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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 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 MAUSOLEUM GATE s/t (Cruz Del Sur) cd 16.98
After The Dagger last list, our latest vintage-sounding (but utterly brand new) true, trad metal obsession comes in the form of the debut disc from Finland's Mausoleum Gate. You'd be forgiven for thinking this album came out years and years ago, like in 1985, 'cause it's rocking, twin guitar NWOBHM influenced stuff, with heavy nods to '70s Deep Purplish prog too, featuring lots of keyboard (Hammond organ, Mellotron), songs about Gypsy Queens, and better yet, Demon Droids - in fact our fave cut here, maybe favorite metal song in a while, is indeed "Demon Droid", how can you not love it for the title/concept alone? It's a kickass tune, too, and we also dig how the vocalist throws in some wordless "Aaah aaah aaah aaahs", nice touch. Speaking of the wailing, commanding vocalist, we're pretty sure he must have one or both hands permanently locked into making the "invisible oranges" gesture, or Dio-esque devil horns!
Cliches abound, perhaps, but they're delivered with panache. Like fellow Finns Lord Fist, Mausoleum Gate sure have got the spark, and conjure an entertaining, none too serious "evil" atmosphere, perfectly captured by the cover art. You can practically smell the brimstone. Also they ROCK. Moreover, you really don't often hear this sort of doomy/proggy/rocking combination (at its most doomyproggyrockingest on the nearly 12 minute closing epic, "Mausoleum Gate"), so it's a ton of fun for fans of the likes of Iron Maiden, Rainbow, Priest, early Savatage, old Heep, Dio (and Martin) era Sabbath, and other demon-pact class acts of yore.
MPEG Stream: "Magic Of The Gypsy Queen"
MPEG Stream: "Demon Droid"
MPEG Stream: "Mercenaries Of Steel"

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 I Am The Mausoleums / Blackened Fawns Cleanse The Earth With Fire (Chaos Of The Stars) cassette 5.98
Originally released as super limited cd-r's back in 2008, these killer slabs of twisted, outsider fuzz-pop black-gloom weirdness/genius are finally available again, now on the kvltest of formats, the cassette! Two cd-r's on a single tape! Here's what we had to say about I Am The Mausoleums back when we first reviewed it on New Arrivals List #276:
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.
And here's what we had to say about Blackened Fawns Cleanse The Earth With Fire back on aQ New Arrivals List #288:
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 Just A Certainty (Chaos Of The Stars) cassette 5.98
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 MAUTHAUSEN ORCHESTRA From Homicide To Slaughter (Urashima) lp 25.00
Here's one of two Mauthausen Orchestra reissues of incredibly rare tapes from one of the pioneers of Italian power electronics. From Homicide To Slaughter was completed in 1983, and appears to have been released through Aquilifer Sodality around that same time period, at least that seems to be the case in regards to an equally hard-to-find 12 cassette boxset issued by Slaughter Productions that claimed to anthologize all of the tapes Mauthausen Orchestra produced for Aquilifer Sodality. Eh. It matters not, as From Homicide To Slaughter is a downright classic recording of grimy electronics showcasing much more of a composed attack from Pierpaolo Zoppo. The six untitled pieces each take the Maurizio Bianchi approach of harsh starts and stop of the pieces, as if these noises were the mere extracts from an electronic seance of demonic forces and self-immolating ectoplasm. The first track on Side A is a monstrously grim piece of low-frequency amplifier destruction akin to the very early noise-based Lustmord works, where the remainer of the side kicks up a storm of radiowaves similar to John Duncan's collages of the medium at the time. Primitive looping or sampling techniques seem to capture the lurch from a disfigured machined rhythm that trudges through a thicket of hostile noise and divebomb arc of squalid feedback. Probably the best recording we've heard of the Mauthausen Orchestra back catalog. Limited to just 199 copies!
MPEG Stream: "From Homicide To Slaughter Pt. I"
MPEG Stream: "From Homicide To Slaughter Pt. VI"

album cover MAUTHAUSEN ORCHESTRA Necrofellatio (Urashima) lp 25.00
Pierpaolo Zoppo does not leave much up to the imagination with the title for this early Mauthausen Orchestra album. Sex. Death. The Third Reich. It's all very unseemly stuff Zoppo pulls from the darker regions of mankind's collective id; and Mauthausen Orchestra remains one of the pioneering exploits from the incredibly macabre Italian industrial scene that began with Maurizio Bianchi and continued through Mauthausen Orchestra, Sigillum S, The Sodality, Atrax Morgue, etc. It's hard to ignore how the extremity of the poetics from the Italian scene literally bleeds beyond art and into life for many of these artists. Zoppo, like Bianchi before him, announced a retirement in 1986, only to jump-start the project a little more than a decade later, up until his somewhat mysterious death in 2012. Necrofellatio was originally released in 1983 on the Italian cassette imprint Aquilifer Sodality, which was responsible for much of Zoppo's classic recordings. It's a brutal distillation of the skeletal yet ultra-violent aesthetics that Whitehouse espoused early on - shrill, ear-drum piercing feedback against deadened low-frequency black drones and inhumanly barked vocals. Zoppo's nihilist electronics explode in acts of self-eradication amongst crude electronics, working against the rational parts of the human psyche, almost a literal excavation of the dark corners from his mind and spilling those sick thoughts onto tape. Necrofellatio is available for the first time on vinyl (after a couple of editions on cassette and a dodgy cd-r edition), remastered from the original tape and pressed in an edition of 199.
MPEG Stream: "Necrofellatio"

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
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. 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"

MAXIMO PARK Too Much Information (Daylighting / PIAS) cd 14.98

MAXIMO PARK Too Much Information (Daylighting / PIAS) lp 27.00

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"

MAXIMUM JOY Unlimited (1979-1983) (Crippled Dick Hot Wax) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.

album cover MAXIMUM ROCK AND ROLL Issue #281 magazine 4.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Once again, the punk rock newsprint bible returns jam packed with, well, loads and loads of PUNK ROCK!! But this time we get a piece on all time AQ faves Redd Kross, with an extensive history of the Redd Kross early years!! Woo hoo!! Also, Swedish scene report, Blackpool, UK scene report, and tons of bands we've never heard of: Italy's Out With A Bang, Derek Lyn Plastic, We March from Ohio, Alan Milman, Rat Traps from Tennessee, the Scarred, Gilbert Switzer, killer classic Japanese hardcore photos, another excerpt from Lance Hahn's (J-Church) upcoming book on the crusty Anarcho scene, this time the Blood Robots, stories from New Orleans part 3 plus book reviews, record reviews, punk rock news, tone of columns and more more more!

album cover MAXIMUM ROCK N ROLL MAGAZINE Issue #280 magazine 4.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Another jam packed issue of THE punk rock rag. Dense with bands you've never heard of, scene reports from places you've never been, and ads for hundreds of records you didn't even know existed. A killer little chunk of newsprint that keeps punk rockers around the globe connected!
This month, scene report for Asheville, North Carolina, Spanish punk rockers the Webelos, Danish punx Hjertestop, an excerpt from a book in the works about the anarcho/crust scene, this time focusing on The APF Brigade, the Desperate Bicycles, more reports from New Orleans, pix from the Southkore Fest in Chicago, Texan punk rock photographer Bill Daniel, Swedish hardcore outfit Svartenbrandt, an interview with Disconvenience, the Rosenbombs, Up The Voltage as well as tons and tons of book reviews, record reviews, movie reviews, letters, news and columns!!

album cover MAXIMUM ROCK'N'ROLL MAGAZINE Issue #276 - May 2006 magazine 5.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Newest issue of this long running Bay Area punk rock institution. Still newsprint, still punk as fuck. This issue is appropriately the "Is Business Killing Punk Rock?" issue! With a huge article (just part one mind you) on DIY punk rock and the imortance of independence, with contributions from punk labels like Jade Tree, G7 Welcoming Commitee, Dr. Strange, 625, Havoc, Dischord and more. And of course loads of interviews with a bunch of bands / artists / writers we've never heard of: Soviet Valves (AUS), Suburban Death Machine (US), Frustrations (US), George Hurchulla, author of Going Underground: American Punk 1979-1992, as well as a bunch of cool excerpts from a forthcoming book by AQ pal and J-Church frontman Lance Hahn about Crass and all those anarcho bands, this time around, Icon A.D. and Dominant Patri, also a Vitamin X tour diary and finally an article about now defunct NY club ABC NO RIO.
And as always tons of book reviews, movie reviews, record reviews (only punk rock, and only independent labels), loads of letters, a bunch of columns (including a very metal one by former AQ mailorder monkey Elliott), punk rock news, scene reports (Greece, Czech Republic) and lots more.

album cover MAXIMUM ROCK'N'ROLL MAGAZINE Issue #277 magazine 4.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Another blast of punk as fuck-ness from this Bay Area bastion of punk and DIY. This month, part two of the article Business And Punk Rock with contributions from the folks who run Fat Wreck Chords, Ebullition, Sound Idea, Razorcake, Give Praise and a bunch more, scene report: Poland with a list of loads of Polish bands, interviews with and articles about The Lawrence Arms, Imperial Leather, Magrudergrind, Boom Boom Kid (don't worry, we haven't heard of most of the bands featured in MRR either!), part two of the Vitamin X tour diary. tons and tons of columns, including one by former mailorder master Elliott, lots of letters, news, politics, book reviews, record reviews and MORE!

album cover MAXIMUM ROCK'N'ROLL MAGAZINE Issue #279 magazine 4.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Latest issue of the punk rock bible. This time around, on the cover: Mika Miko (?), inside: The Fall, Cardiac Arrest, Digger & The Pussycats, Massmord, Insect Warfare, The Four Slicks, The Fallout, PAWNS, punk rock news, scene reports for Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, a Swedish scene report, tons and tons of columns, including one by former mailorder master Elliott, lots of letters, news, politics, book reviews, record reviews and MORE!

album cover MAYA Y (Discalcula) 10" 12.98
Ms Maya (pronounced May-ah) is a dear friend of Edison Woods' Julia Frodahl, and the two artists definitely are of kindred spirit albeit the former is a bit more heady, mystical and dusky than the latter. On the front cover she may bear a strikingly waifish resemblance to actress Mia Farrow, but her vocal delivery is strongly reminiscent of Kendra Smith, Rose McDowell and perhaps Carla Bozulich, particularly when she's singing the lower octave layers of her multi-tracked vocals. Y is comprised of four ethereal numbers steeped in shadowy somber atmospheres. String and piano tendrils wind gracely around her voice. Utterly captivating. The music may be slow creeping, but you should act fast because this release is limited to 500!

album cover MAYAN SUN, AZTEC DESTINY (Blast City Games) boardgame 49.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
We were gratified that a number of customers picked up the Cave Evil boardgame we reviewed on our last list. Turns out a bunch of you out there are serious gamers! Well, then, perhaps at least one of you gamers will also be interested in this, another boardgame from one of the designers responsible for Cave Evil, Nate Hayden. This game, to give it's full name, Mayan Sun, Aztec Destiny: 500 BC - AD 2012 - Beyond Infinity (!), is even more of a DIY production, with xeroxed rule booklets and homemade box cover, but has still got some fairly high quality components inside: full color cards and mounted map board, wooden pieces and die cut counters. It's even more limited than Cave Evil was, we have just have just one copy - one of the last ones Nate put together - and won't be able to get another. Going, going...
Oh, wait, you probably want to know more about what this game is all about. Well, it doesn't have the same kind of black metal musical/subcultural tie-in that Cave Evil did, but the theming is still pretty strange. Basically, it's about farming. But here's a mystical aspect too. (This ain't like Farmville.) As you may have guessed, it's set in ancient Mexico, with the gameboard being based around the Mayan agricultural calendar. Each player is supposed to be a sort of astronomer/astrologer, reading the stars to help their villages' crops prosper. You decide when to plant seeds (maize, squash, or beans) and then draw cards to perform rituals and make prophecies to improve your harvest. Your actions, however, can have a negative impact on the crops planted by other players. Technically, it's a "tile placement" game, with an element of wagering, but has two variants, basic (the "Sun" game) and advanced (the "Destiny" game), the latter of which makes things more complicated by having the players also attempt to predict and/or influence the end of the world! Something like that. We haven't actually played it yet! But we like the unusual theme and have heard that the mechanics are sound, that it's got good gameplay (it has scored a 7.9 out of 10, from 23 user ratings on BoardGameGeek.com, you can check out that site for more info). Also it looks cool, very colorful and evocative. Games should supposedly take around 45 minutes, and it's for 2 to 4 players, ages "12 and up".
Like we said, we only have ONE copy (well, we got 2, but Allan grabbed one of them, and is looking forward to playing it soon), so sorry if you want it and don't get it. But, keep a look out, 'cause this fall we should have another interesting design from Nate and Co., called Mushroom Eaters, a trippy game (with 3-D art on its cards and components, played wearing 3-D glasses!) about, yes, psychedelic shamanistic mushroom eatin'.

MAYBE MONDAY Saturn's Finger (Buzz-Records) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
A new improv trio starring Fred Frith (avant-guitarist extraordinaire!), Larry Ochs (from SF's much-lauded Rova Saxophone Quartet), and Miya Masaoka (the Bay Area's most adventurous improvising koto player--some may remember her performance with a hive of bees not long ago). Three long tracks of careful musical interaction that delves into the quiet and beautiful as well as the difficult and noisy. Anyone who saw this trio perform at SF's Great American Music Hall a few weeks back will know that all the players really delve into their respective bags of tricks: Ochs both blowing lovely melodies and squawking violence, Masaoka both coaxing soothing drones and plucking chaos, Frith both fooling with little noises and grinding out immense ones...a tour de force of improv abilities.

album cover MAYDAY Old Blood (Saddle Creek) cd 13.98
A surprisingly subdued direction for Ted Stevens' new project called Mayday. "Who is Ted Stevens?" you might ask. Well, you may better know him as the guitarist for considerably more aggressive emo-princes Cursive as well as the vocalist for Lullaby For The Working Class. Or you might've spotted him on the road with labelmates Bright Eyes. You might have also noticed the positive trend lately with members of the Nebraska / Saddle Creek Records family, of everyone helping everyone else out. Case in point? Look no further than this very album! There's plenty of familiar faces on Old Blood, some of which include the lovely Azure Ray, mister melancholia himself Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst, and some of Stevens' former Lullaby bandmates. This here's some fine, solemn and mature songwriting, check out the shadowy, dramatic beauty of "Captain". Might appeal to fans of Scott Walker or the Tindersticks (although Mr. Stevens' voice doesn't quite reach the deep deep theatrical depths of Stuart Staples').
RealAudio clip: "Captain"

MAYER, MICHAEL Immer 2 (Kompact) cd 15.98

MPEG Stream: SOMEONE ELSE "Ploosh"
MPEG Stream: JESSE SOMFAY "Lying In A Bed Of Myst"

album cover MAYER, MICHAEL Mantasy (Kompakt) cd 16.98
Somehow this is the very first full length from Michael Mayer we've reviewed, although we've long been fans, and have dug his tracks on a bunch of the Kompakt total compilations. But this new one is a doozy, don't let the goofy title fool you. The record starts out super dark and atmospheric, thick swirls of textured shimmer, haunting melodies, everything wreathed in a druggy haze, the sound less Kompakt techno, heck, even less Pop Ambient, and more sort of electronic chamber music / drone folk, super soundtracky and cinematic, the opening track sounds like it could have been plucked straight out of the opening credits of some mysterious foreign art film. The second track starts out similarly, before dropping a big beat, into the almost Bernard Hermann sounding soundscape below, but it makes for a heady combo, the gauzy soundtracky backdrop infusing the beat with some serious pathos, and then Mayer adds in all sorts of electronics, and eventually adds female voices, blurred into an angelic smear, the sound blossoming into something strangely groovy and weirdly funky, but still dark and moody.
Not all of the record is so cinematic, with the sound dipping into more straight ahead Kompakt style techno, or retro Goblin / Carpenter style synth grooves, but throughout the record, Mayer continues to return to that murky mysterious soundcaping of those first few tracks, like on "Roses", where he samples some old folk song, and stretches the final word of the lyric into a gauzy blur, before adding the beat, or the strange harp driven birdsong laced exotica of "Baumhaus", or the horn flecked, xylophone heavy, techno-ska thing that is "Rudi Was A Punk", which might be the coolest/weirdest track here. But then there's the closer, which is total Euro techno electro pop, right down to the crooned dramatic vocals and house-y groove. It's goofy for sure, but after a minute or two of thinking "I should skip this track", you find yourself not wanting it to end...
MPEG Stream: "Sully"
MPEG Stream: "Lamusetwa"
MPEG Stream: "Roses"
MPEG Stream: "Baumhaus"
MPEG Stream: "Rudi Was A Punk"

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