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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.


U ROY Now (Tabou1) cd 16.98
Brand new release by the godfather of dancehall and, some argue, rap, the legendary toaster U Roy. Unfortunately, not a very remarkable album though it features some guest appearances by such notables as Horace Andy, Errol Dunkley, Alton Ellis, Sugar Minott, Max Romeo, Sly & Robbie and more. Those unfamiliar with U Roy are better served by picking up Version Galore, or even Trojan's DJ Box Set (which features U Roy and some of the other pioneers of toasting.)
RealAudio clip: "Come On Come On"

U-MEN Solid Action (Chuckie-Boy Records) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
The U-Men were one of our (our being Allan and Andee) favorite bands from the legendary and long out of print Deep Six compilation that chronicled the early days of grunge and the Seattle scene (w/ Melvins, Green River, Malfunkshun, Skin Yard, Soundgarden). But the U-Men wern't really grunge, they were more like a spazzier more hyperactive and sort of new wave Mudhoney. A weird sort of garagey punk that has more in common with the Oblivians or the Monomen than the SubPop sound, but weirder and crazier. Early '80s Seattle "jazzed-out, surfed-up, dada-swamp" art-punk you might have missed at the time, but now, through the magic of cd technology, able to fuck you up either again or for the first time. This disc collects everything they ever recorded; album, singles and compilation tracks, including their song from "Deep Six". Recommended.

album cover U-ROY The Lost Album - Right Time Rockers (Sound System) cd 12.98
Part of me sees the development of the Jamaican DJ as truly bizarre. I try to imagine the Aquarius equivalent with say, our J. Allan Horrocks (who's initials are JAH, coincidentally enough) waxing poetic over The Lord Weird Slough Feg and cutting the tracks on an LP. That's basically the beginnings of the DJ, though my comparisons do not give the art form the justice it deserves. U Roy, or Hugh Roy, represents the king of the hill, top of the heap of DJ culture in Jamaica and it is in his footsteps that others followed regardless of who was the originator of this art form. U Roy's toasted versions of Duke Reid's rocksteady productions were persistently on Jamaica's top ten in the early seventies. Later, of course, his popularity and that of other DJs found producers dubbing the most popular rhythms to give the new singers a clean slate to work over. The tracks on this disc were all recorded at Channel One studios in 1976 and never intended for commmercial release, but for exclusive use in sound systems. U Roy had the pick of the litter rhythm wise and the late night sessions gave him an impromptu performance style that's maybe not as apparent on his official releases. Very highly recommended. Sorry, no LP at this time.
RealAudio clip: "Bury the Razor"
RealAudio clip: "Back Stabbing"

U-ROY & VARIOUS ARTISTS Version Galore (Trojan) 2cd 18.98

album cover U-ZIQ Duntisbourne Abbots Soulmate Devastation Technique (Planet Mu) cd 14.98

album cover U.S. CHRISTMAS Eat The Low Dogs (Neurot Recordings) cd 14.98
There's probably a perfectly good reason for this band being named "U.S. Christmas". We hope there is anyway. Regardless, that this disc (apparently the third so far, from this North Carolina based outfit) was released on Neurosis' label Neurot is of course a good sign, and indeed, Eat The Low Dogs is proving to be one of our favorite Neurot releases of the last little while, fitting in nicely with the likes of Guapo and Grey Daturas in the recent Neurot roster. Yep, this is good stuff! What sort of good stuff you ask? Heavy, dark, synth-swirling, psychedelic good stuff!
Turns out, U.S. Christmas play moody, echoey space rock. That's right, kinda like '70s Hawkwind. But with both more of an aggro metallic edge (though still slowed down and sleepy), and also more of a countryish one too (slide guitar evoking wide open spaces). You can imagine 'em out in the desert someplace, campfire burning, generator running, giant amps tilted upwards at a 45 degree angle to point at the starry sky, playing this stuff all night long 'til dawn comes or the drugs run out... the last track here is called "Pray To The Sky", actually.
The spaced-out sounds of synthesizers and Theremin abound, the whirring electronic FX here reminding us a bit of the whup whup whup of the jug on those old 13th Floor Elevators albums... a constant presence, but just another texture amidst real songwriting. Loping, heavy head nodding riffage and ragged, punk-angsty vocals are also part of the U.S. Christmas equation. Speaking of equations, how 'bout this one: Neurosis + Hawkwind + some twang + more space rock = U.S. Christmas. Or, if the Red Sparowes teamed up with Tarantula Hawk, or if Deadboy And The Elephantmen were channelling The Heads, or if the Galloping Coroners came from Texas instead of Hungary, those things too might sound something like this band. Quite recommended.
And who knows, maybe the -next- awesome heavy synthy space rock combo to come along will be inexplicably called Canadian Thanksgiving.
MPEG Stream: "In The Light Of All Time"
MPEG Stream: "Gallows Humor"

album cover U.S. CHRISTMAS Run Thick In The Night (Neurot Recordings) cd 14.98
We've been pretty big fans of North Carolina psychedelic space rockers U.S. Christmas for a while now, especially after hearing them take on some Hawkwind covers on the recent Hawkwind Triad covers record on Neurot (along with Harvestman and Minsk), that might have been the deal sealer, in part cuz these guys are so obviously beholden to the space rock gods themselves, their sound a modern reimagining of Hawkwind, albeit filtered through a sort of slow build, loud/quiet/loud metallic post rock thing. In the past we described these guys as "Neurosis + Hawkwind + some twang + more space" or Red Sparowes meets Tarantula Hawk, or even Deadboy And The Elephantmen meets The Heads, which all pretty much still apply. The guitar are thick and the riffs a sort of spaced out version of modern Earth, that subtle twang ever present, even when the band is churning out huge avalanches of crumbling downtuned heaviness, hell, there's even what sounds like slide guitar happening here, super distorted and effected, but still all slippery and twangy.
The vocals are way more up in the mix this time too, a multi tracked melodic howl, that suits the smoldering effects drenched heart of the sun space rock drift, and like their space rock forefathers, they may be crafting songs here, and writing riffs, and lyrics, but when the band truly shine is when they just let loose, unfurl, spreading out and unleashing a blown out psych sprawl of twisted swirling space-y heaviness, which they pretty much do in most every song. The band do mix it up here, some of the tracks are dark and folky, with acoustic guitars and strings, others are all swampy and bluesy, like Sixteen Horsepower or Woven Hand, apocalyptic and ominous, and a few mix the two, like the closer "The Moon In Flesh And Bone" which sounds like a country jam transformed into a sort of twangy space rock ballad, with wild psych guitar leads, and a brooding droned out finish, but for our money, these guys are at their best when they're spitting out thick gouts of druggy space psych excess, which as we mentioned before, is most of the damn time!
MPEG Stream: "In The Night"
MPEG Stream: "Wolf On Anareta"
MPEG Stream: "Fire Is Sleeping"
MPEG Stream: "The Moon In Flesh And Bone"

album cover U.S. GIRLS Gem (Fatcat) cd 13.98
The last U.S. Girls record, U.S. Girls On Kraak, found Meghan Remy, who IS U.S. Girls, pushing her sound ever/even further from the gnarled low fidelity roots that seemingly defined it, claiming that those lo-fi records were that way based entirely out of necessity. And as we mentioned in that review, she said that if she could, she would make a super glossy commercial pop record. And while it may have been her intention, U.S. Girls On Kraak was most definitely not that record - Gem however IS.
We were actually pretty shocked when we put this one. The record opens with some warped music box melodies, wreathed in weird industrial scrapes, the sound panned woozily from speaker to speaker, so we were thinking that maybe all that talk about glossy pop was a put on, that she had reverted to her early experimental floorcore sound, and were just beginning to luxuriate in those woozy soft noise, when the sound suddenly transforms into something MUCH poppier, and MUCH more polished, simple stately drumming, wheezing organ, and Remy's vocals way up front, soaring dramatically, the vibe very sixties girl group, positioning this new version of U.S. Girls alongside some other Girls, namely Dum Dum Girls, and Best Coast, and while it's not nearly THAT poppy, it definitely sounds like that's what Remy is shooting for. More minimal, and a bit more droney and psychedelic, but ultimately a dreamy organ driven sixties style fuzzy pop, and heck, it definitely suits her. The next track adds some skittery programmed drums, which gives it a bit of a cold wave vibe, but still poppy and almost torch songy, her voice sounding a bit like Zola Jesus, there are horns (or what sounds like horns), some serious girl group vocals, it's weird, and surprising, but cool. Track three might be the straight up poppiest of the bunch, and listening to that, it's hard to conceive of the fracture fucked up sounds on past U.S. Girls records.
"He Who" though might be one of our favorites, harkening back to the more experimental USG recordings, brittle machinelike rhythms, haunting pianos, lots of echo and reverb, cinematic and creepy, darkly dramatic and psychedelic, we could easily listen to a whole record of just that. The rest of the record unfurls similarly (to the poppier opening salvo), and then something weird happens, with Remy seeming to try her hand at different sounds, echo drenched garage pop on "I Don't Understand That Man", or most surprising of all, some big guitar Gary Glitter style classic glam rock on "Slim Baby", or the groovy almost calypso sounding "Down In The Boondocks", and it all sounds pretty great. There's one more short experimental track, all stuttering programmed beats and looped and layered vocal samples, murky and muted, but those moments are few and far in between. The new sound is definitely well removed from the U.S. Girls sound of old, but for fans of Dun Dum Girls, Best Coast, and other sort of sixties girl group jangle pop, this will very likely hit the spot! And who knows, might get some pop kids to check out the way more warped early records too!
MPEG Stream: "Another Color"
MPEG Stream: "Work From Home"
MPEG Stream: "He Who"
MPEG Stream: "Slim Baby"

album cover U.S. GIRLS Gem (Fatcat) lp 17.98
Now here on vinyl too!!!
The last U.S. Girls record, U.S. Girls On Kraak, found Meghan Remy, who IS U.S. Girls, pushing her sound ever/even further from the gnarled low fidelity roots that seemingly defined it, claiming that those lo-fi records were that way based entirely out of necessity. And as we mentioned in that review, she said that if she could, she would make a super glossy commercial pop record. And while it may have been her intention, U.S. Girls On Kraak was most definitely not that record - Gem however IS.
We were actually pretty shocked when we put this one. The record opens with some warped music box melodies, wreathed in weird industrial scrapes, the sound panned woozily from speaker to speaker, so we were thinking that maybe all that talk about glossy pop was a put on, that she had reverted to her early experimental floorcore sound, and were just beginning to luxuriate in those woozy soft noise, when the sound suddenly transforms into something MUCH poppier, and MUCH more polished, simple stately drumming, wheezing organ, and Remy's vocals way up front, soaring dramatically, the vibe very sixties girl group, positioning this new version of U.S. Girls alongside some other Girls, namely Dum Dum Girls, and Best Coast, and while it's not nearly THAT poppy, it definitely sounds like that's what Remy is shooting for. More minimal, and a bit more droney and psychedelic, but ultimately a dreamy organ driven sixties style fuzzy pop, and heck, it definitely suits her. The next track adds some skittery programmed drums, which gives it a bit of a cold wave vibe, but still poppy and almost torch songy, her voice sounding a bit like Zola Jesus, there are horns (or what sounds like horns), some serious girl group vocals, it's weird, and surprising, but cool. Track three might be the straight up poppiest of the bunch, and listening to that, it's hard to conceive of the fracture fucked up sounds on past U.S. Girls records.
"He Who" though might be one of our favorites, harkening back to the more experimental USG recordings, brittle machinelike rhythms, haunting pianos, lots of echo and reverb, cinematic and creepy, darkly dramatic and psychedelic, we could easily listen to a whole record of just that. The rest of the record unfurls similarly (to the poppier opening salvo), and then something weird happens, with Remy seeming to try her hand at different sounds, echo drenched garage pop on "I Don't Understand That Man", or most surprising of all, some big guitar Gary Glitter style classic glam rock on "Slim Baby", or the groovy almost calypso sounding "Down In The Boondocks", and it all sounds pretty great. There's one more short experimental track, all stuttering programmed beats and looped and layered vocal samples, murky and muted, but those moments are few and far in between. The new sound is definitely well removed from the U.S. Girls sound of old, but for fans of Dun Dum Girls, Best Coast, and other sort of sixties girl group jangle pop, this will very likely hit the spot! And who knows, might get some pop kids to check out the way more warped early records too!
MPEG Stream: "Another Color"
MPEG Stream: "Work From Home"
MPEG Stream: "He Who"
MPEG Stream: "Slim Baby"

album cover U.S. GIRLS Go Grey (Siltbreeze) lp 14.98
Record number two from Megan Remy, the woman behind ramshackle psychedelic lo-fi noise-pop grey-wave outfit U.S. Girls. Right off the bat, anyone into the current crop of warped warbly floorcore noise makers and fractured gloom popppers will dig this big time. If your record shelves are sagging under the weight of discs from the Dum Dum Girls, Night Control, Washed Out, Neon Indian, Gary War, Blank Dogs, Zola Jesus, Girls At Dawn and the like, then you're most definitely gonna have to make some space for this girl(s).
A dizzying noise drenched chunk of 4-track spaced out home brewed protopunk, drums murky and chaotic and stumbling, super distorted, angular spidery guitars, shimmery and echoey, twangy and almost surfy at times, the vocals not doing that sixties girl group thing that so many NOW bands seem smitten with, instead channeling classic British sounds from the late eighties early nineties, alternatingly yelped and howled, cooed and crooned, but WAY down in the mix, the vocals a shadowy presence wrapped around the sinewy basslines, that sound like corroded fragments of lost Joy Division songs, elsewhere soft swells of warm muted guitars wash over strangely affected alien vox, and distant melancholy melodies. The record veers from hushed, soporific Grouper style dreamdrift, and pounding, ultra distorted experimental pop, to pounding distortion drenched gloom punk, always lo-fi, but not brittle as much as murky and indistinct, almost like listening to some lost eighties jam on a station that's just barely coming in. The poppier moments have a definite Joe Meek vibe, that sort of kitchen sink DIY whatthefuck weirdo production, with many of the tracks, splintering into strange rhythmic workouts or abstract swirls of shimmering effects and random muted noise. But throughout, even at its most far out and experimental, Remy infuses those sounds with a strange sort of familiar warmth, a smoldering blackened beauty, that's hard to disguise, no matter how hard she tries.
Definitely on the more experimental / abstract side of the current crop of noisy lo-fi gloom pop experimentalism, but that's precisely what makes Go Grey sound so good...
MPEG Stream: "Turnaround Time"
MPEG Stream: "Summer Of The Yellow Dress"
MPEG Stream: "Red Ford Radio"
MPEG Stream: "Sleeping On Glass"

U.S. GIRLS Introducing... (Silt Breeze) lp 14.98

U.S. GIRLS Rosemary / Sed Knife (Electric Voice) 7" 6.98

album cover U.S. GIRLS U.S. Girls On Kraak (KRAAK) lp 15.98
The last time we heard from U.S. Girls, it was on a split single from the as-of-then-unknown project Dirty Beaches, a one-man band which pretty much exploded onto the scene with a drug'n'drone approach to rockabilly minimalism later perfected on his universally acclaimed album Badlands. On that single, Dirty Beaches was a perfect match for the equally deconstructed, if far more fucked-up anti-pop from U.S. Girls - the one-woman project of Meghan Remy. There and on her two lps for Siltbreeze, she purposefully imploded crooning electro-pop ditties, smearing the fragments with crusty noise and hallucinatory echo. It turns out that Remy's aggressively lo-fi aesthetic was built out of necessity; and she claimed in an interview once that she'd love to make an overly produced, glossy pop album. Those claims should be taken with a pretty hefty grain of salt, as her album U.S. Girls On Kraak is thoroughly damaged, even as it enjoys a much cleaner production. The cover of the disposable RnB hit "The Boy Is Mine" from Monica & Brandi takes a nasty, stalker-like turn towards the gritty minimal-wave of early Cold Cave even as Remy croons the lyrics with considerable aplomb. Elsewhere, her synths are decidedly sharp and jagged, and her voice is cat-scratched and wild-eyed, set above similarly imploded songs from her earlier albums with a few more flares like a Patsy Cline ballad soaked in equal parts cheap liquor and reverb or a Nina Hagen-esque demonic cabaret number. Yeah, it's pretty fucked-up; and that's the way we like it!

album cover U.S. GIRLS / DIRTY BEACHES split (Sibling Sex) 7"+download 8.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
From the same label that brought us the killer 7"/cd from Spanish electro punk outfit Der Ventilator (reviewed elsewhere on this list), comes this killer split, featuring long time fave US Girls, and new super hyped combo (or one man band, we're not sure), Dirty Beaches.
US Girls, aka Megan Remy offers up another fantastic batch of lo-fi psychedelic greywave, all murky and muddy, haunting and ritualistic, a strange drum driven vocal chant starts things off, her voice witchy and warped, all wreathed in a cloud of whirring low end, before the sound blossoms into a weird electronic groove, all minimal programmed percussion, beneath a soft haze of distortion and tangled psychedelic guitars, before launching into the final and longest track, a sort of creepy underwater goth dub workout, that sounds a bit like a more minimal avant lo-fi Zola Jesus, a looped sonar rhythm, Remy's vocals chant like and mesmerizing, eventually the beat and vox are swallowed up by a cloud of electronic squiggles and warped spaced out FX. Dirty Beaches is similarly murky and echoey, but instead of witchy electronic minimalism, he/they offer up a moody croon over a super minimal bit of rhythmic crunch, and some barely audible melody, the sound a woozy, warped bit of washed out drift, the rhythm more like a distant chugging train, a hushed pulse, there seems to be some super minimal guitar too, an almost Johnny Cash bit of low slung strum, but it too is wreathed in murk and transformed into just another warped undulating throb, the whole thing dark and dreamily dubby.
Super sweet packaging, full color cover in a thick plastic sleeve sealed with a sticker, pressed on green vinyl with a download coupon too.
MPEG Stream: US GIRLS "Mah Marie"
MPEG Stream: DIRTY BEACHES "Drunk Driving"

U.S. MAPLE (Skin Graft) 7" 4.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
We think it costs this much because the cover art looks 'good' -- transparent vinyl. Pretty shapes. Bright colors.

album cover U.S. MAPLE Acre Thrills (Drag City) cd 14.98
Hallelujah! US Maple return with "Acre Thrills". And such a wonderful return it is. Their last release "Talker" (produced by Michael Gira) was so sparse and subdued it was barely audible, but this one's turned up a few notches. Me, I love anticipating the stumbling -- but far from clumsy -- explosions of Al Johnson, Mark Shippy, and company. How these gents write, record and perform their music is a magnificent mind-boggler. A seeming haphazard mess of gimpy sonic bumps and bruises with the ghost of Captain Beefheart lurking about. Track 7 (with it's Link Wray-ish chicken scratch guitar line) will surely bring out the retarded epileptic chicken in all of us. With cover art that resembles a sharpie-marker-tagged baby blue bathroom tile, this really brightened Allan's day, who'd like to add that if you've been following the amazing and (for lack of a better word) fucked career of the Maple, "Acre Thrills" will indeed be a thrill, as the band perhaps know that they'd reached the pinnacle of abstraction with their previous disc "Talker" -- so, while not returning to (avant)rocking-out like they did on their debut "Long Hair In Three Stages", they do endeavor to craft something more recognizably close to what ordinary folks would consider "songs" on here. Heck, lead whisperer/barker Al Johnson even comes close to some indie-rock standard *singing* at points! But it's still all very abstract and fucked, unmistakably US Maple, with all their unique quirks and counter-intuitive approaches to rock/pop. In short, a great new record from a very special band!
RealAudio clip: "Acre Thrills track 6"
RealAudio clip: "Acre Thrills track 7"
RealAudio clip: "Acre Thrills track 10"
RealAudio clip: "Acre Thrills track 11"

U.S. MAPLE Acre Thrills (Drag City) lp 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Hallelujah! US Maple return with "Acre Thrills". And such a wonderful return it is. Their last release "Talker" (produced by Michael Gira) was so sparse and subdued it was barely audible, but this one's turned up a few notches. Me, I love anticipating the stumbling -- but far from clumsy -- explosions of Al Johnson, Mark Shippy, and company. How these gents write, record and perform their music is a magnificent mind-boggler. A seeming haphazard mess of gimpy sonic bumps and bruises with the ghost of Captain Beefheart lurking about. Track 7 (with it's Link Wray-ish chicken scratch guitar line) will surely bring out the retarded epileptic chicken in all of us. With cover art that resembles a sharpie-marker-tagged baby blue bathroom tile, this really brightened Allan's day, who'd like to add that if you've been following the amazing and (for lack of a better word) fucked career of the Maple, "Acre Thrills" will indeed be a thrill, as the band perhaps know that they'd reached the pinnacle of abstraction with their previous disc "Talker" -- so, while not returning to (avant)rocking-out like they did on their debut "Long Hair In Three Stages", they do endeavor to craft something more recognizably close to what ordinary folks would consider "songs" on here. Heck, lead whisperer/barker Al Johnson even comes close to some indie-rock standard *singing* at points! But it's still all very abstract and fucked, unmistakably US Maple, with all their unique quirks and counter-intuitive approaches to rock/pop. In short, a great new record from a very special band!

U.S. MAPLE Long Hair In Three Stages (Skin Graft) cd 14.98

album cover U.S. MAPLE Long Hair In Three Stages (Skin Graft) lp 15.98
WTF? The debut album, circa 1995, from this totally WTF? band has just been reissued on vinyl, yay! Looking back, we see that though we're big fans of this, shall we say, unique, Chicago avant-indie rock ensemble, and we've reviewed every other U.S. Maple release, we never actually reviewed this first one. Even though we know we loved it. Well, maybe it just took a while for us to figure out how to put the U.S. Maple "thing" into words. In our reviews of their later albums, we've said things like: "A seeming haphazard mess of gimpy sonic bumps and bruises" or "mathrock made with melted slide-rules", always emphasizing how abstract and confusional their unusually hard to describe compositions are.
This one, though, is their most skronked but still identifiably ROCK effort, and definitely a good starting place for anyone new to the USM experience. Exploding with spiralling shards of guitar and breathy bursts of weirdass vocals, Long Hair In Three Stages is a delightfully counter-intuitive take on heavy mathy noise rockin', like if Captain Beefheart were on AmRep or something. Though as always that really doesn't describe it - and that's a testament to what a great band these guys were, they're their own dang thing for sure. Highly, highly recommended!!!
FYI, Skin Graft also reissued this in two different, deluxe METAL cover editions, but both were a wee bit too expensive for us to just stock, like seventy bux retail. Might still be able to get you one though if you want us to check, though, just ask.
MPEG Stream: "Letter To ZZ Top"
MPEG Stream: "Magic Job"
MPEG Stream: "When A Man Says 'Ow'"

album cover U.S. MAPLE Purple On Time (Drag City) cd 14.98
This review of Purple On Time isn't so on time itself, as US Maple's latest has been out for over a month now...but, it has taken a while to absorb, as is so often the case with good albums, and this is not just good, it's great. Plus, US Maple's style of what I can only call 'counter intuitive' indie-rock is so deliberately strange and unique that it's always tough to capture in words, even by a person who is always looking in vain for the 'US Maple fan' box to tick when confronted with demographic questions on surveys and government forms. But I can tell you that, as always, the crucial elements of their sound are vocalist Al Johnson's odd bark (which has mellowed into more of a hoarse whisper), and the instrumental smear of sound made by the guitarist and rhythm section. It's a crazy, cosy quilt of guitars, drums, bass, and Johnson's curious croon, which maybe reminds us of Iggy Stooge at his breathiest. Mathy tangles of guitar strings and drums, dripping with notes, but restrained as if the whole the band is murmuring into your ear, seldom but sometimes unwinding into 'grooves' wracked with volume and ferocity. Confusing, comforting, complex, and quite lovely. And we're not just talking about this album's cover version of Dylan's "Lay Lady Lay"!
As I said, hard to describe. Hmm, how 'bout Codeine meets Beefheart? Naw, that's both obscure and inaccurate. Anyway, US Maple are underrated originals of rock who yet again prove their genius with this release. Recommended. And the packaging is deluxe as we expect from Maple releases, the cd booklet paper providing particular tactile satisfaction, while the vinyl version's got that 180 gram heft.
MPEG Stream: "Oh Below"
MPEG Stream: "I'm Just A Bag"

U.S. MAPLE Purple On Time (Drag City) lp 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
This review of Purple On Time isn't so on time itself, as US Maple's latest has been out for over a month now...but, it has taken a while to absorb, as is so often the case with good albums, and this is not just good, it's great. Plus, US Maple's style of what I can only call 'counter intuitive' indie-rock is so deliberately strange and unique that it's always tough to capture in words, even by a person who is always looking in vain for the 'US Maple fan' box to tick when confronted with demographic questions on surveys and government forms. But I can tell you that, as always, the crucial elements of their sound are vocalist Al Johnson's odd bark (which has mellowed into more of a hoarse whisper), and the instrumental smear of sound made by the guitarist and rhythm section. It's a crazy, cosy quilt of guitars, drums, bass, and Johnson's curious croon, which maybe reminds us of Iggy Stooge at his breathiest. Mathy tangles of guitar strings and drums, dripping with notes, but restrained as if the whole the band is murmuring into your ear, seldom but sometimes unwinding into 'grooves' wracked with volume and ferocity. Confusing, comforting, complex, and quite lovely. And we're not just talking about this album's cover version of Dylan's "Lay Lady Lay"!
As I said, hard to describe. Hmm, how 'bout Codeine meets Beefheart? Naw, that's both obscure and inaccurate. Anyway, US Maple are underrated originals of rock who yet again prove their genius with this release. Recommended. And the packaging is deluxe as we expect from Maple releases, the cd booklet paper providing particular tactile satisfaction, while the vinyl version's got that 180 gram heft.
MPEG Stream: "Oh Below"
MPEG Stream: "I'm Just A Bag"

U.S. MAPLE Sang Phat Editor (Skin Graft) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
One of the most abstract "post-rock" outfits around, these Chicagoans second album is a challenging, nay, puzzling but ultimately hypnotic listen...if you have the ears to hear. Again, produced by Jim O'Rourke, and again featuring a very cool dayglo cover with removable postcard.

U.S. MAPLE Talker (Drag City) cd 13.98
U.S. Maple graduate from the Skin Graft label to Drag City and...high school, apparently the "theme" of this record. The third Maple record and their most abstract yet, as the band attempts to destroy all notions of proper rock n' roll methodology. Maybe not the place to start with this band, but a great place to end up. On tour now with Pavement! Produced by big fan Michael Gira of Swans. Look for their profile in The Wire #185.

U.S. MAPLE The Wanderer (Sonic Bubblegum) cdep 4.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
A two-song single, at least one of them supposedly being a cover of Dion's "The Wanderer". Vocalist (in a very abstract way) Al Johnson and crew produce some typically skewed sounds, mathrock made with melted slide-rules. If you haven't heard them, get their Jim O'Rourke-produced full-length; if you have, and you've let it sink in, you'll want this.

album cover U.S. MUSIC WITH FUNKADELIC s/t (Westbound) cd 12.98
If you're a fan of Funkadelic, you've for sure had some hardcore jollies of late. First, a few weeks ago, there was that collection of unreleased Funkadelic jams entitled Toys, and now, Westbound has gone back for another dig through the vaults, unearthing this 1972 recording by a group from New Jersey called United Soul, aka US Music with Funkadelic, so called 'cause they were produced by P-Funk ringleader George Clinton (he was their homie, hailing from the same town in NJ), and featured various Funkadelics like Bernie Worrell and Fuzzy Haskins backing 'em up on these sessions recorded in Detroit and Toronto. Funkadelic also drafted some of the members of United Soul into their ranks, including vocalist Gary Shider. So basically this IS Funkadelic, make no mistake.
This material was originally meant for a United Soul album that was never released, though some of it found its way to the ears of Funkadelic fans in different forms. Two of the tracks, the mellow R&B number "I Miss My Baby" and the more uptempo, gospel-tinged "Baby I Owe You Something Good" were issued on a 7" single (and appeared on the Funkadelic 45's collection Music For My Mother). The latter was also reworked and rerecorded for inclusion on Let's Take It To The Stage three years later. And "This Broken Heart", a doo-wop tearjerker, preceded the version found on Cosmic Slop in '73.
But then there's a couple more rocked-out, psychedelic cuts here too, that any self-respecting Funkadelic fan is gonna freak over, both full of wild guitar: "Be What You Is", and (especially) "Rat Kiss The Cat On The Naval" [sic]. That one's a truly killer slab of funkariffic badassitude nearly 8 minutes long. It's got yr typical P-Funk drugged out nursery rhyme lyrics, over a fuzzed-out groove and the manic, looped cry of "Haa!!" which is soon overrun by some serious, searing, acid-drenched electric guitar soloing. And it just gets more and more intense as it goes along. Damn. Sometimes I (Allan) get to DJ sets of obscure early '70s heaviness, and you know that this is gonna get played next time I have the chance... It would fit right in with Doc Dail's "Aere Perennius", ferinstance. Or even the recently discovered Death's "Politicians In My Eyes".
Not sure if this disc really qualifies as an unreleased album, it's only five songs after all (seven tracks on the cd, but the extra two are merely the mono single versions of the two "Baby" numbers from the aforementioned 7"). But it sure does qualify as a way cool Funkadelic artifact indeed, and those don't appear every day even though right now it might seem like they do.
MPEG Stream: "Baby I Owe You Something Good"
MPEG Stream: "Be What You Is"
MPEG Stream: "Rat Kiss The Cat On The Naval"

album cover U.S. MUSIC WITH FUNKADELIC s/t (Westbound) lp 23.00
If you're a fan of Funkadelic, you've for sure had some hardcore jollies of late. First, a few weeks ago, there was that collection of unreleased Funkadelic jams entitled Toys, and now, Westbound has gone back for another dig through the vaults, unearthing this 1972 recording by a group from New Jersey called United Soul, aka US Music with Funkadelic, so called 'cause they were produced by P-Funk ringleader George Clinton (he was their homie, hailing from the same town in NJ), and featured various Funkadelics like Bernie Worrell and Fuzzy Haskins backing 'em up on these sessions recorded in Detroit and Toronto. Funkadelic also drafted some of the members of United Soul into their ranks, including vocalist Gary Shider. So basically this IS Funkadelic, make no mistake.
This material was originally meant for a United Soul album that was never released, though some of it found its way to the ears of Funkadelic fans in different forms. Two of the tracks, the mellow R&B number "I Miss My Baby" and the more uptempo, gospel-tinged "Baby I Owe You Something Good" were issued on a 7" single (and appeared on the Funkadelic 45's collection Music For My Mother). The latter was also reworked and rerecorded for inclusion on Let's Take It To The Stage three years later. And "This Broken Heart", a doo-wop tearjerker, preceded the version found on Cosmic Slop in '73.
But then there's a couple more rocked-out, psychedelic cuts here too, that any self-respecting Funkadelic fan is gonna freak over, both full of wild guitar: "Be What You Is", and (especially) "Rat Kiss The Cat On The Naval" [sic]. That one's a truly killer slab of funkariffic badassitude nearly 8 minutes long. It's got yr typical P-Funk drugged out nursery rhyme lyrics, over a fuzzed-out groove and the manic, looped cry of "Haa!!" which is soon overrun by some serious, searing, acid-drenched electric guitar soloing. And it just gets more and more intense as it goes along. Damn. Sometimes I (Allan) get to DJ sets of obscure early '70s heaviness, and you know that this is gonna get played next time I have the chance... It would fit right in with Doc Dail's "Aere Perennius", ferinstance. Or even the recently discovered Death's "Politicians In My Eyes".
Not sure if this disc really qualifies as an unreleased album, it's only five songs after all (seven tracks on the cd, but the extra two are merely the mono single versions of the two "Baby" numbers from the aforementioned 7"). But it sure does qualify as a way cool Funkadelic artifact indeed, and those don't appear every day even though right now it might seem like they do.
MPEG Stream: "Baby I Owe You Something Good"
MPEG Stream: "Be What You Is"
MPEG Stream: "Rat Kiss The Cat On The Naval"

U.S. SAUCER Hell, Yes! (Amarillo) cd 12.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
More country-tinged tunage from this Thinking Fellers Union Local 282-offshoot.

album cover U.S. SAUCER Hell, Yes! (Amarillo) cd 12.98
We've been slowly working our way through the catalog of this unsung SF outsider slo-mo avant country outfit, having already reviewed their 1993 debut, My Company Is Misery, and the maybe even better follow up 1994's Tender Places Come From Nothing. Hell, Yes! was the group's swansong, released in 1997, and is another gorgeous sprawl of detuned guitars, and woozy warped vocal harmonies. If you thought Souled American were druggy and drowsy, they didn't have anything on these guys. In a way. U.S. Saucer were almost like a country Residents if that makes any sense. Their sound definitely beholden to classic country, but filtered through a serious skewed outsider/underground music filter, resulting in a sound that literally sounds like nothing and no one else. Imagine some old country record melting as it spins on the turntable, or some classic country tune playing on a tape machine with dying batteries. The guitars are reminiscent of Marc Ribot in Tom Waits' band, atonal and detuned, the songs marked by strange tangled harmonies, the arrangements super economical, the instruments just two guitars, bass and viola, ultra stripped down, slipping from hushed and dreamy, to dense and angular. But even the prettiest most traditional sounding songs here can't help but end up sounding warped and weird once mainman David Tholfsen begins to deliver his twisted lyrics in that distinctively warbly dramatic croon. And when Margaret Murray chimes in, the harmonies, while strange, are utterly divine. And the songs that she sings lead on are hushed haunting gems.
Like the other two records, Hell, Yes! is a gorgeous collection of haunting outsider minimal country loveliness, that is definitely some sort of strange beautiful musical mystery, and comes extremely and highly recommended.
MPEG Stream: "Three Ungrasping Chieftans"
MPEG Stream: "Run Shroud Run"
MPEG Stream: "Planet Returns"
MPEG Stream: "Pellet Heart"

album cover U.S. SAUCER My Company Is Misery (Amarillo) lp 9.98
These two long out of print early nineties gems back in stock, but who knows for how long. As far as we know, these in fact remain out of print, but one of the band members bequeathed us a tiny handful, so we figured some of you more adventurous folks out there, might appreciate an earful of these SF avant slo-mo country weirdos, who over these two records (and a few more after), created a warped, dark, idiosyncratic drummerless country music, that drifts and creeps, moodily and murkily, the music, hushed and spidery, mostly just guitar and viola (provided by Brian Hageman of Thinking Fellers Union Local 282), the vocals super melodramatic and definitely an acquired taste, backed by Margaret Murray's more hushed, almost whispered croon, the songs loose and ramshackle, drowsy and druggy, but ultimately strangely lovely.
The second record is even weirder, noiser, the guitars buzzing more wildly, Murray's vocals more present, sometimes a wild caterwaul, other times locked into dreamy harmonies with USS main man David Tholfsen, the music, slipping easily from hushed moody brood, to angular Jandekian blooze, both of these records, had they been instrumental, would sound that far removed from the stoner country sprawl of aQ faves Souled American, but the vocals definitely transform this into an even wilder strain of outsider lo-fi country, one that sounds just as good today as when we first heard theses records two decades ago.
Fans of Songs:Ohia, Palace Brothers, and other country outliers should easily fall under U.S. Saucer's dark hypnotic spell.
MPEG Stream: "Best Wet Curse"
MPEG Stream: "Scold Mourners"
MPEG Stream: "Forgone Hormone"

album cover U.S. SAUCER Tender Place Come From Nothing (Amarillo) cd 12.98
On the last list, we reviewed the lp version of this long out of print early nineties slowcore outsider country masterpiece, having gotten copies directly from the band. We also managed to get an handful of cd copies as well, which includes three bonus tracks NOT on the lp version!
Tender Place Come From Nothing was the 1994 sophomore release from these SF avant slo-mo country weirdos, who over the course of four years/records, conjured up a warped, dark, idiosyncratic drummerless country music, that drifts and creeps, moodily and murkily, the music, hushed and spidery, mostly just guitar and viola (provided by Brian Hageman of Thinking Fellers Union Local 282), the vocals super melodramatic and definitely an acquired taste, backed by Margaret Murray's more hushed, almost whispered croon, the songs loose and ramshackle, drowsy and druggy, but ultimately strangely lovely.
Unlike their comparatively more mellow debut, this record is even weirder and noisier, the guitars buzzing more wildly, Murray's vocals more present, sometimes a wild caterwaul, other times locked into dreamy harmonies with USS main man David Tholfsen, the music, slipping easily from hushed moody brood, to angular Jandekian blooze, and had it been instrumental, the sound here wouldn't be that far removed from the stoner country sprawl of aQ faves Souled American, but the vocals definitely transform this into an even wilder strain of outsider lo-fi country, one that sounds just as good today as when we first heard theses records two decades ago.
Fans of Songs:Ohia, Palace Brothers, and other country outliers should easily fall under U.S. Saucer's dark hypnotic spell.
MPEG Stream: "Cowboy Song"
MPEG Stream: "Frail"
MPEG Stream: "Hold On Dear Brother"

album cover U.S. SAUCER Tender Place Come From Nothing (Amarillo) lp 9.98
These two long out of print early nineties gems back in stock, but who knows for how long. As far as we know, these in fact remain out of print, but one of the band members bequeathed us a tiny handful, so we figured some of you more adventurous folks out there, might appreciate an earful of these SF avant slo-mo country weirdos, who over these two records (and a few more after), created a warped, dark, idiosyncratic drummerless country music, that drifts and creeps, moodily and murkily, the music, hushed and spidery, mostly just guitar and viola (provided by Brian Hageman of Thinking Fellers Union Local 282), the vocals super melodramatic and definitely an acquired taste, backed by Margaret Murray's more hushed, almost whispered croon, the songs loose and ramshackle, drowsy and druggy, but ultimately strangely lovely.
The second record is even weirder, noiser, the guitars buzzing more wildly, Murray's vocals more present, sometimes a wild caterwaul, other times locked into dreamy harmonies with USS main man David Tholfsen, the music, slipping easily from hushed moody brood, to angular Jandekian blooze, both of these records, had they been instrumental, would sound that far removed from the stoner country sprawl of aQ faves Souled American, but the vocals definitely transform this into an even wilder strain of outsider lo-fi country, one that sounds just as good today as when we first heard theses records two decades ago.
Fans of Songs:Ohia, Palace Brothers, and other country outliers should easily fall under U.S. Saucer's dark hypnotic spell.
MPEG Stream: "Cowboy Song"
MPEG Stream: "Frail"
MPEG Stream: "Hold On Dear Brother"

album cover U.V. POP Just A Game (Sacred Bones) 7" 5.50
The latest in Sacred Bones' on going series of unearthed gems, former installments included records by 13th Chime, Cultural Decay and Carl Simmons, all of which we dug big time. And this seven inch from UK outfit is another good one. Originally released in 1982, and produced by Cabaret Voltaire, the A side is fast becoming a new favorite jam, definitely of its time, but had you told us it was some new band channeling the past, we definitely would have believed it. Very groovy, a little bit funky, that sort of propulsive postpunk/funk bassline, a bit of an industrial vibe too, but the horns, layered droned out horns, laying down these totally mesmerizing muted atonal melodies, stretched out into long blasts of sound, that in their own way are seriously heavy, and then the vox come in, loud and distorted, the whole thing jagged but hypnotic, sort of dancey, but also a bit dark and sinister.
The flipside sounds a bit more beholden to Cabaret Voltaire, a little more electro pop, heavy on the eighties pop vibe, we're definitely hearing some Talk Talk actually, skittery rhythms, haunting synth swirls, lots of eighties style guitar jangle (a little Smiths, a little Big Country), wrapped in analog electronics and strapped to a pulsing minimal beat, definitely another track that predicts much of what would come decades later, the sort of sound the current crop must worship.
Both sides for how different they are, each play like a single part, with repeated subtle variations, which is what makes both tracks here so hypnotic and trancelike. Love it!

album cover U.V. POP No Songs Tomorrow (Sacred Bones) cd 15.98
Long overdue reissue of this legendary post punk classic, originally released in 1981, with No Songs Tomorrow, this UK outfit perfectly captured the climate of the time, a sense of hopelessness and loss of faith in humanity, here represented by a songsuite of dark, brooding new wave pop, just give a listen to the title track, which almost sounds more like Laughing Stock era Talk Talk, skeletal programmed rhythms, swirling synths, plaintive emotional vocals, spidery minor key guitars, a fantastically bleak lament, a punkwave dirge that manages to be both dark and moody, haunting and atmospheric. And so goes the rest of the record, unlike the 7" we reviewed a while back, which found the band in a more punkfunk mode, the songs here tend toward the dour, a sort of post punk slowcore in a way, "Portrait (extended)" takes minor key guitars, adds some jangle, some chiming harmonics, a low slung bassline, the song rife with tension and emotion, the vocals gradually growing more intense and emotional as the music continues to ratchet up the miserablist vibe.
In a weird way, much of No Songs Tomorrow plays like some protest folk record, just with a slightly different sonic palette. Only slightly, as many of the tracks are rooted in acoustic guitars and vocals, the group adding squalls of electric guitar or haunting hollow beats, or swirls of softly effected guitar buzz. The second half of the record does get a bit more propulsive and punky, like on "Sleep Don't Talk", which definitely has a bit of a frantic electro synth pop vibe, with lots of weird buzz and processed vox, or on "Commitment", which transforms the sound into a weird jazz flecked post industrial soundscape, peppered with sax bleats and sampled voices, not to mention throbbing bass and crunchy guitar squalls, or the awesomely tripped out closer "Four Minute Warning", with its soaring synths, and weird crooned female vox and strange bits of industrial clatter.
A dark post punk gem that sounds as good today as it did 30 years ago! The reissue includes three bonus tracks as well.
MPEG Stream: "No Songs Tomorrow"
MPEG Stream: "Portrait (Extended)"
MPEG Stream: "Some Win This"
MPEG Stream: "Four Minute Warning"

album cover U.V. POP No Songs Tomorrow (Sacred Bones) lp 18.98
Long overdue reissue of this legendary post punk classic, originally released in 1981, with No Songs Tomorrow, this UK outfit perfectly captured the climate of the time, a sense of hopelessness and loss of faith in humanity, here represented by a songsuite of dark, brooding new wave pop, just give a listen to the title track, which almost sounds more like Laughing Stock era Talk Talk, skeletal programmed rhythms, swirling synths, plaintive emotional vocals, spidery minor key guitars, a fantastically bleak lament, a punkwave dirge that manages to be both dark and moody, haunting and atmospheric. And so goes the rest of the record, unlike the 7" we reviewed a while back, which found the band in a more punkfunk mode, the songs here tend toward the dour, a sort of post punk slowcore in a way, "Portrait (extended)" takes minor key guitars, adds some jangle, some chiming harmonics, a low slung bassline, the song rife with tension and emotion, the vocals gradually growing more intense and emotional as the music continues to ratchet up the miserablist vibe.
In a weird way, much of No Songs Tomorrow plays like some protest folk record, just with a slightly different sonic palette. Only slightly, as many of the tracks are rooted in acoustic guitars and vocals, the group adding squalls of electric guitar or haunting hollow beats, or swirls of softly effected guitar buzz. The second half of the record does get a bit more propulsive and punky, like on "Sleep Don't Talk", which definitely has a bit of a frantic electro synth pop vibe, with lots of weird buzz and processed vox, or on "Commitment", which transforms the sound into a weird jazz flecked post industrial soundscape, peppered with sax bleats and sampled voices, not to mention throbbing bass and crunchy guitar squalls, or the awesomely tripped out closer "Four Minute Warning", with its soaring synths, and weird crooned female vox and strange bits of industrial clatter.
A dark post punk gem that sounds as good today as it did 30 years ago! The reissue includes three bonus tracks as well.
MPEG Stream: "No Songs Tomorrow"
MPEG Stream: "Portrait (Extended)"
MPEG Stream: "Some Win This"
MPEG Stream: "Four Minute Warning"

album cover U.V. RACE Racism (In The Red) cd 13.98
Not sure why it took so long for us to get turned on to these guys. We definitely remember listening to them in the past, and not being too impressed. It could be a case of just being a bit garage rock-ed out. Too many bands in a scene that seemed to be spawning a new band ever 5 seconds, the last thing we needed was one more. But on Racism, UV Race quickly show us what we've been missing out on. Definitely way weirder and quirkier than most of the garage rock out there, the label describes them as "Australia's most genius avant-tards", which kinds sums it up. Catchy and jangly, fuzzy and crunchy, but also sort of druggy and fucked up, warped and demented (check out the chorus on "I'm A Pig": "OINK OINK OINK OINK"), the songs are super simple, one or two parts, sing along lyrics, guitars that get woozy and angular, lots of fuzz and distortion, the sounds weirdly psychedelic, plenty of handclaps, squiggly freak out leads, and loads of super blown out fuzz guitars, ridiculous lyrics, so ridiculous in fact that the whole booklet is a series of paragraph long descriptions of each song, the lyrics, who wrote it, what inspired it, pretty goddamn funny. There's a definitely Fall vibe too (just check out "Life Park", with its sung/spoken vocals), and a lot of this is of the drug addled, brain damaged, outsider pop variety, but scattered throughout are some seriously ruling jams, the record at its best when those two sides collide, which they do quite often, maybe nowhere moreso than on the ultra tripped out closer, "Memenonome", all primitive drum plod, echo drenched shards of space guitar, dense psychedelic swirls, a long stretches of near silence, all leading up to some surprisingly catchy poppiness which quickly devolves into a melting miasma of bleating horns and tinkling xylophones, all wrapped around the group's lilting, and weirdly catchy psych pop dirge.
MPEG Stream: "Be Your Self"
MPEG Stream: "I'm A Pig"
MPEG Stream: "Life Park"

album cover U.V. RACE Racism (In The Red) lp 14.98
Not sure why it took so long for us to get turned on to these guys. We definitely remember listening to them in the past, and not being too impressed. It could be a case of just being a bit garage rock-ed out. Too many bands in a scene that seemed to be spawning a new band ever 5 seconds, the last thing we needed was one more. But on Racism, UV Race quickly show us what we've been missing out on. Definitely way weirder and quirkier than most of the garage rock out there, the label describes them as "Australia's most genius avant-tards", which kinds sums it up. Catchy and jangly, fuzzy and crunchy, but also sort of druggy and fucked up, warped and demented (check out the chorus on "I'm A Pig": "OINK OINK OINK OINK"), the songs are super simple, one or two parts, sing along lyrics, guitars that get woozy and angular, lots of fuzz and distortion, the sounds weirdly psychedelic, plenty of handclaps, squiggly freak out leads, and loads of super blown out fuzz guitars, ridiculous lyrics, so ridiculous in fact that the whole booklet is a series of paragraph long descriptions of each song, the lyrics, who wrote it, what inspired it, pretty goddamn funny. There's a definitely Fall vibe too (just check out "Life Park", with its sung/spoken vocals), and a lot of this is of the drug addled, brain damaged, outsider pop variety, but scattered throughout are some seriously ruling jams, the record at its best when those two sides collide, which they do quite often, maybe nowhere moreso than on the ultra tripped out closer, "Memenonome", all primitive drum plod, echo drenched shards of space guitar, dense psychedelic swirls, a long stretches of near silence, all leading up to some surprisingly catchy poppiness which quickly devolves into a melting miasma of bleating horns and tinkling xylophones, all wrapped around the group's lilting, and weirdly catchy psych pop dirge.
MPEG Stream: "Be Your Self"
MPEG Stream: "I'm A Pig"
MPEG Stream: "Life Park"

album cover U2 How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb (Universal) cd 24.00
These modern masters of hyper-commercialism strike again with a whammee. U2 bring us a dvd and cd combination filled with a rockumentary, live performances and U2-brand iPod charmers. Features their commercial hit song, Vertigo, like, a million times (on cd and dvd). Man, if I hear a U2 song paired next to anything for sale, I'd buy it. A new car, an i-Pod, life insurance, even Depends.
MPEG Stream: "Vertigo"
MPEG Stream: "Miracle Drug"

album cover U2 No Line On The Horizon (Island) cd 15.98

UBSB Traceroute (Ash International (R.I.P.) ) lp 10.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
"We created a Unix software agent that sat along a high bandwidth backbone pipe, essentially eavesdropping, gathering data, writing out a soundfile of everything it saw... The different tracks represent different states of the network - at different times, and different kinds of data passing by". UBSB is the collective project from Ulf Bilting, Zbigniew Karkowski, Atau Tanaka, and Edwin van der Heide, which presents a simple transcription of a data stream into sonic attributes, which in the end could be a textural mirror of Merzbow's noise tracks.

album cover UBT Ego Orientation (Psychic Handshake) cd 14.98
Record number two from this Canadian garage rock / noise pop combo, whose sound might surprise you, considering it's the project of none other than Mikey Heppner, frontman for Canadian metalheads Priestess, and his lady Kathryn McCaughhey, who together whip up some seriously hooky, crazy catchy, sorta psychedelic bubblegum garage, that KILLS.
Opener "Follow The Waves To The Coastline" is practically perfect, equal parts Redd Kross and Best Coast, fuzzy, jangly, sunshiney, with a main hook to die for, super complex, almost a little proggy, but at it's core classic power pop in garage rock clothing. It's not even two minutes, but it's one of those songs you'll find yourself listening to over and over and over. Took a while before we could make it any further into the record than that track. But there's plenty more garage pop goodness to be found. The second track is weirdly almost funky, super groovy, cowbell and handclap driven fuzz pop, which starts off all skeletal and herky jerky, before blossoming into full on heavy pop crunch, before switching it up again and splintering into some FX drenched proggy trip out, and then it's right back to the cowbells and handclaps. "Bumby's Song" brings the sound right back to pure pop. Sure it's fuzzy and stompy and a little bit noisy, but it's so catchy, the vocals soaring into a falsetto for another killer chorus. Classic girl group sounds find their way into UBT's sound, so does glam rock, lots of this has a sort of Ty Segall / Mikal Cronin vibe, but really, for all the garage rock-isms, this IS essentially an awesome noise pop record, leaning HEAVILY on the pop.
Check out the samples, especially the first one, and odds are you'll be hooked. Easily our favorite new pop/garage record, and ANYone whose been digging the current crop of local garageniks (Thee Oh Sees, Segall, Cronin, Warm Soda, etc.) should snap this up pronto!
MPEG Stream: "Follow The Waves To the Coastline"
MPEG Stream: "She Does Too"
MPEG Stream: "Bumby's Song"

album cover UBT Ego Orientation (Psychic Handshake) lp 17.98
Record number two from this Canadian garage rock / noise pop combo, whose sound might surprise you, considering it's the project of none other than Mikey Heppner, frontman for Canadian metalheads Priestess, and his lady Kathryn McCaughhey, who together whip up some seriously hooky, crazy catchy, sorta psychedelic bubblegum garage, that KILLS.
Opener "Follow The Waves To The Coastline" is practically perfect, equal parts Redd Kross and Best Coast, fuzzy, jangly, sunshiney, with a main hook to die for, super complex, almost a little proggy, but at it's core classic power pop in garage rock clothing. It's not even two minutes, but it's one of those songs you'll find yourself listening to over and over and over. Took a while before we could make it any further into the record than that track. But there's plenty more garage pop goodness to be found. The second track is weirdly almost funky, super groovy, cowbell and handclap driven fuzz pop, which starts off all skeletal and herky jerky, before blossoming into full on heavy pop crunch, before switching it up again and splintering into some FX drenched proggy trip out, and then it's right back to the cowbells and handclaps. "Bumby's Song" brings the sound right back to pure pop. Sure it's fuzzy and stompy and a little bit noisy, but it's so catchy, the vocals soaring into a falsetto for another killer chorus. Classic girl group sounds find their way into UBT's sound, so does glam rock, lots of this has a sort of Ty Segall / Mikal Cronin vibe, but really, for all the garage rock-isms, this IS essentially an awesome noise pop record, leaning HEAVILY on the pop.
Check out the samples, especially the first one, and odds are you'll be hooked. Easily our favorite new pop/garage record, and ANYone whose been digging the current crop of local garageniks (Thee Oh Sees, Segall, Cronin, Warm Soda, etc.) should snap this up pronto!
MPEG Stream: "Follow The Waves To the Coastline"
MPEG Stream: "She Does Too"
MPEG Stream: "Bumby's Song"

album cover UCHIDA, YUYA & THE FLOWERS Challenger (Phoenix) cd 17.98
For fans of Janis Joplin and/or Flower Travellin' Band... a reissue of the 1968 album from this Japanese Sixties psychedelic act, who later morphed into Seventies hard rockers and massive AQ faves Flower Travellin Band. This early incarnation of the FTB had a mostly different lineup, including female vocalist Remi Aso who does her best Janis (and Grace Slick), singing in either a delicate waver or a screeching wail, wow. And The Flowers back her up like Big Brother, total pros. There's also a male singer, Chiba Hiroshi, who belts it out on such songs as "Hey Joe". Yup there's lots of then-contemporary covers on here, including stuff by Hendrix, Cream, Jefferson Airplane, and Janis Joplin. So you've gotta be into the classic rock - with a Japanese twist. Apparently Uchida had just returned from a trip to England, hanging out there with John Lennon, and this record was his first attempt to take the Japanese "Group Sounds" scene into a new, more psychedelic acid rock direction to emulate the hipness happenin' in London and San Francisco at the time. The band got attention for that - and for their naked album cover photo, the band loitering about in an idyllic meadow someplace, in the buff, though any band members (ahem) who happen to be facing toward the camera also happen to be reading newspapers or magazines for some reason... Of course, Uchida pulled this stunt again with the first FTB album that came out a few years later, with the naked band on the cover riding choppers down the highway.
Besides the cover, the first thing anyone would notice about this album is the charming intro skit, at the beginning of track one, wherein a guy tells a giggling girl about this great new band from Tokyo, "these six guys and this chick", who "do some really fantastic Big Brother And The Holding Company stuff". And he's not kidding, as the rest of the record proceeds to prove. And let's face it, these are great songs, you might not want to hear the versions played on your local classic rock radio station ever again but the Summer Of Love seems a lot cooler when we're tuning in via Tokyo.
Numbered, limited cd edition in the usual Phoenix manner.
MPEG Stream: "Combination Of The Two"
MPEG Stream: "Greasy Heart"
MPEG Stream: "Stone Free"

album cover UCHIDA, YUYA & THE FLOWERS Challenger (Phoenix) lp 24.00
THIS BOING BOING APPROVED GOLDEN OLDIE NOW ALSO REISSUED ON (180 GRAM) VINYL!!
Here's what we said about the cd version we recently reviewed:
For fans of Janis Joplin and/or Flower Travellin' Band... a reissue of the 1968 album from this Japanese Sixties psychedelic act, who later morphed into Seventies hard rockers and massive AQ faves Flower Travellin Band. This early incarnation of the FTB had a mostly different lineup, including female vocalist Remi Aso who does her best Janis (and Grace Slick), singing in either a delicate waver or a screeching wail, wow. And The Flowers back her up like Big Brother, total pros. There's also a male singer, Chiba Hiroshi, who belts it out on such songs as "Hey Joe". Yup there's lots of then-contemporary covers on here, including stuff by Hendrix, Cream, Jefferson Airplane, and Janis Joplin. So you've gotta be into the classic rock - with a Japanese twist. Apparently Uchida had just returned from a trip to England, hanging out there with John Lennon, and this record was his first attempt to take the Japanese "Group Sounds" scene into a new, more psychedelic acid rock direction to emulate the hipness happenin' in London and San Francisco at the time. The band got attention for that - and for their naked album cover photo, the band loitering about in an idyllic meadow someplace, in the buff, though any band members (ahem) who happen to be facing toward the camera also happen to be reading newspapers or magazines for some reason... Of course, Uchida pulled this stunt again with the first FTB album that came out a few years later, with the naked band on the cover riding choppers down the highway.
Besides the cover, the first thing anyone would notice about this album is the charming intro skit, at the beginning of track one, wherein a guy tells a giggling girl about this great new band from Tokyo, "these six guys and this chick", who "do some really fantastic Big Brother And The Holding Company stuff". And he's not kidding, as the rest of the record proceeds to prove. And let's face it, these are great songs, you might not want to hear the versions played on your local classic rock radio station ever again but the Summer Of Love seems a lot cooler when we're tuning in via Tokyo.
MPEG Stream: "Combination Of The Two"
MPEG Stream: "Greasy Heart"
MPEG Stream: "Stone Free"

album cover UCHIHASHI, KAZUHISA & TATSUYA YOSHIDA Improvisations (Magaibutsu) 2cd 18.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
The last AQ list was a good one for fans of Japanese prog maniacs the Ruins... there was the Vrresto reissue and their new split 7" with High On Fire. Keeping up the pace, this time 'round we've got another Ruins-related release...
This energetically, entertainingly exhausting double cd set sees sees Ruins mastermind Tatsuya Yoshida teamed up in an improv duo with Kazuhisa Uchihashi (of Altered States and Ground Zero fame). Hence the title, Improvisations. But these aren't improvs that only jazz-fanciers would like. Nope, this is ROCK improv. Prog rock to be precise, of course. Hectic and crazy and complicated. It's mind-scrabblin' stuff let me tell you. With so many musical ideas firing off in an ADD frenzy, for so long... 146 minutes, 25 tracks! And they're at a level of complexity and catchiness that makes it really hard for us to believe that these are improvs, and not carefully-thought-out compositions, actually!! But we're told they're all improvised, all recorded live at several venues in Japan.
Chances are you're familiar with Ruins and already know Tatsuya Yoshida to be a monster drummer. Uchihashi is perhaps less-well known, but his guitar (and effects) prowess is prodigious, take it from us. Together these guys are a dream-team. If there was such a thing as gladitorial improv-rock combat, these guys would be unbeatable in the duo catagory. Very impressive, very insane. A veritable cornucopia of perplexing progged-out riffage and ridiculousness.
A word about the packaging -- it's aesthetically pleasing (with nice stone photos by Yoshida, who is skilled at graphics and layout) but, well, it's a two disc set with both cds stacked on top of one another, on the same little foam-rubber nub attached to a tri-fold cardstock sleeve. My discs haven't gotten scratched, yet, but still...probably not the best idea! The packaging police should issue these guys a ticket. Playing them this music though would be an adequate insanity defense...
MPEG Stream: "H"
MPEG Stream: "N"
MPEG Stream: "T"

album cover UCHIHASHI, KAZUHISA & TATSUYA YOSHIDA Improvisations Vol. 2 (Magaibutsu) 3cd 24.00
How do you follow a sprawling double cd of out-there guitar/drums improv? With a triple cd set of course! That is, if you've got the hyperactive musical genius of Japanese drum god Tatsuya Yoshida (Ruins, Koenjihyakkei, etc.) and his guitar-wielding partner here, Uchihashi Kazuhisa (Ground Zero, Altered States). No problem. Last year's amazing first volume of jagged live rock Improvisations from this duo was 146 minutes long. To accomplish the 214 minutes (42 tracks) of this second volume, they have brought in some help: there's guest appearances on portions of these three cds from Sato Kenji (bass), Umezu Kazutoki (reeds), Nasuno Mitsuru (bass), Komori Keiko (sax), and the Boredoms' Yamamoto Seiichi (guitar). With Yoshida's uninhibited vocals and use of sampler, and Kazuhisa's mastery of gtr fx as well, this is a veritable cornucopia of chaotic creativity -- intricate ADD prog, full-on freakouts, jazz flavored sketches, delicate melodies, spiky speedballs, fuzzy riffage, and many moods more. Ruins fans will be STOKED. Exhilarating -and- exhausting listening as you'd expect.
Nicely packaged in a tri-fold digi designed by Yoshida with his usual photos of ancient stones in vibrant color.
MPEG Stream: "A7"
MPEG Stream: "B2"
MPEG Stream: "C3"
MPEG Stream: "E1"

album cover UCHIHASHI, KAZUHISA & TATSUYA YOSHIDA Improvisations Vol.3 (Magaibutsu) cd + dvd 17.98
This intense Japanese improv duo, featuring Ruins drummer Tatsuya Yoshida and Altered States/Ground Zero guitarist Uchihashi Kazuhisa, has previously released a double cd (their debut, now out of print), and then a triple cd, and now their third release takes the form of a cd AND a dvd. And if you've got those other two documents, you know you want this too. On the cd, there's 21 more tracks of spasmodic drums vs. guitar interplay, as really only these two could do. On the (NTSC, all-region, pro shot/edited) dvd, you get to see as well as hear 'em doing what they do best, a complex improv collage of utter out-guitar grind, angular stabs and squibs and squiggles, snatches of Yoshida's trademark vocal warble, sudden shifts and synch-ups, syncopated rhythmic assaults, effects-freaked amp output, you want it, you got it!
Sure, on both discs here there's interludes of shimmering soothingness, and some sorta placid parts, but make no mistake, for the most part Improvisations 3 is nothing other than heavy and hectic, with crunching electric guitar doing contortions amidst the ridiculous rhythmic pummel the drums are dealing out. And as usual, hard to believe it's improv, it's got the energy and spontaneity but also so many cool riffs and runs how could they made it all up on the spot, and so telepathically too?! If Yoshida sounds like he's got like eight arms, and Uchihashi about fourteen fingers, as a duo it's like they share one brain. One very insane brain.
MPEG Stream: "track 2"
MPEG Stream: "track 3"
MPEG Stream: "track 8"

album cover UCHPA Qukman Muskiy (Mundo Music) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Discovering new genres of music, especially those involving cross-cultural fertilization of the most unlikely sorts, is always a big turn on for us at AQ. And whether it be go-go beat music from Cambodia, "Anadolu Pop" from Turkey, the Latin-flavored psychedelia of Brazil's Tropicalia movement, the "hillbilly drone" of Henry Flynt, or the black metal jug band dub of Black Ark Oaken Saw (whoops, sorry, that last one doesn't actually exist, yet), we're always fascinated to hear international artists melding their indigenous musical traditions with popular styles from the Western world. So Peru's Uchpa, an electric blues / hard rock band who sing in Quechua, the Native American language of the ancient Incan Empire, is right up our alley. Even Andee, who usually gives Allan a hard time for supposedly liking so much straight-up "blues rock", digs this. The extremely nasal-sounding vocals (which we're not sure is a trait of the singer, or typical of how Quechua normally sounds) give Uchpa a weird enough vibe to fit in here at AQ, no problem. Although in any case we'd probably be tempted to give this the thumbs up just 'cause of the cover picture -- a cud-chewing llama strapped with a double necked acoustic 12 and 6 string guitar! Who doesn't love llamas, and double necks??
Uchpa formed in the mid-'90s and this is their third album, from 2000. They've got a newer one or two but we picked this to import from Peru just 'cause of the aforementioned cover art. Most of the tracks, with titles like "Manakutimusaqchu" and "Yanapaway Yuksimuyta", are kick ass rockers with lots of amped up crunch, and in addition to those frantic, nasal Quechua vocals they've also got some ethnic instrumentation employed alongside the heavy, bluesy, wah-wah laced guitar licks. Basically, you could sum up Uchpa as "Hendrix in the Andes". If you like the Tuvan-rock hybrid of Yat-kha, this might have the same appeal, even though it's from a totally different part of the world.
Includes two QuickTime videos, which lets you see Uchpa's singer performing wearing what appears to be a traditional Incan costume, including a quite remarkable piece of headgear.
MPEG Stream: "Ananao"
MPEG Stream: "Corazon Contento"

UDAY NAPOLEON Crack Crack Crack/Brains (Flogsta Danshall) 7" 6.50
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Skweee!!! See our Museum of Future Sound review for more explanation...

album cover UEH s/t (Acid Mothers Temple) 2cd 26.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Acid Mothers Temple followers might already be aware of this obscure French five-piece instrumental psych-rock outfit, if only because of their inclusion on the Acid Mothers Temple Family Compliation "Do Whatever You Want" that we listed not so long ago. This double cd offering (a rare 'real' cd release on the Acid Mothers Temple label) takes off from the sound of the comp's Ueh track (which appears again here): slowly unfolding soundscapes featuring tear drops of melancholy, melodic guitar, deep, warm, almost Bohren-like bass tones, and a sparse, kinda-krautrock-ish rhythmic base laid down by their drummer, the single-named Frederic (who also had a solo track on that AMT Family Compilation, and his own disc on AMT, which we haven't heard). It's psychedelic, we suppose, but really more akin to post rock -- post rock that Temporary Residence Ltd. bands would envy, although Ueh pretty much stick to the quiet part of the usual post-rock loud-soft dynamics formula. Kinda like good old Tortoise. We could imagine this as a Kranky or Strange Audio Attractors House label release as well. Ueh's languid sunset drones and jazzy, vibesy details are really, really beautiful. In our reviews, we try not to quote press releases, but the description we were given of this uses many of the words we'd like to: dreamy, soft, mellow, film soundtracks... You get the picture. Great music for when you're not sure you want to listen to anything at all. Apparently, one disc (the first, louder, jazzier) features their composed songs, while the other disc (the second, quieter, without song titles) is all improvised, but you probably couldn't tell which was which if you had to guess! Limited to 500 copies by the way, of which we have only a few.
RealAudio clip: "Uezi"
RealAudio clip: "disc 2 track 1"
RealAudio clip: "disc 2 track 2"
RealAudio clip: "Escargot"

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