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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 MAGYAR POSSE Random Avenger (Verdura) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
FINNISH INSTRUMENTAL CINEMATIC EPIC PROGROCK ALERT!!!
Okay, now that we've got your attention. When Andee was in Finland a few years back, Jussi from Circle took him to a tiny club to see a friend's band play, and the band totally destroyed, they were so epic, so massive, it was like seeing Godspeed! You Black Emperor play in a broom closet. Huge glowing swells of sound, totally memorable melodies, gorgeous arrangements, all swirled into majestic sweeping soaring emotional epics. Even back then, before the band even had a record out. Not soon after, they did in fact release a record, and we were immediately in love. The band was Magyar Posse, and that first record totally captured the majestic might of the band, while at the same time adding all sorts of sonic subtleties and even more dense layers of sound. A second record followed and somehow the band managed to sound even bigger and better. We had been hearing about a brand new record for a while, and were thrilled when a big box showed up a few days ago from Finland and inside was Random Avenger, the newest release from Magyar Posse. We were almost ready to be disappointed considering how much we dug those other records, or at least preparing ourselves to just be happy for more of the same, but if anything, the band have expanded their sound even further, coming up with epic soundscapes even more intense and epic and emotional than before.
This record, even more than the others, sounds like it just has to be a real soundtrack. Pop music is not meant to be so dense and rife with emotion, painting pictures with wordless music as vibrant as if there were in fact lyrics telling a story. The sound is very prog, intensely cinematic and while it is dark and dreamy it can also be strangely playful. Some moments, we're transported to some lost Bond film, others we find ourselves in some dusty Leone Western, while still others we're lost on some moonlit street running for our lives in a mysterious Italian giallo. The first track, "Whirlpool Of Terror And Tension" is a lush and dense, multilayered world of sound, with a strange sort of Bolero staccato rhythm, with strange scrabbly guitars, abstract sixties style female vocals, minor key guitar twangs, chimes and bells, keening guitars feedback, and simple propulsive drumming. The main riff is very Morricone, but is backed up by a thick wash of soaring strings and gorgeous glockenspiel, it's almost impossible not to close your eyes and see a cool sixties Mondrian style credit sequence for some Danger Diabolik style caper movie. That vibe definitely permeates the whole record, but each track definitely has it's own feel and distinct emotion. A handful of the tracks take Magyar's progressive post-rock into definite Goblin / Zombi territory with minor key strings, relentless rhythms, pulsing drums and new wave synths locked into angular krautrock grooves, while spacey sound effects swoop and swirl, strings soar and sing, and again we're just transported to whole new worlds, but worlds with totally kick ass soundtracks!
This is definitely still post-rock, and thus will appeal to fans of Tortoise and Godspeed and Cerberus Shoal and Cyann & Ben and Explosions In The Sky and the like but Magyar Posse have something totally their own going on. A unique sonic vision, an alternate musical universe, where a pair of headphones and a walkman transform you into a super spy or a wily seductress or a hired killer, and turns your boring neighborhood into 1960's Paris, or a dusty ghost town or a secret base in the Arctic. This is music as dense and as rich and as much of an escape as any book or any film could ever be, and music that can have such an incredible effect on the listener, is way too rare. And so very precious.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!
MPEG Stream: "Whirlpool Of Terror And Tension"
MPEG Stream: "Sudden Death"
MPEG Stream: "Popzag"

album cover MAGYAR POSSE We Will Carry You Over The Mountains (Verdura) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
At long, long last the first two albums by this big AQ fave are back in stock!! Good timing too 'cause there's a brand new album called Random Avenger peeking up over the horizon! Here's what we said when we first discovered Magyar Posse's debut some years ago:
We've really been enjoying this find from Finland: Magyar Posse have put together a really great set of sweeping, emotive post-rock instrumentals highly reminiscent of the excellent, out of print "La Planete Sauvage" (aka Fantastic Planet) soundtrack, believe it or not. Orchestral embellishments introduce the icy sounds of reverb-laden guitar and trembling electric organ. Suave drums and spooky glockenspiel melodies mix with manifestations of krautrock in the funky basslines and oscillating, Moog-y synth sounds. Occasionally, plaintive vocals are subtly placed low in the mix, buried in layers of echo. And is that the haunting voice of a musical saw I hear? Why yes, it is! The whole thing builds into climactic crescendos a la Godspeed You Black Emperor. Truly splendid! Andee actually saw this band play when he was visiting over in Finland not long ago -- they hail from Pori, also the hometown of AQ-faves Circle, and we think any Circle fans ought to like the Posse. It's really majestic, beautiful stuff, and more original and a lot less wimpy than the general run of post-rock that they might get lumped in with. Recommended.
MPEG Stream: "Witchcraft"
MPEG Stream: "Sleepwalker"

album cover MAHALINGAM, T.R. Mali: Essential Recordings Of Carnatic Bamboo Flute, 1969-70 (EM Records) 2cd 28.00
First of all, love that cover! Rainbow-hued multiples of bespectacled Indian flute player T.R. "Mali" Mahalingham, two of whom's crucial albums, from 1969 and 1970, respectively, are collected here on this double cd (or double vinyl) release, brought to us by, it's no surprise, the always interesting and unusual Japanese reissue label EM, who were most recently responsible for Bharat Karki & Party's International Music, another amazing, obscure '70s Indian artifact. While that record was a wild explosion of exotic, psychedelic funk, this one is on a whole different level - spiritual, calm, acoustic, lovely, but yes also exotic, from an innovative virtuoso of the humble bamboo flute. Across these two discs, "Mali", steeped in Carnatic music tradition, utilizing his own special "parrot clutch" fingering, weaves mesmerizing, fluttering ragas and folk melodies, accompanied by gentle hand percussion and happily droning strings. It's very "Indian-sounding", perhaps not like most flute you've heard, and also as we said, very spiritual. He would sometimes (he claimed) see GOD when he played... and if that happened, he'd stop, concert over, 'cause why go on at that point? We're also told that he could communicate with birds via his flute playing. Seems possible. Although we'll confess we'd never heard of Mahalingham before (have you?), and that's why we love labels like EM, apparently he was legendary in India, and influenced important Western fans like composers Terry Riley, La Monte Young, and Oliver Messiaen.
We're becoming addicted to this, it gets played in the store several times a day by different staffers, and makes us all feel good.
As with all EM releases, the packaging is lovely, though the deluxe crazy limited vinyl version IS quite expensive.
MPEG Stream: "Ragamalika"
MPEG Stream: "Raga: Shankarabharanam (Thala: Adi)"

album cover MAHALINGAM, T.R. Mali: Essential Recordings Of Carnatic Bamboo Flute, 1969-70 (EM Records) 2lp 52.00
First of all, love that cover! Rainbow-hued multiples of bespectacled Indian flute player T.R. "Mali" Mahalingham, two of whom's crucial albums, from 1969 and 1970, respectively, are collected here on this double cd (or double vinyl) release, brought to us by, it's no surprise, the always interesting and unusual Japanese reissue label EM, who were most recently responsible for Bharat Karki & Party's International Music, another amazing, obscure '70s Indian artifact. While that record was a wild explosion of exotic, psychedelic funk, this one is on a whole different level - spiritual, calm, acoustic, lovely, but yes also exotic, from an innovative virtuoso of the humble bamboo flute. Across these two discs, "Mali", steeped in Carnatic music tradition, utilizing his own special "parrot clutch" fingering, weaves mesmerizing, fluttering ragas and folk melodies, accompanied by gentle hand percussion and happily droning strings. It's very "Indian-sounding", perhaps not like most flute you've heard, and also as we said, very spiritual. He would sometimes (he claimed) see GOD when he played... and if that happened, he'd stop, concert over, 'cause why go on at that point? We're also told that he could communicate with birds via his flute playing. Seems possible. Although we'll confess we'd never heard of Mahalingham before (have you?), and that's why we love labels like EM, apparently he was legendary in India, and influenced important Western fans like composers Terry Riley, La Monte Young, and Oliver Messiaen.
We're becoming addicted to this, it gets played in the store several times a day by different staffers, and makes us all feel good.
As with all EM releases, the packaging is lovely, though the deluxe crazy limited vinyl version IS quite expensive.
MPEG Stream: "Ragamalika"
MPEG Stream: "Raga: Shankarabharanam (Thala: Adi)"

album cover MAHAPATRA, ASHIS Orange Of (True-False) cd 12.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Perhaps the following situation may be a bit foreign to those of you who don't work in the music industry but we'd bet that some version of this happens to everybody now and again. Every once in a while, I (Jim) will meet somebody whose best friend is in a band or I'll re-acquaint with an old high-school or college pal who has recently discovered GarageBand; and inevitably the conversation sways to "Oh, you work at a record store? You should really check this record out! You'll love it." It's then that the misanthropist in me wishes I was wearing Andee's tUMULt t-shirt which elegantly proclaims, "I hate your band," as the music proffered inevitably falls between the twin pillars of musical mediocrity: Dave Matthews and Hootie & The Blowfish. Instead, there's usually a smile, a nod, and the non-critique, "oh, that sounds nice!" hoping the conversation will turn to other matters.
So when Ashis Mahapatra contacted me a while ago about his newfound love with digital synthesis, I was a bit nervous. Here's a genuinely great person who I hadn't been in touch with since college; fortunately, his record is FUCKING AWESOME, so I really didn't have to worry about dancing around the subject of a crappy record. Enough of that for a protracted introduction. Onto the meat of the record... Orange Of is an album that fans of Fennesz, Tim Hecker, and Keith Fullerton Whitman will drool over, densely packed with guitars blurred, fizzled, and refracted through the polygon abstractions of Max/MSP techniques. A beautiful shimmer of tapped guitar tones hovers above a thick pool of drone harmonics at the album's beginning, slipping and sliding through micro-glissandos before erupting in a dense Kevin Shield's explosion of narcotic distortion and tone-bending half-melodies. Mahapatra doesn't allow the computer to do too much of the talking for him, as he's certainly keen on grounding this album on the fundamentals of songwriting as swaying instrumental waltzes and elegant melodic phrases nestled in Mahapatra's vast oceans of post-shoegazing digitality. A highly recommended release from one code-slinging guitarist whose bound for great things.
MPEG Stream: "Track One"
MPEG Stream: "Track Two"
MPEG Stream: "Track Four"

album cover MAHARAHJ Repetition (Now or Never) cd 12.98
Canada finally throws their hat into the metal core ring with Maharahj, a whirling maelstrom of drop-d riffage, blazing blast beats, howled vocals, mangled melodies, bits of black metal mayhem and totally fucked and hyper complex songs. Relentless and furious, Mahrahj barely let up, and if they do it's just to sit you back and set you up for the crushing blow that's about to come. Melodies are buried under monstrous chugging guitars and squealing feedback and the rhythm section just adds insult to injury. Fans of Heaven Shall Burn, Caliban and the like will eat this up.
RealAudio clip: "Sleep"
RealAudio clip: "Time And Death And God"
RealAudio clip: "An Insect"

MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA Apocalpyse (Columbia) cd 5.00
**SALE **SALE* *SALE**

MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA Between Nothingness & Eternity (Columbia) cd 5.00
**SALE **SALE* *SALE**

MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA The Lost Trident Sessions (Columbia/Legacy) cd 15.98
An entire studio album lost for 25 years!" the cover blurb proclaims. From 1973, this would have been John McLaughlin & Co.'s third album, but for some reason they put out a live record instead (with, I believe, some of the same compositions found here). Understandably though, this album remained a "Holy Grail" for jazz-fusion heads, and now, here it is, in 20-bit digitally remastered glory even. The true follow-up to "Inner Mounting Flame" and "Birds Of Fire", and a seemingly worthy one at that. You have to laugh when the cover blurb goes on to trumpet "Fiery, Ultimate Chops!" but that don't mean it's not good!

MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA Visions Of The Emerald Beyond (Columbia) cd 5.00
**SALE **SALE* *SALE**

album cover MAHER SHALAL HASH BAZ Blues Du Jour (Geographic) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
The unique underground Japanese group Maher Shalal Hash Baz -- a mostly untrained ensemble that plays simple, psychedelic pop songs with child-like innocence and imprecison -- recently performed a pair of shows here in the Bay Area. I caught the one over in Oakland, and it was amazing. Beautiful, shambolic, jazz-flecked primitive pop groove. The weirdest thing, was that they tried REALLY HARD to play the songs 'correctly'. Leader Tori Kudo even stopped the band on several occasions to instruct the bass player (his wife, I believe) on how to play a song's bass line properly. It was a bit uncomfortable, actually, but I'm not totally sure it wasn't intentional. After all, the impact of their naive novice musicanship is lost when the whole audience expects it -- so why not throw everyone off balance by making it seem like it's NOT supposed to sound so warped and damaged, even when it is?? Brilliant. Even the parked car that was set on fire down the block during the show couldn't compete. So, it's nice now to get these two new Maher documents. Blues Du Jour is the full length, and by that we mean it's got 41 tracks on it! Some are full songs, ballads, others short sketches, interludes, cryptic and lovely. Sweetly retarded horns and jangling guitars wearing innocent smiles, music that's cute and quaint but also serious and heartfelt. You'll hear hints of Ghost, the Beatles, Faust, Syd Barrett... Wrong never sounded so right. Meanwhile, they're also released an ep called Open Field that includes four songs from the full-length plus one special mix that features Bill Wells and members of The Pastels. Get it if you can't handle the full 41 tracks or you need everything with Bill Wells on it...
MPEG Stream: "White Dream"
MPEG Stream: "What's Your Business Here Elijah?"

album cover MAHER SHALAL HASH BAZ Blues Du Jour (Geographic) lp 19.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
The unique underground Japanese group Maher Shalal Hash Baz -- a mostly untrained ensemble that plays simple, psychedelic pop songs with child-like innocence and imprecison -- recently performed a pair of shows here in the Bay Area. I caught the one over in Oakland, and it was amazing. Beautiful, shambolic, jazz-flecked primitive pop groove. The weirdest thing, was that they tried REALLY HARD to play the songs 'correctly'. Leader Tori Kudo even stopped the band on several occasions to instruct the bass player (his wife, I believe) on how to play a song's bass line properly. It was a bit uncomfortable, actually, but I'm not totally sure it wasn't intentional. After all, the impact of their naive novice musicanship is lost when the whole audience expects it -- so why not throw everyone off balance by making it seem like it's NOT supposed to sound so warped and damaged, even when it is?? Brilliant. Even the parked car that was set on fire down the block during the show couldn't compete. So, it's nice now to get these two new Maher documents. Blues Du Jour is the full length, and by that we mean it's got 41 tracks on it! Some are full songs, ballads, others short sketches, interludes, cryptic and lovely. Sweetly retarded horns and jangling guitars wearing innocent smiles, music that's cute and quaint but also serious and heartfelt. You'll hear hints of Ghost, the Beatles, Faust, Syd Barrett... Wrong never sounded so right. Meanwhile, they're also released an ep called Open Field that includes four songs from the full-length plus one special mix that features Bill Wells and members of The Pastels. Get it if you can't handle the full 41 tracks or you need everything with Bill Wells on it...
MPEG Stream: "White Dream"
MPEG Stream: "What's Your Business Here Elijah?"

album cover MAHER SHALAL HASH BAZ C'est La Derniere Chanson (K) 2cd 13.98

album cover MAHER SHALAL HASH BAZ Faux Depart (Yik Yak) cd 10.98
San Francisco's Yik Yak label is kindly trying to assure that nobody misses out on any goodness from Japan's Maher Shalal Hash Baz, hence this re-release of Maher's Faux Depart album, recorded at Olympia's Dub Narcotic studio in 2003 with members of Deerhoof sitting in. And fitting in, too, that's for sure! The wonderfully naive psych weirdness of Maher Shalal Hash Baz is well displayed here, with 22 great examples of their mix of woozy, gone-wrong cocktail jazz and soft lullaby indie-pop, the band's instrumentalists coloring outside the lines, their "paints" blurring like watercolors spilled across a canvas but still making such a pretty picture, the kind you'd be proud of if your child brought it home from school to brighten your day.
If you missed this before... you know the drill.
Note: ep price, full-length cd!
MPEG Stream: "A Will"
MPEG Stream: "Lightning #2"

MAHER SHALAL HASH BAZ From A Summer To Another Summer (An Egypt To Another Egypt) (Geographic) cd 17.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
From the Glasgow label run by the Pastels comes the first widely-available collection of music by long-running cult Japanese folk-psych duo Maher Shalal Hash Baz. With 27 shambolic tracks, widely ranging in style, recalling everything from '80s/'90s lo-fi indie-pop like, well, the Pastels, to '60s Japanese psych a la The Jacks to the mellowest, folkiest Albert Ayler freedom jazz jams! Should appeal equally to fans of Belle & Sebastian, {k} Records, and Ghost/PSF stuff. Lovely and fragile, seemingly innocent yet seemingly ancient.
Stephen of the Pastels, who loves Maher Shalal Hash Baz so much that he started the Geographic label _specifically_ to release this collection, says:
"When you consider how rare it is that you actually hear something that is startlingly different from other music in any given year, or even in a decade (I just tried and could only think of Aphex Twin, a couple of hip-hop productions, and the lyrics of Belle & Sebastian and Silver Jews) it feels such a privilege to be working with people you consider to be actual visionaries." (And terrorists, too, if the stories in Stephen's larger article are to be believed. Let us know if you want to see it!)

MAHER SHALAL HASH BAZ From A Summer To Another Summer (An Egypt To Another Egypt) (Geographic) lp 11.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
From the Glasgow label run by the Pastels comes the first widely-available collection of music by long-running cult Japanese folk-psych duo Maher Shalal Hash Baz. With 27 shambolic tracks, widely ranging in style, recalling everything from '80s/'90s lo-fi indie-pop like, well, the Pastels, to '60s Japanese psych a la The Jacks to the mellowest, folkiest Albert Ayler freedom jazz jams! Should appeal equally to fans of Belle & Sebastian, {k} Records, and Ghost/PSF stuff. Lovely and fragile, seemingly innocent yet seemingly ancient.
Stephen of the Pastels, who loves Maher Shalal Hash Baz so much that he started the Geographic label _specifically_ to release this collection, says:
"When you consider how rare it is that you actually hear something that is startlingly different from other music in any given year, or even in a decade (I just tried and could only think of Aphex Twin, a couple of hip-hop productions, and the lyrics of Belle & Sebastian and Silver Jews) it feels such a privilege to be working with people you consider to be actual visionaries." (And terrorists, too, if the stories in Stephen's larger article are to be believed. Let us know if you want to see it!)

album cover MAHER SHALAL HASH BAZ L'Autre Cap (K) cd 14.98
27 new tracks (well, newer when this came out in January, we LOVE this band but can't always get to reviewing everything as quickly as we'd like) from Japanese songwriter/bandleader Tori Kudo and his long-running, deliberately amateur-sounding ensemble Maher Shalal Hash Baz. As always, it's a magical, melancholic mishmash of lilting indie-pop, innocently sweet vocals, lovelorn lyrics, little big band (dis-)arrangements, woozy horns, percussive pitter patter, gently jazzy guitars, bassoon bass lines, and dysplastic Farfisa, all performed with unique, shambolic charm. Fans will be happily aware of what they're getting into here. Those unfamiliar with the band, we suspect you'll also enjoy the unsteady but friendly hugs Kudo and crew are doling out to your ears (and wish you could squeeze 'em back). That is, unless you're particularly hard of heart and/or uptight about musicians not "coloring outside the lines" as it were.
Like their previous effort Faux Depart, this was recorded over here in the USA at Dub Narcotic Studios with the help of several guests from Olympia's music scene, including members of Old Time Relijun.
MPEG Stream: "Suspended Season"
MPEG Stream: "Kamakura"

album cover MAHER SHALAL HASH BAZ L'Autre Cap (K) lp 13.98
27 new tracks (well, newer when this came out in January, we LOVE this band but can't always get to reviewing everything as quickly as we'd like) from Japanese songwriter/bandleader Tori Kudo and his long-running, deliberately amateur-sounding ensemble Maher Shalal Hash Baz. As always, it's a magical, melancholic mishmash of lilting indie-pop, innocently sweet vocals, lovelorn lyrics, little big band (dis-)arrangements, woozy horns, percussive pitter patter, gently jazzy guitars, bassoon bass lines, and dysplastic Farfisa, all performed with unique, shambolic charm. Fans will be happily aware of what they're getting into here. Those unfamiliar with the band, we suspect you'll also enjoy the unsteady but friendly hugs Kudo and crew are doling out to your ears (and wish you could squeeze 'em back). That is, unless you're particularly hard of heart and/or uptight about musicians not "coloring outside the lines" as it were.
Like their previous effort Faux Depart, this was recorded over here in the USA at Dub Narcotic Studios with the help of several guests from Olympia's music scene, including members of Old Time Relijun.
MPEG Stream: "Suspended Season"
MPEG Stream: "Kamakura"

album cover MAHER SHALAL HASH BAZ Live 1984-85 (Kunitachi Kibun) (PSF) cd 22.00
If you thought that recent recordings by Japanese shambolic psychedelic pop outfit Maher Shalal Hash Baz sound full of simple, child-like naivety, imagine the even less-trained, even more-Shaggsy charm of this band back, say, twenty years ago! Well you actually don't have to imagine 'cause now PSF has provided us with this disc of archival live recordings, from performances in 1984 and 1985. That's truly delving into Tori Kudo's troupe's earliest years (he started the band in '83). In fact, the 1984 performance documented here was in fact their FIRST EVER gig, opening for High Rise and Kousokoya! May have been High Rise's first show too... (hmm, does that mean PSF has tapes of their sets as well?). Their entropic sound was much like it is today, though. Not-quite-jazz horns bleat out distressed melodies over stumbling beats, gentle vocals hold your hand as guitars are strummed with more feeling than finesse. The recording quality is suitably lo-fi and tape-hissy and makes this even more of a warm blanket of softly sunny clangy jangle and blissful pop chaos, so wrong it's right. Ariel Pink's got nothing on this. With interesting liner notes about these early daze from Kudo, translated into English by Alan Cummings.
MPEG Stream: "Unknown Happiness"
MPEG Stream: "View From Midheaven Of Itami Airport"

album cover MAHER SHALAL HASH BAZ Live Aoiheya January 2003 (Chapter Music) cd ep 8.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
The willfully naive charm of Japanese cult pop act Maher Shalal Hash Baz is hard to capture in words. You kinda have to experience it. And even then you might not 'get it'. But if you do, you've got a new favorite band. Here's a nice chance to have that "experience" -- a cd ep featuring an entire live Maher Shalal Hash Baz performance from 2003, five tracks, a little over 26 minutes in length. And playing live -- raw and spontaneous -- is the MSHB modus operandi. Mournful horns and innocent vocals, no overdubs, it's the MSHB experience all right. After over 20 years in the biz, band leader Tori Kudo is still all about recruiting totally untrained musicians into the MSHB ranks, allowing their barely-rehearsed playing to teeter-totter wonderfully, tilting somehow inevitably towards fragile beauty though it seems like a musical mess should result. You'll hear 'em taking chances on this disc, and much emotion is revealed, much loveliness as well, from a woozy, droning, plinking instrumental called "Asahana" to the jazzy melancholia of "Gratitude"... Short but oh so sweet.
MPEG Stream: "Asahana"
MPEG Stream: "When I Die"

album cover MAHER SHALAL HASH BAZ Maher On Water (Geographic) cd ep 10.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
After the lengthy collection (Geographic's From A Summer To Another Summer) that introduced this Japanese band to Western audiences, here's a fifteen-minute quick listen from Tori Kudo's project Maher Shalal Hash Baz. Kudo wields recorder, sweetly-picked guitar and directs various "water"-y sounds made on percussive toys etc. Sing-song vocals, gentle clarinet, warm cello, purposeful organ all are used for maximum sweetly shambolic naive pop. This is released on Stephen Pastels' label, and the Pastels are an apt comparison in terms of sharing melodic styles and a stripped down, lo-fi indiepop aesthetic. Eccentric, playful, sweetly childlike. If you liked their From A Summer collection, this will please you too, and if you've never heard them before, this is a lower-priced way to do so.
RealAudio clip: "Good Morning"

MAHER SHALAL HASH BAZ Maher On Water (Geographic) 10" 10.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
After the lengthy collection (Geographic's From A Summer To Another Summer) that introduced this Japanese band to Western audiences, here's a fifteen-minute quick listen from Tori Kudo's project Maher Shalal Hash Baz. Kudo wields recorder, sweetly-picked guitar and directs various "water"-y sounds made on percussive toys etc. Sing-song vocals, gentle clarinet, warm cello, purposeful organ all are used for maximum sweetly shambolic naive pop. This is released on Stephen Pastels' label, and the Pastels are an apt comparison in terms of sharing melodic styles and a stripped down, lo-fi indiepop aesthetic. Eccentric, playful, sweetly childlike. If you liked their From A Summer collection, this will please you too, and if you've never heard them before, this is a lower-priced way to do so.

album cover MAHER SHALAL HASH BAZ Open Field (Geographic) cd ep 9.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
See the review of Maher Shalal Hash Baz's Blues Du Jour album for information.

album cover MAHER SHALAL HASH BAZ / THE CURTAINS Make us two crayons on the floor. (Yik Yak) split cd 13.98
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The wonderful, willfully naive Japanese indie-pop psychedelic ensemble Maher Shalal Hash Baz takes the first half of this split cd with a live performance recorded in Scotland. Honking sax, wayward vocals, sad-sack percussion, helpless guitar, plinking piano, and even skipping rope make it into the mix. Somehow, it's gorgeous, in a melancholy off-kilter way that few bands could pull off. Following Maher Shalal Hash Baz's seventeen tracks there's ten more by San Francisco outfit The Curtains, who likewise manage to make a virtue out of simplicity and spontaneity, their technical abilities (or lack thereof) never hampering their expressiveness. A good pairing indeed. The Curtains are noisier and more 'plugged-in' than MSHB, with electronic keyboard sounds forming some of their most striking moments. With both bands, what's improvised and what's not is hard to suss out, but experiencing the results can be quite pleasant either way if you don't demand much precision from your 'pop'. To us, these 27 tracks are a pleasant jumble worth experiencing.
MPEG Stream: MAHER SHALAL HASH BAZ "Medicine For Melancholia"
MPEG Stream: THE CURTAINS "Bummer With Cakes"

album cover MAHER SHALAL HASH BAZ W/ MASAMI SHINODA s/t (PSF) dvd 27.00

album cover MAHIKARI s/t (Birdman) lp 14.98

album cover MAHOGANY BRAIN With (Junk-Saucepan) When (Spoon-Trigger) (Mellow) cd 16.98
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Horde Catalytique Pour La Fin, Jacques Berrocal, Semool, Fille Qui Mousse, Jean Guerin, and (this one) Mahogany Brain: there's been a spate of reissues recently of stuff originally released on the Futura label, who were some sort of French version of NYC's avant-garde ESP-Disk, based on this evidence. Mahogany Brain's 1971 debut consists of a dozen head-scratching tracks of outside art skronk rock blurt, completely freeform and loose (but more messy and mellow than nasty or noisy, although they can be that way too). You'll get into their primitive underground vibe if you dig random blues licks, free jazz spazz, and wandering dada vocals. Considered a classic, but only by those who find the likes of Captain Beefheart and the Godz to be a little too "straight". We're told this was "very influenced by drugs" and believe it.
RealAudio clip: "Hot Milk Elbow (part 1)"

album cover MAIA, TIM Nobody Can Live Forever (Luaka Bop) cd 16.98
Every installment in Luaka Bop's World Psychedelia series has been an across the board aQ favorite. From Os Mutantes, Shuggie Otis, the great African psych compilation, Love's A Real Thing, and now we have this great introduction to the post-Tropicalia funk of the great Tim Maia.
But the music is just one part of the story, the man's life is filled with interesting twists and turns including multiple marriages, prison sentences and an avid role in a UFO-obsessed religious cult, all of which have been the subject of a best-selling biography, tv show and hit musical in Brazil. How could we not love this?!
Combining a unique twist on Brazilian popular music along with copious American soul influences have made Maia's seventies recordings long sought after and excepting a couple of pricey imports, we have never been able to find any substantial release of his early musical output. After a decade of legal wrangling and coinciding with what would have been Maia's seventieth birthday (he died in 1998 of a heart attack while performing onstage), it's great to see this 15 track compilation realized and we're loving it more with each listen.
Mixing the Latino funk of Mexican-American groups like Malo and El Chicano, the cool urban sophistication of Steely Dan (yes, we went there, and we're not apologizing!) and the soulful vocals of Jorge Ben and Gilberto Gil. Maia's music has a fervent infectious energy that is totally engaging and sexy. He's often been compared to Barry White in the fact his music celebrates love over politics, but really Maia's music made the joyous acceptance of love and life a political statement and has long endeared him to legions of fans worldwide.
The cd is housed in a mini-hardbound cd-sized book, the lp in a deluxe full color gatefold, both with extensive notes and details of his extraordinary life. And this compilation comes of course, highly recommended!
MPEG Stream: "Que Beliza"
MPEG Stream: "O Caminho Do Bem"
MPEG Stream: "Quer Quiera, Quer Nao Quiera"
MPEG Stream: "Over Again"

album cover MAIA, TIM Nobody Can Live Forever (Luaka Bop) lp 26.00
Every installment in Luaka Bop's World Psychedelia series has been an across the board aQ favorite. From Os Mutantes, Shuggie Otis, the great African psych compilation, Love's A Real Thing, and now we have this great introduction to the post-Tropicalia funk of the great Tim Maia.
But the music is just one part of the story, the man's life is filled with interesting twists and turns including multiple marriages, prison sentences and an avid role in a UFO-obsessed religious cult, all of which have been the subject of a best-selling biography, tv show and hit musical in Brazil. How could we not love this?!
Combining a unique twist on Brazilian popular music along with copious American soul influences have made Maia's seventies recordings long sought after and excepting a couple of pricey imports, we have never been able to find any substantial release of his early musical output. After a decade of legal wrangling and coinciding with what would have been Maia's seventieth birthday (he died in 1998 of a heart attack while performing onstage), it's great to see this 15 track compilation realized and we're loving it more with each listen.
Mixing the Latino funk of Mexican-American groups like Malo and El Chicano, the cool urban sophistication of Steely Dan (yes, we went there, and we're not apologizing!) and the soulful vocals of Jorge Ben and Gilberto Gil. Maia's music has a fervent infectious energy that is totally engaging and sexy. He's often been compared to Barry White in the fact his music celebrates love over politics, but really Maia's music made the joyous acceptance of love and life a political statement and has long endeared him to legions of fans worldwide.
The cd is housed in a mini-hardbound cd-sized book, the lp in a deluxe full color gatefold, both with extensive notes and details of his extraordinary life. And this compilation comes of course, highly recommended!
MPEG Stream: "Que Beliza"
MPEG Stream: "O Caminho Do Bem"
MPEG Stream: "Quer Quiera, Quer Nao Quiera"
MPEG Stream: "Over Again"

album cover MAIA, TIM s/t (Sam Livre) cd 19.98
Early seventies singer from Brazil.

album cover MAIDEN VOYAGE / AMARANTHINE TRAMPLER The Journey Embarks / As The Colour Of Love Flows From My Shattered Teeth (Endless Desperation) cd 13.98
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We find stuff all the time, tucked away in the close, in the backroom, copies of records that somehow slipped through the cracks, record we hoped to eventually get more of, but eventually forgot about, it's pretty exciting to (re)discover these mysterious releases, even more exciting when we can't for the life of us remember where they came from, who ordered them, or when we actually got them.
Which is the case with this killer split of ultra heavy funereal doom metal, which we've had for almost 5 years, but only just now realized we had never listed. Which is a shame, cuz both these bands are pretty incredible.
Maiden Voyage are from the UK, and traffic in some seriously extreme miserablist doom, not crushingly heavy, as much as depressive and dark, reminding us a bit of Esoteric, that same sort of weird production, spaced out and a little bit brittle, making the sound more druggy and psychedelic, the guitars are still thick and fuzzy, the riffs glacial, the rhythms a snail's pace pound, the vocals a belched demonic grumble, but the melodies are skeletal, and the songs seem to dissipate into near ambience, the riffs ringing out, leaving just ghostly traces of spidery psychedelic guitars, it's actually more like some sort of doom-d slowcore, than any sort of true doom, which is what makes it so cool. Haunting, and creepy and atmospheric and a little bit damaged.
Maiden Voyage are teamed up with another UK funeral doom combo, the awesomely monickered Amaranthine Trampler, whose sound is strikingly similar, which makes sense, as both bands are one man bands, and than one man is THE SAME GUY! Amaranthine Trampler offers up another weirdly lo-fi bit of lumbering bleak misery, the vocals a bit more chantlike, the vocals a little bit more caustic, but overall, still moody and miserable, a bit ambient and abstract, thick swaths of chugging, some almost groove, giving way to grim funereal crawls, and like Maiden Voyage, those spidery psychedelic melodies and the weirdly lo-fi vibe and doom-ed slowcore feel.
Needless to say, if you're a fan of haunting mysterious outsider doom, and depressive ambient grimness, twisted drugginess and damaged black psychedelia, all spread into thick swaths of downtuned creep and crawl, then best snag one of these before they're gone...
LIMITED TO 1000 COPIES, each one hand numbered, but since this came out close to 5 years ago, odds are it's undoubtedly out of print by now. We only have 4 or 5 copies, so if you want one, you'll have to move a little faster than either of these guys...
MPEG Stream: MAIDEN VOYAGE "Opaline Waterfalls"
MPEG Stream: AMARANTHINE TRAMPLER "Autumn Is Dying - Winter Is Dead"

album cover MAIN Ablation (Editions Mego) cd 16.98
Now here on cd too!!
It's been a very long time since Robert Hampson has released a Main album and an even longer time since he's produced a *great* Main album. Ablation changes that, although those who would be expecting the deconstructed hypno-rock of Motion Pool or Hydra-Calm will be disappointed; but those who had followed Hampson's trajectory starting with the last few Main records about a decade ago into spatialized electro-acoustics only to rediscover his infatuation with the drone which finally brought him back to the guitar as a principle instrument will certainly understand where this record is coming from. Hampson is still working at the storied GRM studios in Paris, and there is an infusion of the classic aesthetic of what came out of GRM within Ablation (notably Parmegiani and Ferrari), but at the same time he does link it back, if in a subtle way, to the mesmerism which girded the Main productions in the '90s. That said, any connections to his former group, Loop would be quite a stretch indeed.
On Ablation, Hampson has recruited Stefan Mathieu - a brilliant drone technician in his own right whom we've not heard from in ages - and the pairing works seamlessly, even as it clearly slants towards Hampson's vision of a cold disconnection dispensed in overlapping hissing layers and hypnotic patterns of abstracted sound. The percussive klank of a prepared piano on "I" is a bit of a red herring for what's found throughout Ablation especially on "II" and "III", is a series of slow ellipses of churning guitar drones and golden tonal coronas drifting with all of the uneasy beauty of an android's dream. The closing track "IV" bends along a radiophonic arc with ether crackle and metallic rasping and slow motion pixelations from a sharply rendered synth that forms the coda to the album. Organic. Liquid. Electric. Motorized. Bleak. Holy. All of those adjectives apply to this fantastic album. Welcome back, Main!
MPEG Stream: "II"

album cover MAIN Ablation (Editions Mego) lp 22.00
It's been a very long time since Robert Hampson has released a Main album and an even longer time since he's produced a *great* Main album. Ablation changes that, although those who would be expecting the deconstructed hypno-rock of Motion Pool or Hydra-Calm will be disappointed; but those who had followed Hampson's trajectory starting with the last few Main records about a decade ago into spatialized electro-acoustics only to rediscover his infatuation with the drone which finally brought him back to the guitar as a principle instrument will certainly understand where this record is coming from. Hampson is still working at the storied GRM studios in Paris, and there is an infusion of the classic aesthetic of what came out of GRM within Ablation (notably Parmegiani and Ferrari), but at the same time he does link it back, if in a subtle way, to the mesmerism which girded the Main productions in the '90s. That said, any connections to his former group, Loop would be quite a stretch indeed.
On Ablation, Hampson has recruited Stefan Mathieu - a brilliant drone technician in his own right whom we've not heard from in ages - and the pairing works seamlessly, even as it clearly slants towards Hampson's vision of a cold disconnection dispensed in overlapping hissing layers and hypnotic patterns of abstracted sound. The percussive klank of a prepared piano on "I" is a bit of a red herring for what's found throughout Ablation especially on "II" and "III", is a series of slow ellipses of churning guitar drones and golden tonal coronas drifting with all of the uneasy beauty of an android's dream. The closing track "IV" bends along a radiophonic arc with ether crackle and metallic rasping and slow motion pixelations from a sharply rendered synth that forms the coda to the album. Organic. Liquid. Electric. Motorized. Bleak. Holy. All of those adjectives apply to this fantastic album. Welcome back, Main!
MPEG Stream: "II"

album cover MAIN Mort Aux Vaches: Exosphere (Staalplaat) cd 19.98
Exosphere is Main's second contribution to the ongoing series of VPRO radio commissions, following a three way split with Flying Saucer Attack and White Winged Moth. Robert Hampson launched the Main project over a decade ago, after jettisoning the blackened hypno-rock of his incredible ensemble Loop in favor of a droning deconstruction and ambient isolationism that he qualified as 'drumless space.' A few years after the drums left and Main's structures became more and more abstract, Hampson set his guitar down to collect dust for good, as Main has now become entirely about digital fragmentation with a parallel aesthetic to Janek Shaeffer, Roel Meelkop, and Ekkehard Ehlers. For Exosphere, Hampson began with the recordings of those elements of a journey that are typically uninteresting and often forgotten, such as the taxi cab to the airport or the time waiting at the train station. With all of his DSP filters run amok, very little of those field recordings retain their original banality; instead, they acquire a dynamic expressivity with shivering digital textures, anxious time-stretching ripples, and monolithic drones that have more in common with the holy minimalism of Phil Niblock and LaMonte Young than the digital aersolization of Fennesz. Staalplaat continues their unique packaging of the Mort Aux Vaches series with a single piece of trifolded paper, holding the disc in place with a winged-brad. For Exosphere, Staalplaat cleverly recycles the waxy cardboard from orange juice containers.
MPEG Stream: "Part 2"
MPEG Stream: "Part 3"

album cover MAIN Tau ((K-RAA-K)3) cd 14.98
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When Robert Hampson began exploring "drumless space" through his digitally tricked-out guitarscapes under the guise of Main back in the early '90s, those initial records ("Motion Pool" in particular) were compelling albums of circular hypno-rock riffs spiralling through bleak, ominous drones. On one hand, Main had signified the birth of post-rock alongside other hybrid electronic / rock bands such as Seefeel and Disco Inferno (a couple years before the term got lumped onto Tortoise); yet on the other, Main had inspired the isolationist aesthetic where jack-booted industrialists and grizzled metallers tried their hands at grim ambient constructions. Since then, Main's influence has waned, as people like Jim O'Rourke and Fennesz have upstaged his guitar radicalism; and also as Main's albums have become increasingly more hermetic and less interested in the ideals of rock.
This last reason is obviously why Main got dropped from a sweet deal on Beggars Banquet; but, such opened up a number of possibilities to collaborate with Janek Schaeffer and Antenna Farm, as well as to produce this fine piece of electronic abstraction for (K-raa-k)3. On "Tau," very little is left of anything even closely resembling the timbres, harmonics, and actions of a guitar. It could be quite possible that there is in fact no guitar on this album. Nevertheless, Hampson calmly describes a sonic narrative through discrete samples which recall the alien tonalities of Morton Subotnik's work with the Buchla synthesizer. Loaded with MAX / MSP filters, these individual sounds amass into an icy soundtrack of microphonic detailing.
RealAudio clip: "Mirror"
RealAudio clip: "Heuristic"

album cover MAIN Transiency (Tigerbeat6) cd ep 7.98
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The evolution of Robert Hampson's career has employed a steady skeletonization of the guitar -- possibly to the point that he doesn't even play guitar anymore on any of his records, but at least to the point where he's producing nothing that resembles a guitar. After dissolving his first band (the incendiary hypno-rock group Loop) and fronting Main, Hampson first dropped all drum tracks, then removed the bass, and gradually shifted towards sampling technologies over the guitar itself. "Transiency" is a short 20 minute EP, released by longtime Main / Loop / Hampson fan Kid 606 on the Tigerbeat 6 label. True to the last couple of releases, Hampson offers studied compositions of electronic minimalism and concrete flourishes that have been clipped against gaping voids of quiet spaces.
RealAudio clip: "I"
RealAudio clip: "II"

MAIN / FENNESZ split (Fat Cat) 12" 9.98
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It's been a while since Fat Cat offered anything from their outstanding series of split 12" singles, and the much ballyhooed release from laptop-guitarists Main and Fennesz has been well worth the wait. Main -- now solely under the propriety of Robert Hampson -- offers an exceptionally well done set of granular synthesis applied to the source material purported to be guitar drones, bowed cymbals, and homebuilt stringed instruments. Little of the textural sounds of the original remains within Hampson's compositions, which become sterile investigations of microscopic sounds fluctuating with digital crackle. Similarly, Fennesz relies upon digital manipulation to reveal trace elements of guitar driven avant-pop amidst the dominant masses of warm buzzings and electric fractures.

MAIN / WHITE WINGED MOTH / FLYING SAUCER ATTACK Mort Aux Vaches (Staalplaat) cd 19.98
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Staalplaat continues their "Mort Aux Vaches" series of commissioned radio broadcasts with this split release between Main, White Winged Moth, and Flying Saucer Attack. These recordings find all three experimental guitarist artists at their quietest and on their best behavior. Flying Saucer Attack gets the most attention with 4 softly played acoustic guitar tracks that are buried underneathe a building wall of reverb -- sort of like the mellower pieces on FSA's recent album "Mirror". Main offers a 15 minute track for treated guitars that is quite active by the standards of Robert Hampson's increasingly inaudible outfit. Tiny samples of malfunctioning guitar cables and soft scrapes on the strings repeat throughout the composition along with a bell like tonal drone. White Winged Moth (aka New Zealander Dean Roberts) also presents a 15 minute piece, with his humid guitar drones. Altogether this is an excellent compilation of work.
RealAudio clip: FLYING SAUCER ATTACK "#2"
RealAudio clip: MAIN "Counterglow"

MAIN ATTRAKIONZ 808s & Dark Grapes II (Type Records) 2lp 27.00

album cover MAINLINER Imaginative Plain (PSF) cd 22.00
The "Psychedelic Solid Free Attack Group" from Tokyo return on the legendary Psychedelic Speed Freaks label with five scorching new tracks. Mainliner this time around are bassist/vocalist Nanjo (High Rise, Toho Sara, etc. etc.), guitarist Kawabata (Acid Mothers Temple, Musica Transonic, etc.), and newcomer Shimura on drums. Not as dynamic as their previous outings when Yoshida (Ruins) was in the lineup, "Imaginative Plain" just delivers what you'd expect from Nanjo -- overdriven psychedelic rawk guitar freakout! Crushing fuzz insanity! Primal and oh-so-satisfying. Mainliner/High Rise fans will not be disappointed.
RealAudio clip: "Static"

MAINLINER Mainliner Sonic (Charnel Music) cd 11.98
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Nanjo, Kawabata and Yoshida return, with another blast of High Rise-style psychedelic riffery. Turn it up past, like, "2", and give your stereo speakers a few final thrilling moments before they fry.

album cover MAINLINER Mainliner Sonic (Assommer) lp 17.98
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CLEAR VINYL! Limited release!!
Back in '97, when this utterly distorted slab of Japanese psychrock was originally released on compact disc, we were perhaps a little bit more succinct in our reviews than we are now, saying simply in two sentences:
Nanjo, Kawabata and Yoshida return, with another blast of High Rise-style psychedelic riffery. Turn it up past, like, "2", and give your stereo speakers a few final thrilling moments before they fry.
Still true! Perhaps, for those just tuning in, we should add that Asahito Nanjo is the bassist from legendary PSF-label psychedelic speed freaks High Rise, Makoto Kawabata is of course the hairy bearded "motor psycho" guitarist from the beloved Acid Mothers Temple, and Tatsuya Yoshida is the eight-armed drummer from Magmoid prog duo Ruins, just to mention the primary crucial underground Tokyo acts these cats have been involved in. Mainliner Sonic was the trio's 3rd album, give or take a cd-r or cassette or two, if we've got the chronology correct. And it's just one of two Mainliner efforts with Yoshida on the drums, a lineup that happened to be identical to that of another, more spazzed out band, Musica Transonic.
At a little more than a half hour in length, these five tracks represent a typical in-the-red session of Mainliner's more Les Rallizes Denudes than thou loud garage psych improv groove mayhem. Really, you've heard of "fuzz monsters"? This is, like, fully 94 percent fuzz, almost like a blast of Merzbowian noise, with some crashing drums and raucous riffing and squiggly soloing buried beneath. Totally trance inducing. All the noisiest garagiest bands today PLAYING AT THE SAME TIME might not be able to top this. For fans of Acid Eater for sure!!!
The cd version has been out of print for years (though we hear rumors of a reissue on a Chinese label...) so it's even awesomer to have this vinyl edition on new label Assommer (run by one of the guys from the LA psych band OGOD, currently on tour in the USA with Acid Mothers Temple).
MPEG Stream: "Tsukisasaru"
MPEG Stream: "Mainliner Sonic II"

album cover MAINLINER Mellow Out (Riot Season) cd 16.98
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At last, a reissue of the debut album from Japanese heavy psych trio Mainliner. It came out on Charnel Music in '96, but has been out of print for a long while now and with its unavailability has grown in stature. Of course, it's a great record, the one that Acid Mothers Temple were trying to emulate on their recent "Electric Heavyland" set. And yep, it does feature AMT's Kawabata Makoto on 'motorpsycho' guitar, along with free jazzer Hajime Koizumi on drums and bassist Nanjo Asahito of the legendary High Rise. Mainliner always was just a slight variant on the High Rise template (themselves a variant on the Les Rallizes Denudes template it seems), formed originally by Nanjo 'cause his High Rise bandmates were averse to touring and he wanted to take his rock on the road, or so the story goes. Anyway, this disc was Mainliner's first and best, all players outdoing themselves in the realms of psychedelic heavy garage improv distortion overload. So, if you missed it the first time around, now's your chance to experience this classic. It's nice to have it back in just 'cause now we're listening to it again and we'd forgotten how great it is. Rock!
MPEG Stream: "Black Sky"

MAINLINER Mellow Out (Riot Season) lp 17.98
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Now, for the first time, on vinyl! Yes, in addition to reissuing the debut cd from Japanese heavy psych trio Mainliner, Riot Season have gone and pressed it on wax. A pressing probably not long for this world, however... Here's what we just wrote about the cd version: It came out on Charnel Music in '96, but has been out of print for a long while now and with its unavailability has grown in stature. Of course, it's a great record, the one that Acid Mothers Temple were trying to emulate on their recent "Electric Heavyland" set. And yep, it does feature AMT's Kawabata Makoto on 'motorpsycho' guitar, along with free jazzer Hajime Koizumi on drums and bassist Nanjo Asahito of the legendary High Rise. Mainliner always was just a slight variant on the High Rise template (themselves a variant on the Les Rallizes Denudes template it seems), formed originally by Nanjo 'cause his High Rise bandmates were averse to touring and he wanted to take his rock on the road, or so the story goes. Anyway, this disc was Mainliner's first and best, all players outdoing themselves in the realms of psychedelic heavy garage improv distortion overload. So, if you missed it the first time around, now's your chance to experience this classic. It's nice to have it back in just 'cause now we're listening to it again and we'd forgotten how great it is. Rock!
MPEG Stream: "Black Sky"

album cover MAINLINER Mellow Out (Riot Season) lp 29.00
It's been a few months since the release of Mainliner's amazing, aQ Record Of The Week awarded return Revelation Space, and now hopefully all your ears are ready for this - Riot Season have now finally repressed the vinyl version of these Japanese giant psych monsters devastating debut album as well! (It's still out of print on cd, though, sadly.)
The original cd version of this came out on Charnel Music in '96, but was out of print for years and years, its stature of course growing with its unavailability - but the reality is, it IS a great record, the one that Mainliner guitarist Kawabata's own band, Acid Mothers Temple, were trying to emulate on their Electric Heavyland set some years ago. Besides the 'motorpsycho' guitar of Kawabata Makoto, the Mainliner trio circa Mellow Out included free jazzer Hajime Koizumi on drums and bassist Nanjo Asahito of the legendary High Rise. Mainliner always was just a slight variant on the High Rise template (themselves a variant on the Les Rallizes Denudes template it seems), formed originally by Nanjo 'cause his High Rise bandmates were averse to touring and he wanted to take his rock on the road, or so the story goes. Anyway, this disc was Mainliner's first and best, all players outdoing themselves in the realms of psychedelic heavy garage improv distortion overload. Seriously, this is the standard by which psychedelic heavy garage improv distortion overload can be judged. So, if you missed it the first time 'round, now's your chance to experience this classic. Anyone who picked up Revelation Space and loved it and doesn't have this NEEDS it too for sure.
Now it would be cool if some of the crucial High Rise albums were to be reissued on vinyl (again) too...
MPEG Stream: "Black Sky"
MPEG Stream: "M."

album cover MAINLINER Psychedelic Polyhedron (Fractal) cd 19.98
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The new cd from Japanese psychedelic power trio MAINLINER is actually a reissue of their previously vinyl-only Psychedelic Polyhedron LP from back in '97, which was MAINLINER's second album, though a lot of folks never saw it. At last it's now on cd for all you MAINLINER fans who missed out on that long-gone import vinyl. Huh? No, I'm not shouting at you. It's just that putting MAINLINER in all-caps seems like a fitting way to indicate how loud and distorted and blown-out and in-the-red these guys are. But you know that already. Alongside bassist Asahito Nanjo's other band High Rise these guys are the kings of Japanese garage acid fuzz speedfreak heavy psych, pretty much. Though, actually, on this record, the original two side-long cuts, "Show The Cloven Hoof" and "Cardinal Virtues", were slightly less bludgeoning than usual Mainliner fare, being dark, meandering improvs closer to another of Nanjo's projects, Ohkami No Jikan, than to the pedal-to-the-metal rock insanity of, say, Mainliner's perversely titled debut Mellow Out. But compared to almost anything else they're certainly over-the-top. And this compact disc reish includes a bonus third track also from '97, a riffier ten-minute rocker called "Solid Static" if somehow you need an adrenaline kick after those first two 20 minute tracks. In case you're curious, the line-up for this particular Mainliner album is the same as yet another of Nanjo's bands, Musica Transonic, the trio consisting of Nanjo with guitarist Makoto Kawabata (Acid Mothers Temple) and drummer Tatsuya Yoshida (Ruins)!
MPEG Stream: "Solid Static"

album cover MAINLINER (KAWABATA MAKOTO'S) Revelation Space (Riot Season) cd 17.98
In some Spinal Tapped version of mythology, the gods of rock and roll, of noise, of distortion, of turning amps up to 11 and melting faces, having once said "let there be rock!", recently must have looked down in dismay from the heavens (where they dwell in castles made of ROCK, which float on puffy clouds generated by fog machines) upon their creation and found something in today's music scene sorely lacking. Where was the primal motorpsycho fuzz feedback rock freakery they originally had commanded? Not nearly enough of it about (and heck, even too much would never be enough). So, they summoned their loyal servitor, The Bearded One, Kawabata Makoto. As lead guitarist/guru of trippy Japanese jammers Acid Mothers Temple, Kawabata has always been a devout worshipper, doing the bidding of the gods with many, many Acid Mothers shows and releases month in and month out. But now he was called upon to do something more - to resurrect the mighty MAINLINER, power trio to end all power trios, and teach a lesson in transcendental distorto-delic mayhem to all mankind. And, lo, faithful Kawabata has not failed in this holy task!
Thus, Mainliner is back, with Revelation Space. It's been over a dozen years since the last proper Mainliner release, 2001's Imaginative Plain cd on PSF, and even longer since Mainliner made their debut with the unbeatable classic Mellow Out. The lineup has changed - in fact it's important to note that this is specifically billed as Kawabata Makoto's Mainliner, 'cause originally he was just the young hotshot guitarist in the band, which was in fact founded by bassist/vocalist Nanjo Asahito of the legendary High Rise, as an almost doppelganger version of that trio so Nanjo could go out on tour when High Rise couldn't. But now, for whatever reason, Nanjo's no longer participating in the band, presumably having given Kawabata his blessing to carry on with the name and mission. Kawabe Taigen, from new wave Japanese psych band Bo Ningen, has been chosen to replace him; and in addition to holding down the rumbling bottom end, he manages to emulate Nanjo's droning otherworldy croon quite capably.
They've had several different drummers on various releases (including Tatsuya Yoshida of Ruins); the drummer here, Koji Shimura, is from AMT, has played in High Rise and many other "Tokyo Flashback" acts, and appears on several previous Mainliner releases including Imaginative Plain. Thankfully, as it turns out, the "new" Mainliner is just as over-the-top and in-the-red as the old Mainliner ever was, maybe more!! They took this seriously - it's not just yet another freaky Kawabata album (as good as they always are), nope.
The opening title track drops the listener in at the deep end and then some, immediately unleashing insane blown out crumble and stutter, the guitar sounding like it's being run through an effects box labeled both Brainbombs AND Faxed Head, but then when it's wed to simple motorik drumming, and hazy, soft focus vox, the combination is strangely beautiful. Beautiful, too, the blurts of feedback shriek, the echo-drenched squalls, the chaotic drum splatter. Really, it's less about the songs, and more about the sound. If stripped of the insanely distorted guitars, this iteration of Mainliner would be a whole different, less beastly beast. And sure, white noise psych guitar freakouts were always a (big) part of Mainliner, but the sounds here seem so much more extreme, the guitarnoise utterly relentless, the whole record wreathed in a crackly field of malfunctioning guitar / damaged amp buzz skree, almost like something Editions Mego would put out, that caustic and corrosive.
But still, let's talk about the songs. The two-minute blast of "D.D.D" is like Aufgehoben doing a Stooges cover, playing through mile high Marshall stacks, and plugged into a daisy chain of dead battery stomp boxes, this time the maniacal vocals matching Kawabata's wild noise-shred with some seriously acrobatic, near falsetto wailing. Even the 'prettier' songs, like "Taitan", find Kawabata wrapping the tribal rhythms and swoonsome shimmer in wild tangled ribbons of strangled, distorto shred and stuttering, glitched out axe frenzy, so the prettiness is not just buried, but obliterated, or so it seems, until that guitarnoise is momentarily peeled back, eventually revealing the hushed mesmer still lurking just beneath the surface. "The Dispossessed" (found on the cd only) could be some classic proto-metal groover, with its busy drumming and woozy, bluesy groove, but there, the guitars seem to explode from within, a grinding blast of Hendrixian shreddery fused to Butthole Surfers style psychedelic freakery, again balanced by some truly haunting, ethereal vox.
And then there's the final track "New Sun", a 20+ minute epic, that begins with a gnarled churn of super distorted riffage, wrapped around an almost 'funky drummer' beat, those drifting spectral vocals hovering over the top, the band locked into a weird warped groove, a lurching metallic blues stomp, that about 4 minutes in slows down to a dirgey crawl, around the same time the guitars explode into some seriously heart of the sun super nova style fretboard freakery! And when they return to the main riff, the guitar is somehow even more distorted and blown out, and they cycle through the song proper one more time, before finishing off with 8 minutes of utter in-the-red cosmic guitar god freakout, with Kawabata flying high, his axe spitting sparks, the drums and bass buried beneath an avalanche of some of the freakiest, fantastically fucked up, psychedelic leads ever, building to a finale that cranks the drums to a frantic gallop, the bass thrumming fiercely, all within a swirling sonic cloud of Kawabata's amp destroying, soul searing psych-drone shred. Whew!!
The gods must be pleased. Any Mainliner fan will be too. But this is NOT just for Kawabata/AMT/Mainliner fanboys, excited though those folks should be. Nope, 'cause there's at least one aQ staffer who realized after hearing this that they NEEDED, but didn't have, all the previous Mainliner albums. You might too, and this would certainly make a good place to begin your lifetime of worship.
Not sure what the future holds for Kawabata Makoto's Mainliner, 'cause Kawabe Taigen's Bo Ningen band is based in London, where they seem to be making a name for themselves, collaborating with the Savages and such (we'll try to track down some imports by the way). But even if this is all we get out of this trio for another 12 years, it will suffice - it just might take that long for our ears to recover!!
As some of you mighty recall, the vinyl version of this was originally meant to be a Record Store Day release this year - they didn't get it pressed in time, so it was bumped back, but it's still hella limited - 500 copies for the world, either white or swamp green vinyl, released on what we're gonna call Mainliner Day. We've got about a dozen left and that's gonna be it. The good news is, though, that the compact disc version, which isn't quite so limited, contains a 9 and a half minute bonus track, the aforementioned "The Dispossessed". Other differences: the vinyl sleeve is black with gold print, while the cd comes in a white miniature lp-style sleeve likewise with gold print. And graphically, both kind of look a lot like Mellow Out, doubtless quite intentionally.
MPEG Stream: "Revelation Space"
MPEG Stream: "Taitan"
MPEG Stream: "New Sun"

album cover MAINLINER (KAWABATA MAKOTO'S) Revelation Space (Riot Season) lp 29.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
In some Spinal Tapped version of mythology, the gods of rock and roll, of noise, of distortion, of turning amps up to 11 and melting faces, having once said "let there be rock!", recently must have looked down in dismay from the heavens (where they dwell in castles made of ROCK, which float on puffy clouds generated by fog machines) upon their creation and found something in today's music scene sorely lacking. Where was the primal motorpsycho fuzz feedback rock freakery they originally had commanded? Not nearly enough of it about (and heck, even too much would never be enough). So, they summoned their loyal servitor, The Bearded One, Kawabata Makoto. As lead guitarist/guru of trippy Japanese jammers Acid Mothers Temple, Kawabata has always been a devout worshipper, doing the bidding of the gods with many, many Acid Mothers shows and releases month in and month out. But now he was called upon to do something more - to resurrect the mighty MAINLINER, power trio to end all power trios, and teach a lesson in transcendental distorto-delic mayhem to all mankind. And, lo, faithful Kawabata has not failed in this holy task!
Thus, Mainliner is back, with Revelation Space. It's been over a dozen years since the last proper Mainliner release, 2001's Imaginative Plain cd on PSF, and even longer since Mainliner made their debut with the unbeatable classic Mellow Out. The lineup has changed - in fact it's important to note that this is specifically billed as Kawabata Makoto's Mainliner, 'cause originally he was just the young hotshot guitarist in the band, which was in fact founded by bassist/vocalist Nanjo Asahito of the legendary High Rise, as an almost doppelganger version of that trio so Nanjo could go out on tour when High Rise couldn't. But now, for whatever reason, Nanjo's no longer participating in the band, presumably having given Kawabata his blessing to carry on with the name and mission. Kawabe Taigen, from new wave Japanese psych band Bo Ningen, has been chosen to replace him; and in addition to holding down the rumbling bottom end, he manages to emulate Nanjo's droning otherworldy croon quite capably.
They've had several different drummers on various releases (including Tatsuya Yoshida of Ruins); the drummer here, Koji Shimura, is from AMT, has played in High Rise and many other "Tokyo Flashback" acts, and appears on several previous Mainliner releases including Imaginative Plain. Thankfully, as it turns out, the "new" Mainliner is just as over-the-top and in-the-red as the old Mainliner ever was, maybe more!! They took this seriously - it's not just yet another freaky Kawabata album (as good as they always are), nope.
The opening title track drops the listener in at the deep end and then some, immediately unleashing insane blown out crumble and stutter, the guitar sounding like it's being run through an effects box labeled both Brainbombs AND Faxed Head, but then when it's wed to simple motorik drumming, and hazy, soft focus vox, the combination is strangely beautiful. Beautiful, too, the blurts of feedback shriek, the echo-drenched squalls, the chaotic drum splatter. Really, it's less about the songs, and more about the sound. If stripped of the insanely distorted guitars, this iteration of Mainliner would be a whole different, less beastly beast. And sure, white noise psych guitar freakouts were always a (big) part of Mainliner, but the sounds here seem so much more extreme, the guitarnoise utterly relentless, the whole record wreathed in a crackly field of malfunctioning guitar / damaged amp buzz skree, almost like something Editions Mego would put out, that caustic and corrosive.
But still, let's talk about the songs. The two-minute blast of "D.D.D" is like Aufgehoben doing a Stooges cover, playing through mile high Marshall stacks, and plugged into a daisy chain of dead battery stomp boxes, this time the maniacal vocals matching Kawabata's wild noise-shred with some seriously acrobatic, near falsetto wailing. Even the 'prettier' songs, like "Taitan", find Kawabata wrapping the tribal rhythms and swoonsome shimmer in wild tangled ribbons of strangled, distorto shred and stuttering, glitched out axe frenzy, so the prettiness is not just buried, but obliterated, or so it seems, until that guitarnoise is momentarily peeled back, eventually revealing the hushed mesmer still lurking just beneath the surface. "The Dispossessed" (found on the cd only) could be some classic proto-metal groover, with its busy drumming and woozy, bluesy groove, but there, the guitars seem to explode from within, a grinding blast of Hendrixian shreddery fused to Butthole Surfers style psychedelic freakery, again balanced by some truly haunting, ethereal vox.
And then there's the final track "New Sun", a 20+ minute epic, that begins with a gnarled churn of super distorted riffage, wrapped around an almost 'funky drummer' beat, those drifting spectral vocals hovering over the top, the band locked into a weird warped groove, a lurching metallic blues stomp, that about 4 minutes in slows down to a dirgey crawl, around the same time the guitars explode into some seriously heart of the sun super nova style fretboard freakery! And when they return to the main riff, the guitar is somehow even more distorted and blown out, and they cycle through the song proper one more time, before finishing off with 8 minutes of utter in-the-red cosmic guitar god freakout, with Kawabata flying high, his axe spitting sparks, the drums and bass buried beneath an avalanche of some of the freakiest, fantastically fucked up, psychedelic leads ever, building to a finale that cranks the drums to a frantic gallop, the bass thrumming fiercely, all within a swirling sonic cloud of Kawabata's amp destroying, soul searing psych-drone shred. Whew!!
The gods must be pleased. Any Mainliner fan will be too. But this is NOT just for Kawabata/AMT/Mainliner fanboys, excited though those folks should be. Nope, 'cause there's at least one aQ staffer who realized after hearing this that they NEEDED, but didn't have, all the previous Mainliner albums. You might too, and this would certainly make a good place to begin your lifetime of worship.
Not sure what the future holds for Kawabata Makoto's Mainliner, 'cause Kawabe Taigen's Bo Ningen band is based in London, where they seem to be making a name for themselves, collaborating with the Savages and such (we'll try to track down some imports by the way). But even if this is all we get out of this trio for another 12 years, it will suffice - it just might take that long for our ears to recover!!
As some of you mighty recall, the vinyl version of this was originally meant to be a Record Store Day release this year - they didn't get it pressed in time, so it was bumped back, but it's still hella limited - 500 copies for the world, either white or swamp green vinyl, released on what we're gonna call Mainliner Day. We've got about a dozen left and that's gonna be it. The good news is, though, that the compact disc version, which isn't quite so limited, contains a 9 and a half minute bonus track, the aforementioned "The Dispossessed". Other differences: the vinyl sleeve is black with gold print, while the cd comes in a white miniature lp-style sleeve likewise with gold print. And graphically, both kind of look a lot like Mellow Out, doubtless quite intentionally.
MPEG Stream: "Revelation Space"
MPEG Stream: "Taitan"
MPEG Stream: "New Sun"

album cover MAJESTICONS, THE Beauty Party (Big Dada) cd 17.98
Not sure why this record is so appealing, but it just is. It's big and dumb and fun and crazy and silly. Fairly sure it's a send up of the current MTV party hip hop sound, from bumping big beats, to slow jams to Mariah Carey sort of stuff. But it's so perfect it could easily fool fans of the real thing. Which I suppose is the point. Reminds me a lot of the N.E.R.D. record, all relentless driving beats and buzzing synth lines with goofy singing/rapping. Kind of lo-fi but you can tell it would sound bumpin' in your boomin' system. A big wild party, a big messy sloppy mix of all sorts of sounds: Missy Elliot, L'Trimm, Miami bass, two step garage, Vanity 6, and all sorts of crap. There's even a sort-of-cover of the Pet Shop Boy's 'Opportunity'. Weird. And the lyrics are so goddamn funny. The slow jams do get a bit much as the record progresses, but there's a couple wicked tracks that make the whole thing pretty worth while. I'm functioning completely under the assumption that this is all a perfectly calculated/executed joke, but if it's not a joke, it's almost even funnier.
MPEG Stream: "Piranha Party (Gentrification Party)"
MPEG Stream: "Fader Party"

album cover MAJEURE Solar Maximum (Temporary Residence Ltd.) cd 14.98
Prepare to be soothed and elated. Here's the second album from Majeure, aka A.E. Paterra, one half of Zombi. (FYI, the other half of Zombi, Steve Moore, also has a new solo album out, Light Echoes on Cuneiform, that we'll hopefully have reviewed for you next time around!)
Any longtime aQ customer knows we're big Zombi fans, and of the duo's respective solo work too. In fact, the first Majeure album, Timespan, was a Record Of The Week. So this new one, well, it's great, that's a given really. But beyond that, we're have a hard time coming up with stuff to say about it. What to add to what we've said already about Majeure's brand of propulsive, synth-laden, spacey instrumentals? (Of Timespan, we wrote: "Sprawling spaced out sci-fi electronic minimal kraut disco epics of the highest order. Fusing the creepy film music of Vangelis and John Carpenter with the pulsing hypnotic minimalism of Steve Reich or Philip Glass, even some propulsive motorik Can style krautrock, all woven into sprawling spaced out psychedelic futuristic retro faux film music, layered synths, looped melodies, and a killer mix of programmed rhythms and live drumming".) This new disc is a bit less sprawling, with only one of the six songs breaking into the double-digits duration-wise. And the mood is perhaps lighter and lovelier. But otherwise, what? We will stress that A.E. Paterra really knows what he's doing. (Moore too, on his discs.) This is well-crafted, retro cosmic shimmering synth bliss with some groove, yeah. We're lovin' it. It's like New Age disco music, and we mean that in a good way.
Ok, why not let's list all the gear Paterra is credited with playing on this: "drums, Moog Source, Moog Voyager OS, Kawai SX-240, Korg Lambda, Korg Polysix, Roland Alpha Juno 2 + Roland PG-300, Arp Omni II, Ursa Major Space Station, Mu-Tron Bi Phase, and an old German plate reverb". You don't even have to know what all that stuff is to get an idea about what this album is like. But gadgetry aside, what's more important is, like we said, Paterra knows how to use all those synths to make truly mesmeric music, that sounds both authentic and enjoyable.
Majeure's retro-vision isn't limited to the music - the art and graphic design is nostalgically spot-on. In fact, while there will be a vinyl lp release of this (which was bumped back a bit), the compact disc is the way to go anyway, on account of how they've replicated the '80s look, including the text explaining the superior performance of the Compact Disc Digital Audio System, and how to care for your new cd ("If you follow these suggestions, the Compact Disc will provide a lifetime of pure listening enjoyment"), which proudly bears the DDD code meaning a digital tape recorder was used for recording, mixing and mastering. At the same time, the cover looks like it's been reduced down from an lp-sized original, everything in tiny type, the tracklist divided between a side 1 and side 2. Nice.
MPEG Stream: "Maximum Overture"
MPEG Stream: "Solar Maximum"
MPEG Stream: "Extreme Northern Lights"

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