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Last updated:
19 June 2015


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Check out this week's inbetween 'list':
NEW ARRIVALS #477.5:
No Theme, No Nothin', But Hey, Hi!



Just some of the Highlights of the week of 34 items on
NEW ARRIVALS List #477 (19 June 2015)
:

album cover DAMAGED BUG Cold Hot Plumbs (Castle Face) lp 15.98
Record number two from Thee Oh Sees' John Dwyer in his Damaged Bug electro synth pop guise, and like his first outing under that moniker, Hubba Bubba, Cold Hot Plumbs is another strangely delightful collection of quirky home-brewed pop, that sounds a little like Thee Oh Sees, but without guitars, and produced by Joe Meek and Brian Eno. And as much as we love Thee Oh Sees (and we do, a LOT), we find ourselves digging Damaged Bug even more.
The record begins with a brief bit of cheesy Casio sounding schmaltz, before launching into "What Cheer", all synth buzz, laid back vocals, and wild, tribal drumming, pocked with some Stereolab style squelches, as well as some sax (!). "The Mirror" is up next, and it's very reminiscent of the first record, and sounds like an electro pop version of Thee Oh Sees, you can definitely imagine it recast all distorto guitars and yelped vox.
But it's here where Cold Hot Plumbs gets REALLY good, and demonstrates Dwyer's pop song smarts, the record darkening considerably, but at the same time revealing previously unplumbed (yup!) depths of songsmithery. "Jet In Jungle" is anchored by an arpeggiated synth melody, the vocals are wispy and falsetto, all driven by propulsive rock drumming, and everything wreathed in wheezing synth buzz, and laced with cool, creepy backwards vocals, the sonics are practically perfect, but the song is too. We got to this song and spun it about 20 times before we could move on - and then were quickly rewarded with what might be our favorite Dwyer jam yet, Damaged Bug or otherwise, the brooding, moody "Der Mond", with its woozy melody, skittery rhythm, and moody vocal croon. Every time this song comes on, we almost forget what we're listening to, it sounds like some lost electro-folk rarity from the sixties or seventies, and yeah, just like "Jet In Jungle", we played this track to death before digging any deeper.
And you'll probably not be surprised to discover, that Cold Hot Plumbs had much more to offer seeing as we weren't even halfway in. From playful singsongy electo-glam, that sounds like a more new wave Ty Segall, to pulsing almost krautrock sounding groovery, wreathed in swirling shimmer and bouncy synth chords, to synth-funk electro reminiscent of Perrey & Kingsley, albeit with some swoonsome vox over the top, to wild spacey, psychedelic synth pop, to full on synth drenched garage rock crunch, to what sounds like some lost seventies library music. All impossibly catchy, and super melodic, and sonically lush, and really, fast becoming our favorite Dwyer record EVER.
MPEG Stream: "What Cheer"
MPEG Stream: "The Mirror"
MPEG Stream: "Jet In Jungle"
MPEG Stream: "Cough Pills"

album cover PLANNING FOR BURIAL Leaving (Flenser) 2lp 25.00
Originally released as a limited cd back in 2010, this gloriously downtrodden slab of hazy, gazey doom-meets-slowcore is finally available once more courtesy of the increasingly essential hometown heroes at Flenser Records. Planning For Burial's last full length Desideratum was a serious staff favorite over here at aQ HQ last year, and while PFB has approximately a squillion (and a half) eps, demos and splits to his name, that aforementioned masterpiece of glistening gloom was in fact only the second Planning For Burial full length. And here presented for the first time on monolithic wax is the first Planning For Burial album, originally released as a limited (and now impossible to come by) cd in 2010 by Enemies List. It's a shockingly fully realized testament to all things beautiful, sad & heavy.
Those already familiar with Desideratum may at least somewhat know what to expect here (think Jesu meets Red House Painters, Swans meets Elliott Smith, Khanate meets My Bloody Valentine). But the truth is Planning For Burial don't make the kind of records you can really *prepare* yourself for. Instead, they make records to sink into, records to wrap yourself in. The music is beautiful but not necessarily comforting, somber but not necessarily depressing. It's a bittersweet listening experience. A little sad maybe, but also altogether hugely cathartic. Heart swelling melodies flutter amidst a halestorm of crackling gravel guitar thrum, the plodding simplicity of an automated drum machine at wonderful odds with the raw emotion in the music. The vocals a distant and warm hum, beckoning you back to some half remembered place you might have seen once in a dream when you were eight years old. A computerized voice reflects on past loves & regrets. Sorry, this might all sound a bit dramatic, but that's exactly what Leaving is: an unapologetically lush monolith of blossoming doom, glittering with starlit twinkling bells collapsing under the looming dread comfort of an enormous bass rattle, leaving behind an empty expanse of delicately plucked strings and contemplative piano. It's a mythical record, the kind that builds its own world up around you while you listen, a world of lush greenery & cloudy skies & open fields forgotten and discarded by time. It's the kind of record hyperbole was made for, and for 55 minutes nothing else in this world will matter.
MPEG Stream: "Wearing Sadness And Regret Upon Our Faces"
MPEG Stream: "Memories You'll Never Feel Again"
MPEG Stream: "Oh Pennsylvania, Your Black Clouds Hang Low"

album cover VATICAN SHADOW Death & Unity With God (Complete Version) (Modern Love) 3cd 29.00
Death & Unity With God was originally one of those tiny edition tape boxsets that Hospital Productions released at some point in 2014. Yes, those six cassettes sprawled across 20 tracks, of which only 12 were pressed onto the double vinyl edition that came and went earlier in 2015. But now, as promised, Modern Love delivers a complete package in the form of this triple cd set!
Vatican Shadow is, of course, Dominick Fernow - the man also behind Prurient and the Hospital Productions empire. Over the past three or four years, Fernow has shifted his focus almost entirely to toward Vatican Shadow, using a loose critique of religious indoctrination as the conceptual framework for his spare rhythmic exercises in crunchy Middle Eastern electro dervishes. The precursor of this work is obviously Muslimgauze; and the work on Death & Unity With God continues along this same trajectory, linking the distinctly American cult of personality catastrophes (Jim Jones, David Koresh, Timothy McVeigh) with the ideological endgames of Al Qaeda and the Islamic State. The political rhetoric of this work quickly wanes in the seductive power of Fernow's rhythms, and that may be the point. But more likely this disconnect recalls a common critique of Fernow's work as being thoroughly surface oriented with a armor-plated facades of masculinity, intellectualism, etc. covering up something that's hollow, missing, or lacking. This however is all thrown out the window when it comes to how good a producer Fernow can be, with Death & Unity With God being one of his most subtly dramatic pieces of modern day electronica. Bleak electrical chorales and dread-inducing rumblings haunt these 20 tracks that are girded upon slowly unfurling spare rhythms whose breakbeats slink with an desert-dry Arabic groove alternating with nocturnally muted techno, laced with arid dub echo, gothy whipcrack snares, and motorik noise hypnosis. The near 26-minute "Al Qaeda (Branch Davidian)" is one such track that never made its way onto wax and is a creeping exploration of slug-paced techno torpor which sounds like an exhumed Muslimgauze track intended for 45rpm played a 33. The depressive-electronics of "McVeigh Figures" pocked with gunshot echo and better-than-witch-house shadowiness make for some of most evocative and downright haunting that Fernow has ever created.
So fucking good, this one is!
MPEG Stream: "Living On And Off At The Shadow Motel"
MPEG Stream: "Small Explosives And Blasting Caps"
MPEG Stream: "McVeigh Figures"

album cover ACID KING Middle Of Nowhere, Center Of Everywhere (Svart) 2lp 28.00
It's been a decade since we last heard from local psychedelic, stoner/space rock trio Acid King, and even after ten years, their sound hasn't changed all that much, but then we wouldn't want it any other way. Unlike some of their more rocking compatriots, the sound of Acid King remains wasted and washed out, woozy and hazy, a stoned, bleary eared, slow burn smolder, classic doom infused with some Sabbathy swing, and of course, doused in distortion drenched fuzz. The guitar sound is massive, dense and thick, a churning, crumbling buzz, wound around some serious drum pummel, all in service of head Acid King (or Queen) Lori S., whose witchy wail drifts above the group's lysergic slo-mo lumber.
Acid King, while ostensibly 'doom' or 'stoner rock' or even 'space rock', have crafted their own unique hybrid of the three, a tranced out, mesmerizing zoner-rock variant, that makes Acid King both heavy and headbangable, but also hypnotic and drowsily drugged out, about as blissed out as this sort of spacey stoner doom gets. Bursts of distorted shred and minor key spidery melodies surface occasionally, but mostly it's all about the stretched out, undulating tarpit groove, the slither, the vibe, the sound, so heeeeeavy, the vocals and the riffs both invoking the same sort of rapturous reverie, the perfect sound for strapping on the headphones, and just drifting off, lost in mystical metal mesmer. Awesome.
MPEG Stream: "Silent Pictures"
MPEG Stream: "Coming Down From Outer Space"
MPEG Stream: "Laser Headlights"

album cover ALTAMONT The Monkees Uncle (Valley King) picture disc 30.00
Here it is, the third and final installment in Valley King's picture disc lp Altamont reissue campaign, resurrecting all three, long out of print full lengths from these guys, a groovy, stonery, Southern rock style outfit, fronted by none other than Dale Crover, drummer for the Melvins. In Altamont, though, he's on lead vocals and guitar, and while this stuff was pretty removed from the sound of the early Melvins records, as the Melvins got more melodic and poppy and more classically rocking, their sound weirdly started drifting closer to that of Altamont.
But don't be expecting any sort of Melvins chug and churn, Altamont is way more straight ahead, a little Sabbath, a little Molly Hatchet, maybe a little Skynyrd, to these ears a good comparison might be NY Southern rockers Raging Slab. Originally released in 2005 on AntAcidAudio, The Monkee's Uncle fits pretty perfectly alongside the other two Altamont releases, 1998's Civil War Fantasy and 2001's Our Darling, the same sort of swaggery hard rocking riffs, gruff bellowed vox, plenty of fuzz, pretty psychedelic too. The Monkee's Uncle sounds a little bit more punk though too, the vocals slipping into something more sneering, scowling, snotty, the music as well, a bit more frenetic and frantic, culminating in a killer cover of "In A Better World" by legendary Cali punks The Screamers, replete with buzzing new wave synths. That said, the bulk of the record is still solidly hard rock, loads of stonery groove, big riffs, blasts of distorto chug, some wild shred here and there, and in places, the sound does in fact reference later Melvins, check out the title track or "The Bloodening", both of which could have found their way onto a Melvins record proper.
LIMITED TO 500 COPIES, featuring new eye popping Alan Forbes cover art, and housed in a stickered, heavy PVC plastic sleeve.
MPEG Stream: "Frank Bank"
MPEG Stream: "Dum Dum Fever"
MPEG Stream: "Laughing Boy"

album cover DEAD MOON In The Graveyard (Mississippi) lp 14.98
REPRESSED!!!
The debut from garage rock legends Dead Moon. Fronted by Fred and Toody Cole, the sound of Dead Moon is at once raw and ragged, hooky and catchy, that catchiness due maybe in part to Fred's previous stints in various psych/garage pop combos, including The Lollipop Shoppe, but Dead Moon, while poppy and catchy, are not anything like a proper pop band. Instead, they craft a sort classic garage rock sound, beholden to lots of early rock and roll, but definitely sonically more aligned with groups like AC/DC, the Wipers, Blue Cheer, 13th Floor Elevators - killer riffs, simple drum pound, stripped down and totally rocking, with Fred's super distinctive vocals, keening over the top (which is where much of the AC/DC comes from for sure), with occasional vox from Toody, making for killer harmonies, as well as some lead vocals, like on their cover of "Can't Help Falling In Love", and really, every song here pretty much as tone cold classic. It's not hard to understand why Dead Moon have such a massive cult following. Essential wax.
MPEG Stream: "In The Graveyard"
MPEG Stream: "Out On A Wire"
MPEG Stream: "Parchment Farm"

album cover EMMANUEL, J.D. Wizards (Important) cd 15.98
We are so pleased that Wizards - which has been reissued twice before on vinyl only, and sold out both times - now has gotten a cd reissue!! Time for you compact disc'ers to get to enjoy this lost, legendary 'New Age' synth classic from 1982.
Often, New Age gets a bad rap. And rightfully so in many cases, but as we now know, it's not fair to paint it with such a broad brush, there have been plenty of artists who have dabbled in new age, explored meditative musics, and made some amazing sounds: IASOS, Ariel Kalma, Jordan De La Sierra, Deuter, and many others. When it's done right, it can be dark and lovely, deeply spiritual, soothing and hypnotic, complex and intense, without being cheesy. All of the modern DIY drone music should be evidence enough, what is all of that if not a contemporary extension of new age music... dreamy, contemplative, mesmerizing, minimal...
The first time this album was reissued, it was previously unknown to us, but according to various friends and customers of AQ, J.D. Emmanuel definitely has a certain hipster cache, tracks and whole records being outsider music holy grails... again as we've now learned for ourselves, having by this point reviewed several of his fine recordings. This one, though, J.D. himself considers his best.
With song titles like "Attaining Peace" and "Prayer" and "Focusing Within", Wizards - subtitled, Music Of Other Memories - is a five part meditation realized in extended synthesizer soundscapes, gorgeous, languorous, all soft focus melodies, soaring and shimmery, stretched out into blurry streaks of sound, peppered with the muted bloop bloop melodies, nestled deep down in the shimmery softness. Funnily enough, apparently those titles weren't used on the first pressing, but in an effort to boost sales, at some point in the '80s, Emmanuel redid the cover in color and added song titles. Wonder if it worked?
Some of the tracks are more active, one almost proggy and spaced out, another sounding a bit like a more dreamy Kraftwerk, all propulsive synthesized krautrock.
Absolutely recommended for fans of Tangerine Dream, Popol Vuh, IASOS, Terry Riley (a big influence), Steve Reich as well as the softer side of all the modern cd-r dronemusic we all love so much... And, this remastered cd version contains TWO BONUS TRACKS, left off the original lp (and the subsequent vinyl reissues, it appears) due to some problem with the master tapes back in '82, now corrected.
MPEG Stream: " Attaining Peace"
MPEG Stream: "At-One-Ment"

album cover ERIC'S TRIP Love Tara (Sub Pop) lp 16.98
Another one of our all time favorite bands who never had anything reviewed on our list, mostly due to the fact that all of this group's records, and in fact, their whole career (not counting the reunion), predated the modern incarnation of the aQuarius New Arrivals List. We finally got around to reviewing this great album a couple years ago, when we put the now-out-of-print cd version on one of our mystery-themed in-between lists (the secret theme was, Bands Named After Songs By Other Bands - in this case, Sonic Youth). And doing that, really was just to have an excuse to gush like crazy over these beloved indie pop legends. Now we have another excuse to gush, 'cause Sub Pop have just repressed Love Tara on vinyl, yay!!! (And while they last we have the colored vinyl 'Loser Edition', fyi.)
Hailing from the same Canadian province that brought us other indie rock luminaries such as Sloan, Hardship Post, Jale, and lots of others, Eric's Trip were the very first Canadian band to sign to Sub Pop (who ended up popularizing the ensuing Nova Scotian pop rush, as it were), releasing just three full lengths before calling it a day. Love Tara, was their first, originally released in 1993, and is a glorious, ramshackle collection of perfect lo-fi fuzzy indie pop, like some delirious mix of the mopey sad boy 4-trackery of Sebadoh, the fuzzed out crunch of Dinosaur Jr, and of course the lush noisiness of the band who gave them their name, these guys and gal were absolute pop geniuses, even the most fragmented/abstract tracks here will get lodged in your head like crazy, and when they do let loose, they can definitely rock with the best of them. Hushed acoustic bedroom ballads, buzzy psychedelic indie rock blowouts, the production sweetly off kilter and home brewed, the bass lines fat and fuzzy, the guitars thick and gorgeously corrosive, the boy vocals, courtesy of Rick White and Chris Thompson (now of The Memories Attack, whose most recent record was released on Andee's tUMULt label), are earnest and heartfelt, that perfect plaintive sadboy croon, perfectly balanced by the sweet angelic voice of Julie Dorion, whose solo records we HAVE raved about on the aQ list, all in the service of some of THEE catchiest songs EVER. Alternatingly hushed and dreamy, heavy and hazy, even nearly two decades later, this record, and this band, put most other pop music to shame. So absolutely recommended, one of those rare records that we find ourselves listening to all the time, and have since we were in our twenties. Glad it's still in print. SO GREAT!!!
MPEG Stream: "Behind The Garage"
MPEG Stream: "Anytime You Want"
MPEG Stream: "Stove"
MPEG Stream: "Follow"

album cover FINE, JON Your Band Sucks: What I Saw At Indie Rock's Failed Revolution (But Can No Longer Hear) (Viking) book 27.95
So, as you may know, a couple weeks ago we hosted a book signing / live interview instore appearance by Jon Fine, the author of this very book. Jon played guitar in Bitch Magnet, a band many of us love dearly, along with stints with the likes of Vineland, Don Caballero, Alger Hiss and Coptic Light. That interview event was a lot of fun - if you missed it, it was live-streamed online and is now archived here, watch it. Andee did a great job coming up with interesting/embarrassing questions to ask Jon about his three-decade-spanning indie rock "career", which is what his book is about, after all. It was indeed a hilarious and insightful interview, as is the book itself. Which, having actually read the book now, we can say with certainty. (When we recommended it previously, as a pre-order, we were merely going on our supposition that, knowing Jon, it was gonna be good). Even then, we have to say that we didn't expect a book about a noisy, dense, chaotic type of music, and the smelly, sweaty, grungy guys who made it, to be written so beautifully!!
The book is a must have for all Bitch Magnet fans, of course, but also Jon tells stories about, and talks to, a lot of other indie artists in his orbit, everyone from Jesus Lizard to Ted Leo to Six Finger Satellite.
Your Band Sucks has garnered all sorts of advance praise blurbage from the likes of James Murphy (LCD Soundsystem) and Stuart Braithwaite (Mogwai), but the best one in the press packet was from good ol' Robert Pollard of Guided By Voices, here's what he says about Jon's band, and book:
"When we played festivals, we used to have this thing where we'd walk up to the other bands and ask, 'What shitty band are you in?' I would dare never have asked Bitch Magnet that same question. In fact, I would probably have run and hid from them the same way I would have from Wire or Iggy Pop, or a tear-streaked, mascara-running Courtney Love, in her 'Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?' dress, being escorted through the backstage area on the arms of a couple of police officers. Their music was that intimidatingly good. And in Your Band Sucks, Jon Fine lovingly chronicles, with strong accuracy, the zeitgeist in which his band excelled."
Hardcover, 320 pages. Sorry you missed out on the signed copies (that's what the previously listed pre-order was for) but signed or not it's a good read!

album cover FLOOD Oak (Volcom) lp 14.98
First we've heard in a while from these local heavies. Their last record, Native, on MeteorCity, was a big hit with the aQ doomlords, and the new one, Oak, pretty much takes up right where the last one left off. Murky tarpit sprawls of crumbling distortion ooze through cloud of equaling feedback, punctuated by bursts of drum damage, and the occasional convergence, when all the instruments come together into one huge crash, only to splinter back into their constituent parts, and eventually, after this spaced out field of glacial heaviness, the group gains momentum, and suddenly, the sound is lurching and lumbering, a downtuned slo-mo groove, a little bit Sabbathy, a little bit stonery, but slowed even further down, and fucked up a bit too. For all this abstract heaviness, there's a surprising amount of melody happening as well. Opener "Perihelion" reminds us of probably our favorite Bongwater song, but cranked way up and doused in distortion, the bellowed vox giving it a sort of Harvey Milk vibe, which is no way a bad thing. And really if you dig Harvey Milk, and have yet to check out Flood, do yourself a favor, you won't be sorry.
The whole record is overflowing with killer riffs, subtle hooks, slow shifting texture, rumbling, crumbling distortion, and while the bulk of the record is super slow, the band occasionally rev up and deliver some serious punked out metallic crush, "Holy Astro Shaman Part II" drifts more toward Torche territory, kind of sludge pop fused to some more metallic heft, with some killer drumming, and again, so super hooky melodies. The record culminates in the majestic blown out doom sludge epic "Lake Nyos", that sounds a bit like the Melvins covering Neurosis, or maybe the other way around. heavy and heady, tripped out, melodic, moody and massive. Hopefully we don't have to wait another 5 years for the next record!
Includes a download code too.
MPEG Stream: "Perihelion"
MPEG Stream: "Holy Astro Shaman I"
MPEG Stream: "Baphomet Sermon"

album cover GERMAN ARMY In Transit (Dub Ditch Picnic) cd 8.98
We're kind of obsessed with weirdo LA pop-murk minimalists German Army. We've only reviewed two of their records so far, but they have tons of releases and we've been trying to track more of them down. Everything we've heard has been bafflingly brilliant; twisted outsider genius, with a distinctive sound that straddles multiple genres, and fuses them into tangled, fucked up musical hybrids. It's likely a sound that will leave more casual music fans's heads spinning. But folks who dig their pop music fractured and damaged, who like when electronica is pulled apart and reassembled into downcast new wave, or woozy downer pop, or who love to hear music that sounds utterly alien, or like it must be from an alternate dimension, with just enough sonic landmarks to make it familiar, but in every other way, something nearly indescribable, well then German Army might be for you.
In Transit is a collection of rarities, singles and unreleased tracks, a whopping 27 in all. Many of them short avant pop fragments, others smoldering landscapes of crumbling ambience and buried rhythms, and still others noisy, clattery, experimental post punk. Tracks are laced with bizarre found sounds, random samples, squalls of wild guitar noise, programmed beats, processed vocals, skittery electronics, fields of crackle, whirr and thrum, fragmented twang and bizarre industrial crunch. There's also mysterious whispering, haunting music box melodies, stretches of bouncy electro pop, along side stretches of muddy, muted electronic pulsations, some tracks sound like a proper band, others sound like some bedroom alchemist, or some studio recluse, the sound warps and warbles, drags and speeds up, guitar parts and vocals and rhythms do the same, everything in constant flux, on the verge of collapse, sometimes blossoming into something surprisingly lovely, more often splintering into something distressingly tense and trippy, all of the tracks here strangely mesmerizing, and as a songsuite, In Transit sounds like some impossible lost electronic new wave / post punk / gloom pop gem unearthed from a golden era of music that never existed, and likely never will.
MPEG Stream: "Alms For Arms"
MPEG Stream: "Twisted Lichen"
MPEG Stream: "Breaking The Head"

album cover HUNTING LODGE Will (Dais Records) lp 21.00
Hunting Lodge were the forgotten precursor to Wolf Eyes and the whole Michigan noise scene that blossomed in the late '90s. Forming Hunting Lodge and their in-house label S/M Operations in 1982, Lon C Diehl and Richard Skott incorporated bleak noise, media collage, and rudimentary electronic sequences into a handful of recordings that would launch them to upper echelons of industrial culture. It has to be said that their best known work appeared on a number of different compilations - the incredible "Tribal Warning Shot" with the one-off vocalist Trish Damon had made for one of the strongest contributions to whatever album on which that song would appear. It was definitely a track that would lead many a listener to their catalog, a catalog that was much more full of grime, noise, turmoil, and horror. Nope, that track is not included on this reissue; but album is actually better for it, as that would have been too much of a 'pop' counterweight to all of the electronic malaise found here. Will was the band's third album, originally self released in 1983 as a super limited cassette and had been subsequently reissued over the years on Dark Vinyl out of Germany. This album still stands as the band's best and most fully realized album, falling not too far from the anxious power electronics of early Ramleh and Maurizio Bianchi coupled with the searing electro-metallic rhythms of SPK and Nocturnal Emissions. Skeletal patterns of rhythms and heavily flanged, minimalist sequences gird tracks like "Na Vilaviliarevu", "S/M Operations", and "Banishing Dirge" with radioactive swaths of tone and archaic turbine roar bursting through. The vertigo of megaphone vocals, machine-gun noise pulses, and overblown tape collages of car wrecks, drills, and Jim Jones samples on "Sounds Like A Picture" and "Shugendo Gyoza" fill out the rest of the album that really holds up very well against the better known agents, operatives, and malcontents from back in the day. Limited to 500 copies.
MPEG Stream: "Na Vilaviliarevu"
MPEG Stream: "Shugendo Gyoza (you are of me)"
MPEG Stream: "Banishing Dirge"

album cover LORENZ, RUDIGER Southland (Bureau B) cd 19.98
Germany's Bureau B label is pretty keen at coming up with cool krautrock curiosities, like this, an album from 1984 by a lone synthesizer nerd named Rudiger Lorenz. Pharmacist by day, electronic music hobbyist in his free time, Lorenz began his obscure (but prolific) DIY career in the early '80s, collecting gear and putting out his own recordings on limited edition cassettes, his compositions clearly inspired by the previous decade's pioneering krautrock greats like Kraftwerk, Cluster, and Harmonia. So, he was sort of a "2nd wave" krautrock electronic artist, keeping the kosmiche dream alive - until he passed away in 2000, sadly enough. By '83 he was doing vinyl instead of tapes, and then made the move to cd releases in the '90s, ultimately having 18 full-lengths to his name.
Just this year, his earliest tape productions were the subject of an lp box set via Vinyl On Demand, and at least one other of his '80s era albums has recently been reissued as well, so he's beginning to get his due. Certainly he deserves it on the strength of this enjoyable album, his sixth, like we said originally released, as an lp, in 1984. It's an excellent set of homebrewed instrumental electronica, partly in the mode of serious Berlin school synthscapers, partly more playful and poppy, with a touch of exotica to it as well (we note that many of his albums, this one included, have some sort of geographic theme).
Some tracks on Southland take after the aforementioned Tangerine Dream, et. al., with moody cinematic shimmer and pulse, that should also appeal to the more cosmic-minded fans of John Carpenter and, latterly, Emeralds, while certain other cuts bring to mind Moog-goofs like Bruce Haack and Jean-Jacques Perrey - especially on the delightful "Francis And Friends", which sounds like it's sung by a ribbeting robotic frog. Works by contemporaries like Pyrolator and Conrad Schnitzler could also be cited. Good company to keep. Yup, Bureau B keeps their track record intact with this quite recommended reissue, on both cd and 180 gram vinyl.
MPEG Stream: "New Morning (Sandwich Islands)"
MPEG Stream: "Francis And Friends"
MPEG Stream: "New Caledonia"

album cover MACHINEFABRIEK Drum Solos (Backwards) lp 17.98
It shouldn't be a surprise that the ever prolific Rutger Zuydervelt (aka Machinefabriek) hasn't found the time to do everything that's he wanted to do in his artistic career. With his hundreds of recordings that have poured fourth in mostly tiny editions as well as his collaborations, he's rarefied the sounds from guitars and electronics into cracked crescendos of half-melodic smears of drone and noise full of doleful cavernous swells and dark-star explosions. Yes, we've long been smitten by his work; but we'll admit that we were a little skeptical of an album entitled Drum Solos that began with the preamble that Zuydervelt had long wanted to study the art of percussion but never found the time. Fortunately, this is not a half-assed first attempt at trying to make avant-garde percussive tumble like Will Guthrie or Eddie Prevost; rather, it's perfectly beautiful Machinefabriek album using the drumkit as the source material. With much filtering and signal processing, Zuydervelt broadcasts echoing tones of slow-unfurling sonar pulses across a bed of soft shimmering ambience and rumbling atmosphere. The cymbals seem to be the only part of the kit that he's left mostly free of processing; but even so, he's bowing the cymbals to create those same textured drones that Organum produced many moons ago. Rhythm is mostly shed in lieu of weightless tone-float and spiralling, ghostlike re-appearances of his reconfigured drum sounds. It's hardly what anyone would ever consider when thinking of a drum solo record, but in the context of a Machinefabriek album, it's pretty damn majestic.
MPEG Stream: "Snare"
MPEG Stream: "Hi-Hat"
MPEG Stream: "Cymbal II"

album cover MAMMANE SANI ET SON ORGUE La Musique Electronique Du Niger (Sahel Sounds / Mississippi / Change) lp 16.98
YAY, REPRESSED! This repressing of this fantastic former Record Of The Week just showed up here today, or we could have included it on last week's in-between list of Records Of The Week Revisted (like the newly repressed Unrest album, also being listed again this week). If you missed this before, please don't sleep on it now, it's one of those perfectly wonderful albums everybody seems to love...
The Sahel Sounds label (responsible for Music From Saharan Cel Phones, Harafin So, and many more great lps of music from the Sahel region of Africa) strikes again with this amazing reissue of an uber-rare vintage cassette, the lone album circa 1978 by Nigerian "electronic music pioneer" Mammane Sani Abdullaye. We're told that if you live in West Africa, you'd likely be familiar with Mammane's instrumental music to some extent, as his tunes have apparently been used frequently in the background on radio and TV broadcasts over the past three decades. For us though, his sounds are an exciting discovery! Mammane plays the electric organ, in a fairly minimalistic and repetitive style, his music full of charming, simple melodies; it sounds very live and intimate, recorded with hardly any overdubs (it was done on a 2 track machine) and pleasingly lo-fi, with a little bit of tape hiss (just like we like it).
Some of the songs are woozy, sweetly dreamy sound paintings, others are more uptempo and percussive, with tick-tocking rhythm backing tracks, and Mammane joyously tickling the keys over top. Chiptune/skweee fans might enjoy the more video-game-y blip blip bleep of the calm yet jaunty "Bodo", while the laidback grooviness of the likes of "Tunan" should appeal to fans of the Ethiopiques series, even though this is from a completely different region of Africa.
Many of the melodies are based on traditional Nigerian folk music - as the label's notes say, "Mammane electrifies the nomadic drum of the tende, the polyphonic ballads of the Woddaabe, and the pastoral hymns of the Sahelian herders". Others are entirely original. And all are quite lovely indeed. Such a find.
Highly recommended in particular to fans of Francis Bebey and his African Electronic Music 1975-1982 collection that we also made a Record Of The Week a while back. An absolutely delightful record!
MPEG Stream: "Salamantu"
MPEG Stream: "Kobon Lerai"
MPEG Stream: "Bodo"

album cover ORSI, FABIO & CLAUDIO ROCCHETTI Cascando (Backwards) lp 17.98
The psychedelic drone traveler Fabio Orsi has dotted the globe appearing on an impressive array of labels with his slippery dronescaping and nocturnal impressionism. Time Released Sound, Home Normal, Digitalis, Students Of Decay, and Korm Plastics have all released his recordings, and here; he finds himself on the Italian imprint Backwards working with fellow countryman Claudio Rocchetti, who both happen to be residing in Berlin. The twin guitars of these audio alchemists surface through dense layers of time-delay effects of shimmer and blur, resulting in some lovely overtones and harmonics washed amidst the field recordings of rural chimes and cathedral incantation. While it's hard to discern the exact division of labor, Rocchetti seems to be the one with more of the rough-hewn Tom Carter-styled bent to his guitar figures and drones, where Orsi might be the one who wraps his instrument in a deep cosmic hypnosis. Together, they are formidable pairing making a gauzy yet earthen mesmerism, in conjuring these mirage-like recordings. Think a more shambolic Stars Of The Lid or a less shoegazing doppleganger of Simon Scott, and you'll probably be pretty close to what this Cascando falls. Gorgeous stuff.
MPEG Stream: "Cascando"

album cover OUR LOVE WILL DESTROY THE WORLD Carnivorous Rainbows (Ba Da Bing) lp 17.98
Other than a super limited lathe cut 7" and a couple equally limited cd-r's, this is the first full length lp from Our Love Will Destroy The World in a couple years. As most of you probably already know, OLWDTW is none other than Campbell Kneale, who previously pedaled his blessed out raga-noise under the moniker Birchville Cat Motel, and while the two projects to share some sonically similar traits, OLWDTW finds Kneale experimenting more, pushing the limits of BCM into new realms, heavier on rhythms and beats, sometimes a fractured dance music, other times a meditative drone-noise, and still other times, a wild kitchen sink cacophony, all of those various facets of Kneale's noisemaking endlessly appealing.
On this latest joint, things start off with something comparatively mellow, a looped rhythms, wreathed in long undulating tones, which is soon joined by a strange sky full of squiggly sine waves, and high dog whistle tones, all wound up in a perpetually unravelling tangle, some serious psychedelia, that overt the course of its nearly seven minutes gather shards of noise, and layers of grit and gristle, until the original pulsing pastoral lope is nearly swallowed up by dense swirls of grinding, prismatic noise, and effulgent guitar freakout.
After that, Kneale drags us back into a sprawling noise raga, a heavily layered expanse of buzz and shimmer, throb and thrum, the recording is super active, and heavily panned, so the sound is dynamic and almost alive, with sounds careening from speaker to speaker and constantly surfacing, and then disappearing beneath newly surfaced layers, only to bleed and blur into one another, all the while, various other sounds are pulsing and pulsating, long tones are keening and arcing overhead, a high end bliss out ur-drone, that gradually sheds those higher tones until it becomes a strange almost metallic sounding dirge, laced with tinkling pianos, and still wrapped in some swirling noise.
The flipside begins with another rhythmic workout, that sounds like an even more abstract Boredoms, tribal drumming buried beneath a sea of sound effects, crumbling textures, and random blurts and buzzes, mysterious faux animal calls, and a roiling morass of melted melody. Finally, the record finishes with another psychedelic raga, beginning with a burst of noise, before settling into something more washed out and prismatic, a hazy, stretch of zoner soft-noise dreaminess, a woozy swath of fractured sonics, all the edges worn away, resulting in dense currents of sound flowing organically, while submerged just below the surface are all manner of squelches and mysterious voice like tones, muted melodies and barely there rhythms, everything smeared into a druggy, dreamy, hypno-haze that's about as soothing and mesmerizing as noise gets. Gorgeous!
Includes a download code.
MPEG Stream: "Hades Iron Horizon"

album cover PEAL GRIM s/t (Zhelezobeton / Moonsun Productions) cd 14.98
So, this album begins with the caveat: "This record is not recommended to listening for depressively inclined persons." Now, that is far more enticing than "may cause drowsiness" (which has been affixed to less than inspiring new age / ambient records in days gone by) or Pulp's reverse psychology of "Please do not read the lyrics whilst listening to the recordings" or any number of unimaginative variations on "play loud or not at all, motherfucker!" There is also something rather charming about this translation about "depressively inclined persons" which may just be an utterly commonplace trigger warning in the Peal Grim's native Russian. What we have behind this is a pretty fucking bleak album of crumbling, corrosive blackened ambience that actually morphs into an ominously tranquil, making for an album that could be rather soothing in a dark, wintery kind of way. Peal Grim is the work of Dmitry N. Shilov, who has orbited in the pagan neofolk and mystical ambient underground of Moscow for a good part of the last two decades. In spite of this background, this album has all of the feel of the ambient passages from the best of the best black metal albums, making us think that he must have been buzzing riff with corpse paint instead. Nonetheless, this is a densely layered album of skeletal guitar figures that are blasted out in blackened fuzz, while spiralling down a soul-sucking maelstrom with a stately minor key lament throughout all the atmospheric depression. A properly replicated cd in an edition of 100 copies.
MPEG Stream: "Miss Airee"
MPEG Stream: "Be Reef Meant"
MPEG Stream: "Days Pair Eat"

album cover RUSSELL, ARTHUR Corn (Audika) lp 21.00
The curious case of Arthur Russell continues with a new posthumous collection of previously unreleased versions of archival material recorded in the early eighties, but sounding as modern as ever. Like Love is Overtaking Me and Calling Out of Context, Corn was material that was being prepared for release at the time of its making, but for reasons unknown was scrapped. Russell was infamous for never being able to finish anything (he only released one proper album, World of Echo, in his lifetime, and many of his most popular dance tracks had multiple versions and often had to be finished by other producers such as Walter Gibbons and Francis Kevorkian), and it wasn't until after his death from AIDS in 1992 at the age of 40, that the world got to hear the full breadth of his musical genius. Flirting with modern classical, folk, disco and rock sometimes all in the same track but oftentimes exploring one genre expansively at great length, Corn mostly explores electro-pop, with a little bit of everything in between. With voice, drum rhythms and distorted cello, the music is neither quite aimed for the dancefloor like The World of Arthur Russell collection, nor is it as spare and oceanic as World of Echo or Another Thought. Instead, it strikes a highly listenable middle ground that takes a few of his better known tracks such as "Let's Go Swimming" and "This Is How We Walk On The Moon" into quite different pop-dance territory than on previous collections. And we don't recall the distorted cello having been such a sonic force on previous collections either, culminating in the eight minute abstract noisescape "Ocean Movie" that concludes this collection. While we originally thought this wouldn't be the collection we'd recommend for the uninitiated, we have been consistently selling copies every time we have played it in the store to folks who have no idea who Arthur Russell was, and we ourselves and been loving this release more and more each time we listen. Recommended!
MPEG Stream: "Lucky Cloud"
MPEG Stream: "See My Brother, He's Jumping Out (let's Go Swimming #2)"
MPEG Stream: "They And Their Friends"
MPEG Stream: "Ocean Movie"

album cover SANDWITCHES, THE Our Toast (Empty Cellar) lp 14.98
We were so ecstatic when we discovered there was a new album by local ladies of indie-pop, The Sandwitches. It had been four years since their last record, and we were beginning to think the band was no more (although sadly, this IS apparently their final release). What's making us even happier is that not only have they made maybe their best album yet, but they've also made what might be one of the best records of the year. Even just listening to Our Toast once, it's easy to tell that the group is trying to make a serious sonic statement. Of course we've loved all of their past releases, but Our Toast really raises the bar, delivering a collection of songs overflowing with conviction and warmth. Not only are the new songs really great, but the recording too, is so rich and evocative, woozy and lush. It's clear that the band - along with Kelly Stoltz, who recorded it with them - had such a clear idea of how they wanted the album to sound, drenched in emotion and raw sensuality.
Musically, Our Toast sits somewhere between Cat Power's Moon Pix and a Karen Dalton record recorded by Phil Spector: the perfect mix of moody melancholia and hazy, dreamlike wonder. Highly Recommended!

album cover SHOVELS s/t (Homeless) lp 19.98
Any band who compares themselves to legendary Aussie noise rockers Lubricated Goat, one of our favorite bands EVER (someone PLEASE reissue all their records!!) has some serious sonic balls, and of course, that makes us definitely want to hear them, but at the same time, sets expectations so high, that they'll be lucky if they can live up to that sort of promise. aQ pal Michael Beach, whose solo records we've reviewed here, fronts this self described "Australian psych-post-punk" combo Shovels, whose record sports a sticker comparing them to the aforementioned Lubricated Goat, as well as Feedtime, the A-Frames and My Disco. All bands we dig a LOT, and we're happy to report, Shovels sound right at home amidst such esteemed noise rock company. And while they may fall a bit short of the Lubricated Goat high water mark, there's no doubt that if you dig the 'Goat as much a we do, odds are you're gonna like this stuff too. Wild squalls of swirling, guitar noise, clingy angular riffery, wild chaotic drumming, the sound lurching from sinewy low slung slither, to chugging groove, to almost free form freakout, the vocals buried in the mix, almost an after thought, often disappearing completely for minutes at a time, letting the instruments to all the heavy lifting, and we do mean heavy, tense and intense, minimal in structure, but maximal in abrasive intensity. The guitars are often wiry, almost jangly, but also explosive, long stretches of droned out hypno-rock often splintering into furious fractured crunch and howl, but often remaining simple and stripped down, brooding and heavy lidded, those two sides constantly jostling for supremacy, and resulting in an urgent, psych-punk downer rock that definitely pushes all our buttons.
Fans of the above mentioned bands, as well as other sonically similar noise rock / gloom punk / post punk / psych garage combos will find a whole lot to dig here…
LIMITED TO 350 COPIES. Includes a download code.
MPEG Stream: "MB Jacket"
MPEG Stream: "Multiple Furrow"
MPEG Stream: "Arm Arm Leg"

album cover SOUND MECCANO & EVGENIY DROOMOFF Walking Through (Naba Music / Melo Records) 2cd 17.98
An introduction (for us, at least) into the collective mind's eye of these two Latvian electronic engineers who have been collaborating over the years in a rather magical cross-pollenation of abstract electronic, field recording, and live instrumentation. The conceptual thread that runs through the album is quite a literal one - a thin piece of wool that is wrapped around each of the modestly screen-printed albums ties to the field recordings made from an industrial loom in the former Soviet country. This same site is reprised on for several of the videos that are included in the nifty package of material. Sound Meccano (aka Rostislav Rekuta) and Droomoff situate their signal processed samples, crystalline ambience, and fractured digitalia as the building blocks for a luminous, rather organic form of electronica that readily incorporates all of the live instrumentation and site-specific recordings. "Unasculum Motus" enjoys a spiralling mantra of dream-time melody that wouldn't be out of place on Aphex's Selected Ambient Works Vol II amidst the various creaks, whirs, and clatter. The flutes on the pastoral tune "Air Metamirphoses" end up levitating towards the same vapor trail heard on Kraftwerk's early motorik masterpiece "Ruckzuck" (from one of those albums with the traffic cones on the cover). Elsewhere, the mechanoid, granular synthesis and rounded basstone pulsations recall the work of Vladislav Delay and the thoroughly abstracted facets of Moritz Von Oswald.
MPEG Stream: "Air Metamorphoses"
MPEG Stream: "Across The Stupahill"
MPEG Stream: "Uasculum Motus"
MPEG Stream: "Volokno"

album cover SWANS s/t (Young God) 12" 13.98
You've heard this, right? No? Well now that you can get a copy for under $100, now's a good a time as any to start at the beginning of the Swans discography. Repressed on its own for the first time since 1990, and released for Record Store Day 2015, but we have a few copies left! These four tracks don't quite pack the same violent punch of the misanthropic masterpiece Filth that would come out a year later, but what does? In a way, these tracks more closely resemble the modern re-tooled Swans then the hateful pounding of Filth/Greed/Holy Money Swans. Post-punk basslines and repetitive rhythms that for any other band would probably be their most primal and violent record, but this is Swans we're talking about here. Michael Gira is more political dissident then tyrannical strongman on here, with vocals managing whole sentences rather than barked orders. A must-listen for any Swans fan, and perhaps your only chance of owning these tracks on vinyl short of ponying up for an original!
MPEG Stream: "Speak"
MPEG Stream: "Sensitive Skin"

album cover TAU CROSS s/t (Relapse) cd 14.98
Tau Cross is the magick-infused, forest-dwelling collaboration between Voivod drummer/conceptualist Away and 'The Baron' of UK crust legends Amebix (plus, the guitarists from neo-crust bands War/Plague and Misery). But if you're expecting some sort of crusty, proggy punk record though, think again. Tau Cross are not interested in rehashing the tropes of their past, instead crafting a pumping, riff-filled heavy metal record that oozes with mythology and power. At once catchy, heavy, and forlorn, Tau Cross' debut is as much Motorhead as it is Moonsorrow. Away trades his thrash-prog pound for a more mid-tempo crush, impressing more with what he doesn't play than what he does. Most noticeable and recognizable on this record are the throaty chants of The Baron, in perhaps his most subtle and least purely aggressive performance. This record isn't the future of metal, there's nary a thing on here that is especially forward looking, but these are expertly crafted tracks from some masters of heavy songwriting. Seriously, just TRY and not get absolutely pumped up during "Hangman's Hyll," the stone-stacking, twig-bundling riff of the year.
Could easily make the year end top ten lists of some of the metalheads around here, though actually in some ways it's not always so metal, in fact some of the tracks, with hushed vocals and acoustic guitar, remind us of Leonard Cohen at times - or a post punk blend of Pink Floyd and Current 93, even.
MPEG Stream: "Lazarus"
MPEG Stream: "Stonecracker"
MPEG Stream: "Midsummer"

album cover URTHONA Hearing Secret Harmonies (Heavy Rural) cd-r 9.98
Yay! A new release from longtime aQ fave Urthona, also known as UK resident and lover of the great (and often wet, in England) outdoors, Neil Mortimer. Traditionally, Urthona's music draws upon two sources of power - the EARTH and the GUITAR. This disc once again finds the man tramping about the countryside, finding inspiration in the landscape of ancient, lichen-covered rock outcroppings, and rough, wild wind-blown moors... and channelling that environmental inspiration through his trusty electric guitar into some truly fantastic, fuzzed out psych/drone compositions (or are they improvisations?), of what Mortimer calls "elemental amp worship", probably meant to be played loud, though they work their magic at softer volumes too. There are two mega tracks of that here, both mesmeric, the 23+ minute "White Light Occulting" opening the disc with wisps of fuzz and feedback, eventually building to heavier, yet still blissful densities of distortion. "Breathing Instant Infinity", the other long one, at 14 and a half minutes, returns again to the buzz and drone, but gets more active as it goes along, swirling and unfurling in pastoral, post-Hendrix (or Young) psychedelic soloing fashion. In between these two epic workouts, there's one much shorter piece, the title track, 3:38 of mysterious environmental ambience - what sounds like a tape collage of wind, weather, animals, voices, and ???????... actually the liner notes shed some light on at least one of the elements of this track: "The DRAANGGG sound, a recording of vehicles being driven over a cattle grid [what we might call a cattle grate?] on the B3357 outside Dunnabridge Pound, Dartmoor, is a homage to John Levack Drever's album, 'The Cattle Grids Of Dartmoor'." Ha, now we've got to track that down, don't we? (Apparently a disc of field recordings released in 2005.)
Anyway, yes, 'tis another fine outing from Urthona, full of distortion and drone and fadeaway shimmer, both physically and psychically potent. It marks the first release for Urthona's new cd-r label Heavy Rural, and while it's a pro-printed cd-r (and consequently cheaper than the usual cd) it has the usual attractive Urthona packaging, in a printed cardboard jacket within a folded cover, with artwork, photos and liner notes. Urthona "does it himself" very nicely, but we wonder why this aQ fave, as we said, isn't at this point signed to some established underground label, like perhaps Immune or Important, 'cause his stuff is so good we're always surprised that we don't hear more 'buzz' about his fuzz...
MPEG Stream: "White Light Occulting"
MPEG Stream: "Breathing Instant Infinity"

album cover V/A Bandcamp City Guide: Oakland (Bandcamp) lp 23.00
For independent artists and labels, Bandcamp seems to be fomenting a DIY (or at least do it yourself with a little help) revolution: a super easy to use platform, for bands and labels to sell their music directly to fans, to promote their records and releases, to organize mailing lists, hype tours. All us old guys wish something like this existed back in the day. Now Bandcamp has started an actual label, and their first release is the inaugural installment in a proposed series of vinyl lp city guides, each one featuring a handful of exclusive or unreleased tracks from happening bands in specific cities. The first release holds a special place in our hearts cuz it focuses on the Bay Area, Oakland in particular, featuring a whole mess of bands we hadn't even heard of, and one or two we had.
The sounds are all over the map, from rock to funk, African to experimental electronica and plenty of stops in between. Probably makes sense to do a quick run through of all the tracks/artists, beginning with Bells Atlas, who sound like some experimental indie rock version of African high life, or something, their sound is super unique, and pretty fantastic, and has us definitely wanting to hear more! Up next is Astronauts, etc. who sound a bit like a more laid back, jazzy Radiohead, falsetto vox, skittery rhythms, spidery guitar melodies, all over soft synth swirls and a slow grooving bassline.
Raashan Ahmad & Headnodic deliver some soulful hip hop jazziness, wreathed in a warm patina of record crackle. Waterstrider offer up some hazy, softly psychedelic indie folk, flecked with subtle electronics, while Sugar Candy Mountain's track is a sort of Tropicalia infused slab of baroque pop that sounds like it could be some lost Elephant Six band. Sun Hop Fat are hazily influenced by Ethiopian music, and their horn heavy sound definitely reminds us of our favorite Ethiopiques tracks.
Ash Reiter was one of the groups we were familiar with and whose jangly sun dappled indie pop we've raved about on the list before, whereas Kid Trails was another name new to us, but whose lo-fi fuzz pop is definitely in the aQ wheelhouse. Guy Fox unfurls some soulful jazzy grooviness, with classic sounding female vox, and Queens D. Light represents Oaktown with some stripped down, old school hip hop. And finally, Asonic Garcia finishes things off with one of our favorite tracks, a hazy, blissed out stretch of crackly, softly staticky ambience, wrapped around murky beats, and gorgeously prismatic melodies, and lush, undulating textures, it's like DJ Shadow jamming with Philip Jeck, spinning and looping sixties psych pop records.
All in all a pretty killer comp, that will likely have you hunting down more from all of the artists. Fantastically presented too, a gorgeous matte finished gatefold cover with loads of liner notes, and pressed on thick vinyl. Includes a download code as well.
MPEG Stream: BELLS ATLAS "Sugar For The Queen"
MPEG Stream: ASTRONAUTS, ETC. "Sometime Tomorrow"
MPEG Stream: ASH REITER "Eye On You"

album cover WIRE, THE #377 July 2015 magazine 9.98
Another issue of this must read magazine for new/weird/interesting music fanatics. The cover star this time 'round is British electronic producer Mark Fell, we dig him but the real reason to pick up this particular issue has got to the the "Primer" section, for its subject this ish: Japanese psych improv lord Keiji Haino! Even those of us, like Allan, with an almost complete (& thus vast) Haino collection, will find this interesting, and for those who don't yet have a lot of Haino, it's sure could be helpful. Also this issue: Norwegian jazz vocalist Karin Krog, Canadian sound artist Crys Cole, a scene report from Shenzhen, China, and plenty more, including all the usual reviews and whatnot.


red dot See ALL of this week's NEW ARRIVALS List #477...




Also, just a few of the Highlights of the previous week, of 42 items on
NEW ARRIVALS List #476 (05 June 2015)
:

album cover DHAMPYR Oceanclots (Acephale Winter) cd 11.98
Some records walk through the doors of aQuarius with a gravitas about them, some sort of heavy indefinable weight that's apparent before we even hit play for our first listen. Oceanclots, the umpteenth release from Dhampyr but only the second one we've stocked, is one such album. Written and recorded by the minimally monickered H.L. after the tragic death of his girlfriend (with the help of some collaborators, including vocal contributions from Jacob Thomas of local blown-out hypno-black metallers Dunnock), Oceanclots serves as a harrowing, cathartic, beautiful, singular tribute to her - a swirling, mesmerizing watercolor flurry of hazy blissful psychedelic black metal. Everything about the album is immersive, not least of which the in-the-red wall of sound production, almost indiscernible at first, inaccessible, and then as your ears adjust suddenly alive with lush shimmering detail, like your eyes adapting to the darkness of a jungle. Everything blends together and then seems to come apart. The distant ghostly spoken vocals and the anguished piercing screams. The cloudy melodies like half-memories drifting in and out, impossible to determine even what instrument they might belong to. The crumbling static of white-noise guitar enveloping everything (apparently all of which, due simply to H.L. not having any other way to record, are acoustic, but altered later on to sound like a blistering avalanche of gravelly static - just another piece of evidence that this is an album born of raw emotional necessity.) The truly blissful quiet passages, draped in alien echoes, haunting reverb, and glittering ambience. But beyond the music, as wonderfully and brutally psychedelic as it is, there are so many other details that complete the surreal portrait of this album. The ocean theme, a perfect compliment to the sounds you'll hear, which are like your eardrums bursting and the blissful drift of floating atop the ocean waves all rolled into one. The gorgeously labyrinthine song titles like "Mine Isabella Of Frosts & Poppypins" or "A Kodak Of Guncotton Shipwrecks". The surrealistic and heart breaking free form prose that adorns the booklet. And the final track, the beautiful dreamlike "Sea-Eclogue For Genevieve", seemingly an abstract drift of melodic reverb complimented by pulsing bass & plodding percussion, but which is in fact composed entirely using manipulated recordings of H.L.'s late girlfriend's voice, molded and twisted into an unending landscape of woozy hypnotizing beauty. The perfect end to such an exhaustingly harrowing yet euphorically cathartic album. An essential listen.
MPEG Stream: "Mine Isabella Of Frosts & Poppypins"
MPEG Stream: "Waltz Of The Salivating Avalanche"
MPEG Stream: "Sea-Eclogue For Genevieve"

album cover ZIRAKZIGIL Worldbuilder (Anthem) cd 12.98
Zounds! Zoinks!! ZIRAKZIGIL!!! "Z" is the letter of the week here at aQ thanks entirely to this absolutely enormous slab of cosmic progressive supersludge courtesy of Portland's very heaviest Z-word. Worldbuilder is only the sophomore full length from these grizzly wanderers of the astral plane (after their debut "Battle Of The Peak" which we rightfully raved about back in 2013), but already pulses with a wild streak of spiritually charged confidence usually reserved for bands of the Neurosis, Mastodon, Om ilk. What immediately sets Zirakzigil apart from some of their simpler minded sludged-out contemporaries is the level of musicianship on display. While this certainly bears similarities to the aforementioned Neurosis (especially in the vocals) and perhaps also to bands like Isis or Yob, Zirakzigil eschew any kind of hypnotic repetitive approach, instead peppering their songs with whirling stop start time signatures and off kilter drumming, dramatic twisting structures and dizzying transitions, at times even sounding like some jazz-fusion answer to monolithic post-metal. But as wonderful and thrilling as all of that weirdness is, it only serves as a compliment to something even grander. That's Zirakzigil's real secret weapon, distraction. The awesomeness of the more frantic passages, with all their warped musicianship, frenetic rolls & confounding riffing, provides the ultimate disarming contrast to Zirakzigil's truest strength: Those Enormous. Epic. Riffs. When Worldbuilder really opens up and simplifies, it becomes the stuff of mountain crumbling legend - the kind of thing you want to ride out into battle and die to (whether that's on horseback or in a starship is unclear... it seems like either one could apply equally to this record!) It's an approach not dissimilar to Elder's newest album (which we also made ROTW recently!), but Zirakzigil are way more immediate and aggressive. Confrontationally spacey if you will! The way every song seamlessly leads into the next (four tracks all running at 13+ minutes by the way) only makes the experience all the more massive, like being torn slow-motion-asunder by an enormous hour long suite of galaxy swallowing black hole orchestration - a pummeling meteor shower of multicolor Northern Lights heavy, heavy, heavy metal. Glorious, twisted & very recommended.
MPEG Stream: "Kategoria"
MPEG Stream: "Prolegomena"

album cover AHMED, ILYAS I Am All Your Own (Immune) lp 17.98
Immune Recordings brings us a lovely new album from longtime aQ fave and sometime Grouper collaborator Ilyas Ahmed, I Am All Your Own being the dapper guitarist's first record in three years! Back at last, Ahmed delves into some somewhat mellower, more singer-songwritery territory here, forgoing the in-the-red raga rock of some of his other efforts, though his background in experimental folk and dronecraft remains quite evident. it's not so much a new direction for him, as it is a perfection of one aspect of what we've heard him do in the past. On 12-string and electric guitars, Ahmed lets loose with the laid back, sun-dappled strum, accompanying his own hushed and breathy singing voice, emotive and earnest. The mystical vibe of many earlier Ahmed works is still present, as is some small amount of heavy duty feedback/drone, carefully sculpted to soothe, but here the emphasis is primarily on the gentle mood & melody of the singing & strumming, despite a couple of untitled tracks that take things down a rather more abstract and ambient path. One comparison would be to Jewelled Antler's Glenn Donaldson, in one of his more David Crosby-esque moods.
All in all, it's a beautiful set of songs, floating along dreamily, cognizant of pain but reassuring the listener that all's well in the end. Most definitely recommended. And, the label was kind enough to provide us with a limited edition, one of a kind art collage created by Ilyas Ahmed, from a series of 100, signed and numbered, for us to give away randomly to a lucky customer who buys this! We'll pick from the first ten people to order this album, fyi, so you might win that if you order quickly!! (Local folks who'd like a chance win, we suggest emailing us right away to have your copy put on hold for you to pick up, you'll be entered in the contest that way too.)
MPEG Stream: "City Daze"
MPEG Stream: "All You Say"
MPEG Stream: "The Last Laugh"

album cover AKITSA Grands Tyrans (Hospital) cd 17.98
For metalheads like us, a new record from Canadian black metal duo Akitsa is a cause for serious celebration. They're a band that has remained mysterious, hewed to their own sonic blueprint, remaining willfully obstinate, and for the internet age, surprisingly off the radar for lots of folks, and it's all that, as well as their furious and fucked up sound, that has made them one of our favorite purveyors of raw black buzz. Grands Tyrans is their first full length in five years, and opener "Devoile" reminds us just why we love them so much, and just how much we missed their bleak, black threnodies. The guitars are simple and primitive, the sound raw and brittle, insectoid, occasionally splintering into weird scrabbling squiggles, a caveman approximation of leads perhaps, the drums almost a murky afterthought, more a pulse than a pound, all in support of the vokills, impossibly anguished and tortured, a hellish, primal screech, borderline hysterical, doused in reverb and drenched in echo, squeaking and cracking, wailing and shrieking.
But there's another side to Akitsa, which is displayed on track two, "Le Feu De L'abime", a knuckle dragging primitive punk dirge, all churning downtuned riffage and Neanderthal drum pound, the guitars that were so brittle moments earlier, now chunky and fuzzy, the vocals too, transformed, into a snarly, sneering yawp. And actually, there are several other sonic sides the group explores on the rest of Grands Tyrans: a hellish buzzing black metal death march on "Naufrage Contemporain", a grinding, rumbling soundscape of staticky drones and haunting synth melodies on "Les Flots De L'Enfer", creepy synthy cinematic doom on the title track, where the vocals transform yet again into some twisted Ozzy-ish croon, before revisiting some of the previous sounds, delivered in varying degrees of fucked up and fractured production, and with their own sonic mutations, like the weirdo new wave vocals on the super blown out "Je N'y Serai Pas" or sing songy, surprisingly melodic punk pound of "Chimeres", or the frenzied ultra-lo-fi blackened stomp of "Faucon".
Goddamn do we love this band!!! And it's so satisfying how amazingly confusional they remain after all these years. And how on a record that lurches from sound to sound, the production quality in constant flux, the vocals never the same twice, the guitar tone varying from meaty crunch to transistor radio tinniness, they can somehow craft these disparate sounds and songs into what is destined to be one of the best metal records (black and otherwise) of the year.
Super swank packaging, a black and white digipak with debossed, metallic silver printing and a booklet filled with lyrics and stunning shots of a grim Canadian winter.
MPEG Stream: "Devoile"
MPEG Stream: "Le Feu De L'abime"
MPEG Stream: "Grands Tyrans"

album cover ARESKI & BRIGITTE FONTAINE Je Ne Connais Pas Cet Homme (Superior Viaduct) lp 17.98
Avant hippy Francophone folk psych bongo jazz at its best!!! Seriously, though it is. A great record. Well worthy of the Superior Viaduct vinyl reissue treatment along with the others they've done before by the duo of French chanteuse Brigitte Fontaine & percussionist Areski Belkacem, This one, from 1973 (same year as their equally excellent L'Incendie, hopefully also upcoming as a Superior Viaduct reissue) is so gorgeous and exotic, intimate and dreamy. Multilayered, moaning male/female vocals from our two protagonists weave a delicate spell, accompanied by shuffling beats from ethnic percussion and hooting, fluting grooves. There's la-la-la's and Yoko cackle, eerie strings and folky guitar, rhythmic chant and jazz saxophone. It's an album of various intriguing, mostly minimal moods, from serious avant-classical to moments more playful, with parts that sound like an overheard private conversation (with music) betwixt the duo.
MPEG Stream: "La Fille Du Cure"
MPEG Stream: "C'est Normal"
MPEG Stream: "Je Ne Connais Pas Cet Homme"

album cover COLE, CRYS & OREN AMBARCHI Sonja Henies Vei 31 (Planam) lp 27.00
Cole the Canadian and Ambarchi the Australian have been collaborating when they can over the past five or six years. Mostly, their work together has been in performance, as that has been the preferred venue for Crys Cole's output until recently. In general, her work hedges towards the textural expressionism of Organum and Small Cruel Party, albeit somewhat quieter, using contact microphones and her own body as the principle instruments for her sound-sculpting. Ambarchi proves once again he is deft in adapting his own tools to fit that of his collaborators. Here on Sonja Henies Vei 31, he's put aside his array of electronics, pedals, and guitars to work alongside Cole and her means of production. There is something uncomfortably explicit about these recordings - wet smacks and watery splashes that seem awfully intimate, coupled with breathy exhortations and soft moans from Cole. If this is the result of two sound artists rolling around the sack, it's a rather unsettling document complicated by the eerie sinetones, clattering metallic actions, and visceral scrabblings of unknown objects, which seem all the more bizarre when put in the context of a consenting-adult activities. The result is very brave piece of Fluxus-inspired actionism an engaging and inventive series of decontextualized concrete sounds that are on par with Robert Ashley's Automatic Writing or Nurse With Wound's A Missing Sense. Strictly limited to 150 copies!
MPEG Stream: "Side A (Extract)"
MPEG Stream: "Side B (Extract)"

album cover DEVIL WORSHIPPER s/t (Holy Mountain) lp 15.98
Ok, sometimes it's true: a cool name, cool logo, and cool cover art DO mean the music is gonna be cool too. At least that's case with Holy Mountain's latest release, the debut from Devil Worshipper, which is a throbbing pounding distorted beast of black-and-chrome motorpsycho bad trippage. Imploding with droning druggy vocal chant, wild unhinged psychedelic guitar soloing, doomy riffs and propulsive hynorock percussion, yeah, this is everything we could have hoped for based on the name & cover, a trance-inducing 'cycle ride into darkness and devil worship. But, there's more... it's not all pedal to the metal Mainliner mainlining, there are tracks like "Ash Brume" that get all liquid and moody, mesmeric in a more mellowed-out way; and also songs equipped with eerie synth and other instruments - including what sounds like pan flute (?), delicate and doodly amidst the mungy grind of the endlessly repetitive "Into Radiation Wave", ferinstance.
We suspect the mysterious Devil Worshipper to be a one-man-band (they're not the Devil Worshippers, plural, after all, plus pretty sure that's a drum machine set to trance-induction), a la the likes of King Blood and GR & Full-Blown Expansion, we could compare 'em to both, as well as such somewhat larger ensembles as Aqua Nebula Oscillator, Follakzoid and Monster Magnet - heck the track "Chemrails", with its uber-echoing groove and sheer distorto-plod, somehow sounds like the magical midway point between the latter two mentioned. Damn good for one guy, if that's the case, and another winner from the Holy Mountain label, who can be counted on for this kind of shit for sure. A solid slab of Satanic-psych blissout oblivion, just like we were hoping for!!
MPEG Stream: "New Spirit World Order"
MPEG Stream: "Lurker (Death)"
MPEG Stream: "Chemrails"

album cover G*PARK Gour (Tochnit-Aleph) lp 21.00
The Swiss aktionist collective Schimpfluch has been active since the mid-'80s, with its various members seeking out the transgressive, the ultra-violent, and the transcendent all at once, via a dystopian hybrid of noise, punk theatrics, and / or musique concrete. In doing so, these provocateurs follow what their Viennese progenitors had started in the '60s through performance, sculpture, and painting. It can't go unnoticed how much of the iconography that Sudden Infant of Schimpfluch incorporates from Gunter Brus, and how much the hellish comedies of Otto Muehl filter through the modern day work of Rudolf Eb.Er. G*Park (aka Marc Zeier) is the most enigmatic of all the Schimpfluch artists, with no obvious parallels to anyone before him, as he trades in the modern day techniques of musique concrete, although his work acquires a tension, a dynamism, and an existential blight that were never achieved by the likes of Xenakis, Schaefer, Ferrari, or Chion.
G*Park's epic double cd Sub from two years ago still proves to be an exhausting and exhilarating document into the denatured field recordings, cryptic collage, and subcutaneous electro-acoustics from Zeier, with Gour standing a continuation of those themes. Like on Sub, Zeier states the origins of his sound material - crows, pigs, flesh flies, wasps, wolves, frozen lakes, and some less obvious sounds from the Uwaga Squad and the Etang of Gour. Zeier locates mechanized bursts against a backdrop of very distant blackened noise, with all sorts of whipcrack slashes, wooden creaks, watery plops, corvid calls, and porcine squeals constructing a strange and hostile narrative of ritualized violence against an unknown subject. The genius of G*Park lies not in the sounds themselves (even as they are immaculately presented) but in the psychological voids left where Zeier eradicated everything through deathray, sterilizing cauterization, or fastidious vacuuming. A brilliantly done record from one of the very best technicians of the cruel theater of musique concrete.
MPEG Stream: "Gour"

album cover HYMAN, DICK Moon Gas / Moog: the Electric Eclectics of Dick Hyman (Omni Recording Corporation) cd 17.98
Finally got a new groovy retro reissue from the great minds at the Omni Recording Corporation and it contains one of our favorite Moog records ever plus a whole other album of delightful space age jazz that's seeing reissue for the first time! 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, and this collection bookends his first and last forays into the space age with complete tracks from Moon Gas from 1963 featuring the ethereal vocals of Mary Mayo, and his breakout Moog record, MOOG: The Electric Eclectics of Dick Hyman from 1969, with a few selected bonus tracks from its poppier follow-up, The Age of Electronicus, recorded that same year.
Moon Gas, never before on cd, features the vocal stylings of Mary Mayo, a pop-jazz singer in the Julie London style, who seduces us with her ethereal, 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
But it's the Moog album that takes up most of the second half of this disc, that has long been one of our favorites of the Moog-Pop album genre that sprang out of the mid-to-late '60s with the swept up culture of the space age. Hugo Montenegro, Walter (now Wendy) Carlos, Perry & Kingsley, Richard Hayman, Walter Sear and Claude Denjean embraced the new technology as a means to organize vast complex orchestration from a simple modular unit, even though it wasn't really so simple to use. While most of Hyman's contemporaries used the new instrument as a means to exploit the current hit parade of sixties best-selling songs, Hyman's Moog album was a completely original affair creating a wild and jazzy moon age daydream, both goofy and sublime. The opening whistle of "The Moog and Me" will sound familiar to early Beck fans, and the nine minute "Minotaur" was the first original Moog hit to break the charts, a space age jazz raga, very much in the vein of Charanjit Singh's Ten Ragas To A Disco Beat from 13 years later. With songs like "The Topless Dancers of Corfu" and the classic cover art, how can you go wrong? Great to have this one back in print on cd, along with getting to hear Moon Gas for the first time!
Oh, and then the three bonus tracks from The Age of Electronicus include the best Moog cover of a James Brown song ever: "Give It Up Or Turn It Loose". So wrong, yet so right! Recommended for lounge lunatics and jazz eccentrics!
MPEG Stream: "Moon Gas"
MPEG Stream: "Maid of The Moon"
MPEG Stream: "Minotaur"
MPEG Stream: "The Moog and Me"
MPEG Stream: "Give It Up and Turn It Loose"

album cover MOORE, STEVE The Guest OST (Death Waltz / Mondo) lp 38.00
Generally we're bummed when reissue labels start releasing new albums by contemporary artists, since rarely do those records stand up to the classics deemed worthy of reissue. One exception is he consortium of horror/soundtrack vinyl labels, who have not shied away from modern soundtracks, and for the most part, they've been well worthy of sitting alongside the long sought after rarities that these labels dig up and lovingly offer up to a whole new legion of fans (as well as plenty of old ones). Mondo and Deathwaltz are two of the bigger players and they seem to have struck up some sort of partnership since this record bears both labels' names and logos. And it seems like a good one for them to share, cuz really, it would have been right at home on either.
We've long been fans of Steve Moore, solo, and in Zombi, his duo with drummer Anthony Paterra. And fans of Moore and Zombi, will find much of The Guest sounding very familiar. An action movie released in 2014, about a mysterious stranger who shows up on the doorstep of a family grieving the loss of their son in Afghanistan, the man claiming to be a friend of their son's, but who may not be the man he says he is. And like many of the soundtracks and scores we review, The Guest is a film we have not actually seen yet. But as is also often the case, that doesn't at all keep this from being a cool and compelling listen. Zombi-isms abound, percolating synth arpeggios, swirling kosmiche texture, but a bit more subtle and brooding, lots of low rumbles, and dense drifting thrum, even the pulsing synths, often become more a haunting percussive melody, shrouded in swaths of dark ambience, evoking a palpable sense of dread and at times near terror. Fans of Carpenter, and Goblin, and the modern retro-synth / faux-score movement, will definitely dig, but even removed from the images, this is a stirring bit of sound design and sonic sculpting. If the score to the seventies throwback psychedelic art film Beyond The Black Rainbow wasn't already so perfect, this would have worked just as well, dizzying and claustrophobic, some tracks evoking the sort of panic of being pursued in the dark, others the creeping dread of what lurks in the shadows. We're also reminded of the genius score of Phantasm, one of our all time favorite movies, with a stunning score to go with it (which was also just reissued, and we'll try to list and review soon), which is about the highest praise we can bestow.
As with all these soundtracks, the packaging is super swank, glossy full color covers, a thick glossy full color printed inner sleeve, the whole thing held shut by a caution tape style printed yellow obi.

album cover OBSEQUIAE Aria Of Vernal Tombs (20 Buck Spin) cd 13.98
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 OH SEES, THEE Mutilator Defeated At Last (Castle Face) lp 15.98
With every new Thee Oh Sees release, we have this fantasy of writing the shortest review, like, "Here's the new Oh Sees record, just do yourself a favor and click add to cart, you know you want to...", but we know there are those who want to know if it's really worth it, because after so many releases, do we really need to buy another one? To which we say, YES! Tell your brain to shut up and add it to your cart already!!! Yet still this may not convince everyone, so, ok, we'll do the legwork and try and break it down for you.
This is the first Oh Sees record since their self-imposed hiatus a year or so ago after leaving SF and moving to LA. A year ain't so long to an average band, but with the prolific output of John Dwyer, who is not only heading this band but also has a new Damaged Bug album out (in stock now!), and is also busy co-running the Castle Face label which is on an unprecedented roll of great releases from Pow!, Male Gaze, Warm Soda, The Blind Shake and King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard, how he finds time to make not only a record, but a great record is beyond us. But with that hiatus, Dwyer completely reformed the group, while staying true to their sound, and really focussed on the studio aspects of the recording process, with beefed up emphasis on organs, synths and acoustic guitars. They have also apparently been listening to lots of Amon Duul, Flower Travellin' Band, Love, Can and early Joy Division.
The cinematic raw power is still there, in fact it's increased. The whole first side is largely devoted to thrusting the energy through the creep of dark psych fairy tales of disintegrating flesh and magical evil. These are not new themes for the band, but there is a commingling of tropes that used to be more separated on previous releases, the pummeling faster songs versus the slower zoners. Here the pummel is tweaked with peaks of sublimity and the slower prettier songs are laced with menace like a minefield. In fact the slow zone, marked by the tracks "Sticky Hulks" and "Holy Smoke", are some of the dreamiest we have heard from them, with organ fugues and strings that leave us floating before the fury drops back in. Similar in scope to Floating Coffin, Putrifiers II and Carrion Crawler / The Dream. An instant classic!
Vinyl version includes download, cd don't need it.
MPEG Stream: "Poor Queen"
MPEG Stream: "Withered Hand"
MPEG Stream: "Sticky Hulks"
MPEG Stream: "Holy Smoke"
MPEG Stream: "Palace Doctor"

album cover REBEL WIZARD The Early Years Of Negative Wizard Metal (self-released) cd-r 11.98
Right up front, we'll go on record and say this is likely the best cd you'll EVER buy... that comes packaged in a diaper. Prove us wrong. We dare you. But until someone does, revel in awesomely monikered Rebel Wizard, another project by the mysterious madman behind Aussie blacknoise one man band Nekrasov. And unlike the Nekrasov record reviewed elsewhere on this list, where you'll find said man indulging his face melting, amp shredding, ear drum destroying harsh noise tendencies, Rebel Wizard goes just as far in the opposite direction, whipping up a frenzy of classic metal riffage, harmonized leads, galloping drumming, a hybrid of old school black metal and NWOBHM maybe? Hell, the diaper even displays the legend NWONM, scrawled in sharpie, alongside a drawing of what looks like a dead eyed stick figure metalhead. And yup, it stands for NEW WAVE OF NEGATIVE METAL!
It's just blackened enough, the vokills just harsh enough, to give this the negative edge, but the stretches without vocals, it could be some lost demo from some obscure UK band from the eighties. But this shit is so good, a band like that wouldn't stay obscure for long. Any metalhead worth his salt and with a halfway decent record collection while find these tracks push all their very metal buttons, eminently headbangable, super melodic, epic, majestic, but also plenty grim and fierce and fucking heavy. We won't go on at length, since we have less than 10 copies, and these are the very last of an extremely limited run of just 50 copies, needless to say, highly recommended, and for the few of you who will manage to nab one of these, you will not be sorry.
And yeah, these are in fact housed a (unused!) diaper, complete with polka dots, and little cute cuddly animal pictures, and those sticky tabs holding it shut. LIMITED TO 50 COPIES, each one numbered on the inside, each one hand adorned with the record title, the NWONM legend, and the aforementioned dead eyed skull thing. Also includes a printed insert with the track listing.
MPEG Stream: "Negative Curse"
MPEG Stream: "Finger Pointed At THEM"

album cover SCHAFER, TROY Untitled No. 2 (Black Horizons) cassette 8.98
A strange one for sure. This brief declaration of pagan invocation channeled through Dada collage and power electronics is delivered by the frontman from Kinit Her. In the extensive liner notes, Schafer explains this 21 minute expedition to be "an aestheticized recounting of the daily relationship between a lone recordist and a damned urban soundscape." This is hardly the phonographers / field recordists' take but a more infernal, internalized portrait, laced with searing, mechanized blasts of electronics & drum machines with Schafer's deep, detuned black metal mantra vokills looming throughout. He jump cuts between that modus operandi and collages of DIY electronic gibberish, ambient synth drone, appropriated teledrama orchestrations, scabrous violin screeches, and the deep reverberant thrum of abandoned ammunition bunkers that dot the agricultural landscape to the south of Chicago. If KTL were to remix and recontextualize all of those HNAS or P16.D4 albums...
MPEG Stream: "Untitled No. 2"

album cover V/A Living In A Shadow: A Vacant Valley Compilation (Vacant Valley) cd 10.98
So, are you the curious sort of person that's willing to take a chance on a compilation featuring a whole bunch of bands you've never ever heard of before, as long as most of them have cool and/or ridiculous names?? Then this is for you, featuring as it does contributions from Whitney Houston's Crypt, Bridal Gnome, School Girl Report, Drunk Elk, WASP (no, not W.A.S.P.), and best of all, Girls Pissing On Girls Pissing, to name our favorite band *names* among the 23 on here. There's only one of 'em that we knew anything about already, but it might serve as a recommendation, as the very last track here is a live one by former aQ Record Of The Weekers, shoegazing Australian noise popsters The Bunyip Moon. Their new drummer is the guy that runs the Vacant Valley label, who put this comp together, celebrating five years of activity.
So, you might also be interested in this, if you wanna check out some underground, DIY, lo-fi bands from Australia and New Zealand, 'cause that's what these are. Certainly some cool noisy garagey clang and wallop to be found here! Some of it REALLY noisy and blown out. Other bands are more punk-poppish, or about the electronic weirdness and glitch. All sorts, though noisiness does seem to be a common theme. The cd booklet includes a bunch of show fliers so you can get a sense of the 'scene', along with liner notes. We just got a tiny handful of these comps, totally out of the blue, but now might have to investigate some of these bands further...
MPEG Stream: BITCHRATCH "Fox Mulder"
MPEG Stream: HEX ON THE BEACH "Blud"
MPEG Stream: GO GENRE EVERYTHING "Presumption Pie [live]"

album cover VALET Nature (Kranky) lp 14.98
Honey Owens sweetly surprises us with a return as Valet, on this beautifully kaleidoscopic record on Kranky. Much has changed in the six years since the nocturnal folk music of Valet's False Flag Society. For starters, Owens increasing attention over the past few years to her live dance music project, Miracles Club, with her partner Rafael Fauria, has given her a broader palette of sound design and a keener focus on production. A recent child had to put that project on hold (cue "babies ruin everything" rant from avid Miracles Club fan and aQ staffer Jill!), so Nature is a way of focussing that conduit of energy from one project to the other with a transition from a solo experimental act to a fully fleshed out band featuring Fauria and others.
Enthralled with the shimmery dream-pop of Cocteau Twins and Lush and the evocative shoegaze of Slowdive and Ride, Valet boosts up the production and songcraft on Nature from previous releases, but uses it to channel some of the internal and organic changes that come with new life and new responsibilities. It's a big change in sound for them, though not entirely new to us, as there seems to be a shoegaze revolution all over again these days with bands like Balms and Chasms, just to mention a couple from here in SF. Yet Valet use it to stunning effect and it's very nice to hear a band comfortable enough to just say fuck it to the complexities of experimentation and just give us a direct gorgeously-realized dream pop record. Kudos!
MPEG Stream: "Sunday"
MPEG Stream: "Nature"
MPEG Stream: "Transformation"

album cover WATERS, PATTY College Tour (ESP) lp 27.00
We're not sure if it is tied to the recent death of visionary ESP-disk label founder Bernard Stollman, but it seems like many of the great forward thinking musical releases of uncategorizable out-rock, avant-jazz and beat performance pioneered on Stollman's label in the sixties and seventies are seeing new light. We re-listed the primal freak of Cromagnon recently, and the legendary Sun Ra lps Heliocentric Worlds vols. I and II are in our orbit once again as well (email us if you want to order). But this week, we have a solid vinyl reissue of the 1966 College Tour album from obscure out-jazz chanteuse, Patty Waters.
An influence of Diamanda Galas, Patti Smith and Lydia Lunch, the seemingly mild-mannered Waters became well known for her 14 minute interpretation of "Black is The Color of My True Love's Hair", from her first ESP album, 1965's Sings. In it she takes the traditional ballad and wrings out every gut-wrenching emotion from restrained grey-toned torch song to epic fits of shrieks and screams. At the time, that song hit a visceral nerve especially coming after a more staid but nevertheless nocturnal repertoire of beautifully skeletal jazz-balladry. Here she was taking Billie Holiday's sad and soulful delivery to new depths of nuance and extreme vocal innovation.
On College Tour she expands upon those dynamic vocals in a live setting using an all-star back-up group as part of a New York state college tour which included Sun Ra Arkestra, Burton Greene, Giuseppi Logan and Ran Blake. With flute, bass, piano and percussion in seemingly improvisational backing, Waters at first sings quietly in wordless coos and breathy whispers, that over time follow traditional jazz singing, but soon evolve (or devolve depending on how you look at it), into brays and wails, animal noises and hollers. The backing music follows suit. Two long suites embrace this dynamic with a brief, transcendent interlude of "It Never Entered My Mind" which is so gorgeously delivered, that it counters any doubt that this performer can actually sing. Water only recorded these two records for ESP, and then disappeared for about 25 years to raise a family. Though she made a new record of jazz standards in the nineties, it was nothing like these two early classics. Dig the Mansonesque cover photo, this is still some next-level shit!
Remastered and hand-numbered to 1000.
MPEG Stream: "Song of Clifford"
MPEG Stream: "Wild is The Wind"
MPEG Stream: "It Never Entered My Mind"

album cover WHITE MANNA Pan (Captcha / Cardinal Fuzz) lp 17.98
Disorganized folks we are, sometimes it happens that more than one AQ staffer writes a review for the same release! When that happens, we try to meld 'em together... or heck just run 'em both, its sorta interesting to see how similarly (or not) the reviews turn out. In this case, two views that aren't very far apart at all. See if you can tell which one was written by Andee and which one was written by Kirk...
Review A:
Another blast of transcendent, spaced out, garage psych from these Arcata stoners, and like past records, it's another gloriously drug fueled, FX heavy excursion into the outer reaches of the sonic stratosphere. Pan starts off with a bang, that bang being a heady sprawl of Stooges-y swagger, doused in some serious Hawkwindy-y swirl, a pounding, churning tranced out hypno-rock that never lets up. The vox are buried, a mumbled wasted drawl, psychedelic organs shimmer in the background, multiple guitars tangle into wild serpentine shapes, the songs oozing organically, stretched out into endless zoner jams, occasionally settling into something a little more tranquil, only to explode into action moments later, and once in a while, winding down into something even more drone-y and dirge-like. And while the rock shorthand for Manna was always Stooges + Hawkwind, Pan is maybe the most perfect distillation of those two sides of the band's sonic psyche, maybe their most rocking, but without sacrificing a bit of the seventies style bongsmoke freakouts, in fact, most of the tracks leave the pop realm altogether within minutes of launch, and never look back.
Review B:
Attention all stoners, trippers, rockers, punks, druggies, freaks, hippies, weirdos, and, well, psych and space rock fans, Arcata, California's own White Manna are back with full length number four (not counting the live one on Cardinal Fuzz)! If you've ever heard a White Manna album before, you already know that on Pan they'll be summoning the dense environs of their hometown, with huge walls of meditative psych dirge. And if you've listened to these guys before, you know they have a unique punk edge to them, often getting compared (by us) to the Stooges. On Pan, right off the bat you get back-to-back repetitive rock riffs that build and twist into spacey trips, definitely giving us that Stooges-meets-Hawkwind vibe. The attitude on Pan has definitely gotten meaner, and more aggressive, calling to mind the last release by Sonoran Desert heavies Destruction Unit. They aren't afraid to really let a song really breath, either, getting into some krautrock territory in some tracks, building and grooving into some 10+ minute jams.
Fans of our other favorite psych bands (Heads, Mugstar, White Hills) and the more punk psych bands like the aforementioned Destruction Unit are in for a treat. Far out.
Oh, and by the way, Captcha also released this as a digipak cd as well as on vinyl... except, that it's not a real cd for some reason, it's just a pro-printed cd-r. So, out of protest at them nonsensically not pressing a REAL cd, we're just listing the vinyl, but heck if you want the cd-r version, let us know, we can get it for you (and unlike the vinyl, it's got a live bonus track, a Hawkwind cover, "Master Of The Universe").
MPEG Stream: "Pan"
MPEG Stream: "Dunes I"
MPEG Stream: "Evil"


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