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IMPORTANT (Please read to avoid confusion):
Some items below may be tagged with a bold, red, all-caps "out of print/unavailable" notice. This does NOT mean that all other items not so tagged are, in fact, in stock -- or for that matter, in print and available, though there's a good chance they are. Some folks get confused on this point, and we can see why, so please read this for further clarification and other important before-you-order information. Unlike some mailorder websites, we don't have an electronic inventory system linked to our site, so you can't be sure of what we actually have or don't have in stock at any given moment without asking us -- please email our mailorder department for availability status -- or better yet, just go ahead and place your order using our shopping cart function and we'll get back to you with the status of each item. If you have general non-mailorder questions, email the store.


album cover MATMOS WITH J LESSER Live (Vague Terrain) cd 11.98
This limited edition collection of live material from Matmos with J Lesser (and a couple of guests) exposes the improvisational ability of this San Francisco electronica duo (or trio if you count Lesser) who are mostly reknowned for their transmutation of arcane sound sources (surgical suction, crayfish nerves, acupuncture) into IDM / tech-house. Where their studio albums have been crafted in full cognizance of the play between techno's rhythmic propulsion and the textural eccentricity of some of their source material, Matmos' live performances always try to integrate the performative, risk-taking elements of improvisation alongside pre-programmed rhythms and sequences. Thus, Matmos' live shows can't ever be accused of being the non-performances of a dude and his laptop, or sounding like their records for that matter. With these 11 live excerpts, Matmos ramble through dense processed bloopings made with skipping cds, walkie talkies, acoustic guitar, vacuum cleaner tubes, and duck calls (the latter being the most obtuse sound source on this album) alongside plenty of electronic skitter, resulting in something more in line with Gastr Del Sol and Red Crayola than what one may expect from Matmos. A couple of tracks (ones not qualified as improvisations in the liner notes) do venture into the throbbing electronica found on "Quasi-Objects" and "A Chance To Cut Is A Chance To Cure," including those aforementioned duck calls which I would really like to think is Matmos member M.C. Schmidt's answer to house divas. These tracks span the band's career with tracks dating back to 1997.
Matmos wanted to keep this a limited release, only selling these to a handful of shops across the globe. While not quite exclusive to Aquarius, this album isn't terribly likely to be showing up at many other shops! Act fast!
RealAudio clip: "Live 4"
RealAudio clip: "Live 6"
RealAudio clip: "Live 8"

album cover MATRIX Various Films (Chain Reaction) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.

MPEG Stream: "Blue Film #2"
MPEG Stream: "Milieux"
MPEG Stream: "Red Film #2"

MATSUNAGA, KOUHEI Upside Down (Mille Plateaux) cd 10.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Deep pulsing bass drones with creepy slow metallic percussion, and lots of interesting noise-making, featuring voice and cello and appearences by noise-greats Masonna and Merzbow, being not so balls-out noisey, but contributing effectively to the album as a whole.

album cover MATT POND PA Last Light (Polyvinyl) lp 16.98

MATTHEW SHIPP Piano Vortex (Thirsty Ear) cd 16.98

album cover MATTHEWS, ERIC Foundation Sounds (Empyrean) cd 14.98

MPEG Stream: "Our House"
MPEG Stream: "Sorry"
MPEG Stream: "Gold"

MATTHEWS, ERIC Six Kinds Of Passion Looking For An Exit (451) cd 14.98

MATTHEWS, KAFFE Ann (Annette Works) cd 14.98
While the majority of the sound source of Kaffe Matthews' "Ann" album is the violin, her improvisational sampling prowess has subverted and treated the original source into constantly shifting digitally looped drones and abstract patterns. This is her first album in a series of releases alphabetically progressing through women's names.

MATTHEWS, KAFFE Bea (Annette Works) cd 14.98
The second album from Kaffe Matthews is a continuation of her realtime explorations of sampler manipulation within a particular live setting. With a (sometimes hidden) microphone capturing her Tony Conrad-esque violin drones incedental sounds, Matthews selects snippets of droning sound to be fed into her sampler for hypnotic, ever shifting abstractions of sound.

MATTHEWS, KAFFE cd dd (Annetteworks) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Kaffe Matthews is a UK electronic artist specializing in live sampling techniques in which she pulls a variety of sounds from her performance space and transforms them into a variety of loops to be collaged in real time. Her previous recordings had often featured her playing violin and specifically manipulating that sounds; but as can be heard here on her fifth album, Matthews' is moving beyond the violin towards more abstracted compositions and sound elements. Chilling grey drones nervously build from mysterious, extended atmopherics into ominous mechanical rhythms, sounding like the post-industrial work of Nocturnal Emissions or Hazard.

MATTHEWS, KAFFE Cecile (Annette Works) cd 14.98
"Cecile" - Kaffe Matthews' third album - is quite similar in execution to her riveting live performance which recently took place here at Aquarius. Her method is to manipulate and layer samples of incidental sounds gathered from a singular context (meaning that no samples were brought into the context, and none were added later). While her previous two records had primarily improvised around violin, "Cecile" uses a lot of scratchy surface noise of vinyl as the source material, ending up sounding similar to Philip Jeck's collages.

MATTHEWS, KAFFE + HAYLEY NEWMAN Pointy Stunt (Audioview/Lowlands) cd 15.98
This Hayley Newman person performs all sorts of weird actions, then electronic sound manipulator Kaffe Matthews processes the resultant audio. 67 minutes, all recorded live. Weird actions? Well, try wearing a velcro bodysuit with microphones sewn in, or dancing on a miked-up wooden box wearing stilleto shoes outfitted with motors in the heels...hmm. Anyway, knowing that Kaffe can make even the everyday sounds here at Aquarius Records quite interesting with her processing (as she demonstrated not long ago at an instore performance) you might expect that the material on "Pointy Stunt" couldn't fail. Unexpected sounds abound, with everything from some pleasing drone/hum on the "Shoes" track to cut up music and animal noises that result from Newman weighing different objects on digital scales that Matthews set up to trigger odd samples.

album cover MATTOID, THE eternifinity (Cleft) cd 10.98
If your pajama party guest list included Ween, Beck and Lou Reed, it might sound something like this. We have a sneakin' suspicion that lots of pot was involved in the creation of this music. It's a very very off-kilter blend of folk and rock. Things go off on weird tangents that seems very much the product of a mind, uhh, well-baked. If The Mattoid does not smoke the weed, we sincerely apologize, but you listen to these six songs (c'mon, one of the songs is called "Tinkli Vinkli"... wha'?!), and tell us you don't think the same thing!
MPEG Stream: "Joy"
MPEG Stream: "Tinkli Vinkli"

album cover MATTSON, ED Kathy (Visionguild) cd 11.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Ed Mattson's debut cd features eleven laidback, down-homey country folk numbers. Joining him in the playing and producing duties is fellow Bay Area based indie rootsy singer/songwriter Clay Hawkins. Many of the songs bring to mind a more barebones brethren of warm, weathered Americana bands such as Red House Painters or American Music Club. Released on the new SF label and music collective Visionguild.
MPEG Stream: "Riverside"
MPEG Stream: "The Main"

MATZ, D. Ballroom Session One (Ambassador Transit) 7" 4.50
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Dan Matz of Windsor For Derby offers two tracks of solitary, singer / songwriter tracks with him, his guitar, and a couple of guys adding harmonium and melodica drones on one song. Pretty as some of the recent Windsor recordings, but no where nearly as intense as his Michael Gira collaboration.

album cover MAUDLIN OF THE WELL Bath (Dark Symphonies) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Repressed and back in stock, these Maudlin Of The Well albums (Bath and Leaving Your Body Map) may be of interest to fans of post-MotW band Kayo Dot. Here's what we said about these when we first encountered 'em:
Andee and Allan saw this band play last year [1997, actually] at the Milwaukee Metalfest, and they made a definite impression: imagine a death metal band (three or four long-haired dudes with the requisite t-shirts and musical equipment) sharing the stage with several complete incongrous-looking college band geek -types (playing trumpet, violin, french horn -- highbrow western art music instruments like that). This band is then fronted by a short-haired singer with a mustache who is painfully, obviously really *into* Mike Patton of Mr. Bungle. They weren't that great, really, but it was a nice change of pace from the generic death/black fury of the rest of the fest! Now, here's their new albums (not one, but two) and our friend Drucifer tells us that they might be the records of the year! Well, we *never* listen to him...BUT...these are pretty astounding, actually! Bizarre and intriguing, anyway. We're not complete sure if they're really *good* or not, yet. This new stuff sounds kinda like a relaxed Ulver jamming after listening to some old Radiohead, only occasionally remembering that they're supposed to be playing metal. Or Voivod on a New Age kick. Weird! Lots of acoustic guitars and sensitive-guy singing. Mixed with church organ, mellow saxophone, watery sound fx (the disc is called "Bath" after all!), and some ethereal female vocals. The metal content is minimal, there's maybe only three songs out of the ten found here where the drums and guitars work themselves up into a truly metallic velocity and heaviness (but when they do, it's really heavy). "Leaving Your Body Map" is similar (we thought maybe one of these two discs was the "heavy" one, the other not, like the last two Areyon releases, but that's not the case). Like "Bath", this is on the pretty side. Delicate. Emotion-filled. Melancholy. Quirky. With sudden, unpredictable bursts of very heavy metal. These guys (and gals) have to be commended for trying something different, although it's a bit hard to get one's head around. They're trying to get something across that really hasn't been done before, and they're obviously talented. We're guessing that they're Hampshire College English/Music majors who also happen to be really into Opeth, Morbid Angel, and giant squids, and art. Check 'em out if you dare.
MPEG Stream: "The Ferry Man"
MPEG Stream: "Birthpains of Astral Projection"

album cover MAUDLIN OF THE WELL Leaving Your Body Map (Dark Symphonies) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Repressed and back in stock, these Maudlin Of The Well albums (Bath and Leaving Your Body Map) may be of interest to fans of post-MotW band Kayo Dot. Here's what we said about these when we first encountered 'em:
Andee and Allan saw this band play last year [1997, actually] at the Milwaukee Metalfest, and they made a definite impression: imagine a death metal band (three or four long-haired dudes with the requisite t-shirts and musical equipment) sharing the stage with several complete incongrous-looking college band geek -types (playing trumpet, violin, french horn -- highbrow western art music instruments like that). This band is then fronted by a short-haired singer with a mustache who is painfully, obviously really *into* Mike Patton of Mr. Bungle. They weren't that great, really, but it was a nice change of pace from the generic death/black fury of the rest of the fest! Now, here's their new albums (not one, but two) and our friend Drucifer tells us that they might be the records of the year! Well, we *never* listen to him...BUT...these are pretty astounding, actually! Bizarre and intriguing, anyway. We're not complete sure if they're really *good* or not, yet. This new stuff sounds kinda like a relaxed Ulver jamming after listening to some old Radiohead, only occasionally remembering that they're supposed to be playing metal. Or Voivod on a New Age kick. Weird! Lots of acoustic guitars and sensitive-guy singing. Mixed with church organ, mellow saxophone, watery sound fx (the disc is called "Bath" after all!), and some ethereal female vocals. The metal content is minimal, there's maybe only three songs out of the ten found here where the drums and guitars work themselves up into a truly metallic velocity and heaviness (but when they do, it's really heavy). "Leaving Your Body Map" is similar (we thought maybe one of these two discs was the "heavy" one, the other not, like the last two Areyon releases, but that's not the case). Like "Bath", this is on the pretty side. Delicate. Emotion-filled. Melancholy. Quirky. With sudden, unpredictable bursts of very heavy metal. These guys (and gals) have to be commended for trying something different, although it's a bit hard to get one's head around. They're trying to get something across that really hasn't been done before, and they're obviously talented. We're guessing that they're Hampshire College English/Music majors who also happen to be really into Opeth, Morbid Angel, and giant squids, and art. Check 'em out if you dare.
MPEG Stream: "Gleam In Ranks"
MPEG Stream: "The Curve That To An To An Angle Turn'd"

MAULAWI Nururdin (Universal Sound) cd 21.00
From the "Now Thing" comp.

album cover MAUS HAUS Lark Marvels (Pretty Blue Presents) lp 13.98
We've been getting tons of requests for this, and after many attempts at contacting the band, we've finally got copies of their full length vinyl debut!! Maus Haus is a local San Francisco experimental pop six piece group, whose analogue synth-driven sounds lend themselves to comparisons to bands like Hot Chip, Stereolab, Black Moth Super Rainbow, Aavikko and Grizzly Bear. They're sure garnering a popular following with floor-filling live club gigs and word-of-mouth buzz!! But Maus Haus also mine a more off-kilter chamber pop sound that often forays into adventurous noirish British jazz territory that set the group apart from their perhaps better known contemporaries and influences. Whipsmart lyrics, soulful harmonies and tightly shifting musical arrangements (pensive harpsichords, far-off flutes and hypnotic saxophone hooks weave throughout) aptly display the group's fine-tuned musicianship and makes this local band definitely one to watch! Each LP comes with a mp3 download card for those who are vinyl-impaired! Very Recommended!
MPEG Stream: "We Used Technology (But Technology Let Us Down)"
MPEG Stream: "Radio Dials Die"
MPEG Stream: "Million Volt Lights"

album cover MAUS HAUS Winter / Zig Zag (Rocinante) 7" 5.98
Two new songs from this local Oakland sextet who are not afraid of tight and compositionally complex pop epics. Like a mix of Aavikko's energetic synthetic pop, Grizzly Bear's vocal harmonies and Liars urgent avant leanings, Maus Haus are probably amongst the hardest working local musicians and it shows! This white vinyl 7" comes with a download card for both songs plus three other brand new tracks from their Sea Sides EP. That's a lot of bang for your bucks!

album cover MAUS, JOHN A Collection Of Rarities And Previously Unreleased Material (Ribbon Music) cd 14.98
Here we have a collection of unreleased tracks, lost songs and rarities from weirdo outsider lo-fi pop-smith John Maus, who was originally more of an Ariel Pink sideman, and who thus shared much or AP's sonic worldview, but it quickly became evident that Maus was his own sort of twisted genius, and quickly established himself as quite the iconic "singer/songwriter", one that seemed to eclipse AP for many folks around here, and it's easy to see why, even here. While many of these tracks were left off of records, and some are from super early in Maus' career, they still display his warped mastery of low fidelity cable access VHS late night synth pop balladry, "North Star" sounds like Scott Walker fronting later period Blue Oyster Cult and performing on Stairway To Stardom, while "The Law" sounds like yacht rock via eighties new wave via bedroom 4 track downer pop. And "Castles In The Grave" is like a Bollywood version of John Maus, and might be the best track here. The great thing about Maus is not just his ability to create these weird out of time, worn and faded pop sounds, but to imbue them with impossibly catchy hooks, and the sort of ear worms that continue to burrow brain-ward long after listening. There is some serious goofiness here (like the sub-Sparks "This Is The Beat"), but for every moment like that, there's another that's darkly sinister, or lush and sultry and dramatically brooding, or impossibly catchy and dementedly poppy, and while John Maus is definitely an acquired taste, it's one we acquired long ago!
MPEG Stream: "North Star (2008)"
MPEG Stream: "The Law (2003)"
MPEG Stream: "Castles In The Grave (2010)"
MPEG Stream: "I Don't Eat Human Beings (2008)"

album cover MAUS, JOHN A Collection Of Rarities And Previously Unreleased Material (Ribbon) lp 23.00
Yay, now here on lp, we listed the cd last time...
Here we have a collection of unreleased tracks, lost songs and rarities from weirdo outsider lo-fi pop-smith John Maus, who was originally more of an Ariel Pink sideman, and who thus shared much or AP's sonic worldview, but it quickly became evident that Maus was his own sort of twisted genius, and quickly established himself as quite the iconic "singer/songwriter", one that seemed to eclipse AP for many folks around here, and it's easy to see why, even here. While many of these tracks were left off of records, and some are from super early in Maus' career, they still display his warped mastery of low fidelity cable access VHS late night synth pop balladry, "North Star" sounds like Scott Walker fronting later period Blue Oyster Cult and performing on Stairway To Stardom, while "The Law" sounds like yacht rock via eighties new wave via bedroom 4 track downer pop. And "Castles In The Grave" is like a Bollywood version of John Maus, and might be the best track here. The great thing about Maus is not just his ability to create these weird out of time, worn and faded pop sounds, but to imbue them with impossibly catchy hooks, and the sort of ear worms that continue to burrow brain-ward long after listening. There is some serious goofiness here (like the sub-Sparks "This Is The Beat"), but for every moment like that, there's another that's darkly sinister, or lush and sultry and dramatically brooding, or impossibly catchy and dementedly poppy, and while John Maus is definitely an acquired taste, it's one we acquired long ago!
MPEG Stream: "North Star (2008)"
MPEG Stream: "The Law (2003)"
MPEG Stream: "Castles In The Grave (2010)"
MPEG Stream: "I Don't Eat Human Beings (2008)"

album cover MAUS, JOHN Love Is Real (Upset! The Rhythm) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
The year is only just beginning but there have already been some amazing new records released that we're pretty sure will end up on our favorites of '08 list. This new outing by the enigmatic John Maus is one of them and it might just be the most engrossing and addicting albums we've been hooked on in a long time!
Best and barley known in the past as being loosely associated with the Paw Tracks family (Animal Collective, Panda Bear, Ariel Pink) Maus has made a record that will make his name definitely stand on its own. As he's created one of the most fantastical, bizarre and engaging pop records in recent memory. Warped bedroom pop with a flair for fantasy, wrapped in old fucked up synths, deep slowed down vocals, cosmic beats and a singular unique vision. Like OMD on codeine or early home demo recordings of The Cure captured on an answering machine tape that's been dubbed over way too many times. Or imagine a soundtrack to a lost early '80s movie made by both John Hughes and John Carpenter, as romantic teenage life intersects with magical apocalyptic doom! Love Is Real is as creepy and mystifying as it is heartfelt and endearing. As catchy as it is unpredictable. Out of nowhere the synths will rise to crazy loud levels or Maus will let out a haunting scream, and even after listening to this album hundreds of time as we have obsessively already, those parts still jump out, scare, startle and thrill us every time we listen.
Start to finish the album is impeccable. Songs lead into each other perfectly, the pacing is dead on, and every single track on the record belongs where it is and has a weight of its own. Whether it's sounding like the muddiest version of a Psychedelic Furs track or tapping into a bizarre drugged out cosmic disco excursion or having a freaked out panic attack, the record pulls from so many directions while always sounding like a completely other universe. This is what fantasy sounds like when the world around you is falling apart. Totally amazing!
MPEG Stream: "Heaven Is Real"
MPEG Stream: "My Whole Worlds Coming Apart"
MPEG Stream: "Tenebrae"

album cover MAUS, JOHN Love is Real (Upset! The Rhythm) lp 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Yeeeay! Finally out on vinyl now. Packaged so nicely too with the cd's shiny silver cover transformed into classy white on white (Even the vinyl is white!), but still with that original awesome full color sexy robot painting smack dab on the front cover! Now we get to play this in our bedrooms and jump up and down and lose ourselves in this amazing record all over again! Here's what we said when we heard Love Is Real for the first time....
The year is only just beginning but there have already been some amazing new records released that we're pretty sure will end up on our favorites of '08 list. This new outing by the enigmatic John Maus is one of them and it might just be the most engrossing and addicting albums we've been hooked on in a long time!
Best and barley known in the past as being loosely associated with the Paw Tracks family (Animal Collective, Panda Bear, Ariel Pink) Maus has made a record that will make his name definitely stand on its own. As he's created one of the most fantastical, bizarre and engaging pop records in recent memory. Warped bedroom pop with a flair for fantasy, wrapped in old fucked up synths, deep slowed down vocals, cosmic beats and a singular unique vision. Like OMD on codeine or early home demo recordings of The Cure captured on an answering machine tape that's been dubbed over way too many times. Or imagine a soundtrack to a lost early '80s movie made by both John Hughes and John Carpenter, as romantic teenage life intersects with magical apocalyptic doom! Love Is Real is as creepy and mystifying as it is heartfelt and endearing. As catchy as it is unpredictable. Out of nowhere the synths will rise to crazy loud levels or Maus will let out a haunting scream, and even after listening to this album hundreds of time as we have obsessively already, those parts still jump out, scare, startle and thrill us every time we listen.
Start to finish the album is impeccable. Songs lead into each other perfectly, the pacing is dead on, and every single track on the record belongs where it is and has a weight of its own. Whether it's sounding like the muddiest version of a Psychedelic Furs track or tapping into a bizarre drugged out cosmic disco excursion or having a freaked out panic attack, the record pulls from so many directions while always sounding like a completely other universe. This is what fantasy sounds like when the world around you is falling apart. Totally amazing!
MPEG Stream: "Heaven Is Real"
MPEG Stream: "My Whole Worlds Coming Apart"
MPEG Stream: "Tenebrae"

album cover MAUS, JOHN Songs (Upset! The Rhythm) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Not to be confused with the John Maus who was in the Walker Brothers in the '60s this John Maus has been making warped baroque pop in the cozy confines of his bedroom in Minnesota for the last several years and is best known for his contributions to Ariel Pink and Animal Collective offshoot Panda Bear. Maus is one seriously prolific songwriter who until now has kept pretty much all of his own songs to himself. "Songs" is a collection of some of those dark pop offerings recorded at home over the last few years. Channeling the spirit of Ian Curtis and using vintage electronic equipment, Maus's songs evoke a hazy kind of daydreaming but with a much more morose slant. His deep voice got us thinking of folks like Calvin Johnson, Scott Walker and on the first track he's a dead ringer for Robert Smith. Dark weird pop done right!
MPEG Stream: "Time To Die"
MPEG Stream: "And Heaven Turned To Her Weeping"

album cover MAUS, JOHN Songs (Upset! The Rhythm) lp 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Also available on vinyl!
Not to be confused with the John Maus who was in the Walker Brothers in the '60s this John Maus has been making warped baroque pop in the cozy confines of his bedroom in Minnesota for the last several years and is best known for his contributions to Ariel Pink and Animal Collective offshoot Panda Bear. Maus is one seriously prolific songwriter who until now has kept pretty much all of his own songs to himself. "Songs" is a collection of some of those dark pop offerings recorded at home over the last few years. Channeling the spirit of Ian Curtis and using vintage electronic equipment, Maus's songs evoke a hazy kind of daydreaming but with a much more morose slant. His deep voice got us thinking of folks like Calvin Johnson, Scott Walker and on the first track he's a dead ringer for Robert Smith. Dark weird pop done right!
MPEG Stream: "Time To Die"
MPEG Stream: "And Heaven Turned To Her Weeping"

album cover MAUS, JOHN We Must Become The Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves (Ribbon Music) cd 12.98
Love Is Real, the last record from warped lo-fi popsmith John Maus, is an all time aQ favorite, a dizzying trip into some alternate reality FM radio, where the Cure recorded on answering machines, OMD crafted pop hits on broken tape decks and malfunctioning 4 tracks, a cosmic beat laden dream pop drug trip that managed to be as catchy and irresistible as it was baffling and totally and insanely demented.
Needless to say, we were super excited to discover there was a new John Maus record, the strangely titled We Must Become The Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves, a record that got even stranger when we discovered there was a song called "Cop Killer" on it. Naturally we assumed it was a cover of Body Count's infamous banned jam, so we played that track first, and besides being surprised that it was in fact an original, we also ended up being totally blown away by what might be the sweetest, most dreamily twisted John Maus track EVER.
A broody, almost torch songy ballad, all woozy synths, and big eighties drums, Maus delivering the bizarrely provocative lyrics in his best warm velvety croon: "Cop killer, cop killer, Let's kill the cops tonight, kiiiiiiill them, cop killer, kill every cop in sight", and then the delirious refrain "Against the law" repeated over and over in a tangled storm of intense pulsing synths. The sound lush and explosive, thick and softly blown out, a serious shot across Ariel Pink's bow, a definite challenge for the warped lysergic lo-fi pop crown, a challenge that's gonna be tough to answer. Especially considering that the rest of the record, is just as good, if not as immediately catchy. But catchy it is. "Matter Of Fact" sounds like Maus channeling Devo through his cracked eighties FM pop filter, with some equally baffling lyrics ("Pussy is not the matter of fact"), and some gorgeous hazy synth ambience. "Streetlight" is total eighties new wave pop with the delay and echo effects cranked, the vocals careening wildly through dubbed out clouds of delay, while underneath synths pulse and rhythms groove. "Quantum Leap" is haunting and gorgeously gloomy, Maus the consummate crooner, his deep dramatic vocals bobbing atop thick bouncy basslines, handclap percussion, and lots of swirling sonic murk. "...And The Rain" is another darkly dramatic dream pop doom synth dirge, all rainy late night ambience, and again cloaked in thick swirls of soft focus distortion and blurred echoey shimmer, every track seeming to constantly grow more and more washed out and effects drenched, constantly on the verge of total collapse, but somehow, the more tripped out and damaged they sound, the more pretty and poppy and dreamy they become, a fantastically fractured collection of twisted outsider gloom pop that really has no equal. About as close to a perfect pop record as Maus is liable to get, assuming you like your pop buried in buzz and all blurry and druggy and woozy and warped. Which we most definitely DO.
MPEG Stream: "Cop Killer"
MPEG Stream: "Streetlight"
MPEG Stream: "Quantum Leap"
MPEG Stream: "...And The Rain"

album cover MAUS, JOHN We Must Become The Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves (Ribbon Music) lp 23.00
Love Is Real, the last record from warped lo-fi popsmith John Maus, is an all time aQ favorite, a dizzying trip into some alternate reality FM radio, where the Cure recorded on answering machines, OMD crafted pop hits on broken tape decks and malfunctioning 4 tracks, a cosmic beat laden dream pop drug trip that managed to be as catchy and irresistible as it was baffling and totally and insanely demented.
Needless to say, we were super excited to discover there was a new John Maus record, the strangely titled We Must Become The Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves, a record that got even stranger when we discovered there was a song called "Cop Killer" on it. Naturally we assumed it was a cover of Body Count's infamous banned jam, so we played that track first, and besides being surprised that it was in fact an original, we also ended up being totally blown away by what might be the sweetest, most dreamily twisted John Maus track EVER.
A broody, almost torch songy ballad, all woozy synths, and big eighties drums, Maus delivering the bizarrely provocative lyrics in his best warm velvety croon: "Cop killer, cop killer, Let's kill the cops tonight, kiiiiiiill them, cop killer, kill every cop in sight", and then the delirious refrain "Against the law" repeated over and over in a tangled storm of intense pulsing synths. The sound lush and explosive, thick and softly blown out, a serious shot across Ariel Pink's bow, a definite challenge for the warped lysergic lo-fi pop crown, a challenge that's gonna be tough to answer. Especially considering that the rest of the record, is just as good, if not as immediately catchy. But catchy it is. "Matter Of Fact" sounds like Maus channeling Devo through his cracked eighties FM pop filter, with some equally baffling lyrics ("Pussy is not the matter of fact"), and some gorgeous hazy synth ambience. "Streetlight" is total eighties new wave pop with the delay and echo effects cranked, the vocals careening wildly through dubbed out clouds of delay, while underneath synths pulse and rhythms groove. "Quantum Leap" is haunting and gorgeously gloomy, Maus the consummate crooner, his deep dramatic vocals bobbing atop thick bouncy basslines, handclap percussion, and lots of swirling sonic murk. "...And The Rain" is another darkly dramatic dream pop doom synth dirge, all rainy late night ambience, and again cloaked in thick swirls of soft focus distortion and blurred echoey shimmer, every track seeming to constantly grow more and more washed out and effects drenched, constantly on the verge of total collapse, but somehow, the more tripped out and damaged they sound, the more pretty and poppy and dreamy they become, a fantastically fractured collection of twisted outsider gloom pop that really has no equal. About as close to a perfect pop record as Maus is liable to get, assuming you like your pop buried in buzz and all blurry and druggy and woozy and warped. Which we most definitely DO.
MPEG Stream: "Cop Killer"
MPEG Stream: "Streetlight"
MPEG Stream: "Quantum Leap"
MPEG Stream: "...And The Rain"

album cover MAUSOLEUMS, THE Blackened Fawns Cleanse The Earth With Fire (Chinese Workers Labor Union) cd-r 8.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
The long overdue return of aQ faves The Mausoleums, whose last record was a confusional swirl of grim black buzz and weird jangle pop, blown out bliss and thick dense noise. For this second record, the Mausoleums seem to have turned down the buzz (just a bit) and turned up the pop. That's right. POP. Not that there wasn't pop all over the last Mausoleums disc I Am The Mausoleum, but the opening track on Blackened Fawns Cleanse The Earth With Fire, "Livelihood", is a gorgeous organ drenched slab of crunchy distorted shoegaze jangle. And we're not talking about the new wave of "metalgaze" that so many metal bands seem to be glomming onto, this is just glorious and resplendent and soaring, shimmering blisspop nirvana, the guitars jangly but washed out and fierce, the melodies sprawling and sun drenched, the sound crumbling and gloriously distorted. In fact, one song in and we're thinking it well worth the price of admission.
But it doesn't take long for the band to dip back into their other true love, the next track, "The One Who Sees", finds the band returning to a furious blackened buzz, howled vocals, pounding drums, insect like riffage, but even then, the sound is still rife with disembodied pop jangle and soaring guitar buzz, an impossible hybrid that sounds way better than it should. The next track is neither, instead a dense processed soundscape of soaring guitar feedback, little curlicues of buzzing melody, looped stuttering drums, dizzying minor key strum, all tangled up in a gloriously seasick hypnotic whirl.
"Thief" begins as straight up pop, like some super distorted Pavement outtake, or lost Sebadoh jam, all fuzzy jangle and simple propulsive drumming, until the vocals come in, a super distorted black metal shriek, bringing with it another layer of buzzing blown out distortion.
And so it goes for the rest of the record, careening from glorious shoegaze distortion drenched buzz pop, to in-the-red lo-fi black metal crunch, but with those two various sonic strains constantly bleeding and leeching into the other, resulting in the record's finest moments, the impossibly dense, epic, majestic guitar drone shoegaze blowout of "Old Woman In The Woods", impossibly heavy, yet gorgeously melodic at the same time, the strange distorted folky raga buzz of "His Reward", the frenetic ultra distorted surfy twang of "Skeletal" and finally the brief closer, "The Bees", a lovely chunk of overdriven steel string Appalachia that near the end explodes into a brief blown out buzz-drenched burst of looped digital fuzz.

MPEG Stream: "Livelihood"
MPEG Stream: "The One Who Sees"
MPEG Stream: "Fertile Depths"
MPEG Stream: "Thief"

album cover MAUSOLEUMS, THE I Am The Mausoleum (Chinese Workers Labor Union) cd-r 8.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
You think Wold and Velvet Cacoon know a thing or two about buzz and distortion, well, those guys have nothing on the Mausoleums...
It's hard to even quantify how blown out and buzzy the sound is here, it might make more sense to reference Japanese noise music cuz this almost sounds like straight up super distorted speaker melting N.O.I.S.E., on the surface at least. Until you notice a roiling whirlpool of blackened riffing and howled vocalizing, just beneath all that harsh hiss and brutal buzz. It's almost like Ildjarn or Beherit recorded by Masonna and produced by Merzbow. Blasting and relentless, face melting fury, guitars so distorted they sound like they might crumble into jagged shards, drums that sound like bursts of white noise, but all deftly shaped into riffs and songs and chunks of seriously scalding blackened metal.
But then the band will unleash something like "Cicada", a gorgeous loping slowcore jam, again doused with delay and buried under a layer of distorted grit, but strangely lovely, with a bit of melancholy twang mixed in.
Or the freaked out blackpsych blast of "Joan Of Arc" a track that sounds like a dense slab of pure black buzz and howl, until suddenly a gorgeous chunk of indie jangle surfaces, still dripping with distorted buzz, but so goddamn dreamy and melodic, like an even more distorted damaged My Bloody Valentine, the drums and cymbals so corroded and decayed, they balance out the dreamy jangle. Elsewhere, riffs are dipped in molten hellfire and pushed all the way into the red, crumbling distortion is draped over lilting minor key guitar, strange Greg Ginn-ish angular guitars are twisted and melted down into more black buzz...
And while the majority of the record is some of the filthiest, blackest buzzingest metal you'll ever hear, the buzzing blackness is split up by all sorts of unlikely and not that black jams, the strangely skeletal Stereolab-ish post rock of "Lenin Not Lennon", the creepy black electro (replete with strangely Beatles-esque guitar) of "Insignificance", the metalized buzz wrapped Neu!-isms of "Running Through The Reeds", the warbly organ flecked garage stomp of "I Guess I'm Like A Prince, Maybe" and the Spacemen 3 like druggy drone of "Like A Prince", all seemingly out of place, but when listened to as a whole, seem to perfectly balance the extreme brutal buzz of the rest of the disc.
Maybe too fucked up and far out for most metal heads, but folks into super damaged heaviness, and freaked out whatthefuck metal will dig this BIG TIME.
MPEG Stream: "Day Of Wrath"
MPEG Stream: "Cicada"
MPEG Stream: "You Die Defiant"
MPEG Stream: "Lenin Not Lennon"

album cover MAUSOLEUMS, THE Just A Certainty (Chaos Of The Stars) cassette 5.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
The return of the Mausoleums! After two obsessively loved cd-r's, we had been hankering for more. Those cds, both long out of print, were a confusional mix of super distorted buzzing blackness, crunchy blissed out shoegazey pop, jangly post rock, and whatever other sonic weirdness the Mausoleums felt like mixing in. On Just A Certainty, the first new Mausoleums record in 3+ years, much has changed, it's a much more cohesive record for sure, but all of the above sounds are glaringly absent, no jangly indie pop, no buzzing blackness, no dreamy shoegaze, instead, The Mausoleums have crafted a work of lo-fi, murky mesmer, that manages to fuse fuzzy folk with mantric hypnorock, looped ritualism with druggy psychedelic space rock, buzzing dronemusic with abstract lysergic drift.
The opening track "Destination III" is a bit of Appalachian style folk, but wreathed in a prickly swirl of crunchy static, the recording so muted and muddy, the notes bleed into each other, the folky fingerpicking transformed into a fuzzy chordal swirl, dripping with reverb and delay. "Negation" is another bit of folky strum and stomp, but even more muted and washed out and indistinct, the vocals and guitars tangled up under layers of hiss and hum and whir and thrum, there seem to be drums too, but so buried they become a muted pulse, all woven into a weirdly rollicking chunk of murky dronefolk. "Swimmin In A Sea Of Sand" displays the other side of the Mausoleums new sound, one that fuses the drugged out hypnotic repetition of groups like Spacemen 3 and Wooden Shjips, with the alien trancelike audio ritualism of Zomes, a looped buzzy guitarscape that could go one forever.
"Doomed/Where You Go" continues that same sort of lysergic dronerock, with the drums almost punching through the murk and mire, but remaining more of a distant throb, while the muted buzz is laced with spidery melodies and hushed whispery vox, a tripped out buzzy bit of hypno psych rock for sure. "Gypsy Moth" might be our fave, a hazy, gauzy layered landscape of pulsing organs, dreamlike loops and all manner of overtones, it may be just an interlude, but it will have you completely entranced.
The last three tracks are longer, and allow The Mausoleums to stretch things out, and get way spacier and psychedelic, "Psychic Overthrow" is like a space rock jam reduced to it's core elements, a churning sea of pulsing, reverb drenched riffs, roiling endlessly, bleeding into each other, creating one epic and organic psychscape, while "Opposite Shores" sounds like some old school psychedelic garage rock, but recorded underwater, all the sounds washed out and blurry, the drums propulsive, but still buried beneath layer upon layer of fuzz, this jam the poppiest of the bunch, with some cool Eastern sounding buzzing guitar leads wound into the shimmery swirl, and finally, "H774119" offers up a Mausoleums style stab at new wave, programmed drums, buzzing synths, hypnotic and krautrocky, sounding a bit like a super raw, and WAY more fucked up Stereolab, dark, dreamy, druggy, and WAY psychedelic.
A rad to return to form, even though it's a decidedly different form, but it's one we like a a lot, maybe even better.
MPEG Stream: "Negation"
MPEG Stream: "Gypsy Moth"
MPEG Stream: "Opposite Shores"

album cover MAUSOLEUMS, THE The Tollbooths (Chaos Of The Stars) cassette 5.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
The Mausoleums are back with a new collection of hypnosis-inducing riffs and sonorous tape-saturated grit transmissions in tow. With this, their fourth outing, The Mausoleums continue to refine the ball-lightning-like blown out energy of their earlier missives' psychedelic black metal into a somewhat more dynamic nuanced approach consisting of heavy doses of fried amp guitar buzz, churning organ, bass and percussion. Even with the feeling of simplicity achieved via elemental reduction and experiments in fidelity shift, the result is equal parts fist-pumping and cerebral, like a foggy haze trapped in a perpetually ascending NASA shuttle. This album retains the feeling of claustrophobia and paranoia of earlier ones; yet, more than before, production accentuates mood, providing just enough space for the sounds to breathe and create texture and depth, particularly in the buried yet aggressively melodic, occasionally double-tracked, vocals. There's a strange sense of reassurance in the music; the knowledge of plant growth overrunning remnants of civilization, perhaps, while Hawkwind riffs warble on the last Victrola. While the Mausoleums have always felt like an unearthed, organic compost of sound, elements of rural black dirt psychedelia and even Appalachia drape like a shrouds of mist on this record more heavily than before, alongside wafting echoes and half-remembered dreams of other distinctly domestic traditions: Detroit Rock, Southern Blues, metal, and hardcore, among others. And the Mausoleums' dirt-under-the-nails approach extends beyond the sonics; in spite of the diversity of influences and implications of cross-pollination, the Mausoleums seem to exist wholly on their own terms, offering a compelling statement in support of the simplicity of homegrown songcraft, production, and maintaining a singular vision in an era of hyper-aware referential complexity.
MPEG Stream: "Rainin"
MPEG Stream: "Defying Life"
MPEG Stream: "Once Again"
MPEG Stream: "Dead End"

album cover MAVRA s/t (KV&GR/Recs) cd-r 5.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Another discovery via aQ pal / black metal weirdo Cloak Of Displacement, this one a super obscure collection of dark ambient sound collage from the mysterious Estonian soundscaper known as Mavra (who is in fact Veiko Rebane, live vocalist for CoD), all created from audio samples from films, old records and a delay pedal. A very primitive sort of Philip Jeck in a way, the sounds barely recognizable, instead transformed into woozy looped rhythmscapes, or layered into shimmery drones, the vibe is propulsive and a litrle bit krauty, but definitely very primitive and ritualistic, lo-fi and home brewed.
Some of the tracks are downright pretty, and sound a bit like Boards Of Canada, albeit a slightly more abrasive, more evil version, the melodies a bit off kilter, a little atonal, the tracks laced with shards of crunch and glitch, all drifting atop warm sinister swells of chordal thrum, the second track here in different hands could have been a sweet bit of dreamy IDM, but instead is a bit more raw and moody. Elsewhere the sound shifts into almost soundtrack territory, heaving bits of organ swirl underpin tense high end tones, and cascading avalanches of primitive electronics, but all masterfully woven into a strangely mesmerizing sort of lo-fi electronic ambience.
The final three tracks offer up variations on the electronica versus black ambience versus droney drift, the sound flitting between the three, noisy and chaotic one second, swirly and sci-fi the next, and finally, dark and dolorous, haunting and hypnotic, which is how the record unwinds in its final moments. So good.
LIMITED TO 20 COPIES!! That's it. We got 15 and once they are gone we won't be able to get more!
MPEG Stream: "I"
MPEG Stream: "III"

album cover MAWDRYN s/t (Universal Consciousness) cassette 8.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
The Universal Consciousness label returns with another batch of tapes, following the Moon Knight and Lord Time cassettes we reviewed a few lists back. There's another amazing Lord Time release, and this one the debut from this mysterious outsider ambient doom one man band (whose sole member also does time in Lightning Swords Of Death and Endless Blizzard). The label describes the sound as funereal and majestic and it most definitely is, the guitars soaring, epic and melodic, the drums minimal, super echoey, like this was recorded in some black cavern, the strange mix of off kilter percussion and the super mournful melodic guitars makes this sound almost psychedelic. Eventually the sound shifts into more classically doomy plod, but even then, the echoey drum pound is all dubbed out, and the guitars chug and churn, often unfurling long stretches of droney buzz, before slipping right back into those majestic melodies. The sound spends as much time drifting ominously as it does plodding and lumbering, those ambient stretches are hauntingly beautiful, not just your typical metal synth interludes, instead, it's a sort of blackened kosmische, lush and layered, infused with streaks of feedback, and grinding muted industrial thrum, all blurred into dark passages of sinister rumble and buzz, the sound of which seems to ooze into the doom proper, making the creep and crunch a bit more abstract and psychedelic, mysterious and otherworldly. This is the sort of rare 'doom', that could very well appeal to non metal folks into strange dark sounds and more abstract avant heaviness. And it may be a bit too out there for your typical metalhead, but if you like your doom twisted, tripped out and drone drenched, then this will definitely hit the spot.
LIMITED TO 100 COPIES. Packaged in super deluxe, embossed, heavy textured metallic paper J-cards, each one hand numbered and sealed with a sticker.
MPEG Stream: "Undead"
MPEG Stream: "Terminus"

album cover MAX & MARA Less Ness (Dark Entries) lp 14.98
No, not some quaint, lovey-dovey coupling between a waif-like chanteuse and her mustachioed beau-hunk. This is an Oakland minimal wave duo, whose emotional detachment through cold electronics and monotone vocals is hardly the stuff of romance. The former half of this duo is Max Brotman, who had released a pretty fantastic album of Sheffield-influenced synth-punk under the banner Brotman & Short. As good as that record (and this record is), we gotta wonder about the lack of imagination when it comes to naming his projects. Anyway, the latter is Mara Barenbaum, who records her Not Not Fun approved work of pop-surrealism as Group Rhoda. Let's hope this is not some one-off collaboration, as Brotman really seems to bring a sense of clarity and structural direction, and Barenbaum has plenty of weird-girl cards up her sleeve at any given time. The two come up with some choice synth-pop sequences on vintage gear reflecting a Chris Carter / Clock DVA sense of robo-funk. One of the rare outings from Dark Entries of contemporary work, but easily lives up to rest of the label's impressive catalog.

album cover MAX BLOCK, THE Air Ache In The Belly Of The Leech (Siltbreeze) lp 15.98
Long overdue reissue of this legendary and mostly unheard early eighties Flying Nun artifact. Even Flying Nun obsessives would be forgiven for missing out on Max Block's sole 12" release, but odds are you're familiar with the members of Max Block, specifically Maryrose and Brian Cook, who first found themselves in a band together here, having previously done time in Above Ground (recently reissued and reviewed right here) and Scorched Earth Policy respectively, and eventually going on to form long time aQ faves the Renderers.
This lp comp collects both that long lost 12", as well as another, until now unreleased ep, The Max Block's sound a woozy art damaged punk, lots of angular jagged guitars, wild octopoidal drumming, dueling male / female vox, super active melodic basslines, tribal rhythms, swirls of spacey effects, the vibe droned out and propulsive, with whirring organs adding a strange almost circusy vibe at times, but usually reminding us of groups like The Ex and Pere Ubu, even Wire here and there, some tracks frantic and frenetic, others brooding and downcast, sounding like with some extra noise and heft they could've been Dead C jams, in fact the live tracks are downright noisy, but MB's sound is firmly on the pop side of the spectrum, although unlike many of the NZ bands of the time, their's was less concerned with jangle, and more with crunch, less twee and more tangle, slipping from noisy and dirgey to trance-y and minimal to crunchy, angular and chaotic. Awesome stuff, and if you dug the track on the recent Time To Go Flying Nun compilation we reviewed recently, you've probably been wanting more!!
LIMITED TO 500 COPIES, includes a download coupon as well!
MPEG Stream: "Burn David Burn"
MPEG Stream: "It Came In A Can"
MPEG Stream: "Black Fish"
MPEG Stream: "Sonic Blur"

MAX ERNST & 2 (Max Ernst) 12" 9.98
I'm pretty sure that this is Thomas P. Brinkmann, although no information can be found on the record inspite of an etching with Pole and Din (it sound like neither) scrawled on the run-out groove. Yet the metronomic techno punctuated by a disjointed looping sample of a jazz riff has all the signifiers that Tom is the man behind this one. Fans of Plastikman and Chain Reaction should take note!

album cover MAX PLANCK Kill The Pain (Stormspell) cd 11.98
Damn, the metalheads here are geeking out over this gem! As super obscure cult '80s metal bands go, Max Planck from up in the boonies of Port Townsend, WA, are definitely one of our faves. A few years back, Buried By Time And Dust did a pricey vinyl reissue, now out of print, of this bizarro band's 1985 demo, that we never managed to review, so we're stoked that Stormspell has just done a nice new, less expensive (but still limited) compact disc version, complete with bonus track.
Of all the demos that could be rescued from the dusty past, this one is so very worthy. Max Planck were a three-piece playing a charming homebrewed brand of DIY metal, putting on their own shows out in the woods, though they also played clubs in Seattle too. Epic and melodic, rockin' and catchy, eccentric and sorta psychedelic, this should definitely appeal to those into the marginally less obscure likes of Manilla Road, Cirith Ungol, Brocas Helm, Black Hole, and even Dwarr and Zolar X.
We were surprised to learn that the guitarist and bassist were husband and wife, with kids!! That'd be Rod Freeman, also the vocalist, and Colleen "Spike" McCormick. The trio was rounded out by 15 year old drummer Eddie Forcier.
Proggy and punky at the same time, their song titles include "Fucked Up" and "Everywhere Is Nowhere", but they weren't really such a negative, nihilistic bunch. The song "Starscream" is in fact about the Transformers cartoon, a sci-fi subject that makes a lot of sense considering that Spike and Rod were raising two small children and Eddie was basically still a kid himself.
Weird and nerdy as their metal is, it makes sense that they'd be named after a famous German physicist, the founder of quantum theory - but, the name of the band was in fact selected through a chance operation that also involved the help of a mystical forest druid. Read the liner notes.... (And also be aware that though we're not reproducing it due to the limitations of our website's coding, the band's official spelling of their name of course includes a very metal umlaut over the "a" in Planck.)
Max Planck's namesake scientist won a Nobel Prize in 1918, and if they gave out an award for quirky, inspired, old school metal-making, Max Planck the band would be a deserving recipient.
Limited edition, hand-numbered, 500 copies only. The cd booklet includes biographical liner notes, full lyrics, gear specs, vintage b&w photos, and graphics from their rare vinyl appearances (on the Metal Meltdown lp compilation, and on a split 7").
Definitely an auspicious start for Stormspell's new "arcane collector series" of obscure '80s metal demo reissues, look for other volumes by Aerian Rage and Battlecry to be reviewed here soon...
And, as they liked to say, it's now time to CRANK THE PLANCK!!!!
MPEG Stream: "Roar"
MPEG Stream: "Northwind"
MPEG Stream: "Enter Into The Rock"

MAX PLANCK Kill The Pain (Buried By Time And Dust) lp 32.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Damn, the metalheads here are geeking out over this gem! As super obscure cult '80s metal bands go, Max Planck from up in the boonies of Port Townsend, WA, are definitely one of our faves.
Of all the demos that could be rescued from the dusty past, this one is so very worthy. Max Planck were a three-piece playing a charming homebrewed brand of DIY metal, putting on their own shows out in the woods, though they also played clubs in Seattle too. Epic and melodic, rockin' and catchy, eccentric and sorta psychedelic, this should definitely appeal to those into the marginally less obscure likes of Manilla Road, Cirith Ungol, Brocas Helm, Black Hole, and even Dwarr and Zolar X.
We were surprised to learn that the guitarist and bassist were husband and wife, with kids!! That'd be Rod Freeman, also the vocalist, and Colleen "Spike" McCormick. The trio was rounded out by 15 year old drummer Eddie Forcier.
Proggy and punky at the same time, their song titles include "Fucked Up" and "Everywhere Is Nowhere", but they weren't really such a negative, nihilistic bunch. The song "Starscream" is in fact about the Transformers cartoon, a sci-fi subject that makes a lot of sense considering that Spike and Rod were raising two small children and Eddie was basically still a kid himself.
Weird and nerdy as their metal is, it makes sense that they'd be named after a famous German physicist, the founder of quantum theory - but, the name of the band was in fact selected through a chance operation that also involved the help of a mystical forest druid. Read the liner notes.... (And also be aware that though we're not reproducing it due to the limitations of our website's coding, the band's official spelling of their name of course includes a very metal umlaut over the "a" in Planck.)
Max Planck's namesake scientist won a Nobel Prize in 1918, and if they gave out an award for quirky, inspired, old school metal-making, Max Planck the band would be a deserving recipient.
And, as they liked to say, it's now time to CRANK THE PLANCK!!!!

album cover MAX, AGATHE This Silver String (Xeric) cd 16.98

album cover MAX-B s/t (Wah-Wah) lp 18.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Awfully hard to find any information about this unique afro-funk pioneer. The first track on the album "Bananaticoco" we had heard before when we got the popular "Club Africa 2" compilation in a year ago, but a search on google under Max B's (Max Boulois) name only comes up with several listings for some obscure action films, and a quick visit to imbd.com shows a Max Boulois -- originally of Madrid, Spain -- who was an actor, writer and director (his tour de force being "Othello: aka The Black Commando"). Anyway, we do know that this lp was originally issued in 1973 by Opalo records and that Max B apparently recorded this album in Spain. The music contained herein is an interesting blend, of up tempo dance-party-afro-rock numbers with a decidedly Brazilian flavor. Lots of mixed chorus chanting and latin percussion with the occaisonal piano thrown in to boot. Then there are the two totally uncharacteristic tracks which are almost worth the price of admission alone: a heavy acid-psych track, "Poker" (a bonus track to this issue) with swishy wah-wah guitars (the label's bias?) and sloshy organ and the following track "Free", which is another psych track, though less heavy, which features moaning female vocals to a pulsing beat. We wish there was an entire album of tracks by Max B of this sort, but alas we must be satisfied with these two. This reissue is courtesy of the Spanish label Wah-Wah, which also released that live Prince Buster lp we listed a while back, and they do an impressive job of pressing their records on nice thick slabs of vinyl.

MAXFIELD, RICHARD / HAROLD BUDD The Oak Of The Golden Dreams (New World Records) cd 15.98
A split release between Richard Maxfield and Harold Budd (known for his collaborations with Eno) showcasing their 1960's experiments in electronics and free jazz. Maxfield's work ranges from synthetic 60s concrete / electronic pieces to narrated poetry over uptempo Ornette Coleman style free jazz. Budd's "The Oak of the Golden Dreams" is the highlight - a gritty piece of Steve Reich / Angus MacLise inspired minimalism of persistantly droning chords and loopy flanging notes making the whole piece sound like an electronic bagpipe.

album cover MAXIMO PARK A Certain Trigger (Warp) cd 14.98
When we listed the Maximo Park ep a few lists back, in the review we proclaimed that if only it had been a full length it would have been record of the week for sure. Well, here we are a few months later, and what do ya know? Maximo Park is record of the week. It wasn't a done deal though, not at all. That first four-song ep was so perfect, Interpol meets XTC, flawless angular pop, we listened to it non-stop. So much so that when we first threw this on, it didn't quite live up to our expectations. Those first four songs from the ep set the bar pretty high. Maybe too high. But like all great records, each subsequent listen offered us more, and revealed each song to be even catchier than the one before. A Certain Trigger has quickly become the pop record of the year for us. Hyperbole? Maybe, but we just can't stop listening to this record. As we've mentioned many times before, we fought tooth and nail against this whole new wave dance punk revival, but a good band is a good band. What can you do? And ya know, we dug Interpol, Franz Ferdinand, Kaiser Chiefs, but hell if Maximo Park doesn't trounce them all. They do have "the sound", that sort of jagged off kilter post punk pop that will ensure that they get lumped in with the flavors of the month. But the songs here are so much more timeless sounding. Unlike the loads of bands just aping Gang Of Four, Maximo Park sound like their own band, sure they share some sonic elements, but they sound like they could have easily existed in 1980 as much as 2005. And they draw their inspiration not only from the obvious, Gang Of Four, XTC, Interpol, but also incorporate the moody dramatic electropop of Ultravox, the gloomy buzz and burn of Joy Division, and even bouncy eighties power pop, with super fuzzed out synths, kinetic new wave rhythms, and of course MP frontman Paul Smith's immediately engaging vocals. The songs are bouncy and poppy, but manage to be dark and minor key and edgy enough to give the whole record an intense emotional buzz. Two songs from the ep are present, our pop song of the year "Apply Some Pressure" and the XTC worshipping "The Coast Is Always Changing" (you can hear samples of both with the review of the "Apply Some Pressure" ep), but there are plenty of new classics that have been getting repeat play here like crazy. The massively catchy "Now I'm All Over The Shop" with its pounding piano and weirdly arpeggiated rhythm, and a vocal melody that literally gives us chills, like that one song on a mixtape that makes you want to either smash everything to bits or run across town to declare your true love. And then there's the bouncy XTC count-by-numbers pop of "The Night I Lost My Head" with its angelic background Oooo's and a weird stop start chorus, and the gloomy bass driven "Once, A Glimpse" with it's chiming guitars, tribal rhythms and guitar heavy refrain and the gorgeously languid "Acrobat" that sounds like an updated version of Ultravox's "Vienna". So pretty. All of A Certain Trigger is totally classic sounding, enough that it was tough to pick which songs to make sound samples for. So yeah, all you folks who froth at the mouth for every band that has any of that Killers / Franz Ferdinand / Bloc Party sound going on will probably love this record, but it's way more than just another one of -those- bands. Maximo Park are an amazing pop band, and this is an amazing pop record, with enough sonic precedents to make it feel familiar and classic, but enough new stuff going on and enough killer classic songs to make it one of our favorite new records. Period.
MPEG Stream: "Now I'm All Over The Shop"
MPEG Stream: "Limassol"
MPEG Stream: "The Night I Lose My Head"
MPEG Stream: "Once, A Glimpse"

album cover MAXIMO PARK A Certain Trigger (Warp) lp 16.98
When we listed the Maximo Park ep a few lists back, in the review we proclaimed that if only it had been a full length it would have been record of the week for sure. Well, here we are a few months later, and what do ya know? Maximo Park is record of the week. It wasn't a done deal though, not at all. That first four-song ep was so perfect, Interpol meets XTC, flawless angular pop, we listened to it non-stop. So much so that when we first threw this on, it didn't quite live up to our expectations. Those first four songs from the ep set the bar pretty high. Maybe too high. But like all great records, each subsequent listen offered us more, and revealed each song to be even catchier than the one before. A Certain Trigger has quickly become the pop record of the year for us. Hyperbole? Maybe, but we just can't stop listening to this record. As we've mentioned many times before, we fought tooth and nail against this whole new wave dance punk revival, but a good band is a good band. What can you do? And ya know, we dug Interpol, Franz Ferdinand, Kaiser Chiefs, but hell if Maximo Park doesn't trounce them all. They do have "the sound", that sort of jagged off kilter post punk pop that will ensure that they get lumped in with the flavors of the month. But the songs here are so much more timeless sounding. Unlike the loads of bands just aping Gang Of Four, Maximo Park sound like their own band, sure they share some sonic elements, but they sound like they could have easily existed in 1980 as much as 2005. And they draw their inspiration not only from the obvious, Gang Of Four, XTC, Interpol, but also incorporate the moody dramatic electropop of Ultravox, the gloomy buzz and burn of Joy Division, and even bouncy eighties power pop, with super fuzzed out synths, kinetic new wave rhythms, and of course MP frontman Paul Smith's immediately engaging vocals. The songs are bouncy and poppy, but manage to be dark and minor key and edgy enough to give the whole record an intense emotional buzz. Two songs from the ep are present, our pop song of the year "Apply Some Pressure" and the XTC worshipping "The Coast Is Always Changing" (you can hear samples of both with the review of the "Apply Some Pressure" ep), but there are plenty of new classics that have been getting repeat play here like crazy. The massively catchy "Now I'm All Over The Shop" with its pounding piano and weirdly arpeggiated rhythm, and a vocal melody that literally gives us chills, like that one song on a mixtape that makes you want to either smash everything to bits or run across town to declare your true love. And then there's the bouncy XTC count-by-numbers pop of "The Night I Lost My Head" with its angelic background Oooo's and a weird stop start chorus, and the gloomy bass driven "Once, A Glimpse" with it's chiming guitars, tribal rhythms and guitar heavy refrain and the gorgeously languid "Acrobat" that sounds like an updated version of Ultravox's "Vienna". So pretty. All of A Certain Trigger is totally classic sounding, enough that it was tough to pick which songs to make sound samples for. So yeah, all you folks who froth at the mouth for every band that has any of that Killers / Franz Ferdinand / Bloc Party sound going on will probably love this record, but it's way more than just another one of -those- bands. Maximo Park are an amazing pop band, and this is an amazing pop record, with enough sonic precedents to make it feel familiar and classic, but enough new stuff going on and enough killer classic songs to make it one of our favorite new records. Period.
MPEG Stream: "Now I'm All Over The Shop"
MPEG Stream: "Limassol"
MPEG Stream: "The Night I Lose My Head"
MPEG Stream: "Once, A Glimpse"

album cover MAXIMO PARK Apply Some Pressure (Warp) cd ep 8.98
Interpol meets XTC. What could be better? Not much if you ask us. Yet another band in the moody eighties new wave revival dance party (Futureheads, Killers, Bloc Party, Interpol, etc...) a genre we tried desperately to steer clear of, but what can we do? Band after band keep managing to take that totally played out sound and infuse it with new found energy, punk rock snarl and killer killer songs. The first track here "Apply Some Pressure" is easily the single of the year. Angular shards of guitar, insistent tribal drumming, and a hook that just won't quit. All topped off by a halftime, arpeggiated chorus that is absolutely PERFECT. One of the few songs of late that we just listen to over and over and over and over. But then track two is almost just as good, and it's then that Maximo Park's XTC worship becomes totally (and perfectly) obvious. Herky jerky rhythms over swoonsome guitar melodies, warm warbly synths and brainy lyrics (they even rhyme 'lost' with 'riposte'!). Tack on two more amazing tracks and you've got the most brutal tease of an ep in recent memory. Four songs in eleven minutes leaving you desperate for more More MORE. If this was a full length it may very well have been record of the week. As it is, fans of Interpol, the Strokes, the Futureheads, the Killers and all that sort of stuff should get all over this.
MPEG Stream: "Apply Some Pressure"
MPEG Stream: "The Coast Is Always Changing"

album cover MAXIMO PARK Missing Songs (Warp) cd 9.98
We went apeshit for Maximo Park last year and we don't regret it at all. A testament to the kickassnes of the 'Park is how much they still get played in the store. ALL THE TIME! For those of you who don't know what the heck we're talking about, pick up Maximo Park's A Certain Trigger (one of Andee's top 10 records of last year and a unanimous store fave) and then we'll talk. Lumped in with the new breed of dance punk, Kaiser Chiefs, Franz Ferdinand,the Killers, but for our money Maximo Park trump them all. Taking the influence of all -those- bands, Gang Of Four, Interpol, Ultravox, Joy Division, and most importantly XTC! And it's the XTC that really separates MP from the pack. The dance element is tempered by a huge swath of snarky intelligent pop, and it doesn't hurt that in the middle of a wildly propulsive dance punk rave up MP will unleash a hook straight out of XTC's classic pop songbook, taking everything to a whole 'nother level. Fun and funky, clever and quirky, angular new wave guitars, bouncy power pop rhythms and synths all over the place. The songs on Missing Songs, a collection of B sides, are slow growers, not as immediately catchy as ALL the tracks on A Certain Trigger, but they're the kind of songs that on repeated listens seep into your brain and end up superseding the 'hits' and becoming you new favorites. EXCEPT for two tracks from the first Maximo Park that were as immediately catchy as ANY song they'd written which were inexplicably left off the full length, "Fear Of Falling" and "I Want You To Leave", both bouncy and churning and choppy and punky and fucking perfect. With strange stop start arrangements, lush harmony vocals and impossibly off kilter and improbably catchy hooks. Even if this were a $15 single with JUST those two songs it would be SO worth it. But instead you get a whole batch of other songs destined to be you new favorites, as well as three demo versions of tracks from the full length!
MPEG Stream: "A19"
MPEG Stream: "Stray Talk"
MPEG Stream: "Hammer Horror"

album cover MAXIMO PARK Our Earthly Pleasures (Warp) cd 12.98
We made the first Maximo Park record of the week and here we are two years later and it still gets daily plays. An impossible hooky combination of new wave swagger and classic dour pop, Interpol meets XTC is how we described it, and that was pretty much spot on. Maybe a bit more modern and a lot more caffeinated. So we were counting the days until this here disc dropped, and it's everything we had hoped for. Not as immediately as catchy, and a little bit more introspective, but after repeated listens, Our Earthly Pleasures has blossomed into THE POP RECORD OF THE YEAR. We sort of gushed endlessly about the first record, so you might just want to head over to that review (A Certain Trigger) and see what we had to say, and heck, while you're there, if you don't already own it, you might was well add it to your cart. All the folks who flip over stuff like the Kaiser Chiefs and Franz Ferdinand and the Killers will probably love this too. But the rest of you, who couldn't quite get into the whole new wave revival (like us) might just find yourself digging this anyway. It's more classic pop sounding than the current wannabe Gang Of Four sound... Smart pop, with killer hooks, crunchy guitars, playful piano, and some super clever / funny / wry lyrics. Epic sweeping melodies, killer chunks of fuzzy synths, some electronic squiggles here and there, but ultimately perfect pop through and through.
From the super anthemic "Girls Who Play Guitars", to the lilting minor key new wave miserablism of "Books From Boxes", to the sweeping dramatic epic-ness of "Karaoke Plays" to the surprise gem of the record "Nosebleed", tucked away in the second half of the record, featuring the unforgettable line "Did we go too far? Is that why your nose is bleeding?" that you'll find yourself humming to yourself all the time. Every track here is impossibly catchy, packed with hook after hook, amazing harmonies, clever turns of phrase, all wrapped up tight into some of the catchiest, most perfect kick ass pop we've ever heard. And if it even needed to be said again: POP RECORD OF THE YEAR!
MPEG Stream: "Girls Who Play Guitars"
MPEG Stream: "Our Velocity"
MPEG Stream: "Books From Boxes"
MPEG Stream: "Karaoke Plays"

album cover MAXIMO PARK Quicken The Heart (Warp) cd 15.98
No point in being coy or beating around the bush. Might as well come right out and fess up (as if the aQ list faithful didn't already know). We LOVE this band, ever since the Apply Some Pressure cdep released way back in 2005, and every record since. Sure, A Certain Trigger might be their best record, but we dug Our Earthly Pleasures BIG time. It was definitely a grower, but it didn't take long for it to end up a daily play. Same thing with Quicken The Heart, at first we weren't sure what to think, we're always sort of hoping that MP will return to the hyper caffeinated Interpol meets XTC sound of that first record and come up with another song that rivals the impossibly kinetic hook filled jam that is "Apply Some Pressure", but just like with Our Earthly Pleasures, after a few listens we no longer found ourselves wishing for that sound of old, we just let these new songs wash over us, and with every listen they blossom more and more, and now at least half of the songs here rank as some of our favorite MP jams. Jangly new wavey guitars, propulsive drumming, buzzy synths, and killer vocals, amazing melodies, and hooks galore. There's only bum in the bunch, and weirdly enough it's the first single, hearing that before the record showed up had us a bit worried, but now that it's here, we just skip that song (and heck, even that one is growing on us) and play the shit out of the rest of the record. Killers, Franz Ferdinand, Interpol, Kaiser Chiefs, Arctic Monkeys, Nine Black Alps, we love all those bands, but there's just something about Maximo Park that makes them our favorite.
We get so spoiled working in a record store, we know what records are coming out months before they do, and we sometimes get them a few days ahead of time, it does make you less excited, how you were as a teenager, but every time there's a new Maximo Park record, we find ourselves counting the days, and then heading to work on that Tuesday knowing that it'll show up sometime that day. That's a cool feeling, one we miss for sure, and one that is evoked by a surprisingly few bands. Needless to say, this record rules, if you're in the market for some smart, angular, new wave-y pop, you couldn't do much better than Quicken The Heart.
MPEG Stream: "Wraithlike"
MPEG Stream: "The Kids Are Sick Again"
MPEG Stream: "A Cloud Of Mystery"

album cover MAXIMO PARK The National Health (Straight To The Sun) cd 12.98
A few years back, there was a glut of bands doing that whole dance punk new wave thing, which we happened to dig a LOT: the Killers, Franz Ferdinand, Bloc Party, Kaiser Chiefs, but these guys were always our favorite, their debut full length A Certain Trigger remains one of our favorite records, even to this day, and their song "Apply Some Pressure" might very well just be the best song that whole scene produced. Check out the video on YouTube, it's pretty great as well:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZrZ83tdW_k
We've dug every record since, and each one definitely had a handful of killer jams, although none was quite as good as A Certain Trigger. It had been a while since the last full length, and the vocalist released a sort of lackluster solo record in the meantime, so we were pretty much figuring they were done and gone, but then all of a sudden this new full length showed up, and it's actually super great, in fact, we're liking it more than the last few already. The title track could easily have come right off of A Certain Trigger, as could a bunch of these songs, which is positioning this as maybe our favorite since the debut, catchy and super rocking, a perfect balance of driving super rocking new wave and more brooding jangle pop jams, hooks galore, crunchy fuzzy guitars, just listen to the samples, you'll know right away if this is your cup of new wave dance punk, but between this and the Grand Magus, we're finding it hard to listen to anything else. (Well, Andee in particular might be the one listening to both back to back on heavy rotation...)
MPEG Stream: "The National Health"
MPEG Stream: "Hips And Lips"
MPEG Stream: "Until The Earth Would Open"
MPEG Stream: "Banlieue"

album cover MAXIMUM JOY Station MXJY (Victor) cd 42.00
During a brief three years in the early '80s, Y Records enjoyed a roster of amazingly funky, post-punk groups that included The Pop Group, The Slits, Shriekback, Pigbag, and bafflingly enough Diamanda Galas (not taking on the typical guise of the label, mind you). Maximum Joy was another outstanding entry from Y Records, having been formed by Tony Wrafter after the dissolution of the agit-pop punk ensemble Glaxo Babies. Wrafter recruited vocalist Janine Rainforth, another Glaxo Baby in Charlie Llewellin, and the Pop Group's John Waddington. After a couple of singles, the band released Station MXJY under the production thumb of Adrian Sherwood. His dub inflected engineering worked perfectly to render Maximum Joy's jaunty punk-funk tunes as a sunny doppleganger of The Pop Group. Amidst Sherwood's tape echo and delay workouts, the band adventurously march through a taut rhythm section that tightropes between a militant funk and a doleful rocksteady swagger, while chicken scratch guitars map out the simple song structures and saxophone solos splatter across the stereo. It's a very good thing that this record has been reissued (complete with four excellent bonus tracks), as Maximum Joy were clearly a talented bunch who might have been forgotten otherwise. It's just unfortunate that Station MXJY is only available as an expensive Japanese import. Ouch!
MPEG Stream: "Dancing On My Boomerang"
MPEG Stream: "Do It Today"
MPEG Stream: "Stretch"

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