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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 MEN, THE Open Your Heart (Sacred Bones) lp 14.98
We made the last record by The Men, Leave Home, our Record Of The Week, a kick ass collision of old school noise rock, hazy psychedelia, and super distorted Sonic Youth beholden shoegaze noisepop. And while that all still most definitely describes this latest record, the one difference we're noticing this time around is some serious poppiness. Not that the other record wasn't poppy, but the poppiness was often obscured by squalls of chaotic noise, or stretched out into droned out heaviness, or wreathed in cacophony, but here, it's fully on display, as if they were in fact a POP band, who just also happened to be noisy and psychedelic and fucked up and heavy. Every song here is shot through with hooks galore, irresistible melodies, pure pop centers no matter what sort of wildness surrounds it. And it suits them. As much as we played that other record to death, this one is fast catching up. Imagine a sort of Stooges-y stomp fused to something a bit more pop-punk, all dipped in distortion and sent careening into a sweaty wildly pogo-ing pit. Opener "Turn It Around" flits easily from garagey punker out crunch to soaring hook heavy indie pop jangle, and even throws in some wild psychedelic leads, not to mention some wild killer drumming. "Animal" takes that poppiness and wraps it in fuzzed out riffage, punkish pound and howled feral vox. And like Leave Home before it, the band definitely don't shy away from mixing it up. "Country Song" is all twangy and reverby and yeah, a little bit country, but a sort of sun baked psych country, all rife with slide guitar, and woozy interwoven melodies. Then there "Oscillation", which might be our favorite. Starting out all minimal and stripped down, motorik and krautrocky, super melodic, driving and catchy as hell, a tangle of melodies and guitars all somehow sculpted into a super crazy catchy chunk of washed out psychedelic indie rock bliss, it's not even until 5 minutes in before the vocals first come in, a weirdly dramatic deep croon, the music building to a serious frenzy, the sort of song you can almost imagine as a set closer, so rocking and weird and catchy and infectious.
"Please Don't Go Away" is total jangle flecked noise pop, with plenty of vocal oooh' and aaah's, not to mention some old-Flaming Lips worthy psychedelic guitar freakouts, in fact, early Flaming Lips is definitely a good comparison, if not for the songs, certainly the sound, that same sort of on the verge of total chaos, fusing loose druggy psych, with total classic hook filled pop. The title track is total seventies style classic power pop, just roughed up a little, and drenched in a bit of extra distortion. There are still moments of full on blown out speaker shredding noise rock freakouts, "Cube" is a two and a half minute sweat soaked bloody knuckled blowout, but then that leads right into "Presence" which is a slide guitar, swampy, bluesy dirge, that sounds more like Naked On The Vague or Crystal Stilts, until near the end when the song seems to splinter into a psych pop freakout all wild shredding leads, layered vox and octopoidal drumming. "Ex-Dreams" finishes things off with some new wave flecked noise pop crunch, another song that could also be one of our favorites, but then really, the more we listen to this record, the more we think that about pretty much all of the songs. Which is most definitely a good sign. And really the more and more we dig this, the more we think this could easily have been a Record Of The Week too, which obviously means this is WAY recommended!
MPEG Stream: "Turn It Around"
MPEG Stream: "Animal"
MPEG Stream: "Candy"
MPEG Stream: "Ex-Dreams"

album cover MEN, THE Tomorrow's Hits (Sacred Bones) cd 14.98
ALSO ON CD!
For a band that started off in a noise-rock, post-punk vein, The Men sure have changed a lot (grown up? well no, the were already Men). In keeping with the acoustic around-the-campfire twang of the Campfire Songs 12" that preceded it, this new full-length starts off with the muscular, moody "Dark Waltz" which has a country-ish rock sound to it, like The Men performed this song while hanging around on some back porch out in the sticks - or had been listening to a lot of Uncle Tupelo. "Give What You Give" keeps up some of same vibe, sounding a bit like a twangy Pavement.
The country-ishness fades away though as The Men move into pure power pop with that track and the next few - indeed, the extra-lush "Another Night" incorporates a full-on horn section, maybe channelling some '80s Springsteen or something. Uptempo powerful poppiness is indeed what The Men are all about here, as side one closes out with the anthemic "Different Days", a great song that reveals a big Replacements influence.
Side two starts off with "Sleepless", a more intimate song than what's come before, with piano. But then The Men erupt into the honky-tonk freakout of the energetic rocker "Pearly Gates". There's more piano on this one as well, and horns, and it kinda reminds us of some '70s Stones footstomper. It's the longest track on the record and they really jam and get wild. Good times.
"Settle Me Down" mellows things out a bit, it's a lovely slice of wistful pop strum, a nice one to hum along with. Then, they may have saved the best for last, "Going Down", a more vigorous number that mixes wiry post-punk with a classic rock vibe (hints of Eddie & The Cruisers sez Andee, meaning it as a compliment!).
While we loved the distortion and noisiness of this band's earliest outings, their newfound, hi-fi, clean-cut maturity (some might say Dad-rockishness) is done pretty darn well, they know how to write songs after all.
MPEG Stream: "Dark Waltz"
MPEG Stream: "Different Days"
MPEG Stream: "Going Down"

album cover MEN, THE Tomorrow's Hits (Sacred Bones) lp 17.98
For a band that started off in a noise-rock, post-punk vein, The Men sure have changed a lot (grown up? well no, the were already Men). In keeping with the around-the-campfire twang of the aforementioned 12", this new full-length starts off with the muscular, moody "Dark Waltz" which has a country-ish rock sound to it, like The Men performed this song while hanging around on some back porch out in the sticks - or had been listening to a lot of Uncle Tupelo. "Give What You Give" keeps up some of same vibe, sounding a bit like a twangy Pavement.
The country-ishness fades away though as The Men move into pure power pop with that track and the next few - indeed, the extra-lush "Another Night" incorporates a full-on horn section, maybe channelling some '80s Springsteen or something. Uptempo powerful poppiness is indeed what The Men are all about here, as side one closes out with the anthemic "Different Days", a great song that reveals a big Replacements influence.
Side two starts off with "Sleepless", a more intimate song than what's come before, with piano. But then The Men erupt into the honky-tonk freakout of the energetic rocker "Pearly Gates". There's more piano on this one as well, and horns, and it kinda reminds us of some '70s Stones footstomper. It's the longest track on the record and they really jam and get wild. Good times.
"Settle Me Down" mellows things out a bit, it's a lovely slice of wistful pop strum, a nice one to hum along with. Then, they may have saved the best for last, "Going Down", a more vigorous number that mixes wiry post-punk with a classic rock vibe (hints of Eddie & The Cruisers sez Andee, meaning it as a compliment!).
While we loved the distortion and noisiness of this band's earliest outings, their newfound, hi-fi, clean-cut maturity (some might say Dad-rockishness) is done pretty darn well, they know how to write songs after all.
MPEG Stream: "Dark Waltz"
MPEG Stream: "Different Days"
MPEG Stream: "Going Down"

album cover MENACE RUINE Alight In Ashes (Profound Lore) cd 13.98
While we've definitely dug the last few records from Canadian blackened neo-folk duo Menace Ruine, we were initially a bit confused by their shift from grim, psychedelic, experimental black metal, to their newly minted neo-folk incarnation, and while much of the mood and musical ambience remained, some of us still longed for the group's previous style. But over the course of the next two records, we grew to dig their witchy, mystical sound, one that shared seemingly everything but sound with the black metal that birthed them, sinister and haunting, abject and ritualistic, it's no surprise that they continue to be embraced by the BM scene, even though they had essentially ceased playing black metal long ago. But on Alight In Ashes, their blackened strain of neo-folk has definitely drifted even closer to the great black abyss, the sound already grim, but here even more cloaked in shadow, the soaring dramatic vocal incantations, the perfect foil for the roiling blurred riffage and muted power electronics that churn underneath. In fact, the music sounds like slow motion black metal, blurred into sinister swells of smeared riffage and buried rhythms, it makes for a fantastic combo, when coupled with the vocals, which we've seen compared to Nico, but we still hear Jex Thoth or Blood Ceremony or Christian Mistress, and in places, the vocals sound remarkably like a female Mike Scalzi from Slough Feg. The vibe throughout, much like the record before it, continues to be haunting and harrowing, very much like these are in fact mysterious rituals, and arcane incantations, the music often building to dense, near psychedelic crescendos, or slipping into hushed mesmer, the opening track might be the most black metal thing we've heard from Menace Ruine since they shed their black buzz, a sprawling, dynamic expanse of murky metallic churn and smeared shadowy psychedelic shimmer. Elsewhere, the sound shifts to something much more medieval, that ancient music simulated by electronic buzz and minimal percussion, or the music groans and heaves, like a symphony of moaning strings, even sans vocals, the music here would be some fascinating collection of blackened electronic ragas, but with the vocals, the sound is transformed into some sort of divine doom-ed blackened medieval folk, and we find ourselves no longer missing the black buzz one bit.
MPEG Stream: "Set Water To Flames"
MPEG Stream: "Salamandra"
MPEG Stream: "Burnt Offerings"

album cover MENACE RUINE Alight In Ashes (Sige) 2lp 32.00
NOW ON DOUBLE VINYL!
While we've definitely dug the last few records from Canadian blackened neo-folk duo Menace Ruine, we were initially a bit confused by their shift from grim, psychedelic, experimental black metal, to their newly minted neo-folk incarnation, and while much of the mood and musical ambience remained, some of us still longed for the group's previous incarnation. But over the course of the next two records, we grew to dig their witchy, mystical sound, one that shared seemingly everything but sound with the black metal that birthed them, sinister and haunting, abject and ritualistic, it's no surprise that they continue to be embraced by the BM scene, even though they had essentially ceased playing black metal long ago. But on Alight In Ashes, their blackened strain of neo-folk has definitely drifted even closer to the great black abyss, the sound already grim, but here even more cloaked in shadow, the soaring dramatic vocal incantations, the perfect foil for the roiling blurred riffage and muted power electronics that churn underneath. In fact, the music sounds like slow motion black metal, blurred into sinister swells of smeared riffage and buried rhythms, it makes for a fantastic combo, when coupled with the vocals, which we've seen compared to Nico, but we still hear Jex Thoth or Blood Ceremony or Christian Mistress, and in places, the vocals sound remarkably like a female Mike Scalzi from Slough Feg. The vibe throughout, much like the record before it, continues to be haunting and harrowing, very much like these are in fact mysterious rituals, and arcane incantations, the music often building to dense, near psychedelic crescendos, or slipping into hushed mesmer, the opening track might be the most black metal thing we've heard from Menace Ruine since they shed their black buzz, a sprawling, dynamic expanse of murky metallic churn and smeared shadowy psychedelic shimmer. Elsewhere, the sound shifts to something much more medieval, that ancient music simulated by electronic buzz and minimal percussion, or the music groans and heaves, like a symphony of moaning strings, even sans vocals, the music here would be some fascinating collection of blackened electronic ragas, but with the vocals, the sound is transformed into some sort of divine doom-ed blackened medieval folk, and we find ourselves no longer missing the black buzz one bit.
MPEG Stream: "Set Water To Flames"
MPEG Stream: "Salamandra"
MPEG Stream: "Burnt Offerings"

album cover MENACE RUINE Cult Of Ruins (Alien8 Recordings) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
What to make of a black metal band that has releases on both the Alien8 (Nadja, Merzbow, Acid Mothers Temple) and Tour De Garde (Ash Pool, Marblebog, Tomb Of..., Uno Actu) labels? That they're probably pretty weird? They are. And intense too. This is some sick stuff. Also beautiful, if you, like us, have fallen under the spell of this most extreme aesthetic, if you're someone whose eyes/imagination can scan the soot-blackend skies of an apocalyptic otherworld, and still spy flights of swans and stars beyond.
Menace Ruine, from the "frozen north" of Quebec, are the mysterious male/female duo of S. de La Moth and Genevieve. This James Plotkin-mastered Alien8 release is their debut album, after one demo (being reissued as a cassette on Tour De Garde). MR's original black metal art really made an immediate impression upon us despite how easily jaded we can be with the glut of black metal out there. It's the unholy layering of sometimes melodic feedback-sculpted ambient drone howl, with machine gun blasting... long stretches of atmospheric synth heavily infiltrated with sheer noise and distortion, scattered further with clanging industrial raw rhythms. There's almost 20th c. avant-garde moments of majesty, like some Romanian electronic composer gone insane in his or her sound laboratory, and others that with the occasional female vox bring to mind Wolves In The Throne Room wandering in another dimension. Or simply blaze with the burning black metal fires of not mere churches but whole civilizations.
For Alien8's first foray into the troo cvlt world of black metal, they couldn't have done much better, with a release that's indeed (oc)cult and true but also experimental, and not something that we've heard already a thousand times before, a rarity indeed! Fiercely recommended.
MPEG Stream: "Process Of Bestialization"
MPEG Stream: "Sky As A Reversed Abyss"
MPEG Stream: "Bonded By Wyrd"

album cover MENACE RUINE In Vulva Infernum (Tour De Garde) cassette 5.50
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
We reviewed the debut cd from this boy / girl black metal duo from Canada, a few lists back, released on the not typically black metal label Alien8, and gushed appropriately about its gorgeous drone drenched minimalist black buzz. We mentioned then that they also had a release on Tour De Garde, the label run by the guys in Akitsa, and we've now finally managed to track down a bunch of copies of that first tape.
If anything, this one is more metal (but in parts just as experimental), less minimal, with a sound much more intense, drums and vocals the focal point. The sound less blissed out and atmospheric. It's a strange sound, one that changed pretty dramatically for their next record, but we ended up digging this as much as the Alien8 release.
It's both the drums and the production that make this record so intense, the sound is super hot, the recording vivid and loud without being blown out, and the drums, programmed we assume, are furious and LOUD and pretty much drive all the action. Way up in the mix, pounding relentlessly, peppered with flurries of double kick and blasting fills, the guitar alternately unfurling clouds of harmonics, or grinding riff for riff right alongside the drums, turning the metal into something more looped sounding and trancelike, eventually exploding into a weird processed dronescape, all glitchy buzz, and streaks of hiss, whirring electronics, and bits of crumbling distortion, drums still there, buried now underneath this churning slab of fuzz and buzz and blur, until those drums lurch up of the murk, and the guitars lock back into a strange static riff, the rhythm more sparse, with dark throaty female vocals, suddenly the sound is some black gothic doom, still the guitars grind and soar, chunks of jagged melody are hurled back and forth, the sound is just so good, so intense, and so strange. This is so unlike any other black metal we've heard. Listening to this tape has us wanting to go back to the Alien8 disc and dig deeper into that one too.
Later on, the band dabble in huge trudging black doom, the guitars so processed and blown out, they emanate a warm fuzzy aura, the programmed drums monstrous and pummeling, making the rhythms sound almost like dance music at times, while sounding like a less lo-fi Nadja at others. Distant howled vocals, throbbing distorted low end. This shit is just so crushingly heavy but not at all in the way we're used to. Hard to describe. But we've listened to this tape about 4 times in a row now, and have no plans to stopÉ
Packaged in beautiful textured paper sleeves, some blue, some red.

album cover MENACE RUINE The Die Is Cast (Alien8) cd 15.98
For their sophomore full length, Canada's Menace Ruine return not exactly as the heavy noise inspired black metal band you know and love, but as a neo-folk, noise-rock powerhouse. You may be wondering like us: did we miss something? And what exactly is the link? Well, maybe it's the misanthropic, anti-humanist ethos shared by both neo-folk and black metal artists that somehow ties them together. Or maybe it's the fascination with all things medieval. Or maybe it's the general brooding and ever-present sense of darkness. Could it be written off as a shared love of sonic tension? Wait, wait ... there is a difference between them somewhere, right? As the label astutely points out, in the wake of both Leviathan and Nachtmystium covering Death in June, this sort of explicit crossover makes tons of sense. And really, it might be a tad reductive to simply say that this sounds like a black metal band that wrote songs for Der Blutharsch, but it's not too far off the mark. Menace Ruine probably couldn't escape their uber-noise tendencies even if they wanted to, but other than that, the comparison essentially holds true. It is also worth noting that the label mentions an upcoming Merzbow collaboration. Woah! Man, you know a record is good when it isn't simply good, but it leaves your head spinning trying to figure out what just fucking happened, and if you've read this far then you've seen all our questions. This is what you'd hear if Moss, The Dead C, and Douglas P were caught in the middle of some bizarre, church burning audial orgy. Potential fans of something that could convolutedly be described as tortured, grim, militaristic folk-noise will absolutely want this. And if that doesn't scream recommended, then we're not really sure what the hell does.
MPEG Stream: "One Too Many"
MPEG Stream: "This Place of Power"

album cover MENACE RUINE Union Of Reconcilables (Aurora Borealis) cd 17.98
Not quite black metal, though doubtless Menace Ruine would happily bask in the smoldering embers of a charred church somewheres up north. Not exactly militaristic neo-folk either. Nor are they a noise band. Well, maybe noise. But that's only part of it. Their dark, distorted drone textures are also often adorned with witchy female vocals, a la Jex Thoth. So, three albums in, this Quebec girl-boy duo of Genevive and S. de la Moth are still quite hard to define, though we know we like 'em, and the Menace Ruine music they make (indeed a mix of noise, drone, folk, and black metal moves) is grim as well as sometimes quite gorgeous, that is if you're like us and can find the beauty in ten-minute long tracks of misanthropic sonic miasma. Perhaps it's the way the ceremonial lamentation of Genevive's gentle singing merges with the slowly churning electronic extremes of intense, dense distortion and feedback... Certainly this new release via Aurora Borealis (following previous efforts on Alien8 and Tour De Garde) is a fine continuation of their unique post-black metal noise-folk aesthetic. If you liked The Die Is Cast that came before this, you'll probably like this too. And fans of bands as diverse as Burial Hex, Dead Raven Choir, Velvet Cacoon, Current 93, Wolf Eyes, and Alcest, among others, ought to check out Menace Ruine if you haven't already.
MPEG Stream: "Collapse"
MPEG Stream: "The Upper Hand"
MPEG Stream: "Not Only A Break In The Clouds But A Permanent Clearing Of The Sky"

MENCHE, DANIEL Crawling Towards The Sun (Soleilmoon) cd 9.98
Daniel Menche's "Crawling Towards The Sun" catches the reclusive noise artist in transition from the intense furnace-burn of albums like "Screaming Caress" to something much closer to a soft focus haziness to his drone work. Out of his earlier abject, pseudo-holocaust references, Menche has attained a majestic darkness to his sounds putting Menche on par with the latest work from such contemporaries as Lustmord and the Hafler Trio.

MENCHE, DANIEL Field Of Skin (Soleilmoon) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
The infernal sounds of low end rumbling, creaking pipes, and the variable noise of heat induced stress on metal continue to emanate from Daniel Menche's smoldering electroacoustic albums, yet here on "Field Of Skin," the source material is not from the furnace, and actually was culled from a Menche amplifying the sounds of his own body. With both sonic references to intense heat and to the flesh, Menche conjures some ghastly metaphors on this highly effective low end noise / drone album.

album cover MENCHE, DANIEL Flaming Tongues (Blossoming Noise) cd 14.98
We haven't even come close to carrying all of the many recordings Daniel Menche has has released over the years, as his output of scalding noise coupled with caustic drones is now starting to rival the massive catalogues of fellow noise-mongers Merzbow and Francisco Lopez. Menche's work seeks to channel a raw, primal, and unmistakably masculine energy through his impressive noise arsenal often citing the rituals of Japanese warriors and Native American war chants as jumping off points for his atavistic expressionism. Flaming Tongues is one of many exceptional releases that Menche has produced in 2005, marking one of his most prolific periods. Menche presents us here with one of his typical strategies in counterpointing an expansive timbral minimalism a la Eliane Radigue or Jonathan Coleclough with a blistering vein of scalding noise that threatens to smash through the drone with an incendiary detonation. Menche constantly teases with the possibility of such a violent explosion, but never actually does. Instead, Flaming Tongues stands as a constant pressure cooker of grating textures, seething white-hot noises, infernal atmospheres, and volatile electro-acoustics.
MPEG Stream: "Track 01"
MPEG Stream: "Track 03"

MENCHE, DANIEL Hope And Prey (Soleilmoon) cd 7.98

album cover MENCHE, DANIEL Kataract (Editions Mego) cd 17.98

MENCHE, DANIEL October's Larynx (Alluvial) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
A few years back, Daniel Menche recordings occupied a brutalist space, where tortured wheezes of somatic activities adjoined harsh textures of rough stones upon strained glass in the production of thick slabs of smoldering noise. Yet, Menche has recently emerged from an extended sabbatical, to showcase the softening of his craggy, bleak attitudes with an equally powerful sound that relies less on the insistency of noise and more on the sublime urges of the drone. While his process may still be the same (contact microphones and a few effects), Menche appears to have replaced his arsenal of bricks and shattered glass with the celestial tones of Chinese gongs and bells. October's Larynx swells with beautifully sustaining coppery metallic tones, sounding much like Francisco Lopez's enigmatic ebbtides of pure sound. During the last passage on the album, Menche allows for the gongs to speak with their own voice, as he initiates a steady pulse before expanding the gong's resonance in a thick haze of reverb. Quite a nice recording.
RealAudio clip: "October's Larynx 1"
RealAudio clip: "October's Larynx 5"

album cover MENCHE, DANIEL Radiant Blood (Drone) 10" 14.98
The amazing Drone Records label, run by Stefan Knappe of Maeror Tri / Troum, has been quietly releasing super limited, hand made slabs of gorgeous drone music for years now. Mostly 7", always vinyl (although there will soon be a 2cd collection of early out of print singles on Andee's tUMULt label), each disc an ultra personal exploration of the drone, sometimes soft and dreamlike, sometimes harsh and noisy, but always beautiful. Recently, Drone has launched a new series, 10"s this time, with a very complicated premise: "A concept that embraces the prospect of infinite possibilities for artists to create music about the intangible such as: the unnameable, the unspeakable, the unthinkable, the unidentifiable, etc. Various aspects related to "The Unknown". Sound artists and artwork designers were invited to work on the theme of the "grey matter" / the "dark continent" surrounding us & within us. Transforming this paradoxical idea into acoustic and visual objectifications." Phew. Pretty heady stuff. But these first three installments are up to the task, creating dark and disturbing and truly though provoking dronemusic. We can hardly wait for the rest of the series.
Up first is sound artist Daniel Menche, whose contribution buzzes and crackles and is not as minimal as one might expect. Metallic insect like buzzing rings and reverberates beneath streaks of keening high end and upper register pulses. The disparate sounds slowly blend into one another and the disc approaches actual NOISE, a wall of lawnmower roar wrapped in short circuiting electronics and swirling sonic loops. The B side steps way back into the darkness, unveiling a gorgeous and creepy piano dirge, all low end, the notes piling up, overtones upon overtones, building into huge swells of thrum and throb, bathed in a prickly cloud of hiss and static and white noise.
LIMITED TO 500 COPIES. Pressed on brown and black swirled vinyl.

album cover MENCHE, DANIEL Raw Fall (The Tapeworm) cassette 7.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Man, is The Tapeworm tough to figure out. But maybe we don't want to figure them out. A label, a CASSETTE ONLY label, that traffics in an insanely wide range of sounds, how they're all connected we're not sure, field recordings, seventies style disco funk, obscure trip hop by super models, gorgeous soundscaping, avant outsider sound art, spoken word, turntablism, strange women reading Baudrillard, heavy drones, solo piano, interviews with artists, faux sixties psychedelic jazz, lost new wave... All we know is there aesthetic kind of reminds us of... well, OURS! Which is maybe why we're so in love with this label, and pretty much everything they release. This week elsewhere on the list you'll find some nineties recorded but seventies style dubbed out weirdo disco funk, and then there's this right here, a collection of field recordings from Daniel Menche, two side long tracks, each a recording of a waterfall in the Oregon mountains, and both weirdly lovely. Knowing that these are in fact recordings of waterfalls, makes it easy to identify the sounds the second they start, but after a few minutes, the sounds become less and less obvious, and if you were played this recording with no knowledge of the source, you'd likely just assume it was a collaged soundscape of white noise and muted hiss, blurred fuzz and swirls of static, a weirdly hypnotic abstract, totally random and ever shifting soundscape of muted white noise, almost like a Merzbow record, dialed WAY down, all the edges smoothed, into something strangely serene, a sound that while totally natural, when removed contextually from nature, sounds manmade, even though it's a sound we've all heard, camping, hiking, and which once again demonstrates that much of what we discover and create, already exists in nature, which is both incredible and incredibly humbling. A fantastic sonic document. LIMITED TO 250 COPIES!

album cover MENCHE, DANIEL Sirocco (Important) cd 14.98

album cover MENCHE, DANIEL Terre Paroxysm (Utech) cd 14.98
Much of Daniel Menche's recordings have mustered primal forces (the self, the voice, the natural world, etc.) channeled into a potent sound design of powerdrones, concussive rhythmic assaults, and sustained explosions; yet Terre Paroxysm, on Utech, is something of a detour into more subtle constructions. Following a similar modus operandi as on his Kataract album on Editions Mego, this Portland noise merchant constructs everything from recordings of ice, wind, and rain, with considerable amount of electro-acoustic treatments. The album begins with a slow crackling of what sounds like crushed gravel slowly being pulverized into smaller and smaller components, until Menche reduces his earthen composite to their molecular and atomic base elements. Here, Menche's natural sounds become electrical, buzzing and vibrating as if the whole desert were wired with miles of hissing fluorescent bulbs. Abruptly, Menche cuts the power and ends the first track. A haunted watery drone introduces the second track with a soft percussive underbelly that punctuates a frigid trickling of water and swelling high-frequency tones. Here, Menche's texture and drone configurations resemble those of Small Cruel Party, G*Park, or Coelacanth. Quite nice! The third track continues along that vein with a series of repeating patterns of slushed texture orbiting around sharply sparkling electronic tones and deep subharmonic rumblings, all of which slide into an insectoid chorus at the end of the track. The finale is the most psychoacoustically tense piece found on Terre Paroxysm with a sinewy set of pierced sinewave tones that undulate above a blustery howl of crunched noise. While this fourth track is typical of Menche's catalogue, the more restrained elements of Terre Paroxysm are where Menche is at his best.
MPEG Stream: "Terre Paroxysm 2"
MPEG Stream: "Terre Paroxysm 3"
MPEG Stream: "Terre Paroxysm 4"

album cover MENCHE, DANIEL The Face Of Vehemence (Ground Fault) cd 11.98
With the two preceding recordings "Crawling Toward The Sun" and "October's Larynx," the ultra-physicality of Portland based sound artist Daniel Menche noticeably waned in favor of a more Zen approach in meditative awe of the drone supreme. "The Face Of Vehemence" is something of a return to those more physical sounds with an emphasis on densely textured noises passing through the stereo field. For this album, Menche took as an inspiration "Sun and Steel" -- a book by Japanese writer Yukio Mishma, whose partially autobiographical tales are noted by a preoccupation with the body, its beauty, and its degeneration. The themes of a majestic beauty and a putrescent abjection have always run through the work of Menche, typically swinging from one end of the spectrum to the other. "The Face Of Vehemence" is a rare example for the artist working with both extremes at the same time mostly by exposing an overwhelming beauty with the archetypes of noise. Menche opens this album with a sustained discordant cluster of notes from a harmonium, conjuring a similar transcendent abrasion found in those epic Hermann Nitsch "Harmoniumwerk" albums. Throughout the album, Menche mars his thick drones with processed field recordings, whereby bristling electricity transmits from a chorus of crickets and grumbling frogs pronounce menacing bellowings. The manifestations of the sublime should always strive for grand metaphors, and "The Face Of Vehemence" succeeds in rendering those metaphors undeniably audible.
RealAudio clip: "Face Of Vehemence 1"
RealAudio clip: "Face Of Vehemence 3"

album cover MENCHE, DANIEL Wolf's Milk (Utech) cd 14.98
Across his prolific catalog over the past 12 years or so, Daniel Menche's recordings have been almost synonymous with scalding noise and boldly masculine aggression, much in the same way that you know what to expect when you pick up a Merzbow record. Yet, there are a couple of exceptions to the Menche confrontational agenda. The most notable recordings in the lesser known, Menche drone sound would be October's Larynx, Crawling Toward The Sun, and now Wolf's Milk. All of these recordings hold a golden shimmer which steadily changes from a somnolent ambience into a smoldering drone of compacted static, rasping vibrations, and even a few distant hints of the mangled electronics of his noise persona. Each of the three lengthy tracks on Wolf's Milk ramps up to the immersive atmospheres and steadily deflates back down to a stately dronefield, which all together recalls BJ Nilson and even Phill Niblock. A really nice record, in the usual nice Utech packaging!
MPEG Stream: "Wolf's Milk 1"
MPEG Stream: "Wolf's Milk 3"

album cover MENCHE, DANIEL & KEVIN DRUMM Gauntlet (Editions Mego) cd 14.98

album cover MENCHE, DANIEL / KIYOSHI MIZUTANI Garden (Auscultare) cd 11.98
Kiyoshi Mizutani began his career working in Merzbow (when Merzbow wasn't just Masami Akita alone). After parting ways with Akita in the late '80s or so, Mizutani released a number of solo recordings, most recently focusing on field recordings. His first foray in his search for natural sounds was the less than perfect Bird Songs, but since then Mizutani has blossomed into an exceptional contextualist of found sounds. Garden is his collaboration with Portland noise veteran Daniel Menche, who has been struggling for several years now to calm his work, but can't quite seem to shake his preternatural talents for explosive noise. On this recording, Menche handled all of the low frequencies, while Mizutani was responsible for all of the high frequencies. The source material was a finely captured field recording of Japanese locusts and crickets, presumably from the Mizutani archives. The slow organic chorus of those insects starts out with a very hypnotic, natural introduction; but Mizutani offers small clues to his manipulation by first repeating the choral phrases which would never be so precise in a natural setting, and later by filtering out everything but the timbral roots. Mizutani's gradual shift from these environmental sounds to almost mechanical ones is particularly unsettling, especially in communion with Menche's ominous bass plod which slowly emerges over the course of this recording. Within this metamorphosis of sound, Mizutani and Menche rewrite insect languages as metallic, inorganic, and alien ones where apocalyptic implications abound. Really gorgeous. Released on Randy Yau's immaculately designed Auscultare label.
MPEG Stream: "Garden"

MENDELSON L'avenir Est Devant (Lithium) cd 14.98
Acoustic and dark and really beautiful. Mendelson are like a French Nick Drake, or maybe more accurately, a French Belle And Sebastian (who are of course, obsessed with Nick Drake). Long stretches of gently plucked guitars, minor key strings, mumbled vocals, and sparse percussion. Absolutely stunning.

album cover MENDELSON Quelque Part (Lithium) cd 14.98
Mendelson's second record is a little more aggressive, taking their Nick Drake / Belle And Sebastian sound and drenching it in electric guitars and reverb, adding some roughness to their dark crystalline sound. And this time around, the vocals are more spoken, less sung, making a lot of this record sound like a French Arab Strap. You feel like, if you understood French, you would realize these beautiful songs were actually crushing tales of impotence and drunkenness and loneliness. Nice
RealAudio clip: "Le Brouillard"

album cover MENEGUAR Strangers In Our House (Troubleman Unlimited) cd 12.98

MPEG Stream: "Living In The White"
MPEG Stream: "Set A Line"
MPEG Stream: "Paint You"

album cover MENEGUAR The In Hour (Woodsist) cd 13.98
One of the great things about working here at the aQ HQ is finding out how much shared musical history you have with your co-workers. Take, for example, a few months ago when our review for the new Dodos record referenced this totally obscure mid-'90s band from Western Mass called the Wicked Farleys. That one offhand mention got us all so amped up that it sparked a bunch of long, hyperactive, rambling conversations about our other favorite overlooked bands from that era. Even now, whenever someone comes into the store and asks about Vetiver, there are a few of us who will take the opportunity to reminisce loudly about how totally rad Andy Cabic's OLD band, The Raymond Brake, was (believe us, they were really rad). There's a whole host of fractured, whammy bar-worshipping rockers form the mid-'90s that we collectively wax nostalgic about here both in our reviews and our day-to-day conversations (The Swirlies, Pitchblende, Polvo, Erectus Monotone, as well as the aforementioned Wicked Farleys and Raymond Brake to name but a few!); we're crazy about these bands and their records still get plenty of play years later. So with all that in mind, take us seriously when we say that had we heard the first two records by Brooklyn-based indie rockers Meneguar (I Was Born At Night and Strangers In Our House, both on Troubleman Unlimited and both newly available at aQ) back in '95 that they would undoubtedly be included in aQ's hallowed pantheon of atonal pop bliss!
So, with all of that said, there was some serious trepidation on our part when we first gave The In Hour a spin as the record finds the band dipping into new, self-consciously 'experimental' waters. Generally, 'experimental' albums by rock bands are fraught with the potential for self-indulgent missteps, poor song choices, and a total disregard for the kind of intensive self-editing required of a fine pop record. Thankfully, Meneguar manage to avoid these pitfalls and make a record that, although different from its predecessors, is still a thoroughly enjoyable listen! The In Hour is definitely a scrappier affair, but there are still hooks and riffs a plenty. Maybe it's the fact that they've always had a bit of a fey touch to them that keeps the the melody-to-skronk ratio tipped to the tuneful side; or maybe the extended meanderings are kept to a bare minimum by the fact that several of the band's members are able to get their freakier ya-yas shaken out as part of Brooklyn drone-folkers, Woods Family Creeps (whose excellent self-titled debut we highlighted a list or two back).
Aside from the ghetto blaster meets trash can aesthetic of the recording, the most notable change from their earlier work is the subdued feel that permeates the record. The distortion and anthemic leanings are dialed down, making space for acoustic guitars that manage to both clang and chime, a healthy dose of crackle and hiss, and a whole lot of reverberating echoes bouncing hither and dither. Meneguar have managed a rare feat in the world of indie rock: stretching out and messing with their formula without completely losing sight of what makes them special in the first place. Despite the slightly more primitive approach to execution and production, the band hasn't forsaken melody or catchiness or chosen to dive headlong into the hissy, static, shitwave wash of which we've been hearing so much lately. This one is equally likely to appeal to fans of Woods Family Creeps, Barn Owl and the like as it is to fans of No Age and Eat Skull without sounding particularly like either tribe. At its core, The In Hour is a thoroughly enjoyable indie rock record that will give fans of bands like Les Savy Fav, Superchunk, GBV, Pavement and Archers of Loaf plenty to smile about. It's chock full of memorable, melodic gems that should provide ample mix tape fodder for the coming summer days. Hopefully, giving this one a listen will inspire some of y'all to check out their back catalog as well! Recommended for sure!
MPEG Stream: "We Own We Sell"
MPEG Stream: "Lynch The Swan Bar"
MPEG Stream: "Black Death"

album cover MENEGUAR The In Hour (Woodsist) lp 14.98
One of the great things about working here at the aQ HQ is finding out how much shared musical history you have with your co-workers. Take, for example, a few months ago when our review for the new Dodos record referenced this totally obscure mid-'90s band from Western Mass called the Wicked Farleys. That one offhand mention got us all so amped up that it sparked a bunch of long, hyperactive, rambling conversations about our other favorite overlooked bands from that era. Even now, whenever someone comes into the store and asks about Vetiver, there are a few of us who will take the opportunity to reminisce loudly about how totally rad Andy Cabic's OLD band, The Raymond Brake, was (believe us, they were really rad). There's a whole host of fractured, whammy bar-worshipping rockers form the mid-'90s that we collectively wax nostalgic about here both in our reviews and our day-to-day conversations (The Swirlies, Pitchblende, Polvo, Erectus Monotone, as well as the aforementioned Wicked Farleys and Raymond Brake to name but a few!); we're crazy about these bands and their records still get plenty of play years later. So with all that in mind, take us seriously when we say that had we heard the first two records by Brooklyn-based indie rockers Meneguar (I Was Born At Night and Strangers In Our House, both on Troubleman Unlimited and both newly available at aQ) back in '95 that they would undoubtedly be included in aQ's hallowed pantheon of atonal pop bliss!
So, with all of that said, there was some serious trepidation on our part when we first gave The In Hour a spin as the record finds the band dipping into new, self-consciously 'experimental' waters. Generally, 'experimental' albums by rock bands are fraught with the potential for self-indulgent missteps, poor song choices, and a total disregard for the kind of intensive self-editing required of a fine pop record. Thankfully, Meneguar manage to avoid these pitfalls and make a record that, although different from its predecessors, is still a thoroughly enjoyable listen! The In Hour is definitely a scrappier affair, but there are still hooks and riffs a plenty. Maybe it's the fact that they've always had a bit of a fey touch to them that keeps the the melody-to-skronk ratio tipped to the tuneful side; or maybe the extended meanderings are kept to a bare minimum by the fact that several of the band's members are able to get their freakier ya-yas shaken out as part of Brooklyn drone-folkers, Woods Family Creeps (whose excellent self-titled debut we highlighted a list or two back).
Aside from the ghetto blaster meets trash can aesthetic of the recording, the most notable change from their earlier work is the subdued feel that permeates the record. The distortion and anthemic leanings are dialed down, making space for acoustic guitars that manage to both clang and chime, a healthy dose of crackle and hiss, and a whole lot of reverberating echoes bouncing hither and dither. Meneguar have managed a rare feat in the world of indie rock: stretching out and messing with their formula without completely losing sight of what makes them special in the first place. Despite the slightly more primitive approach to execution and production, the band hasn't forsaken melody or catchiness or chosen to dive headlong into the hissy, static, shitwave wash of which we've been hearing so much lately. This one is equally likely to appeal to fans of Woods Family Creeps, Barn Owl and the like as it is to fans of No Age and Eat Skull without sounding particularly like either tribe. At its core, The In Hour is a thoroughly enjoyable indie rock record that will give fans of bands like Les Savy Fav, Superchunk, GBV, Pavement and Archers of Loaf plenty to smile about. It's chock full of memorable, melodic gems that should provide ample mix tape fodder for the coming summer days. Hopefully, giving this one a listen will inspire some of y'all to check out their back catalog as well! Recommended for sure!
MPEG Stream: "We Own We Sell"
MPEG Stream: "Lynch The Swan Bar"
MPEG Stream: "Black Death"

album cover MENOMENA Friend And Foe (Barsuk) cd 11.98
Whoa, now that Menomena are on Barsuk Records are they gettin' all suitably indie rock on us?! Sure seems to be the case. They make their move with what is their most straightforward album to date. Menomena fans may be slightly disappointed to find the new sound to be less distinctly or recognizably sprawlingly expansively 'Menomena', but the group might gain a new flourish of fans of their new dreamy wintry pop. Really, this fits quite perfectly alongside labelmates Death Cab, Mates Of State, Jim Noir et al. Fans of those bands please take note!
And by the way, this disc has some of the coolest jewel case packaging we have ever seen. Super elaborate, hyper detailed cartoon drawings, with little shapes cut out to reveal still more patterns on the disc face, while on the back, little circles are punched out to allow the silver cd face to shine though the tray card. WOW!
MPEG Stream: "The Pelican"
MPEG Stream: "Ghostship"

album cover MENOMENA Under An Hour (Film Guerrero) cd 14.98
Every time this band's name gets brought up (and even though it's not spelled the same way) we have to fight like crazy to stop ourselves from breaking out into that Sesame Street song, but trust us Menomena's music is something completely different. Under An Hour is comprised of wonderfully dramatic and richly evocative passages in which piano and horns take centerstage! In fact, we'd imagine that this would make a fine soundtrack for a Jan Svankmajer animated film (a sequel to Institute Benjamenta, maybe?). Each of the three nearly twenty minute tracks is a beautiful brooding post chamber rock excursion, slow building, moving forward in smooth glides and unexpected lurches, dynamic but subtly so. The first track "Water" sounds like some strange Penguin Cafe Orchetra and Godspeed You Black Emperor. Dark and glistening, vast sweeping moodiness, very cinematic, haunting pointalist pianos paint melancholy melodies over a thick background of warm swells and clouds of dense overtones, so lush and grand sounding. Strange little effects add all sorts of unexpected character, subtle but very bizarre studio trickery, little swoops of backwards acoustic strum, affected insturments that almost sound like a female chorus at times. Wow. The second track, while nearly as dramatic and intense as the first track, manages to incorporate just a touch of irreverence, little playful flourishes here and there, mostly it's the horns that drive the song, with a jaunty, almost jazzy feel, but as the track progresses, they begin to change shape and sound more and more ominous, helps that the whole thing is underpinned by a thick wash of blown out BIG sounding drums a la the Flaming Lips. In fact, at times this almost sounds like a chamber music ensemble version of the Lips. Which is not a bad thing at all. The final track starts off with a warm buzzy drone, that slowly thickens and expands as more and more strings join in, the low moan of cellos, the warm slither of a bass, guitars drifting through the lower registers, all slowly twisting and flowing like one of those stop motion movies of plants growing or flowers blooming and then dying, whole months compressed into minutes. Soon little tendrils of melody begin to peek out from beneath the dense blanket of sounds, until the drums kick in, and then suddenly the track is very Circle like, streaks and smears of sound, twisting in the air beneath a propulsive krautrock beat, super simple and hypnotic. A brief stretch of ambience prepares you for the last few minutes, super distorted drums pound out an almost trip-hop rhythm, sort of blissed out and laid back, but strangely haunting and moody, with a creepy near-Burzum synthesizer melody drifting wraith like above the crunchy propulsive framework below. Like the soundtrack to some thriller, the moment the main character realizes their whole life was a lie, and everyone they trusted was dead, and there's no way out. So cool.
Packaged in a slipcover with some strange cover art (a woman wearing goggles, sitting on some weird geometric shape, holding an orange contraption, everything splattered with flour) and no actual booklet or tray card. Mysterious, just like the music within.
MPEG Stream: "Water"
MPEG Stream: "Flour"

album cover MENOMENA Wet & Rusting (Film Guerrero) cd ep 9.98
Now this is more like what we were anticipating from Menomena's last full length Friend And Foe which came out a few months ago. On that album the Portland, OR band took an unexpected turn into a very well done but very 'middle of the road' indie pop sound. We dug it quite a bit, thank you very much. But while you know we love us some indie rock a-plenty, there's just so many bands of that ilk. Knowing that Menomena's earlier album Under An Hour stood apart from the pack in its darkly dramatic yet whimsical chamber pop grandeur, simply made us crave... more! Happy to report that with their Wet & Rusting EP they've ventured back into that far more peculiar and distinct territory. Although the title track is drawn from Friend And Foe (you get three versions of it -- one straight from the album, an E.R. Don remix and a live rendition), subtle eccentricities and warm pop fuzziness abound on the rest of the EP. We're just sad that it's only six songs long! [Sorry, no sound clips, this wouldn't play in our computers, dunno why.]

album cover MENSTRUATION SISTERS MA (FATA) cd 13.98
Super limited cd-r from this bizarre band of noisemakers from down under that just so happens to feature one Mr. Oren Ambarchi. Totally blown out lo-fi free noise splatter. Big distorted drums, wild animalistic grunts and howls, skronking horns, warbly detuned guitars, massive sludge bass, angular riffing, minimal reverb drenched click and glitch, wheezing falsetto vocals, spastic free jazz drum splatter, super distorted fuzz rumble and shrieking Boredoms style vocal freakouts, all tangled up into a gloriously maddening chaotic jumble. Fans of OLD Boredoms, Hanatarash, Butthole Surfers and all things bizarre and brutal, damaged and demented, noisy and INSANE will want to give this a whirl.
Killer packaging: a pink spray painted disc in a clear jewel case with cool light pink and dark pink spidery patterns painted on the case.
WE ONLY HAVE ABOUT 8 COPIES OF THIS AND WE'RE PRETTY SURE WE CAN'T GET MORE.
MPEG Stream: "Two"
MPEG Stream: "Three"

album cover MENTAL TERROR Impossible Mission (Rock Is Hell) 7" 8.98
We've reviewed a few records by ultra heavy metallic math rock duo Reflector, so we were curious to hear Mental Terror, the grindcore side project of 1/2 of that band, and while we were expecting something super heavy, dense and ultra metallic, instead, it's super fucked up, ultra lo-fi, wildly chaotic, and totally damaged, sounding more like Mick Barr crossed with Faxed Head, stumbling, dizzying blasts of unhinged heaviness, that seem to be crumbling into something akin to a metal Shaggs, the vocals a wild, hysterical shriek evolving into a demonic howl, the songs super tangly and proggy, but loose and on the verge of collapse, totally what the fuck outsider grind, that is leaps and bounds better and weirder than we expected. It's seven songs on one side, so it's short, but so brain meltingly sweet, pushing all our demented music buttons, not even metal or grind enough to only appeal to those folks, in fact, it's so fucked up, metalheads might be severely bummed, instead, this is way more recommended for anyone into damaged weirdness and ultra confusional avant grade heaviness, which is probably most anybody who digs stuff on the Rock Is Hell label. Fucking GREAT!!
Pressed on transparent green vinyl, one sided with a cool silkscreen on the other, visible through the vinyl, LIMITED TO 150 COPIES!!!

album cover MENTORS, THE El Duce Vita (MVD Visual) dvd 14.98

album cover MEPHISTA Black Narcissus (Tzadik) cd 16.98
This new improvisational group of extremely prolific downtown NY musicians just happen to all be women, and is being marketed as "one of the first all women supergroups" by Tzadik. Combining the amazing percussive work of the young Susie Ibarra, the post-drum machine electronics manipulations by the one and only Ikue Mori and lovely minimalist piano work from Swiss born Sylvie Courvoisier, 'Black Narcissus' is a nine part excursion that is stark and mysterious, texturally affluent and exhilarating -- a wonderfully rendered surrealist epic that rivals most improvisational efforts in materialising a visual element in sonic abstraction. The core improvisational interplay between Ibarra and Courvoisier is highly efffective and comes across as compositional, while Mori's electronic clicks and whirrs add an erratic framework in which the others become woven into. Nicely executed, and a wonderful surprise from Tzadik.
RealAudio clip: "Black Widow"

MEPHISTA Entomological Reflections (Tzadik) cd 15.98

MERCA Chup Amela (psycheDOOMelic) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
German stoner/doom, ex-Shepherd.

album cover MERCEDES HELL Kingdom Together (Full Contact / Ektro) 7" 7.98
Another 7" slab of New Wave Of Finnish Heavy Metal weirdness from our pals in Circle. We're pretty sure it's them, it must be, that's Jussi on the cover with his hair in his face, posing in front of a dilapidated barn, and it sounds just like all the other NWOFHM acts they've invented that we so enjoy, like Steel Mammoth and Krypt Axeripper and Tractor Pulling and Motorspandex! And also quite a bit like Circle's own Katapult album come to think of it.
Bright burbling yet somehow metallic guitar riffage churns forth, amidst a warm swarm of distortion and synthy sounding FX. It's a lofi, catchy quasi-metal pop music, head bobbing if not banging, perfect for the rasping vocals crooning cryptic stoner hippie/hessian poetry: "One way road / down from the hills / straight to the cave of skulls / computer of yesterday" Huh? Or: "Stay with the rainbow / eat the dreams / burn the talent / fight the spirit / listen to soul". Brilliant.
And although this isn't black metal by a long shot, despite its Scandinavian origins, they did come up with one of the truly grimmest song titles ever: "We're Getting Old"! There's four songs here, 2 per side, the other titles being "Let's Eat Fire", "Agitation Evil", and "Kingdom Together".
Wonder if this band will someday do a full-length or if, as with most of their NWOFHM comrades, one 7" is all we get. Based on this, we'd be happy to hear more. Or, just more from the next new "band" these guys come up with!

MERCERON, MARIANO Y SUS MUCHACHOS PIMIENTA Yo Tengo Un Tumbao (Tumbao) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.

album cover MERCH Crash Boom Bash (Sassafras) cd 11.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Merch is the perfect name for this young DIY pop-punk outfit of local transplants from Fresno, California who have been rocking the all-ages scene with their infectiously hook-y lo-fi power anthems. Made even more off-kilter due to their unique use of cello and banjo as well as electric guitar as lead instruments, this reminds us at times of early Pavement, Camper Van Beethoven and Guided By Voices, but done in a way that feels like more of their own making rather than deliberately mining similar sonic influences. A fine debut that makes great use of its rough-around-the-edges production with fun catchy songs that stay with us long after they're over. Cool!
MPEG Stream: "Boxcar"
MPEG Stream: "Short Stint"
MPEG Stream: "What Business Is It of Yours?"

album cover MERCH The Modern Hunter (Luck Song) (self-released) 7" 4.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Two artfully infectious lo-fi power pop songs from local trio of guitar, drums, and one rockin' cello. Very catchy songs with quirky lyrics, hummable hooks and back-up vocals. Good stuff, but try to see them live if you can, we're guessing you'll find it pretty hard to keep from dancing.

album cover MERCH This Betrayal Will Be Our End (Sassafras ) lp 14.98
Latest full length from this local cello driven indie rock outfit, and their most lush and accomplished outing yet, produced by Bay Area psychedelic guru Greg Ashley, the band have crafted a strangely catchy collection of driving, string laden indie rock, inspired by heartbreak, as all worthwhile rock records are, opening with a hauntingly cinematic intro, all soaring melodic swells, buzzing cello, wild psychedelic guitar, plink plonk piano, which leads directly into a heady slab of pounding fuzzed out jangle, that then splinters and transforms into something downright proggy, crooned vocals over busy swirling piano melodies and woozy cello, before the guitars swoop back in, the song seesawing back and forth between crunchy jangle and tense moody brood. The following track drapes softly distorted vocals over loping bass, spidery melodies and fuzz guitar, adding some cool slide, and wild little tangles of psych guitar, and that ever present cello, definitely giving the sound its own unique vibe.
The rest of the record unfurls darkly and dramatically, shifting constantly from sound to sound, each sound (and song) seemingly representative of a step in the grieving process, Merch mainman Joe Medina translating that grieving process into sound, minor key miserablist downer pop blurs into stripped down bluesy rock, fuzzed out indie rock blossoms into bombastic almost progginess, twang flecked drifts sprawl into propulsive hypnotic minimalism which in turn transforms into shimmery acoustic folk and back again, the sound rife with hints of Sparklehorse, Giant Sand, TV On The Radio, and other purveyors of dark indie pop and fuzzy psychedelic garage rock.
Special colored vinyl version just for aQ (marbled grey swirl), also includes a poster, and a download coupon for the whole record!
MPEG Stream: "My Best Friend"
MPEG Stream: "Condom In My Pocket"
MPEG Stream: "Infidelity"

album cover MERCH This Betrayal Will Be Our End (Sassafras ) cassette 6.50
NOW ON CASSETTE, FOR BLACK FRIDAY RECORD STORE DAY.
Latest full length from this local cello driven indie rock outfit, and their most lush and accomplished outing yet, produced by Bay Area psychedelic guru Greg Ashley, the band have crafted a strangely catchy collection of driving, string laden indie rock, inspired by heartbreak, as all worthwhile rock records are, opening with a hauntingly cinematic intro, all soaring melodic swells, buzzing cello, wild psychedelic guitar, plink plonk piano, which leads directly into a heady slab of pounding fuzzed out jangle, that then splinters and transforms into something downright proggy, crooned vocals over busy swirling piano melodies and woozy cello, before the guitars swoop back in, the song seesawing back and forth between crunchy jangle and tense moody brood. The following track drapes softly distorted vocals over loping bass, spidery melodies and fuzz guitar, adding some cool slide, and wild little tangles of psych guitar, and that ever present cello, definitely giving the sound its own unique vibe.
The rest of the record unfurls darkly and dramatically, shifting constantly from sound to sound, each sound (and song) seemingly representative of a step in the grieving process, Merch mainman Joe Medina translating that grieving process into sound, minor key miserablist downer pop blurs into stripped down bluesy rock, fuzzed out indie rock blossoms into bombastic almost progginess, twang flecked drifts sprawl into propulsive hypnotic minimalism which in turn transforms into shimmery acoustic folk and back again, the sound rife with hints of Sparklehorse, Giant Sand, TV On The Radio, and other purveyors of dark indie pop and fuzzy psychedelic garage rock.
MPEG Stream: "My Best Friend"
MPEG Stream: "Condom In My Pocket"
MPEG Stream: "Infidelity"

album cover MERCHANDISE / DESTRUCTION UNIT / MILK MUSIC USA 13 (540) lp 17.98
Another record that was originally a Record Store Day exclusive, now thankfully more widely available. We were initially excited about this three way split for the new jams from aQ faves Milk Music, who start off with a killer Creedence Clearwater Revival cover ("Effigy"), which like all great covers, sounds like it could be a MM original, the guitars blown out, the vocals drenched in FX, the song gorgeously minor key and drowsily noisy, reminding us a little of Sub Pop unknowns (but also aQ faves) Rein Sanction. The second MM track sounds like it could have been plucked right off the last record, and weirdly enough, sounds like it could be another cover as well, all fuzzy and twangy, and then they finish off with another cover perfectly suited to MM's sound, Johnny Thunders' "You Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory".
Destruction Unit deliver a blast of swagger, noise drenched garage punk, with bellowed dramatic vocals over, dizzying swirls of distort guitar, all wrapped around a churning lo-fi crunch, bathed in feedback, and noisy as fuck, but crazy catchy too, slipping easily into stretched out psych jams, before slipping right back into some stomping garage rock crunch. And finally, Merchandise from Florida, get all spacey and gloomy and dramatic, a drifty, slow core creep, laced with steel string shimmer, low slung bass buzz, and some deep, dark vocal crooning, the first track, a smoldering dark ballad, the second a bit more post punky sounding a bit like a popper, jangler Wipers. Cool stuff all around.
Comes with a cool, full color insert/booklet, and no download.
MPEG Stream: MILK MUSIC "Effigy"
MPEG Stream: DESTRUCTION UNIT "Church Of Jesus Christ"
MPEG Stream: MERCHANDISE "No You And Me"

MERCHANT, NATALIE Motherland (Elektra) cd 16.98
As advertised on National Public Radio. Really.

MERCHANTS OF THE NEW BIZARRE Do You Want To Go Steady? cd 9.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
More local SF weirdness from a band that may be familiar to the early-'90s Bananafish readership.

MERCILESS Click Boom (RMC) 7" 2.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Hip hop remix. Rhythm = "One Minute Man" (Missy Elliott).

MERCILESS One Life To Live (Special Remix) 7" 2.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Hip hop remix. Rhythm = "Best U Can" (Tha Liks).

MERCILESS Saddom Party (RMC) 7" 2.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Hip hop remix. Rhythm = "Can't Deny It" (Fabolous). B-side says "version" but it actually has Capleton "Forward Inna Clothes" instead.

MERCILESS Wad Up (Special Remix) 7" 2.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Hip hop remix. Rhythm = "One Minute Man" (Missy Elliott).

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