twisted symphonic soundworld quite yet, with track two "Through Flesh" offering up some Bernard Hermann like strings, which run throughout the track, but they are brutalized by insane blast bits, and oozing black-hole riffage, the result an industrial blowout that sounds like the score to some alternate universe Psycho. The best bit is where the riffs seems to slow down, as if it was melting before our ears, the already sludgy throb, briefly transformed into a tarpit creep.
And while those moments, the cinematic flourishes, and the oddball samples, do surface throughout, Abyss is definitely much more metallic than previous releases, the black metal element in full effect, albeit usually delivered at 16rpm, and even at its blackest and buzziest, the sound still remains seriously fucked up, deliriously noise drenched, and oozing some seriously sick atmosphere.
On a related note, it's one of the very few records we've ever seen receive a perfect score of 100 percent on the Metal Archives site, which is even the more remarkable considering how far removed from proper metal GTT actually is, even here.
MPEG Stream: "Through Flesh"
MPEG Stream: "From The Black Mouth Of Spite"
MPEG Stream: "The Holy Body"

album cover HYMAN, DICK Moon Gas (Captain High) lp 25.00
This 1963 album of delightful space age jazz was recently reissued for the first time as part of a 2-on-1 cd that Omni put out, featuring also Dick Hyman's 1969 opus MOOG: The Electric Eclectics of Dick Hyman. That cd has already become kind of scarce (hopefully we'll get more, eventually) but now for you vinyl fiends, there's an lp reissue of the Moon Gas record alone.
Dick Hyman has had a long and varied career as a classical jazz pianist, bandleader and composer. Beginning in the fifties to most recently scoring many Woody Allen films, he has been involved with hundreds of records both in his own name, and in support of other artists. But between 1963 and 1969, he was best known for his Space Age Bachelor pad music made on Enoch Light's Command label. Moon Gas was Hyman's first forays into the space age, featuring the ethereal vocals of Mary Mayo, a pop-jazz singer in the Julie London style, who seduces us with her dreamy and sensuous voice. A galactic cocktail jazz record if there ever was one, Hyman imagines the future using Lowry organ, vibraphones, theremins and an ondes martenot. The album also features the underwater guitar sound of Vinnie Bell, one of our faves, to spacey effect!
A groovy, retro reissue recommended for all lounge lunatics and jazz eccentrics! Also, Allan's toddler loved it, btw!!!
MPEG Stream: "Moon Gas"
MPEG Stream: "Maid of The Moon"

album cover JABLADAV Maj (self-release) cd-r + dvd-r 11.98
We reviewed the cd-r Fin, from mysterious one man black metal band Jabladav, on last week's New Arrivals list, and in that review mentioned not only that it was the first release we'd gotten in years, from this previously impossibly prolific artist, but in keeping with that nascent prolificacy, he sent us FOUR new releases. Fin was the only strictly black metal release of the bunch, but over the myriad of previous releases, a bunch eschewed metal entirely in favor of blackened ambience and minimal atmospheric soundscapery, which is precisely what we get on the three track Maj.
The opener is a sprawling near half hour slab of smoldering drift, softly undulating synths, pulse beneath clouds of static and grit, melancholic melodies blur into impressionistic sonic smears, the bleary, faded grey ambience at times reminiscent of William Basinski's Disintegration Loops (and their most disintegrated), the recording too, muddy and murky, only adds to the vibe, somber and somnambulant, laced with some last minute gristly, before winding down into what sounds like a dying tape machine, fantastically gloomy and dreamy.
The second track is a bit less grim, almost pastoral, a haze of faded melodies slowly builds to a soft cacophony of blurred, layered thrum, before again, dissipating into a swirling, skeletal, soft focus fade out. Finally, the 12+ minute third track reveals itself as the most 'noisy' of the bunch, pairing a hushed dreaminess, with dense billows of reverbed noise, fields of sculpted static, and bursts of muted crunch, but even at its noisiest, the sounds are world smooth, and sound more dense and dynamic than caustic, and beneath these noisier bits, lurks an almost choral sounding ambience, dreamlike and prismatic, the sounds seemingly washed out and in a state of beautiful decay, and as the noise abates, they're revealed as a warm, barely-there shimmer, that gradually, and drowsily plays us out.
As with all Jabaladav releases, these are EXTREMELY LIMITED. Only FIFTY COPIES made! And a we got a good chunk of those. Each one is hand numbered, and signed by the man himself. Also includes a DVD-R which seems to contain the WAV files of the songs on the cd-r.
MPEG Stream: "Vart De Ar, Kommer Vi Snart Att Folja"
MPEG Stream: "Jag Valkomnar Den Kalla"

album cover JACKIE HOUSE Stydive (Honey Soundsystem) 12" 13.98
We might not normally be the go-to place for dance 12"s, but every once in a while a serious slab of dancefloor vinyl will come our way that's so damn good and infectious, that we have to gush about it on the list. Such is the case with this stunner from Jackie House.
Jackie House is project of Jacob Sperber, one of the founding members of our favorite DJ collectives, Honey Soundsystem, so it should come as no surprise as to why we're so freaked out about how fucking great this track is. Honey Soundsystem has long been the San Francisco source for authentic, thoughtful, fiery, and deliciously sweaty dance music, and now as they travel across the globe doing their thing, it's been awesome to see each of the individual members branching out with their own projects.
"Stydive" does what all great dancefloor burners should, it immediately grabs you, yet is dense and rife with such interesting sounds, that you can blast it over and over and never get sick of it. The B-side is a remix by Matrixxman, giving the original a much darker and more minimal vibe. Jackie House takes the best dance music from the last thirty years and weaves it into the kind of jam that should be a hit to unites fans of house, techno, and disco, and definitely belongs in any DJ or wannabe DJ's collection.
MPEG Stream: "Stydive"
MPEG Stream: "Stydive (Matrixxman Remixx)"

album cover KHEMMIS Absolution (20 Buck Spin) cd 10.98
Absolution is the debut full length from Denver doomlords Khemmis, and unlike the various strains of dooooooom we find ourselves usually obsessing over, the sound of Khemmis is not especially sick or sludgy, dense or droney, or even all that drugged out or psychedelic. Instead, it's doom born of TRUE metal, epic and majestic, huge churning riffs, laced with soaring leads, killer harmonized melodies, and some seriously classic sounding metal vox. Sure there's the occasional howling bellow, but the main vocals are what makes this band so appealing, the songs groovy as they are heavy, hooky too, channeling the spirit of legendary practitioners of the doom-ed arts, like St. Vitus, Cathedral, Count Raven, Blood Famers, Revelation, Penance, Solstice, and All the rest. Bow down and doom on. Likely the doom fix you were waiting for, if you're cool with some growly vocals in your otherwise classic sounding dooming.
MPEG Stream: "Torn Asunder"
MPEG Stream: "Ash, Cinder, Smoke"
MPEG Stream: "Antediluvian"

album cover LELAND A Self-Taught, Decathlon, Hard Rock Musician! (Stoned Circle) cd 17.98
We were sold the moment we saw the album cover! Leland ("a Berkeley Asian-American musician whose background has been primarily hard rock music" as the liner notes tell us) adorned with satin cape, fringed tunic, studded choker and glorious Seventies mustache, wielding his electric guitar like a weapon, looking like Uli Jon Roth's alternate reality Japanese doppelganger, under the prominent text "A SELF-TAUGHT, DECATHLON, HARD ROCK MUSICIAN." Basically worth the price of admission alone, but luckily the strange heavy rock proto-metal found therein proved to be even better! Compiled from recordings produced in the late '70s (six studio tracks and a live recording from SF's legendary Mabuhay Gardens), Leland sounds truly like a man out of time. Coming up in the Bay Area in the midst of punk & new wave's inevitable rise, Leland's brand of twisted airbrushed-van wizard-rock must have seemed completely out of step, but that only serves to make his singular brand of DECATHLON ROCK all the more irresistible. Musically Leland covers a lot of ground considering his tragically brief stint in caped rockin', from glammy boogie woogie to space-age synth balladry to slithering grooves to swinging off-kilter rhythms to dirging proto-doom, but all the while accompanied by a perfectly musty lo-fi production and Leland's unmistakably manic vocal delivery, all high pitched, gravelly and warbly - to our ears not at all dissimilar to Trouble's Erik Wagner! Such a cool relic that has remained buried far too long, and highly recommended for proto-metal enthusiasts lurking in misty realms the world over, especially those of you who were as enamored as we were with Numero Group's Warfaring Strangers Darkscorch compilation, upon which this would have sounded right at home!
MPEG Stream: "This Is My World"
MPEG Stream: "Goodbye My Loneliness"
MPEG Stream: "Leland vs. Dirk Dirksen"

album cover LUCIFER Dance With The Devil (Stoned Circle) 2cd 25.00
A few years ago, another label did a reissue of the album Big Gun by this mysterious & bizarre early '70s dark psych band Lucifer, and we wrote a fairly long, flipped out review. Well now it's been given another, definitive, official reissue, as part of a double cd set featuring not just Big Gun but also Lucifer's even more chimerical 2nd album, a soundtrack to a "motorcycle shock film" called Exit, along with the four privately pressed singles Lucifer also put out between 1971 and '73 - in other words, it's Lucifer's complete known works, everything, all the rarities, remastered, packaged with care including archival photos and other ephemera, plus liner notes telling the story behind the band (which we didn't really know 'til now).
Here's our original Big Gun review, we figure it's enough to get you to know if you want this whole package or not (hint: you most likely do)...
We've been waiting to hear THIS for YEARS. An extremely rare and mysterious circa '72 underground UK psych lp of which we knew little and had been able to find out less. But it seemingly promised great things, as we shall explain in just a sec. Now that it's been reissued at long last, we've -finally- heard the thing, we can say that while it's not exactly what we hoped it would be, it turned out to be something quite, um, remarkable nonetheless. And after all, what we'd hoped for might have been a (literal) pipe dream anyway... Lucifer really couldn't be all it was cracked up to be, could it?? I mean, the band's very name, the all-black Smell The Glove style cover, the hairy/scary band photos, the song titles - "Banshee", "Prick", "Winter", "What Was That Thing I Saw You With Last Night" - all portend something impossibly dark and heavy, leaving us hoping that Lucifer would sound like some sort of unknown, underground, creepy cousins to Black Sabbath! And the album's original, rather confusional liner notes also hint in that direction, spouting wonderful nonsense about how the band has "this cave in Arizona" where they like to record their "evil music"! We're also informed that they did a single called "Fuck You" that was never released, having been confiscated by the police!! Sounds pretty darn metal, right? Add to that the fact that the first time we ever heard of Lucifer, years ago, was in an old interview with none other than Ozzy Osbourne, wherein he mentioned this album as being something he and his Black Sabbath mates dug back in the day! That's a lot of expectation to build up. And the truth of course is that Lucifer sound NOTHING like Black Sabbath, or metal in general. They're not even particularly heavy in the guitar department - heck, quite a lot of this is acoustic. Yet they ARE totally weird and fucked up and cool and a bit ridiculous, and definitely "heavy" in the "heavy, maaaan" stoner hippy sense of the word. We'd compare 'em to contemporaries in the British busking free fest hippy druggy psych scene like the Edgar Broughton Band and (lighter) Hawkwind, or (maybe) to NYC's Godz. And at their heaviest, when guitars are plugged in and all, some of this is murky and dismal enough to sound like something by AQ obscure Krautrock faves German Oak. Some other primitive, blues-damaged Krautrock we like also comes to mind, like Kalacakra, Siloah and Zippo Zetterlink.
The unlucky thirteen tracks of Big Gun consist in the main of meanderingly simple and repetitive hippy guitar riffing, gruff freaky vocals, subversively anti-establishment lyrics ("working is just a bore, smoking's against the law, I'm just a natural man"), and junky rhythms, all contributing to a definitely underground, overwhelmingly wastoid vibe. It makes the Pink Fairies sound almost straight. Definitely dated, yeah, but a charming artifact of a long-gone, LSD-lifestyle...
So, that's what we wrote about Big Gun! We just got this new expanded edition in, so we actually haven't even really explored Exit (also from '72) and the rest of the set yet (including that song, "Fuck You"), so we won't (and probably needn't) comment on them here. But of course are keen to delve in...
MPEG Stream: "Banshee"
MPEG Stream: "Don't Care"

album cover MANIAC OST (Keep Tapes Alive) cassette 9.98
Remade in 2012 by unlikely genre film fan Elijah Wood, the original Maniac was released in 1980, and was a grimy, gritty story of, well, a maniac: a serial killer who collected mannequins and scalped his female victims. It's a hugely infamous film, eliciting revulsion from reviewers when it first came out (due in no small part to a super graphic and gruesome head-being-blown-off-by-a-shotgun scene) but has become a serious cult fave in the ensuing decades.
The soundtrack is a stunner too, with composer Jay Chattaway (who would go on to compose music for the various Star Trek TV series) crafting a haunting, minimal score, equal parts hushed ambience, and sinister synths. Fretless bass warbles beneath tinkling chimes and fluttering flutes, gradually disappear in clouds of pulsating electronics, which over the course of the score, drift from tense, almost Carpenter-esque synthscapes, to moody melancholic introspection, to tripped out psychedelic electro-rock, to creepy, haunted house dronemusic.
SUPER LIMITED!!!!
MPEG Stream: "Maniac's Theme"
MPEG Stream: "Apocalypse New York"
MPEG Stream: "Inner Voices"

album cover NAPOLLEON s/t (Metal Postcard) cd ep 11.98
So, the current psychedelic garage rock revival scene extends around the world, as well it should, since so much of the exciting vintage garage psych being dug up for reissue of late has been been of international origin, right? Which brings us to this present day band, Napolleon, and their quite promising debut four-song ep released by Hong Kong label Metal Postcard. Napolleon aren't from China, though, they're from Bandung, Indonesia. These four young Indonesian guys have a dronier, spacier, somewhat noisier sound than some of their Nuggets-worshipping peers. Very stoned sounding stuff, really - nicely poppy but also mesmerically tripped out. They'd probably fit in on the Castle Face label pretty well, alongside the likes of Thee Oh Sees, White Fence, and King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, for sure. While they can get heavy and frenzied, doing the fuzzed out stomp, they simultaneously have a gentle and very melodic side too - but everything is always cloaked in plenty of echo and other electronic FX, swirling and swooshing amidst the crashing guitars and druggy vocals. Good stuff, and we look forward to hearing more from 'em. Besides the Castle Face bands mentioned above, we'd also cite Acid Baby Jesus, the Black Angels, and some Wooden Shjips as 'recommended if you like' comparisons. Plus a host of bands back in the '60s, of course. It's cd only, limited to 500 copies, and features some weird artwork by someone in the band, on individual sheets of sticker paper in lieu of the usual sort of cd booklet.
MPEG Stream: "Infinite Loop"
MPEG Stream: "Erasable Eraser"

album cover NURSE WITH WOUND The Sylvie & Babs High Thigh Companion (United Dirter) 2cd 24.00
Ah, Sylvie & Babs. Here, rechristened as the High Thigh Companion, instead of the Hi-Fi original. This album, like Soliloquy For Lilith, Salt Marie Celeste, and Chance Meeting On A Dissecting Table, is one of the pinnacles of the Nurse With Wound catalog. It's definitely the silliest amongst Stapleton's always outlandish productions. At the time of this album's original release (that would be 1985), the trajectories of Coil, Psychic TV, Current 93, Test Dept, and other proselytes of the new dark age were almost uniformly bleak; and Steven Stapleton set out to construct an antedote to all of this malaise. Something to get stoned to and provide an instant laugh track for the inner-mind, complete with a pair of eponymous buxom broads on the cover beaming at the audience in glilttering '50s Vegas apparel, and a fictional orchestral conductor by the name of Murray Fontana, whom Andrew McKenzie of the Hafler Trio tried to breath fake life into later with his own cut-n-paste job on the Nurse With Wound catalog a few years later. Stapleton's Sylvie & Babs is a chaotic piece of audio collage, liberally sampling from Stapleton's collection of easy / sleazy listening records and extruding all of these along with wind-up toy orchestrations, Spike Jones-esque comedic farts, and various plinkery from his 40-piece strong "orchestra". It's equal parts pisstake and homage to Zappa's Lumpy Gravy, with a theatrical wink and nod never far away. After all, it should be noted than on "You Walrus Hurt The One You Love" (ugh, what a horrible, horrible pun), Stapleton quotes somebody bellowing "It was just a prank!".
This 2015 redux is fleshed out with a bunch of compilation tracks of material composed in similar pandemonium style, much of which has not seen the light of day since the original cassettes. There seems to be one unreleased track and two remixes by the modern day alchemists M.S. Waldron / irr. app. (ext.) and Andrew Liles, both of whom currently assist Stapleton whenever he tours Nurse With Wound.
MPEG Stream: "You Walrus Hurt The One You Love"
MPEG Stream: "Great Balls Of Fur"

album cover OFFING s/t (self-released) cassette 4.98
Chris Duncan is a Oakland based artist whose multi-disciplined approach involves a rigorous accumulation and repetition. The bulk of his work deals in visual assemblages, often worked into systems imbued with the implications of transcendence, mysticism, and profundity while working with everyday materials. Sunlight in particular is a common tool, as a repeated symbol that albums becomes a sigil to Duncan and even as a bleaching agent for unarchival materials. He's occasionally works with time-based media (i.e. video and sound) to highlight and punctuate the graduated, coalesced, and accreted forms of his visual work; and the soundworks have blossomed into what he's now recording under the banner of Offing. It seems that the first side of this tape was all composed through harmonica, though Duncan has shaped the resultant sounds into bright, grind-organ like sounds that would be played by an army of circus monkeys that were trained to play a Terry Riley piece of psychedelic minimalism only to end up sounding like Angus MacLise's dilated wanderings of cymballon and percussion. The chromatics of the harmonica return on the second side, though the glistenings and shimmerings enjoyed extended passages of holy minimalism drone offset by the lulling roar of the ocean crashing into the side of California. A really lovely body of work from one of the true talents of the Bay Area's art community.
MPEG Stream: "Painting #1"
MPEG Stream: "Painting #2"
MPEG Stream: "Painting #3"

album cover PEDESTRIAN DEPOSIT The Architector (Monorail Trespassing) lp 13.98
It would be a disservice to qualify Pedestrian Deposit as yet another California noise project. Yet with a sizable portion of the obsessive noise-mongers twisting themselves into crystal powered synthesists of twinking psychedelics, the shorthand of 'post-noise' is far from applicable either. It's hard to know exactly where to peg Pedestrian Deposit, outside of themselves as their aesthetic is so wholly their own. That said, The Architector is a rare document the duo of Jonathan Borges and Shannon Kennedy, who have been shaping their work mostly through the scope of the live performance over the past six or seven years. Originally their duets played out the dichotomy between Borges' beginnings as a feral tactician of noise abuse and Kennedy's classical training as a cellist; but as the two investigated elemental sound, electro-acoustic techniques, and the psychological implications of their work, the division of labor has dissolved into a severe aesthetic of existential inquisitiveness and psychic malignancy. In recent performance, Kennedy has eschewed the cello entirely in favor of a rig more fitting an early Einsturzende Neubauten performance, with pulleys, chains, metal cables, rebar, and various Bertoia-esque objects through which she coaxes eerie tones of industrial spook. Borges will never let you forget that he can flip the switch at any time, with demolition-zone ruptures of noise shredding a various point on the album. The smoldering remains and lingering echo become the sonic pieces that Borges and Kennedy use to assemble the fundamentals, drones, and derelict textures for this profound album, doing so in a manner that is reflective of those breathtaking collages from Nurse With Wound (esp. Homotopy To Marie), as well as the Aktionist deconstructions from the Schimpfluch Gruppe. Yes, they do keep on getting better.
MPEG Stream: "A Cold Harvest"
MPEG Stream: "Shifted Snake"

album cover PHARAOH OVERLORD Circle (Ektro) lp 19.98
NOW HERE ON VINYL, as promised, at last. We reviewed this (and its twin by the band this album is named after) a couple months back, when they first showed up on cd, making 'em our Records Of The Week then, here's what we said...
Oh lord, what will the mischievous mind of Circle mainman Jussi Lehtisalo come up with next? Not long ago, there was the conceptually confusional arrangement under which our Finnish space rock faves Circle changed their name to Falcon (Ex-Circle), and then recruited a completely different group of musicians to record an album under their former name of Circle (which was great!), after which the original Circle guys switched back to being called Circle (Ex-Falcon). Whew. And now they're just Circle, again. BUT, how's this for another confusing idea: Circle, and their not-all-that-different-really side-project band Pharaoh Overlord have now simultaneously released albums with the titles "Circle" and "Pharaoh Overlord", no, not self-titled albums, the Circle one is called Pharaoh Overlord and the Pharaoh Overlord one is called Circle. And they have very similar art/graphics. Yep. That's what they do for laffs up in Finland, although knowing Jussi, he probably has some very serious, meaningful reason behind this scheme, but the explanation would be impossible to understand. It makes a circle or something. Regardless, what we've got here are TWO NEW Circle and/or Pharaoh Overlord albums, however you slice it, and that's a good thing! Of course, they just showed up yesterday, the day before our list, but we already have spun these a bunch of times and know we will spin them lots more, so sure let's make 'em both Records Of The Week!
On Pharaoh Overlord's Circle, they indeed do their best Circle impression - not so hard since the band consists ENTIRELY of members of Circle after all (the lineups on these two albums are identical except that vocalist/keyboardist Mika Ratto only appears on the Circle one, which also has a guest horn player). And while PO were originally conceived as the heavier, "stoner rock" alter ego of Circle, here they evince a lighter touch than what Circle do on their parallel Pharaoh Overlord album, less heavy, less dark, instead being delightfully upbeat and sunny sounding, but of course with lots of the usual rhythmic urgency, gently directed. The all-instrumental music is layered with lots of pretty synth sizzle, almost giving it a 'new wave' vibe, uplifting and sprightly, even. We like the bloop bloop lava lamp sound going on throughout track two, "Tarkennus", and the first track, "Elain Rientaa Kotiin", features a melodic synth flourish that sure reminds us a lot of Stereolab... as of course does the similarly Neu! derived motorik beat. "Villaa", track 4, really blurs the lines between the typically krauty pulse of Circle and loop-based dance music. And so it goes. Providing a blissful rhythmic workout overall, this is a great Circle/Pharaoh Overlord/whatevertheywannacallthemselves album that we'll for sure be returning to on days when we need a sweet, lively, Circular pick me up. Recommended, as is the other one by the other band.
MPEG Stream: "Tarkennus"
MPEG Stream: "Verbi"

album cover PHILLIPS, DAVE & CHRIS GALARRETA The Invisible Cage Of Comfort (Fragment Factory) cassette 9.98
It's always a risk to delve into the world of Dave Phillips. The Swiss noise-aktionist has been produced and presenting his confrontational / challenging works as part of the Schimpfluch Gruppe, whose members also count Rudolf Eb.Er, Sudden Infant, G*Park, and Raionbashi - all of whom engage in some form of sonic bloodletting. Phillips' tends to be the most dogmatic and political, especially when it comes to the deliberately repulsive imagery of slaughterhouses that often accompany his performances of full-throated noise, chest cavity amplifications, and demolition-expert explosions. This release with the Peruvian Chris Galaretta make for a brief foray into his existentially provocative and hellish world. Phillips short-sharp-shock approach to noise spinning out ominous beds of electronic rumblings and somatic repetitions is very much at play here with wild-squiggles of feedback erupting at the conclusion of this terrifying document marked by suffocating / drowning gasps from Phillips on the first side of the tape. These same elements of nightmarish bass frequencies and dissonant piles of fm synthesis reprise on the flip in more skeletal forms. Limited to just 100 copies.
MPEG Stream: "When The Domestic Animal Burns"

album cover POLGAR, EVA & SANDOR VALY Die Toteninsel (Ektro) cd 15.98
Sandor Valy and Eva Polgar need no introduction. Well, to most people they probably DO, but not to folks who regularly read the aQ-list, who may know them from the duo's two previous cds released on Jussi from Circle's Ektro label. These two Hungarian expatriates (Valy lives in Finland, Polgar here in the States) are an interesting team, making conceptual, minimalist music, their avant-garde compositions often directly based upon the works of famous painters. Valy in fact is a visual artist, and Polgar a pianist, and together they've derived / decoded fascinating music from paintings by Bruegel and Mondrian. Or at least, the paintings were inspirations. Valy & Polgar's new disc on Ektro takes the famous symbolist painting Die Toteninsel ("The Isle Of The Dead") by Arnold Bocklin (1827-1901) as its subject, a painting that Ektro reminds us was admired by the likes of Freud, Lenin, Dali and even Hitler. But the concept here is more complex than just that, as this is a "fictional reconstruction" of the lost score to an post-WWI opera called A Holtak Szigete or Die Insel Der Toten, originally written by Jeno Zador (1894-1977). The opera premiered at the Hungarian Royal Opera House in 1928. After that first performance, Zador's score somehow vanished, and the opera was never staged again. So Valy and Polgar have now composed a new score, to go with the opera's original libretto, penned in 1919 by German poet Karl Georg Zwerenz (1874-1933), a libretto of course inspired by Bocklin's painting. In this "reconstruction" of Zador's lost music, the Valy/Polgar duo have attempted to interpret the themes of the painting as reflected in Zwerenz' text, as well as to Dadaistically explore "the misunderstandings, mishearings, accents and language distortions that are characteristic of our day and age". What does that mean? Well, for one thing the text is in German but the singers aren't German speakers, and also Valy and Polgar took a highly improvisational and chaotic approach to creating and recording the music. Valy says: "The listener hears a musical improvisation in German with the singers interpreting a lost large scale composition about freedom without any instruction and without the deep knowledge of the language. I think we completed our goal." The results of course are strange and evocative, unique and mesmeric, and surely in the in the tradition of Glass and Reich as much as Valy and Polgar's previous electroacoustic compositions were.
Includes a 100 page booklet!!! So like we said, complex...
MPEG Stream: "Arnold Und Phyllis"
MPEG Stream: "Simeon Und Arnold"
MPEG Stream: "Tod Und Phyllis"

album cover SEWER GODDESS Painlust (Malignant) cd 11.98
Into extreme abject industrial blackened sludge??? We are, especially when it's this good. So, if you're like us you too will be smitten by the mighty Sewer Goddess. Metallic, filthy, noisy, droning nightmare dirge in the tradition of such sonic terrorists as Godflesh, Swans, Gnaw Their Tongues, Wolf Eyes, Zeni Geva, early Scorn, and Neubauten. Naturally, we've been fans since we first heard Sewer Goddess a few years back - you'll find a worshipful review or two on our site of some previous releases... Now here's the latest from Sewer Goddess, an album entitled Painlust. Not subtle, no. At times bleakly ambient, at others out-and-out grinding, Painlust, with such cheerful (not) songs as "Flog", "My Grave", and "Black Meat And Bones", merges the industrial metal with the more creepily cinematic soundscapery. It's a disc of powerful, feedback-filled sound design, replete with anvil-clank rhythms and distorted atmospheres, death-knell drumming and depth charge guitars, pummeling heaviness shrouded in murky electronic FX, and harsh anguished screams from the Sewer Goddess herself - the band's frontwoman Kristen Rose, who is also capable of an wide range of effective vocal approaches, from aching melodic wails to hissing shrieks to an ice-cold monotone declamation, often processed and treated and layered, becoming a one-woman chorus, these whispers and echoes sounding like sick 'voices in your head'. Let them in and grovel for the Sewer Goddess. Seriously good stuff for those into 'this sort of thing', as we said. Makes us imagine mechanical monks performing some sort of assembly line cult ceremony in a hellish factory/church.
MPEG Stream: "Plague Axis"
MPEG Stream: "Flog"
MPEG Stream: "Melena's Mask"

album cover SHOOTING GUNS WolfCop Original Soundtrack Recording (One Way Static) lp+7" 37.00
We listed this on cd recently (and are doing so again), but now also have vinyl for ya too - the first pressing disappeared fast but One Way Static just repressed it in a new version that comes with a bonus 7" with an exclusive B-side!! Download code included too.
How can you not love a movie called WolfCop? Especially with a trailer like this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_P4C8x9S28
The music in that trailer kinda rules huh? That just so happens to be the work of a Canadian combo of hard rocking, heavy riff merchants called Shooting Guns, who have sculpted their swaggery, stonery doom into soundtrack form, by fusing galloping grooves and metallic bombast to haunting, synthy swirl and ominous drones. At times Shooting Guns seem to be channeling the Fucking Champs, at others, John Carpenter, slipping easily from muscly hypnorock to psychedelic space rock to kosmische synthscapes, with plenty of moody, atmospheric stops in between.
While soundtrack nerds will dig this, the hard and heavy crowd will likely dig it too, cuz even though it's a 'score', a big chunk of the soundtrack is basically a crazy, bombastic, riff heavy psychedelic stoner rock blowout. "Barn Burner" sounds like Goblin and Pharaoh Overlord jamming with Red Fang, "Buda" is all low slung groovery, a bit like ZZ Top jamming out on "Spirit In The Sky", and "Spy In The Sky" is some sort of perfect Hawkwind / Carlton Melton hybrid.
Needless to say, if you dig big riffs, wild Bonham-esque drumming, psychedelic hard rock, creepy cinematic synths, moody, sinister ambience, tripped out FX and drunk cops that become werewolves, then hell, this is right up your alley.
Rad before/after werewolf cop cover art too!
MPEG Stream: "Lycanthrope"
MPEG Stream: "Hounds of God"
MPEG Stream: "Burchard Von Worms"
MPEG Stream: "One More Day"

album cover SUN RA Space Is The Place (Harte) book+ cd + dvd 50.00
For all deep fans of the late great Afro-futuristic jazz visionary Sun Ra, this is something special, possibly essential. A 40th anniversary celebration of Sun Ra's one of a kind, mind blowing low budget sci-fi movie from San Francisco in the '70s, Space Is The Place, consisting of a book, a cd, and dvd. On the dvd, you get two different cuts of the film, on the cd the film's classic soundtrack, and in the book tons more pertaining to the project - including never-before-seen photos from the set, various essays, and interviews with cast and crew. One of the highlights is the chat with Ray Johnson, the only professional actor in the film (he was in Dirty Harry), who played the "Cosmic Overseer" in Space Is The Place. His stories about shooting scenes with Sun Ra are great. What's cool is that to this day he's clearly a true believer in the man's out of this world genius. And the same goes for others featured in the book, including the young cinematographer who knew nothing of Sun Ra and his scene before hand, but ever since has been big avant-jazz fan. For more about the film, and the soundtrack, you can read our reviews of previous, separate reissues elsewhere on the AQ site.
So, this is the ultimate Space Is The Place artifact for sure. Hardcover, 11" x 10", full color, 124 pages, with dvd in a pocket inside the front cover, and cd in a pocket inside the back. Introduction by Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips.

album cover SWANOX Duskrunner (Not Not Fun) lp 11.98
Duskrunner is the second full-length from San Francisco's Swanox. A follow up to the 2010 cassette release Dawnrunner, Duskrunner is a dreamy, chemically-aided drive through a neon-lit metropolis. It's incredibly clear from one listen of Duskrunner, Anthony has done his homework on the komische and the kraut - one can hear clear nods to the cosmic atmosphere of Florian Fricke and Popul Vuh, the drum machine and synth experimentation of Rudiger Lorenz, and the lysergic dream worlds of Tangerine Dream. That's not to say this a lazy ripoff album, however. This album uses those themes in a way that feels amazingly like a very specific time and place - San Francisco, now.
"Candle Station" and "No Locals" begin the hazy trip, with delayed 808s and guitars fusing with distant sounding vocals and analog synth buzz. "Bank of the Orient" and the title track continue the theme, with hints and pieces of melody sticking out enough to give Duskrunner a noticeable pop tinge. "The Whistler" is perhaps the climax of the record, a driving, motorik number that builds before ending as quickly as it began. If there was a soundtrack to what it feels like to be broke and sleepless in San Francisco - to walk aimlessly around streets that don't feel like home amid the chaos of a bustling yuppie playground, this is that soundtrack. Highly recommended.
MPEG Stream: "Duskrunner"
MPEG Stream: "The Whistler"

album cover TODD, BLAINE Dillingham (Editions Littlefield) cassette 6.98
Dillingham is the long in the works solo debut from Blaine Todd, guitarist from local psychedelic pagan drone folk outfit Common Eider, King Eider. It's named for a small town in Alaska, where Todd shares a cabin with his Common Eider bandmate. It's an especially isolated part of the world, extremely remote, and not at all easily accessible. That isolation is evident throughout Dillingham, the songs strangely distant, not always geographically, as much as emotionally, or even simply out of time, but at the same time, often painfully intimate, equal parts ultra-personal sonic narratives, and oblique transmissions from another era. Todd's modern reinterpretation of classic folk and blues is reminiscent of another aQ fave, Eric Chenaux, whose aching solo records, and mysterious outings in Reveries, revel in a similarly worn and faded sonic aesthetic.
Beds of creaking warble, introduce the record, almost like the sound of some primitive playback device, it's not difficult to imagine a dusty old gramophone, or even a wax cylinder, spinning lazily in a rickety old cabin, the sun glinting off dust motes, drifting lazily in still afternoon air, Todd's delicate guitar playing is the perfect mix of aching, old folk strum, and measured minimalist experimentation, but that experimentation becomes less and less overt as Dillingham unwinds, with the vibe getting properly old timey, the first we hear of Todd's vocals, they're a nasally, almost hillbilly whine, drifting atop a lazy tangle of droney buzz and campfire twang. But from that point on, the record begins to resemble a proper blues record, the vocals get more wasted and worn, draped over a slippery slide guitar here, or a rumbling, layered whir there. The modern moments fade into the background, more little moments here and there, the only thing that belies the records modern provenance.
The vocals shift again into an wistful falsetto, the guitar seemingly following suit, only to transform again, becoming a reverb drenched croon, wound around rugged back porch blues.
The production is as much a part of the sound as the music itself, another subtle element that keeps Dillingham from sounding like some lost Folkways 78, lending some tracks a worn patina of faded haze, and others with a brittle immediacy, in both cases, the music glows warmly, a weary yet hauntingly hopeful modern blues balladry grounded in the storied history of the folk and folks that came before.
LIMITED TO FIFTY COPIES!!! Likely the only ones we'll be able to get.
MPEG Stream: "Oh, Say There Is A Valley"
MPEG Stream: "When I Die"
MPEG Stream: "Courage"

album cover V/A Primitive Paradise: Early Exotica 1920-1947 (University Of Vice Records) lp 23.00
Long before the mid-century heyday of tiki bars and the postwar Technicolor mystique of island magic framed by the sexy orchestrations of Martin Denny, Les Baxter, and Arthur Lyman, the siren song mythos of Yma Sumac and the cinematic supernatural heroics of Sinbad the Sailor, the genre of popular music that came to be known as Exotica had surprisingly deep but remote roots in various parts of the globe. Years before Hawaii became our 49th state, Hawaiian music was first heard by an international audience at the first Universal Exhibitions held in the United States in 1901. The tribal rhythms, novel instrumentation of ukuleles and steel guitar and scantily clad female dancers were more than enough to spark the imagination of American society, and the performative music quickly evolved from its native roots to include westernized musical hybrids and risque vaudevillian tropes. At the same time, Cuban and Puerto Rican music arrived in the US making way for big band night club leaders like Xavier Cugat, and Perez Prado, while Europeans were going nuts over rumba, conga and beguine from Central and South America.
This wonderful compilation traces the roots of Exotica and features incredible tracks sourced from original 78's, many of which see reissue for the very first time. This indeed reminds us of our art-school days where before the internet, people passed around mix-tapes of wild and wonderful music sourced from thrift store finds and those ubiquitous Rhino samplers of retro novelty songs and curiosities from around the globe.
Includes tracks by Orquesta Serramont, Lecuona Cuban Boys, Mercedes Marino, Pedro Berrios, All Star Trio, The Honolulu Queens, South Sea Islanders, Anglo-Persians, Jay Whidden, Elsie Bayron, The Kidoodlers, Wailana Grass Shack Boys, The Tune Wranglers, and Gino Bordin. So great!
MPEG Stream: THE HONOLULU QUEENS "China Sea"
MPEG Stream: LECUONA CUBAN BOYS "Rumba Muculmana"
MPEG Stream: PEDRO BERRIOS "Chino Soy"

album cover VIBRACATHEDRAL ORCHESTRA Rec Blast Motorbike (VHF) lp 15.98
We've long worshipped at the altar of these psychedelic shamans, dutifully prostrating ourselves before them, and bathing in the luxurious glow of their din, a din that has constantly evolved over the years, sometimes pure, cosmic ur-drone, other times, free-from, avant rock space-psych, and at others, a sort of mutant electronica. But in each incarnation, the group never failed to conjure up a sort of transcendental soundstate, the music, whether caustic and chaotic, or moody and minimal, always evoking a tranced out sense of mesmer, a true psychedelia that is rare, even amongst proper 'psych' bands.
Rec Blast Motorbike, finds the group's original line-up together again (Michael Flower, Bridget Hayden, Neil Campbell, Adam Davenport, Julian Bradley and John Godbert) and it sounds like it. If we didn't know better, this could easily have been some old self released cd-r, which is fine with us, the sound raw, and free, lo-fi, yet somehow lush and epic, beautiful blustery blowouts set alongside fractured folkiness, essentially rhythmless, but the rhythms that are present are more spluttery and loose, sounding like an errant snare rolling down an immense flight of stairs one minute, a field recording of someone bored restlessly tapping a tabletop at others, some tracks are driven by what could be a junkyard wind chime, and others, by a veritable hippie percussion ensemble. All the while, the rest of the crew are unfurling streaking arcs of distorted guitar buzz, rippling sheets of feedback and grinding FX doused riffage.
It's hard to define exactly what would qualify as 'classic' Vibracathedral', but to our ears, this is pretty much it. The old gang together again, making a glorious noise, like they never stopped in the first place.

album cover WEATHERS, ANDREW ENSEMBLE Fuck Everybody You Can Do Anything (Full Spectrum) lp 16.98
The awesomely (and super positively) titled Fuck Everybody, You Can Do Anything, is the third record from The Andrew Weathers Ensemble, a mostly improvised affair, masterminded by Andrew Weathers, but augmented by a constantly shifting cast of guest improvisers (including members of local dronefolk combo Common Eider, King Eider). Weathers and Co. offer up an extremely unlikely sonic hybrid, with a loose strain of modern minimalism as its core, but somehow incorporating both a spare, dusky modern Appalachia, as well as some warped avant R&B. And yeah, we know how ridiculous that sounds, but once you hear it, it makes all kinds of beautiful (non)sense.
The bulk of Fuck Everybody is laid atop lush fields of smoldering drones, slow shifting layers of sound, over which Weathers drapes shimmery steel string buzz, a melancholic twang flecked folk, occasionally swathed in sweetly swoonsome strings. But it's the vocals that really make this unique, a raspy, soulful croon, but one that's been processed, and vocodered, and autotuned, and suddenly, it sounds like some warped slo-mo-soul jam, all wound around hazy streaks of psychedelic folk.
Woodwinds drift in and out, as does the work of various guests, each supplying varying degrees of sonic filigree. Again, those elements are mostly ephemeral, wraithlike affectations that shimmer ghostlike around the core sound of softly pulsing chordal thrum, mysterious, muted percussion, those aforementioned subtle R&B-isms, sped up and slowed down vox, chopped and looped, and then, skeletal tendrils of steel string buzz and spare fingerpicked folk. That vintage blues folk feel, fused with the processed vox, not to mention a sky full of glimmering, crystalline FX, somehow manages to make two totally disparate sounds, sound like they absolutely belong together. And when multiple vocals intertwine, be they multiple vocalists or Weathers multi-tracked, they become a stunning group-style chorale, and the sound blossoms into what sounds like avant old timey standards or some alternate universe spirituals, a gorgeous, slow burning chamber folk, weaving psychedelic modern spaciness into more traditional folksong structures, and filtered through the cracked lens of modern minimalism.
LIMITED TO 500 COPIES!
MPEG Stream: "Live By Golden Rule: Go Orange Be Strong"
MPEG Stream: "We Will Never See A Cloud Again"

album cover WILCO Star Wars (Anti) cd 13.98
Holy shit... Not only were we surprised (like everyone else) by the sudden appearance of a new Wilco Record, but also by just how goddamned great it is. We haven't been so taken by a Wilco record in ages, but Star Wars (is it really ok for them to call it that?) is like an awakening, finding Jeff Tweedy and the rest of the band at their most alive and exciting.
Beginning with a blast of noise, it's easy to imagine the more conservative, middle of the road, dad-rock fans of the band being a bit confused and/or annoyed, but it's glorious and leads us directly into a whole album filled with some of the most immediate and well crafted jams Wilco have yet recorded, probably their best collection of songs since A Ghost Is Born, and belongs right up there with that album, alongside Summerteeth and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot in the best-of Wilco pantheon! Not just catchy and rockin', it also has an experimental bent with weird-out guitar moves that might perhaps fill a bit of the void left by the dissolution of Sonic Youth, and it's that knack for noisiness, woven into Wilco's masterful songsmithery, that makes Star Wars sound so exciting and fresh.
It's pretty satisfying when when a band you once loved, but that you kind of lost interest in, conjures up something mysterious and magical that immediately relights that fire, and hooks you all over again. We're beyond hooked on Star Wars and have been blasting it over and over since we got it.
FYI, the vinyl of this is forthcoming at the end of October...
MPEG Stream: "More…"
MPEG Stream: "You Satellite"
MPEG Stream: "Pickled Ginger"

album cover WIRE, THE #379 September 2015 magazine 9.98
Avant-pop musician Julie Holter goes "into the wilderness" for her cover story in this issue of UK new music must-read magazine The Wire. Also inside: minimalist composer Arnold Dreyblatt (tested by the 'Invisible Jukebox'), field recordist Kink Gong, jazz-punks Blurt, oud player Khyam Allami, a Global Ear on the Peruvian capital of Lima, and plenty more interesting and varied content - including the usual loads of reviews!

album cover WOLFE, CHELSEA Abyss (Sargent House) cd 15.98
Long have we been smitten by the work of Chelsea Wolfe; and Abyss continues to hold us rapt. The Californian doomfolk maven's first albums featuring stripped down arrangements of acoustic guitar and her gripping voice were aptly self-described as "spiritual realm funeral songs." Since recording the rough hewn gems The Grime And The Glow and Apokalypsis, Wolfe has sought more cinematic and bombastic productions that never lose sight of her darkened visions, lamentations, and night terrors. Abyss finds Wolfe working alongside longstanding collaborators Ben Chisholm and Ezra Buchla; and she's employed the production talents of John Cogleton (perhaps most notable for his work on the Swans' rechristening). There are additional guitars from Mike Sallivan of Russian Circles as well.
At its most conventional on tracks like "Iron Moon", Wolfe's smoldering take on goth-blues explodes and collapses in sequences of frightened exhaustion. But many of her songs - the languid "Grey Days" and the tempestuous "Color Of Blood", for instance - eschew standard balladeering, preferring the slow-crawl of repetitive phrases, minor-key dirges, and volcanic chunks of blackened noise all building to majestic soaring crescendos. The lilting "Simple Death" is a rare piece of (relative) sweetness and light, swooning with slide guitar and a simple backbeat for an atmospheric, ethereal number on par with the best of Mazzy Star. Brutal and beautiful all at once.
MPEG Stream: "Iron Moon"
MPEG Stream: "Grey Days"
MPEG Stream: "Color Of Blood"

album cover WROTH Force And Wrath (Universal Conciousness) cd 11.98
Some serious raw, primitive black metal buzz from this Dutch horde, released by the same label who brought us the Lord Time on last week's list. The group's two demos from 2014 are compiled on this sprawling 23 track collection, with most of the tracks clocking in at just about 90 seconds, each essentially a single riff, a single pounding drum beat, and some evil croaked vokills. In some ways, Wroth almost sound like a black metal Brainbombs - that sort of knuckle dragging noise rock vibe is huge, but cloaked in a skein of black buzz, and furious thrashing grimnity. There's also the fact that none of the songs really end, exactly, not properly - they just sort of stop, often mid-riff, as if someone just pushed stop on the recorder (which they most likely did), and almost as if the tracks here aren't songs so much as chunks of riffic sound, the band locked into a lumbering punk metal pound or exploding into a furious, blasting frenzy.
The production is gloriously murky, blown out and in the red, which also give it the feel of some damaged outsider noise rock band, which besides being black metal, they essentially are. The earlier tracks are more like a black metal pigfuck blowout, while the later tracks, get more brittle and tinny, the guitars insectoid, the production as cult as it gets, but both sonic sides share a similarly primitive approach to the black arts.
Total fucking lo-fi, outsider black-noise, punk metal genius.
MPEG Stream: "Force"
MPEG Stream: "Trapped In Wild Growths"
MPEG Stream: "Blood On Dark Soil"

album cover YONKERS, MICHAEL Grimwood (Nero's Neptune) lp 17.98
AT LAST REISSUED ON VINYL!!! We first heard (and were wowed by) this album back in 2007 when the De Stijl label dug it up and put it out on cd only. What we said then, more or less: Is this a lost Bert Jansch or Fresh Maggots record? Sure sounds like some beautifully arcane British Acid Folk, or old timey Appalachian balladry, but with some anachronistically strange lo-fi recording effects and drones and other weirdness going on. Like a psychedelic John Jacob Niles perhaps. Sounds like it's either really old or could be totally recent like something by the late Jack Rose, Chuck Johnson, or even Ilyas Ahmed. Oh wait, it's Michael Yonkers?! The outsider garage guitar visionary whose Microminiature Love album from 1969 is an absolute all-time favorite around here. Wow, this is not the sound we usually expect from him. First of all, instead of amped up electricity, it's all about acoustic guitar, and even more surprising, it was recorded in the same year as Microminiature Love. Geez, this dude never stops surprising us. Originally released on vinyl in 1974, Grimwood pretty much sank without a trace. Today it should get more attention, as Yonkers is definitely having a prolonged renaissance now both brand new albums (including several killer sets in conjunction with The Blind Shake) and other reissues. Definitely for fans of Comus, Jan Dukes De Grey and everyone mentioned above!
MPEG Stream: "Damsel Fair and Your Angel"
MPEG Stream: "Lonely Fog"
MPEG Stream: "Tripping Through The Rose Gardens"


red dot See ALL of NEW ARRIVALS List #482...




Also, just a few of the Highlights of the previous week, of 53 items on
NEW ARRIVALS List #481 (14 August 2015)
:

album cover NOVELLA Land (Sinderlyn) lp+7" 19.98
Land is the first full length from this all female British psychedelic noise pop crew, who have previously shared a split with another aQ fave, nineties shoegaze revivalists The History Of Apple Pie, and while their sounds aren't all that familiar, they're definitely complimentary.
And fans of that sort of dreamy jangly retro-indie rock sound will definitely find much to love here, a sound reminiscent of groups like Stereolab, Electrelane, Lush, Curve, and the like, but these ladies give the psychedelic space rock boy's club a serious run for their money as well, fusing those super melodic pop elements to seriously heady stretches of droned out, motorik mesmer, dense hypno-rock grooves wrapped in distorted spidery guitars, the group slipping effortlessly from straight psychedelic indie pop, to explosive heart-of-the-sun, out-jams that, minus the vocals, would likely elicit comparisons to heavier psych/space/neo-kraut rockers like Wooden Ships, White Hills, Carlton Melton or even Loop. In fact there are plenty of moments on Land that sound like total Loop worship, channeling the taking-drugs-to-make-music-to-take-drugs-by grooviness of Spacemen 3 and cranking it way up and looping (yup) those supercharged sounds into a druggier, more driving sprawl.
But at their heart, Novella are definitely a pop group, with a handful of hooks to die for, with pretty much every track here boasting some earwormy melody, some fantastic vocals, lovely harmonies, which just happen to be often paired with some groovy, fuzzy, jammy psychedelic trip out. It's a pretty stunning combo, and one that will likely have pop kids, space nerds and psych freeks equally smitten. Slipcased cd or vinyl with 'bonus' 7" featuring two tracks also on the cd.
MPEG Stream: "Follow"
MPEG Stream: "Sentences"
MPEG Stream: "Phrases"

album cover CARTER, TOM AND PAT MURANO Kawnyarna (Dub Ditch) cd 13.98
From the folks who brought us that recent German Army collection, comes a new disc from the New York duo of Tom Carter (the alchemical psych-folk guitarist from Charalambides and a million other collaborations and solo projects) and the equally abstract and esoteric sonic explorer Pat Murano (of Decimus, No Neck Blues Band, K-Salvatore, & more). Not sure if these two have played together before [they did, we looked it up, one previous lp back in 2012], seems like they should have. Certainly from the sound of this they're on the same wavelength, one that vibrates with both delicate guitar pickery and heavy-duty drone.
The two, untitled, tracks on this disc are long ones - around 24 and 23 minutes, respectively; and after you've been enveloped by the first of them for about ten minutes or so, you'll surely be mesmerized for the remainder of the journey. The first track begins gently, its whisper-soft improvisations swathed in echoing ambience. Carter and Murano's M.O. here is a heavily effects laden one, with backwards swoosh and swooping loops, the piece hushed yet vibrant, a layered, shifting transmission of rapid strum and constant drone.
it's a slow build, slow burn affair, eventually turning towards sharper sounds, with what sounds like the searing, psychedelic soloing of an electric guitar, in fractured fashion, rising from the bed of glistening electronic reverberations and shortwave static sounds. After some time (15 minutes or so) the first track really enters into an amplified zone, much louder and even more distorted than before, a grinding cosmic howl, like some sort of overloaded snake charmer music to charm the world-snake. It could be difficult listening for some, certainly a bit harsh 'round the edges and towards the end, but possessed of a radiant warmth and brittle beauty that's calming; not as chaotic as it may seem.
The second track falls back into spacier, sparser realms at first, with feedback seeping through cracks in its ominous soundscape of creeping, cyclic drones, dragging chains and nebulous melodies, that again all gradually expands and engulfs, volume rising, amplifiers glowing... a quite satisfying conclusion. Fans of Carter and Murano both will be pleased, we think, and we could also compare this in some ways, with its glitches and drones, to what a hypothetical Radian/Urthona collaboration (on a horror soundtrack?) might perhaps sound like...
MPEG Stream: "Kwanyarna Pt.1"
MPEG Stream: "Kwanyarna Pt.2"

album cover CCR HEADCLEANER Cokesmoker (Stale Heat/Pollen Season) 12" 14.98
The current homogenization and "clean up" of San Francisco has caused many of its coolest bands to depart, leaving many of us starved for the true weirdness and drugged out sounds of the city we fell in love with. But for the last few years, CCR Headcleaner have been one of a handful of groups helping keep San Francisco weird and warped, whipping up their dirty, scuzzy rock and roll. Loads of aQ customers freaked out over the totally helter-skelter sounds of the Viles lp by Jealousy a few years back, and it just so happens that the musical wonder/weirdo behind that that project is also at the helm of CCR Headcleaner (which also includes members of late great garage-noise misfits the Hospitals!).
With an acid-baked aesthetic that feels totally natural and never forced, CCR Headcleaner excel at creating damaged, synapse-frying rock that definitely seems to be channeling Royal Trux in their drug addled prime. These guys sound like they were weaned on the 13th Floor Elevators as much as Stiv Bators, Swell Maps and various '70s outsiders like Todd Tamanend Clark. Recorded with JR from Girls, Cokesmoker is a perfect bleary, blurry introduction to the band, and one that has us eagerly anticipating the forthcoming full length they're recording with Ty Segall!

album cover COSMETICS Olympia Plus (Captured Tracks) lp 14.98
The Vancouver based minimal wave outfit Cosmetics floored us a couple years ago with two singles they made for Captured Tracks. Those singles now command collector's prices, having gone quickly out of print. A proper full-length record has been long in the works, supposedly to be completed by sometime in 2015. While we eagerly await that one of these days, at least we've now got this compendium featuring those two singles, along with some unreleased material and a couple of tracks that only previoulsy showed up on their Bandcamp page. Here's what we said about "Soft Skin / Black Leather Gloves" - two stellar variations on the death-disco synth sexiness of Miss Kitten & The Hacker. These two songs are dripping with a chic and sensual haze that we can't get enough of. Lo-fi synths, woozy lysergic vocals, and a stripped down DIY aesthetic that makes the Cosmetics' sonic silver clouds sound that much better. It's like they took the most rudimentary elements of early Gina X, Grace Jones, Eurythmics and Ruth, stripped away the gloss and shiny big production and brought it all into a seedy basement in the wee hours of the morning after a drug fueled wild night. In lots of ways its like a less glossy and more smoldery version of the Italians Do It Better groups (Chromatics, Glass Candy, etc.). As for "Sleepwalking / The Cries," it's like the most sensual, seductive steam just comes pouring out of the speakers and takes us to a dark lit, after hours nightclub made for coming down softly, a sonic soundtrack for chilling out in the most striking and sexy way imaginable. As hot and seductive as the Chromatics are, somehow Cosmetics roam in a very similar territory but turn up the heat, with a dark dripping potency that washes through our bodies with a sound so pleasing and yet still slightly sinister. Taking cues from synth wave seducers like Ruth, Dark Day, and Liaisons Dangereuses. Fans of all things minimal wave will definitely want to check this out!
MPEG Stream: "Soft Skin"
MPEG Stream: "Black Leather Gloves"

album cover DEAF WISH Pain (Sub Pop) lp 16.98
Sub Pop's release of a 7" by these awesome Aussie noise rockers last year was indeed the herald of a full-length on Sub Pop, it's here now and ready to rumble. With an excellent band name like that, and the to-the-point album title, they have a big responsibility to be loud and noisy and aggressive, and they sure follow through, with pounding drums, gnarly scrambling guitars, upset vocals... but amidst all the din and distortion there's often a catchy, heartfelt pop center. Albeit one that's bruised and bleeding, perhaps, swathed in howling nauseous guitar as much as jangly melodicism. On the mic, whether crudely shouting, crooning, or swooning, you get both ragged rough male vocals, and only slightly sweeter female ones, as these love songs / pain songs range and rage from full-on punk to more shoegazey noisemaking. The raw and tender. Recommended to all punk rock romantics, and the hard of hearing, for fans of Sonic Youth, feedtime, Pissed Jeans, even MBV...
MPEG Stream: "They Know"
MPEG Stream: "Sunset's Fool"
MPEG Stream: "Dead Air"

album cover DOUBLING RIDERS, THE Garama (Standard Edition) (Time Released Sound) cd 15.98
Beloved local label Time Released Sound unearths yet another mysterious gem, this time it's The Doubling Riders' Garama, TRS's first reissue, in fact. Garama was originally released in 1991, on the Italian label Italian Il Museo Immaginario, and is an ambitious ethno-ambient, pseudo-operatic, songsuite and concept record. The concept concerns an ancient Saharan kingdom, and the Garamantes who lived there, there in this case now Libya.
But even without knowing the story behind the sounds, the music is pretty stunning, mysterious, evocative, cinematic. The music itself is made up of ethereal chordal swirls, delicate pianos, theremin like melodies, haunting, ethereal drifts, on their own, the sound falls somewhere between a haze seventies new age, and a more tripped out avant kosmische psychedelia. The vocals change the vibe considerably, male/female operatic vocals doing a delicate dark dance on one track, while a spoken word weaves a melancholy tale on another, all the while, the background sounds swirl and shimmer.
At times, The Doubling Riders dip into some moody jazziness, at others fluttering flutes, tribal percussion, and distant steel string strum guide the sound toward a more ethno-ambience, some tracks sound like lost psychedelic operas, some sound like groovy fusion, and the final track is a sprawling 24+ minute epic that allows the 'Riders to stretch WAY out, and create an expensive stretch of ethno-drone / chamber ambience, more avant grade than anything else on the record, it combines all of the group's best elements into a dizzying, ambitious masterwork, that would sound right at home alongside classic tracks from Magma, Van Der Graff Generator and the like.
And as always, it's a Time Released Sound release, which means there are two versions, one, the super fancy and super limited version, which in this case means it's limited to just 75 copies, and comes as a set of three hi-res, hand-worked color photos of the ruins of Garama. There's also a trifold 9" x 17" double sided poster, each with a stenciled aerosol pictoglyph painting embedded with Amazonite dust. The poster comes hand printed in an original print from an antique book on the Garamantes, and each of those is housed in a translucent envelope that is had colored and sprayed. Then that envelope is tied up with a strung set of Amazonite beads. Phew!
We highly recommend grabbing the fancy version if you can. They're meticulously hand made, and every release seems to be more mind-blowing than the last. But fear not, if that's too splendy for you, 'cause there's also a standard version, which comes in a swank digipak, with a 4 page booklet, and is limited to just 150 copies!!
MPEG Stream: "Garama"
MPEG Stream: "Oltre Cydamus"

album cover HAYVANLAR ALEMI Visions Of A Psychedelic Ankara (Glitter Beat) lp 26.00
Sun City Girls acolytes from Turkey, Hayvanlar Alemi ("World Of Animals") have been wowing with their exotic-international-psych-surfing ways for a while now - they started back in '99 but we (and most of their non-Turkish fans, we can assume) only got hip to them when Sublime Frequencies released their fab second album, Guarana Superpower, in 2010. Visions Of A Psychedelic Ankara was originally a self-released cd-r they put out that same year, now reissued on vinyl for the first time as the A-side here, with the B-side of this record, Selected Visions, consisting of other, related, unreleased Hayvanlar Alemi rarities circa 2009-2011.
The title Visions Of A Psychedelic Ankara references African Head Charge's Visions Of A Psychedelic Africa, and that's 'cause it's Hayvanlar Alemi's heavily echo-effected expedition into the realm of DUB. It's no surprise that the group's instrumental global-psych sound would align well with reggae/dub, so really that they had to dabble. They do a cover of an Eek-A-Mouse track, and some Turkish radio jingle, also giving the dubwise treatment to a bunch of their own compositions as well, some are older tracks, others were written with reggae rhythms and melodicas for this release. As per usual we think the dub version of anything is always the better version so for our money the already great Hayvanlar Alemi shoulda just kept on doing this dub thing!! Think Rastas with hookahs (and bit of a trippy spaghetti western vibe too, with all that reverb). Definitely a treat for fans.
Vinyl only, 180 gram, gatefold sleeve, limited edition of 500 copies.
MPEG Stream: "Adrasan Dub"
MPEG Stream: "Quantum Lion"

album cover IRON KOBRA Might And Magic (Dying Victims Productions) cd 13.98
The ridiculously rockin' quartet of Sir Serpent, Lightning Lord Python, Don "The Warrior" Viper and Ringo Snake are back to the attack, on this new disc, an assuredly "advanced" follow-up to their enjoyable Dungeon Masters album from 2012 - though once again it sounds more like 1985, being all about speedy, rollicking, retro metal glory. While this Teutonic heavy metal squad surely can't expect to be taken entirely seriously, it's not like we don't think they mean it, either. We think they DO mean it, more than most maybe. In fact, the very absurdity of their over-the-top, poser-killing metalness gives them the freedom to do what they do even better, with total abandon. So, abandon yourself to it and you'll be gleefully banging your head too. Especially for this album's most punked-out and Manowar-ish anthem, "Born To Play On Ten", the chorus of which has to be heard to be believed (but still probably not easily understood), as the combination of the singer's German accent and shrieking, all-in-one-breath crescendo'd delivery of the lines "Born! Born! Born to play on ten!" make for one of the more indecipherably nutzoid things we've heard in a while, for a metal song refrain anyway.
For fans of Metalucifer, Sacred Steel, Ironsword, Iron Dogs, Thor...
MPEG Stream: "Tomb Of The Stygian King"
MPEG Stream: "Watch The Skies"
MPEG Stream: "Born To Play On Ten"

album cover JABLADAV Fin (self-release) cd-r 11.98
It's been YEARS since we last heard from weirdo black metal / ambient soundscaping one man band Jabladav, who we were first introduced to via his Dead As Duck debut, an unabashed homage to late great Bay Area black metallers Weakling, from the title (a reference to Weakling's Dead As Dreams), to the artwork, and yeah, right down to the music. But as we mentioned before, while it was plenty black, and plenty metal, it was also pretty far out, kinda post rocky and psychedelic, home brewed and pretty fantastically fucked up. Since that first release, we've reviewed a dozen plus Jabladav discs, all of them pretty great, and all of them pretty weird. Lots of black buzz, but also plenty of atmospheric ambience.
We had actually begun to think that Jabladav was no more, when what should show up in the mail, a huge box, with not one, not two, not even three, but FOUR new releases. Two Jabladav full lengths, an EP, and James Harlow's (aka Jabladav) first solo record under his own name. Phew! We'll tackle one at a time, but if you want all four the rest are to be found on the list below in the 'In Stock, Not Yet Reviewed' section, or just ask. But be warned, they are all extremely different.
Figured we'd start with the one closest to the 'classic' Jabladav sound, which is Fin, indeed the only properly black metal release of the bunch. Like past Jab jams, it's all twisted sinewy black buzz, progged out drumming, and raspy demonic vokills. That post rockiness is still present, keeping the sound from ever being truly grim, but instead, it ends up being almost avant, with burst of double kick erupting beneath woozy minor key melodies, the sound never truly dense, more spare and expansive. There are also acoustic guitars, and some seriously weird crooned vox, as well as some distorted buzz SO distorted it almost sounds like your speakers are fried. The guitar playing also displays Harlow's Black Flag obsession, with plenty of Greg Ginn-isms, and gristly, angular gnarl, the songs lurching from fractured stop/starts to furious metallic pound.
But it's Jabladav, so there's some kosmische drift at some point, all ethereal and blissed out, as well as some sitar like buzz, and one track that sounds like jazz fusion black metal, with a weird mix, that relegates most of the sounds to the background, while the guitar howls and screams and shreds. There's also some total planetarium dreamdrone synth shimmer, and one long final sprawl of rumbling thrum, that seems to be constructed from the low notes of a piano reverberating into a slow shifting black fog, before actual notes surface right near the end.
Another baffling sonic slab of avant WTF outsider metal genius from Jabladav, and we're glad to have him back. We'll review one of the other ones next time, but they are SUPER limited, and we got most of the copies. In fact, Fin is LIMITED TO JUST FIFTY COPIES!!! Each one hand numbered and signed, on the disc itself, on the booklet AND on the tray card as well!
MPEG Stream: "De Sista Viskningar Till Min Alskade"
MPEG Stream: "Sorg Och Visioner For Att Komma"
MPEG Stream: "Kysst Av Permafrost Em"

album cover KERR, TIM & RICH JACOBS Time Between the Time (The Movie Soujnds) cd 10.98
An interesting twist on the guitar soli genre sees these two old friends who both have deep roots in various hardcore, skate culture and street art scenes come together for a series of cinematic dual guitar vignettes. Rich Jacobs, whome we have featured here before with a tape on the Sanity Muffin label, is a prominent Bay Area artist with ties to the Mission School, who has designed skateboards, shoes for Vans and many of the album covers for Salt Lake City avant-hardore collective Iceburn. Tim Kerr, who most folks may know from Texan punk legends The Big Boys, is also a graphic portrait artist whose work has been featured nationwide in books, magazines and skateboards as well.
Both long inspired by roots and folk music, they craft here a variety of sounds with electric and acoustic guitars that look back on a dusty Americana filtered through a rigorous DIY indie sensibility. Beautiful strummed and picked melodies countered by searching improvisations and roughhewn noisy atmospheres weave oblique tales of small boondock towns and wide open abandoned spaces. A wondrously sublime take on the "soundtrack without a film" convention, mainly because it doesn't try too hard and their mutual compatible playing style ends up coming through quite effortlessly. For fans of Bill Orcutt, John Fahey, and Sir Richard Bishop.
MPEG Stream: "Light Through Your Window On That Train"
MPEG Stream: "Early Morning Ride Around Lake"
MPEG Stream: "The 100's For Days"

album cover KING DUDE Songs Of Flesh & Blood - In The Key Of Light (Not Just Re-Li-Gious) lp 19.98
When we first heard King Dude, aka TJ Cowgill, he came across as some sort of mysterious goth troubadour, his music super lo-fi, his voice impossibly, dramatically low, the whole vibe was like a bedroom Elvis crossed with drunken country heartbreak ballads and obscure downer death rock. And it was a concoction that worked for us big time. Those early records evoked long nights of sitting beside a fire, outside a rickety house, deep in the bayou, while this man in black crooned and strummed, spinning tales of death, and loss, love and betrayal.
Thus, the first track on Songs Of Flesh And Blood - In The Key Of Light threw us off a bit, sounding unlike anything we'd heard before from King Dude, instead reminding us of Iceage or the Holograms, being crunchy, fuzzy, hooky, with electric guitars and driving drums. Gloomy post punk of the highest order for sure, and catchy as all get out. While we were hoping for a whole record of this post punk bombast, the second track settles back into more familiar territory, although much less murky and muddy, the production pristine, guitars shimming over reverbed piano, hand claps, KD's deep vocals out Nick Caving Nick Cave himself, in fact, we're hearing some twisted mix of Nick Cave, along with Woven Hand, Majical Cloudz and even some Tom Waits, at his very swampiest. Snarly slither gives way to lilting popsmithery, and lovely, heartfelt ballads collapse into grinding black miserablism. And just to prove that first track wasn't a fluke, that more rocking sound pops up several more times, most notably on "Rosemary", which sounds like a garage blues Suicide, or Chrome covering the Velvets.
And so it goes, King Dude delivering an ever shifting collection of sonic darkness, heartfelt introspection, wistful folkiness, twang flecked gloom rock, and over the top, almost goth cabaret. Cowgill is the master of his craft for sure, and that craft continues to grow ever more varied and expansive, baffling and mysterious, and with every record, as the sound and sounds continue to fracture and mutate and push well beyond the boundaries of those early record, they somehow also manage coalesce ever more neatly into an already difficult to define sound, perhaps one who's magic is in its indefinable nature, one that is perhaps best left impressionistic, to be heard and felt and maybe, but only maybe, one day truly understood.
MPEG Stream: "Black Butterfly"
MPEG Stream: "Rosemary"
MPEG Stream: "The Heavy Curtain"

album cover LAURICE Best of Laurice Vol. 1 (Mighty Mouth Music) cd-r 10.98
Even with the endless barrage of reissues over the last decade, the music headz here at aQ are still so psyched when something shows up that none of us have heard, or even heard of, only to fall in love with it and wonder where the heck that record had been our whole life?!
Such is the case with this awesome and endearing set of '70s outsider jams from the singularly monikered Laurice, who apparently went on to have a big career and even hit the top of the charts in Canada with some dance-pop and smooth-jazz. But this collection is pre-Canada Laurice, when he was still living in the UK in the '70s and creating seriously infectious proto-punk (and proto-disco!) with a keen pop sensibility and a sweet girl-group like vibe. It seems like you can draw a pretty direct line from many of the early releases on Lookout! to the music of Laurice, which is equal part rock crunch, pop hooks and punk energy. There's doubt Pansy Division would freak the fuck out hearing these songs, and really, if anybody was down with Laurice, it would probably be them! It's not difficult to imagine everyone from The Cramps to B-52's being influenced by these songs, if in fact they ever actually heard them.
Turns out it wasn't just Jobriath who was out and proud in the 70's, cuz Laurice holds nothing back with songs like "He's My Guy" and several tracks like "Born To Serve", "Wild Sugar", and "Rock Hard" that directly reference gay S&M/leather culture. In fact, as much as we love Jobriath (which is a LOT), we find Laurice to be way more up our alley, with sound that at times is totally blown out, raw and fuzzy and would sound right at home right now on Burger records.
Lots of modern groups like Shannon & The Clams, Wand, and Hunx & His Punx also seem sonically (and spiritually) aligned with Laurice, whose tracks do seem like blueprints for the warped garage-pop those groups specialize in. If John Waters were ever to curate a Nuggets-like compilation there's no doubt any and all of the songs here would feature prominently. We could just imagine Divine, in full force, with these songs blasting on the soundtrack. Lots and lots of fun. Plus, the poppy proto-punk of "I'm Gonna Smash Your Face In" and the like is pretty classic even without any campy / gay angle to it.
MPEG Stream: "When Christine Comes Around"
MPEG Stream: "I'm Gonna Smash Your Face In"
MPEG Stream: "That's Nice"

album cover MOON POOL AND DEAD BAND Meq (Midwich) 2x12" 21.00
Moon Pool & Dead Band are the twisted, weirdo, electronic offshoot of freaky noisemakers Wolf Eyes, and for this latest release they dig deep into the archives for an early, early jam, the title track "Meq", and it's a doozy: total scuzzy, cyborg techno, loose limbed, electro-noise groovery. A chaotic sound that manages to be both freaky and funky, sexy and sci-fi, but seriously gritty and grimy as well. It's a propulsive dance floor destroying workout that sounds like some classic Detroit 12", spinning on a busted old turntable and run through a bank of fucked up FX. Whatever it is, and wherever it finds its inspiration, it pretty much kills, and we'd happily dig a whole record of this stuff. Which thankfully is precisely what this is, with that track getting reworked by a bunch of folks who take the original into a bunch of different directions, most of them twisted techno variants.
The BMG Interdimensional Mix though is a standout, sending tones careening from speaker to speaker, before a skittery, skeletal beat surfaces beneath a churning morass of thick, rumbling bass buzz, the end portion peppered with some seriously spaced out squelch. But perhaps our favorite is the Nate Young / Wolf Eyes mix, where Young pulls apart his own track, fashioning it into something equal parts fractured and fucked up, and also strangely sort of hypnotic and post rocky. Sounds like a weird mix, but it works, and had us hankering for a whole record of Young remixing Young. Beyond those two jams, the rest of the tracks are pretty bad ass too, each a fucked up, freaky and funky, technoid reinterpretation of a track that was already pretty freaky and fucked up on its own.
And speaking of fucked up and freaky (once again!), dig the demented cover art!
MPEG Stream: "Meq"

album cover OBSEQUIAE Aria Of Vernal Tombs (20 Buck Spin) lp 21.00
NOW ON VINYL!! Pagan forest dwellers and Kvltists alike, unite, a new Obsequiae album has been brewing in the cauldron and is ready to be drank from the goblet! Like a medieval Marduk or a madrigal Mayhem, Obsequiae capitalizes the METAL in folk metal.
Ostensibly a band since 1998 (then called Autumnal Winds), Obsequiae released their debut Suspended In The Brume Of Eos in 2011, a stunning and powerful debut that left many, like us, wanting more. Finally, enter Aria of Vernal Tombs, a mighty follow up to that record. Obsequiae's Tanner Anderson and Co. mange to combine beautiful, haunting medieval harp tracks with a riff-centric and heavy-yet-melodic black metal assault. On the black metal tracks, Anderson's dueling guitar melodies are the driving force, catchy, melodic, but always heavy.
Aria Of Vernal Tombs (Google tells us "vernal" means of or relating to springtime, fyi... still don't know what a "Brume of Eos" is, though) never feels cheesy or hamfisted in its attempt to incorporate medieval melodies into the songs; rather, these feel like cohesive, melodic pieces that are equal parts beautiful and heavy. Obsequiae is much more interested in making you breathe the medieval air and feel the crumbling stone than playing make-believe at the Ren Faire (no offense to Ren Faire lovers, aQ's own Harry among them). This record will easily slide into our top metal albums of the year chart!
MPEG Stream: "Autumnal Pyre"
MPEG Stream: "Pools Of A Vernal Paradise"
MPEG Stream: "Wewilweorthunga"

album cover PISSGRAVE Suicide Euphoria (Profound Lore) cd 13.98
With a name like Pissgrave, you might already have an idea of what you're likely in for. But even then, you might not be prepared for the all out ferocity of these Philly death metallers' debut, a furious, frenzied aural assault that takes pretty dense technical death metal and douses it in noise and utter sonic chaos. The recording is not lo-fi, but somehow the sound is filthy, and grimy, and gritty, and at times borders on full on, blown-out white noise. The vocals too - unlike the guttural cookie monster vox of most death metal outfits, here they're super-distorted, a caustic caterwaul, that not only sounds inhuman, they're also somehow beyond demonic, almost alien, like the band have some weird Man Is The Bastard style noise-ician, injecting bristling gouts of crumbling, garbled FX into (or, out of) Pissgrave's sick sonic maw instead of actual vokills.
It's a dizzying, and dizzyingly dense onslaught, not that far removed from the likes of Portal or Wold, but somehow, Pissgrave take the noisy experimentation of those groups and fuse it to a more classic metal sound. Roiling swaths of death-noise occasionally part, revealing a frantic bit of riffing, or some progged out burst of tech-death, or a wild splatter of octopoidal drumming, inevitably collapsing again into a blurred black maelstrom. And did we mention the shredding leads? They don't pop up often, but when they do, they're wild, freaked out tangles that sound totally unhinged. The band do slow things down here and there, unfurling massive walls of deathmarch doom, but those moments too are fleeting, quickly erupting into another barrage of deathlike brutality.
We're total suckers for classic, old school death metal. And even moreso for fucked up, weirdo, avant death metal, and somehow, Pissgrave satisfies our love of both. Big time!
MPEG Stream: "Pain Enchantment"
MPEG Stream: "Suicide Euphoria"
MPEG Stream: "Blood Fog"

album cover PRURIENT Frozen Niagara Falls (Profound Lore) 3lp 45.00
THE VINYL VERSION IS HERE! The ever-prolific Dom Fernow is back with another Prurient release (the 23rd we've reviewed, actually!!), and it seems the days of nonstop releases of pure harsh noise are long in his past. There was a time not too far back when 30 minutes of mic-against-amp feedback squall on limited release cassette was all you needed to be a noise all-star, but luckily for everyone it looks like we've moved past that. Fernow, in addition to the "whatever I'm listening to right now" vibe of Prurient, has been busy with, let's see, Vatican Shadow, Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement, Exploring Jezebel, and Cold Cave (probably a bunch more too).
On Frozen Niagara Falls, Fernow has THREE slabs of vinyl to explore everything he's been busy with for the past ten plus years of work, and it shows. He drifts and darts between bleak industrial soundscapes, the overblown amp-shattering noise of early Prurient, cheesy coldwave sawtooth synth leads, and pounding, overtly sexual Whitehouse worship. There's moments when Fernow lets a track or an idea really breathe and envelop, and there's some actual tranquility. In the liner notes, in fact, Fernow recommends you listen "at night while snow falls silently under street lights". But, this is still a Prurient album, and what kind of Prurient album would it be if it didn't have the occasional outburst of pent up hypersexual rage? Channeling the distorted, fucked up rhythms and lyrical themes of classic power electronics, Fernow makes you look up and listen, to forget the snow falling under the street lights and pay attention. Those moments quickly disappear into the albums frozen landscape, though, as this album is more brood then bludgeon. A huge fucking statement of an album, easily the best Prurient record thus far, and highly recommended for old fans and new.
LIMITED PRESSING. We have what we have, not sure we'll be able to get more anytime soon.
MPEG Stream: "A Sorrow With A Braid"
MPEG Stream: "Shoulders of Summerstones"
MPEG Stream: "Frozen Niagra Falls (Portion Two)"

album cover SCREATURE Four Columns (Ss) lp 15.98
It was the chilling fury that Liz Mahoney brought to Screature's recent gig opening for Lydia Lunch here in San Francisco in the summer of 2015 that caused us to really stand up and take notice of the band. Let's be clear though, Screature's post-punk propulsion and unsmiling drone rock never achieved the searing misanthropy of Lydia Lunch's four decades of hellish show-womanship. Yup, that something for Screature to strive for! But that's nothing to diminish how good this band is, and how great their records continue to be.
Four Columns is their second album, and there's no sign of a sophomore slump here. This follows the perpetual car-crash of black denim goth that Screature delivered on their eponymous debut. Mahoney's full-bodied voice bellows with all of the operatic falsetto of Diamanda Galas and Siouxsie (especially on her notoriously bar-clearing rendition of "The Lord's Prayer"), while the band behind her rips through the songs with a serrated, pneumatic pulse of jagged guitar riffs akin to Killing Joke and early Christian Death, with thumping backbeats that keep the clock ticking rather quick-like while alternating between disco-punk grooviness and VU-primitivism, and bass-synth lines that give this a psychoid Martin Rev feel to the whole album. Modern day, death-rock par excellence!
MPEG Stream: "Down Boys"
MPEG Stream: "Lost Ones"
MPEG Stream: "One Hundred Lines"

album cover TERMINUS The Reaper's Spiral (Stormspell) cd 12.98
Finally! After we rightfully raved about their gleaming jewel of a demo (Jewel Of Gwahlur that is!) about 40 or so lists ago, Northern Ireland's epic purveyors of rousing sci-fi themed true metal have jettisoned forth from distant dimensions to unveil their debut full length. And man alive, if it wasn't worth the wait! Brought to us once more via Stormspell Records (who are fast becoming one of our favorite sources for arcane heavy metal both old and new), The Reaper's Spiral is an altogether breathtaking display of hard hitting melodicism, galloping dual guitar harmonies, and glorious heavy metal craftsmanship. Theirs is a style of epic heavy metal both regal and charged, somber yet undeniably high energy - otherworldly, timeless and arcane, yet as fist pumping, head banging and face melting as any new metal band you're gonna find in this galaxy or the next, drawing to mind such past luminaries as Solstice (or maybe more aptly the short lived Solstice offshoot Isen Tor), Grand Magus and Traveller-era Slough Feg, along with a classically NWOBHM-ish knack for hooks a la Satan and Iron Maiden. Four of the demo's tracks are redone here, and they continue to mine Asimov's Foundation series for inspiration, as well as tackling other, epic subjects. If recent releases by Visigoth, Stone Dagger and Dawnbringer have left you awaiting the next battle call summoning you to the nearest air guitar, then look no further! Terminus are here for you. Some of us here (Harry, Allan) can't stop listening to it... Epickallly recommended!
MPEG Stream: "The Reaper's Spiral"
MPEG Stream: "The Mayors"
MPEG Stream: "Fortress Titan"

album cover TOOP, DAVID Lost Shadows: In Defence Of The Soul (Yanomami Shamanism, Songs, Ritual, 1978) (Sub Rosa) 2cd 19.98
If you've ever taken an anthropology course in college, you should be familiar with the indigenous Yamomami people of the Amazon. A primitive stone-age tribe dwelling deep in the rainforest that has persisted into the modern day. They're fascinating to academic researchers and curious lay people alike, the subject of various books and documentaries, noted for such traits as their supposed propensity for violence, their communal living arrangements, consumption of the ashes of the bones of their dead, and hallucinogenic drug abetted shamanism.
Back in 1978, British musician/writer/theorist/recordist David Toop (you've likely read his pieces in The Wire or listened to one of his many carefully curated compilations) had the opportunity to travel to Venezuela to visit the Yanomami, which resulted in a privately-pressed lp of some of the ethnographic sound recordings he made on the expedition, released in a small edition in 1980 and never repressed. This double cd release expands upon that original lp, presenting a fuller selection, two discs' worth, of Toop's Yamomami recordings, wherein mostly unaccompanied human voices (that can sound far from human) chant and sing, imitating animals and speaking with spirits, alongside the jungle sounds of insects, birds, and moths. These healing rituals are certainly interesting from an anthropological point of view... but that's not really why we're listing this. The real reason we recommend it is just 'cause, anthropology aside, the tracks on here are some of the CRAZIEST SOUNDING SHIT we've ever heard. Utter insane gobbledy gook, to put it in perhaps less-than-PC terms. Seriously, just listen to the sound samples below, have you ever been that messed up? Grunts, growls, weird warble, bizarre babble, sudden screaming outbursts, mysterious mutter, squeals and whoops. So if you like fucked up sounds, you need some Yamomamis in your collection. Eye from the Boredoms has NOTHING on these guys. Played loud, these tracks would be perfect for anyone who wants to drive their unsuspecting spouse or housemates mad. And boy would they make good outgoing answering machine fodder. Ok, we know people don't have answering machines anymore, but this might be a good reason to sign up for a landline and go find one!!
Reason enough to buy this. That said, there's also much more to it than that, and of course you could get in deep, listening to this, reading along in the thick booklet of liner notes that Toop provides, putting you in the moment, there in the jungle, via his 1978 expedition diary, also referencing various surrealists, philosophers, Butoh dancers and avant-garde composers as he shares his thoughts and observations, pondering the meaning and wonder of it all... OR, like we said, just be astounded and amused and amazed by the freaky sounds of these shamans!!!
MPEG Stream: "Teyari-Teri: Shamans Healing Pt.1"
MPEG Stream: "Torokoiwe: Solo Shama, Second Chant, Pt. 2"
MPEG Stream: "Mabutawi-Teri: Young Men Singing, Pt. 4"

album cover U/V LIGHT Cenotaph (Medical) lp 21.00
U/V Light is the solo project of Kip Ulhorn from Cloudland Canyon, whose expansive psychedelic, electronic krautrock-influenced spaciness we've raved about here many times. Perhaps not surprisingly, Cenotaph, Ulhorn's first proper outing as U/V Light, shares many sonic similarities with Cloudland Canyon, but unlike the unabashed cosmic Krautrock worship of that project, U/V Light is more rhythmic and poppy, pulsing and shoegazey, a hazy, mesmeric Kraut inflected synth pop, equal parts sequenced Tangerine Dream style synth-swirl, and dreamy, prismatic electro pop.
Opener "Arriviste" sets the tone perfectly, unfurling a lush, pulsating landscape of undulating tones and textures, a sequenced swirl of retro-electro psychedelia, wound around deliriously effervescent drum machines, and vocalist Gabby Weiss' dreamy vox, ethereal and wreathed in reverb, giving the proceedings a sort of 4AD feel as well.
The rest of the record splits the difference between the sorts of old school synth wave and electronic pop that Medical generally specializes in, and Ulhorn's predilection for far out kosmische drift and heady kraut-psych mesmer, and it's somehow all held together by a dream pop shoegaze sensibility that makes tracks like "Celestial Cenotaph", which almost sounds like a seventies electro-synth version of slowcore legends Low (due in no small part to Ulhorn's weary vox), and the gritty, retro synth wave crunch of "Semaphone", perfect sonic bedfellows.
Moody minimalism meets epic, inner/outer space-drone-drift meets pulsing synth-gaze meets ethereal electro dream pop meets electronic psychedelia... Well, you get the picture. WAY recommended for fans of Cloudland Canyon (obviously) and most of Medical's releases as well!
And like all Medical records, pressed on nice 180 gram colored vinyl!
MPEG Stream: "Semaphore"
MPEG Stream: "Lying Breather"

album cover WAND Machine Man b/w M.E (In The Red) 7" 6.98
Two new songs from these groovy psychedelic garage pop noiseniks, the A side launching right into it with a squelchy, grimy, synth-blurt intro, a super distorted lo-fi buzz that ends up running through the whole track, although once the song proper kicks in, it becomes all tangled up in a seriously hooky slab of new wave garage punk, heavy on the fuzz, with a wicked power pop / glam pop vibe, big guitars, soaring vox, a bit like a punk rock Sweet, mining the same sonic territory as pal Ty Segall, before slipping into a cool, spaced out sprawl, all swirly and droney, before a final burst of cosmic garage rock crunch.
The flipside finds the band tackling Gary Numan's "M.E.", and if you weren't familiar with the original, it sounds like it could actually be a Wand song proper, fitting perfectly with the garage-wave of the A side, the Numan's already kick ass version getting a grittier, crunchier makeover, but still hewing pretty close to the original. Both sides of this single RULE, and seem to announce in no uncertain terms that Wand might be next in line to follow up the mainstream success of Wand compatriots and cohorts Segall, Cronin and the rest.
MPEG Stream: "Machine Man"
MPEG Stream: "M.E."

album cover WYRD VISIONS Half-Eaten Guitar (P.W. Elverum & Sun) lp 15.98
Originally released eight or nine years ago as a cd (now out of print) on the tiny Canadian indie label Blue Fog, this wyrd folk record garnered praise from us then, and it makes so much sense that it would at last get a vinyl reissue via the Mount Eerie camp, since Wyrd Visions aligns so well with the black metal lovin' indie folk of that outfit!! Here's what we said about this the first time 'round:
Wyrd Visions as the name for a psychedelic new weird wherever folk act? Hmm, a bit overt, perhaps, like naming your metal band Brutal Riffage or something. Too much on the telling side of the showing/telling divide taught in all beginning creative writing classes. How 'bout having a wyrd vision, putting it into words, and then using THAT for the name of your band? But, then again, it did pique our interest, and we wanted to know more... Wyrd Visions appear to be Swedish (perhaps now based in Toronto, Canada?) and have some affinity to the Nordic black metal scene despite sounding (almost) nothing like a black metal band. Instead, this is simple, sparse, funeral-paced, ominous doom-folk... the genre inhabited by such singular entities as Wolfmanger, Silvester Anfang, and Greg Weeks. Songs, especially the opening track "Sigill", are loooong, repetitive, hypnotic and haunting. Voices (both male and female) are gentle and hushed, cloaked in droning atmosphere on such cuts as "Bog Lord" and "Ceremony". The instrumentation is for the most part simple, wooden, acoustic. We mentioned black metal, in part due to the presence of "Freezing Moon", originally by seminal Norwegian black metallers Mayhem (another "overt" name we suppose). Wyrd Visions' version is soooo slow and spare and cruel and, actually, lovely. Maybe more affecting than the original which appeared on Mayhem's De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas album back in 1994. The rest of WV's album falls into the same mode for sure. And with the final track "Air-Conditioning" they break out the fuzzed electric guitar, bringing things more and more into an abstracted, molasses-drowned black metal riffing realm for reals.
MPEG Stream: "Sigill"
MPEG Stream: "Freezing Moon"

album cover ZIG ZAGS Slime EP (Famous Class) 7" 9.98
You might have seen this on our special 'Z' list last week, but if not...
Hubba hubba! One of our fave blasts of metalled-up punkery or punked out metallurgy last year came from LA rad boys the Zig Zags. Now they've followed up that self-titled debut full-length with another of their killer 7"s singles, this one from the Famous Class label, on translucent slime green vinyl, in a silkscreened gatefold sleeve, limited to just 500 copies. Hella punk cred is pretty evident whenever you crank the Zig Zags anyway, but this four song ep underlines that indisputable fact by including a live 7 Seconds cover, "We're Gonna Fight", as well as a poppy original shredder, "Sunken City", inspired by San Pedro's finest, The Minutemen. But yeah, they're plenty metal too, the lead-off track on the A-side even boasts an umlaut in the title. Scuzzy, heavy, hooky, what's not to like about these dudes? Just played the Hemlock here in SF last week, which was great since it's probably best to hear 'em with a fully-stocked bar conveniently to hand.
Includes download code, nerd!


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