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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.


MINNY POPS Sparks In the Dark (LTM) cd 17.98

album cover MINOR THREAT At DC Space / Buff Hall / 9:30 Club (Dischord) dvd 18.98
92 minutes of live Minor Threat footage, from three shows (1980, 1982, and 1983 in DC and NJ), including a Q&A session with Ian filmed in '83. There's a sixteen page booklet in here as well. Haven't had a chance to watch this yet, but we imagine all true Minor Threat fans will want this. And punk fans of today (if you're reading this) could probably learn a thing or two from these kids... man do they look young in the pictures on the DVD case!

MINOR THREAT Complete Discography (Dischord) cd 13.98

album cover MINOR THREAT First Demo Tape (Dischord) cd ep 4.50
Elsewhere on the list you'll find a review of Sleep's Dopesmoker demo reissue. One track, 60+ minutes, and slooooow. Well this here Minor Threat demo re-issue is pretty much the exact opposite. Eight tracks in 9 minutes. And faaaaast. It would be even shorter if they took out the before song banter/studio talk. No new tracks, just demo versions of those amazing songs that started it all! 'Minor Threat', 'Stand Up', 'Seeing Red', 'Bottled Violence', 'Small Man, Big Mouth', 'Straight Edge', 'Guilty Of Being White', and 'I Don't Want To Hear It'. Also available on 7"...
MPEG Stream: "Seeing Red"
MPEG Stream: "I Don't Want To Hear It"

album cover MINOR THREAT Out Of Step (Dischord) lp 10.98
All time classic! Remastered and comes with a digital download.
MPEG Stream: "Betray"
MPEG Stream: "Out Of Step"

album cover MINOR THREAT s/t (Dischord) lp 10.98
All time classic! Remastered and comes with a digital download.
MPEG Stream: "Filler"
MPEG Stream: "Minor Threat"

album cover MINORU SATO (M/S, SASW) + ASUNA Texture In Glass Tubes And Reed Organ (Spekk) cd 17.98
Wow, so many cool little labels all over the world. Each with it's own strange little niche. None stranger than Japan's Spekk label, who we first discovered when they released a compilation of out of print demos by local outfit the Alps (featuring our very own Scott). In the process of getting Alps cds, we also discovered they had released a cd from Jefre Cantu of Tarentel, as well as an amazing compilation of Small Melodies, featuring a handful of AQ faves composing gorgeous lullaby like tunes. They were also responsible for an old out of print disc from AQ fave William Basinski.
So we were more than a little excited to get wind of a new batch of Spekk releases, especially when we heard about this one, Textures In Glass Tubes And Reed Organ, by Minoru Sato and ASUNA. The liner notes are a little too dense for us to truly understand what was going on when this music was created, but the vibe we got, was similar to that of another AQ fave, Toshiya Tsunoda, who records the sympathetic vibrations running through huge objects, bridges, pieces of metal, docks, handrails, wind...
For the first track, five harmonic states were recorded separately, using a chord organ to cause sympathetic vibrations in glass tubes, or something like that. Regardless, the result is a dense, subtly shimmering near static drone. Five tones, each layered upon the other, woven into a reverberating tapestry of sound, a glistening dreamlike blur, very Niblock like in it's swirl of subtle overtones, the various tones beating and pulsing almost imperceptibly, 38 minutes of pure glimmering sun dappled soft static bliss.
The second track, utilizes an entirely different method for producing the sound, still with chord organ and glass tubes, explained in detail in the liner notes, but still a little dense for us to truly understand the method, it almost doesn't matter, this track too is a gorgeous slab of slow shifting minimalism, a muted hum, streaked with various subtle tonal variations, again the multiple layers of sound pulsing and rippling, giving the track some sort of invisible propulsion, the sound of light traveling through water, shimmering, shifting, sparkling, but sort of suspended and frozen in time, moving but so slowly it appears to just be vibrating in place, and just like the first track, total bliss out minimalist mesmer.
Packaged in a cool, sleek oversized digipak style folder, with photos of the instruments and extensive liner notes on the creation of the music within.
MPEG Stream: ASUNA "Superposing Five Harmonic States"
MPEG Stream: MINORU SATO (M/S, SASW) "Weaving Seven Resonances; with Raw Stereo Material"

album cover MINOT An Era Of Institutional Failure (self-released) cd-r 11.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
First we've heard from these local math/post/kraut rockers since their The Ringing Silence Between Your Ears 7", which we LOVED, and even then we were already hankering for more, so here we finally have a new full length, five new songs, clocking in at more than 30 minutes, and all it takes is about a minute of the first track to remind us of why we love these guys so much. If this was 1995, these guys would be HUGE, and fuck it, even in 2013, these guys should be. Equal parts old school math/post/noise rock and more modern slow build heaviness a la Mogwai, Minot are masters of nuance, so tight and controlled, the sound intricate, rhythmically complex, heavy as fuck, and somehow, totally crazy catchy, a tough feat for sure when you're all instrumental, but after repeated listens, we find melodies and riffs stuck in our head like crazy. Progged out mathiness fused to moody jangle, all wound up into sprawling hypno-rock mesmer. The opener manages to be alternatingly dizzying and moody and melodic, while the second track dials the math back a bit (except for the drums which seem to be in constant motion) unwinding a fantastic sprawl of mesmerizing minimal post rock, the track already locked into a super dramatic slow build, atmospheric, majestic and epic, but these guys mix it up like crazy, the track constantly shifting into dense rhythmic tangles, stuttering start/stops, some seriously dense metallic mathiness, somehow all the while remaining utterly catchy.
The rest of the record follows suit, the band deftly weaving super intense soundscapes of chiming harmonics, busy drumming, angular guitars, thick super melodic basslines, even some electronics, the band nimbly flitting from dense brood to majestic metallic swirl and back again, loping post rock waltzes that morph into psych-prog jams, woozy droney dirges that lead directly into minimal mathy skitter, only to somehow get even mathier, but again, remaining kind of melodic and catchy. Rare is the band that can pull that off, and pull it off so consistently, but if you haven't figured it out by now, Minot is one of those rare bands. Totally recommended. Essential listening for fans of mathrock / postrock then AND now!
MPEG Stream: "Reiki"
MPEG Stream: "Redacted"

album cover MINOT The Ringing Silence Between Your Ears (The Mylene Sheath) 7" 6.98
First we've heard from these local math rockers, who KILL IT in a way few bands have since the heyday of this kinda stuff. These guys are obviously totally beholden to nineties style math rock, which we're totally fine with, as longtime readers of the aQ list know, we LOVE math / post / noise rock, and love all the old bands from back in the day, and actually, some of the guys in Minot may even have a pedigree that reaches that far back, regardless, this is so good, with a sound that manages to evoke that old sound we love, but still be super modern and not any sort of retro trip at all.
Instrumental, dense, melodic, intricate, driving and heavy, but super moody and textured, the A side manages to be catchy as fuck while delivering said catchiness in a barrage of constantly shifting arrangements and tempos, in fact in a way it sounds like slow build Godspeed style post rock all cranked up and tangled up, into something more dense and dizzying. We actually played the A side like 4 or 5 times before we even made it to side two. And as you might imagine, the B side kicks ass too, digging a bit deeper into the moody meandery side of math/post rockiness, but after a few second of rhythmic loping, the sound explodes into a dense drum heavy groove, driven by a super melodic bassline drifting over the roiling instrumental below, it begins to sound like strings at one point (probably a mellotron, which one of the guys plays in addition to bass!), and then the song splinters into a jagged start / stop breakdown before swooping right back into into it. The 'strings' surface again, and even though it's a wild wrangle of guitar and drums, the sound blurs into a brooding, dreaming epic that so much has us wanting to hear more!
Pressed on pretty clear blue vinyl, and includes a sticker. And they just so happen to be named after one of our favorite places on earth, Minot, North Dakota!!

MINOTAUR SHOCK Rinse (Melodic) cd 16.98

album cover MINOTT, SUGAR At Studio One (Soul Jazz) cd 21.00
Soul Jazz moves ever forward into the world of Studio One, no looking back now. Well, not exactly. Sugar Minott's tenure at Studio One represented a brand spanking new way of music production on the fertile Isle of Jamaica. As the '70s wound to a close big changes were on the rise in the music industry. Before the electronic studio would completely take over and all but eliminate the need for studio musicians, the phenomena of recycling rhythms -- which had been building momentum through the sucess of DJ culture -- came to a head... thanks to Studio One's enormous popularity. Using their house band The Revolutionaries, Ernest and Jo Jo Hookim of Channel One had begun re-recording popular Studio One rhythms with their own stable of vocalists penning new lyrics. Successful they were, but for Coxsone Dodd to trump them all he needed to do was just spin an old tape and let someone sing over it. The biggest cache of Jamaican classics resided in his vaults after all. Sugar Minott had already cut his teeth singing with a few other minor groups and it was while working at Studio One as a backup vocalist that he suggested that Coxsone allow him to sing over an old Studio One classic; one that he'd worked up new lyrics to and had been singing for years. Suffice it to say the experiment was a success and eventually resulted in an LP that is oft considered the first dancehall album. Minott opened the flood gates for old vocalists such as Freddie McGregor, Johnnie Osbourne and others. Sugar Minott At Studio One represents a best of collection from tracks he cut at the label between 1978 and 1982 before striking out on his own.
MPEG Stream: "Jahovia"
MPEG Stream: "Give Me Jah Jah"

album cover MINSK Out Of A Center Which Is Neither Dead Nor Alive (At A Loss) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Some magazine recently voted Minsk "Biggest Isis ripoff" in it's year end poll. Hardly fair we think. Good thing there's no black metal poll with a "Biggest Darkthrone ripoff" category, you'd need a whole magazine to list the results. Anyway, no, no, no, Minsk is their own glorious head caving soul crushing entity. Sure there are sonic similarities, this is definitely of the sludgy metallic post rock persuasion, and lord knows we can't get enough of that stuff. But Minsk are definitely a whole different beast, falling much closer to Neurosis or Buried At Sea (which featured at one point a current member of Minsk). Where Isis is tight and controlled, Minsk sound a lot crustier and sludgier. When you close your eyes and think of Isis, you probably picture mysterious figures standing before a vast body of water, or a huge expanse of starry sky, musically deconstructing the workings of the universe, but for some reason if you close your eyes and picture the guys in Minsk, all that comes to mind are huge furry yeti's, carrying spiked clubs, eight foot tall mountain men with beards down to their waists and greasy old baseball caps and unwahsed hair, blurry old tattoos, and big black shitckicker boots. Amps held together with bent rusty nails and scavenged duct tape, guitars covered in stickers and paint and dirt and branches and whatever else got in their way as they trudged from the cave to the stage. This is huge heavy harrowing shit. Massive riffs, roiling and churning, thick and viscous, the vocals are similar, a raging below, not quite a shriek or a howl, just an anguished, ultra pissed bellow, the drums are big and loud and way up in the mix, not ultra complex, but busy enough to keep the sludge in check. The other thing that Minsk has that sets them apart is not one but two synths, which gives the whole record a thick dense creepy creepy vibe, no silence EVER, always some sort of ominous sonic swirl, sometimes way in the background, sometimes whipped into a frenzy, a dense dark squall of rumbles and drones. Each track stretching out and chugging over and over, building and building like some heavy metal Steve Reich, before drifting off into some haunting almost Middle Eastern sounding stretch of clean guitar, sludgy synths and warm harmony vocals. The whole record is peppered with those sorts of strange stretches: spacy ambience, Hawkwindy psychedelic swirl, loping post rocky mesmer, blissy blurry shimmer. Each its own mysterious slow burn before the fucking walls come down in a suffocating sludgeslide of massive doomy droney riffing.
FUCK YEAH!
MPEG Stream: "Waging War On The Forevers"
MPEG Stream: "Narcotics And Dissecting Knives"

album cover MINSK The Ritual Fires Of Abandonment (Relapse) cd 12.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.

MPEG Stream: "Ember"
MPEG Stream: "White Wings"
MPEG Stream: "Mescaline Sunrise"

album cover MINTON, PHIL + AUDREY CHEN By The Stream (Sub Rosa) cd 16.98
Um, last list we had the Quintet recording on Sub Rosa featuring these two unusual, improvising vocalists backed by drums, bass, and double bass. We might have scared some of you away by saying that sometimes the singing sounded like "Muppety monsters with gastric disorders" but it was REALLY GREAT (and we still have a few, be brave). For the adventurous folks who agreed with us (and perhaps more folks whom we might now convince to take a chance), here's the other, simultaneously released Sub Rosa disc we mentioned in that earlier review, Minton and Chen as an acoustic vocal duo only, no instrumental accompaniment at all. So everything you hear here, believe it or not, comes out of their mouths. Once again, it's quite weird and reminiscent perhaps of the most extreme vocal experiments you might have heard from Mike Patton or Eye Yamatsuka, though they mostly never scream or shout, making all these weird noises without really raising their voices at all.
We listed the other one first 'cause we thought (perhaps foolishly) that it was the more accessible, but really this one too, once you get into it, is a fascinatingly varied, corporal soundscape that can be both atmospheric and ridiculous, all the more impressive considering the "limitations" of the sound sources - two human voices - which don't really sound all that limited here! Being human voices (or whatever you would call noises emitted from someone's mouth - these aren't regular speaking or singing voices by a long shot) the sounds here have an emotional resonance even at their most nonsensical, something you wouldn't always get as immediately with free instrumental improv (which makes us think: the way the late Hans Reichel's bowed wooden "daxophones" were so effective, was in how they mimicked the human voice - and it's the lung power blowing the breath of Brotzmann through his horn that truly speaks to us). Minton and Chen cut out the middleman (instrument) and do it themselves, with artistry and inspiration. Intriguing and (for us at least) entertaining too - c'mon, 50+ minutes of moanings and groanings, mutterings and croakings, babblings and raspberry-blowings can't not be kind of funny, eh!
MPEG Stream: "It's"
MPEG Stream: "Are"
MPEG Stream: "To Do"

album cover MINTON, PHIL + AUDREY CHEN + GUY SEGERS + PETER JACQUEMYN + TEUN VERBRUGGEN QUINTET Four Instruments Two Voices (Sub Rosa) cd 16.98
Some recommended, unusual improv here. We were quite surprised at what a pleasant and compelling listen this is, considering the definite weirdness and occasional wackiness of it, which comes mainly from the "Two Voices" referred to in the title. Those two voices - belonging to Phil Minton and Audrey Chen (who also have a duo-only all-voice disc out on Sub Rosa, released simultaneously with this, that we'll be listing soon too) - specialize in mostly nonverbal, nonsensical "singing" - not really what most folks would call singing, but freely improvised sound-making with lips, teeth, tongue, throat, lungs... And what they do is really taken to extremes here - quiet extremes as there's not really any screaming or shouting. Lots of moaning muttering mumbling whining wailing whispering whistling burbling babbling blubbering hissing and humming, however. Pretty much almost any noise you could imagine being able to make with your mouth and some others that you can't! And while without meaning linguistically, you can't say it's not meaningful on some other level, more primal and emotive.
Sometimes there's a silliness to it, Minton and Chen sounding like Muppety monsters with gastric disorders, but sometimes it can be downright disturbing, harrowing stuff like a chorus of damned souls; either way we're enjoying it and we think fans of, like, Mike Patton's various vocal experiments and a lot of the singing of Eye from the Boredoms would really dig this too. Obviously that also goes for anyone already into UK voice improv vet Phil Minton - or similar "sound poet" Jaap Blonk of Holland.
On the face of it what we've just described might seem to be outside of a lot of folks' usual musical comfort zone, but for those with open ears, we feel that this comes off as being intriguing and entrancing rather than in any way annoying, also in part perhaps because of the other elements on here, the "Four Instruments" portion of this quintet (as well as singing, Chen plays cello, Segers is on electric bass, Jacquemyn on double bass, and Verbruggen plays drums), which provide the perfect environment of gently improvised "chamber orchestra" music for these eccentric voices to inhabit. The instruments and voices really mesh well, the musicians laying down delicate drones, skittery percussion, scraping strings... all of which mimic or is mimicked at times by the human voices themselves, achieving an atmospheric synthesis, so you can't always tell what's voice and what's instrument, not to mention how many there are.
It's soothingly bass-heavy, as you might imagine from the instrumentation, and also as we said rather gentle and oddly pleasant, with quiet blissed-out stretches, despite its textural density and potential disturbance factor. Even when Minton, on the fourth track, gets into some rapid fire glossolalic mumbo-jumbo like an auctioneer with Tourette's, it's actually somewhat hypnotic (or amusing). By the way, he's the only person on here with whom were were previously familiar (and we haven't reviewed much by him, just a couple albums he's been on with folks like Bob Ostertag and Tom Cora), most of the other folks are presumably from the Belgian improv scene since this was recorded in Brussels and released on Sub Rosa.
Again, like we said, a bit of a surprise, but we've been listening to this A LOT, even when going to sleep at night. Strange dreams...
MPEG Stream: "One"
MPEG Stream: "Four "
MPEG Stream: "Five"

album cover MINUS Jesus Christ Bobby (Victory) cd 16.98
While this is noisy, chaotic metalcore (a la Converge, Coalesce, Botch, Cave In) on Victory, there -are- some twists: First of all, these guys are from far-off Iceland (and to prove it, they even got an ex-Sugarcube to sing on one song -- not Bjork though) and, also, they produced this with the help of Icelandic electronica artist Curver, who contributes some additional digital-glitch chaos to Minus' already-complex and fucked up songwriting. We read a quite negative review of this on some indie pop website, written by someone suckered in by the Sugarcubes connection and subsequently confused and horrified by the madness on offer here -- the reviewer claimed that it wasn't even music! Well, that person obviously isn't an Aquarius customer...and certainly hasn't heard much current metal/hardcore stuff! In actual fact (well, our opinion), this is pretty darn amazing!! Minus go beyond the aforementioned crushing noisecore and computer fuckery to incorporate some unexpected emo-pop hooks and non-screaming singing -- and there's even an acoustic guitar song with plaintive vocals halfway through the album! Also, we love the bonus backwards track at the end. Minus is yet another reason all of us here at Aquarius really want to take a vacation to Iceland! Recommended.
RealAudio clip: "Misdo"
RealAudio clip: "Pulse"

album cover MINUS 5 Down With Wilco: A Tragedy In Three Halfs (YepRoc) cd 15.98
Scott McCaughey is one of pop music's tireless commanders and criminally unsung heroes. Following over a decade with Seattle's legendary Young Fresh Fellows, he formed his music collective called Minus 5. Its ever-changing, but always stellar line-up includes Peter Buck of R.E.M. (with whom he's also toured extensively) as well as AQ faves The Posies' Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow. This time around, as the title of their fifth album states, there's a bunch of Wilco fellows along for the ride too. Not at all surprisingly, the songwriting's pretty darn superb and the chemistry is near-magical. The enthusiasm and sincerity they all convey is uplifting and infectious. Stylistically it's definitely out of step with virtually everything going on these days - truly much closer to the honest to goodness sixties and early seventies. The influences of the three B's (Beach Boys, Beatles, and Big Star) are readily apparent, but when have they ever not been for any of these individual artists? However, this by no means defines nor limits them. No sir! Much of the time it may seem like there's nothing fancy or elaborate goin' on, but that's the key to the Minus 5's pop mastery. Each of the thirteen songs is so finely composed, arranged and performed, it all seems absolutely effortless. Alright, enough gushing. Check it out for yourself.
RealAudio clip: "Retrieval Of You"
RealAudio clip: "Where Will You Go?"

album cover MINUS 5, THE At the Organ (Yep Roc) cd 10.98
Okay kids, check out this super duper group's stellar lineup... mainman Scott McCaughey, Jeff Tweedy, Glenn Kotche, John Stirratt, Leroy Bach, Peter Buck, Mike Jorgensen, Rebecca Gates, John Ramberg, Bill Rieflin, Ken Stringfellow, John "Spider" Moen, Jimmy Talent, and Tucker. If those names don't sound familiar , perhaps you might recognize the names of those musicians' fine bands such as Young Fresh Fellows, Wilco, Posies, Spinanes, Neko Case's backing band The Boy friends, Bottle Rockets, Ministry... ring a bell? Thought so! We've said it before and we'll surely say it again, Mr. McCaughey is a criminally unsung, mighty pop songwriting force all by his lonesome, not to mention one of the nicest guys around. His contemporaries know this well, which is undoubtedly why they clamber to be a part of his Minus 5 band. So it's not at all surprising that this seven song ep is a dandy! It build on the already solidly built sparklingly witty foundation of its full length predecessors from the last couple of years -- In Rock, I Don't Know Who I Am, and Down With Wilco: A Tragedy In Three Halfs. Consistently great pop music laced with plenty of nods to early psych, country, and yes of course, pop too!
MPEG Stream: "Hotel Senator"
MPEG Stream: "Film Of The Movie"

album cover MINUS 5, THE I Don't Know Who I Am (Return To Sender) cd 15.98
Around these parts, new music is always welcome from any of the individuals who've participated in this ever-evolving group -- mainman Scott McCaughey (formerly of the criminally unsung Young Fresh Fellows), REM's Peter Buck, Jon and Ken from AQ faves The Posies, Wilco, etc. When they assemble as The Minus 5 the gloriously trippy pop blossoms flourish again and again. It's much like a visit from an old friend... one who comes bearing gifts of song laced with the sweet melt of ice cream and the smooth burn of bourbon. Drawing from pages of pop's history books (particularly those of the Beatles, Beach Boys and Big Star), they skillfully succeed in being warmly familiar while seldom being redundant. Check out the mellow "Queen's Head". These fellows are truly kickass veteran songcraftsmen with well-oiled, wry senses of humor to boot, and on this their contribution to the German Return To Sender series they keep 'em coming. (limited pressing of 2000)
MPEG Stream: "There Is No Music"
MPEG Stream: "Queen's Head"

album cover MINUS 5, THE In Rock (Yep Roc) cd 14.98
Lead by Mr. Scott McCaughey the perpetually boyish-voiced king of Seattle pop (also longstanding multi-instrumentalist for REM, and formerly of the fabulous Young Fresh Fellows), The Minus 5 will lift any droopy spirits with their unmistakable trippy, bouyant hooks. This incarnation of the ever-evolving band lineup includes REM's Peter Buck, John Ramberg (of Model Rockets, and guitarist for Neko Case's backing band Her Boyfriends), Bill Rieflin (of Ministry, KMFDM, REM, and Swans to name just a few). The effervescent supporting cast features Chris Ballew (Presidents Of The United States Of America), Ben Gibbard (Death Cab For Cutie and Postal Service), John Wesley Harding and mad genius Kurt Bloch (Sgt. Major, Pure Joy, ex-Fastbacks, ex-Young Fresh Fellows). If these songs (or at least eight of them) seem familiar, well, it might be because you were one of 1000 who swapped a ten spot for one of the original pressing of In Rock (it was a hush-hush ten-song album released back in 2000 on Book Records) that they sold at their shows at the legendary Seattle venue Crocodile Cafe. They dropped two of the original songs and added four new ones for this edition. A delight!
MPEG Stream: "Dear My Inspiration"
MPEG Stream: "Courage Is The Smallest Bird"

album cover MINUS FIVE, THE s/t (Yep Roc) cd 16.98
This band should need no introduction, but like many of veteran Pacific Northwest pop maestro Scott McCaughey's innumerable musical wings, The Minus Five somehow still lingers in the criminally unsung box. Why, oh why??? Granted, it's not like he's one to trumpet his talents. He just goes about his business of making kickass music with (and for) other folks. An expert pop craftsman, he not only makes his own good music, but also plays a big part in making good music better (case in point, his participation in R.E.M.). But people, come on now, this is McCaughey's seventh Minus Five album! Time to get with the program!! His endearing, perpetually boyish vocals are in top form as are all of the participants' chops. While he'll occasionally delves into mildly gloomy or melancholic sentiments, it's never without a dab of his indelible wit which keep things on their trademark buoyant track. Stellar songwriting, stellar performances, and a stellar cast of beloved familiar faces including a bunch of Wilcos, a Posie, a Decemberist, an R.E.M., a Kelly Hogan, a John Wesley Harding, among many others. What more do you want or need?
MPEG Stream: "My Life As A Creep"
MPEG Stream: "Leftover Life "

album cover MINUS THE BEAR Highly Refined Pirates (Suicide Squeeze) cd 14.98
On their second album, Minus The Bear bestow upon our ears some refreshing waves of emotive, occasionally mathy, indie rock. Prety darn cool. Unfortunately there's a little something that blemishes full enjoyment this album though, and it's the choice of song titles -- lengthy wackiness that has little or nothing to do with the music and more to do with already tired, ironic self- and pop-culture references. Some examples? "Damn Bugs Whacked Him, Johnny", one of a few nods to the movie Starship Troopers, and "Get Me Naked 2: Electric Boogaloo". Zzzzz. They really should leave the lengthy song title absurdity to the true masters, San Diego's The Locust (check out their latest album for a fresh batch!). That said, fortunately the music more than overshadows these distractions. It's both engaging and interesting. The album includes two (tidied up?) radio edit versions for those with delicate ears.
MPEG Stream: "Thanks For The Killer Game Of Crisco Twister"
MPEG Stream: "Let's Play Guitar In A Five Guitar Band"

album cover MINUS THE BEAR They Make Beer Commercials Like This (Arena Rock ) cd 8.98
Okay, we've gotta get one thing out of the way right now... that has got to be one of the worst album titles of all time! Whew, now that that's out of the way...
This is the follow-up to Minus The Bear's Highly Refined Pirates album, a driving, rocking album we quite liked despite the occasional potholes that were their oft too-wacky-wacky irony-laden song titles. HRP was energetic mathy emo boy rock, and we were looking forward to more of the same from this new EP. However, instead it appears they've brought their sound closer to the dancey flavor du jour (The Rapture, Franz Ferdinand, etc) on a bunch of songs. Not necessarily a bad thing if you dig those bands and want more, but quite a surprising (and perhaps dubious) stylistic shift for this particular band.
MPEG Stream: "Fine + 2 Pts"
MPEG Stream: "Dog Park "

MINUTEMEN Double Nickels On The Dime (SST) cd 18.98

album cover MINUTEMEN We Jam Econo (Plexifilm) 2dvd 24.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
At the risk of getting a huge amount of grief, we have to be honest and admit we were never all that into the Minutemen. Sure we dug the concept. And the energy. And the politics. And they seemed like super cool guys. And of course they were down with all of our favorite bands of that time, Black Flag, Descendents, Husker Du, Minor Threat, Sonic Youth, the whole SST stable. But their sound, at least at the time, was just a little too funky. Watching this movie though, definitely gives us pause, and had us re-evaluating, and it's suddenly so obvious how much those guys owed to groups like P.I.L., the Pop Group and especially Wire, and now, how much they beat the current wave of new wave post punk revivalists to the punch by 20 years.
As a film, though, We Jam Econo is as much about the time and the scene as it is about the band. Amazing interviews with all our punk rock heroes all grown up, Henry Rollins, Ian MacKaye, Jack Brewer, Dez Cadena, Nels Cline, Kira Roessler, Lee Ranaldo, Raymond Pettibon, Mike Mills, Thurston Moore, David Markey, J Mascis, John Doe, Jello Biafra, Milo Aukerman, Joe Baiza, Chuck Dukowski, Flea, Grant Hart, Greg Norton, Curt Kirkwood, Colin Newman and loads more. But it's pretty much the Mike Watt show, as he drives around in his old beat up Econoline, pointing out all the punk rock historical landmarks that are now Petco's or condos, as he gives an insane rambling account of the Minutemen's convoluted and endlessly fascinating history. There's some amazing live footage and a cool interview with the whole band, and D. Boon does seem like the coolest nicest guy in the world. And the tragedy of his passing really hits home after living vicariously through those years via this film.
Not sure that we necessarily LOVE the Minutemen now, but we do dig them a bit more, and the movie was awesome, and there are for sure a few songs that stuck, and will have us hunting down some Minutemen discs for sure.
Includes tons of amazing footage, and lots of extras, including videos, a set of acoustic covers performed live, uncut interviews, deleted scenes and more. The second disc includes 62 songs from three live performances, at the Starwood in 1980, at the 9:30 club in 1984 and at the Acoustic Blowout in 1985. Also includes a massive booklet packed with photos, notes from the filmmaker, and liner notes from David Rees who does the killer comic Get Your War On!
NTSC. All Region.

album cover MIR s/t (Savage Land / Wallace / A Tree In A Field) cd 13.98
It's been well over a decade since our ears have been assaulted by a -new- recording from intense Swiss industrial-jazz juggernaut 16-17, though thankfully in recent years there's been a couple crucial reissues via the Savage Land label, including one, of 1994's Gyatso, that we made a Record Of The Week not too long ago, in 2008.
While 16-17 are long gone, now it's almost as if some of their extreme spirit has been reincarnated in the form of this new band, MIR, whose debut compact disc on Savage Land is in fact produced by 16-17 mastermind Alex Buess. MIR, it turns out, is the project of one-time 16-17 drummer Daniel Buess (who is apparently NOT related to Alex, oddly enough) in a trio with two others. Daniel is credited with drums, metal percussions, and electronics, while the other members of MIR play guitar, bass, organ, and synth, lots of synth. Heavily effected electronics and punishing percussive strikes are definitely the two key elements of MIR's all-instrumental "experimental rock music" sound. They traffic in droning noise, isolationist improv, sludge and skree filled soundscapery, and no wavish punk, MIR synthesizing something both avant garde and physically primal.
Among the seven tracks on this not-quite-half-hour album, the most 16-17 sounding one here is probably "Animal Instinct", with the swingin' jackboot precision of its big rhythmic boom-thwap, floor-scraping distorted bass, and dense layers of abstract electronic groan and drone (however there's no sax attack though, which is one way that MIR differs from 16-17). To mention a few other songs, there's also the skittery grooves of "Jimbo", the sinister shimmering drones of "Organ Donor", the uptempo energetic guitar throttling of "Hit", and the sudden attacks and echoed decay of the darkly atmospheric "Terminal Reverb", which sounds like it's part Starfuckers, part Spectre.
Also we could also compare MIR to a mix of Supersilent and Shit & Shine, perhaps... along with, of course, 16-17. Very cool, and best played LOUD, if you dare.
MPEG Stream: "Animal Instinct"
MPEG Stream: "No Parts Inside"
MPEG Stream: "Terminal Reverb"

album cover MIRACLES CLUB, THE A New Love (Mexican Summer) lp 24.00

album cover MIRAG Black Temple Carved In Smoke (Battlecruiser / Celebrate Psi Phenomenon) cd 10.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
We couldn't keep these in stock way back when these were just little ol' cd-r's, they've been out of print for a while, but have now been repressed and gussied up a bit. It's a REAL cd instead of a cd-r, and the packaging is super swank, metallic silver ink on thick black sleeves. Take a deep breath and dunk your head in this burning pit of black fire...
Another bleak and black slab of experimental drone in metal's clothing, and as always totally fucking great. From Campbell Kneale's (Birchville Cat Motel, Black Boned Angel) experiMETAL Battlecruiser label comes the mysterious Mirag (whom it is suspected might in fact be Matthew Bower of Skullflower, Sunroof!, Total, etc.), whose wash of fuzzed out guitar grrrrrr is as swoonsome as it is brutal, a warm woozy swell of icepicks to the ear, as soothing and hypnotic and droning as it is fierce and furiously fuzzy. Huge churning swaths of mega-distorted guitars, moaning and grinding, rumbling and squealing, wrapped in all shades of grey and black, a desolate industrial fog, whose harsh and oppressive vibe is reminiscent of late eighties, early nineties NYC knuckle dragging thud and pound: Swans, Cop Shoot Cop, Unsane. But the sound itself has more in common with Total and Burning Star Core and Hototogisu and that sort of warm soft noise, huge walls of slow shifting vacuum cleaner guitar, thick and pulsing, nearly static, with occasional flares of melted melodies that are swallowed up almost as soon as they appear.
MPEG Stream: "One"
MPEG Stream: "Two"

album cover MIRAG Black Temple Carved In Smoke (Battlecruiser / Celebrate Psi Phenomenon) cd-r 11.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Another bleak and black slab of experimental drone in metal's clothing, and as always totally fucking great. From Campbell Kneale's (Birchville Cat Motel, Black Boned Angel) experiMETAL Battlecrusier label comes the mysterious Mirag (whom it is suspected might in fact be Matthew Bower of Skullflower, Sunroof!, Total, etc.), whose wash of fuzzed out guitar grrrrrr is as swoonsome as it is brutal, a warm woozy swell of icepicks to the ear, as soothing and hypnotic and droning as it is fierce and furiously fuzzy. Huge churning swaths of mega-distorted guitars, moaning and grinding, rumbling and squealing, wrapped in all shades of grey and black, a desolate industrial fog, whose harsh and oppressive vibe is reminiscent of late eighties, early nineties NYC knuckle dragging thud and pound: Swans, Cop Shoot Cop, Unsane. But the sound itself has more in common with Total and Burning Star Core and Hototogisu and that sort of warm soft noise, huge walls of slow shifting vaccum cleaner guitar, thick and pulsing, nearly static, with occasional flares of melted melodies that are swallowed up almost as soon as they appear.
SUPER LIMITED AS ALWAYS!! NOT SURE WE'LL BE ABLE TO GET MORE WHEN THESE ARE GONE!
MPEG Stream: "One"
MPEG Stream: "Two"

album cover MIRAH (A)spera (K) cd 14.98
Yeay! This record is most definitely Mirah's best release since her brilliant sophomore outing Advisory Committee. While some artists would be better off by employing a less is more philosophy, when it comes to Mirah we think she shines brightest when it's more more more. More lush arrangements, more movements within a song, more experimentation with instrumentation and electronics. Of course she does sound just fine all spare and stripped down, but it's when she gets ambitious and shoots for the stars that her real magic takes form. And with (A)spera that magic is glowing brightly. The opening track "Generosity" might be her most pleasing single since the infectious "Cold Cold Water" and the entire album has a sureness of vision that resonates from start to finish. While we could see this being the kind of record that wins her a new set of fans, it should still very much please those who fell in love with Mirah way back when. Taking inspiration from folkies, twee popsters and indie rock, as well as wide-eyed dreamers (imagine Lois merging musical minds with Bjork and Lisa Germano) Mirah has carved out a sound that is truly her own!
MPEG Stream: "Generosity"
MPEG Stream: "Shells"

album cover MIRAH (A)spera (K) lp 17.98
Yeay! This record is most definitely Mirah's best release since her brilliant sophomore outing Advisory Committee. While some artists would be better off by employing a less is more philosophy, when it comes to Mirah we think she shines brightest when it's more more more. More lush arrangements, more movements within a song, more experimentation with instrumentation and electronics. Of course she does sound just fine all spare and stripped down, but it's when she gets ambitious and shoots for the stars that her real magic takes form. And with (A)spera that magic is glowing brightly. The opening track "Generosity" might be her most pleasing single since the infectious "Cold Cold Water" and the entire album has a sureness of vision that resonates from start to finish. While we could see this being the kind of record that wins her a new set of fans, it should still very much please those who fell in love with Mirah way back when. Taking inspiration from folkies, twee popsters and indie rock, as well as wide-eyed dreamers (imagine Lois merging musical minds with Bjork and Lisa Germano) Mirah has carved out a sound that is truly her own!
MPEG Stream: "Generosity"
MPEG Stream: "Shells"

album cover MIRAH Advisory Committee (K) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
An ambitious sophomore album from Ms Mirah. Thirteen songs that expand on the recent "Cold Cold Water" ep and follow her impressive debut "You Think It's Like This But Really It's Like This". At times lonely and sorrowful, at others uplifting and empowering, the music has a predominantly old west, folkish feel, but is definitely not country, often it's much more of an indie Morricone sound. Not to be kept pinned down, Mirah follows her muse wherever it may lead her - traversing much musical ground, be it chamber music or a cabaret-ish mode or music box melodies or pulsing casio programmed beats or straight-up indie pop. Building and bounding slowly like a tumbleweed, kicking up a small cloud of dust each time it brushes the earth. And you'll find you too are swept up into her world - her songwriting and performance capturing a sense of both immediacy and intimacy. Her voice slipping effortlessly from shy, frail whisper to mournful wail, sort of like Helium before Mary Timony was whisked away to the land of wizards and castles. Once again she's joined by fellow indie pop adventurer The Microphones' Phil Elvrum. Very recommended.
RealAudio clip: "Cold Cold Water"
RealAudio clip: "The Garden"

MIRAH Advisory Committee (K) lp 10.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
An ambitious sophomore album from Ms Mirah. Thirteen songs that expand on the recent "Cold Cold Water" ep and follow her impressive debut "You Think It's Like This But Really It's Like This". At times lonely and sorrowful, at others uplifting and empowering, the music has a predominantly old west, folkish feel, but is definitely not country, often it's much more of an indie Morricone sound. Not to be kept pinned down, Mirah follows her muse wherever it may lead her - traversing much musical ground, be it chamber music or a cabaret-ish mode or music box melodies or pulsing casio programmed beats or straight-up indie pop. Building and bounding slowly like a tumbleweed, kicking up a small cloud of dust each time it brushes the earth. And you'll find you too are swept up into her world - her songwriting and performance capturing a sense of both immediacy and intimacy. Her voice slipping effortlessly from shy, frail whisper to mournful wail, sort of like Helium before Mary Timony was whisked away to the land of wizards and castles. Once again she's joined by fellow indie pop adventurer The Microphones' Phil Elvrum. Very recommended.
RealAudio clip: "Cold Cold Water"
RealAudio clip: "The Garden"

album cover MIRAH C'mon Miracle (K) cd 14.98
Ahoy kids! We've got a Mirah double whammy! It's mighty clear she's been keeping herself knee-deep in music with not only this solo album but also her collaborative efforts with her Black Mountain Project partner Ginger Brooks Takahashi and the Black Cat Orchestra on the Yoyo Records album called To All We Stretch The Open Arm (to be reviewed next time).
On each of her releases, Mirah has consistently (and seemingly effortlessly) crafted wonderful earthy storytellin' pop songs. Yet, on this brand new album she seems even more confident. Her songs are more composed and less ramshackle folksy -- branching out stylistically and expressively with a little more sass in her singing too. There's some absolute homespun beauties here. For instance, the second to last song "Promise" is a spartan, deeply moving piano and voice number. Imaginative indie pop of another time, this would probably sound amazing and not at all out of place coming out all of an old Victrola. Lilting and lovely!
MPEG Stream: "Promise"
MPEG Stream: "(Exactly Where Were From)"

MIRAH Cold Cold Water (K) cd 10.98
Mirah's contribution to K Records' long-running International Pop Underground Series is a glimpse at what would become a grand cowboy folk-inflected affair... her second full length just-released album "Advisory Committee". It contains twelve tracks in all, four of them actual songs including two versions of the album's lead-off track "Cold Cold Water", two other alternate versions of album songs plus eight additional "excerpts". She writes in cursive, moving tales of tragedy and heartbreak. One part Bjork's swooping, soaring vocals, one part Mary Timony's white knights and chariots (well, in Mirah's case, let's make 'em bandits and covered wagons), one part Juliana Hatfield/Frente/That Dog childlike voice. Mash all this together and you'll get something close to Mirah, but she's definitely walking her own dusty trail. With Phil Elvrum of the Microphones. Recorded by Calvin Johnson.
RealAudio clip: "Make It Hot"

MIRAH Cold Cold Water (K) 7" 4.50
Mirah's contribution to K Records' long-running International Pop Underground Series is a glimpse at what would become a grand cowboy folk-inflected affair... her second full length just-released album "Advisory Committee". She writes in cursive, moving tales of tragedy and heartbreak. One part Bjork's swooping, soaring vocals, one part Mary Timony's white knights and chariots (well, in Mirah's case, let's make 'em bandits and covered wagons), one part Juliana Hatfield/Frente/That Dog childlike voice. Mash all this together and you'll get something close to Mirah, but she's definitely walking her own dusty trail. With Phil Elvrum of the Microphones. Recorded by Calvin Johnson.
RealAudio clip: "Make It Hot"

album cover MIRAH Don't / The Tears That Fall (Mississippi) 7" 8.98
**MISSISSIPPI RECORDS ALERT** **MISSISSIPPI RECORDS ALERT** **MISSISSIPPI RECORDS ALERT**
Taking a break from obscure reissues, lost world music artifacts, and unearthed country and folk and blues treasures, Mississippi looks to long time aQ fave Mirah for a brief two song blast of fuzzy, horn flecked reverby sixties girl group sounds. Yep, not what we usually expect from Mirah, but we're loving it. The first clue is the cover photo, which features Mirah in fishnets and knee high boots on an old motorcycle in a grafitti'd alley, and once inside, that's exactly what it sounds like, warm washed out old school 'Leader Of The Pack' style jangle and croon, shuffling rhythms, loads of delay and reverb, soulful horns, plenty of back ground "oooooh's and 'aaaaah's, total Lesley Gore, Supremes worship.
The flipside is another soulful groover, this one more sultry, a woozy sexy after hours sixties soul ballad, Mirah's voice lush and smoky, the horns warm and languid, all wrapped around an irresistible main melody, at once total old school, but somehow re-envisioned as a modern bit of retro garage groove, so good.

album cover MIRAH Joyride Mixes (K Records) cd 14.98
Remix albums are always a big risk. Especially with Non electronic artists. Often the results can be more of a mess than anything else. We were kind of curious, cautiously so, to see how the gentle yet powerful voice and music of Mirah would fare in remixed form. Luckily the results are actually really nice. Joyride Mixes features delicate handlings of Mirah's well crafted songs by folks like Tender Forever, Microphones, Yacht, Anna Oxygen, Guy Sigsworth as well as a bunch of less familiar names. Which is actually one of the reasons this comp is so cool, instead of calling on the usual big name remixers things were kept a little intimate with friends who would more likely be familiar with the essence of her music. If you ever imagined what it might sound like if Mirah did a one-off on Morr Music with Lali Puna at her side this comes pretty close. For folks who have never encountered Mirah in the past, but hold records like Bjork's Vespertine and Feist's Let It Die in high regard, it might be wise to jump on this joyride, and longtime Mirah fans will also be aboard, windows down, heads out the window, soaking up more of Mirah's adventurous adventure sounds!
MPEG Stream: "Apples In The Trees (Pash Remix)"
MPEG Stream: "Jerusalem (Yacht Remix)"
MPEG Stream: "Don't Die In Me (Mt. Eerie Remix)"
MPEG Stream: "We're Both So Sorry (Screamclub Remix)"

album cover MIRAH The Old Days Of Feeling (Modern Radio Record Label) cd 11.98
While folks like Teegan & Sara and Feist have used a similar yet much more slick aesthetic to achieve big success and relative fame, our hearts will always be with Mirah when it comes to interesting, introspective and bittersweet indie pop/folk. The Old Days Of Feeling compiles lots of hard to find tracks from cassettes, 7"s and other releases as well as a handful of unreleased tracks. Kimya Dawson might have been the lucky one to get the call from Juno filmmakers and become the latest former underground lo-fi rocker to hit the bigtime, but it could have just as easily been Mirah getting that call as her songs are just as honest, endearing, and heart wrenching. With lots of these songs recorded on 4-track with bare bones production it's a great reminder of how strong the core of Mirah's songwriting really is and how her charisma shines whether with an orchestra by her side or alone in her bedroom.
MPEG Stream: "The Place"
MPEG Stream: "Heat Gets Hotter"
MPEG Stream: "Get It?"

MIRAH You Think It's Like This But Really It's Like This (K) cd 14.98
Super sweet pop from the Pacific Northwest, just like you'd expect from K Records. The female singer with the crystal clear voice sounds just like the Nina Persson of the Cardigans. Very pretty!

album cover MIRAH & GINGER Songs From the Black Mountain Project (K) cd 14.98
This album compiles the bountiful fruits of Mirah Yom Tov Zeitlyn and Ginger Brooks Takahashi's month-long musical stay at a friend's grandmother's home in the small town of Black Mountain, NC. If you enjoyed Mirah's last album, the adventurous indie epic Advisory Commitee, you'll surely take a shine to this home-spun delight. The plucking of a ukelele echoes the plink plonk of raindrops in a washtub. The scrape of a bow across a cello's strings chirps like a cricket's evening song. And the area's natural ambience found its way onto the recordings too - the welcome sound of cicadas and birds crept in around Mirah, Ginger and their friends' keyboards, drums, guitars and voices. Ah, the voices! They ring so strong and clear even when the women are singing ever so softly. As with most everything Ms Mirah lends her hand to, this is a glorious and empowering project. Proceeds from this album are going to The Pentridge Children's Garden (a community garden for children in Philadelphia cared for by volunteers) and the Rock'n'Roll Camp For Girls (it's exactly that! ... a music and art day camp in Portland, OR for girls age 8-18).
MPEG Stream: "Rock Of Ages"
MPEG Stream: "Oh! September"

album cover MIRAH & SPECTRATONE Share This Place (K) lp 13.98
Now on LP... Oh how we love Mirah and her dreamy acoustic indie pop! Her recordings are always such a joy -- imbued with a comforting warmth, the feeling of a close knit yet welcoming indie pop community. On Share This Place, Mirah's unmistakable ageless voice has never sounded sweeter as she harmonizes angelically with herself. She clearly works well on her own as well as in collaboration with others. You might recall the recordings that she's done with other likeminded indie folksies such as Ginger and The Black Cat Orchestra. This time she is joined by Spectratone International who are actually a new incarnation of The Black Cat Orchestra. These lovely insect-themed recordings were originally intended to be accompaniment for a collection of filmmaker Britta Johnson's animated works. We can't comment on the films 'cause we haven't had a chance to see them yet, but we can definitely recommend the music! Hushed and gently winding.
MPEG Stream: "Following The Sun"
MPEG Stream: "Love Song Of The Fly"

album cover MIRAH AND SPECTRATONE INTERNATIONAL Share This Place (K) cd 14.98
Oh how we love Mirah and her dreamy acoustic indie pop! Her recordings are always such a joy -- imbued with a comforting warmth, the feeling of a close knit yet welcoming indie pop community. On Share This Place, Mirah's unmistakable ageless voice has never sounded sweeter as she harmonizes angelically with herself. She clearly works well on her own as well as in collaboration with others. You might recall the recordings that she's done with other likeminded indie folksies such as Ginger and The Black Cat Orchestra. This time she is joined by Spectratone International who are actually a new incarnation of The Black Cat Orchestra. These lovely insect-themed recordings were originally intended to be accompaniment for a collection of filmmaker Britta Johnson's animated works. We can't comment on the films 'cause we haven't had a chance to see them yet, but we can definitely recommend the music! Hushed and gently winding.
MPEG Stream: "Following The Sun"
MPEG Stream: "Love Song Of The Fly"

album cover MIRAH WITH THE BLACK CAT ORCHESTRA To All We Stretch The Open Arm (Yoyo) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Ahoy kids! We've got a Mirah double whammy! It's mighty clear she's been keeping herself knee-deep in music with not only this her collaborative albums with her Black Mountain Project partner Ginger Brooks Takahashi and here with the Black Cat Orchestra, but also her C'mon Miracle solo album (reviewed last list). This woman eats, sleeps, dreams and breathes music.
To All We Stretch The Open Arm is a particularly potent and moving collaboration in that as the folks at YoYo Records describe it "(the songs) were chosen, arranged, and performed... because these times call for such songs. These songs come from places and decades that have seen dissent, passion, and revolution... Simply, this is an album of what would have once been called protest songs."
It wonderfully displays her broad scope of style and delivery. Dramatic and dynamic yet very sensitive and down to earth, Mirah flits and flirts with haunting folk, jaunty old style musicals, and slinky cabaret -- singing in Spanish, Italian and English. For those familiar with her last few of releases, it's no surprise that she does so with ample impressive flair. Seattle's Black Cat Orchestra keep perfect step right along with her for the length of this album. This collection features their versions of songs originally by such artists as Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, and Kurt Weill, as well as her own song "Monument" from her fine last album Advisory Committee. When asked for a Mirah cd preference, we'd definitely lean more towards her most recent three (Advisory Committee, C'mon Miracle and this one), but we'd be hard-pressed to choose just one 'cause they're each quite special unto themselves. Nonetheless, recommended!"
MPEG Stream: "The Light"
MPEG Stream: "Bella Ciao"

album cover MIRI Okkar (Kimi) cd 16.98
Surveys show that, like, 25 percent of Icelanders believe in elves. And we're pretty sure the other 75 percent fervently believe in post-rock. Actually, there's probably a lot of overlap there... Here's the first album from Miri, "four guys from the remote east fjords of Iceland" who play a mostly instrumental form of indie pop post-rock, with a knack for pretty melodies amidst their moody mathiness. What we weren't expecting - and what immediately grabbed us - was how the very first track is chock full of dubby attacks, everything suddenly all awesomely echo-effected out. Love that!!
Other interesting production twists exist throughout the album, courtesy of Icelandic electronica artist Curver, who similarly also added a lot of cool glitch to a disc we liked long long ago by metalcore act Minus. And in addition to the electronic studio trickery of Curver, this is graced by guest musicians, among 'em members of Mum and Benni Hemm Hemm, who expand the group's instrumentation to include harmonica, vibraphone, flute, and marimba. Also, we noticed Brooklyn's Scotty Hard (of WordSound fame) namechecked in the credits, we don't know what he had to do with this exactly (since we're not fluent in Icelandic) but were were surprised to see him there, or maybe not, what with that aforementioned dubbiness!!
Sometimes noisy yet sunshiney, mildly mathy yet melodic, often calming but also rhythmically compelling (do Icelandic elves dance to stuff like this?), Miri's Okkar is definitely a contender for post-rock record of the month. Heck, let's declare it post-rock album of the winter (it's not even winter yet, but they're from Iceland so it's appropriate... plus this will keep us warm then, with its bright, mesmeric grooves).
MPEG Stream: "Goda Konan"
MPEG Stream: "Draugar"
MPEG Stream: "Drekar"

MIRKWOOD s/t (Machu Picchu) lp 22.00

MIRRA, HELEN Field Geometry (Explain) cd 13.98
For those who remember the Suck.com parody of the descriptions found on Aquarius Records' tags, Suck.com had rewritten our description of a Helen Mirra 10" to read "Lush, enigmatic, forgiving, like a less neurotic Cat Power." Actually that description aptly pegged that Helen Mirra record (which we didn't really like all that much) way better than we did originally. However, it doesn't really apply to Mirra's first CD "Field Geometry" - which is a minimalist Americana meditation sounding a lot like a super slowed down John Fahey backed by the constant rustle of a seamstress weaving. Spartanly beautiful and mysteriously evolving. Completely recommended.

MIRROR Cassia Fistula (Idea) 7" 6.50
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Both Andrew Chalk and Christoph Heemann of the the drone-improv outfit Mirror had been commissioned to remix elements from Brandon Walls' "Cassia Fistula" album. In spite of the fact that the source album was a dud, this limited edition 7" is quite good, with delicate feedback modulations and thick drones culled from analogue synthesis, ending up a bit more electronic than any of the Mirror albums. The packaging -- just a generic 7" sleeve -- leaves much to be desired though.

album cover MIRROR Die Spiegelmanufaktur (Die Stadt) cd 24.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Previously released as a super limited edition picture disc, "Die Spiegelmanufaktur" has now been re-issued on CD!
This installment from the prolific Mirror catalogue finds Mirror's core protagonists Andrew Chalk and Christoph Heeman working with avant-rock darling Jim O'Rourke, who has kept himself busy by joining Sonic Youth. His presence will certainly bring this understated drone project to a bigger audience, and hopefully more attention to the reclusive, yet brilliant Chalk, whose solo work as well as his work with Organum, Ora, and Jonathan Coleclough remain all-time favorites here at Aquarius. The recordings found here were culled from a Mirror performance at the Lagerhaus in Bremen, Germany just a few months back in April 2002. The instrumentation appears to be organ, drone guitar, bowed metal, and some unidentified resonant clatter hovering at the event horizon much like the miniature sounds that Keith Rowe has produced for the recent AMM recordings. Through the glassine drone tricks that Chalk and Heeman have perfected in previous Mirror recordings, all of these sounds seamlessly meld into a tranquil piece of evocative ambience. Sporadically, a tremolo flutter emerges, probably indicative of some laptop trickery from O'Rourke. Do not fear, O'Rourke has left his Max / MSP patches turned off and thoughtfully ensured that his contribution was complementary to the Mirror sound. "Die Spiegelmanufaktur" is the least ominous Mirror recording, conjuring images of the colorful spectacle of calm sunrises, but fortunately, Mirror veer far from the artistic suicide of New Age drivel. This is another beautiful recording by Mirror.
MPEG Stream: "Die Spiegelmanufaktur 1"
MPEG Stream: "Die Spiegelmanufaktur 3"

MIRROR Die Spiegelmanufaktur (Die Stadt) lp 24.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
This installment from the prolific Mirror catalogue finds Mirror's core protagonists Andrew Chalk and Christoph Heeman working with the avant-rock darling Jim O'Rourke, who has kept himself busy by joining Sonic Youth. His presence will certainly bring this understated drone project to a bigger audience, and hopefully more attention to the reclusive, yet brilliant Chalk, whose solo work as well as his work with Organum, Ora, and Jonathan Coleclough remain all-time favorites here at Aquarius. The recordings found here were culled from a Mirror performance at the Lagerhaus in Bremen, Germany just a few months back in April 2002. The instrumentation appears to be organ, drone guitar, bowed metal, and some unidentified resonant clatter hovering at the event horizon much like the miniature sounds that Keith Rowe has produced for the recent AMM recordings. Through the glassine drone tricks that Chalk and Heeman have perfected in previous Mirror recordings, all of these sounds seamlessly meld into a tranquil piece of evocative ambience. Sporadically, a tremolo flutter emerges, probably indicative of some laptop trickery from O'Rourke. Do not fear, O'Rourke has left his Max / MSP patches turned off and thoughtfully ensured that his contribution was complementary to the Mirror sound. "Die Spiegelmanufaktur" is the least ominous Mirror recording, conjuring images of the colorful spectacle of calm sunrises, but fortunately, Mirror veer far from the artistic suicide of New Age drivel. This is another beautiful recording by Mirror.
While in a few months a slightly different mix of this performance will be published on CD, "Die Spiegelmanufaktur" is now available as a picture disc feature Chalk's artwork and is strictly limited to 400 copies!
RealAudio clip: "Die Spiegelmanufaktur (excerpt 1)"
RealAudio clip: "Die Spiegelmanufaktur (excerpt 2)"

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