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Records of the Week
TROLLER Graphic (Crucial Blast) cd 13.98
It's not the first time that our reviews have been used in the promotional materials for various bands, but we were still tickled when Crucial Blast plopped a good chunk of our write-up of the amazing Graphic album by Troller as the text on the cover sticker selling the merits of the disc! So, yes, Graphic is now available on cd thanks to the venerable Crucial Blast. Here's what we had so say about this not long ago when we made the vinyl version on Holodeck a Record Of The Week as well:Had anyone else found it strangely lurid / alluring that Beach House titled one their two 2015 albums Thank Your Lucky Stars, when Whitehouse screeched out their power electronic classic of that same name some twenty-five years earlier? Probably not. After all, we are all sick in the head here at Aquarius. But if the sultry Beach House chanteuse Victoria Legrand were to adopt some unseemly industrial alter-ego clad in black leather trenchcoats, what might that sound like? We'll offer Troller as our answer, with the caveat that Troller is probably more worthy than what our fantasy may have conjured up. Graphic is the epic second album from this Texan quartet of gloom-synth portent fronted by the steel throated Amber Goers. As much as we raved about Troller's eponymous debut five years ago, this one is even better. The band posted a video for the album's "Storm Maker" which is a beautiful swoon of an synth ballad harking to those emotive tracks that OMD sculpted early in their career. A lovely track to say the least, but the Siouxsie / Kate Bush allusions may be the siren call to draw unwitting listeners into the dark pit at the soul of this album. Snarled electronic death rock and synthetic industrial catharsis is found throughout the rest of Graphic, highlighted by the title track's Cranes-ish pummel of heaven and hell, "Sundowner" (a track of a Diamanda Galas theatricality affixed to what the whole witch house scene aspired to but failed in delivering while busy coming up with ascii symbol nomenclature), and the diabolically death-disco anthem "Torch" with its ice queen vocal crescendos and tense drum-machined inventions for the dungeon. Luridly alluring indeed, and recommended.
MPEG Stream: "Graphic"
MPEG Stream: "Storm Maker"
MPEG Stream: "Sundowner"
MPEG Stream: "Torch"
ANGRY ANGLES s/t (Goner) lp 15.98
Man, such a bummer that the late great garage pop punk whizkid Jay Reatard is, y'know, well, late. This Angry Angles record is another reminder - and tribute to his departed awesomeness. This was a band Jay was in that flourished briefly betwixt the demise of his group Lost Sounds and his solo debut with the now-classic Blood Visions, so circa 2005-6. Angry Angles didn't last long (in part 'cause Jay's romantic relationship with the other front person in Angry Angles, Alix Brown, didn't last either) but while they were an item, they kicked out some rad Reatard'd jams together. All three of the band's 7"s are included here on this archival retrospective of all their recorded works, plus unreleased tracks. Destruction Unit's Ryan Rousseau drums on a bunch of it. Among the tracks are several covers, including Devo's "Blockhead" and songs by Wire, the Urinals, and the Oblivians - put those all together and you have an idea of what they were going for on the originals, too. In general, uptempo and agitated, sometimes angular, yeah, and always hooky! Vinyl version includes download - with bonus live set from Gonerfest 3, too.
MPEG Stream: "Things Are Moving"
MPEG Stream: "She's Dead"
MPEG Stream: "Blockhead"
ARTIFICIAL BRAIN Labyrinth Constellation (Profound Lore) lp 23.00
As is the wont of the Profound Lore label, the vinyl versions of their releases come much after the cd versions. In that gap between 2014 when we first listed this on cd and now, I (Kirk) have managed to find employment here at aQuarius. So, while we did rave about Artificial Brain and their debut album back then, I wasn't here to REALLY gush about how fucking good this record is. Labyrinth Constellation has everything you could want in a death metal record - it's nasty, it's technical without being wanky, it's mean, it makes you want to circle pit, it's fucking HEAVY. What really makes this record special, what makes it better than any death metal record of the last ten years (seriously) is how dripping with melancholy and (dare I say it) emotion it is. Death metal fans might be racing to their email accounts to pen up some hate mail right about now, but seriously, these ten songs about frozen planets and sentient molecules and moon funerals and brain transplants are downright gloomy - a rare quality in a genre that so often eschews any human feelings. Death metal perfection! Um, here's what we said, pre-Kirk, about the cd version the first time, with just a little less slobber: With a name like Artificial Brain, and a record title like Labyrinth Constellation, when coupled with the crazy seventies van / alien war / D&D / Frazetta style cover art, you knew this was gonna be some sort of epic metal, but we were even more pleased to discover it was in fact a twisted strain of complex sci-fi death metal, gnarled and blackened, obtuse and avant, sorta like Nocturnus crossed with Portal, the sound shifting constantly from blasting, thrashing metallic crush, to grinding, confusional psychedelic metallic chaos, to tranced out black-drone-buzz, intricate and proggy, and furiously mathy. This NY horde features dudes from technical death metal outfit Revocation and and pre-Castevet death-grind combo Biolich (who we LOVE but never managed to review anything by), and really in a way, the band math adds up perfectly to Artificial Brain, a dizzying onslaught of death metal murk, and blackened math metal, sci-fi grind, laced with all sorts of subtle sonic flourishes, cool swirls of shimmering harmonics here, lush layered almost shoegazey moments there, but all settled amidst a blurred and smeared soundscape of impossibly frantic blasts, roiling clouds of monstrous Deathspell style black-buzz churn and furiously fluctuating fields of lumbering stop/start math metal lurch. Fucking fantastic. WAY recommended for fans of Portal, Wold, Dodecahedron, Timeghoul, Gorguts, diSEMBOWELMENT, Abyssal, Cremation, Mitochondrian and other purveyors of twisted, outsider, avant death metal murk.
MPEG Stream: "Brain Transplant"
MPEG Stream: "Wired Opposites"
BIXIO, FRIZZI, & TEMPERA Magnetic Systems (Finders Keepers) lp 29.00
Fabio Frizzi, the Italian soundtrack composer best known for scoring the cult '80s extreme horror films of director Lucio Fulci (like City Of The Living Dead, The Beyond and Manhattan Baby) was also once part of an instrumental synth-pop-prog studio trio in the '70s called The Magnetic System. Once you know that, and know that a collection of said group's music has just been released by the diligent diggers at Finders Keepers/B-Music, the next thing you know, obviously, is that you need to get it! Really, it's super cool, super groovy, super synth-y, an absolute delight for any fan of Goblin and similar soundtrackers and library music makers! Lots and lots of zippy zappy synths swirl all over the place on the 15 tracks collected here, which also variously offer up suspenseful grooves, lush melodies, spooky interludes, funky breaks, jazzy moves, sinister electronic sounds, disco beats, all sorts of treats. Just to mention one highlight, there is the urgent "Facce Violente", that reminds us a bit of a moodier giallo version of "Pink Pussycat" by Devo! Oh, and funnily enough, the most sunshiny, sprightly, twangy-guitar'd ramble on here is called "Death's Song" (the track from their re-scoring of "Godzilla", however, is appropriately ominous).Presented with the usual Finders Keepers care and flair, including deeply detailed liner notes from Andy Votel, full color cover graphics, and all that.
MPEG Stream: "Escape (7" version)"
MPEG Stream: "Facce Violente"
MPEG Stream: "Avangiu"
COH Return To Mechanics (Ge-stell) lp 16.98
CoH has proven himself to be a master of texture and atmosphere. Over several decades and dozens of albums (including collaborations with industrial music legends Coil), he developed a particular way of working with tone - it would be tempting to call his work "minimal," but that would betray how big his music sounds. And while CoH's music has never even approached the sphere of dance music, rhythms have always been central to his work. On Return, rhythm takes center stage. Return is some of the most accessible material CoH has ever produced. Make no mistake - all of the richness of tone and mind-bending frequencies he's known for are on full display. Each track is built around a rhythmic core, and they develop (and decay) in beautiful, compelling ways. The EP reaches its zenith in "Engines of Memories," a gorgeous, arabesque lament that sounds like Boards of Canada performing from the afterlife, and closes with a completely synthesized cover of "I Feel Love" in the signature CoH style. It must be heard to be believed.
MPEG Stream: "Escape And Return"
MPEG Stream: "Engines Of Memories"
MPEG Stream: "I Feel Summer [Karaoke]"
DEUX FILLES Silence and Wisdom / Double Happiness (Dark Entries) 2lp 24.00
How could you not love the gently dark and introspectively romantic music made by two orphaned French girls who met as teenagers dealing with the tragic grief over the sudden deaths of their parents? The music of Claudine Coule and Gemini Forque defies easy categorization, but its placid pastoral melancholy plays out like a meeting of Durutti Column, Dif Juz, Maurice Deebank, and Woo, a woozy collage of meandering guitar, wobbly synths, tape collage, and lyrical filigree that fit right into the gentler soft-wave streak of British post-punk at the time. They released three records in the eighties before disappearing altogether. Only a final letter remained saying the girls took a spiritual quest to India where they met with more hardships. Poor girls!Had this at all been true, it would have been a very devastating story, but alas it's not true at all! Claudine and Gemini were the fabrications of Simon Fisher Tucker and Colin Lloyd Turner, two musicians who met in an early incarnation of the group The The. They created the personae of Claudine and Gemini to work on music of a gentler nature and figured no one would take them seriously if they worked under their own names. To their credit, they remained committed to the conceit over the course of the project. They often went out, wrote music, and even performed live as if they really were Claudine and Gemini. That level of commitment informs the music with its strange otherworldly outlook and ponderous naivete.Silence and Wisdom (1982) and Double Happiness (1983 - where we can only assume Gary Floyd got the name for his band Sister Double Happiness!) are brought together as a 2lp release for the first time on vinyl after being sought after by collectors for years. Highly recommended for fans of the bands above, or eighties underground labels like Factory Benelux and Les Disques Du Crepuscle.
MPEG Stream: "Drinking At A Stream "
MPEG Stream: "Tongues"
MPEG Stream: "Our English Friends"
MPEG Stream: "Double Happiness"
FOXTAILS BRIGADE s/t (OIM) cd 14.98
Laura Weinbach, songwriter and the voice behind Oakland's Foxtails Brigade, is pretty much a force of nature. Weinbach is a self-professed fan of Joanna Newsom, and it shows in the details densely and beautifully layered into her music and lyrics. She occasionally performs solo with just her voice and six-string nylon acoustic, or as a duo with string player Anton Patzner, and is able to mesmerize audiences with her intricate finger-picking and impressive vocal range. After a string of EPs and self-released cds, Foxtails Brigade has finally released a proper album, and its been a while since we've heard pop music with such incredible, almost baroque arrangements and instrumentation. Although Weinbach's perfectly punctuated vocals and fingerpicked guitar form the basis for most, if not all, of the songs, the album is filled and flushed out by an incredible band that includes long-time aQ favorite Josh Pollock on electric guitar (3 Leafs, DJ Female Convict Scorpion, Citay). Songs like "Nun But the Lost" really exemplify the band's range, moving from acoustic guitar to bird song to a filled out horn section to a bit of chaotic noise. "Dirtbags & Dozers" follows, which, except for Weinbach's voice being nothing like Scott Walker's, sounds like it could easily be a lost track off Scott 2 or 3. The arrangements are just that good. The group delicately walks a line between playful, synthy power pop and carefully structured macabre folk that, with all of their distinct influences, makes a sound entirely their own.
MPEG Stream: "We Are Not Ourselves"
MPEG Stream: "Perfect Execution"
FULLER, JESSE Working On The Railroad (Mississippi Records / Secret Seven) 10" 11.98
Jesse Fuller was a bluesman who toiled in the San Francisco Bay Area, working often on the railroad to pay the bills and struggling to find a place for himself in the music community. He had wanted to work with fellow musicians, but he could never maintain anything that pass as a band. So, he made due with his 12-string guitar, a hi-hat and a foot-powered bass that he called a 'fotdella' along with a contraption that for harmonica, kazoo, and microphone. While the one-man band brought him some notoriety as a novelty act, his songwriting took longer to be recognized, mostly from this 10" record from 1959 that included his most widely known number - "San Francisco Bay Blues" - along with a number of tunes about the miseries of life on the railroad, as his chipper, insistent songs chimed through guitar and his one-man-band contraption. It's been said that Bob Dylan was heavily influenced by Fuller, taking up the harmonica rack himself and stylizing Fuller's gravely, weathered voice. This is an exact reproduction of the original 1959 edition, remastered of course and with a nice set of liner notes from Val Willmer and Joe Boyd.
GERYON The Wound And The Bow (Profound Lore) lp 23.00
The amount of sonic territory the bass and drum duo has covered in rock music is surprisingly vast. When you stop to think about it, it is kinda remarkable that some of our favorite bands and favorite records are made by what are usually seen as auxiliary to the guitar and voice that normally take center stage. There's all-time aQ faves the Ruins, Lightning Bolt and their heavy-hyper-catchy chaos, OM's ritualistic stoner rock, even bands like Death From Above 1979, Morphine, and Royal Blood, who managed to carve out a remarkably popular career with a two-piece lineup. Even metal bands that have embraced the ur-heaviness of the bass and drums two piece have a remarkably great track record - Bell Witch, Big Business, and now, Geryon! The obligatory opening to a Geryon review certainly must include the fact that this is the same bassist and drummer that make up the rhythm section of technical death metallers and aQ favorites Krallice, but we can move past that and let this record stand on its own. The idiosyncratic and virtuosic technique juxtaposed with the minimal instrumentation make The Wound And The Bow a remarkably deep and rewarding record. Colin Marston at the helm of production means there is no shortage of cavernous heaviness. A unique and fucking awesome record.
MPEG Stream: "Silent Command"
MPEG Stream: "Skein"
GEVURAH Hallelujah! (Profound Lore) cd 13.98
Hallelujah! A new release from Profound Lore! It's not too difficult to make a case for the Canadian label being on the short list for best active metal label. This week's list alone has three absolutely stellar releases (and in stock, not yet reviewed, the new Dalek record): the labyrinthian Geryon, the much needed vinyl edition of the debut of Artificial Brain, and here, the first proper full-length from Canadian ritualistic black metallers Gevurah. So, full disclosure, we pretty much expected to like this going in given Profound Lore's track record, and we definitely were not let down. There's a whole review to be written about the spiritual ruminations and connections to be found here; the pair clearly have some intricate knowledge of the iconography and language of Kaballah, ancient Judaism and, of course, SATAN!!! We will take them at their word that they know what the fuck all that has to do with the music on here and instead focus on the music part. The songs on Hallelujah are, without a doubt, perhaps the most EPIC, huge, massive, intricate, compositionally deep, and thematically realized black metal songs that anyone will produce for a long time. Hallelujah sits somewhere at the crossroads of the dramatic exuberance of the best Watain and Behemoth's material, as Gevurah are quickly becoming the torchbearers for that particular metal sound, all at once majestic, melodic, heavy, and intricate. The first five songs are razor-sharpened masterpieces of black metal songwriting, with the last two exploring the long-form Neurosis approach, letting the riffs and movements breathe and expand and collapse and explode. Did we mention this was EPIC? Absolutely the type of record that we have no problem turning right back on again after it finishes, sure to top a wide swath of year-end metal lists. Fantastic. By the way, the vinyl release expected sometime in July will include a side-long extra track not to be found on this cd version.
MPEG Stream: "Cosmic Putrefaction"
MPEG Stream: "Un Feu Indomptable"
GIORGIO MURDERER Holographic Vietnam War (Pelican Pow Wow) lp 14.98
This lo-fi. electronically-damaged, synthesizer-diseased new wave punk rock band from New Orleans with perhaps the best punning band name EVER (for a synth punk band, anyway!) is back with their debut full-length LP, after a couple of great singles on Goner. They blurt out distorted, primitive keyboard-laced, drum-machine-driven gobs of punky downer-pop with wasted-sounding, snotty vocals on such tracks as "Get Murdered By A Robot", "I Ain't Doing So Hot" (we believe it) and "Beat Up The West Coast" (hey!). The last 7" we reviewed by them, "Lazer Lord", garnered the following comment from us, which applies here too to these eleven new tracks: "Stupid in a good way, like the name Giorgio Murderer". And by stupid in a good way, we mean, another track here, one of a few instrumentals, is called "Theme From Bill And Ted Vs. Grey Goo". Definitely awesome, especially for fans of good ol' Six Finger Satellite, or maybe imagine an eerie, down-on-their-luck, strung-out-on-drugs Devo.
MPEG Stream: "I Ain't Doing So Hot"
MPEG Stream: "Theme From Giorgio Murderer"
MPEG Stream: "Night Law"
GOAT I Sing In Silence (Sub Pop) 7" 5.98
Everyone's favorite Swedish Afro-psych outfit is back with a new 7" on Sub Pop! The A-side is a beautiful, blissful one, with hand percussion and flutes to the fore, sunny and mellow, grooving and sing-chanting along Goat-style but softer and sweeter than some of their other stuff, perfect as a single to brighten your day, yay. The instrumental B-side, "The Snake Of Addis Ababa", is moodier, jazzier, yeah "snakier", showing off for sure even more the groop's African influence, specifically and appropriately very "Ethiopian groovy" with the piano player tickling those ivories up and down your spine. Somewhat limited, naturally...
MPEG Stream: "I Sing In Silence"
GORGUTS Pleiades' Dust (Season Of Mist) cd 13.98
The narrative of Gorguts' career up to this point would certainly be their remarkable knack for completely reinventing their sound, challenging the death metal rule book, often alienating a contingent of their more conservative fans, but each time forging remarkable new ground. Their early material up to The Erosion of Sanity in 1993 was classic, top tier old school death metal, and stood out as some of the best at the time. Their shift into warped, idiosyncratic, technical sci-fi riffing with 1998's Obscura and then From Wisdom To Hate in 2001, certainly took some time to digest for many people, but both albums have since become no-shit classics. It took 12 years, but their follow up, 2013's Colored Sands, was again a complete reinvention both of the lineup and the sound, and for some of us, their best material. So when we saw a new Gorguts EP was out, we were on pins and needles wondering what Luc Lemay & co. had done with the band. In perhaps the most surprising twist of all, Pleiades' Dust isn't a reinvention of Gorguts at all - instead, this is a remarkable addendum to the near-perfect Colored Sands material. And like that record, the centerpiece is a haunting orchestral movement, bookended by dizzying technical death metal deftly balanced with ecstatic emotion, all in the span of one 33 minute track. Fantastic.
MPEG Stream: "Pleiades' Dust"
KHANATE s/t (Hydra Head) 2lp 29.00
Long out of print in its original Southern Lord incarnation, now on vinyl again via Hydra Head. Here's our original review of this, Khanate's 2001 debut...Khanate = slow, plodding, dark, distortion-filled, droney, dissonant DOOM, in the (sliced and bleeding) vein of Esoteric, Burning Witch, Corrupted, Earth, Boris, Eyehategod... 5 looong tracks (56+ minutes total). And if you haven't heard, this new doom-metal band is a veritable supergroup of underground dirge-warriors. To start with, Khanate boasts the bass guitar and production of James Plotkin and the "vokills" of Alan Dubin (both former members of Earache avant-metal geniuses OLD, who happen to be one of Allan's all-time favorite bands!). Post-OLD, Plotkin of course went on to become a celebrated experimental-ambient guitarist (recently making a return to "metal" with his great glitch-grind Atomsmasher project), but this is the first we've heard from Dubin since Old's final Formula album back in '95. And in addition to these OLD dudes, also in Khanate: guitarist Stephen O'Malley, who you know from his bands SUNNO))) and Burning Witch (as well as for his album art/design for the likes of Emperor, Cathedral, Sigh, Warhorse, Solstice, and many others). Drummer Tim Wyskida is the only unknown (to us) but we're told was at one time a member of Blind Idiot God. Ok, so it's established that Khanate's membership ought to known what they're doing, but do they deliver? Indeed they do! They sound closer to O'Malley's bands than OLD, but Plotkin's presence highlights what we all know: doom-metal can be the HEAVIEST form of ambient music!
KHANATE Things Viral (Hydra Head) 2lp 29.00
Also reissued on vinyl by Hydra Head, this 2003 Khanate opus, previously released by Southern Lord (cd) and Load (lp). What we said the first time:Extreme doom here folks. I mean, these four tracks (two of 'em approaching twenty minutes each) are slower and lower and uglier even than the tunes on Khanate's immense self-titled debut from two years ago! We're not saying this tops the debut (that would be difficult) but Things Viral takes the Khanate sound into a seldom-explored realm where signs of life and hope are few and far between. This is some sparse, slow, intensely creepy metal for sure. The plod of a drum, some glitchy amplifier feedback, a crushing guitar riff, bass drone... all the perfect accompaniment to the anguished rasp of vocalist Alan Dubin, who turns this record into his own personal let-it-all-out psycho-drama session. As soon as the first track "Commuted" starts, you can imagine the band, broken, bleeding, crawling across the floor of the studio, scrabbling at their instruments, Dubin clutching the microphone like it's his last link to a world of human emotion. It's harrowing, simply put. The ravings of a disturbed man put to music by Earth would be a decent description. Downer metal was never so down, and the clarity with which this was recorded belies the term sludge. Only for the brave - leave the lights on when you listen to this, and make sure you have the suicide hotline number handy.
MPEG Stream: "Commuted"
MPEG Stream: "Too Close Enough To Touch"
KOBAN Abject Obsessions (Avant! ) lp 21.00
Koban's droning post-punk buzzsaw builds upon the solid foundation of black-clad grit and grime that Red Lorry Yellow Lorry produced in the mid to late '80s. The drum machined rhythms attack with a nervous teeth-chattering tension as bassist / vocalist Brittany West snarls in a guttural French alternating with a similarly caterwauling English, diving into the harrowing vocal tenor that Malaria proffered in the early '80s, while the arrangements double up the tempos of gloom-goth basslines, electronics, and razor-sharp guitars. Abject Obsessions follows the very well-received Vide album that we had briefly back in 2014, furthering the band's signature sound captured on that album. On the tracks where the bass and guitar are replaced by synths as on "Lesser," Koban easily glides into an icy, minimal wave groove reminiscent of Xeno & Oaklander.
MPEG Stream: "Certain Tears"
MPEG Stream: "Elias See's"
LAVENDER Horizons Beneath The Surface [Deluxe] (Jacktone) cassette 25.00
Bay Area Synthesist Hugo Paris releases his second tape after last year's stunning debut, Mystique Youth. Horizons has a more cosmic ambient feel employing a deep distance traveling quality in structured pieces that belie their improvisational origins. Employing elements of dub, drone, modular pulsations and a cinematic vibe that suggests a narrative arc through the tape, Paris allows his machines to inform his decisions as they run playfully through emotional landscapes of human and synthetic connection. Beautifully done!For a limited time we have the deluxe package which comes housed in a beautiful black matte paper-constructed box with white obi and raised glow in the dark dot patterns. Both versions come with a download code. Recommended!
MPEG Stream: "Abyss"
MPEG Stream: "Gentle Giant"
MPEG Stream: "Cortege Funebre"
MPEG Stream: "Stagnation of The Servant"
LIEBESTOD Beta Male (Chondritic Sound) lp 17.98
Jesse Sanes presents Liebestod as his fully realized Power Electronics project, one that parallels his role as frontman for the nihilist hardcore outfit Hoax. A violent intensity and spilt blood carry over in both projects, even as the vehicles are radically different. It must be noted that Sanes has collaborated with Puce Mary as Fejhed and JH1.FS3, whose two recordings mine a controlled malevolence through synth noise and heavily processed voice. Such is also the strategy for Liebestod, through which Sanes hangs an electric dread upon the voltage controlled blurts, junkyard metal-bashing, and scalding flames of white noise. Leibestod's psychological / conceptual position on Beta Male seems outside the typical poetics of sexual control and/or extremist political chest-thumping, scribing instead an existential crisis with Sanes standing at odds with everything and everybody, including himself. It makes for a brilliant if disturbing album, one that mirrors a similar plight found in Maurizio Bianchi's first fruits in the '80s applied through a brooding regimentation akin to Anenzephalia. As such, this album gets our highest recommendation, settling next to Puce Mary's The Spiral as one of the best noise albums of 2016.
MPEG Stream: "Godlike"
MPEG Stream: "The Public Hero"
MPEG Stream: "Home is Where You're Free"
MRS. MAGICIAN Bermuda (Swami) cd 13.98
NOW OUT ON CD TOO!If "Eyes All Over Town" was the only song here, this still might be our new favorite record. A goddamn perfect slab of super catchy, buzz drenched, organ driven, garage rock surf pop!! And if you then tacked on "Forgiveness", which sounds like some impossibly perfect hybrid of the Fuzztones and the Beach Boys, that might seal the deal even more, and you know where this is leading? Maybe to us going through this record track by track and explaining just how great every single song is here? You know us so well. But let's step back a second. San Diego's Mrs Magician knocked our fucking socks off with their Strange Heaven debut, which we made our Record Of The Week, and for some of us, that record has been in near constant rotation ever since. We were heartbroken to find out the band had hung it up, which we initially discovered when Andee tried to get them to play with A Minor Forest on their 2014 reunion tour. So we made do with the subsequent B sides compilation, which for a mess of random tracks, was still pretty goddamn great, and better than most bands could manage when making an album proper. But then lo and behold, the rumors of Mrs. Magician's demise were greatly exaggerated! And here we are. We got a taste of the new record with the "Eyes All Over Town" Record Store Day single, and while that's one of those songs we could listen to over and over and over, and have been, this whole record is brimming with some of MM's best songs yet. There's the aforementioned "Forgiveness", and maybe this time we won't actually go through EVERY song, but let's call out a bunch. "Jessica Slaughter" is a moody, slithery dirge, that is about as minor key and melancholy as these guys get, but it still manages to be crazy catchy. "No Action" sounds like it was cut from the same cloth as "Eyes All Over Town", that organ surfacing again, coloring the power poppiness in shades of classic garage. There's the tense and frenetic "Phantoms", the ultra power poppy "Tear Drops", which almost sounds like it must be a cover of some lost pop classic. "Reborn Boys" almost sounds a little classic rock, while "The Limbo (Party's Over)" is the perfect closer, some vintage psychedelic garage, with a serious end-of-the-night, wind-down vibe, replete with the epic, almost sing-along finale, albeit one wreathed in heaps of swirling FX. There's more garage rock/surf pop goodness to be found within of course, and we highly recommend you avail yourselves of every single bit!!!
MPEG Stream: "Eyes All Over Town"
MPEG Stream: "Forgiveness"
MPEG Stream: "Jessica Slaughter"
MYTHIC SUNSHIP Ouroboros (El Paraiso) lp 27.00
Spaced out heavy stoner psych bliss on unto infinity from this brand new Danish outfit, making their debut with this here astral trip of an lp. Mythic Sunship is a fine name for 'em, yeah, up up and away, the cosmos beckoning, the Hawkwind blowing, a steady building riff-upon-riff march into psychedelic oblivion/nirvana. Cymbals shimmer, drums pound, FX swirl, amps sing and howl. For fans of that Electric Moon disc we listed recently, also Earthless, Acid Mothers Temple, Mammatus, Dead Meadow, other vaguely hippy spiritual extended duration practitioners of throb-a-delic, Randy Holden-beholden marathon mesmerization. 3 long tracks, all full of the FUZZ and freakery that a band called Mythic Sunship ought to deliver from on high - and does! Mellowed out at times (towards the end of the 14+ minute "Year Of The Serpent", for instance) or dark and intense (much of side two's entire epic 21:40 "Leviathan"). Interesting also, for what it's worth, we're told that some of the members are somehow affiliated with Copenhagen's noise-techno Posh Isolation label.Compact disc version also forthcoming, btw.
MPEG Stream: "Ophidian Rising"
MPEG Stream: "Year Of The Serpent"
PEACOCK, ANNETTE I'm The One (Future Days Recordings / Light In The Attic) lp 30.00
REPRESSED AND BACK IN STOCK, YAY!!Sweet! The 1972 solo debut from the one and only Annette Peacock has at last been properly reissued. This has been unavailable for years and definitely deserves to be heard.How to describe this? It's jazzy, bluesy, avant pop music, an inside-outside hybrid, with acid rock and electronic experimentation alongside the likes of a cover of Elvis Presley's "Love Me Tender", rendered ultra moody and dramatic. Throughout, Peacock's vocals are expressive, edgy, extreme, and electronically effected (fed through a Moog synth, in fact), but also seductive and sensual. At her best here, she comes across like a free jazz version of Betty Davis (the funkstress ex-wife of Miles). It's also likely that fans of Yoko Ono will approve. Quite a debut, from a woman who had toured with Albert Ayler, hung out with Timothy Leary, and could count David Bowie and Diamanda Galas among her fans.The epic title track ferinstance, starts off all skittery-skree freeform freaky, then, staying freaky, turns into a funked up torch song when the vocals come in. There's parts that sound like Sly & The Family Stone or Stevie Wonder grooves, other parts that sound like spaced-out Moog madness... all in the same song! That's the opening track, too, and sets the tone for the entire album, which is full of groovy bits, sad piano ballads, and spooky electronic soundscapes, in various combinations. Some of the synth stuff is played by her (then?) husband Paul Bley, with whom Annette had made a few improvised synths/vocals albums around about the same time. The album also features Brazilian percussionist Arto Moreira. This reissue is remastered, and comes complete with brand new liner notes and previously unpublished photos.
MPEG Stream: "I'm The One"
MPEG Stream: "Pony "
MPEG Stream: "Gesture Without Plot"
PHANTOM FORTH The EEPP (Dark Entries) lp 17.98
One of the most obscure projects to come from the legendary NZ label Flying Nun, Phantom Forth was a trio comprised of Debbie Luker, Lorraine Steele, and Paul Luker, none of whom released much outside of this one project barring some even more obscure cassettes in the mid 80s. The EEPP was the one and only record for the trio, released in 1984, now getting a proper Dark Entries reissue treatment, with three bonus tracks, two of which had never been released before now. Where many of the Flying Nun bands aligned with exuberant pop of The Clean, Phantom Forth taps the gloom of the Pin Group (whose Joy Division-y debut actually was the very first Flying Nun release). The scrappy, heavily flanged basslines (sometimes chimed on the low strings of guitar) hold the DIY ethos of urgency and economy that would have earned them a noble spot on John Peel's radio show next to Young Marble Giants and The Fall had this album been pressed in a tiny original edition of 300 copies. The unhinged, shambolic character of their work makes Phantom Forth all the more beguiling, aligning the seasick / rock-tumbler rhythms of the harrowing "Caroline" with the prickly post-punk melodies of "I Don't Know You." All of the heavy flanging and lugubriousness reminds us of Pink Industry. When is that band gonna get rediscovered?
MPEG Stream: "March"
MPEG Stream: "Caroline"
MPEG Stream: "Dead Dream"
PIA FRAUS After Summer (Seksound) lp 19.98
For the first time, Pia Fraus's 2008 album After Summer is now available on vinyl! This album from Estonia's preeminent shoegaze outfit was produced by Teenage Fanclub's Norman Blake, who deftly shapes and sculpts the buoyant dream pop found in these recordings. It's a bright and lilting sound, one that melds the hushed boy / girl vocals with a plaintive jingle-jangle on the guitars with nary a blurred edge to be felt. All of the soft-focus vibrancy that Pia Fraus conjures is through their sparkling, motorik drift pop, which cheerful organ melodies daubed throughout. Think Stereolab, Urlich Schnauss, or even The Pastels.
MPEG Stream: "Springsister"
MPEG Stream: "Sailing Yes"
MPEG Stream: "After Summer"
QUIET EVENINGS Stork Bite (Adversary) cd-r 11.98
Stork Bite brings Rachel and Grant Evans back to their Quiet Evenings project of somnolent tone-float. The album's tranquility carries through from the duo's previous albums in their languid use of sustained kosmiche synths, pools of long-form guitar drones, and ringing chorales of room harmonic frequencies all layered and manipulated into what may be their finest recording as Quiet Evenings. It's a shame that they only produced 50 copies of this album as a cd-r, for this one has all of the luminous, impressionistic dronescaping that we loved so much about Mirror and Andrew Chalk.
MPEG Stream: "Stork Bite"
RED WIZARD Cosmosis (Ripple) cd 14.98
Some solid stoner metal here from this decidedly non-wizened yet wizardly San Diego troupe with their amps and beards (we assume) on 11. Armed with mega riffage, tough but melodic vocals, and some mystic prog leanings, this is HEAVY rockin' psychedelic doom with something of a retro-proto vibe, for fans of Holy Mountain era Sleep and other sludgy Sabbath-derivatives. Of course, quality stoner doom stuff with an obvious Black Sabbath influence isn't entirely a rarity these days, but what made this really stand out for us is that they went so far as to take a cue from "The Wizard" (the second track on Sabbath's self-titled debut) and bust out some bluesy harmonica blowing on their song "Blinded" - when that kicked in we were totally sold! Though, well, ok, the riffs probably already had us at "hell yeah".
MPEG Stream: "Blinded"
MPEG Stream: "Cosmosis"
MPEG Stream: "Red Wizard Suite Pt. III"
REICH, STEVE Four Organs / Phase Patterns (Superior Viaduct) lp 23.00
THE FIRST-EVER VINYL REISSUE OF THIS IS HERE!Two of our favorite pieces of all time from minimalist composer Reich, available again! Both pieces were recorded in 1970, one at the Guggenheim in NY and the other at the University Museum in Berkeley. This is electric organ overdrive! Four Organs not surprisingly is a piece played on four electric organs (with Reich playing one as well as his good friend Philip Glass...), while beneath the organs is the repetitious shaking of maracas. The short pulsations of the organ gradually stretch out, lasting longer and longer, creating a totally dynamic tension that evokes standing in a massive and grand church that's empty except for the mesmerizing sounds of the organs lulling you into some sort of a trance. Phase Patterns manages to increase the tension with the four players using identical organs and playing to a precise strategy that Reich has calculated. These pieces predate and predict so much of the minimalist electronic and experimental music to come over the next three decades.
MPEG Stream: "Four Organs"
MPEG Stream: "Phase Patterns"
ROTHBARD, ANDREW DOUGLAS Cantosynaxis (Tapes from the Gates) cassette 7.77
Cantosynaxis is the latest release from the labyrinthine mind of Andrew Douglas Rothbard. Completely self-recorded and performed, this cassette-only album uses layers upon layers of modular synthesizers to pick you up and deposit you, without a helmet, in some kind of space-age landscape. Cantosynaxis is similar to Frequenseqer, his previous cassette reviewed here many lists ago, in that it breaks up the knob-twisting and loops with blissed-out Radiohead-esque vocals and well-programmed electronic percussion. The TR-808 handclaps on "Matrix/Runout" are used especially well. There's plenty of My Bloody Valentine-sounding guitars, too (or maybe they're more synths?) and swelling buzzes that really lift you up, if you let them. What Rothbard created with Frequenseqer seems almost like a rough draft compared to the ecstatic journey on which he takes the listener with this release. Although most of the music is still instrumental, there's quite a bit of vocal work, which is used to tastefully accentuate but never dominate the music. There are more highs and lows, more emotion (which is often difficult to convey with electronic instruments), better production. "Mystic Overreach" is an amazing 12 minute instrumental track that keeps your head nodding and might even make you dance. It is followed by the strange, warbly vocal track "Section 8 Face" which is the perfect comedown after the frenetic percussive relentlessness of the previous song. Not only does Cantosynaxis bear echoes of the bands already mentioned, there's definitely some Aphex Twin and Tim Hecker at work here, though Rothbard's pop-sensibilities are never completely put aside. Anyone who has been following his work over the years knows how crazy talented he is, regardless of the genre in which he is currently working. As with all of Rothbard's music, this latest release comes highly recommended.
MPEG Stream: "Casualties From This Vector"
MPEG Stream: "Mystic Overreach"
MPEG Stream: "Section 8 Face"
SEVERED HEADS Stretcher (Medical Records) 2lp 26.00
Severed Heads released three slightly different anthologies entitled Stretcher, with Australia, Canada / UK, and the US each the recipient of one of these versions. It would take an expert Severed Heads taxonomist to figure out how all three of those align with this double lp; so, if you're an absolute completist and need to know such things, go ask Morgan Geist / Metro Area (he's long been the biggest Severed Head fan we know). That said, this compilation seems to take some of the tracks from each of those territorial anthologies, for one hell of a great collection of works mapping out the more rhythmically precise tracks from Severed Heads at the time. The two punchy singles "Halo" and "Petrol" open the compilation; and there's yet another great version of "Dead Eyes Opened." But the hidden gem is the melancholy of tearful replicants found on "Blast Patter", originally an obscure B-side. But this track in particular is a beautiful track of complicated sequencing in the form of a maudlin new wave song that is awfully prescient of the IDM tunes later sculpted by Autechre and Bola. There's plenty of weirdo synth-wave tracks to make you scratch your head at Medical qualifying these tracks as "accessible." Suppose that's what those quotes are for.
MPEG Stream: "Halo (12" Mix)"
MPEG Stream: "New Explosions"
MPEG Stream: "Blast Patter"
SHREDDED NERVE In The Shadow Of What Never Was (Chondritic Sound) lp 17.98
There's a specific act of American born terrorism which serves as the conceptual framework for this meditation on violence through sounds. Back in 1983, David and Doris Young took 153 people hostage at a school in Cokeville, Wyoming; yet their gasoline bomb unexpectedly exploded, severely injuring Doris. David aborted their plans to start a revolution by ransoming the schoolchildren for two million dollars by killing his wife and himself, leaving behind a number of questions as to why this tragedy had to happen. David Young did leave behind a convoluted manifesto entitled "Zero Equals Infinity", along with a checkered past of mental illness from both him and Doris. Shredded Nerve uses this gruesome chapter of American history as a subject to dwell and ruminate upon for this lp of gnarled electronics, nightmarish tape-loop hypnogogia, and dystopian metallic klang. The restraint of these recordings is noteworthy given how easy it would be to take this to a theatrical extremes, positing the structures and compositions somewhat close to the realm of Small Cruel Party or the early convolutions from irr. app. (ext.), if Waldron were reinterpreted by Aaron Dilloway. Another exceptional document from Chondritic Sound!
MPEG Stream: "Stone, Lead and Gasoline"
MPEG Stream: "Time Inside"
ST. FRANCIS DUO Peacemaker Assembly (Trost) lp 24.00
NOW ON VINYL!!!With cover art and lettering by free improv legend Peter Brotzmann, you might expect skronkity-skronk improv from this drums and guitar duo, and yes it's improv, but not nearly so skronky as some can be, instead being something rather more massively, miasmically mesmeric. The guitarist unfurling moody jet airplane drones (sounding a bit like Brotzmann's son, Caspar, or maybe Keiji Haino) is none other than SUNNO)))'s Stephen O'Malley, while the endlessly riffing percussionist is one of O'Malley's bandmates in abstract ensemble Aethenor, Steve Nobel, the noted British avant-garde drummer and one time member of Rip, Rig & Panic. Recorded at the St. Francis De Sales Church, Philadelphia, the two long tracks here reveal O'Malley and Nobel to be well suited improvising partners, neither of 'em hogging the proceedings, O'Malley providing a billowing cloud of amp worshipping drones for Nobel to punctuate with nervous cymbal shimmer and propulsive freeform thwap thwap. It's all purely texture and arrhythmic exploration, of ominous & hypnotic proportions.
MPEG Stream: "1"
SUNWATCHERS s/t (Castle Face) lp 15.98
We listed this awesome album on cd a little while ago but the vinyl version sold out of its first pressing too fast for us to list - but it's back now, and here it is, get it!It was only a matter of time that the far-flung influences of Khun Narin Electric Phin Band and psychedelic Thai folk would work their way west, but the indelible sound of the electric phin, a thai style lute, is a key ingredient on the Castle Face debut of LA noise/improv collective Sunwatchers. But to Sunwatchers credit, Thai folk is one of many ingredients in their pantheon of sound, and they bring so much more amped-up wattage to the proceedings. Made up of guitar/ electric phin, stand-up bass, drums and saxophone, Sunwatchers unfurl a wailing wall of hypnotic drones and grooves that also channel The Third Ear Band as well as Tony Conrad and Faust. Intense, focused and ferocious!
MPEG Stream: "Herd of Creeps"
THOMAS, URAL AND THE PAIN s/t (Mississippi) 2lp 30.00
Got just a few of these, the limited edition Mississippi double lp release collecting vintage material by one of Portland's most soulful artists, a living legend 'round those parts, who has been singing since the '50s, opened for Otis Redding and James Brown back in the day, and is still kicking nowadays, his current band Ural Thomas & The Pain being, we're reliably told, a hot live attraction not to be missed. If this collection is anything to go by, we're sure that's gotta be true - the first lp here showcase Ural's most recent recorded material with The Pain, delivering the real deal R&B action, while the second lp in the set digs deep into his back catalog of recordings from the '60s and '70s (including some singles previously reissued on Mississippi). Great voice, great grooves.Nicely packaged in a tip-on gatefold cover, includes booklet w/ photos and an interview with the man himself. Limited to 950 copies, already sold out at the source, and so when we sell the handful we have, they're gone.
MPEG Stream: "Pain Is The Name Of The Game"
TONIUTTI, GIANCARLO WITH TIZIANO DOMINIGHINI The Sound-Placing Land Bridge (Menstrual Recordings) cd 17.98
This being a Giancarlo Toniutti recording, we can expect an earnest if convoluted exegesis on the concepts, history, and manifestation of the particular sounds on this recording. This being published by Menstrual Recordings, we can expect this to follow the grim aesthetic found in Mauthausen Orchestra and Maurizio Bianchi. And yes, our expectations were certainly met by this obfuscating environmental drone recording that is all the more intriguing the deeper one goes down the rabbit hole of Toniutti's complicated text. Here's our brief synopsis: Toniutti and his colleague Tiziano Dominighini posited sound interventions with the urban landscape of several Italian cities by amplifying noise and drones from guitars and synths with the din of the city to blur the edges of the musical elements. These original recordings were made back in 1981, released on cassette to a couple of people and then forgotten about until 2013, when Toniutti re-contextualized the grit and grim of those earlier sounds through the sodden harmonics of a particular arboreal valley in northern Italy. This disc is the composed edit of those series of interventions. As thick and menacing and turgid as these sounds are, Toniutti refers back to an earlier text that he and Dominighini wrote "any intervention like this does not manifest anything (mood or thought). It only relocates the unreal inside the real. And there can be no energy." A vacuum of semantics and spirituality, this thick, thrumming mass does speak despite their epigrams to the contrary; and it's the antithesis of the twinkling new age practitioners from the time.
MPEG Stream: "The Sound-Placing Land Bridge"
TURMAN, ROBERT & AARON DILLOWAY Blizzard (Fabrica) 2lp 34.00
As a town, Oberlin is an insular community focused almost exclusively on the college that shares its name. Sure, there's an amazing list of musicians who have matriculated from the halls of Oberlin; but you rarely hear of those who call Oberlin home who don't have any connection to the school. Robert Turman and Aaron Dilloway are probably the only exceptions, with the former starting his career with Boyd Rice in Non before going off to construct an amazing, yet unheralded at the time body of work in the '80s and the latter jettisoning himself from Wolf Eyes to become one heck of a noise artist in his own right. It may seem strange that these two didn't know of each other's existence when they discovered that they lived just a couple blocks away from each other. While Dilloway reissued much of Turman's back catalog on the Chapter 11 cassette boxset (that in turn has been sliced into various lps released in recent years), the two hunkered down during a particularly harsh blizzard in the winter of 2009, working with synths, tape-loops, and effects to mirror the bluster and arctic cold that they found themselves in. While far more discordant and abrasive in the source material (jagged loops, rumbling modular synth noise, bone-rattling tonalities, spooky occlusions, etc.), the compositions have a slow-crawl assertiveness that reminds us of those Thomas Koner records we love so much. We had this on cd back when this came out originally in 2009 but never got around to listing it. Thankfully, the 2lp reissue on Fabrica reminded us of how great this collaboration is!
MPEG Stream: "Untitled 1"
MPEG Stream: "Untitled 2"
MPEG Stream: "Untitled 3"
TYLER, WILLIAM Modern Country (Merge) lp 17.98
As a member of Silver Jews and Lambchop, William Tyler undeniably has some of the best chops on the folkier side of the indie music scene. Even knowing this, nothing could have prepared us for how he demonstrates those talents on his latest solo album and mesmerizing instrumental folk journey, Modern Country. A cascade of beautiful finger-picking waterfalls and ambling acoustic twang, Tyler's sound carries shades of his contemporaries Steve Gunn and Kurt Vile. He demonstrates a masterful use of space in his instrumentation with swooping cosmic synths, faded pedal steel dripping with expansive reverb, and organ (particularly stunning on "Sunken Garden") that seems to echo in out of the ether. This album takes its time but never loses us along the way; after a distorted, feedback-charged stretch of lackadaisical psychedelia, "The Great Unwind" clears to the incredibly sweet sound of birdsong before charging ahead into a final wave of rich '70s-esque production featuring the most stellar pedal steel riffs we've heard in a long while. Sit back and relax with this one and let yourself wonder where the years have gone.
MPEG Stream: "Highway Anxiety"
MPEG Stream: "I'm Gonna Live Forever (If It Kills Me)"
MPEG Stream: "Gone Clear"
UMBERTO Alienation (Not Not Fun) lp 14.98
Spooky vibes here, folks, spooky vibes. Of course, cuz it's the new one from soundtrack-ish synthesizer maven Umberto! Alienation takes things into some especially bleak and beautiful territory, turning up the ambience, doing something a little different. Yes, this could still be the soundtrack to a horror movie, but only a few tracks fully dive into the creepy, claustrophobic giallo groove Umberto usually conjures, fuzzed and frenetic. Instead, a lot of this is as blissful as it is eerie, with ethereal swirling synths and echoing beats also occasionally joined by male and female monk-like vocals, drifting and droning in the mix on certain tracks (apparently singing lyrics "inspired by condemned Russian poet Anna Akhmatova"). Some songs, like "White Light", are positively lovely; others, unsettling. All in all, Alienation is some kind of 'new age nightmare' music, with dynamics that encompass both the bombastically cinematic and the serene. A good Umberto album (as they all are, really) for fans of Emeralds, Steve Moore, or stuff on the Miasmah label.
MPEG Stream: "Black Sea"
MPEG Stream: "White Night"
MPEG Stream: "Dawn Of Mirrors"
V/A Cosmic Machine, The Sequel: A Voyage Across French Cosmic & Electronic Avantgarde (1970-1980) (Because) cd 17.98
The first Cosmic Machine compilation of French progressive electronic and cosmic disco tracks from 1970-1980 still continues to be a big hit around here and so we were of course psyched that there is a sequel and it's even better and weirder than we expected. Mining deeper into the outer nebulae of space funk, propulsive musique concrete, sci-fi dreaminess and even some ecstatic pop-disco novelty cash-ins (Anarchic System's space cover of Hot Buttered's "Popcorn", The Pepper's, "Pepper Box", Rosebud's French disco take on Pink Floyd). It doesn't get any more far out than this. Includes tracks by Pascal Comelade, Rosebud, Francis Lai, Stereo, Moon Birds, Nicolas Peyrac, Heldon, Grand Prix, Queen Samantha, Michael Magne, Roger Roger, Christophe, Anarchic System, Video Liszt, Richard Pinhas, Arpadys, Georges Rodi, Pierre Porte, Araxis, Joel Fajerman & Jan Yrssen, The Peppers, and Pierre Schaeffer. Highly recommended! Note: the vinyl version is currently backordered but is expected to be restocked eventually.
MPEG Stream: FRANCIS LAI "Young Freedom"
MPEG Stream: ROSEBUD "Main Theme from More"
MPEG Stream: THE PEPPERS "Pepper Box"
MPEG Stream: MOON BIRDS "Crystal No 3"
MPEG Stream: HELDON "Les Soucopes Volantes Vertes"
MPEG Stream: RICHARD PINHAS "Ruitor"
V/A Readymade Mondo Anthem! (Black Horizons) cassette 8.98
A compilation of absurdities, sonic detours, and dada anti-strategies, Readymade Mondo Anthem arrived at Black Horizons as a forgotten compilation already produced for the now defunct Readymade Tapes, which was run by Blue Sabbath Black Cheer's Wm. Rage up until 2015. Keep in mind that Rage also terminated his former label Enterrruption in 2003, so there may be another venture somewhere down the line. Nonetheless, he brought together many of the artists he had been working with over the years - irr. app. (ext.), Vertonen, At Jennie Richie, Balkh, Six Heads, and Crank Sturgeon, each of whom present two tracks on each side of the cassette, making for a lengthy excursion. The presence of Steven Stapleton / Nurse With Wound is felt throughout the compilation as an aesthetic guide, through the idiosyncratic tape loop or the non-sequitur of sound and voice that snaps to attention against a bed of eerie shadow and drone. Beautifully designed around the psychic/surgical illustrations from M.S. Waldron, aka irr. app. (ext.).
VEKTOR Terminal Redux (Earache) cd 15.98
Godddang it's here. Finally unleashed, Allan's #1 most anticipated metal release of the year, and lots of other folkses too, it's the third opus from the almighty Vektor, sci-fi thrash masterminds with a knack for extremely addictive shred. As we've said before, of all the throwback retro-thrash bands that popped up a few years ago, these young 'uns are the most vital and creative (as well as being seriously advanced & insane in the technical musicianship department). Once again Vektor attack with epic, twisty, fierce, chaotic, and complex but hypnotically listenable compositions for fans of Voivod, Destruction, Coroner, Watchtower, and other '80s greats, but off in their own hyper-space zone that's also informed by black and death metal, so fans of Absu, Death, Gorguts and Krallice should also bow down. Not sure what else we can say that we haven't said already in our rave reviews of the band's previous two full-length albums, other than to note that they are still pushing themselves to the edge and beyond on this 73 minute concept album (of course!) crammed with killer riffs and leads and plenty of surprising passages - like the part towards the end of opener "Charging the Void" when a heavenly backing chorus of soulful female voices comes in, incongruous but awesome amidst Vektor's usual exploding novas of guitar notes, blazing battery, and their frontman's typically blackened rasp and dogwhistle shrieks. Terminal Redux is a wild ride of raging progressive pyrotechnics that any self-respecting metalhead couldn't help but be impressed and exhilarated by! If not, we don't know why you're even listening to metal. Believe the hype! Top ten of 2016 no doubt about it.
MPEG Stream: "Charging The Void"
MPEG Stream: "LCD (Liquid Crystal Disease)"
MPEG Stream: "Psychotropia"
WHITE LUNG Paradise (Domino) lp 19.98
White Lung's Paradise is one hell of a modern-day punk record, one that builds upon all of the things that worked on the band's previous albums and also applies a bit of pop-polish production to the music. The venom, snarl, and high-octane energy are still the hallmarks of White Lung's sound, with Paradise seeming plausibly epic in length at 29 minutes, as pretty much all of their previous albums struggled to break the 20 minute mark. Vocalist Mish Barber-Way is commanding presence, with soaring, full-throated melodies that will collapse into viciously barked epithets. It's almost impossible not to hear Courtney Love in her voice, but thankfully without the trainwreck of cultural, personal, and emotional baggage that Love brings to the table. The band had done without a proper bassist for years, maintaining a claustrophobic intensity through the Big Black rhythms transcribed brilliantly by Anne-Marie Vassilou without loosing any of the velocity; and guitarist Kenneth William's shrill angular staccato was always well-suited at a potent foil to Barber-Way's voice. The addition of a bassist opens up the sound, and thankfully, they've lost nothing in the construction of this white-knuckled ride of anxiety, chaos, tension, and vitriol.
MPEG Stream: "Dead Weight"
MPEG Stream: "Below"
MPEG Stream: "I Beg You"