MCSWEENEY'S QUARTERLY CONCERN Issue 20 book 22.00
Every issue of McSweeney's Quarterly is a treat, not just the amazing writing, but the design as well, which is pretty much mindblowing every time. And this newest issue just might take the cake. Which is saying a lot since past issues have been packaged in cigar boxes, as multiple little booklets, with strange and elaborate covers, bizarre type setting, they'll try anything. The newest looks like a regular bound hardcover book, except for the psychedelic landscape on the cover that is both intricately colored and raised up and textured, like someone dropped some bizarre multi colored, tendrilled, angular -thing- on your book, where it quickly hardened into some sort of tripped out topographical map. Cool. And the text inside is just as gorgeous and fascinating. New fiction from Susan Steinberg, Kevin Moffit, Ben Jahn, Tony D'Souza, J. Erin Sweeney, Sarah Raymont, Jack Pendarvis, Roy Kesey, Anthony Schneider, Roderick White, Aaron Gwyn, Sam Miller and Corrina Vallianatos. Also lots of amazing original artwork. And inside the back cover is affixed a little printed booklet, the first chapter of a forthcoming McSweeney's novel. As always, not much else to say but WOW!
MCSWEENEY'S QUARTERLY CONCERN Number 13 (McSweeney's) book 24.00
For those of you who always have trouble with the big words and long stories, this is the McSweeney's for you. The thirteenth installment of McSweeney's always brilliant literary journal is ALL comics this time around. Well, not all, but mostly. Contributors include Lynda Barry, Mark Beyer, Chester Brown, Ivan Brunetti, Charles Burns, Daniel Clowes, Robert Crumb, Kim Dietch, Julie Doucet, Gilbert Hernandez, Jamie Hernandez, Ira Glass, Ben Katchor, Kaz, Chip Kidd, Archer Prewitt, Gary Panter, Charles Schultz, Seth, Art Spiegelman, Jim Woodring, Adrian Tomine, Richard Sala, Joe Matt, John Updike, John Porcellino, and more! Beautifully layed out as always and jam packed with comics and comic related pieces. A gorgeous cover as well, an old fashioned book cover like we used to have to wrap all our schoolbooks in, made from a Chris Ware designed Sunday comics page, with gold leaf style embellishments, and two mini comics tucked inside the front and back flyleafs. So cool!
MCTELL, BLIND WILLIE Scarey Day Blues (Monk) 2lp 30.00
We got another amazing batch of vintage blues reissues from the wonderful Monk label. Look elsewhere on the list for reviews of two more volumes of Charley Patton recordings and an lp by Blind Willie Johnson (not to be confused with this Blind Willie)! Born blind at the turn of the century, Blind Willie McTell was not only an astute guitar player, but even a more avid businessman, often using a myriad of pseudonyms (Hot Shot Willie, Georgia Bill) to juggle multiple record deals. Having developed a unique subgenre of the blues called Piedmont Blues, combining a hard roots Delta style with the more sophisticated East-Coast style, his guitar playing often sounded like there were multiple instruments playing. McTell was less gospel-influenced than Blind Willie Johnson, favoring songs about hard-living and hard-loving. He had a long recording career with a few labels, but with not as much success as he hoped for due to the Great Depression. This compilation spans 26 recordings between 1927 and 1931 recorded in his home town of Atlanta for the Victor Records label.
MCTELL, BLIND WILLIE Searching The Desert For The Blues (Monk) 2lp 30.00
Monk Records returns with collection #2 from legendary Piedmont blues singer and 12 string guitar master Blind Willie McTell. These songs, released on the Victor, Okeh, and Vocalion labels, were recorded in between 1931-1933, picking up where the material from Monk's previous McTell collection, Scary Day Blues ended, with a few sessions taking place in McTell's homebase of Atlanta while the majority were captured in New York City. Most of the songs feature accompaniment from fellow Georgia guitarist Curley Weaver, while others find McTell backing up singers Ruth Willis and Ruby Glaze in an ensemble setting. For those unfamiliar with McTell, his style is generally a bit more refined and his voice is sweeter than many of his counterparts from the Delta or Texas. Much of the lyrics on this collection are of a spiritual nature, but then you got tracks like "Love Makin' Ma and "Death Cell Blues", which should indicate the wide range of topics on display here. Throughout, McTell's masterful guitar playing astounds and inspires. Truly amazing stuff here.
MCTELLS Expecting Joe (Captured Tracks) cassette 9.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
MCTELLS s/t (Captured Tracks) cassette 9.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
MD4 Mark My Wordz (Royal Throne) cd 8.98
MD4 Mark My Wordz (Royal Throne) cd 8.98
MDK A Friend Is A Stranger You Haven't Met (Spymania) cd 16.98
British electronica maverick MDK starts "A Friend Is A Stranger You Haven't Met" on the evil side of things, with a digitally hacked collage of industrial strength thrash metal. Before you begin to think about Francisco Lopez or Alec Empire and their digital synthesis of metal, MDK makes a quick left turn into beautifully Oval-esque passages for laptop processed string samples. This trend of quick genre edits continues through hip hop, Mego noise, house grooves, etc... Fortunately, MDK has enough sense to retain a common thread to his work -- an undefined sentiment of sadness. This is an album that is strangely seductive, and superior to his previous full-length.
MEADOWLANDS Music From Mainzer Strasse (Moon Glyph) cassette 4.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. One of three new tapes from (now) local label Moon Glyph, this one from Brooklyn based ambient soundscaper Meadowlands, who created these tracks while abroad in Berlin, and endeavored to capture a sort of weightless drift, a timeless sonic space representing his time spent wandering in a strange city, and these three extended tracks to conjure up that sort of mysterious tranquility. It's not hard to imagine wandering through Eastern Europe, with this drifting through your headphones, long layered tones, softly pulsing, subtle overtones drifting and blending into all new shapes and sounds, no jagged edges, everything smooth and rounded, washed out and softly psychedelic, a warm almost liquid thrum that seems to enter your ears and spread throughout your body, emanating like some inner glow. The tape begins to grow more ominous, with a subtle tension, a keening high end underpinning a slow shifting shimmer, a barely perceptible ebb and flow, soft swells of dark chordal whir, which eventually resolves in the final track, a long stretch of soft focus dream-noise, a sound that's smeared into long blurs of murky melody and wreathed in a Tim Hecker like haze, but this track too, infused with a dramatic energy that lurks just below the surface, adds a strange pathos to the proceedings, which keeps the sound from being nothing too soft, to wispy, and instead imbues Meadowlands' sonic travelogue with some indefinable emotional heft.
"U8 " MPEG Stream:
"Alone In Neukolln"
MEADS OF ASPHODEL Sonderkommando (Candlelight) cd 14.98
The Meads Of Asphodel are a strange bunch, everything about them has always been just a bit off, but brilliantly so, their sound sonically schizophrenic, their black metal flecked with whatever weirdness mainman Metatron feels like throwing into the mix. In their band photos, they're always wearing medieval Crusader armor, wielding shields, maces and swords, their song titles are bizarre, their records filled with unlikely guests, and seemingly designed to baffle or piss of in equal measure, and while much of what they do seems like it must be a joke, like they're constantly taking the piss, arriving now at full length number six (and that's not counting splits and eps), it's more obvious now than ever, that these guys are deadly serious, it's just that they're also kinda nuts. And it's that seriousness, that dedication to their high concept warped songcraft, that makes this new record make a bit more sense. Just a bit. While there's no shortage (unfortunately) of Nazi black metal, there has not yet been, as far as we know, a black metal concept record about the holocaust, not celebrating it in any way, just exploring the horror, from both the perspective of the perpetrators AND the victims. Well, at least until now. That's right, like the last Meads concept record, also a pretty intense one, about the life and death of Jesus, titled The Murder Of Jesus The Jew, Sonderkommando is another concept record, one that is indeed about the Holocaust. The music is the usual twisted batch of Meads weirdness, with another collection of ridiculous guests, who only add to the confusional sonic chaos, but the lyrical content this time around is appropriately harsh, as is the gruesome cover art, and while folks will no doubt cry foul, this is serious stuff, even if sonically, it doesn't always seem like it. Mainman Metatron spent YEARS researching and conceptualizing, and the bafflingly brilliant results bear that out, an epic sonic sprawl equal parts grim black buzz, murky blackened prog, and over the top, super dramatic, melodic Broadway musical style glamminess. Yup. But what did you expect, it's the Meads after all. And just to drive that point home, in the band pictures they're still dressed like medieval warriors! The core Meads lineup this time around is augmented by a whole mess of guests, including members of Hawkwind, God's Tower, Amebix, Sigh, even Gnaw Their Tongues, and hell, Metatron's son even makes an appearance as well. It all begins with the 12 minute title track, which begins like you might expect, with samples of archival voices, all scratchy historical recordings, which is soon joined by a strange bit of wheezing almost gypsy folk, piano, female vox, but then what you might not expect, is the song exploding into some Bowie-esque glam, or what sounds like some strange stage musical, with wailed dramatic vocals, singing "You don't have to die to walk in hell, for here is hell", sounding a bit like a number from the Rocky Horror Picture Show, all over a backdrop of weirdly swirling, murky slithery jazziness. It's not until about 6 minutes in, that the sound explodes into some furious black buzz, but it's the Meads, so no straight ahead black metal here, instead it's super tangled, near proggy weirdness, laced with twisted melodies, multiple dueling vokills, cool expanses of churning chug, some stop/start dynamics, a dizzying black tangle, before returning to the glammy over the top melodic musical style bombast of the beginning, this time paired with a little black buzz. From there on out, all bets are off, the sing-songy almost folky "Wishing Well Of Bones", the synth swaddled black buzz of "Aktion T4", then there are tracks like "Silent Ghosts Of Babi Yar", which like the title track, are exactly what makes the Meads so good, and so fucking nuts, blasting out some seriously buzzing blackness, all churning riffage and pounding drums, harsh hateful vox and dizzying blasts, before blossoming into another stretch of fill on epic glam pop, soaring clean vocals, over swirling synths, all wedded to some black metal buzz, a twisted, but weirdly appealing combo, and then paired with the lyrics, and the concept, totally over the top WTF genius for sure. Dig deeper and there's still more weirdness, the creepy dramatic reading of "Lamenting Weaver Of Horror", a dialogue between a child (Metatron's kid) and death, all over some murky black ambient rumbles, and some creepy atmospherics, dripping water, distant creaks and groans, which splinters into some twisted blackened power metal, before transforming into some loping spaced out psychedelia, then there's the insanely titled "The Mussulmans Wander Through The Infernal Whirling Fires Amongst Silent Shadows To Be Fed Into The Thirsting Jaws Of A Godless Death Machine To Cough Up Their Souls To The Nazi Moloch Who Sits Within A Ring Of Smoking Infant Skulls", which begins with a weird looped vocal round, and soon explodes into some almost Viking sounding black metal, laced with soaring female vocals, wildly proggy and super melodic, psychedelic too, with dueling vokills/vocals, the whole thing suddenly devolving into a woozy, slithery blackened blooz jam, replete with harmonica! There's plenty more strangeness throughout, the clean vocals pop up everywhere, giving the record a super dramatic over the top vibe, but for every bit of melodic bombast, there's some twisted blackness, all tangled up into one epic sonic headtrip, that might be the Meads finest moment yet. Certainly their most brilliantly baffling!
"Sonderkommando" MPEG Stream:
"Silent Ghosts Of Babi Yar" MPEG Stream:
"The Mussulmans Wander Through The Infernal Whirling Fires Amongst Silent Shadows..."
MEADS OF ASPHODEL, THE Damascus Steel (Supernal Music) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. By this point, if you're at all familiar with Britain's weirdest black metal bunch The Meads Of Asphodel you know to expect the unexpected. You'll be unphased by breakbeat breakdowns, trumpet solos, and syrupy strings amidst Venom-inspired vocals and Cradle of Filth-worthy black metal bombast. And you already know there's gonna be spacerockin' Hawkwind guitar on here from an authentic old Hawkwind guitarist. Yet somehow we still suspect that at some point whilst listening to their new, third album Damascus Steel, even the most dedicated Meads fan will have a "what the fuck is this, what the fuck are they doing??" moment. And that's one big reason why you're a Meads fan after all! Maybe that point will be when they burst into a sarcastic version of Louis Armstrong's "What A Wonderful Life" with the lyrics altered so that vocalist Metatron is delivering lines like: "I see newborn graves / dirt dimmed with steam / open womb flesh / death and disease / and I think to myself, what a wonderful world," over that familiar melody, his gravelly voice really rather reminiscent of Satchmo's! Or maybe it will be at the very start of the album, when you're confronted with a sampled speech by George W. Bush. They don't manipulate his words with cut and paste tricks, either, he just says what he said. It's as if in the black metal competition to be the most EVIL they couldn't think of anything more effective than to incorporate our President into their band! Though, we suspect Bush is sampled for reasons of geopolitical commentary, as he's speaking about his views on the Middle East, a region that has long figured centrally into The Meads' peculiar musical and lyrical vision (this album's entitled Damascus Steel, remember). There's a been a few metal bands with Middle Eastern obsessions -- Melechesh, Absu, Morbid Angel -- and maybe that's because of the ancient mysteries and mythology of man spawned from that land. Just the Biblical associations alone give it resonance for both the Christian and (in this case) the anti-Christian. Not to mention that it's the location today of so much suffering and strife. Warfare has always been a metal topic, terror too. So it's no wonder that metal bands would look to the Middle East for subject matter. But in the case of The Meads, we'd always assumed that it also had to do with the fact that, well, they like to wear medieval armor a la the Crusaders. Maybe that's how their interest first was stoked. But it's clear that they have something subversive to say about religion and politics and that flashpoint region of our world. Of course, Metatron's words (and song titles like the Bal-Sagoth worthy "Behold The Kindred Battle Carcasses Strewn Across The Bloodred Dunes Of Gilgamesh Mute In The Frenzied Clamour Of Death's Rolling Tongue And Ravenous Bursting Steel") take some deciphering, and it doesn't help that his band has set your head spinning with their bent blend of metal and psych and techno and ethnic music... In one song, for instance, blasting blasphemies segue into a groovy keyboard guest solo from Mirai of Japan's Sigh (one of the few bands in the world also so eccentric that they're naturally soulmates with the Meads blokes). And you'll think to yourself, what a wonderful Meads album!
"Satanic Black Nubian Pharaohs" MPEG Stream:
"The Gods Who Mock Us" MPEG Stream:
"Behold The Kindred Battle Carcasses Strewn Across The Bloodred Dunes Of Gilgamesh Mute In The Frenzied Clamour Of Death's Rolling Tongue And Ravenous Bursting Steel"
MEADS OF ASPHODEL, THE Exhuming The Grave Of Yeshua (Supernal) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. We made this Record of the Week a couple months ago, then promptly ran out of 'em -- as did their label in England, who have now pressed more copies. So here it is again, in case you missed it before. The UK's amazing, eccentric Meads Of Asphodel are back with their second, long-awaited full-length. From the get-go, this had an inside line on becoming an AQ Record of the Week -- indeed, we were so excited about its impending release that even before any of our wholesale suppliers had imports of this in stock, Andee went ahead and mail-ordered two copies from England, one for himself and one as a Christmas gift for Allan! Now, we've managed to get copies for the store to share with all of you. What's so special about the Meads Of Asphodel, besides their unusual name? Well, if you've been a long-time AQ list reader/customer maybe you'll remember how much we liked their debut, The Excommunication of Christ. Well as good as that crackpot example of medieval metal was, this new one is even more esoteric and ridiculous and incredible. As AQ's coverage of the genre has demonstrated, black metal can be a lot of different things. In the Meads of Asphodel's case, it IS many different things, all at the same time! First off, apparently nobody told them that an ostensibly black metal band shouldn't write pop songs. Sure, they are really really heavy and decidedly grim, but Meads have a pop sensibility that can't be denied. The album's second track, "God Is Rome", will have you staring at your stereo as its gruff-voiced chugging brutality gives way to an acoustic guitar lick and subsequent pop hook that is more Nirvana than necro. Not to suggest that this isn't a massively metal album. It is. Their brand of metal is like Venom mixed with Bal-Sagoth: sparkling keyboards strewn over rough-hewn riffage and pounding drums. They're also quite psychedelic (drugs involved for sure), with weird changes and spacey synths. Landing rocketships in the Middle Ages, Meads make for a creditable space rock band. Indeed, these Hawkwind obsessives do a killer Hawkwind cover ("Utopia") with two actual Hawkwind members sitting in! Other guests on this album include Mirai from another AQ fave, Japan's Sigh, one of the only other "black metal" bands on the planet as far-out as the Meads, and Vincent Crowley, somewhat infamous as an underground death metal Satanist. His presence, however cartoonish, illustrates another important point about this record. As random and spicy a goulash their music is, Meads remain a steadfastly black metal band where it most counts: in their opposition to God and religion. Indeed, unlike the majority of black metal acts whose anti-Christian, anti-clerical, pro-Satan stance is indeed just that, a stance or pose, just to conform to the standard black metal aesthetic of being "evil", Meads of Asphodel seem to take this issue more seriously. What we mean is that their lyrics are more about WHY they don't believe in God, than about how cool that makes them. So it turns out that as tongue-in-cheek as so much about them seems (from the cover pics of the band in the guise of armored knights looking rather more hapless than intimidating, to such song titles as "On Graven Images I Glide Beyond The Monstrous Gates Of Pandemonium To Face The Baptised Warriors Of Yahweh In The Skull-littered Plain Of Esdraelon") they actually have a message, if you will. Delivered quite bizarrely and confusingly of course. And that's what we like best, the confounding mixture of the serious and the silly where irony is left in the dust, replaced by question marks and half-smiles, and gleeful enjoyment of some remarkable music. This album is definitely the sort of thing that we at AQ think will both satisfy open-minded metal fans and provide a varied enough dish for folks seeking something weird on the pop/spacerock/electronic side of things. Indeed, did we mention that the aforementioned lengthy song title belongs to a ten minute epick of When-like eclecticism, that brings in techno electronica, Middle Eastern music, and even some acid-jazz organ jamming -- utterly instrumental except for samples of an utterly blasphemous nature? This is indicative in many ways of their bizarro modus operandi. Appealing in so many ways to the extremes of what we might call the AQ-aesthetic, it would have been hard *not* to make this a Record Of The Week.
"God Is Rome" MPEG Stream:
"Guts For Sale" MPEG Stream:
"Sons Of Anak Rise"
MEADS OF ASPHODEL, THE In The Name Of God, Welcome To Planet Genocide (Firestorm) cd 11.98
We all knew the Meads Of Asphodel were a weird bunch. Every record was a baffling slab of confusional black metal, often laced with all manner of VERY non-black metal sounds and ideas. Well, no matter how weird we though they were in the past, they've totally outdone themselves this time. So much so that we would hesitate to even classify this as black metal. There's a lot to be confused by here, from a bizarre collage of military speeches and snippets of random dialogue, to huge swelling synths, super dramatic and over the top, to strange synthesized spaghetti western jams, to not-all-that-metal blasts of propulsive spaced out rock and roll, with groovy Stooges-y riffing, simple pounding drumming, some serious guitar leads, and over the top some Motorhead gone black metal vocals... but that's not all. There are lots of lots of pianos, and soaring female vocals, blissed out stretches of space rock whoosh, some full on old school punk rock. And then there's the completely fucked final track, called "Aborted Stygian Foetus", a sort of industrial electronic metal jam, drum machines, heavy riffing, weird vocals, like some weird mix of Ministry and My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult. But it's not over. After about 20 minutes of silence you'll find the secret track, an intense and seriously silly and fucked up stretch of testifying, over a swirl of church organs, a heavily (British) accented 'preacher' gives a fiery sermon on how we are all wankers and how we are all full of shit. Woah. The new sound could have something to do with the addition of a whole mess of new Meads: Alan Davey of Hawkwind, Mirai from Japanes metal weirdos Sigh, Lesion from Worms Of Sabnock, as well as some synth, trumpet, and not one but TWO female vocalists. The more likely reason for this new direction should be obvious from the cover, all sepia toned, with a crucifix, and piles of dead bodies and that instantly recognizable Crass style text. Like maybe they were going for some sort of Flux Of Pink Indians / Crass / Rudimentary Peni sort of crust vibe!! Although on the inside they're still clad in their armor and chainmail and helmets... So fucking weird.
"Psalm 364" MPEG Stream:
"My Beautiful Genocide" MPEG Stream:
"A Baptism In The Warm Piss Of Slaughtered Children"
MEADS OF ASPHODEL, THE Life Is Shit e.p. (Firestorm) 7" 9.98
More distinctly not very black metal weirdness from some of our favorite black metal weirdos. If you might remember back to the most recent Meads release, In The Name Of God, Welcome To Planet Genocide, we were all sort of knocked for a loop by the band's new direction. Or directions. From the very Crass like cut and paste political cover art, to the punky crust and other weirdness inside, these freaks had gone and outweirded even their own weird selves. So now we have the latest single, and it seems, at least for these three songs, the band have abandoned the black metal entirely. All covers. All classics. Stiff Little Fingers, The Ruts and The Stranglers. All done pretty straight, not black metallized or anything, just raw crusty pounding melodic old school punk rock. The Stiff Little Fingers cover is a jam, an awesome song so done straight it's still an awesome song, the vocals appropriately raspy, the guitars buzzing and the drums pounding. The Ruts cover features original Ruts guitarist Paul Fox and sounds as kick ass as the original. The only place things get extra weird is on the final track, the Stranglers cover, where the vocals are strangely processed and sound about as close to black metal as anything here, but then we've got Mirai from the band Sigh with insane blasts of crazy prog synths, and some new wave female background vocals. Sounds like a bit of a mess, and it sort of is, but it's also awesome and totally rocks in this amazingly unhinged way. Meads fans who were thrown off by the lack of buzzing blackness will be even more confused by this triple shot. But if you're into metal and punk rock, you could do way worse than hearing these killer tunes revamped and twisted up a bit by the always brilliantly baffling Meads. Cool old school black and white skull cover. All the records are hand numbered and signed on the label by all the band members. Probably limited too...
MEADS OF ASPHODEL, THE The Early Years (Godreah) cd 11.98
The Meads of Asphodel have been a longtime favorite around these parts, not surprisingly, since they've been pushing the boundaries of how black metal is defined with their bizarre, often hilarious brand of nutso, super anti-Christian metal with notable medieval and Middle Eastern influences. Though you will find it impossible to stifle (nervous?) laughter at various moments, the Meads, however, are no joke. In fact, one could argue that their highly unorthodox stance is actually WAY more real and bad ass than the plethora of groups all adopting the same boring, pseudo-Satanic bullshit pose. Maybe some find it difficult to take seriously a band with a penchant for dressing up in medieval armor, but why not? It's certainly no less ridiculous than corpsepaint. The notes in this collection of demos from the band's first phase (1998-2002), penned by group leader Metatron, make it clear that sucking up to record labels and metal fans in general was never part of the agenda. Instead, the Meads have been, and continue to be, true to only themselves. Fuck yeah. With this anything goes mentality, the Meads have delivered some of the weirdest, most incomprehensible metal maybe ever. The influence of NWOBHM greats, notably Venom, shines bright, but how many other black metal groups would you expect to punctuate their evil riffage with parts that sound like drunken medieval wedding parties, disco breakdowns, and country western hoedowns? Not too many. The strangest part about all of these is how randomly they will pop up, when you're never expecting it. Symphonic keyboards are also pretty central to the Meads' sound, with heavy as fuck church organs and harpsichord-styled synths adding a decidedly atmospheric element to it all. There are even some moments of strummed 4AD style jangle, but take note of the covers by GBH and Italian thrashers Bulldozer to get an idea of the band's more aggressive influences. Heavy D-Beats, punkish power chords, and harsh bellowing (in addition to some nice black metal croaking, of course) exist in the mix in pretty much equal measure to everything else. We would be lying if we said this band was for everyone. But for those who like their metal adventurous, totally fucked, and pretty much without precedent, we couldn't recommend this highly enough!
"Just Another Time To Kill" MPEG Stream:
"Rise In Godless Hell" MPEG Stream:
"Another God In Another Place"
MEADS OF ASPHODEL, THE The Excommunication of Christ (Supernal) 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 UK black metal troupe unlikely to become the next Cradle of Filth, if only because people are always scratching their heads and asking "What the heck are meads?" Regardless of their prospects for wide success, *we've* been eagerly anticipating this release, ever since reading about The Meads in a Terrorizer article on unsigned British metal bands. A mysterious band with esoteric interests, inspired by the shamanic use of psychedelic drugs, and always clad in medieval armor, The Meads of Asphodel immediately intrigued us... and others too, as they've caused quite a buzz with their several demo releases. Now here's their compact disc debut, brought to us by the same label responsible for the ungodly Benighted Leams (THEE most ridiculous and fucked one-man black metal band EVER, remember?) as well as the most recent and also quite fucked Fleurety disc. That ratcheted up our anticipation another few notches. And we have to say that while as it turns out The Meads *aren't* quite as utterly strange as we were expecting, not as insane as Sigh or as ridiculous as fellow Brits Bal-Sagoth, they're still pretty strange, lacing their super-heavy doom-riffed black metal with "medieval" keyboard melodies that seem inspired by King Arthur by way of Return To Forever's "Romantic Warrior"... Silly and tongue-in-cheek they may be (one of the booklet photos depicts the band in full armor, lined up along a wall, apparently urinating), but they seem oddly serious too in the occult details of their lyrics and their elaborate presentation, thereby keeping us guessing. The list of guests who contributed to this disc also is indicative of their unusual approach to black metal: they get help from A.C. Wild of '80s Italian Venom-clones Bulldozer, ex-Hawkwind guitarist Huw Lloyd Langton, vocalist Kobold of fellow UK black metallers Old Forest, and an electro-goth act called History of Guns...weird! The Meads of Asphodel come across as certainly smarter and more eccentric than your average black metal band. Heavy, catchy, and possibly crazed -- recommended!
"The Watchers Of Catal Huyuk" RealAudio clip:
"Falling With Lightning Rays Beamed..."
MEADS OF ASPHODEL, THE The Mill Hill Sessions (Godreah) cd 14.98
What happens when a band that's pretty darn strange as it is on their "proper" albums, goes and lets their hair down (and takes their helmets off) and does a limited-edition release documenting live-in-the-studio alternate versions of some of their songs alongside a previously unheard extended epic entitled "My Beautiful Genocide"? Well if you spin The Mill Hill Sessions by English black metal weirdos the Meads Of Asphodel you'll find out...suffice to say, anyone who was amused and/or amazed by their previous efforts will find this equally far out, or further even. Their spaced-out black metal blend of Venom and Hawkwind is as extreme and eccentric as ever here. Actual Hawkwind alumni Alan Davey and Huw Lloyd Langton are heard jamming alongside Meads band members Metatron, Urkkarmeel et. al. for these sessions, by the way! Intended for loyal fans, this cd isn't seeing wide distribution and we probably won't have it for very long... First, you get six tracks originally recorded for a British metal radio show, including versions of tracks from their The Excommunication of Christ and Exhuming The Grave Of Yeshua albums, and their split ep with Mayhem. And they also do an unexpected cover of Sepultura's punkish "Refuse/Resist" as well! Then you get a second session, one long 20+ minute track that's described as a "work in progress", and it is quite a schizophrenic piece of work indeed, as absurd and insane as you'd expect. Stopping and starting with sloppy abandon, there's metal leads, many jangly acoustic parts, black metal blur, punk breaks (sounding like Stiff Little Fingers says Byram), jazzy interludes, all sorts of stuff thrown in, including vocalist Metatron's endless, half-whispered, half-growled poetic sermon/rant on the subject of...well you can try and figure it out. Compared to your (ahem) "normal" Meads albums, these Mill Hill Sessions employ no studio trickery or extra keyboard overdubs...these tracks are more stripped-down and guitar-oriented. And since apparently they've never played a live show, this is the next best thing, although in the rehearsal space/studio (as pictured in the booklet) the band don't wear the medieval armor with which they are normally fitted out on their album covers and other photo shoots. Shocking! They do promise that their next release will see them back in their "helms and mail" however.
"A Healer Made God" MPEG Stream:
"My Beautiful Genocide"
MEADS OF ASPHODEL, THE The Murder Of Jesus The Jew (Candlelight) cd 14.98
"On a cold Spring morning, around AD 30, a man was hung on a tree, upon a mound of dirt, this is his story, of a man named God." And so it begins, the latest batch of Christian baiting musical propaganda from weirdo UK black metal outfit Meads Of Asphodel, and what might be their most fully realized record, both conceptually and musically, is also not surprisingly their most bizarre, and least black metal. But to be fair, Meads were never your typical black metal band, whether it be jamming out on punk covers, getting a member of Hawkwind to join their grim horde, or infusing their blasting blackness with loads of space rock Frippery and distinctly un-black metal swoops and swirls and fucked up sonic weirdness. It's of course what makes us love these guys so much. Not to mention their hilarious / irreverent approach to playing an inately grim and true and kvlt style of music. The Murder Of Jesus The Jew plays like an Off-Broadway musical, if someone decided to combine a wildly sacrilegious rant and twisted black metal into an Andrew Lloyd Weber style spectacle, and while we wish some day someone would, this is most likely about as close as we're gonna get. And right from the start, this is like no black metal record you've heard, after that haunting narration, the record blossoms into a strange cabaret, like old timey European street music, all horns, and strings, and orchestral bombast, it's not hard to imagine a cobblestone street, and a candlelit tavern, the motley collection of patrons being entertained by this strange musical combo, decked out in full armor, until suddenly, they launch into a blast of buzzing howling black metal, which lasts less than a minute until the horns come in, and the song shifts to a much more major key sounding melody, and then you realize, if you stripped away the blasting drums and the buzzing guitars, you'd still be back in some cabaret stage production, an evil / anti-Christian version of Godspell or Jesus Christ Superstar. Sounds bizarre, and it is, so bizarre, we imagine lots of black metallers will be put off big time, but for the rest of us, this is some twisted, genius shit. And twisted it is, there's not a stretch of buzzing blackness that makes it more than a minute without any weird sonic impudence, usually in the form of a swoonsome melodic bit of overly dramatic balladry, or some sweetly soaring female vocals, those parts so dramatic, and SO good, they really COULD be from some musical... "My Psychotic Sand Deity" flits back and forth between horn laced black metal, to that sort of end-of-the-show schmaltzy big finish, where everyone holds hands and sways back and forth, but it's Meads, so that sweet sunshiney tranquility is shattered in the last few seconds by a burst of black metal that is about as black and frenzied as it gets. And so it goes, a gloriously schizophrenic sonic treatise on the myth of God, and the foolishness of his followers, told in the form of the REAL life story of God, complete with more ominous narration, buzzing black electronics, soaring strings, swirling new agey keyboards, creepy monk like chants, twisted apocalyptic folk ("Stiller Of Tempests" almost sounds like Woven Hand via Godspell, but a bit more evil), "Dark Gethsemane" is a swoonsome shuffling dark pop ballad, but it's quickly followed by "Jew Killer", which is a creepy crawly chunk of lurching, lumbering, atmospheric doom, and it continues to veer wildly from atmospheric power metal classic rock epicness, to bouncy Pogues style drunken metal folk, back to some buzz and blast, and then again to something more black metal Broadway sounding. And finally, the band close the show, with the ridiculously titled "A Canticle for the Lost Amputees of Aelia Capitolina Who Have Been Trampled Under the Iron Shod Hooves of Salivating Hell Rams and Impaled on the Shimmering Tusks of Salvation Within The Abandoned Tabernacle Of A Bronze Age Myth", which according to the liner notes, is sung in ancient Aramaic, and is of course a lengthy twisted bit of warped cabaret laced, piano and electronics flecked, super dramatic, epic and melodic over the top (only sort of black metal) weirdness, and the perfect finish, to a dazzling, bafflingly brilliant record. As absurd as it seems, we would kill for someone to make this into a proper musical, stranger things have happened. Well, okay, not THAT much stranger. As always the core group of Metatron (posing in the booklet, in full armor, with his dog!), J.D. Tait and Vrakbarameel, augment their merry band of armored metal soldiers with a sprawling selection of guests, no less than 14 this time around, including Hoest from black metal horde Taake, Mirai and Dr. Mikannibal from weirdo Japanese metallers Sigh, and Alan Davey from Hawkwind (of course) among many many others. Includes a massive booklet, with tons of photos, and a 'program' with lyrics so you can follow along!
"My Psychotic Sand Deity" MPEG Stream:
"Apocalypse of Lazarus" MPEG Stream:
"A Canticle for the Lost Amputees of Aelia Capitolina Who Have Been Trampled Under the Iron Shod Hooves of Salivating Hell Rams and Impaled on the Shimmering Tusks of Salvation Within The Abandoned Tabernacle Of A Bronze Age Myth"
MEADS OF ASPHODEL, THE / OLD CORPSE ROAD English Black Punk Metal / The Bones Of This Land Are Not Speechless (Godreah) cd 14.98
The return of our favorite crust punk obsessed black metal horde, Meads Of Asphodel. Not sure if they've always been so into eighties punk, but over the last few records, the band have seen fit to mix it up, sprinkling classic covers amidst their epic pagan black metal jams, seems like a weird mix, but somehow, in the twisted sonic world these guys inhabit, it sort of works. Two new tracks, a creepy, medieval intro, buzzy synths, rumbling drones, a growled distorted proclamation, some weirdly cheesy piano, tinkling chimes, sirens, a serious dose of whatthefuck, which gives way to 7 minutes of totally majestic, and classic sounding pagan blackness. NWOBHM inspired guitar harmonies, wrapped around pounding drums, chugging black riffs, the arrangements convoluted and complex, peppered with soaring synths, creepy processed vokills, some haunting interludes, with more of that creepy spoken word, and then right back into the tangled epic thrashing. And then it's on to the covers, some of which make perfect sense, some of which don't at all, which only makes them that much cooler. Doom, Hellbastard and Conflict, the Meads versions of which are appropriately raw and pounding and thrashing, the Hellbastard track has some strange piano melodies draped over chugging guitars and monklike chants, the Conflict cover is weirdly produced, turning the metallic crust punk into something almost cabaret sounding. We had never heard Skeptix before, but the Meads version is awesome, fierce and fast and melodic and heavy as fuck, definitely gonna have to track down the original. Then there's the last cover, going waaaaay back to the roots of heavy metal, The Kinks' "You Really Got me", which the Meads tweak, making the main riff minor key, so it definitely sounds black metal, the vocals over the top and WAY goofy, at first it seems so silly, but as the track plays on it makes some sort of twisted sense, and definitely suits the Meads' fucked up sound. The Meads share this disc with countrymen Old Corpse Road, a sort of naturalistic folk flecked black metal band, but barring the intro of the first song, there's nary any folk to be found, the band spitting out epic, almost orchestral sounding blackness, not that far removed from Cradle Of Filth, with keyboards WAY up in the mix, wild shrieking vox, even some creepy plonking piano melodies, and that's when the folk comes in, the band breaks down into a sort of jig, launching into a jam that wouldn't be out of place on a Finntroll record, complete with group sing along, incredibly catchy, and the more we listen to this, the more we find ourselves digging these guys. Three looooong tracks, super dramatic, over the top, keyboards all over the place, wild vocals that slip from deep croon to hysterical shriek, a tangled almost circusy bit of blackened chaos that is totally kicking our asses. Which means WAY recommended, for both Meads AND Old Corpse Road, and we definitely need to hear more OCR...
THE MEADS OF ASPHODEL "On The Surface" MPEG Stream:
THE MEADS OF ASPHODEL "Same Mind (Doom Cover)" MPEG Stream:
OLD CORPSE ROAD "Hob Headless Rises"
MEANING OF LIFE, THE s/t (Narbin Deeber) cd-r 9.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. "The first thing is that time travel has been going on forever." The second thing is that, at Aquarius, this cd-r has been causing a bit of consternation as no one seems to know why they should be the one assigned to write about "the meaning of life". Yeah, real funny. What we DO know, according to what is written on the back cover, is that the recording captured here comes from a cassette mysteriously labeled "The Meaning of Life" which was found lying on a roadside and eventually passed along to the producer of this disc. The recording is of a very agitated man apparently talking on the phone. Whether he's actually talking on the phone is anyone's guess. He repeatedly gets so angry with whoever is on the other end that he works himself into a frenzy screaming "Shut UP!!!" repeatedly, his voice breaking up from his strained frustration. What is clear about this man is that he's not playing with a full deck of cards. None the less, the monologue is at once disturbing and entertaining. To top it off the recording is made not using an answering machine or anything else which might actually pick up whoever would be on the other end of the conversation, but with a microphone placed in the room with the caller. The added benefit from this method is that we're treated to the rumbling ambiance of a thunder storm. The equipment used is not the best, so at times it's hard to tell whether that is indeed a thunderstorm in the background or someone banging on a giant dumpster. Whatever the sound is, it gets so loud at times that it drowns out the man's ranting. So what is he talking about? Well, that's a fair question. However, it's hard enough to follow a spoken word disc in the store as it is, dealing with all of our daily tasks, but when the monologue is that of a raving lunatic, it's even more challenging. There are time traveling Android/Angels, including a Christ Android that will descend to the earth from the 12th planet. Plus there's also a great deal here about mind control, Stalin, and Donna Summer (ie: the devil). Our narrator, who has a superior knowledge of physics, puts it best perhaps when he tells his silent friend that he knows so much shit that if he "were to say it all at once to anybody they'd go fucking stark raving crazy at light speed." One theory is that the person on the other end of the line is actually the narrator himself in the past. The disc ends, oddly enough, with some random music snatches attributed to Donna Summer and then some short audio samples from the rant tagged on at the very end so that -- I suppose -- you can pull off your own Kathy McGinty or Arnold Schwarzenegger style prank calls. "If I say the wrong thing over the phone I get a horrible Huey attack"
"CPU's of the 25th Century" MPEG Stream:
MEAT PUPPETS Golden Lies (Breaking/Atlantic) cd 16.98
Lamentations! This is terrible! Gone is the delightful twin guitar attack, the chiming harmonies and the sunbaked electric fingerpicking that made Meat Puppets so wonderful. Perhaps this is due to the fact that gone from the band's line-up is the distressingly tormented Cris Kirkwood. Brother Curt has assembled a new band and continued on. Unfortunately this new record has moments that made us cringe and wonder if they, like, had kids and were writing songs for them or something -- specifically the one with all the scary monster sounds and the unfunny, unentertaining, simply bad Beck-like "rapping". A great disappointment. Avoid.
MEAT PUPPETS Rise To Your Knees (Anodyne) cd 14.98
"New Leaf" MPEG Stream:
"Fly Like The Wind"
MEAT PUPPETS Up On The Sun (MVD) lp 17.98
MEBUSAS Blood Brothers (Academy) cd 13.98
MEBUSAS Blood Brothers (Academy) lp 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
MECHA FIXES CLOCKS Orbiting With Screwdrivers (Alien8 Recordings) cd 7.00
**SALE ***SALE***SALE***SALE Orbiting With Screwdrivers is comprised of seven austere soundscapes from this veteran aural experimentalist from Montreal, Quebec. Continuing on in the collaborative community spirit that has made that city's cativatingly diverse art and music so captivating, Mecha Fixes Clocks aka Michel F. Cote (we resisted the urge to concoct some clever punny statement about his moniker and time spent listing to this cd) crafted this 49 minute long album from hours upon hours of recorded material he received from over a dozen of his fellow French Canadian contributors some of which are already quite familiar to AQ such as Christof Migone and Martin Tetrault. Some tracks are so minimal, they're barely there save for a single strikes of a piano key or ghostly plucks of a stringed instrument left to linger in the air. Others offer more atmospheric 'presence' in the form of vaporous drones or high pitched prickly squeals. All of them evoke open, abandoned, unlit spaces. When played in the store, this received numerous enthusiastically curious queries. Check it out.
"Give My Regards To Time" MPEG Stream:
MECHANICAL CHILDREN I Rise (Blackest Rainbow) lp 17.98
MECKI MARK MEN Marathon (Universal) cd 24.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. 3rd album from this Swedish psych act, recorded in Chicago in 1970. Lots of folks apparently LOVE this album but we thought it sounded like (bad) blues rock, too bad 'cause we liked the other MMM reissue that preceeded this one.
MECKI MARK MEN Running In The Summer Night (Universal ) cd 26.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. I've been wanting to hear an album by these swingin' sixties Swedes for a long time, and at last one's been finally reissued on cd...yeah, I've been curious about 'em ever since I heard the fab Mecki Mark Men track found on the Cherrystones Rocks compilation we reviewed a while back...and also on account of how drumming for the Mecki Mark Men was the original gig of Thomas Mera Gartz before he ended up in AQ faves Parson Sound/International Harvester/Trad Gras Och Stenar! And not only that, but I also knew that the Mecki Mark Men had toured with Jimi Hendrix, and boasted a Hammond organ player who was said to have emulated Hendrix' showmanship on his own instrument (and, as you'll hear on this cd, also seemingly modelled his vocals after those of Hendrix). That's Mecki Bodemark we're talking about, the leader of Mecki Mark Men in their various incarnations. The band debuted with their first album in 1967 (which was released, oddly enough, in the USA in '68, where apparently they had some success, including coming over here to tour in 1970). Their second album came out in '69, featuring a new lineup (no Thomas Mera Gartz -- in fact the musicians on this album consisted of Mecki Bodemark plus members of another band entirely, the Baby Grandmothers). That's this album, Running In The Summer Night. And it's pretty cool platter of dramatic, psychedelic rock and R&B, some very trippy stuff but rockin' for sure. Lots of organ, lots of Hendrixy vocals, plenty of fuzz and some flute...quite a bit like what Swedish band Dungen is doing today in fact. Doubtless the Dungen dude has this album amongst others of its ilk in his collection... If not, I'm sure he's gonna go buy this reissue! In a nice digipack with photos/graphics and liner notes galore. Hopefully the band's other two albums will be reissued as well...
"Playing Child" MPEG Stream:
"Future On The Road"
MECKI MARK MEN s/t (Mellotronen / Universal) cd 17.98
The folks at the Mellotronen label (who brought us Solid Ground, Life, Charlie & Esdor and other Scandinavian 'progg' treats) told us we'd want to get a bunch of these and boy they were right! It's the long-awaited reissue of the eponymous 1967 debut album from Swedish swingin' sixties psych-pop combo the Mecki Mark Men... We've had Mellotronen's other couple of MMM reissues, especially liking Running In The Summer Night, but this is even better. It's got the original MMM lineup, featuring of course band leader Mecki Bodemark and also drummer Thomas Mera Gartz, later of International Harvester and Trad Gras Och Stenar. Definitely influenced by the heavy psychedelic excesses of Jimi Hendrix (with whom they toured, briefly), Mecki Mark Men also conjure a groovy hipster nightclub vibe, with Gartz's jazzy drumming, and Bodemark's woozy organ jamming. Woozy too are his wasted, druggy vox, which sound a bit like Hendrix too. There's also doses of buzzing sitar, shimmering vibraphone, flute, and some fat sax blat. It's a wild, wonderful blend of fuzzy freaky drone and finger snapping, toe tapping catchy pop songwriting, wrapped into one psychedelic, shambolic whole. There's just something indefinably genius about this. Recommended, definitely for fans of Baby Grandmothers and Hansson and Karlsson and today's retro Swedish psych-pop sensations Dungen as well. This reissue is remixed and remastered, presented in a digipack with four bonus tracks.
"Free" MPEG Stream:
"Scream" MPEG Stream:
MECO Star Wars And Other Galactic Funk (Mercury) cd 11.98
MEDEH, HADRAMI OULD Kamlat / La Mone (Mississippi) 7" 6.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. **MISSISSIPPI RECORDS ALERT** **MISSISSIPPI RECORDS ALERT** **MISSISSIPPI RECORDS ALERT** A gorgeous unearthed gem from Mississippi records, two tracks from Mauritanian singer and guitarist Hadrami Ould Medeh, a member of L'Orchestre Nationale de Mauritanie, the first modern Mauritanian musical group, this single originally pressed up in Lebanon and released in 1970, or more accurately, given away free to friends and family, this new version is an exact reproduction of that original single, right down to the label, and the fact that there's almost no English text on the sleeve or the label. But throw it on and you'll be blown away. If like us you didn't know where Mauritania is, it borders Mali, which makes sense sonically when you hear this. You've likely heard similar sounds on some Sublime Frequencies comp, and in fact, anyone into SF stuff will want to nab this quick, fluttering flutes, muted wah wah guitars, shuffling drums, and the vocals, emotional and oh so lovely, another comparison would be the Ethiopiques series, as this definitely sounds similar. No sound sample, but check out this video, and you'll be sold: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTbQfcY7N1A&NR=1 And while you're at it, check out this one too: http://youtu.be/ud8fm-Pjbd0
"Kamlat" MPEG Stream:
MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD Book of 11 (Masada) cd 16.98
MEDESKI, MARTIN & WOOD Combustication (Blue Note) 15.98
Newest from this popular jazz combo.
MEDESKI, MARTIN & WOOD Combustication Remix EP (Blue Note) cdep 11.98
The super-popular jazz organ trio get remixed by The Automator, Bill Laswell (of course), Guru, Yuka Honda (Cibo Matto), and a couple others.
MEDESKI, MARTIN & WOOD The Dropper (Blue Note) cd 15.98
MEDICINE Box Set (Captured Tracks) 4lp Box + cassette 80.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Of the seemingly hundreds and hundreds of Record Store Day releases, we figured that probably most folks were gonna be dying for that Flaming Lips collaborative double lp (reviewed elsewhere on this week's list), but we found ourselves being way more excited about the Medicine box, a massive 5 lp set collecting the first two albums (as well as an ep and TONS of extras) from this legendary L.A. shoegaze / dreampop outift. One of the few American bands to be on the Creation label, Medicine spent the early nineties crafting some of the most glorious and gloriously blissed out experimental psychedelic shoegaze pop EVER. Their sound simultaneously heavy and tripped out, experimental and impossibly catchy, the guitars thick and lush and layered, soaring and so gloriously melodic, like a soft focus My Bloody Valentine, the vocals ethereal and washed out, definitely of the same era as Smashing Pumpkins, but where the Pumpkins had their sights set on arenas and mainstream acceptance, Medicine seemed to spurn such things, taking perfectly perfect pop songs, and pulling them apart, stretching out two minute gems into six minute psychedelic blowouts, their music as much about texture and arrangements, experimentation and exploration as songcraft. But excelling at both in a way few have since. Hearing this stuff now, it sounds as fresh as ever, and groups like M83, A Place To Bury Strangers, Alcest, Health, Serena-Maneesh, Jesu, Phoenix, and all the rest, most definitely owe Medicine royalties big time. And heck if that list looks like your record collection, and for some reason you DON'T have these Medicine records, now's the time to right that wrong. We could go through both 1992's Shot Forth Self Living and 1993's The Buried Life, and describe our favorite tracks, but we'd most likely end up describing every single track. Even now, we don't hear a weak track in the bunch, and what sounds cool and strange and experimental now, must have sounded revolutionary and downright insane in the early nineties, especially for a major label band, and it just may have been what kept Medicine from achieving Pumpkins like fame, although we like to think it was cuz they just didn't give a fuck, and refused to play the game, and instead concerned themselves with making some of the weirdest, coolest, most tripped out pop music they could conjure up. Which is exactly what they did. This boxset contains super deluxe double lp versions of both Shot Forth Self Living and The Buried Life, each record expanded with tones of bonus tracks, B-sides and demos, also included is the Sounds Of Medicine EP from 1994, here with two live bonus tracks not included on the original, there's also a pin and a photo, as well as a live 90 minute cassette called Always Starting To Stop, a collection of live recordings captured between 1992-1994 at various shows in the US and the UK, all housed in a super swank printed black and red box. This was a Record Store Day release, and was thus EXTREMELY limited, and is in fact already out of print. We have just FOUR copies of this box remaining, and once those are gone, they are gone for good!
"One More" MPEG Stream:
"Aruca" MPEG Stream:
"Defective" MPEG Stream:
"The Pink" MPEG Stream:
"Baby Doll" MPEG Stream:
MEDICINE Shot Forth Self Living (Captured Tracks) 2cd 14.98
Shot Forth Self Living was the 1992 debut from this legendary LA shoegaze / dreampop outfit, and was recently included in a massive, super limited 5lp boxset collecting Medicine's first two albums (as well as an ep and TONS of extras) that came out for Record Store Day 2012, but has now also thankfully been released on its own, as a deluxe double cd, with a whole mess of bonus tracks and rarities. One of the few American bands to be on the Creation label, Medicine spent the early nineties crafting some of the most glorious and gloriously blissed out experimental psychedelic shoegaze pop EVER. Their sound simultaneously heavy and tripped out, experimental and impossibly catchy, the guitars thick and lush and layered, soaring and so gloriously melodic, like a soft focus My Bloody Valentine, the vocals ethereal and washed out, definitely of the same era as Smashing Pumpkins, but where the Pumpkins had their sights set on arenas and mainstream acceptance, Medicine seemed to spurn such things, taking perfectly perfect pop songs, and pulling them apart, stretching out two minute gems into six minute psychedelic blowouts, their music as much about texture and arrangements, experimentation and exploration as songcraft. But excelling at both in a way few have since. Fans of experimental pop groups like Teenage Filmstars, Disco Inferno, Seefeel, Bark Psychosis and the like will definitely fall in love, if they weren't already. Hearing this stuff now, it sounds as fresh as ever, and groups like M83, A Place To Bury Strangers, Alcest, Health, Serena-Maneesh, Jesu, Phoenix, and all the rest, most definitely owe Medicine royalties big time. And heck if that list looks like your record collection, and for some reason you DON'T have these Medicine records, now's the time to right that wrong. We could go through both 1992's Shot Forth Self Living and 1993's The Buried Life, and describe our favorite tracks, but we'd most likely end up describing every single track. Even now, we don't hear a weak track in the bunch, and what sounds cool and strange and experimental now, must have sounded revolutionary and downright insane in the early nineties, especially for a major label band, and it just may have been what kept Medicine from achieving Pumpkins like fame, although we like to think it was cuz they just didn't give a fuck, and refused to play the game, and instead concerned themselves with making some of the weirdest, coolest, most tripped out pop music they could conjure up. Which is exactly what they did.
"One More" MPEG Stream:
"Aruca" MPEG Stream:
MEDICINE The Buried Life (Captured Tracks) 2cd 14.98
The Buried Life was the 1993 follow up to the Medicine's amazing debut Shot Forth Self Living, and was further proof of just how amazing this legendary LA shoegaze / dreampop outfit really was, and was recently included in a massive, super limited 5lp boxset collecting Medicine's first two albums (as well as an ep and TONS of extras) that came out for Record Store Day 2012, but has now also thankfully been released on its own, as a deluxe double cd, with a whole mess of bonus tracks and rarities. One of the few American bands to be on the Creation label, Medicine spent the early nineties crafting some of the most glorious and gloriously blissed out experimental psychedelic shoegaze pop EVER. Their sound simultaneously heavy and tripped out, experimental and impossibly catchy, the guitars thick and lush and layered, soaring and so gloriously melodic, like a soft focus My Bloody Valentine, the vocals ethereal and washed out, definitely of the same era as Smashing Pumpkins, but where the Pumpkins had their sights set on arenas and mainstream acceptance, Medicine seemed to spurn such things, taking perfectly perfect pop songs, and pulling them apart, stretching out two minute gems into six minute psychedelic blowouts, their music as much about texture and arrangements, experimentation and exploration as songcraft. But excelling at both in a way few have since. Fans of experimental pop groups like Teenage Filmstars, Disco Inferno, Seefeel, Bark Psychosis and the like will definitely fall in love, if they weren't already. Hearing this stuff now, it sounds as fresh as ever, and groups like M83, A Place To Bury Strangers, Alcest, Health, Serena-Maneesh, Jesu, Phoenix, and all the rest, most definitely owe Medicine royalties big time. And heck if that list looks like your record collection, and for some reason you DON'T have these Medicine records, now's the time to right that wrong. We could go through both 1992's Shot Forth Self Living and 1993's The Buried Life, and describe our favorite tracks, but we'd most likely end up describing every single track. Even now, we don't hear a weak track in the bunch, and what sounds cool and strange and experimental now, must have sounded revolutionary and downright insane in the early nineties, especially for a major label band, and it just may have been what kept Medicine from achieving Pumpkins like fame, although we like to think it was cuz they just didn't give a fuck, and refused to play the game, and instead concerned themselves with making some of the weirdest, coolest, most tripped out pop music they could conjure up. Which is exactly what they did.
"The Pink" MPEG Stream:
"Baby Doll" MPEG Stream:
MEDICINE Time Baby 2 (Captured Tracks) 7" 6.98
MEDICO DOKTOR VIBES Liter Thru Dorker Vibes (Companion) lp 26.00
Few records in recent memory have had us so excited in anticipation for their release, but this outsider visionary gem is so unquantifiably unique that it has worked its magical charm on us in such an intense way that we knew we had to make it Record Of The Week. Even before we heard a lick of music, the album cover, title and artist had us asking so many questions. That simple but puzzling orange cover with a vintage stock photo of San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge, the mysterious and oddly misspelled title, Liter Thru Dorker Vibes, by an even more mysterious and misspelled artist name, Medico Doktor Vibes. Dorker Vibes??? What on earth could this be? Only a small text in the bottom right corner that said, 1979 Compton, CA and the record label Bi-Russell Records offered any clues to its origins. But the music inside, even stranger still is a primitive bedroom concoction of Caribbean-inflected outsider rock made with electric guitar, kalimba, synthesizer and drum machine that is an equally woozy, weird and introspective set of spell-casting witch-doctor psych groove. Folks who bought Johan Kugelberg's excellent book on Private Press records, Enjoy The Experience, may recognize the cover as it was featured in that book as well as the opening song, "Diska Limba Man" which was included on the companion musical compilation, but its curious lack of back story in the book only give the record a more mysterious aura as if beamed into our world from another dimension. And it's almost like it was, as this record was just discovered at an Oakland Colosseum flea market only a few years back and made its way to the ever-curious vanity record enthusiasts at Companion Records. Companion, who has brought us some incredible private press reissues from Stan Hubbs, Michael Farneti, The New Creation (whose Troubled just got a vinyl release, reviewed elsewhere on this list), Marc Mundy and Luie Luie, did the legwork (with help from Rob Sevier of Numero Group) to track down the artist, who it turns out is a Guyanese man named Bill Russell, and worked with him to see this unique release resurrected. True to Companion's mission, they have reissued the record in the same form as the original with an old style tip-on sleeve, blank back cover and no liner notes, so as to experience the record as it is, unfettered from preconceptions. However, we did press the label for a little context and we'll get into some of the record's back-story a little later. Each of the seven songs here vary in tone, but they are united by the instrumentation mentioned above in different combinations and Russell's accented softly mumbled delivery, as well as a seemingly urgent determination to get each song recorded as envisioned. As primitive as the recording and performances are, every song seems to have a deliberate focus, with moodier songs on side one and more rocking songs on side two. The record doesn't seem to have been made to promote himself as a professional or as a demo to make better produced recordings. In that, it is a perfect one-off record, its only obvious influential musical touchstones apart from some Caribbean musical rhythms, might be a bit of Santana and Hendrix perhaps (though this doesn't quite reach their heights, quite the opposite), but we're hearing a bit of Chrissy Zebby Tembo, Otis G. Johnson and even some Suicide in there too. It really just sounds like Russell plugged all his instruments directly into a 4-track, hit record and worked around the mistakes, never letting them curtail his vision. The opener, "Diska Limba Man" sets the tone with an off-kilter synth sequencer and wonky slow-disco rhythm, the tempo slowing down and speeding up in an elliptical groove while an electric guitar and a tinny kalimba add melody and texture respectively. Russell's voice thickly accented but emerging from an introspective murmer sings of a small musical instrument and the man who plays it, embarking on a hypnotic repetition as the song progresses into a sort of subdued dark disco trance. The second track, "Kalimba Tune", is just that, the kalimba alone in a beautifully played magical weaving instrumental that borders on the minimalist composition of Philip Glass. The third track, "Take A Closer Look" ends the first side with a slow looping organ dirge with a loping martial rhythm, inflected with a simmering guitar melody that adds a mystical resonance. The song urging the listener to "take a closer look at the life you are living" points to the lighter ("liter") and darker ("dorker") vibes the album title implies. Side two has more of a heavier rock feel. "Givers of Affection" opens with a motorcycle blues guitar riff and what sound like harmonica blasts and rudimentary drum machine in a Canned Heat style, Russell's voice double tracked in a driving falsetto. "Lonely No More" has a more laid back sunbaked Zam-rock vibe, with funky Caribbean rhythms and freaked out synth leads, filtered through homegrown distortion and double tracked vocals layered incongruously into a strange psychedelic brew. "Dig This Calypso" is a stoned sunny and breezy take on the origins of the calypso beat, and we're usually not that big on calypso, but as with all the songs on the second side, this one layered with warm distortion and gritty guitar squalls all filtered back in a lo-fi Caribbean funk groove, makes it one of the better calypso inspired songs we've heard. The final track, "Water Late" is an instrumental with a medium-fast shuffled martial rhythm, and some seriously wonky exploratory guitar leads as if Doug Blunt was fronting some primitive cave rock band like Cromagnon. It ends the record on a slightly open ended note as we're left to wonder what in the hell did we just listen to? But that is exactly the kind of naive quality in this record that makes us want to put it back on and listen to it again, figure out the words and try and put together what it all means, and why for all of its outsider artistry, these songs remain so hopelessly and wonderfully implanted in our brains. And most importantly, who or what is Medico Doktor Vibes? The folks at Companion filled us in a bit. Bill Russell is an immigrant from Guyana who came to the United States and served in the U.S. military in the seventies. He came from a musical family and after serving, settled in the LA suburb of Compton and decided to make a record. He bought the recording equipment and instruments he used on the record all at once and set about making this one and only LP. He chose the cover image carefully by color because he thought it matched the mood of the record and thought it would appeal to people, even though he oddly didn't notice the Golden Gate Bridge, or at least it didn't register any additional symbolic meaning for him and he didn't have any Bay Area connection. The title though intentional is logically vague. The story goes that Russell saw the recording as a bridge between "light" and "dark" people, but felt that just calling it Lighter Through Darker Vibes was too politically charged and so he twisted the words to "Liter" and "Dorker" in avoidance (this must have been before the word "dork" came into a more common parlance). His hopes were that both Light and Dark people would come together and groove out to his music , though it was distributed modestly with only 100 original copies and went absolutely nowhere. Perhaps now with this reissue, Russell's original vision will finally come to pass. We certainly hope so. Limited to 500 copies! Sorry no download code.
"Diska Limba Man" MPEG Stream:
"Kalimba Tune" MPEG Stream:
"Take A Closer Look" MPEG Stream:
"Givers of Affection"
MEDITATIVE SECT Laceration Points (Merz Tapes) cassette 8.98
MEDROXY PROGESTERONE ACETATE I Am An Empty House, Longing To Be Haunted (Black Horizons) 2 x cassette 11.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. We first heard from the oddly titled Medroxy Progesteron Acetate on a split 7" with Warmth a while back, but this is the first we've heard since, a sprawling double cassette epic, of burnt out psychedelic drift and drone out black synth shimmer, rife with strange voices and sampled vocals, buried melodies and constantly shifting textures and tones. Dense stretched out drone music, lush layered abstract psych-synth minimalism, slow-motion muted industrial creep, squalls of grinding sci-fi noise, or thick bleary buzz, this is heavy, deep, dark listening, paranoid, sinister, ominous, otherworldly, haunting, harrowing, but at the same time, strangely blissed out, mesmerizing, dense and dark and in its own bleak and black way surprisingly dreamy. Muted rhythmic drift fused to ethereal shimmer, and softly roiling sonic murk, the voices constantly in the distance, occasionally moving to the fore, intoning some mysterious passage only to be swallowed up and covered in layer after layer of hum and thrum and rumble. Fans of Pulse Emitter, Grasslung, and other synth-drone alchemists will definitely dig, but the constant flow of samples and strange voices and mysterious broadcasts, gives this the vibe of some fucked up soundtrack, or some purloined surveillance tape set to music, which is what makes this so cool. And so trippy, fucked up and frightening. Like all Black Horizons releases, crazy deluxe packaging, two tapes housed in one of those cool double tape cases, with two full color printed J-cards, on metallic paper, each with an insert with all the 'lyrics' and liner notes, and each either silver or gold, matching whichever tape it accompanies. LIMITED TO 50 COPIES!!
MEEK IS MURDER Algorithms (Granite House) lp 14.98
It seems like most of the music coming out of Brooklyn these days has been tending toward fey eighties beholden electro pop or gloomy Cure worshipping synthwave, but it's not all eyeliner and Siouxsie lunch boxes happening over there, at least based on the debut from Meek Is Murder, who might as well be called The Meek SHALL BE Murdered, cuz this is some seriously kick ass poser disposing heaviness, displaying a darker, seriously more fucked up and chaotic sonic side to everyone's favorite borough. Recorded by Converge's Kurt Ballou, and definitely not that far removed from the Converge / Coalesce sonic axis, Meek Is Murder traffic in a dense, gnarled mathy metalpunk crush, that shifts deftly from dirgey downtuned sludge to crazed hyperdense metalcore fury, with plenty of twists and turns in-between. Nine short sharp blasts of tangled metallic mathpunk, most of the tracks clocking in at 2 minutes or less, 3 or 4 closer to 60 seconds, culminating in a final 6+ minute epic. The record begins with an intro of sorts, a churning seasick dirge, with rad syncopated drums and rib cage rattling metallic chug, all wreathed in woozy spidery leads, before launching directly into "Return Void", the opening blast the sort of shit that makes pits explode, but then the double kick comes in, and the song blossoms into a weirdly melodic mini-epic, a sort of metalcore Godspeed almost. But it's the title track that might be our favorite, a galloping Speedwolf like classic thrash, laced with a tangled shreddery that at times sounds like a less demented Mick Barr, unfurling woozy harmonized classic metal harmonies over the roiling metalpunk below. From there on out, it's some of THEE best mathed out heaviness, we've heard in ages, we're reminded at time of Kiss It Goodbye or Deadguy, heavy as fuck, with almost proggy arrangements, but shot through with some serious melody, fractured by super dynamic stop/starts and wreathed in thick sheets of feedback. The bulk of the record clocks in at less than 15 minutes, but the songs are so jammed with tripped out parts and intricate arrangements, killer riffing, rad melodies, it feels like way longer, until the record finishes off with "Garbage Collector", which sounds like a more metal Dazzling Killmen, churning noise rock math metal radness, with some amazing, weirdly melodic, droned out breakdowns, as well as a seriously epic, brooding, slow build Godspeed-ish final movement, that pushes MiM's sound way beyond most other typical punk/metal outfits, and is fast making this, and these guys, a new aQ favorite. LIMITED TO 500 COPIES!! 100 of which are white, and while they last we've got the white ones. Hand numbered.
"Hello, World!" MPEG Stream:
"Return Void" MPEG Stream:
MEEK, JOE I Hear A New World (special edition) (RPM) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Okay, so he was "the English Phil Spector". Whew, got that out of the way. In fact he's arguably one of THE most innovative, albeit the most obscure, producers *ever* (other candidates being Spector, Brian Wilson, Lee Perry, other votes welcome!). Though famous first and foremost for his hit with the Tornados' "Telstar" (the first English pop song to hit #1 on the charts in the U.S.), this tone deaf wunderkind had a penchant for the very strange and esoteric as well. It's been said that the man turned down the opportunity to have a first stab at recording The Beatles and David Bowie while counseling an aspiring band to axe front man Rod Stewart if they wanted to work with him. Bad judgements or refined tastes? Given much of the work Meek chose to produce in their stead one might quickly point the finger in the direction of bad judgement, but Meek's visionary "I Hear A New World" suggests that the man had an altogether sublime inspiration that was far ahead of its time. Fascination with what life could possibly exist on the moon was the seed which drove Joe Meek to compose what could be considered the first "rock" concept album. He wanted to "create a picture in music of what could be up there in outer space." Quite a task. A task that required Meek to use every producing trick in his bag (a very, very big bag.) Take the foundation of an instrumental band, in this case Meek's The Blue Men -- a sort of Venturesy, Shadowsy, Les Paulsy kind of thing -- then squash the hell out of the drums with compression, throw delay and reverb around like a death battle with King Tubby, and add a potpourri of unusual instruments including the Clavioline (a super primitive pre-synthesizer) a purposefully out of tune tack piano, the occasional double speed vocals and you can almost hear Joe's New World. Top this off with the fact that Joe was attempting to create a stereo recording working only with primitive two track machines (not a huge multi-track facility) in his two room apartment recording studio and you know the man had to be a mad genius. (Certifiably mad, if the murder of his landlady and his suicide are any indication.) This fine new edition of this *absolute*must*hear* album includes, along with all the original tracks, a 35 minute monologue by Joe Meek recorded in 1962 in which Meek gives a brief autobiography leading up to his residing at 538 Holloway Road, describes his studio and its contents: microphones, recording decks, etc and talks about his work. Quite a unique document. Also included on the disc is a film clip of Joe Meek in his studio talking about the music industry (and though the makers of this CD claim that you can only play the film on a PC, it seems to work fine on both Mac and PC.) Plus you get a nice fold out poster with Meek's original notes for each song on I.H.A.N.W. and a thorough telling of the story behind the album.
"The Bublight" RealAudio clip:
MEEK, JOE I Hear A New World (special edition) (RPM) lp 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Now available on vinyl! Okay, so he was "the English Phil Spector". Whew, got that out of the way. In fact he's arguably one of THE most innovative, albeit the most obscure, producers *ever* (other candidates being Spector, Brian Wilson, Lee Perry, other votes welcome!). Though famous first and foremost for his hit with the Tornados' "Telstar" (the first English pop song to hit #1 on the charts in the U.S.), this tone deaf wunderkind had a penchant for the very strange and esoteric as well. It's been said that the man turned down the opportunity to have a first stab at recording The Beatles and David Bowie while counseling an aspiring band to axe front man Rod Stewart if they wanted to work with him. Bad judgements or refined tastes? Given much of the work Meek chose to produce in their stead one might quickly point the finger in the direction of bad judgement, but Meek's visionary "I Hear A New World" suggests that the man had an altogether sublime inspiration that was far ahead of its time. Fascination with what life could possibly exist on the moon was the seed which drove Joe Meek to compose what could be considered the first "rock" concept album. He wanted to "create a picture in music of what could be up there in outer space." Quite a task. A task that required Meek to use every producing trick in his bag (a very, very big bag.) Take the foundation of an instrumental band, in this case Meek's The Blue Men -- a sort of Venturesy, Shadowsy, Les Paulsy kind of thing -- then squash the hell out of the drums with compression, throw delay and reverb around like a death battle with King Tubby, and add a potpourri of unusual instruments including the Clavioline (a super primitive pre-synthesizer) a purposefully out of tune tack piano, the occasional double speed vocals and you can almost hear Joe's New World. Top this off with the fact that Joe was attempting to create a stereo recording working only with primitive two track machines (not a huge multi-track facility) in his two room apartment recording studio and you know the man had to be a mad genius. (Certifiably mad, if the murder of his landlady and his suicide are any indication.)
"The Bublight" RealAudio clip:
MEEK, JOE (V/A) Work In Progress: The Triumph Sessions (RPM) cd 15.98
Particularly famous for the hit "Telstar," Joe Meek was Britain's homicidal/suicidal counterpart to Phil Spector... This disc features rare and previously unissued tracks (i.e. demos credited to the likes of The Fabulous Flee-Rakkers) produced by Meek circa 1960. Crazy.
MEELKOP, ROEL 7 Perceptions (Staalplaat) cd 17.98
It was stated in the one sheet that Roel Meelkop 'has been compared to Bernhard Gunter, (but) his work is... above all more audible" Hey, they stole our joke! Regardless, Meelkop presents shifting walls of granite sounds which are slowly grinding against each other leaving behind a residue which some may call musique concrete.
MEELKOP, ROEL + TOY BIZARRE 4 Pieces (Kaon) cd 17.98
The four pieces include one solo track from Meelkop (Goem, THU20), one collaborative piece, and two from Toy Bizarre. Both excel at environmentally based recordings with Meelkop tearing these sounds apart leaving their intrinsic silences behind and Toy Bizarre focusing more on the uncanny behaviour of his raw recordings. Their collaborative pieces narratively links the precedant (the Meelkop track) with the following Toy Bizarre track, as hard disc processing overlay and intercept the fractured sounds of each other to rather electronic means.