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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.


MELNYK, LUBOMYR Niche / Nourish / Niche-xon: Continuous Music For 2 Pianos (Bandura) cd-r 16.98

album cover MELNYK, LUBOMYR Remnants Of A Man / The Fountain (Bandura) cd-r 16.98
This is the fourth record we've reviewed from Lubomyr Melnyk, pianist and inventor of the Continuous Music technique. A customer suggest we check him out describing him as sounding like three Terry Riley records being played at once. And it does. And it's amazing. Anyone who owns any of the other three will most likely want this one too. It's definitely similar as are all the pieces utilizing Melnyk's technique, but it has its own unique sound and arrangement that makes it just as special as any of the other recordings we've had. And as with many things we just can't get enough.
For those of you who missed the titles we already listed or are new to the AQ list, here's a little info about Melnyk and his amazing technique:
In the early '70s Melnyk developed a unique approach to the piano called Continuous Music, a physical and mental technique that allowed Melnyk to play an incredible amount of notes at an incredible speed. In fact he holds two world records, one as the fastest pianist in the world, sustaining speeds of over 19.5 notes per second in each hand, simultaneously! And two, for the most number of notes played in one hour! In 60 minutes, Melnyk sustained an average speed of over 13 notes per second in each hand, yielding a total of 93,650 INDIVIDUAL notes. Holy shit!! But don't be mislead, this is not some Yngwie bullshit, where songs and composition are sacrificed for mere shredding. No, there is a method to Melnyk's madness, and the result says all that needs to be said. Continuous Music as you might have surmised, involves generating an extremely rapid flow of notes, with the pedal sustained non stop, patterns, broken chords, the sound is dense and dizzying, like glimpsing the inner workings of some tiny lifeform and watching atoms and molecules spin and swirl. The result of so many notes, played so quickly and so close together, with the overtones drifting and bleeding into each other, is some of the most breathtaking music we've ever heard. It's almost like a waterfall of piano notes, a frothy cascade of tinkling sparkling melody, or a laying beneath a perfectly black night sky, watching a million fireflies dance and flit, a sky full of tiny little streaks of light. At once chaotic and soothing, confusional yet serene. Close listening yields so much detail, like looking at a piano concerto through a microscope, not so close listening offers the listener a glorious abstract soundscape on which to drift away.
Just re-reading that gets us excited all over again. This music is indeed amazing and incredibly unique. A dizzying swirl of solo piano. So dense and deep it doesn't sound like it could possibly be coming from just two pianos. It's almost like someone took a million pianos, removed every note from each piano, placed them in some sort of giant container, shook it up, and then dumped all the notes over our heads. But somehow, the notes fall in perfectly predetermined patterns creating impossibly complex melodies and totally breathtakingly lovely textures and arrangements.
"Remnants Of A Man" was recorded in Stockholm in 1985 and is probably the least abstract and most directly dramatic piece we've heard. Beneath the flurries of high notes are huge resounding minor key chords. So dark and ominous. Within the piece is included a direct melodic reference to Beethoven, a short bit from his 9th symphony, Melnyk's tribute to Beethoven and his unhappy life. In fact the piece is themed around the futility of love, and you can totally hear it in the notes. Sad and sorrowful, intense and so emotional.
"The Fountain" is more of what we might consider traditional Melnyk, the cascade of notes composed to sound like the water of a fountain. And unlike most of his pieces, the first half of "The Fountain" is performed without the sustain pedal depressed, which means the notes are dry and there are no drawn out overtones, it's remarkable to hear the complexity of performance and composition. Almost like looking up into a sky full or raindrops or snowflakes.
The final track "Niche" is an excerpt from a longer piece and is an example of solo piano in the Continuous Mode, a glistening, sparkling, shimmering world of lighter than air melodies, gentle drifts of notes, cobwebby tangles of delicate melody, completely effervescent and dreamlike. Awesome.
Lots of super technical liner notes as always, with a brief history of Melnyk and the Continuous Music technique. Be sure to check out Wave-Lox, The Voice Of Trees and the Legend And Song Of Galadriel too!
MPEG Stream: "Remnants Of A Man"
MPEG Stream: "The Fountain"

album cover MELNYK, LUBOMYR The Lund-St. Petri Symphony (Bandura) 2cd-r 32.00
It's been a while since we've heard from pianist Lubomyr Melnyk, master and creator of the Continuous Music technique, a playing style that involves incredible dexterity, the player creating swirling flurries of notes, in fact, Melnyk holds the record for most notes played per second! But as we've mentioned in past reviews, Continuous Music is no mere gimmick, Melnyk uses his technique to create dense shifting soundscapes, almost like a 20th Century Classical Oval, notes and melodies constantly in flux, dizzying and dreamy, a massive shape shifting organic whole, that seems to constantly change shape and tone and timbre. But the music of Melnyk is not difficult listening, just the opposite. His music is serene and hypnotic, mesmerizing and gorgeous. You can read way more about Melnyk and his technique in some of the other reviews, but needless to say, every new release is a thrill. And yes, it's another cd-r, but according to Melnyk and the label, there are so many pieces, that they'd rather make them all accessible, instead of making 1000 copies of just one. Who are we to argue? Besides, there's the fact that aQuarius is one of the only places in the world you can get Melnyk records.
Anyway, The Lund-St. Petri Symphony is another example of Melnyk's incredible skill and his deft arranging. This piece, originally composed and performed on organ, is recorded here on solo and double piano and is another shimmery expanse of Continuous music, with Melnyk sustaining a speed of 11-14 notes in each hand for the entire duration of the piece! What's even crazier, is it was meant to be played on THREE pianos (or organs), but was never recorded due to the fact that according to Melnyk, that much sound would not translate to modern recording techniques. There were plans to record the third part and release it as a separate lp so folks with two turntables could experience it in all its 3 piano glory, but it hardly matters, even on one piano, the sound is stirring. Minor key and melancholy, the notes glisten and glimmer, the melodies dense and ever shifting, the whole thing so completely entrancing. If you can imagine Pop Ambient music being created with just pianos, it would probably sound something like this.
As always, WAY recommended, this one only available at AQ as far as we know, and limited (maybe only 50 copies?). You like Oval, Eno, new age, Pop Ambient, or just wondered what it would sound like to hear 10 or 12 'normal' piano players all playing the same piece simultaneously, well, a little like this. Divine!
MPEG Stream: "NKR 22 Pt. 1"
MPEG Stream: "NKR 22 Pt. 2"

album cover MELNYK, LUBOMYR The Voice Of Trees (Bandura) cd-r 16.98
The name Lubomyr Melnyk is most likely not familiar to you. It definitely wasn't to us. Until a customer suggested we check out this unique piano player. He told us he thought it sounded like playing three Terry Riley records at the same time, which sounded pretty darn good. And we were not disappointed. It was everything we hoped it would be and more. We got a disc called Wave-Lox in, and we have been unable to keep it in stock, a swirling flurry of impossibly fast notes, a billowy cloud of piano ambience. How about a quick recap on the illustrious Mr. Melnyk:
In the early 70's Melnyk developed a unique approach to the piano called Continuous Music, a physical and mental technique that allowed Melnyk to play an incredible amount of notes at an incredible speed. In fact he holds two world records, one as the fastest pianist in the world, sustaining speeds of over 19.5 notes per second in each hand, simultaneously! And two, for the most number of notes played in one hour! In 60 minutes, Melnyk sustained an average speed of over 13 notes per second in each hand, yielding a total of 93,650 INDIVIDUAL notes.
That's right. World's fastest pianist. But Melnyk uses his powers for good. This is not wanky showboating, or Yngwie style pointless shredding, no this speed is necessary to realize his music, dense swirls of hundreds and hundreds of notes, whirling and swirling, overtones shifting and tonal color slowly changing. It's like looking at a pointilist painting close up, or sitting two inches from the television, colored dots, streaks of light, weaving in and around and all about each other, creating almost dronelike ambience, that seems almost static from a distance, but up close, it's made up of millions of tiny flitting parts and pieces. See the review for Wave-Lox elsewhere on the site, because while The Voice Of Trees employs similar technique, the results are quite different.
The Voice Of Trees is a piece for 3 tubas and 2 pianos, composed and performed to accompany a dance performance by the Kilina Cremona Dance Company. In the liner notes it states that since NO other piano player has the skill to play Melnyk's compositions, he had to pretape on of the piano parts and play the other live. And this is a live recording, so if you listen very closely you can sometimes hear the feet of the dancers. This piece also holds the distinction of being composed partially in "Geometric Form" a type of musical composition invented by Melnyk (after the works of Russian philosopher Ouspensky) where musical events are dictated by mathematics, geometry and the Fourth Dimension (!?). Woah! But fear not, you don't need a physics degree to sit back, close your eyes and let this loveliness carry you right off.
The focus is still Melnyk's Continuous Music, a flurry of notes like leaves carried on the wind, but it's the tuba that adds an unlikely slant to the proceedings. By themselves, the two pianos are a hypnotic drone, dense and slowly moving and constantly shifting, totally lovely. But the tuba adds structure, and its low mournful melodies add a certain morose quality to the piece, and make it sound classical and more like some abstract epic post-rock, played on piano and tuba. Sound weird, and it is, but it's also so gorgeous, and so intense. The piano is dizzying, the listener sort of drifts back and forth from letting the notes blend together into a swoonsome whole, and seeing every note, trying to make sense of the thousands of notes, trying to understand the patterns and the composition. And that's where the tubas come in, allowing the pianos to act as a lush backdrop, while the tubas moan and croon their lonesome melodies. Amazing.
It has been ages since we have been so blown away by a new discovery, and not just a new performer but a new way of performing. And for those of you who are especially moved by this music, you can write to Melnyk and purchase a course that will train you to be able to play Continuous Music. But be warned, Continuous Music requires serious discipline, in fact Melnyk, when he first started out, was unable to perform the pieces he composed, and only after years of strict discipline, including extra training, both physical and mental, in the form of martial techniques like Tai Chi, was he finally able to play the music the way he intended it to be played. SO AWESOME!!
These are professionally printed cd-r's with full color covers and extensive liner notes, they are bit more expensive than most cd-r's we carry because instead of mass producing one or two titles, Melnyk wanted to make available all of the pieces he has been working on for the last 20 years. Thus each disc is pressed in a super limited run, but what that also means is that there are 50 or more different pieces to choose from, all of them utterly amazing.
MPEG Stream: "One"
MPEG Stream: "Two"

album cover MELNYK, LUBOMYR Three Solo Pieces (Unseen Worlds) cd 16.98
We've long been fans of Ukrainian pianist and composer Lubomyr Melnyk. Have a quick look at the aQ site for much gushing, and a way more detailed of Melnyk and his 'continuous music' method of piano playing, which he invented, and involves the sustain pedal continuously depressed, turning Melnyk's rapid clusters of notes into gorgeous almost psychedelic sounding flurries, lush swirling clouds of sounds, which are once again in full effect here, which by the title, you can surmise does consist of three solo pieces, just Melnyk and a piano. Proper Melnyk releases are a rarity, since he decided long ago, that with so many releases, he would press up cd-r's, as a way to affordably have all of them available. But recently, Melnyk has been getting much more attention, having released a fantastic collaboration with James Blackshaw, and having several proper releases on actual labels.
Three Solo Pieces is as gorgeous as you might expect, the opener "Marginal Invitation" is brooding and melancholic, the playing measured and minimal, at least until a few minutes in, when the sound seems to transform, and suddenly, the listener is surrounded by warm, lustrous notes, and constantly shifting textures and melodies, the most dramatic part being where Melnyk abruptly lets up on the sustain pedal, and the notes suddenly snap back into a staccato framework, the notes still rapid fire, a different sort of swirling arrangement, dizzying and dramatic, Melnyk, slipping easily back and forth between the two. "Corrosions On The Surface Of Life" is atypically atonal, sounding much more '20th century' than most of his pieces, but no less compelling, a continuous cascade of notes and melodies, a blurred swirl of sound, tense and intense, the angular feel adding a sinister vibe to the proceedings, but before you know it, the sound is transformed, gradually shedding the more atonal elements, until it's downright lovely, before those dissonant notes gradually creep in again. The 18 minute closer begins like some famous classical piece you just can't put your finger on, the magic of Melnyk's mastery, conjuring up a piece at once utterly unique, but at the same time, one that sounds so familiar, the arrangement ingenious, as the low notes seem to be gradually shed over the course of the song, upper register melodies gradually coming to the fore, until finally, it almost sounds like music box melodies, dizzyingly repetitive, and mesmerizingly trancelike and tranquil. Fantastic!!
MPEG Stream: "Marginal Invitiation"
MPEG Stream: "Corrosions On The Surface Of Life"

album cover MELNYK, LUBOMYR Three Solo Pieces (Unseen Worlds) lp 23.00
We've long been fans of Ukrainian pianist and composer Lubomyr Melnyk. Have a quick look at the aQ site for much gushing, and a way more detailed of Melnyk and his 'continuous music' method of piano playing, which he invented, and involves the sustain pedal continuously depressed, turning Melnyk's rapid clusters of notes into gorgeous almost psychedelic sounding flurries, lush swirling clouds of sounds, which are once again in full effect here, which by the title, you can surmise does consist of three solo pieces, just Melnyk and a piano. Proper Melnyk releases are a rarity, since he decided long ago, that with so many releases, he would press up cd-r's, as a way to affordably have all of them available. But recently, Melnyk has been getting much more attention, having released a fantastic collaboration with James Blackshaw, and having several proper releases on actual labels.
Three Solo Pieces is as gorgeous as you might expect, the opener "Marginal Invitation" is brooding and melancholic, the playing measured and minimal, at least until a few minutes in, when the sound seems to transform, and suddenly, the listener is surrounded by warm, lustrous notes, and constantly shifting textures and melodies, the most dramatic part being where Melnyk abruptly lets up on the sustain pedal, and the notes suddenly snap back into a staccato framework, the notes still rapid fire, a different sort of swirling arrangement, dizzying and dramatic, Melnyk, slipping easily back and forth between the two. "Corrosions On The Surface Of Life" is atypically atonal, sounding much more '20th century' than most of his pieces, but no less compelling, a continuous cascade of notes and melodies, a blurred swirl of sound, tense and intense, the angular feel adding a sinister vibe to the proceedings, but before you know it, the sound is transformed, gradually shedding the more atonal elements, until it's downright lovely, before those dissonant notes gradually creep in again. The 18 minute closer begins like some famous classical piece you just can't put your finger on, the magic of Melnyk's mastery, conjuring up a piece at once utterly unique, but at the same time, one that sounds so familiar, the arrangement ingenious, as the low notes seem to be gradually shed over the course of the song, upper register melodies gradually coming to the fore, until finally, it almost sounds like music box melodies, dizzyingly repetitive, and mesmerizingly trancelike and tranquil. Fantastic!!
MPEG Stream: "Marginal Invitiation"
MPEG Stream: "Corrosions On The Surface Of Life"

MELNYK, LUBOMYR Vocalizes & Antiphons (Bandura) cd-r 16.98

album cover MELNYK, LUBOMYR Wave-Lox (Bandura) cd-r 16.98
This AQ fave finally back in stock!
We had never heard of Lubomyr Melnyk, nor his 'Continuous Music method' before. But the more we learn the more we fall in love with this iconoclastic modern innovator. In the early '70s Melnyk developed a unique approach to the piano called Continuous Music, a physical and mental technique that allowed Melnyk to play an incredible amount of notes at an incredible speed. In fact he holds two world records, one as the fastest pianist in the world, sustaining speeds of over 19.5 notes per second in each hand, simultaneously! And two, for the most number of notes played in one hour! In 60 minutes, Melnyk sustained an average speed of over 13 notes per second in each hand, yielding a total of 93,650 INDIVIDUAL notes. Holy shit!! But don't be mislead, this is not some Yngwie bullshit, where songs and composition are sacrificed for mere shredding. No, there is a method to Melnyk's madness, and the result says all that needs to be said. Continuous Music as you might have surmised, involves generating an extremely rapid flow of notes, with the pedal sustained non stop, patterns, broken chords, the sound is dense and dizzying, like glimpsing the inner workings of some tiny lifeform and watching atoms and molecules spin and swirl. The result of so many notes, played so quickly and so close together, with the overtones drifting and bleeding into each other, is some of the most breathtaking music we've ever heard. It's almost like a waterfall of piano notes, a frothy cascade of tinkling sparkling melody, or a laying beneath a perfectly black night sky, watching a million fireflies dance and flit, a sky full of tiny little streaks of light. Someone described Wave-Lox as three Terry Riley playing at once, which is not that far off the mark. Or imagine a thousand George Winstons spinning weightless in space, notes everywhere careening wildly, but with some strangely indescribable pattern. The sound of Wave-Lox is at once chaotic and soothing, confusional yet serene. Close listening yields so much detail, like looking at a piano concerto through a microscope, not so close listening offers the listener a glorious abstract soundscape on which to drift away. Wave-Lox is actually a piece for 2 pianos (giving you an idea of the density and number of notes we're talking about here) and 3 contra-bass, which offer the same sonic complexities as the piano, making a rich sonic stew even more deliriously dense.
It has been ages since we have been so blown away by a new discovery, and not just a new performer but a new way of performing. And for those of you who are especially moved by this music, you can write to Melnyk and purchase a course that will train you to be able to play Continuous Music. But be warned, Continuous Music requires serious discipline, in fact Melnyk, when he first started out, was unable to perform the pieces he composed, and only after years of strict discipline, including extra training, both physical and mental, in the form of martial techniques like Tai Chi, was he finally able to play the music the way he intended it to be played. SO AWESOME!!
These are professionally printed cd-r's with full color covers and extensive liner notes, they are bit more expensive than most cd-r's we carry because instead of mass producing one or two titles, Melnyk wanted to make available all of the pieces he has been working on for the last 20 years. Thus each disc is pressed in a super limited run, but what that also means is that there are 50 or more different pieces to choose from, all of them utterly amazing. We currently have about 10 different titles in stock, and while Wave-Lox is our favorite so far, one of the others features Melnyk on piano accompanied by multiple tubas! So drop us an email if you're interested in any of the other titles, but for now revel in the beautiful beautiful music of Wave-Lox!
MPEG Stream: "Wave-Lox 1"
MPEG Stream: "Wave-Lox 2"

album cover MELOY, COLIN 33 1/3 Series: Let It Be (Continuum) book 9.95
A match made in heaven. Arguably the best Replacements record, here exposed and examined and dissected and FAWNED over by Decemberists frontman Colin Meloy, who waxes lyrical (and you can imagine just how lyrical based on the elaborate wordplay of his lyrics). SO GOOD.

album cover MELOY, COLIN Colin Meloy Sings Live (Kill Rock Stars) cd 14.98

album cover MELT-BANANA 13 Hedgehogs (MxBx Singles 1994-1999) (A-Zap) cd 13.98
In the bizarre musical world of Japan's Melt Banana, seven inch singles are hedgehogs, and MB's got a whole mess of em, most WAY out of print and long unavailable. So finally, all of these long sought after hedgehogs, all released between 1994 and 1999, have been gathered up, gussied up, digitized and released on one single compact disc. 13 Hedgehogs featuring all of MB's tracks from the singles "Hedgehog", "It's In The Pillcase", "Untitled (Piano One)", "Eleventh" and "Dead Spex" as well as their tracks from splits with God Is My Co-Pilot, Discordance Axis, Pencilneck, Target Shoppers, Stilluppsteypa, Plainfield, Xerobot, and Killout Trash. Phew. 56 tracks of maniacal squealing and squeaking, stop-start, ultra dense, mega complex confusional punk / grind / pop / whatthefuck! So ridiculous and so totally amazing!
MPEG Stream: "So Unfilial Rule"
MPEG Stream: "Buddhism Core"
MPEG Stream: "Dead Spex"
MPEG Stream: "Last Finger Split"
MPEG Stream: "Bad Gut Missed Fist"

album cover MELT-BANANA 666 (Level Plane) 6" 3.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
SUPER LIMITED 6" (that's right 6", not 7"!!) from one of our favorite Japanese aggro-spazz-math-grind-pop bands. Don't dawdle, these are gonna go fast.

album cover MELT-BANANA Bambi's Dilemma (A-Zap) cd 13.98
Geeze! Can't believe it, this must be the most melodic, "normal" (ahem) album from Japan's Melt-Banana yet, but it's still ALSO totally spastic and unhinged and extreme. Actually the more melodic, non-hyperspeed elements here make the other stuff all the more insane sounding. There's (only!) 18 caffeinated tracks on this disc, chock-a-block with bug zapper guitars, thrashing drums, and yelping vox, of course. But also: catchy hooks, sing-a-long choruses? Yes. It's been four long years since their previous album, Cell-Scape, and we guess we'd forgotten just how listenable that one was, surprising us at the time too. Melt-Banana had taken their trademark manic Boredomsey hardcore sound and tamed it just a bit. Well they do that here too, turning in a speedy, spasmodic pop-punk masterpiece that sounds something like the Ramones or Green Day bouncing off the walls in a bizarre experiment somehow involving chipmunks, crack cocaine, and computers... ok, dunno what that means either. But the point is, this is making us crazy in a good way, it's as if the more "conventional" Melt-Banana becomes, the more paradoxically disturbing they really are. And if you really want pure old school M-B HC noisiness, well there's a batch of shorter, seizure-like songs on the second half of the disc (tracks 11-17) that should do the trick. Well worth the wait.
MPEG Stream: "Cracked Plaster Cast"
MPEG Stream: "Cat Brain Land"
MPEG Stream: "One Drop, One Life"

album cover MELT-BANANA Bambi's Dilemma (A-Zap) lp 10.98
Geeze! Can't believe it, this must be the most melodic, "normal" (ahem) album from Japan's Melt-Banana yet, but it's still ALSO totally spastic and unhinged and extreme. Actually the more melodic, non-hyperspeed elements here make the other stuff all the more insane sounding. There's (only!) 18 caffeinated tracks on this disc, chock-a-block with bug zapper guitars, thrashing drums, and yelping vox, of course. But also: catchy hooks, sing-a-long choruses? Yes. It's been four long years since their previous album, Cell-Scape, and we guess we'd forgotten just how listenable that one was, surprising us at the time too. Melt-Banana had taken their trademark manic Boredomsey hardcore sound and tamed it just a bit. Well they do that here too, turning in a speedy, spasmodic pop-punk masterpiece that sounds something like the Ramones or Green Day bouncing off the walls in a bizarre experiment somehow involving chipmunks, crack cocaine, and computers... ok, dunno what that means either. But the point is, this is making us crazy in a good way, it's as if the more "conventional" Melt-Banana becomes, the more paradoxically disturbing they really are. And if you really want pure old school M-B HC noisiness, well there's a batch of shorter, seizure-like songs on the second half of the disc (tracks 11-17) that should do the trick. Well worth the wait.
MPEG Stream: "Cracked Plaster Cast"
MPEG Stream: "Cat Brain Land"
MPEG Stream: "One Drop, One Life"

album cover MELT-BANANA Cell-scape (A-Zap) cd 13.98
A new record from spazz-prog-punk rockers Melt-Banana and while the overall sound is not all that different, they continue to get better and better, and dare we say more listenable with each record. Less ear splitting high end skree this time around, and a much warmer production, as well as some really catchy songs and great riffs make this possibly the best MB record yet. Plus there's a bunch of strange midtempo 'breakdowns' as well as some bizarre production and electronic fuckery that add even more dimension to MB's already unique sonic palette. But fear not, still present are the fingernails-on-a-chalkboard guitars and the hyperspeed chipmunk vocals and the spazzy rhythms, it all just sounds much more refined. Allan thinks the new Melt-Banana sounds like a bizarre hybrid of three other records on this weeks list: the Simply Saucer, the Agoraphobic Nosebleed and the Cats And Kittens cds. Which is actually not all that far off the mark!
MPEG Stream: "Shield For Your Eyes, A Beast In The Well On Your Hand"
MPEG Stream: "A Dreamer Who Is Too Weak To Face Up To"
MPEG Stream: "Lost Parts Stinging Me So Cold"

MELT-BANANA Cell-scape (A-Zap) lp 9.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Now on vinyl! A new record from spazz-prog-punk rockers Melt-Banana and while the overall sound is not all that different, they continue to get better and better, and dare we say more listenable with each record. Less ear splitting high end skree this time around, and a much warmer production, as well as some really catchy songs and great riffs make this possibly the best MB record yet. Plus there's a bunch of strange midtempo 'breakdowns' as well as some bizarre production and electronic fuckery that add even more dimension to MB's already unique sonic palette. But fear not, still present are the fingernails-on-a-chalkboard guitars and the hyperspeed chipmunk vocals and the spazzy rhythms, it all just sounds much more refined. Allan thinks the new Melt-Banana sounds like a bizarre hybrid of three other records on this weeks list: the Simply Saucer, the Agoraphobic Nosebleed and the Cats And Kittens cds. Which is actually not all that far off the mark!
MPEG Stream: "Shield For Your Eyes, A Beast In The Well On Your Hand"
MPEG Stream: "A Dreamer Who Is Too Weak To Face Up To"
MPEG Stream: "Lost Parts Stinging Me So Cold"

MELT-BANANA Charlie (A-Zap) cd 12.98
With every release, you wonder how Melt Banana is going to make their records just as fierce and brutal as the last without indulging in banal formulas. Yet their sound has evolved into complex shards of Dadaist hardcore played with hyperkinetic precision. One of the highlights on this album is their insane collaboration with Mr. Bungle! Highly recommended!

MELT-BANANA Charlie (A-Zap) lp 9.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
With every release, you wonder how Melt Banana is going to make their records just as fierce and brutal as the last without indulging in banal formulas. Yet their sound has evolved into complex shards of Dadaist hardcore played with hyperkinetic precision. One of the highlights on this album is their insane collaboration with Mr. Bungle! Highly recommended!

album cover MELT-BANANA Fetch (A-Zap Records) cd 13.98
We were looking back at our review of the last Melt-Banana record we reviewed, Initial T., which we listed way back in 2009, and yeah, it was just an ep, but even then we were bowled over by how these masters of grinding math pop / noise rock, continued to reinvent themselves and surprise us with every record. The surprise that time was a dramatic shift, into a sound more electronic, one that at the time we described as sounding like a sped up Deerhoof, or like Fuck Buttons. And goddamn if they haven't taken that sound and pushed it even further, transforming their sound, which was already insanely unique, and ridiculously difficult to describe, and literally unlike ANY other bands out there, into something even MORE. Just the first track alone should convince you, it's a total mind blower, a dizzying collision of a million different genres, and so many seemingly incompatible sounds, brilliantly woven into some total next level electro-metal-grind-pop weirdness, that manages to be both the weirdest thing we've heard from M-B, which is saying a LOT, and possibly also the catchiest! That track bears some in depth description, since it pretty much sets the template for the rest of the record. Opening with some glistening kosmische shimmer, some field recorded waves lapping on the beach, some swirling heavily effected guitars, those guitars gradually coalescing into some seriously crunchy riffage, laced with thick sinewy bass-lines, kick ass drumming, weird sound effects and wild FX, before splintering into insane mathiness, the song swinging wildly from indie rock groove, to mathy psychedelic tangle and back again, those super distinctive ultra high chirped vox, before the song breaks down, the guitars locked into digitized loops, peppered with blasts of metallic guitars, more swirling sci-fi FX, some wild double kick drumming, that drumming getting more frantic and chaotic, slipping into full on metal briefly, before launching into a final burst of mathy psychedelic noise pop. It's insanely complex, and impossibly dense, and how the fuck do they cram all that into just 4 minutes? No idea, but we LOVE it. And we won't say it gets weirder, or better, cuz that's not really possible, but it DOES stay that weird, and that good, which is a feat in itself, frenetic, hyper, chaotic, mathy, metallic, poppy, crazy catchy, confusionally fractured, some songs slipping into impossibly soaring epic electronic flecked majesty, others collapsing into dizzying grind-pop freakouts, still others getting all avant experimental WTF? Boredoms style noisiness, and even still others exploding in gouts of wild electro-punk jangle-metal weirdness. A few songs find dreamy guitar shred devolving into long stretches of field recordings, or blossoming into super melodic pop experimental video game krautpop, what a fucking amazing and totally weird record! After all these years, Melt-Banana continue to confound, confuse, inspire, freak out, inspire and blow us the fuck away. Every M-B record is so good, it's hard to proclaim this as their best yet, but you be the judge, cuz, really, we're beginning to think it most definitely is. So totally and absolutely recommended!
MPEG Stream: "Candy Gun"
MPEG Stream: "The Hive"
MPEG Stream: "Infection Defective"
MPEG Stream: "Then Red Eyed"

album cover MELT-BANANA Fetch (A-Zap Records) lp 14.98
NOW ON VINYL TOO!!!
We were looking back at our review of the last Melt-Banana record we reviewed, Initial T., which we listed way back in 2009, and yeah, it was just an ep, but even then we were bowled over by how these masters of grinding math pop / noise rock, continued to reinvent themselves and surprise us with every record. The surprise that time was a dramatic shift, into a sound more electronic, one that at the time we described as sounding like a sped up Deerhoof, or like Fuck Buttons. And goddamn if they haven't taken that sound and pushed it even further, transforming their sound, which was already insanely unique, and ridiculously difficult to describe, and literally unlike ANY other bands out there, into something even MORE. Just the first track alone should convince you, it's a total mind blower, a dizzying collision of a million different genres, and so many seemingly incompatible sounds, brilliantly woven into some total next level electro-metal-grind-pop weirdness, that manages to be both the weirdest thing we've heard from M-B, which is saying a LOT, and possibly also the catchiest! That track bears some in depth description, since it pretty much sets the template for the rest of the record. Opening with some glistening kosmische shimmer, some field recorded waves lapping on the beach, some swirling heavily effected guitars, those guitars gradually coalescing into some seriously crunchy riffage, laced with thick sinewy bass-lines, kick ass drumming, weird sound effects and wild FX, before splintering into insane mathiness, the song swinging wildly from indie rock groove, to mathy psychedelic tangle and back again, those super distinctive ultra high chirped vox, before the song breaks down, the guitars locked into digitized loops, peppered with blasts of metallic guitars, more swirling sci-fi FX, some wild double kick drumming, that drumming getting more frantic and chaotic, slipping into full on metal briefly, before launching into a final burst of mathy psychedelic noise pop. It's insanely complex, and impossibly dense, and how the fuck do they cram all that into just 4 minutes? No idea, but we LOVE it. And we won't say it gets weirder, or better, cuz that's not really possible, but it DOES stay that weird, and that good, which is a feat in itself, frenetic, hyper, chaotic, mathy, metallic, poppy, crazy catchy, confusionally fractured, some songs slipping into impossibly soaring epic electronic flecked majesty, others collapsing into dizzying grind-pop freakouts, still others getting all avant experimental WTF? Boredoms style noisiness, and even still others exploding in gouts of wild electro-punk jangle-metal weirdness. A few songs find dreamy guitar shred devolving into long stretches of field recordings, or blossoming into super melodic pop experimental video game krautpop, what a fucking amazing and totally weird record! After all these years, Melt-Banana continue to confound, confuse, inspire, freak out, inspire and blow us the fuck away. Every M-B record is so good, it's hard to proclaim this as their best yet, but you be the judge, cuz, really, we're beginning to think it most definitely is. So totally and absolutely recommended!
MPEG Stream: "Candy Gun"
MPEG Stream: "The Hive"
MPEG Stream: "Infection Defective"
MPEG Stream: "Then Red Eyed"

album cover MELT-BANANA Initial T. (Init Records) 7" 6.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
It's been almost 2 years since we last heard from Japan's mighty Melt-Banana, our favorite purveyors of manic spastic grinding ultra complex math pop, and we were all ready to just write a generic review saying how we loved them but what else could we say, their sound hasn't changed that much, but then we threw this on and the opening track blew our fucking minds. Not sure why exactly, big buzzing bassline, all sorts of weird almost electronic sounding guitar parts, it almost sounds like a super charged sped up Deerhoof, the song soaring and epic, weirdly produced, processed, almost dance-y actually, and when the song kicks in it's just incredible, wild and catchy and frantic and heavy and so goddamn good, the sound lush and expansive, maybe like Melt-Banana doing their best Fuck Buttons or something. Whatever it is, it's just about the most delirious 2 and a half minutes we can remember.
Both the cd and the 7" are short short short, as in 5 minutes, but lots of parts and radness jammed into those 5 minutes and 3 songs. The second track is a bit more classic punked up MB, but that one too is more poppy and twisted and bouncy and electronic than we remember. The last track is another warped tangled pogo pop grind jam that RULES. Shit, maybe we've just been away from these guys (and gals) and just forgot how amazing they were. Regardless, this is just about the raddest 5 minutes we've rocked out to in forever!
MPEG Stream: "Loop Nebula"
MPEG Stream: "Leeching"

album cover MELT-BANANA Initial T. (Init Records) 3" cd 6.98
It's been almost 2 years since we last heard from Japan's mighty Melt-Banana, our favorite purveyors of manic spastic grinding ultra complex math pop, and we were all ready to just write a generic review saying how we loved them but what else could we say, their sound hasn't changed that much, but then we threw this on and the opening track blew our fucking minds. Not sure why exactly, big buzzing bassline, all sorts of weird almost electronic sounding guitar parts, it almost sounds like a super charged sped up Deerhoof, the song soaring and epic, weirdly produced, processed, almost dance-y actually, and when the song kicks in it's just incredible, wild and catchy and frantic and heavy and so goddamn good, the sound lush and expansive, maybe like Melt-Banana doing their best Fuck Buttons or something. Whatever it is, it's just about the most delirious 2 and a half minutes we can remember.
Both the cd and the 7" are short short short, as in 5 minutes, but lots of parts and radness jammed into those 5 minutes and 3 songs. The second track is a bit more classic punked up MB, but that one too is more poppy and twisted and bouncy and electronic than we remember. The last track is another warped tangled pogo pop grind jam that RULES. Shit, maybe we've just been away from these guys (and gals) and just forgot how amazing they were. Regardless, this is just about the raddest 5 minutes we've rocked out to in forever!
MPEG Stream: "Loop Nebula"
MPEG Stream: "Leeching"

album cover MELT-BANANA Lite Live: Ver.0.0 (A-Zap) cd 13.98
It's been WAY too long since we've seen Melt-Banana live, they are definitely one of THE raddest live groups ever, sonically brutal and precise and manic and impossibly complex, their stage presence unbeatable, the whole band bouncing around wildly non stop, the guitarist perpetually clad in surgical mask, the vocalist a tiny whirling dervish, it's pretty awe inspiring, and wild pogo pit inspiring too.
So this killer live set might tide us over, the sound is incredible, you would never know it was a live record unless you were told, and might not even believe it then! They are in fine form, the record opener is awesome, about as slow as they get, a killer midtempo jam, all freaked out effects and processed vox, lots of buzz, squiggly guitar weirdness, all set to the frenetic drumming, before the band launch into a burst of lightning fast hypergrind, insanely manic and frantic and frenzied, the vocals a staccato chirp, the drums spastic and chaotic, the guitar though, spitting out incredible riffs, then all sorts of impossibly tangled squelches and glitchy fragmented melodies. The songs blow by in a blur, which makes the slower tracks all the more powerful. "Cat And The Blood" is a droned out prog jam, all wooshing synths, and surprisingly restrained vocals, and muted guitar squiggles, before once again spitting out a handful of manic metal grind microjams before finishing off with two epics (4 and 5 minutes respectively), first "Last Target On The Last Day" a gorgeous tripped out space jam, super atmospheric and heavy, long drones, and warm swirls of synth underpinning an almost doomic groove, finishing off with the super atmospheric and cinematic "Humming Jackalope, Waiting For The Storm", all Theremin-like melodies, clouds of cymbal sizzle, washed out bass rumble, and streaks of total Tangerine Dream like synth shimmer before finishing off with a burst of white noise crunch. Phew. Epic and incredible and heavy and wild and wonderful. Definitely don't miss MB next time they come to your town, and check this out to remind yourself what you've been missing.
MPEG Stream: "Feedback Deficiency"
MPEG Stream: "T For Tone"
MPEG Stream: "Slide Down"
MPEG Stream: "One Drop, One Life"

MELT-BANANA MxBx 1998/13000 Miles (Tzadik) cd 15.98
While on a grueling tour of the States (something like 40 shows in 50 days), MB dropped in the studio one day to quickly record an album. The Japanese foursome brutally deliver 28 songs of hyperkinetic spastic hardcore complexities, which pretty much comprised what their set was during those shows... A few songs had as of yet not made it on to any albums, the rest had... also including a version of their cover of "Surfin USA" for the Japanese Beach Boys cover album.

album cover MELT-BANANA Scratch Or Stitch (Skin Graft) cd 14.98
"Reissued" on the trusty digital format after a brief (did anyone notice?) absence. The second (internationally distributed and widely available) recording from everyone's favorite dada-hardcore-spazz-grind-wave crossover band from Tokyo, MELT-BANANA! Recorded in 1995 by you-know-who in Chicago during one of their many travels across the U.S., this follow-up to the jaw dropping Speak Squeak Creak made the Melt-Banana threat official to the world. Suddenly they blew up, they were everywhere. Every band across America and beyond split a 7" with them. And who wouldn't want to? What with the absurdist cut and paste lyricism and high pitched commanding yelps of Yasuko O; the grounded yet frenzied all-over bass stylings of Rika mm'; the tight-as-shit drumming of Sudoh (sadly departed, check him out now in Thermo!); and of course, the massively intense and inventive hybrid of grinding metal, no wave skitter and all out noise of guitarist Agata! He single handedly brought back the whammy pedal! [*see below] Not to mention an experimental bent to hardcore that still resonates in many newer bands today. All the showstoppers are here, "Disposable Weathercock", "Ten Dollars A Pile", "Iguana In Trouble", "Rough Dogs Have Bumps", "Contortion Out Of Confusion" -- twenty-two tracks in thirty-two minutes! Listening to this album in retrospect, it becomes clear that these songs -- though captured beautifully on tape -- seem too perfect and self-conscious for their own good. The songs are fucking great, the recording is absolutely fine. But something seems to be missing, leaving me thirsty for more. Experiencing this amazing live band in action rewarded me with an energy and power all too rare in many live acts these days. It's not until their subsequent lp (following a shitload of singles), Charlie, that their dynamic is done justice in a studio recording. That personal note aside, this is a fucking amazing and totally essential record from one of the planet's most undeniably incredible hardcore bands!
[*Agata uses a Digitech Whammy pedal, it drastically alters the octave of whatever is being filtered through it by way of a variable sustain-like pedal. It's how he gets those alien-like siren-esque wails. The pitch can also be altered by foot in real time, unlike the Boss Octave. Digitech stopped production of the pedals sometime in the mid-nineties and since about 1999 they've been back in production. Brian Gibson of Lightning Bolt uses one or two of them in addition to a fixed range Octave pedal. That's how he goes from super low and heavy to high pitched tinny sounds, or both at the same time... Agata had to improvise without the Whammy on tour when it broke and he couldn't buy a new one, so he found a bunch of second hand ones (supposedly). Digitech was probably gonna come out with another one eventually, but I like to think MB had something to do with it.]
RealAudio clip: "DisPosable Weathercock"
RealAudio clip: "Ten Dollars A Pile"
RealAudio clip: "IGUANA In Trouble"
RealAudio clip: "It's In The PillcaSe"

album cover MELT-BANANA Snake Song / Love Song (HG Fact) 5" 8.98
Latest blast of squeak and skronk and blast and grind from these ultra cute, but totally dangerous Japanese pop punk grind craziness. This is the perfect way to experience MB, two ultra short, but still impossibly complex blasts of chaotic grind pop. Like getting beaten to death with a big fuzzy sack full of bunnies, cute but still fierce and freaked out as fuck. Or imagine being eaten alive by a gaggle of glow in the dark, rainbow colored cartoon characters, painfully cute, anthropomorphous fuzz balls, all soft and cuddly, but with sharp fangs and a truly deranged look in their eyes. NO ONE sounds like Melt-Banana, well okay, sometimes Fantomas does, but when they do, we just wonder why they're copping MB's style. We love Melt-Banana.
Super limited 5" vinyl, released on HG Fact (the same label that releases all the Corrupted records!).

album cover MELT-BANANA Speak Squeak Creak (A-Zap) cd 13.98
Reissue of the long out-of-print and highly sought after international debut of Melt Banana. Originally released on Nux / Charnel Music in 1994, "Speak Squeak Creak" took the US hardcore scene by storm and dropped jaws worldwide as these four bright eyed kids from Tokyo destroyed any and all bands they've ever played with. Recorded in Chicago by Steve Albini during their first US tour, all twenty-four blistering tracks of high velocity hardcore are restored here on MB's own A-Zap label. Vinyl version now available for the very first time!

MELT-BANANA Speak Squeak Creak (A-Zap) lp 9.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Reissue of the long out-of-print and highly sought after international debut of Melt Banana. Originally released on Nux / Charnel Music in 1994, "Speak Squeak Creak" took the US hardcore scene by storm and dropped jaws worldwide as these four bright eyed kids from Tokyo destroyed any and all bands they've ever played with. Recorded in Chicago by Steve Albini during their first US tour, all twenty-four blistering tracks of high velocity hardcore are restored here on MB's own A-Zap label. Vinyl version now available for the very first time!

MELT-BANANA Teeny Shiny (A-Zap) cd 13.98
Ultra hyper Japanese art-spazz combo Melt-Banana have really perfected their assault in recent years, and this new album is nothing short of incredible. This record somehow manages to sound like a catchy old punk rock LP played at 78rpm, or faster, being scratched by some maniac DJ... Plus there's sirens going off in the background, and explosions, and all kinds of crazy guitar shit, almost-d'n'b breaks, and studio manipulations. It's a not-of-this-earth rock experience. Squeaky, freaky, and really good.
RealAudio clip: "Free The Bee"

MELT-BANANA / BIG D AND THE KIDS TABLE split (Fork In Hand) 7" 5.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Fans of Japan's Melt Banana know that they're always great at doing covers. On their side of this split 7" they do "Monkey Man" by Toots And The Maytals. Really. And of course they sound like they're on 45 even when they're on 33 like they always do, super hectic, the least-mellow reggae you've ever heard. Some of us thought it was a cartoon theme or music from an ad for a kid's toy or something. There's also a Melt Banana original called "Operation: 3rd Attack" on here, with some turntable scratching, that's equally wild.
The flip side features US ska act Big D And The Kids Table, they do an original and a Ministry cover ("Thieves")...there's got to be some novelty value in that. Actually, we *think* they're a ska band. But even their original sounds more like a metal or hardcore band with a horn section than your typical ska stuff. So, kinda cool too.

album cover MELT-BANANA / CHUNG split (Sounds of Subterrania) 10" 35.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Second chance on this, last copies EVER!!
We hate to do this to you, but there's not much we can do about it. THIS IS INCREDIBLY LIMITED!! WE ONLY GOT A HANDFUL OF COPIES, MOST LIKELY NEVER TO GET MORE! SO ACT FAST. This 10" is limited to a couple thousand worldwide, only 700 or so made it to the US and only 20 made it to AQ. So definitely don't dawdle. Yet another split from masters of the split record, Japanese ultra spaz rockers Melt-Banana, this time teamed up with another unlikely, but still quite cool band we've never heard of. The strangely monickered Chung offer up short sharp bursts of angular post punk on their side, kinetic new wave rhythms, fuzzy organs and yelped vocals. Like a punkier mix of the Fall, Bloc Party, Franz Ferdinand and all those sorts of bands. Melt-Banana counter with some of their most unlikely music to date, confounding and confusing with their three tracks (be sure to play their side on 45 -- we were WAY more confused when we mistakenly played it at 33 the first time). Strangely sparse, with a bouncy minimal rhythm, poundiing piano (!) and even some horns all sort of new wave-y and abstractly angular with lots of blooping space sound effects, rockabilly guitar and a trippy tweaked out production. Definitely MB's most melodic and least spastic record to date. But just to remind us who we're dealing with, they finish things off with a mega distorted blast of classic Melt-Banana style spaz-grind-pop weirdness. Comes packaged in an amazing sleeve, thick screened cardstock, and affixed to the front is one of those lenticular stereo 3D cards that moves when you shift the image, the image just in this case is a cartoon city and a giant fly and a madman with a flyswatter and an explosion.WOW. And once again, VERY LIMITED!

album cover MELT-BANANA / CHUNG split (Sounds of Subterrania) 10" 35.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Second chance on this, last copies EVER!!
We hate to do this to you, but there's not much we can do about it. THIS IS INCREDIBLY LIMITED!! WE ONLY GOT A HANDFUL OF COPIES, MOST LIKELY NEVER TO GET MORE! SO ACT FAST. This 10" is limited to a couple thousand worldwide, only 700 or so made it to the US and only 20 made it to AQ. So definitely don't dawdle. Yet another split from masters of the split record, Japanese ultra spaz rockers Melt-Banana, this time teamed up with another unlikely, but still quite cool band we've never heard of. The strangely monickered Chung offer up short sharp bursts of angular post punk on their side, kinetic new wave rhythms, fuzzy organs and yelped vocals. Like a punkier mix of the Fall, Bloc Party, Franz Ferdinand and all those sorts of bands. Melt-Banana counter with some of their most unlikely music to date, confounding and confusing with their three tracks (be sure to play their side on 45 -- we were WAY more confused when we mistakenly played it at 33 the first time). Strangely sparse, with a bouncy minimal rhythm, poundiing piano (!) and even some horns all sort of new wave-y and abstractly angular with lots of blooping space sound effects, rockabilly guitar and a trippy tweaked out production. Definitely MB's most melodic and least spastic record to date. But just to remind us who we're dealing with, they finish things off with a mega distorted blast of classic Melt-Banana style spaz-grind-pop weirdness. Comes packaged in an amazing sleeve, thick screened cardstock, and affixed to the front is one of those lenticular stereo 3D cards that moves when you shift the image, the image just in this case is a cartoon city and a giant fly and a madman with a flyswatter and an explosion.WOW. And once again, VERY LIMITED!

album cover MELT-BANANA / THREE STUDIES FOR A CRUCIFIXION split (Passacaglia) 8" 7.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
We recently reviewed a record by the Deadsea, a chaotic mix of black metal, and post rock and prog and sludge metal which we all dug like crazy, and as we mentioned in the review, one of the Deadsea guys used to be in the band Three Studies For A Crucifixion. So we managed to get a just a handful of these long out of print 8" eps for those of you who wanted more -- oh, and for you Melt Banana fans as well!! Here's what we had to say about it when we first had it way back when:
Tokyo's Melt-Banana have made a much welcome return to their hardcore roots with six new songs, fast and furious as ever. Three Studies for a Crucifixion, from Athens, OH, contribute two tracks of technical spazz and grind. VERY limited, so act fast.

album cover MELTAOT First And Second Rites (The Tapeworm) cassette 7.98
One of four new releases on the always fascinating, and often perplexing UK tape label The Tapeworm. This one comes courtesy of long time aQ customer and pal, bad ass artist, and scribe for the mighty Wire, Mr. Edwin Pouncey, aka Savage Pencil, along with his partner Sharon Gal, a UK artist and broadcaster. Besides doing time together in a noisy rock outfit called Pestrepeller, the duo unleash a pretty grim din as Meltaot, whose sound is a strange assemblage of abstract guitar drones, whispered incantations, abstract percussion, all woven into a candlelit crawl through some subterranean sonic doomscape, equal parts harrowing atmosphere, noisy abstraction and blackened beauty. Imagine a more artrock Abruptum, lots of squealing feedback way off in the distance, thick chordal buzz up front, lots of space, plenty of scrapes and creaks, moans and whispers, the female vocals are feral and haunting, sometimes slipping into some sort of demonic processed chantlike vokills. We also definitely hear some Angelblood, but picked apart and stretched out into some sort of unholy soundtrack to an endless night lost in a haunted forest, pursued by some unspeakable evil. Intense, and weirdly beautiful, each side a single track, each titled a 'rite', which is precisely what these sound like, the mysterious rites of some forestkult, conjuring up all manner of sonic demoncy.
Fans of atmospheric blackness and grimnoize will for sure dig, and even people into other abstract foresty weirdness, a la Sylvester Anfang, Avarus and the like, as long as they're up for something a bit darker, could do with a wonder through these black woods.
LIMITED TO 250 COPIES! With a killer Savage Pencil cover illustration.

album cover MELTED TOYS Washed & Dried (Underwater Peoples) lp 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Here comes a great new San Francisco band making some melt worthy washed out pop. Right at home on Underwater Peoples who have also released records we love by folks like Ducktails, Julian Lynch, Air Waves, and Pill Wonder. They for sure have the kodachrome soaked old cassette recording C86 happening, but there is something nice and subtle about their delivery that sounds so refreshing and earnest. We love how much of a daydream haze these songs put us in, synth pop that is less about beating you over the head with the sounds of synthesizers and more about casting a spell of timeless daydreams and melancholy memories. If you've been digging folks like The Art Museums, Puro Instinct, Memory Tapes, and Holy Shit then for sure you should jump all over this Melted Toys debut. It's some of the best dreamy and druggy, hazy and seductive pop that we've heard in a long time!

album cover MELTED TOYS / DOMINANT LEGS Rose Again / Laughing The Whole Time (Atelier Ciseaux) 7" 7.98
As thriving as the garage rock scene is in San Francisco, it's important to note there is some pretty amazing pop being crafted in these parts as well. We loved what we heard on the debut 12" by Melted Toys on Underwater Peoples that we listed a few months back, so we were super excited to get a brand new track of their low-key, yet so infectious breezy and subtly washed out pop.
Dominant Legs, we first heard when they opened for Girls at a breathtaking show at the Swedish American Hall a couple years ago. In fact, the band's main man, Ryan Williams Lynch is one of the guitarists in Girls, and there has always been something about him on stage that made us keep our eyes locked on him, as we knew there was something pretty special about his presence. Along side Hannah Hunt, and a full band with super strong chops, they create such a wonderful version of 2011 boy/girl cuddle-core. Think Belle & Sebastian meets The Softies doing Roy Orbison covers.
Released by the French label, Atelier Cesium, the 7" comes with a digital download.

album cover MELTING GLASS BOX (TOKEDASHITA GARASU BAKO) s/t (Erebus) cd 17.98
Writing as many reviews as we do each week, trying to sell records to the people who will like 'em, we really appreciate it when a band makes it easy, as in this case, like, by being from Japan. And from the early '70s. Playing acid folk. And then they've got a cool name like Melting Glass Box. All that really remains is for us to tell you if is as amazing as it seems it might be - and it is.
Of course, though they're pretty obscure, you may have heard of them already, as this 1970 album has quite a deserved rep among connoisseurs of Japanese psych stuff - though it's mysteriously given short shrift in Julian Cope's Japrocksampler book, though he does praise albums by another band, Five Red Balloons (Itsutsu No Arai Fusen) from whom comes the main Melting Glass Box guy, singer-songwriter Takasi Nishioka, who is the pretty sharp looking denim clad hipster gent in the Melting Glass Box cover photo. MGB was a one-off studio project (though Takasi made many albums with Itsutu No Arai Fusen, and a bunch of later solo records as well) that also featured folks from such crucial underground Japanese psych acts of the era as The Jacks, Apryl Fool, and AQ faves Blues Creation. There's three members of proto-metal heavies Blues Creation on board here, actually, including Iommi-esque guitarist Takeda Kazuo. Not that this is at all heavy, it's actually a mellow, melodic record, quite gentle and pretty and placid, the lazy la la la's of their folky flowerpowered pop punctuated with such surreal details as the sound of shattering glass that startles the listener halfway through the lead off track "Anmari Fukasugite". Likewise, electronic FX, tape speed manipulations, ethnic instruments, and some stinging acid guitar licks are sparingly stirred into the mix throughout, this album one of many interesting, dreamy details and odd arrangements, but that still succeeds especially due to Takasi's balladic songs, that are so very melancholic and emotional - even though we can't understand the lyrics. We bet Masaki Batoh and Ghost grew up listening to this record!
Definitely a thrilling reissue that all of us here at AQ are digging, it's been getting a LOT of in-store play. Nicely done, too, by the Erebus label, with liner notes, original sleeve shots, and discographical information in the cd booklet.
MPEG Stream: "Anmari Fukasugite"
MPEG Stream: "Kimi Ha Dare Nanda"

album cover MELTON, MATTHEW Still Misunderstood (Southpaw) lp 13.98
Regular readers of the list know how much we love local fuzz pop jangle garage rockers Snake Flower 2 and the equally fuzzy and jangly Bare Wires, both fronted by Mr. Matthew Melton, a long haired, leather jacket clad rocker, albeit one with a pop heart wrapped in prickly fuzz, which is precisely what we find so magical about Melton's songwriting.
Crunchy, fuzzy, buzzy, reverby, blown out, catchy and hooky and melodic, sounding almost like the musically wiser big brother to the current crop of lo-fi garage poppers like Thee Oh Sees and the Sic Alps and Ty Segall. Melton's songs just sound more world weary and experienced, there's still a youthful exuberance, but it's a bit tarnished, a little gritty and grimy, and it just suits the sound and the songs.
Still Misunderstood collects early tracks and demos from Melton that predate both Bare Wires and Snake Flower 2, and while it seems even back then his songwriting was fully formed, it is still developing in some ways, the influences of early rock and roll is way more obvious, the Kinks, the Who, the Flamin' Groovies, sixties and seventies garage pop, big choruses, clean jangly strum, tambourine, simple pounding drums, swirling wah guitar, a little psychedelic, a little lo-fi, but awesomely propulsive and fuzzy and rocking. At times it almost sounds like some obscure lost gem from the late sixties or early, some out-of-nowhere reissue of some band from the Midwest's only (unreleased) record, which only reinforces the timelessness of these tracks, and reaffirms Melton's position as one of our current favorite songwriters. Dig it!

album cover MELTZER, RICHARD, ROBERT POLLARD, SMEGMA, ANTLER & VOM Completed Soundtrack For the Tropic of Nipples (Off Records) cd 9.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
OK pay attention because this is confusing. The first twelve tracks on this disc are the first time on cd (the vinyl is out of print) of the soundtrack to the film Tropic of Nipples. Participants include noted rockcrit / Blue Oyster Cult lyricist Richard Meltzer, Guided By Voices head honcho Bob Pollard, the legendary-since-the-'70s noise outfit Smegma, and something/one called Antler.
In various permutations these folks cobbled together a soundtrack that's equal parts GBV-style fractured pop and totally annoying declamatory utterances (like the Nihilist Spasm is also wont to do) over a bed of random noise.
*However*, this cd also issues some material never before available, notably six tracks of Meltzer's punk band Vom, who were SO GREAT! Releasing one record in '78, they played an absolutely rippin' Voidoids-Richard-Hell-style, fiery three chord punk. So great, boy are these guys due for a proper reissue. (Maybe Peter Buck will do it, he's reportedly their #1 fan.) Other extras include a song Pollard wrote with the late Jim Shepard.
Worth the price of the disc if you like the three VOM samples below. If you're not into those, I can't strongly recommend the rest of the material here.
RealAudio clip: "Electricute Your Cock"
RealAudio clip: "Too Animalistic"
RealAudio clip: "I'm in Love with Your Mom"

album cover MELVINS 26 Songs (Ipecac) cd 17.98
Twenty-six songs! This used to be a mere ten. Yes, "26 Songs" is an expanded reissue of the out of print "10 Songs". Recorded live to 2-track in 1986 by the line-up of Buzz, Dale, and then-bassist Matt Lukin (who later defected to Mudhoney), this was indeed 10 songs from the mighty Melvins' earliest daze, when their Black Flag / Black Sabbath meld was at its most obvious, potent, raw (and fast, some of the time!). Utterly essential heaviness in other words. Did we say "mere" ten? Not really, since every one of those ten songs is forever embedded in the mind of this Melvins fan. "#2 Pencil" -- so doomy and vile a song. "Snake Appeal" -- the guys rip through what could be an old Corrosion of Conformity thrasher. "At A Crawl" -- well, that's the Melvins right there. Etc., etc. And, like Ipecac's reissue of another early Melvins classic, "Gluey Porch Treatments", there's a bunch of garage demos and alternate takes added on to make Melvins fans salivate, as you can compare multiple, grungier, faster takes on "10 Songs" songs (and some other tunes you'll recognize). The disc winds up with the drug-addled ramblings of their old pal "Hugh" as an added bonus (which means that this disc, despite the title, really features "only" 25 actual songs). It's just too bad the new cover design for this new version is so computer-done and busy and typical of recent Melvins packaging (forget the flowers, guys!). We much prefer the stylish simplicity of its earlier incarnation(s). But, the extra tracks certainly make up for our aesthetic quibbles about the graphic design!
MPEG Stream: "Easy As It Was"
MPEG Stream: "Grinding Process"
MPEG Stream: "Grinding Process [demo #2]"

album cover MELVINS A Senile Animal (Ipecac) cd 17.98
Hard to believe the Melvins are still around. And that they STILL don't suck. After like, what... 200 albums? Equally hard to believe that they have somehow morphed from one of the most difficult and gloriously difficult bands to ever sign to a major label (outside of the Butthole Surfers) into purveyors of super kick ass, head banging stoner Stooges stomp rock. But hell, we're not complaining...
And who cares if this is release #1 or #201. Or how many bassists they've pile up in their "morgue" (like Spinal Tap was with drummers), it still packs a mighty wallop, and gives us just what we've come to love and adore and expect from the Melvins, almost too much so, but more on that in a minute.
A Senile Animal is the first "true" Melvins album since 2004's Pigs of the Roman Empire teamup with infrasound specialist Lustmord, and sees the Melvins circa 2006, aka Buzz & Dale, join forces with the equally chaotic duo of Jared & Cody, otherwise known as Big Business (Jared also ex-Karp).
Together as the (new) Melvins they are bigger and badder than ever. With the power of THREE vocalists, TWO bass players, and most excitingly, a DOUBLE DRUM attack, a sort of hybrid drum kit manned by two different drummers!!
We haven't seen it yet, and heard they share cymbals or hit some of the same drums, or maybe hold hands while rocking out, but however they get it done, it WORKS. BIG TIME!
This record will definitely hit the spot for those of you craving more of that heavy / catchy sludge pop, found on past Melvins classics like Houdini or Stoner Witch. In fact, a lot of A Senile Animal sounds like it was just plucked from those very same sessions. Not a bad thing mind you. It's just that some of us, especially after the gorgeous fucked up heavy weirdness of Pigs of the Roman Empire, imagined that the Melvins might have been headed down a much more twisted and fucked up musical path. And while that is not necessarily the case, we're not too disappointed. In fact this disc's got most of us too busy rocking out and banging our heads and air guitaring and flailing wildly about to even notice.
And we sure as heck can't wait to see the crazy drum kit thing everyones talking about, and to have our asses thoroughly kicked by the NEW Melvins, not so much a quintet as much as a POWER-POWER trio! Fuck yeah.
MPEG Stream: "Blood Witch"
MPEG Stream: "Civilized Worm"
MPEG Stream: "The Hawk"

MELVINS Bullhead (Boner) cd 13.98

album cover MELVINS Chicken Switch (Ipecac) cd 16.98
Ah, the mighty Melvins, we've been into 'em for longer than we care to admit (put it this way, some of you reading this weren't yet born when we were first freaking out over the absurd heaviness of Ozma). They can do no wrong, or when they do "wrong" it's 'cause they meant to (i.e. Prick). Fans know that the Melvins don't need any help from anybody when it comes to making fucked up sounds. Pretty much every album of theirs has got at least totally WTF? track on it. They even have a few ENTIRE albums that confusionally consist of nothing but, such as the aforementioned Prick. So, imagine if the Melvins DID get some help, or rather, don't imagine, listen to this new all-remix album and hear for yourself! That's right, what could be cooler than the Melvins? How 'bout the Melvins screwed and chopped (if only! they should have gotten Swishahouse involved) by a bunch of other extreme/avant music mavens? Check it out: Eye Yamatsuka, Christoph Heemann, V/VM, John Duncan, Matmos, Lee Ranaldo, Merzbow, David Scott Stone, Panacea, Sunroof!, Kawabata Makoto, farmersmanual, Void Manes, RLW, and $peedranch! Dunno who Void Manes is (sounds black metal) but the rest of 'em are well known experimental/electronic/noise artists you're probably all familiar with. Not sure if the Melvins themselves picked 'em, or Ipecac did, but it's an impressive roster, just the folks to remix the Melvins catalog in gonzo, Plunderphonics fashion. No, these aren't "normal" remixes. Rather than having just a single song to play with, the participants were apparently asked to take a whole Melvins album and turn it into their "own" track.
Maybe you're wondering, is this noisy? Yes. Starts off that way certainly with Eye from the Boredoms' "Washmachine Sk8tronics". Endlessly chugging guitar riffage, gobs of distortion and shrill garbled electronics. Good grief, by the time you get to the end, which brings in the sounds of skateboards, it's hard to imagine who among the other remixers could top this, or how. Cleverly, the next track takes a totally different tack, Christoph Heemann's quietly droning "Emperor Twaddle Remix" being an abstract and (mostly) lovely respite from the noisy shenanigans that start up again on the very next cut, V/VM's "She Chokes Her Dying Breath & Does It In My Face", which proves that anything current noiseniks like Wolf Eyes and Shit & Shine ever did, the Melvins did it first, provided you listen to 'em with the assistance of V/VM. This sounds more like Merzbow than the latter track remixed by Merzbow himself, whose contribution to this disc is equally distortodelic but perhaps more rhythmic.
That brings us to track 4, the aforementioned John Duncan mix, which for the first time on this disc sounds like could actually be something from an actual Melvins album. With a heavy percussive onslaught and droning guitar, it's like an extended intro to a real Melvins song, but then when you think the rock is gonna kick in, instead you get low-end heartbeat pulsations and high-end electronic sizzle. Again, whomever programmed this disc did a fine job, 'cause that segues quite nicely into the clicks and cuts techno makeover that the Matmos boys do for the Melvins on "Linkshander". Heck we all might like techno better if it ALWAYS had the ominous doom-drone thing going on in the background, and spacey sci-fi effects, that this track does.
Lee Ranaldo's "Eggnog Trilogy" starts off with the first easily recognizable Melvins material on here so far, including even snippets of Buzz's vocals. This takes over from Duncan's cut as the track that sounds the most like it could be the Melvins themselves, but at the same time clearly isn't entirely. And, gosh, there's plenty more highlights, we'll not describe them all, except to say that Panacea's "electroclash" remix indeed sounds like that (rad!), and Sunroof! succeed in transmuting the Melvins into something that sounds more like their own hazy shining dronemusick, lovely.
Most of the remixers delve into the realm of digital glitch and out-and-out noise, with a small minority opting instead for calm and quiet. Tape speed manipulation, pitch shifting, extreme distortion, sudden edits, that's mostly the modus operandi here and the Melvins can take it, somehow keeping their unique musical persona intact. Though it will be challenging, trainspotting Melvins fanatics can have good fun trying to figure out what songs and/or albums each track is plundering.
Lastly, we can't review this without mentioning that a good friend of ours first heard the John Duncan remix while riding in a Lamborghini speeding through the Italian Alps -with- John Duncan. How cool and/or strange is that? While you might not be listening to this in a luxury sports car, more likely in your own home, we're sure you'll get a big kick out of it too, along with all the other remixes...
MPEG Stream: "Washmachine Sk8tronics (Remixed By Eye Yamatsuka)"
MPEG Stream: "Linkshander (Remixed By Matmos)"
MPEG Stream: "EggNog Trilogy: I) She's Ivanhoe, II) Cancer, III) Inebriated (Remixed By Lee Ranaldo)"

album cover MELVINS Colossus of Destiny (Ipecac) cd 17.98
The Melvins, an often great band who are nothing if not self-indulgent, release this supposedly live cd on Mike Patton's Ipecac label. It's basically just one hour long track (with a split-second feedback coda occupying track two), being mainly a noisescape of rambling electronics, outer-space swooshes and porn moans, rather than a set of the heavy duty metallic Melvins rock n roll classics that you might have been hoping for...well, wait, almost all the way at the end (after 45 minutes or so) Dale's drums start pounding and the noises made become more recognizably guitar and bass generated, and then they (with Buzz's distorted vocals entering the mix) launch into something off of "Ozma" (I think, sorry, I'm a bit disoriented) before coming to an abrupt finish. Devastating. So, it's no "Your Choice Live" but is definitely something for those into dark experimental electronics and out-rock noise, Melvins fan or not. If they really performed this in front of a paying, live audience then I'm *really* impressed.

MELVINS Cover Songs lp 17.98

MELVINS Crybaby (Ipecac) cd 17.98
At last it's here: the third in the trilogy (preceded by 'quiet album' "Bootlicker" and uh, 'Melvins-y album' "The Maggot") of Melvins records over the past year. An unholy trinity to be sure! This is obviously the 'wacky' record of the bunch, with the quotient of cover songs and guest stars at an all-time high. To name names: Leif Garrett (singing "Smells Like Teen Spirit" god help us), label boss Mike Patton, David "Jesus Lizard" Yow, Jim "Foetus" Thirwell, Bliss "Pain Teens" Blood, Kevin "Brutal Truth" Sharpe, and folks from Tool and Helmet, among others. Damn. Whoops, forgot Hank Williams III. He's on here too. Jesus. Is it good? Well, we haven't actually heard it yet. We're scared. But I think we've already provided enough information for any rational music consumer to make their purchasing decision. ...No, okay, let's put it on...hmmm...yep, it's fucked. It seems like the Melvins are asking the musical question, "Why, why, why?!". The liner notes try but fail to explain the inexplicable, although they do reveal that Beck was also considered for a collaborative role on this album--but fortunately for us, Leif Garrett's management was easier to deal with!

MELVINS Eggnog (Boner Records) cd ep 11.98
We love having this disc to put in our "Holiday Music" section when that time of the year rolls around. But it's great anytime of the year, a definite Melvins classic.

album cover MELVINS Electroretard (Man's Ruin) cd 11.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
The Melvins court controversy with the title and Kozik artwork (fluffy Hitler bunny, anyone?) of this new release. Dunno if anyone will care, what people really should care about is that it's a pretty good record, albeit a kind of "odds and ends" collection rather than a real "new" album: the disc is composed mainly of covers and reworked versions (new and improved! it says here) of older Melvins songs. So it's in keeping with the past two Melvins releases, their covers-intensive "The Crybaby" project and the reissue of their early classic "Gluey Porch Treatments" (the title track of which gets redone here, in fact). The covers, done without any guest help unlike the star-studded (ahem) "Crybaby" album, number three: a fantastic version of "Voice Of America" by The Wipers, a cover of "Missing" by Melvins bass player Kevin Rutmanis' old band The Cows, and an appropriately spacey take on Pink Floyd's "Interstellar Overdrive". Meanwhile, the versions of the Melvin's own songs, while not absolute improvements on the originals, are interesting and worthy. Chalk another one up for the Melvins comeback that started with "The Maggot" and "The Bootlicker".

album cover MELVINS Everybody Loves Sausages (Ipecac) cd 15.98
Fact: the Melvins are one of the best bands ever, and continue to be one of the best bands ever.
Fact: the Melvins are always awesome when it comes to doing covers (their version of "Candy-O" by The Cars from Ozma being our favorite, closely followed by their version of KISS's "Going Blind" from Houdini), usually "making them their own" 100 percent.
Fact: they've just released a disc that's all covers, with some guest vocalists, and the song selection is quite eclectic to say the least, occasionally obscure too, including one that maybe only folks from San Francisco will freak out over - they do a song by the Pop-O-Pies!!! Cool.
Our only complaint about this, really, is that with the presence of the guest vocalists, some of the covers, while totally spot-on or otherwise interesting & well-done, maybe don't sound as much like the Melvins as we'd like - if Buzz woulda sung 'em all, we'd be even happier. But it's a quibble.
So, what more do you need to know? Well, the dang tracklist, perhaps. Here it is:
1. "Warhead" by Venom, featuring Scott Kelly of Neurosis
2. "Best Friend" by Queen, featuring Caleb Benjamin of Tweak Bird
3. "Black Betty" not by but as performed by Ram Jam
4. "Set It On Fire" by the The Scientists, featuring Mark Arm of Mudhoney
5. "Station To Station" by David Bowie, featuring J.G. Thirlwell of Foetus
6. "Attitude" by The Kinks, featuring Clem Burke from Blondie
7. "Female Trouble" by Divine
8. "Carpe Diem" by The Fuggs
9. "Timothy Leary Lives" by the Pop-O-Pies
10. "In Every Dream Home A Heartache" by Roxy Music, featuring both Jello Biafra and Kevin Rutmanis (formerly of both the Cows and the Melvins)
11. "Romance" by Tales of Terror
12. "Art School" by The Jam, featuring Tom Hazelmeyer of Halo Of Flies
13. "Heathen Earth" by Throbbing Gristle
Wow, quite a diverse & cool selection, eh? If you're a Melvins fan, you probably want this (unless, perhaps, you hated The Crybaby, which also featured a lot of unlikely covers/collaborations). 'Cause after all, heck, everybody does love sausages!
MPEG Stream: "Warhead"
MPEG Stream: "Station To Station"
MPEG Stream: "Female Trouble"

MELVINS Gluey Porch Treatments (Ipecac) cd 17.98
Mike Patton re-issues his Melvin buddies' awesome "Gluey Porch Treatments" album from 1986 and for this we are thankful -- it's nice to have a cd of this godly album all on its own, instead of merely appended to the "Ozma" cd (even though that version is still available for those who want to make their Melvins dollar go further--however, as added value incentive, this stand-alone "Gluey" includes the previously unreleased "garage demos" of the entire album!...thus making it an essential purchase for true Melvins fans even if you already have the "Ozma" cd!). Now, the Melvins have made a lot of records, some better than others, but let me tell you that this is one of the best. Heck, if they'd only made this one record they'd still be one of my all-time favorite bands, it's that good. This is the one that, prior to masterpieces like "Ozma", "Bullhead" and "Lysol", really established their unique Black Flag-meets-Black Sabbath heavier than thou sound.

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