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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 MCGUIRE, MARK Things Fall Apart (Wagon) cd-r 12.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Much like on his recent solo acoustic radio session lp, on Things Fall Apart, Emeralds member Mark McGuire once again ditches the effects (mostly), going it alone, sans his synthesizer compatriots, with just some hazy guitar strum, looped hypnotic melody, and away we go...
...Into some sort of ethereal washed out dreamscape of elliptical guitar figures, interwoven and overlapping, mesmerizing and hypnotic, slowly shifting, a gorgeous new age krautdrone drift, crystalline and delicate, it's a slow build, but eventually, the tracks grow more fierce, darker, and more dense, with some fuzzy psychedelic guitars adding extra buzz and filigree, ratcheting up the space rock vibe, but never letting loose completely.
Contemplative, sun-dappled tranquility is the order of the day here. Or rather the order of the cool breezy sun-setting Summery eve. Some aQ folks were hearing some Jerry Garcia, in his Zabriske Point solo guitar mode, others some krauty shimmery smoothness a la Michael Rother, both are equally applicable, Things Fall Apart is a soft focus prismatic drift of fluttery krautfolk and subtle spaced out avant Appalachia, broadcast through a gauzey veil of ephemeral shimmer. Lovely. And of course, EXTREMELY LIMITED.
MPEG Stream: "Things Fall Apart"
MPEG Stream: "Inside Where It's Warm"

album cover MCGUIRE, MARK Tidings / Amethyst Waves (Weird Forest) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Previously listed on vinyl, now finally available on cd, another fantastic release from Mark McGuire, a member of psych synth drone aQ faves Emeralds, this a cd reissue of two loooong out of print cassettes, consisting of four long tracks, of processed and looped guitarmusic, a gloriously kosmiche hypnotic and repetitive space rock kraut drone, beginning with an odd, somewhat out of place sample, but as soon as the guitars kick in we're immediately transported to some strange other world of crystals and prisms, the sonic sunlight unfurling glorious sheets of color, stuttery looped tangles of spidery guitar gives way to thick swells of crumbling corrosive fuzz, warm and lush and billowy, a wall of metalgaze blur that soon shifts back into a dizzying swirl of looped and layered melodies, that shifts and undulates and morphs from muted blissful smears to straight up folky strum.
The second track is another gorgeous loopscape, chiming guitar harmonics, and short sharp bursts of static, simple subtle melodies underneath, almost poppy sounding, until it collapses into a soft swirling tangle of layered synths and dizzying serpentine melodies, only to again to return to something much more traditionally strummy, a simple moody guitar figure layered over electronic chitter that sounds a bit like crickets in the fading afternoon light.
Track three beings with flurry of chiming high end guitars, like fireflies, they swirl and flit, the almost-melodies constantly in motion, the sound growing ever more lush and complex and dense, so hypnotic, loop after loop laid atop the loops that came before, a lovely slow build, that eventually joins the twinkling looped melodies with subtle guitar strum, and washed out string-like swells, the whole thing growing more and more hazy and distorted and metallic, dissipating in a lovely tangle of decaying loops.
Finally, the record ends with some heavily delayed and looped minimal guitars, muffled and muted, chiming and percussive, very Reich / Riley sounding, again blossoming into lush latticeworks of overlapping melodies and overtones, it's not until near the end that the guitars begin to become effected, the guitars seemingly transforming into synths, a buzzy, fuzzy, but still fantastically mesmerizing finale.
MPEG Stream: "A Matter Of Time"
MPEG Stream: "The Passing Of The Road Chief"

album cover MCGUIRE, MARK Tidings / Amethyst Waves (Weird Forest) 2lp 29.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
One of two 'new' releases from Mark McGuire, a member of psych synth drone aQ faves Emeralds (and there's actually a new Emeralds on this list too, Record Of The Week!!), this one, an lp reissue of two loooong out of print cassettes (cd version coming soon), consists of four long tracks, of processed and looped guitarmusic, a gloriously kosmiche hypnotic and repetitive space rock kraut drone, beginning with an odd, somewhat out of place sample, but as soon as the guitars kick in we're immediately transported to some strange other world of crystals and prisms, the sonic sunlight unfurling glorious sheets of color, stuttery looped tangles of spidery guitar gives way to thick swells of crumbling corrosive fuzz, warm and lush and billowy, a wall of metalgaze blur that soon shifts back into a dizzying swirl of looped and layered melodies, that shifts and undulates and morphs from muted blissful smears to straight up folky strum.
The second track is another gorgeous loopscape, chiming guitar harmonics, and short sharp bursts of static, simple subtle melodies underneath, almost poppy sounding, until it collapses into a soft swirling tangle of layered synths and dizzying serpentine melodies, only to again to return to something much more traditionally strummy, a simple moody guitar figure layered over electronic chitter that sounds a bit like crickets in the fading afternoon light.
Track three beings with flurry of chiming high end guitars, like fireflies, they swirl and flit, the almost-melodies constantly in motion, the sound growing ever more lush and complex and dense, so hypnotic, loop after loop laid atop the loops that came before, a lovely slow build, that eventually joins the twinkling looped melodies with subtle guitar strum, and washed out string-like swells, the whole thing growing more and more hazy and distorted and metallic, dissipating in a lovely tangle of decaying loops.
Finally, the record ends with some heavily delayed and looped minimal guitars, muffled and muted, chiming and percussive, very Reich / Riley sounding, again blossoming into lush latticeworks of overlapping melodies and overtones, it's not until near the end that the guitars begin to become effected, the guitars seemingly transforming into synths, a buzzy, fuzzy, but still fantastically mesmerizing finale.
Pressed on nice thick vinyl, housed in super deluxe Stoughton tip-on sleeves, and LIMITED TO 1000 COPIES!!
MPEG Stream: "A Matter Of Time"
MPEG Stream: "The Passing Of The Road Chief"

album cover MCGUIRE, MARK VDSQ - Solo Acoustic Volume Two (Vin Du Select Qualitite) lp 21.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
There are those who might have doubts about an ACOUSTIC guitar record from cosmic zoner Mark McGuire, who has been honing his Achim Reichel / Gunter Schickert guitar arpeggiations in the soon to be legendary trio Emeralds. You might say to yourself, when has Emeralds ever used an acoustic guitar? Can he really play without tons of tripped out effects? Is he good enough without a battery of synths supporting him? Any and all doubts should be dispelled in listening to this record. Yeah, this is really pretty special. McGuire offers five lengthy pieces of psychedelic folk via an acoustic guitar, probably buttressed by a loop station on a few passages during these pieces. The brightly rendered guitar chiming from McGuire's acoustic guitar noticeably detours from the rounded tonal arcs of Emeralds psych-drone workouts; but the rhythmic locomotive aspects from some of the later Emeralds recordings are prominent throughout this album. The nearly sidelong "Burning Leaves" centers upon a rich and warmly clad elliptical strum that spins in a duet around some lovely melodic notes dotting about. As hypnotic as the piece is, it's also downright playful. Other tracks like "At First Sight" and especially "Second Thoughts" have much more of a downer, maudlin vibe that spills through the almost raga hypnosis of McGuire's fingerpicking. Great stuff that would certainly appeal to fans of James Blackshaw, Six Organs, and maybe even Vini Riley. Dare it be said, but had this been released sometime in 1970, this would probably have landed on Takoma!

album cover MCHUGH, JONATHAN & MARK WASTELL Hydriotaphia (Confront) 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.
London's Mark Wastell has been privy to some rather unexpected (and unexpectedly great!) collaborations in recent years. Best known for his work with various quiet, AMM-inspired improvisers from the New London Silence community, he's turned recently to working with electronic musicians with a proclivity for tension, intensity, and blackened soundfields. There's the rather impressive Oceans Of Blood & Blood project that Wastell has instigated with Skull Defekts' Joachim Nordwall, and now there's this duet with Jonathan McHugh. A sound designer of the same name has worked on the Saw series of movies, but we're pretty sure these are not the same character even if there is some rather psychoacoustically challenging noises to be found on Hydrotaphia. With Wastell on his 32" gong that he's been using for many years now and McHugh on an Arp synth, the two begin to coax a series of low-end rumbles very much on par with the Deathprod / early Thomas Koner constructions, with McHugh gradually injecting small squiggles of electrical fizzes that eventually coalesce into a pure high-end tone that will certainly clear out any earwax if you happen to be listening on headphones. This rather bracing duality of low-end rumbles and high frequencies subsides after about ten minutes leaving more of those enveloping, icy surfaces of gong resonance. McHugh dials in a growling drone towards the end of the 45 minute composition, building into a gnarled set of tempestuous, electronic noise with a bleak feel that lends much more to the Dilloway / Michigan axis of American noisemongering. Quite impressive!
MPEG Stream: "excerpt 1"
MPEG Stream: "excerpt 2"

album cover MCKELVEY, COLLIN Canti For Paul Kos (Land & Sea) 7" 9.98
We've always loved musicians who make music out of ice, so we were super intrigued by this 7". The latest from Land and Sea, the Oakland-based imprint that publishes small run books and records from visual and sound artists, this is a beautifully minimal sound piece by artist and sound engineer, Colin McKelvey. Taking his inspiration from a famous conceptual sculpture from 1970 by Bay Area artist Paul Kos called Sound of Ice Melting, where Kos placed eight microphones around a large ice block to amplify the sound of its melting. Originally composed by McKelvey as a long-form composition called "Composition for Synthesizer, Voice and Ice", this 7" is two versions of various "canti" (a poetic division, or significant excerpt) from the original composition, a studio edit and a live edit that was performed at the Berkeley Art Museum in conjunction with a show that featured the Paul Kos sculpture. The piece is about space as much as it's about sound and the atmosphere involving the modular synth in varied frequencies along with the slow rumble of ice create a reverent but slowly destabilizing mood. The live edit has more of an echoing atmosphere given the reverberating properties of the architecture in which it was performed. Fans of the Touch label and experimental composers like Alvin Curran will find lots to love here. Beautifully packaged in an embossed white paper sleeve on clear vinyl with inserts including notes on the piece and an essay on the ambiguities of ephemeral sound. Limited to 100 copies, we have 5, we may be able to get more, but no guarantees, so you know what that means!

album cover MCKELVEY, COLLIN Macro-negative (Tusco Embassy) cassette 8.98
The tactile squiggles, zoner-drool time suspension, and tape machined guttural splutter of Collin McKelvey's Macro-negative conjure the lovingly grossed-out images of long lost Schimpfluch tapes. There was a legendary-yet-unheard performance of three of the Schimpfluch dudes (probably Phillips, G*Park, and Joke) smashing their contact miced faces into plates of spaghetti while a lithe woman serenaded them with electrified violin drones. While we've not actually heard any actual documentation of this particular aktion, we have a pretty damn good idea of what it might have sounded like. It would be a stretch to think that Bay Area audio-visual artist Collin McKelvey has taken up a similar strategy of fucked-in-the-head method acting, but some of the sounds he's grafted onto this tape have a profoundly scatological implications. One of the sides of this cassette opens with a disturbing set of pitch-shifted samples of intestinal gurgles and saliva dripped smacks (well, that's what it sounds like) which are overtaken by a slumped drone of 60hz electric hum cycling. The other side is grounded with a similarly electrocuted tonefloat with what sounds like a mass extinction of thousands of shrimp having their exoskeletons ripped off in mid-swim. Either that or it's a Small Cruel Party / Yeast Culture collage of tiny shards of flint, shale, and sandstone. Sicktones abound. It's limited to 50 copies and comes with a silkscreened cover.

album cover MCKELVEY, COLLIN / JOHN DAVIS Episteme (Little Paper Planes) 7" 9.98
As of the end of 2013, the San Francisco Museum Of Modern Art has temporarily closed its physical doors at its Third Street location, with plans to expand outward and upward from that structural footprint. Collin McKelvey and John Davis are two Bay Area media artists who happen to work at SFMOMA; and the two embarked on their Episteme project to document the ephemera and non-Art objects that would have typically gone unnoticed by the visitors and even the staff. A book was published for a short-lived exhibition of the visual documentation of said ephemera. Included with that book was a 7" of processed field recordings of the more banal, behind-the-scenes sounds at SFMOMA. The book seems to be sold out, but we did get a hold of some of these 7" singles of which we think there were about 100 copies in total. Each artist offers their own interpretation with McKelvey taking an abstract, phonographer approach with various shuffles, creaking wheels, HVAC purrs, and forgotten institutional clatter. Davis' track takes an opposite approach, recontextualizing various snippets of field recordings into motorik rhythms and radiophonic swarms with a nice Schnitzler / Moebius vibe.
MPEG Stream: COLLIN MCKELVEY "Episteme"

MCLAUGHLIN, JOHN My Goal's Beyond (Knit Classics) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.

album cover MCLEAN, BARTON AND PRISCILLA Electronic Landscapes (EM Records) cd 23.00
More pioneering electronic music unearthed by Japan's EM Records (previous releases include discs by Barton Smith, David Rosenboom, and Noah Creshevsky). This time, it's Barton and Priscilla McLean. A husband and wife team, but no Sonny and Cher here!! This duo performed live as the "McLean Mix", and were responsible for a bunch of sought-after Folkways LPs in their time, including 1979's "Electro-Symphonic Landscapes" (all the tracks from which are found here). The cover of this cd is an adaptation of the cover of that LP, the artwork actually being the graphical score for Barton's "Song Of The Nahuatl" (it's interesting to note that while the McLeans worked together, they didn't collaborate compositionally it seems -- half the tracks here are by the Mr. and half by the Mrs.). The McLeans got their start together in electronic composition in academia, at the University of Indiana, South Bend, 'round about 1973, when the Music Department there brought in a huge EMS Synthi-100 synthesizer and Synthi-256 sequencer. Hours of tape-splicing creativity would ensue! That mega-synthesizer was later repossessed (!) so the McLeans turned to musique concrete techniques (bouncing steak knives on violin strings, metal bars on piano strings, that sort of thing) to source their sounds, combined with the output of what electronic equipment they were able to access. Much of this disc, tracks dating back to 1975, feature this sort of laborious processing of sound. And the results are fantastic! Reminds us a bit of the classic Forbidden Planet soundtrack by Louis and Bebe Barron, another husband and wife team who preceded the McLeans in the annals of electronic music... In addition to the vintage '70s stuff here, there's a couple tracks of some newer material from the digital age... which holds up quite well, actually! Keening drones, mysterious pulses, psychedelic bleepage -- yep, way better than Sonny n' Cher!
EM has graciously provided both English and Japanese liner notes, so the 22 page cd booklet makes good reading for anyone curious about the McLeans' musical methodology, as well as providing cool graphics and intriguing photos to ponder.
MPEG Stream: PRISCILLA MCLEAN "Voices Of The Invisible"
MPEG Stream: BARTON MCLEAN "Song Of The Nahuatl"

MCLUSKY mclusky Do Dallas (Too Pure) lp 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.

MCLUSKY The Difference Between Me And You Is That I'm Not On Fire (Too Pure) cd 13.98

MCMAHON, BRIAN 17 Volts (Crab Pot) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
(From Forced Exposure's update:) Out of nowhere comes the debut solo album by the founding member/songwriter from the Electric Eels, one of the primal CLE bands from the dawn of American punk & avant-heck (starting in about 1975 or so, as immortalized on their retrospective albums on Tinnitus and Homestead from'89/91). Inexplicably, this record has been produced by Tom Smith (including backing by members of To Live And Shave in LA), and it has been dubbed as an album of "deconstructed pop rock with noise." Whatever you might expect, this is one of the most shockingly fresh "rock" records of the year. The recording has a primitive buzz to it, electrified folk of organic purity, the bleeping electronic interludes are lo-key and perfectly attached & the lyrics/vocals explode in a Laughner-esque vibe of literary-burned vision. The best parts have that genius glow that just can't fake, a thoroughly welcome surprise not to be missed.

MCMAHON, F.J. Spirit Of The Golden Juice (Light In The Attic) lp 19.98

album cover MCMILLEN, SHAWN DAVID Catfish (Tompkins Square) cd 13.98
Some super nice, unexpected sounds from Austin based soundsculpter Shawn David McMillen. While Tompkins Square is now releasing this on cd (the vinyl has been out a little longer courtesy of Emperor Jones) we mistakenly jumped to some conclusions before we even threw this one in, assuming McMillen to be another in a long line of finger picking Appalachian style Fahey disciples, and we have to admit we were a bit relieved to discover this was not actually the case. We can't deny that there have been some great releases in that style over the last few years but we've reached critical mass, especially when folks like James Blackshaw and Jack Rose have already raised the bar so high that most others can't really compete. McMillen on the other hand explores a more experimental approach to his playing which comes off sounding like a more subdued No Neck Blues Band at times which to our ears sounded damn fine. We were also reminded of the wandering explorations of Loren Chasse and the more delicate side of the Jeweled Antler family. What a nice surprise, excellent!
MPEG Stream: "Eat Mountain"
MPEG Stream: "Quintanna's Head Dress"

album cover MCMILLEN, SHAWN DAVID Catfish (Emperor Jones) lp 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.Some surprising new sounds from this Austin based soundsculpter. While Tompkins Square is finally releasing this on cd (the nice vinyl has been out a little longer courtesy of Emperor Jones) we had already jumped to a few conclusions before we even heard a note. And boy were we way off the mark. We had assumed McMillen to be another in a long line of finger picking appalachin style Fahey disiples, what with being on Tompkins Square and all, and while we can't deny there have been some great records in that style over the last few years we have to say we were strating to reach our saturation point. Folks like James Blackshaw have raised the bar so high that it's not enough to just sit there and strum a guitar and try to sound like Fahey or Basho. McMillen though, explores a more experimental approach to his playing which comes off sounding like a more subdued No Neck Blues Band at times, which was not only surprising but also incredible satisfying. We were also reminded of the wandering explorations of Loren Chasse and the more delicate side of the Jeweled Antler family.
Definitely worth checking out.
MPEG Stream: "Eat Mountain"
MPEG Stream: "Quintanna's Head Dress"

album cover MCMS 1997-2000 (Last Visible Dog) 3cd 13.98
Ever since we first heard the mysterious MCMS, sharing space with the equally mysterious Yermo on a cd-r released on Campbell Kneale's Celebrate Psi Phenomena cd-r label, we were hooked. Big time. Two absolutely stunning cd-r's followed. But as with most cd-r's they quickly went out of print and were seemingly lost forever. Well lucky for us, AQ pal Chris Moon who runs the Last Visible Dog label (and who just happens to be in MCMS) has stepped up and re-released on real cds both of those out of print discs, adding their half of the aforementioned split with Yermo as well as the tracks from their lathe cut lp on Eclipse (which was limited to 50 copies). Everything all in one convenient triple cd package. So what the hell does it sound like you ask? Imagine a weird, British style folk, loosely strummed acoustic guitars, warbly flute and urgently whispered vocals. Churning hyperdistorted guitars, random, 'free' percussion, sometimes just a simple plodding thud, all deteriorating into soft mumbly melodies and found sounds, mysterious and ambient. Dirty, gritty garage-y dirge/drone rock, Krautrock-ish rhythms filtered through a Dead C noiserock aesthetic that veers into noisy freakout territory, careening wildly from tuneless, Comus style pagan folk to chaotic free rock, to blissful dronescapes. A meandering soundscape of clatter and buzz, drone and thump, skree and whir, all very atmospheric. Moments of Sunroof! like lo-fi bliss disrupted by bursts of spastic percussive splatter and amp/instrument malfunction. Anyone into NZ noise rock (Dead C, Gate, etc), the current crop of free folk (Jewelled Antler, NNCK, Sunburned Hand, etc.) or just weird and wonderful, fucked up and noisy experimental free-folk-rock-noise-whatever definitely needs this. (Though, we wish Chris had come up with a different sort of package for these cds, he kept the cost down by eschewing a jewel box in favor of a three-pocket plastic sleeve, that's nice and slim but more or less ensures that all the discs will wind up with some minor cosmetic scratches on their playing surfaces. Nothing serious but still too bad.)
MPEG Stream: "Lemmy Kiliminster Getting Kicked Out Of Hawkind"
MPEG Stream: "MCMS Vs. Brain Damage"
MPEG Stream: "Prelude To The MCMS Album Of Love"
MPEG Stream: "Bruce Has Gone To The Great Bong In The Sky"

album cover MCMS 3 (Last Visible Dog) 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.
This is dirge-y, dirty, grungy tribal FREEROCK. '3' starts off with churning hyperdistorted guitars, random, 'free' percussion, sometimes just a simple plodding thud, which all deteriorate into softly strummed guitars and found sounds, mysterious and ambient. The rest of the record is a meandering soundscape of clatter and buzz, drone and thump, skree and whir, all very atmospheric. Moments of Sunroof! like lo-fi bliss disrupted by bursts of spastic percussive splatter and amp/instrument malfunction.
RealAudio clip: "Lemmy Kiliminster Getting Kicked Out Of Hawkind"
RealAudio clip: "MCMS Vs. Brain Damage"

album cover MCMS s/t (Last Visible Dog) 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.
We totally loved the MCMS cd-r on Celebrate Psi Phenomena (a split with Yermo, now out of print), so we were pretty psyched for TWO new titles courtesy of our pals at Last Visible Dog. Starts off as weird, British style folk, loosely strummed acoustic guitars, warbly flute and urgently whispered vocals. This soon becomes a dirty, gritty garage-y dirge/drone rock workout. Krautrock-ish rhythms filtered through a Dead C noiserock aesthetic that veers into noisy freakout territory. The record continues on, careening wildly from tuneless, Comus style pagan folk to chaotic free rock, to blissful dronescapes. Good stuff.
RealAudio clip: "Prelude To The MCMS Album Of Love"
RealAudio clip: "Bruce Has Gone To The Gret Bong In The Sky"

album cover MCNAIR, JAMIE Ocean Dictionaries (Celebrate Psi Phenomenon) cd-r 10.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Another new name from Campbell Kneale's mighty Celebrate Psi Phenomenon label, and it's yet another winner. A hyperminimal dronescape of warm underwater tones, thick and slow moving, dreamy and surreal, muted melodies stretched into thick blankets of fuzzy warmth. The second half of the record sounds like a straight field recording, wind and footsteps and dogs barking and the faraway whir and hum of everyday life, lovely and serene.
RealAudio clip: "One"

album cover MCNEAL & NILES Thrust (Chocolate Industries) cd 14.98
With all the DJs out there diggin' deep, trying to one-up one another with some unknown killer dancefloor fodder, some intriguing discoveries have been made, and as a result we've seen more and more rare funk LPs get reissued for all to enjoy. Such is the case with this record by Ohio-based funksters Machelle McNeal and Wilbur Niles, originally released to general obscurity in 1979. I'm sure it will sell many more copies now than then, with the Chocolate Industries stamp of approval. And such tracks as "Punk Funk" and "Hypertension" sure have a tight, crisp energy that still sounds fresh -- these guys could even teach the likes of The Rapture or Tussle a groove or two. Right out of the gate, we're reminded of something off of that that Shuggie Otis album... It's synthy, Mooged funk with a jazz-fusiony, disco-era gloss. If you like your funk raw, look elsewhere -- this is smoove but so so tight. It's definitely got that cheesy-but-hip TV show soundtrack vibe, you can imagine these tracks accompanying the action on some rad '70s police drama. Done up in nice new packaging (apparently the original private-press LP didn't have much in the way of graphics).
MPEG Stream: "Hypertension"
MPEG Stream: "Untitled"

album cover MCNEAL & NILES Thrust (Chocolate Industries) lp 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Now back again on Vinyl!
With all the DJs out there diggin' deep, trying to one-up one another with some unknown killer dancefloor fodder, some intriguing discoveries have been made, and as a result we've seen more and more rare funk LPs get reissued for all to enjoy. Such is the case with this record by Ohio-based funksters Machelle McNeal and Wilbur Niles, originally released to general obscurity in 1979. I'm sure it will sell many more copies now than then, with the Chocolate Industries stamp of approval. And such tracks as "Punk Funk" and "Hypertension" sure have a tight, crisp energy that still sounds fresh -- these guys could even teach the likes of The Rapture or Tussle a groove or two. Right out of the gate, we're reminded of something off of that that Shuggie Otis album... It's synthy, Mooged funk with a jazz-fusiony, disco-era gloss. If you like your funk raw, look elsewhere -- this is smoove but so so tight. It's definitely got that cheesy-but-hip TV show soundtrack vibe, you can imagine these tracks accompanying the action on some rad '70s police drama. Done up in nice new packaging (apparently the original private-press LP didn't have much in the way of graphics).
MPEG Stream: "Hypertension"
MPEG Stream: "Untitled"

album cover MCNEILL, LLOYD QUARTET, THE Asha (Universal Sound) cd 19.98
We've heard tracks here and there from Lloyd McNeill, on that New Thing! Soul Jazz compilation, on the Freedom Rhythm & Sound revolutionary jazz comp, but this is the first full length we've heard, and it's magical.
Besides being an incredible flutist and composer, McNeill was also a painter, palling around with Picasso in Paris, he ran his own record label, has recorded with Nina Simone, Ron Carter, and lots of others. He's also a music anthropologist, a teacher and a poet. He was involved in the civil rights movement, recorded music for art installations and ballets. But his music, wow, totally breathtaking, Latin and Brazilian flecked spiritual jazz. Nothing skronky or far out, now wild and wooly, or in any way difficult, just incredibly passionate, and personal, lush and melodic, gorgeous and understated real jazz.
Originally released on his own label, the Asha Recording Company, a label he ran from the late sixties until the early seventies, Asha is a truly fantastic bit of classic jazz, the songs soar and swell and brood, exploding into flights of fancy, but just as quickly slipping back into deep introspection, the band is tight as hell, shuffling drums, moody understated piano, some Latin percussion here and there, but it's McNeill's flute and piccolo playing that really makes Asha so special, fluttery and breathy one moment, wildly melodic the next, weaving gorgeous melodies over dreamy jazzscapes. The title track might be one of the most perfect jams ever, slightly melancholy, super dynamic, minor key melodies, plenty of tension, so melodic and moody, and downright lovely. The 10+ minute "Warmth Of A Sunny Day" is sun dappled and dreamy, the piano and flute perfectly in sync, playfully sparring over a sunshiny bed of soft focus piano and warm liquid bass. So fantastic. Yet another jazz reissue that is becoming a fast fave.
MPEG Stream: "Asha"
MPEG Stream: "As A Matter Of Fact"
MPEG Stream: "Two-Third's Pleasure"

album cover MCNEILL, LLOYD QUARTET, THE Asha (Universal Sound) lp 23.00
We've heard tracks here and there from Lloyd McNeill, on that New Thing! Soul Jazz compilation, on the Freedom Rhythm & Sound revolutionary jazz comp, but this is the first full length we've heard, and it's magical.
Besides being an incredible flutist and composer, McNeill was also a painter, palling around with Picasso in Paris, he ran his own record label, has recorded with Nina Simone, Ron Carter, and lots of others. He's also a music anthropologist, a teacher and a poet. He was involved in the civil rights movement, recorded music for art installations and ballets. But his music, wow, totally breathtaking, Latin and Brazilian flecked spiritual jazz. Nothing skronky or far out, now wild and wooly, or in any way difficult, just incredibly passionate, and personal, lush and melodic, gorgeous and understated real jazz.
Originally released on his own label, the Asha Recording Company, a label he ran from the late sixties until the early seventies, Asha is a truly fantastic bit of classic jazz, the songs soar and swell and brood, exploding into flights of fancy, but just as quickly slipping back into deep introspection, the band is tight as hell, shuffling drums, moody understated piano, some Latin percussion here and there, but it's McNeill's flute and piccolo playing that really makes Asha so special, fluttery and breathy one moment, wildly melodic the next, weaving gorgeous melodies over dreamy jazzscapes. The title track might be one of the most perfect jams ever, slightly melancholy, super dynamic, minor key melodies, plenty of tension, so melodic and moody, and downright lovely. The 10+ minute "Warmth Of A Sunny Day" is sun dappled and dreamy, the piano and flute perfectly in sync, playfully sparring over a sunshiny bed of soft focus piano and warm liquid bass. So fantastic. Yet another jazz reissue that is becoming a fast fave.
MPEG Stream: "Asha"
MPEG Stream: "As A Matter Of Fact"
MPEG Stream: "Two-Third's Pleasure"

MCPHEE, JOE Nation Time (Atavistic / Unheard Music) cd 14.98
1971 set from sax & trumpet player Joe McPhee & his group. Bad ass to say the least.

MCPHEE, JOE Trinity (Atavistic / Unheard Music) cd 14.98
1973 "blues inflected out-soul" date from saxophonist Joe McPhee and his trio (piano, drums), reissued for the first time, and with much improved sound from the original LP, we're told. Albert Ayler-dedicated jazz wildness.

album cover MCPHEE, JOE Underground Railroad / Live At Holy Cross Monastery (Atavistic / Unheard Music Series) 2cd 17.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Another fine Atavistic "Unheard Music Series" re-issue, this of the super-rare 1969 debut LP from freedom jazz trumpeter/saxophonist Joe McPhee who was last mentioned here thanks to his recent collaboration with Canadian dada noiseniks the Nihilist Spasm Band. It's coupled with a second disc filled with a hitherto unreleased live concert recording from '68. Both were recorded at the same New York monastery -- and while the sounds are doubtless quite spiritual in intent, the energy is sometimes far from quiet and contemplative! The '68 show features readings of tunes by Monk, McPhee, and members of McPhee's Contemporary Improvisational Ensemble, whereas the "Underground Railroad" LP, recorded with a smaller group, features only McPhee's compositions. Both are powerful, beautiful, and political with that '60s black power vibe. As always, some sort of award is due UMS curator John Corbett for bringing these sorts of classic free jazz artifacts to light.

MCPHEE, JOE & JOHN SNYDER Pieces of Light (Atavistic) cd 14.98

MCPHERSON, DONALD & TETZUI AKIYAMA Vinegar & Rum (Bo' Weavil) cd 17.98

MCPULLISH Black Metal White Reggae (Charlie's Records) lp 17.98

MCSWEENEY'S #7 literary journal 23.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
The format of a McSweeney's issue is always just as noteworthy as its contents. This time round Dave Eggers and co. have created an oldfashioned letterpressed hard cover which encloses eight separate little books by such hip writers as J.T. Leroy, Ann Cummins, Heidi Julavits, A.M. Homes, Courtney Eldridge, Allan Seager, Michael Chabon (an epilogue of sorts to Kavalier and Clay, with cover art by Chris Ware!), Kevin Brockmeier, and William T. Vollman (excerpt from an as-yet-unpublished study on violence, this case study takes place in Thailand). And it's all bound together by a jumbo rubber band. So nice.

album cover MCSWEENEY'S 24 (McSweeney's) book 24.00

album cover 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!

album cover 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!

album cover 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.

album cover 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.

album cover MCTELL, BLIND WILLIE Trying To Get Home (Sutro Park) lp 14.98

album cover 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.

album cover MCTELLS s/t (Captured Tracks) cassette 9.98
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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.

album cover 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.
MPEG Stream: "U8 "
MPEG Stream: "Alone In Neukolln"

album cover 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!
MPEG Stream: "Sonderkommando"
MPEG Stream: "Silent Ghosts Of Babi Yar"
MPEG Stream: "The Mussulmans Wander Through The Infernal Whirling Fires Amongst Silent Shadows..."

album cover 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!
MPEG Stream: "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"

album cover 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.
MPEG Stream: "God Is Rome"
MPEG Stream: "Guts For Sale"
MPEG Stream: "Sons Of Anak Rise"

album cover 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.
MPEG Stream: "Psalm 364"
MPEG Stream: "My Beautiful Genocide"
MPEG Stream: "A Baptism In The Warm Piss Of Slaughtered Children"

album cover 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...

album cover 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!
MPEG Stream: "Just Another Time To Kill"
MPEG Stream: "Rise In Godless Hell"
MPEG Stream: "Another God In Another Place"

album cover 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!
RealAudio clip: "The Watchers Of Catal Huyuk"
RealAudio clip: "Falling With Lightning Rays Beamed..."

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