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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 MERCURY REV All Is Dream (V2) cd 18.98
The peculiar, exuberant band from Buffalo, NY bring forth their long-awaited follow-up to 1998's Deserter's Song. All Is Dream is their fifth album: an often sublime, ambitious orchestral pop assemblage that even in all of its grandeur and oddness still maintains an air of innocence, particularly on tracks such as "A Drop In Time". Please forgive me but an image of Mercury Rev performing "Puff The Magic Dragon" parading down the main street just flashed though my head. They'd surely do a damn fine job of it too, but I digress. Jonathan Donahue's tweaked boy voice easily draws comparisons to that of Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne. And the 'Lips comparisons - or shall we say connections - don't end there, Donahue and bassist Dave Fridmann have put in their fair share of time with that likeminded band from Oklahoma. The former as lead guitarist and the latter as producer extraordinaire - most notably for the supreme "Soft Bulletin". He does a splendid job on his own band's material here with all of its lush, complex instrumentation of woodwinds and strings and blown-out percussion. Pretty wonderful. Oh and a word of note: more recently Fridmann's unmistakable production touches may also be heard gracing the newest Sparklehorse album.
RealAudio clip: "The Dark Is Rising"
RealAudio clip: "A Drop In Time"

MERCURY REV Deserted Songs (Light In The Attic) lp 21.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.

MERCURY REV Deserter's Songs (Modern Classics / Light In The Attic) lp 22.00

album cover MERCURY REV Snowflake Midnight (YepRoc) cd 15.98

MPEG Stream: "Snowflake In A Hot World"
MPEG Stream: "Runaway Raindrop"
MPEG Stream: "A Squirrel And I (Holding On... And Then Letting Go)"

album cover MERCURY REV Snowflake Midnight (YepRoc) lp 21.00

MPEG Stream: "Snowflake In A Hot World"
MPEG Stream: "Runaway Raindrop"
MPEG Stream: "A Squirrel And I (Holding On... And Then Letting Go)"

album cover MERCURY REV The Secret Migration (V2) 2cd 21.00
The Secret Migration reveals many different faces of Mercury Rev, and many of them seem even more remarkably Flaming Lips' Soft Bulletin-y that previously so. That means they've still retained their trademark warbly vocals, lush arrangements and splendiferously grand Dave Fridmann productions. In fact, some of the songs are near deadringers for the 'Lips, such as the fifth and sixth ("Vermillion" and "In The Wilderness" respectively). That said, they also take an unexpected detour mid-album, treading in Jesus & Mary Chain boots for the song "In A Funny Way". And if you're Byram you might also think that the vocals sound like Marianne Faithfull (which he indeed does, but that perception seems to have eluded all of the rest of us!). The album's only marred by a handful of somewhat wince-worthy lyrics such as "If I were a white horse and offered you a ride...", "Lover lift me up!" and "Waves of emotion sending ships across the ocean"? Egads! And to make matters worse, the latter line is sung over and over again. It almost reaches Disney-style cliched cheesiness. As is suggested by the album's title, they lyrically keep with the themes of journey (of the physical kind and otherwise). They draw references and inspiration from a menagerie of wildlife critters (for instance, the aforementioned white horses), and deliver the listener from point A to point B in their ivy-draped, rose-festooned fantasy pop chariot drawn by dragonflies and seahorses. Note: the first pressing includes a bonus disc with eight live and previously unreleased tracks!
MPEG Stream: "Vermillion"
MPEG Stream: "In A Funny Way"

album cover MERGIA, HAILU Hailu Mergia & His Classical Instrument: Shemonmuanaye (Awesome Tapes From Africa) cd 14.98
Among Ethiopian Jazz aficionados, Hailu Mergia may not have as big of a name as Mulutu Astatke or Mahmoud Ahmed, but this 1985 recording of traditional Ethiopian jazz pieces played on analog synth, piano and accordion could of easily (and SHOULD OF, in our minds) been part of the great Ethiopiques series. That we come late to the pleasures of being wowed by Mergia's dexterous multi-instrumental talents, only tells us that there are many more riches of African jazz are out there waiting to be discovered.
Mergia cut his teeth with The Walliaa Band, the legendary group founded by Mulatu Astake, and has backed many of Ethiopia's greatest bandleaders (the band still performs to this day at the Addis Ababa Hilton). But it's this solo excursion, played in true one-man-band style that takes the sensual loping rhythms of ethiojazz into realms so warm and personal and utterly unique. Recommended!
MPEG Stream: "Shilela"
MPEG Stream: "Hari Meru Meru"

album cover MERGIA, HAILU Hailu Mergia & His Classical Instrument: Shemonmuanaye (Awesome Tapes From Africa) lp 29.00
NOW ALSO HERE ON LP!!
Among Ethiopian Jazz aficionados, Hailu Mergia may not have as big of a name as Mulutu Astatke or Mahmoud Ahmed, but this 1985 recording of traditional Ethiopian jazz pieces played on analog synth, piano and accordion could of easily (and SHOULD OF, in our minds) been part of the great Ethiopiques series. That we come late to the pleasures of being wowed by Mergia's dexterous multi-instrumental talents, only tells us that there are many more riches of African jazz are out there waiting to be discovered.
Mergia cut his teeth with The Walliaa Band, the legendary group founded by Mulatu Astake, and has backed many of Ethiopia's greatest bandleaders (the band still performs to this day at the Addis Ababa Hilton). But it's this solo excursion, played in true one-man-band style that takes the sensual loping rhythms of ethiojazz into realms so warm and personal and utterly unique. Recommended!

album cover MERKSTAVE s/t (Pesanta Urfolk) lp 16.98
Some of us were lucky enough to go to the Stella Natura festival recently, and one of the bands we were most excited to see was Hell. Longtime readers of the aQ list no doubt remember reading reviews of the first two Hell lps, both oozing blackened ultra-doom, and live, they were awesome, especially the drummer's backwards-pig vocals, but then a strange thing happened, a Hell related band ended up stealing the show. This band in fact, Merkstave, who take the already depressive doom of Hell, even further into the ether, self described ' cosmic funerary drone', Merkstave deliver three epic cosmic crawls on this, their debut lp, which finds the band reworking some tracks from earlier and impossible to find demos. And their sound on record, like live, is stunning, achingly mournful, the first few minutes of the two part nearly 30 minute epic "Lament For Lost Gods", is a woozy sprawl of slowcore creep, lots of space, the notes suspended in air, the drums minimal, the whole sound delicate and tenebrous, even when the heaviness kicks in, somehow the sound remains spare and spaced out, the guitars distorted and crumbly, brittle and blackened, the vocals, a monstrous bellow, the notes ringing out, the sound at times almost choral, especially when the clean vocals join the grim vokills, reminding us a bit of Bell Witch, the same sort of heaviness meets slowcore beauty. Although Merkstave's sound is by far more grim and abstract, depressive and harrowingly haunting. Then suddenly, about 10 minutes in, the song explodes into full on black metal blast and buzz, the vocals transformed into a super dramatic shriek, the sound blurred and blackened, a smeary expanse of furious churning heaviness, before slowing down again and slipping into some tarpit ultra doooooom sludge, the vokills shrieked, the drums flitting from caveman plod, to weird motorik pound. The second movement/part opens up with more clean guitars, draped over simple rhythmic drum pound, the vibe her more trad doom, super melodic, epic and majestic, before transforming again into a churning, chugging classic metal workout, replete with pinch harmonics, and some seriously murky riffage. The final track is a dense sprawl of crumbling doom / sludge that oozes ominously, and is laced with some soaring melodic guitars, the sound almost psychedelic, with the occasional clean part, super melodic interludes interspersed between the downtuned doomic bombast, and then finally, a haunting piano outro. The cool thing about Merkstave is the sound versus the sound, as in they've crafted this majestic, uber epic ultra doom, but the recording is really raw and low fidelity, the guitars brittle, it's an idiosyncratic heaviness that perfectly suits the bands strange sonic brew.
As with all Pesanta Urfolk releases, the packaging is stellar, heavy vinyl, full color heavy sleeves, the whole record mastered, produced and recorded completely analog. And who knows, probably pretty limited too...
MPEG Stream: "Lament For Lost Gods Part 1"
MPEG Stream: "Spawn Of A Lower Star"

MERLAK, ROBERT Albumski (Phthalo) cd 12.98
Croatian computer technician Robert Merlak offers his second album for Phthalo, whose releases are becoming more and more out of the ordinary -- too fucked up for IDM based electronica, too lo-fi for musique concrete consideration. Nauseating synthesis of neurotic drones and wildly spinning drum machine eruptions make up the most of "Albumski," which sounds more like what we'd have expected from the new General Magic.

MERLAK, ROBERT Icepick Tracks (Phthalo) cd-r 13.98
PHTHALO 08. Robert Merlak's "Icepick Tracks" are an assortment of brutal industro.crunch.plod.thump.stomp.sledge.hammer.rip.tear.clang.boom.grind.electronica powerbooking. Could be SPK? Could be V/Vm? Sure it could.

MERMAID Red Led or Death (Munster Records) cd 14.98

MERMEN Krill Slippin' (Beach) 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 band has decided to reissue their first album, previously only available as a cassette.

MERMEN Songs of the Cows (Mesa) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.

MERMEN Songs of the Cows (Mesa) lp 11.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.

MERMEN, THE The Amazing California Health And Happiness Road Show (Mesa) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
At last a new disc from ever-popular local "stoner surf" band The Mermen. Heavy reverby surf rock, like a psychedelic Dick Dale.

album cover MERRELL, BAKER AND JORDAN Nagual (aRCHIVE) cd 13.98
Not sure who Todd Merrell or Patrick Jordan are, but we sure as heck are familiar with the third part of this drone trio, the Baker in question is none other than Mr. Aidan Baker, he of Nadja, Arc, and a million or so releases under his own name.
This live set finds Baker handling guitar duties, but you'd never know it from the sound, augmented by short wave radios, electronics, and various bits of processing, the sound here is deep and dark, a crumbling and epic expanse of rumbling shimmering low end. Roiling clouds of murky melodic fragments, distant swells, throbbing low end pulses, barely audible bits of static and washed out glitch. Very cinematic, if you were watching a film that was almost entirely dark, with just barely visible shifts in the various shades of black and grey. Lovely though, minimal and haunting. Think Coleclough, Chalk, Lustmord, that sort of ambient darkness.
But the second track is an entirely different beast. Simple guitar strums, minimal melodies, the strings struck softly, the metallic buzz and clang ringing out into the ether, some sort of underwater slow motion Fahey, smeared and soft and dark and dreamy. The final half of the track, the guitar disappears completely, leaving streaks of feedback that sound like the cries of gulls, grinding slow motion slabs of shifting low end, whirling windlike whirs, almost like a manufactured nature recording.
The guitar returns for the third track, drifting gently, while the background noise builds into a slow motion wash of sound, the track culminating in a cloud of chimes and reverbed percussion, seasick swirls and struck steel strings, before slipping languidly into the final track, a lugubrious underwater crawl, all of the sounds muddy and indistinct, a sonar like ping buried way down in the mix, underneath it all a thick blanket of constant whirring drones, quite lovely.
Packaged in one of those cool, 6 panel, gatefold aRCHIVE sleeves, glossy paper, super striking image of forest and clouds, LIMITED TO 600 COPIES!!
MPEG Stream: "Undertow"
MPEG Stream: "Half-Life"

album cover MERRIMACK Grey Rigorism (Moribund) cd 14.98
The list can get a bit frustrating, in more ways than one, but we're constantly frustrated by too many records and not enough time, which means inevitably, some badass band that we love somehow never makes it onto the list. It happened with noiserock mice-fits White Mice finally reviewed elsewhere on this list, and it happened with French black metallers Merrimack, who are on full length number three, and who are only now making it onto the list for the first time. What can we say, we do our best, and as far as Merrimack is concerned, they rule, you should definitely buy this new one, and if you dig it as much as we think you will, you should buy the other two as well.
Why you ask? Cuz there's just something about French black metal. Something special, a definite vibe, a certain sound, although Grey Rigorism sounds very modern, and very Scandinavian, which is not a bad thing at all, but don't be expecting insane gnarled blackened weirdness or fucked up freaked out damaged black metal, Merrimack are super tight, their songs are dense and grim, slipping easily from midtempo pound, to furious blast, to almost industrial sounding stop start lurch, these guys would definitely have been right at home on Moonfog, along with Khold and Satyricon and other super slick sounding buzzing black hordes.
There are some strange moments here for sure, a couple tracks where the band lock into some doomy dirge while some mysterious French sample plays over the top, and the lengthy closing track, a multi parted epic that finds the band slipping from frantic blast to loping post rock to slow lumbering doom, there's some strange female spoken word part too laced amidst the howling vokills, but for the most part, Grey Rigorism is some super tight, well produced black buzzing grimness, and we dig it.
Features members of other elite French BM hordes Ancestral Fog, Corpus Christii, Glorior Belli and Morte Incandescente, and killer artwork by Seldon Hunt...
MPEG Stream: "The Golden Door"
MPEG Stream: "Omniabsence"
MPEG Stream: "By Thy Grace"

MERRIMACK Observations To The Horned (Moribund) cd 14.98

album cover MERRIMACK Of Entropy And Life Denial (Moribund) cd 16.98

MPEG Stream: "Seraphic Conspiracy (Of The Angels And Their Mission)"
MPEG Stream: "Melancholia Balneam Diboli (Of Acedia And Her Daughters)"

album cover MERRITT, STEPHIN Eban & Charley (OST) (Merge) cd 14.98
The first 2002 peep from the prolific pen of Stephin Merritt (following the epic "69 Love Songs 3-cd box set) comes not as a new Magnetic Fields, Future Bible Heroes nor Sixths album, but as an indie film soundtrack. Sounding just as you'd expect film music composed by Mr. Magnetic Fields would... lovely, lonely, spartan and droll. Lingering piano and harpsichord notes, brief solemnly sung moments that I wouldn't quite classify as songs (which include despairing renderings of O Tannenbaum and Greensleeves), clinky-clunky, off-kilter antique toy instrument sounds and experimental soundscapes. Word has it he's been deep in recordingland working on new Magnetic Fields and Future Bible Heroes albums, but until those surface...
RealAudio clip: "Maria Maria Maria"
RealAudio clip: "Some Summer Day"

album cover MERRITT, STEPHIN Obscurities (Merge) cd 14.98
Oh the glory days. Remember when all our favorite bands were still sort of our own little secret that the larger mainstream world both didn't know about and could care less about. That's how it was almost two decades ago when The Magnetic Fields first hit the scene. Before getting the attention of NPR and culture vultures far and wide with the release of 69 Love Songs, Stephin Merritt was one of the most unsung songwriters of our generation. Whether it was with The Magnetic Fields or when he recorded under the monikers of The 6ths, Future Bible Heroes, or the Gothic Archies, he carved out a space as one of the most unique and versatile songwriters we had heard in ages.
Obscurities draws from this magical era. Taking rare and unreleased tracks dating back to his days on Merge in the mid-late '90s. And we have to admit, this record is really reminding us why we fell so hard in love with his songs in the first place. The poignant and wicked smart lyrics, the deadpan delivery, the range of song forms from lo-fi C86 inspired blasts to more delicate and introspective twee. And we must mention that this contains one of our favorite songs of all time. "I Don't Believe You" by The Magnetic Fields, and it's not the version that came out on their Nonesuch debut, I, but instead the version from the long out of print Merge 7", that a few of us here have probably played over and over more then any other song in the world. well worth the price of admission for that practically perfect chunk of lo-fi pop bliss!
While we still dig what Merritt has been doing in recent years, in fact we made the 2008 Magnetic Fields album Distortion a Record Of The Week, we have to admit this is the era that will always be most near and dear to our hearts and ears. Absolutely essential!
MPEG Stream: "I Don't Believe You (The Magnetic Fields)"
MPEG Stream: "Yet Another Girl (The 6ths)"
MPEG Stream: "Rats In The Garbage Of The Western World (The Magnetic Fields)"

album cover MERRITT, STEPHIN Obscurities (Merge) lp 17.98
Oh the glory days. Remember when all our favorite bands were still sort of our own little secret that the larger mainstream world both didn't know about and could care less about. That's how it was almost two decades ago when The Magnetic Fields first hit the scene. Before getting the attention of NPR and culture vultures far and wide with the release of 69 Love Songs, Stephin Merritt was one of the most unsung songwriters of our generation. Whether it was with The Magnetic Fields or when he recorded under the monikers of The 6ths, Future Bible Heroes, or the Gothic Archies, he carved out a space as one of the most unique and versatile songwriters we had heard in ages.
Obscurities draws from this magical era. Taking rare and unreleased tracks dating back to his days on Merge in the mid-late '90s. And we have to admit, this record is really reminding us why we fell so hard in love with his songs in the first place. The poignant and wicked smart lyrics, the deadpan delivery, the range of song forms from lo-fi C86 inspired blasts to more delicate and introspective twee. And we must mention that this contains one of our favorite songs of all time. "I Don't Believe You" by The Magnetic Fields, and it's not the version that came out on their Nonesuch debut, I, but instead the version from the long out of print Merge 7", that a few of us here have probably played over and over more then any other song in the world. well worth the price of admission for that practically perfect chunk of lo-fi pop bliss!
While we still dig what Merritt has been doing in recent years, in fact we made the 2008 Magnetic Fields album Distortion a Record Of The Week, we have to admit this is the era that will always be most near and dear to our hearts and ears. Absolutely essential!
MPEG Stream: "I Don't Believe You (The Magnetic Fields)"
MPEG Stream: "Yet Another Girl (The 6ths)"
MPEG Stream: "Rats In The Garbage Of The Western World (The Magnetic Fields)"

album cover MERRITT, STEPHIN Pieces Of April Soundtrack (Nonesuch) cd 11.98
If you're at all familiar with the AQ gang, you already know very well that Cup gives the heartiest of thumth-upths to lisp-friendly Stephin Merritt and his various projects (Magnetic Fields, Sixths, Future Bible Heroes, etc). If you're at all unfamiliar with the man and his music, consider this your prime opportunity to get acquainted. We haven't seen the movie yet, so we can't comment on the music's relation to the film. However, we can say that in comparison to his previous soundtrack album for the film Eban & Charley which included a varied selection of songs and instrumental soundscapes, this is solely a collection of songs. It's a great sampling of previously released Magnetic Fields and Sixths songs (from 69 Love Songs and Hyacinths And Thistles respectively) as well as previously unreleased MF and solo Merritt works. Actually one of the two Sixths songs that's included -- "You You You You You" sung by Squirrel Nut Zippers' Katharine Whalen -- is indeed one of Cup's absolute faves. Aaah, such consistently top notch, achingly pretty, sweetheart songs. No one pinpoints the many matters of the heart from first blush to cold shoulder to brutal heartache in such wonderfully droll fashion as Mr. Merritt.
Note: Please be forewarned this cd tips the scales at just over 26 minutes, but oh what a splendid 26 minutes it is! Very recommended.
MPEG Stream: "Dreams Anymore"
MPEG Stream: "You You You You You"

album cover MERRITT, STEPHIN Showtunes (Nonesuch) cd 16.98
Hoooo boy, what can we say about the latest Stephin Merritt release? This is a tough one. On the first day that we had this album in stock, it provoked some of the most immediate and strongest reactions. To put it mildly, we've got some pretty damn diehard Merritt supporters around here (we might add, some of them are card-carrying showtune lovers too!), but even they had to swiftly flee the scene of this album by the third song. Did we mention it's comprised of a whopping 26 opera-heavy compositions that he collaborated on with China's opera star Chen Shi-Zheng for three stage presentations (Orphan Of Zhao, Peach Blossom Fan and My Life As A Fairy Tale)? Yup, this modern day pop Pied Piper left his usual gang of merry pop pranksters at the rock club and trotted himself right down into high art theater row. We suspect those blinding Broadway lights might've shorted out a few of his good-sense-o-meters. Unquestionably, this is one of Merritt's most bizarre, ambitious and ballsy releases to date. As far from his Magnetic Fields, The Sixths, Future Bible Heroes, Gothic Archies et al as he (and you) can get! Be forewarned, 'tis an acquired taste.
MPEG Stream: "At Madam Plum's"
MPEG Stream: "What A F*cking Lovely Day"

album cover MERRY-GO-ROUND, THE Listen, Listen: The Definitive Collection (Rev-Ola) cd 15.98
Anthology from Emitt Rhodes and The Merry-Go-Round containing the seminal first album as well as American Dream, which although sometimes billed as the Second Merry-Go-Round album is actually the first Emitt Rhodes solo album.
Contains all their Beatles-by-way-of-Hawthorne, CA hits, including "Live", "Time Shall Show The Wiser", (famously covered by Fairport Convention on their debut) and "You're A Very Lovely Woman".

album cover MERRY-GO-ROUND, THE You're A Very Lovely Woman / Live (Sundazed) lp 21.00

album cover MERRY-GO-ROUND, THE You're A Very Lovely Woman / Live (Sundazed) lp 21.00

album cover MERRYL Towel Crown (Hooker Vision) cassette 8.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Another fine offering from the Hooker Vision imprint which has been championing some weird and wonderful experimental outfits from the Southeastern US. Merryl is the work of North Carolinian Will Isenogle who spins a couple of mighty fine corrosive dronescapes on this tape contextualized by film snippets from stoned UFOlogists gazing into the night sky and postulating about the alien civilizations that may be orbiting the earth. Out of the opening found text, Isenogle builds a hazily levitating drone laced with kosmische allusions; but he slowly envelops this with a crusty transmission of tape mulched noise and amplifier destruction that would make Campbelle Kneale proud. The second side reprises the shimmering, delicate dronescaping found at the beginning of the first with undulating tones and soft-focus ambient melodies of dreamtime melancholy and a gravelly texture of shortwave radio static sliding up to the foreground. Druggy, lo-fi hypnosis at its best; but be warned, Towel Crowl is limited to 100 copies and it's already sold out at the label!
MPEG Stream: "Towel Crown"

album cover MERZBOW 24 Hours - A Day Of Seals (Dirter Promotions) 4cd 32.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Let's settle this bullshit once and for all. The best Merzbow record of all is of course the Merzcedes -- the legendary (perhaps to the point of being mythical) conceptual artpiece of raw Merzbow noise permanently fixed into the cassette deck of a Mercedes sedan. No, we haven't actually had the pleasure of experiencing the Merzcedes; but the Merzcedes is the best Merzbow album regardless of all comers!!. It's not "Amlux" (which was claimed to be the 'definitive' Merzbow album), it's not the "Merzbox" (the massive, ridiculous 50 cd retrospective), and it's not "24 Hours - A Day Of Seals" (hyped as the 'most satisfying' Merzbow album). It's the Merzcedes. End of argument.
This illogical rant is not to say that any of those aforementioned albums are bad; but, it should illustrate the point that any quantification of the Merzbow's massive catalogue into generic superlatives is not only stupid but also useless to any critiques about Merzbow. "Most satisfying"? How could you ever know? But, this new mini Merzbox is indeed a fine addition to his canon.
As has been the case for many of the contemporary Merzbow albums, the four-CD set "24 Hours - A Day Of Seals" centers on mechanical loops of volatile grindings, ugly digitalized flanges, and cascading white noise. Is it manipulated field recordings of harbor seals? It could be. It could also be a guitar, or a vibrator, or just some analogue synth twaddle, or a seal playing a guitar! Whatever it is, it should "satisfy" your Merzbow/noise jones for at least as long as it takes to listen to all four cds. Those partial to heavy guitar-based drone noise rock a la old Skullflower or Ramleh might find portions of this particularily enjoyable.
RealAudio clip: "Mincle No Uta"
RealAudio clip: "Rising King Penguin"

album cover MERZBOW A Taste Of... (Mego) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
A very eclectic and adventurous offering from the Ryori No Tetsujin of noise. "A Taste Of Merzbow" serves up a smorgasbord of sonic catastrophe, texturally shifting from Akita's current digital synthesis practices to the jagged cut'n'paste aesthetic that harkens back to the days of "Ecobondage" and "Batztoutai With Material Gadgets". Conceptually, Akita has assembled a collection of recipes that correspond to each track, though the relevance and/or significance of the relationship between composition and cuisine is unknown to us. Most unusual is the use of distinctly digitally rendered randomizations and algorithmic structures, not of common practice in the past. While not as powerful as the recent "Hard Lovin' Man" or "Amlux", this is still an extremely potent mˇlange of furious vehemence and elegance. Very Mego, very Merzbow. Seconds, anyone?
RealAudio clip: "Turban Shell Blues"

album cover MERZBOW Amlux (Important) cd 12.98
In the continuing onslaught of Merzbow releases (and considering the emphatic reverence displayed by the attendees at Akita's All Tomorrow's Parties performance, as well as Sonic Youth's seal of approval, there will no doubt be tons more to come), Newbury, MA's Important Records has offered what they like to refer to as "the definitive modern Merzbow record". Sure, this is prime Merzbow, replete with sonically massive sounds sure to mesmerize and amazing frequency dynamics, as expected with any high quality Merzbow document. At high volumes, it would destroy eardrums if not small buildings. But can you make such a claim as "definitive" in regards to any one particular Merzbow release? One such contender might just possibly be the Merzbox (still available, by the way), as it displays the many moods and faces of Akita-san. However, the Merzbox represents the primitive era, pre-Powerbook methods of Akita's activities. How about "Hard Lovin' Man"? Definitely one of the highlights of post-analogue Merzbow (and even post-shoegazer bliss!). "Frog"? Beautiful. I feel it is much too soon to declare a modern Merzbow product "definitive" as a statement as strong as that is generally reserved for a piece of art that holds up through the test of time. But what do I know? Maybe Important Records are on to something. One important (har har!) note about this release: it contains the source material which will be distributed to various artists to remix for a compilation titled "Merzmix" (how original). Remember that remix disc "Scumtron" that came out years ago? Anyway, contributors thus far include: Acid Mothers Temple (bling bling!$!), Bola, Chicks On Speed, Jack Dangers (Meat Beat Manifesto), Alec Empire, Arto Lindsay, KK Null, Sonic Boom and DJ Spooky with the possible inclusion of many more artists. Anyway, to break it on down: Is it good? Yes. Essential? Maybe. Definitive? You decide.
RealAudio clip: "Takemitsu"
RealAudio clip: "Looping Jane"

album cover MERZBOW Animal Magnetism (Alien8 Recordings) cd 14.98
If you made a graph of Japanese noisician Merzbow's career, the zig zagging lines of both consumer interest and product quality would definitely be on the ascendant of late, even as his volume of releases remains steady, and large. Here's another one, to be greeted with "yay, a new Merzbow!" rather than the "oh god, another Mezbow?" response that might have been appropriate a few years back. Nope, he's happenin' right now, and Animal Magnetism further continues these positive Merzbow trends.
The obi blurb provided by label Alien8 implies that this record is either inspired by Merzbow's pet chickens (as pictured on the cover) or utilizes them as a sound source for sampling. Perhaps. But pet chickens, pet rocks, whatever, you can't tell. Wildlife meets white noise? It works as a description anyway. As does: pulsing and grinding, in large part this disc is an attack of static somewhere between and beyond the distorto spazz of Lightning Bolt and a television set on the blink. Hissing, howling, and heavy, even haunting -- as noise goes, this is both wonderfully, uh, noisy, and interestingly varied. A lot is going on. It's not without layers of rhythm as well as texture. Really, Animal Magnetism approaches "music", psychedelic music, as close as Merzbow ever does. No disappointment!
MPEG Stream: "Quiet Men"
MPEG Stream: "Pier 39"

album cover MERZBOW Bariken (Blossoming Noise) cd 14.98

album cover MERZBOW Blackbone Part.5 (Blossoming Noise) cd 11.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.


album cover MERZBOW Bloody Sea (Vivo) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Batten down the hatches! From the Japanophile Polish label Vivo, here's a pair of new cds from everyone's favorite Japanese noisemonger, the mighty Merzbow. On Bloody Sea, Masami Akita (for he be Merzbow) displays his softer side. Not sonically, no not at all, but in his concerned efforts to save the whales via his "protest-noise". Yes, this is an anti-whaling album, hence the title, and we'd imagine that if Greenpeace were to find some way to blare it loudly at the Japanese whaling fleet whenever they tried to leave port, they might be forced to call off the whale hunt for the season. There's three cacophonous parts to this 50-minute disc, composed of battling blown-out chattering rumble and sizzling synths. Very abstract and assaultive, as if Merzbow is trying to channel the pain and suffering of all the whales into a song they never could sing.
Meanwhile, the more recently released Coma Berenices contains five lengthy, throbbing machine-screams of dense distortion, zapped with high-end skree... it'll wax yer ears but good. Fried and frenzied, but also carefully looped and layered with sonic detail. It is (relatively speaking) quite listenable as harsh psychedelia, the dark-drone-doom thing taken to the extremes of Merzbowian methodology!
MPEG Stream: "Anti-Whaling Song Pt.1"
MPEG Stream: "Anti-Whaling Song Pt.3"

album cover MERZBOW Coma Berenices (Vivo) cd 14.98
Batten down the hatches! From the Japanophile Polish label Vivo, here's a pair of new cds from everyone's favorite Japanese noisemonger, the mighty Merzbow. On Bloody Sea, Masami Akita (for he be Merzbow) displays his softer side. Not sonically, no not at all, but in his concerned efforts to save the whales via his "protest-noise". Yes, this is an anti-whaling album, hence the title, and we'd imagine that if Greenpeace were to find some way to blare it loudly at the Japanese whaling fleet whenever they tried to leave port, they might be forced to call off the whale hunt for the season. There's three cacophonous parts to this 50-minute disc, composed of battling blown-out chattering rumble and sizzling synths. Very abstract and assaultive, as if Merzbow is trying to channel the pain and suffering of all the whales into a song they never could sing.
Meanwhile, the more recently released Coma Berenices contains five lengthy, throbbing machine-screams of dense distortion, zapped with high-end skree... it'll wax yer ears but good. Fried and frenzied, but also carefully looped and layered with sonic detail. It is (relatively speaking) quite listenable as harsh psychedelia, the dark-drone-doom thing taken to the extremes of Merzbowian methodology!
MPEG Stream: "Earth Worms"
MPEG Stream: "Alishan"

MERZBOW Cycle (Very Friendly) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.

MERZBOW Dharma (Double H Noise Industries) cd 14.98
Merzbow's intense noise attacks continue with this release on the noise subsidiary of Hydrahead. Like his more recent recordings, Merzbow infuses his white-hot grinding distortion with bursts of frenetic shards and ominous low end pulses. The major departure for "Dharma" is his sporadic repitition of a very clunky, purposefully avant-garde sounding piano riff, sprinkled with generous eruptions of granulated noise.
RealAudio clip: "Piano Space For Marimo Kitty"

album cover MERZBOW Dust Of Dreams (A Thisco) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Merzbow's Dust Of Dreams is another bludgeoning record of scalding noise for all of those raw nerve endings that need to be damaged just a little bit more. Compared to the almost jubilantly rhythmic Senmaida (one of many Merzbow records alongside this one to hit the stores in the early fall of 2005), Dust Of Dreams is a far more dour recording, with the rasping haze of mechanical wasps constantly swarming above seasick marching rhythms. If you've always been confused when Merzbow is pegged as being psychedelic, Dust Of Dreams will only perpetuate that confusion as the kaleidoscopes of swirling noise are of a leaden grey, as opposed to dozens of other Merzbow records which explode with a molten synaesthesia of nauseating flourescence. Nonetheless, Dust Of Dreams is still miles above almost every other recording of the globe's massive population of Merzbow wannabes.
MPEG Stream: "1339"
MPEG Stream: "Dust Of Dreams"

album cover MERZBOW Eucalypse (Soleilmoon) cd 28.00

album cover MERZBOW Frog (Misanthropic Agenda) 2cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
This is the finally-on-cd version of the super cool Merzbow then-lp-only Frog we reviewed a year or so back. Here's what we said abouth the vinyl:
Yep, that's right, Masami Akita exploits the powerful and hypnotic depth of everyone's favorite musical amphibians. The record begins, simply enough, with the soothing rumbling croak of the webbed feet wonders, gradually evolving into an explosive demon that only Merzbow can conjure up. Handsomely packaged in a gatefold sleeve adorned with colorful baby frogs and layered with a gorgeous glossy transparent iconic design (designed by Akita, and included in an exhibition at Yokohama Triennale 2001 in Japan, where Merzbow also had a sound installation room). All in all, another fantastic post-analogue release from Akita-san, and top-notch excellence in its concept and execution.
Thankfully, the cd, now a double, is packaged just as exquisitely (minus the stupid top obi, that is TAPED TO THE DIGIPAK!! Be warned: remove CAREFULLY!) The bonus disc contains almost an hour of extra material, 4 extended tracks of Merzbowian white noise pummel, as well as a really beautiful screen saver for your computer.
MPEG Stream: "Kaeru No Shima"
MPEG Stream: "Black Frog"

MERZBOW Frog (Misanthropic Agenda) lp 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Yep, that's right, Masami Akita exploits the powerful and hypnotic depth of everyone's favorite musical amphibians. The record begins, simply enough, with the soothing rumbling croak of the webbed feet wonders, gradually evolving into an explosive demon that only Merzbow can conjure up. Handsomely packaged in a gatefold sleeve adorned with colorful baby frogs and layered with a gorgeous glossy transparent iconic design (designed by Akita, and included in an exhibition at Yokohama Triennale 2001 in Japan, where Merzbow also had a sound installation room). Pressed on truly amazing green and red spotted "frog" colored vinyl that makes this worth owning in itself! All in all, another fantastic post-analogue release from Akita-san, and top-notch excellence in its concept and execution.

album cover MERZBOW Hard Lovin' Man (Anoema) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Possibly the first deconstruction (re: remix) effort from Akita-san (unless you count that disc supposedly based on free jazz drumming?). Yes, that fragment of guitar you'll hear looped and processed on "Hard Lovin' Man" is that of Ritchie Blackmore, from the 1970 LP "Deep Purple In Rock". But really this sounds more Kevin Shields than Blackmore, as Akita's original studio piece (recorded in his Bed Room Studio on October 5, 2000) is a twenty minute hypnotic beast rich in texture and dynamics. Brutally punishing, but so beautiful as well. The subsequent forty-two minute live track which opens the disc (recorded October 11, 2000 at the Avanto Festival in Helsinki, Finland) expands on the piece, adding real time effects and manipulation. More harsh and destructive than the original Bed Room piece. It seems Akita's move into the digital realm has opened new doors and endless possibilites for the King Of Noise. A very rare sparkling gem in the extremely vast oeuvre of Merzbow. Absolutely fucking gorgeous. Seriously.
RealAudio clip: "Hard Lovin' Man"

album cover MERZBOW Ikebana: Merzbow's Amlux Rebuilt, Reused and Recycled (Important) 2cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Although it says that this is not a remix record on the sticker, not sure what else you could call it. A bunch of folks incorporate bits of the Merzbow record Amlux into their original compositions. The sound is all over the place. From hip-hop instrumentals to crazy turntablism to glitched out big beats to all out noise to malfunctioning video game sounds to riot grrl-ish techno to droning soundscapes and beyond. Features: DJ Spooky, DJ/ Rupture, Plug, Alec Empire, Negativland, Hrvatski, Mouse On Mars, KK Null, Kim Cascone, Kim Hiorthoy, Nobukazu Takemura, E.A.R./Sonic Boom, Cornelius, Atom, Custom Drummer, Bola, Jack Dangers, Freiband and a bunch more. Two discs!

album cover MERZBOW Last of Analog Sessions (Important) 3cd 24.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
We were all ready to pan this. I mean, do we really need more Merzbow? More ear splitting, speaker wrecking Japanoise? And is Merzbow's "last analog sessions" really all that newsworthy even meriting a triple cd box? And is Merzbow's 23,000-and-counting album discography in need of a 3 disc boost? Well, not sure we can answer any of those questions (um...yes we can..NO). So while this IS more of that shrieking crunchy fuzzed out white noise that is Masami Akita's trademark, that you've heard on perhaps hundreds of records, these three discs are actually pretty darn good. Textured and thick, lots of pulsing rhythms, throbbing rumble, shrieking hiss and fuzzy non-melodies. Casutic and face melting indeed, but also surprisingly listenable! Don't take that to mean that if you don't like 'noise' that you'll like this, 'cause you probably won't. But if you do dig stuff like Masonna, Merzbow, and the like, or even if you're a fan of Total, Skullflower, and other noisy drone and just want to try something a little more extreme, then this would most certainly fit the bill. Comes in a nice, silver-embossed slipcase with the cds in individually printed sleeves, with a patch (although, it's a bit of shameless promotion with Important Records embroidered right there next to Merzbow).
MPEG Stream: "Monmon"

MERZBOW Live At Radio 100 (ERS) cd 17.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Meet DJ Merzbow! Yes, the famed Japanese noise-artist Masami Akita hops on the wheels of steel for this live Dutch radio broadcast. Wikky wikky woo. Which means that the turntables certainly come in for some abuse! Plus he deploys his usual noise electronics as well. Still, this is marginally more 'musical' than most Merzbow output, 'cause of the records being 'played'. Dedicated Japanese noise fans might recall the Flying Testicle project, that's what this reminds us of. Also featuring Merzbow members Bara (turntables, voice) and Reiko A. (theremin). Plus guest Radboud Mens on turntable as well. Comes in a handsome cardboard slipcover package. Limited to 500 copies.

album cover MERZBOW Merzbear (Important) cd 14.98
Cute title, harsh noise!

album cover MERZBOW Merzbeat (Important) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Ah, another Merzbow disc. I'm expecting a good hour's worth of sheer audio fuckery from the king of noise Masami Akita, a.k.a. Merzbow. But what's this? MerzBEAT? And... is that really a Kid606 plug on the cover sticker? Hmm. I'm sure I can't be blamed for having been a little worried about what this was going to sound like. Fortunately it's *really* good. There's all the typical Merzbow-isms here -- cascading sheets of sonic screeches, shimmering metallic flutters, gritty distortion -- but he's gone a little percussion-happy and anchored each track with just awesomely satisfying muscular drumming that sounds like he's pounding on trash cans and sheet metal. Unpredictable and yet, strangely, one of his most accessible releases due to the grounding nature of the drums, reminding us, naturally, of Akita's countryfolk, the Boredoms who too know the power of the drum. Those of y'all diggin' the angular noise core of hipper than jesus duos like Lightning Bolt, Pink & Brown, etc. oughta give this a try. Loose yet right on target aggression.
The hidden track, a remix by Jack Dangers of Meat Beat Manifesto, isn't quite so hidden since it appears right here in the track listing, but nonetheless it's the most punishing 8 minutes on the album. Oh, and it must also be mentioned that track one is a (totally unrecognizable, natch) cover of "Promotion Man," by obscure proto-metal hard rockers Highway Robbery. (Geez, that's like an Allan wet dream!)
RealAudio clip: "Promotion Man"
RealAudio clip: "Forgotten Land"
RealAudio clip: "Tadpole"

album cover MERZBOW Merzbird (Important) cd 14.98
As you may imagine, it's sometimes tough for us to keep up with all of Japanese noise master Merzbow's releases...in fact, we can't claim we do, although Jim did review the entire Merzbox once upon a time so that's something! Anyway, let's get to this one: what's billed as the follow-up to the much-liked Merzbeat, released by Important in 2002. As with that, this is about the beats...squelching, crunching, distorted beats, immersed in a howling vacuum-cleaner din! Probably only Kid606 would seriously consider this dance music, but as Merzbow albums go, I guess it is (there really are breakbeats on here). But we're pretty sure that if, say, the US Army got their hands on it, it'd be getting blasted at insurgents holed up in some mosque in Iraq. Repetitive, insistent, very dynamic stuff that fans of Wolf Eyes, Nautical Almanac and all that ilk will surely dig.
MPEG Stream: "Black Swan"
MPEG Stream: "Brown Pelican"

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