………….. Aquarius Records ………. RECENTS

Aquarius Records
New Arrivals #286
22th February 2008

Beloved Customers and Friends:

Hola! It’s been a bustlin’ two weeks here at AQ since our last list. Lots of good music hitting the store, even today some big deliveries left us scrambling (with some success) to get even more new stuff reviewed for today’s list. And we’ve got a fresh new employee helping us out. Say hi to Frank! Please don’t get him confused with other relatively recent hire, Michael, ’cause they both sport handsome mustaches. What’s less fun is that we suffered through a day or two of minor computer headaches that backed our mailorder processing up a bit (sorry), but we’ve caught up with that. Darn PCs. Making things much more cheerful was the latest in our recent string of cool instore performances. Last week we hosted the wonderfully poppy Oneone, featuring members of Deerhoof, Tenniscoats, and Coconut. Thanks to everyone who attended, it was a good crowd. Upcoming on the instore tip, Jeremy Jay (March 8th) and Nadja (March 22nd). We’ll send out email reminders about those. And there are some future instores percolating that will blow minds. And in one case ear drums too probably. We don’t want to say too much until things are more solid, but we can say that this is probably just the First Utterance you’ll hear from us about one of them. And for the other, we of course hope attendees will shower the performers with Courtesy And Good Will. Ahem. Anyway, back to business.

Thanks to Colin Chang for filming the awesome James Blackshaw instore.
Have a peep here:

Blackshaw AQ Instore Pt. 1
Blackshaw AQ Instore Pt. 2
Blackshaw AQ Instore Pt. 3
Blackshaw AQ Instore Pt. 4

Ok, let’s talk Records Of The Week. There’s two this time ’round.

Cave: Killer spaced out, sweat soaked, dual drummered, kraut flecked, blown out basement hypnojams from this Warhammer 48K sideproject. An lp that comes with a companion cd with the whole record digitized for your iPodding convenience.
The Goslings: Latest from these modern noise rock shoe gaze deconstructionists. As beautiful as it is brutal.

And as usual, we’ve got another huge « Highlights » list. Lots of good stuff — heck there’s new records from Earth, Boris (a 7″), Fennesz (also a 7″), Thuja, Mountain Goats, and… Zarach’Baal’Tharagh!!! Among others. Hopefully this quick rundown of the more crucial list entries, with one-sentence descriptors, is helpful to you all, though of course reading the ENTIRE AQ-list, every word of all our reviews, eveything, is mandatory. You never know what you might miss! Plus you’ll find some cool stuff in the non-highlighted section as well.
So here are the highlights:

AFCGT: The A Frames team up with the Climax Golden Twins, for some twisted noisy brilliance.
Agitated Radio Pilot / The Nether Dawn: dreamy split cd-r by likeminded folks from NZ and Ireland.
Ajilvsga: utterly limited cassette of drilling drone doom from Digitalis’ Brad Rose.
Angel: evocative desert dronescapes from Pan Sonic side project.
Atlas Sound: indie pop meets analog soundscapery in this solo project from Deerhunter dude.
B.Son: glacial rockin’ from these German doomlords.
Bachdenkel: reissue of darkly melodic 1970 psychprog cult classic.
Bass Communion: cd + audio dvd of BASS drone nirvana, ultra limited.
Belong: super limited all psych-pop covers 12″ record by these lovely dronesters.
Bixobal: 2nd issue of this very AQ-ish music zine with Sun City Girls/Climax Golden Twins connections.
Black Cobra: 2nd bestial onslaught from this now SF-based pummelling riff rock duo.
Blue Sabbath / Black Cheer & Anakrid: limited tag team 12″ from fellow caveman droners.
Boris: kickass new (and limited, natch) 7″ from everybody’s favorite Japanese doompsych sensations.
Brethren Of The Free Spirit: spiritual avantfolk bonding betwixt James Blackshaw (12 string gtr) and Jozef Van Wissem (lute).
Brothers Of The Occult Sisterhood: cd-r of otherworldly free folk from Aussie bro/sis duo.
Andrew Chalk & Daisuke Suzuki: Gorgeous collaboration from two master dronecrafters.
Dead Letters Spell Out Dead Words: Another disc of deep dark mysterious drones from Mystery Sea.
Earth: Brand new album of slow, low country dirges.
The Elemental Chrysalis: Sprawling double disc of gorgeous forest folk from
Fennesz: gorgeous guitar-based electronica from the master, on a Touch label 7″.
Forgotten Woods lp x 2: finally vinyl of these albums from these unusual black metallers triple cd collection.
Richard Formby: Blissy krauty pop on this first proper release from this legendary producer.
Ghost To Falco: Emotive dramatic dreaminess from this Northwestern combo.
Gnaw Their Tongues: Ultra limited, second pressing just for AQ, of one of our new favorite band’s latest salvo. Furious and filthy, doomy and destructive.
Gris: One of our favorite new black metal discs. Epic classical tinged depressive blackened buzz.
Growing: More divine spaced out free rock from these East Coast sonic explorers. Guapo: eleganty eerie prog/post rock bombast from AQ fave UK duo.
Icon: ’80s AOR-ish metal that Andee will fight you about.
Inquisition: limited picture disc vinyl that’s both nefarious and dismal.
Terje Isungset: more music made entirely with cold, cold ice – and no it’s not black metal.
The Lumerians: 12″ of local SF psych throb to give Wooden Shjips some competition.
Mamaleek: Freaked out blissy, grindy metallic weirdness from right here in SF.
Marblebog: A disc of gorgeous drifting krautrock ambience from these Hungarian heavies.
Miles Devens: Basically a new Ignatz record under a different name. Whoo yeah!
Monade: Stereolab side project returns.
Monopoly Child Star Searchers: Spencer from the Skaters solo side project. Murky and mysterious and maybe the best thing he or they have done!
Mountain Goats: New record from this perennial favorite. Smart and intense, catchy and smart.
Nemeth: Dude from Radian gets all cinematic.
Radar Brothers: Gorgeous Pink Floydian pop from these long time aQ faves.
Siddhi: Sicilian space guitarist from kosmic voyagers Comet III voyages on his own cd-r release.
Sloth: a full-length from these sample happy heavies.
Sote: ltd. ed. wicked Warp-style electronica 12″ with Middle Eastern influences.
Soul Merchants: Archival recordings from these Denver psychedelic goths. Doomy and dramatic.
Stephen O’Malley & Attila Csihar: Disc of creepy liturgical ambience from these two legends. From a Banks Violette art installation.
Sunken: Dueling organs and then some, long warbly whirring dreamy dronescapes.
Preston Swirnoff: Irwin’s brother gives us some serious 21th century avant garde and experimental tape works.
Tad: entertaining dvd documentary all about one of our Seattle grunge faves.
Tenhornedbeast / Marzuraan: Math up of these two UK outfits, one dark and drone-y, the other blissy and metallic.
Thuja: New full length vinyl only release collecting various live performances. Sublime.
Uno Actu: Total freaked out acoustic black rituals from these genius Canadian weirdos.
V/A Carolina Funk: this vintage funk comp is a crate diggers delight.
V/A Dr. Boogie Presents: swell collection of boogie toons from rare old 78s. Death Ray Boogie!
V/A Garden Of Forking Paths: Amazing comp of avant acoustic string work, featuring a bunch of aQ faves.
V/A Tropicalia: Legendary comp available again!
Veee Deee: Double 3″cd-r of freaked out psych from this guitar / drums duo.
Wrnlrd: Some of the thickest, heaviest, buzziest, noise drenched blackness, the USBM world has so far offered.
Xela: Ultra limited tape of gorgeous ambient doom creep.
Zarach’Baal’Tharagh: The French master of bedroom black metal. Fucked up and damaged and dementedly brilliant.

Also you’ll find a new issue of The Wire, some extreme jazz improv from Rune Grammofon (Box) and PSF (Hideki Kondo), another Steve Reid/Kieran Hebden jazz/electronica fusion, Japanese indie pop by way of Hapna from the Tenniscoats, all kinds of cool cassettes and now-on-vinyl items and more…

What else should we be mentioning before letting you have at this week’s reviews? Oh yeah, don’t forget about the show by Tuvan throat singing group Huun Huur Tu that we’re co-presenting this Tuesday, February 26th at the Great American Music Hall. We had two pairs of tickets to give away, the winners were Spencer Owen and Leslie Kleinberg. Congratulations! But just because you didn’t win free tickets is no excuse to miss the show. It’s bound to be amazing. Last time they were here, we were completely mesmerized by the power and beauty of their music. More info can be found at the end of the list.

And speaking of winners, mailorder customers Kraig Keller and Denman Anderson were the two lucky recepients of $25 AQ gift certificates, randomly selected from the pool of peeps who sent in their 2007 Top Ten lists before our deadline last month. Thanks again to everybody who shared their lists (often with more than ten items, and often with interesting and/or entertaining commentary). You’re all tops with us. You can view the collected 2007 Customer Top tens here: 2007 Customer Faves. Check it out.

Finally, if you’re looking for something to read on the web, have a looksee here:
A pretty fun and fascinating interview with the members of Hammers Of Misfortune, and a bit with Andee discussing music and metal and other random stuff.

And that’s it. It’s 3:00 am and we gotta get to bed. So enjoy the list. Thanks as always for reading all this stuff and buying your records at AQ. Don’t know what we would do without you.
Come visit us in person, buy some records, play some video games, order some records via the website, send us some emails, recommend some cool music, just come visit and hang out, otherwise you’ll hear from us in a couple weeks with another killer list bursting at the seams with weird and wonderful sounds.

We leave you know so you may dig in!

While we head to bed.



And as always, thanks for reading the list, passing it on to all your friends who love weird music, shopping at our store, turning -us- on to all sort of great stuff, and helping us spread the word and get all this great music to the people who love it. YOU!! And as always, please realize that we work really hard on the list, so if you find out about stuff through us, please try to buy your records from us. That way we can keep on doing what we do, and we’ll always be here with our ears to the ground, and with cds full of metalcore pitbulls, death metal parrots, gamelan playing elephants, recordings of glaciers cracking, ice melting, zamboni’s, life support systems, drag races, audience applause, and of course self flagellating Norwegian dwarves, moaning telephone wires, recorded exorcisms, acapella straight edge metalcore, high school battles of the bands, movie theater organ music, Christian psychedelic folk, Bhangra Black Sabbath as well as all the metal, indie rock, electronica, punk rock, reggae, dub, sixties psych, krautrock, classic rock, country and anything else your heart may desire. So thanks. A bunch!


Remember, give our STREAMING NEW ARRIVALS RADIO THING a try! (mp3 stream)


—-* Records of the Week :

album cover CAVE Hunt Like Devil (Permanent Records) lp+cd 13.98
At first glance, it might be difficult to know what this record it all about. The sleeve is just a photo of trees and leaves, a dense overgrown forest. Pull out the cd, that too is cryptic, just some random letters on the disc, the sleeve, an old crinkled photo from some seventies porn mag of a topless cowgirl with a gun in her mouth. There’s an insert, with a bunch of strange shapes, the word CAVE right at the top. But we know what it is. We’ve been waiting for this disc for ages. The debut recording from, wait for itŠ CAVE! Who just so happen to be the spacerock krautrock dronerock riff heavy jam band side project of one Warhammer 48K, who were already spacey and krauty and droney to begin with, so needless to say this is some seriously kick ass, aQ freakout worthy shit.
For the attention span impaired, howabout some Hawkwind, Can, Circle, Lightning Bolt, Pharaoh Overlord? Sounds good huh? Well, it’s easy to hear bits and pieces of all of those bands in the sound of Cave, a dual drummer-ed riff heavy psych rock, that takes single riffs and hammers at them, pounding and pummeling, repetitive and mesmerizing, a sort of kraut flecked hypnorock, but with all sorts of strange twists and turns, bizarre arrangements, baffling breakdowns, but woven into longform jams that should have anyone into the above mentioned bands frothing at the mouth.
The opening track is a gorgeous little tangle of minor key melodies, looped and repeated, over a tense distant drone, thick swaths of keyboard whir over soft tangles of acoustic guitar and space-y backwards guitar swoops, but then the opening riff of the second track kicks in, and it’s all fuzzy and feral, the greatest riff Pharoah Overlord never wrote, and they just hang on it, way longer than any normal band would, FOREVER, before the drums kick in, and they’re off, a relentless and hooky groove, with brief blasts of super dynamic chaos, before slipping right back into it. Keyboards lay still more hypnotic melodies over the top, vocals, when there are any, are shouted way down in the mix, or are wordless falsetto la-la-la’s, adding more texture and sonic complexity than anything. The dual drummers mix it up spitting out occasional tribal squalls, sometimes thick swirls of staticky fuzz wash over the proceedings, but their propulsive fortitude never falters. The first two tracks would almost be enough. Nearly 12 minutes of heavy freaked out space jam nirvana. You can practically feel the walls heaving and the sweat dripping through the speakers. You’ll probably need a lie down afterwards. But there’s no time, cuz hell, there’s 6 more tracks to dig through. The sound is punk rock, lo-fi, but lush and epic, damaged and delirious, like garage rockers raised on Magma and Faust, there’s plenty of Neu! in there, Stereolab too then, but it’s way heavier than that, the guitars crunchy and thick, occasionally opening up into wailing psychrock blowouts, the drums getting more and more distorted and frenzied. Imagine an amphetamine fueled Circle or Can, but via the basement, the sound a sweat soaked drug drenched mostly instrumental kraut groove
Mathy, murky, like the fucked up younger brother of Yes, a Neanderthal krautrock, laced with awesome grinding space rock riffage, blown out squalls of ur-psych, flurries of percussive splatter, chanting cult vocals, bits of what the fuck vocoder (!), but for all the weirdness, the core sound of Cave is THE RIFF. Whether it’s a warbly synth, or a superdistorted guitar, or tra-la-la vocals, they all align themselves with that riff, the mission, to entrance, to ensorcel, a heaving, pulsing, throbbing mass, the sound magnetic and irresistible. Endless jams that aren’t really, but feel like they should be. Like they are anyway. Transcending the laws of time and space, dragging us kicking and screaming, bouncing and bobbing, into some blissed out basement at the end of the universe, where we subsist of nothing but riffs, drums and FX. We never want to leave.
Killer packaging, it’s an lp AND a cd, same music on both, fold over full color sleeve, full color one sided cd sleeve (all described above) and a full color thick cardstock insert. And of course, limited, only 500 copies!
MPEG Stream: « HLD 2 »
MPEG Stream: « Hunt Like Devil »
MPEG Stream: « Seans Inner Ear »

album cover GOSLINGS, THE Occasion (Not Not Fun) cd 12.98
Not many artists can lay claim to their very own musical genre, but Hollywood, Florida’s The Goslings are among the elite few who most definitely can. On first listen their sound seems to fit pretty comfortably amongst the current crop of distorted deconstructed decaying blissed out dreamy dirge rock that seems to be all the rave (Nadja, Alcest, Hjarnidaudi, Procer Veneficus, etc.), after all they often get described as half SUNNO))) and half My Bloody Valentine, but that’s really only half (again) true. And while their sound does share some of the elements of those other bands, The Goslings are their own perfect, synergetic sonic force, an organic, original soundworld that has absorbed and re-synthesized those influences entirely. In other words, on this latest record, they somehow manage to sound way, way heavier and much, much more lush, transforming any vestiges of other bands’ sounds into something distinctly theirs. Formerly just a husband and wife duo, Max and Leslie Soren, Occasion finds the couple joined by two apparently full-time members which does nothing but help make their sound, thicker, and more dense, more intense, more distorted, and impossibly, more beautiful. It’s not a huge departure from the sound of their previous outings, but that’s not really a bad thing. Occasion just serves to demonstrate that their sound is now even more of a particularly refined and menacing chunk of skull crushingly gorgeous sound.
Each of The Goslings’ records has been self-recorded straight onto tape in their $15 an hour rehearsal space. Before it was a 4-track, now it’s a reel-to-reel 8-track tape, with any additional tracks being added at a friend’s house in Pro Tools — a slight upgrade, but again, one that merely serves to push their sound even further into some hellish sonic realm. Mastered by James Plotkin, their commitment to relatively lo-fi, analog recording a significant part of why each and every track is so totally ear-stabbingly, skull-fuckingly shit heavy. But beneath the obvious doom veneer, the crushing sludge, the washed out hiss and buzz, there are buried some lovely melodies and more of the Goslings’ near perfect pop songs. Fear not though, it’s not like Nadja or Jesu, where there is potentially enough of said pop to turn-off those more dedicated to the seriously heavy and/or utterly grim. Regardless of the surprising melodic structures lay hidden beneath the blown out bluster, or the prettiness of Leslie’s vocals drifting ethereally throughout, the music, the sound, the Goslings’ sheer power continually threatens to overwhelm, a bludgeoning slab of sonic destruction that’s systematically destroying your entire life, note by note. Then out of nowhere, there’s a weird little bluegrass number, a brief respite before the band lurch back into motion, unleashing another avalanche of village crushing, ultradistorted, stumbling, downtuned beautiful brutality.
A higher recommendation would be difficult to give. Essential!
MPEG Stream: « Mew »
MPEG Stream: « Parsley Halo »
MPEG Stream: « Vitium »

—-* Highlights :

album cover AFCGT (A FRAMES + CLIMAX GOLDEN TWINS) s/t (Fire Breathing Turtle) cd-r 11.98
Holy shit, this is fucking great! And who would have ever thought that the A Frames and the Climax Golden Twins would make a record together? And who would have imagined that it would be this fucking awesome? It’s all superlatives and all expletives in describing the first collaborative production from AFCGT. The A Frames had managed to raise some eyebrows here through their post-punk appropriations of early Wire and early Fall, but the vocals had always been something of a miss for them especially on the last Sub Pop album. But in working with the AQ-endorsed Climax Golden Twins who are a band accustomed to delivering exemplary instrumentals from literally every corner of the avant-rock landscape, the A Frames have the permission to shut the hell up and let the Climax Golden Twins dump the fucking kitchen sink all over A Frames rhythmic swagger. The album opens with a tumultuous blast of glue-huffing noise-rock, sort of like a fistfight between the Butthole Surfers and the Sun City Girls. Soon after, a series of bad-ass Birthday Party / Oxbow swamp rock riffs explode with spindly space-age gamelan leads; elsewhere, the No Wave ghosts of R.L. Crutchfield-era DNA emerge with of jagged chops across the guitar pick-ups, bloodied fingers and all. Fuck, it all sounds fucking great! It’s a damn shame that this thing is only limited to 50 copies! That perhaps is our only complaint.
MPEG Stream: « New Punk »
MPEG Stream: « Old Spy »
MPEG Stream: « Thug »

album cover AGITATED RADIO PILOT / THE NETHER DAWN split (PseudoArcana) cd-r 14.98
Originally released as a lathe cut in a couple of ultra limited pressings (and we’re talking ULTRA, as in two pressings, 50 copies each) pressed by lathe legend Peter King, thus of course gone in the blink of an eye, this little gem is now available as a cd-r to appease all you digital only folks. It’s also probably limited, but thankfully not nearly so.
A split record teaming up PseudoArcana head Milton and his Nether Dawn project with Irish one man band Agitated Radio Pilot. And it’s a perfect match up, each bands’ sound perfectly complimenting the other’s.
Agitated Radio Pilot unfurls slow growing, wheezing melancholy melodies and warm warbly atmospheres, split into 4 tracks, it sounds more like one lengthy extended pastoral drift, a lazy wander beneath leafy trees and a burnt orange late afternoon sky, laid back and blissed out. Melancholy and gauzy. The muted buzz of guitars, warbly melodies, all very hazy and indistinct.
Nether Dawn (this time accompanied by fellow NZ noisemaker James Kirk) counter with their own brand of blurry haziness. Long drawn out drones, hushed whispered vocals, smeared buzz, distant washes of distorted guitar and muted rhythmic clatter. It sounds like pop songs stretched out and pulled apart into spare skeletal stretches of somnambulant sound. Like ARP, it’s all very soft focus and dreamlike. So lovely.
MPEG Stream: AGITATED RADIO PILOT « Leading A Small Ghost Home By The Hand »
MPEG Stream: THE NETHER DAWN « Under Your Night »

album cover AJILVSGA Gathering Of Owls (Digitalis) cassette 8.98
Some super experimental low end doom drone minimalism from Brad Rose, who besides playing in The North Sea, Corsican Paintbrush, Jade Emperor also runs the insanely cool Digitalis label.
Up until now, most of what we’ve heard from Rose has been on the folky side of things, who knew he had this in him. A seriously grindingly dense churning buzzscape. Caustic and thick, huge slabs of heaving low end, layer upon layer of black hole heaviness. Dentist drill high end surfaces here and there, but overall, every track here is some sort of leap into sonic tar, struggling to breath or even hear, your ears clogged with crumbling back grit, your body pinned to the ground beneath wave after wave of slow motion blacknoise pummel.
You know if you need this. If you’re into the slow, and low and HEAVY, you probably do. But this was LIMITED TO ONLY 72 COPIES. It’s out of print. We have 15. Do the math.
Red cassette cases, red cassettes, cool full color sleeves on nice textured paper, each copy hand numbered.

album cover ANGEL Kalmukia (Editions Mego) cd 17.98
Oooh, moody. Ilpo Vaisanen of Pan Sonic and Dirk Dresselhaus (aka Schneider TM) have recorded as Angel before, exploring the realms of noise and drone with discs on the Bip-Hop and Oral labels, bringing in guest cellist Hildur Guonadottir for the latter. Now they’re officially a trio, and offer up a fantastic third album, released on Editions Mego, where this four part, hour long, totally epic album fits in nicely alongside the digitaldoomdrone likes of O’Malley and Rehberg’s KTL.
Kalmukia opens with the evocative « Bones In The Sand » which definitely has a desert-y feel, the wide open spaces, barren badlands. Desolation. Dunno about you, but it had us immediately thinking Earth (Hex-era and after Earth), with cavernous slide guitar riffs echoing forth across the wastes…
The tremulous electric humming of the title track is next, nearly 20 quietly mysterious minutes long, graced with droning cello on the edge of feedback. The creepy loveliness continues on through « Effect Of Discovery », which builds up into a shimmering drone laced with metallic electronic whip-cracks and waverings. Full on distorted rumble is kept in reserve, hinted at throughout the thick buzzing beauty of album-closer « Aftermath: The Mutation », which is also filled with delicate percussive chimings and some of this album’s most melodic moments.
Packaged all fancy-like in an oversized rectangular sleeve, this is definitely one that fans of the most abstract/ambient side of Southern Lord’s output (Oren Ambarchi for instance) should appreciate, along with those into Pan Sonic, KTL, etc.
Satan was an angel, once, too.
MPEG Stream: « Bones In The Sand »
MPEG Stream: « Aftermath: The Mutation »

album cover ATLAS SOUND Let The Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel (Kranky) cd 14.98
From his work with Deerhunter to his excellent solo project Atlas Sound to other various artistic projects, Bradford Cox has some serious creative consistency. It seems like part of that reliability is based on the fact that all of his work seems to be approaching the same types of emotions from slightly different angles. That’s not to say the sonic spectrum he occupies is not varied, but there is the feeling that everything operates based on the same type of tension. Well, Atlas Sound’s Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel is no different. In Deerhunter, the more upbeat ’60s influenced indie pop and the glistening analog landscapes seem more distant from each other. Here, Cox seems to have fused the two into a more singular package, in a good way. All of the songs are in a similar range, but the presentation of various melodies is interesting enough for everything to stand alone. Ah, let’s see, maybe those hungry for specific band comparisons can take faith in an impressive list. For instance: Jesus and Mary Chain, Seefeel, Ulrich Schnauss, Caribou, and … White Rainbow and Valet, which is interesting. Why? Well, because Adam Forkner of White Rainbow and Honey Owens of Valet are two members of the Atlas Sound live band. Alongside the crew are also Brian Foote of Nudge (along with Ms. Owens), and someone we just don’t know named Stephanie Macksey. But in company like that, we’re sure she’s done great stuff too! If you, like us, occasionally need to embark upon an interstellar journey into emotions both inspirational and bleak, look no further, here’s your guide. Recommended.
MPEG Stream: « Ativan »
MPEG Stream: « Winter Vacation »

album cover B.SON Black Shape Of Nexus (Vendetta) cd 17.98
A while back we listed a super limited lp from these German doomlords (we still have a couple left, but after those are gone, the vinyl version is gone gone gone), a record that completely and utterly kicked our asses. Now it’s available on cd, and it includes not only the tracks from the lp, but also, their tracks from a recent vinyl only split with Crowskin, another German doom/drone/sludge combo we have yet to hear…
As for the sound of B.Son, well, by now, you must all realize how much we at aQ love us some ultra doom, some seriously sick slowness, you know, that doooooom, that is so glacial, that the songs begin to crumble and ooze into viscous black pools. We do. But sometimes we just want our doom to ROCK. Sounds contrary but it’s been known to happen. Doom can be slow and low and still rock. Take B.Son for example. Whose particular brand of doomic energy is drawn from bands like Harvey Milk, Karp, The Melvins, godheadSilo, more a sort of downtuned propulsive sludge with doom elements, than pure doom. But goddamn if it isn’t just as brutal and heck, doomy…
Thick ropy buzzbass, pounding destructo drums, throaty howls, grinding guitars, all lurching and swaying like some drugged and demented superrock doombeast, all filtered through a bit of grinding screamo and some buzzed out metallic blackness. There are moments of blisssed out post rockiness, and weird laid back grooves, stretched out near ambience and dense little mathy jams, but those moments just serve to keep the doomed sludge rock fury from becoming too much.
Produced by James Plotkin. The cd is packaged in a golden metal fold open cd box (much like the last Caacrinolas) with a full color, four panel, thick paper insert.
MPEG Stream: « IV »
MPEG Stream: « III »

album cover BACHDENKEL Lemmings (Ork) cd 17.98
Several cool things about this newly reissued album, originally released in 1973 (recorded in 1970). First, it’s called Lemmings. Who doesn’t have a soft spot for those doomed little critters? And then there’s the cover art, a black and white drawing depicting a flood of rather spooky looking lemmings, under a starry night sky, with an owl hovering ominously above… But most importantly, the music! The music on Lemmings makes it a bit of a cult classic in the annals of British prog rock. Darkly melancholic, super melodic and gentle, yet quite powerful too, as the guitarist occasionally lets loose with some really tasty, acid psych soloing… the warm vocals are another strong suit, both feeding into emotional epics, songs of alienation (as Lemmings is subtitled) and Eastern-influenced hippie philosophy.
Bachdenkel began as a Birmingham UK psych pop outfit called The U NO Who. They then changed their name to the much more you-don’t-know-who Bachdenkel, and finding little success in England, hove off to France where they could really indulge themselves in going fully prog, though they never lost their knack for the ’60s psych pop side of things, reminding us sometimes of AQ faves Kaleidoscope, with the heavier edge of a T2 or NSU.
Maybe ’cause they were based in France, and did their own unique untrendy thing, focussing on songs more than flash, they remained fairly obscure, but this album (the first of two, the second of which, Stalingrad, we’ve yet to hear) is nonetheless worthy of consideration as a prog masterpiece, up there with the much better known likes of early King Crimson.
Reissued by Ork, a division of Cherry Red, this disc is has been remastered by original producer Karel Beer, and features 3 bonus tracks including an unreleased single from 1969. Also, the cd booklet is stuffed with liner notes and photos detailing the whole Bachdenkel story.
MPEG Stream: « Translation »
MPEG Stream: « An Appointment With The Master »
MPEG Stream: « The Settlement Song »

album cover BASS COMMUNION Pacific Codex (Equation) cd+dvd 30.00
As much as we tried, and we have, we could just never get that into Porcupine Tree. And before you flood us with emails, we tried, we really did. And it’s not that it’s bad or anything, just not our cup of tea. Steven Wilson’s other project though, Bass Communion is a whole ‘nother story. Bass Communion as a project explores worlds of deep deep low end, a literal bass communion, how could it not appeal to the aQ drone obsessed?
This release was outrageously limited, and thus we ended up getting only a fraction of the copies we ordered (as in 17 copies is all we have) so we won’t go into too much detail, just know that if you want one, best act fast.
Originally Pacific Codex was intended to be released on vinyl, but apparently the notes were so low and the bass so heavy and intense, that they could not be fully realized on vinyl, so the project was reimagined as a cd / dvd release as those digital formats could in fact handle the deep tones. And deep they are. This is some seriously deep, low end sound. At low volumes, much of it is barely audible, at high volumes, the room literally shakes, and the woofers vibrate so intensely the papers on the desk next to the speakers flutter and are blown across the table top. Woah.
And we love bass. We know you do too, so this is like the ultimate low end document, huge billowing metallic shimmers, deep rib cage rattling rumbles, melodies rendered in slow motion, transformed into glacial smears, the feeling is that of being underwater, but WAY underwater, maybe several miles below the surface, everything inky black, save for a few glowing fish, and stray bits of light that somehow made it down from the surface.
What else to say, drone obsessives will lose their mind over this. Imagine cranking your favorite most minimal Lustmord record with the bass cranked to 10 and the treble down to zero. This is the sort of record you don’t hear as much as you feel. And yeah, it’s minimal sure, but the low end is maximal, threatening to split your stereo right down the middle like some beautiful seismic serenade.
The accompanying dvd is dvd-AUDIO (5.1 surround), so don’t try watching it, it’s just a black screen, but it is sort of the perfect visual representation of the music within.
Two discs, one cd, one dvd, both housed in a deluxe gatefold sleeve, with a full color perfect bound cd sized book filled with gorgeous textural photos of the sea and sky, a printed insert card on super thick textured paper each one hand numbered, all housed in a heavy gauge box / slipcase.
Again, we only have a handful, so when these are gone we will NOT be able to get more as it’s already out of print at the label.
MPEG Stream: « Pacific Codex 1 (excerpt) »
MPEG Stream: « Pacific Codex 2 (excerpt) »

album cover BELONG Colorloss Record (St. Ives) lp 13.98
Belong are just one of many new bands exploring the sound of decay. The sound of music within murk, the sound of pop, melted down and smeared into shapeless forms. For a while there it seemed like every band was lacing their delicate pop with bits of glitch and electronic shimmer. To the point where ANY band, no matter what they sounded like originally, were suddenly ‘experimental’ with nothing but a bit of crackle and bleep added to the mix. A similar thing has happened lately, another movement has taken hold, of bands burying their sounds under distorted drones, blistering feedback, bleary eyed shimmer, oceans of crackle, sounds pulled apart and layered into strange organic ambient blurs. We’re not complaining though, we’ve long been proponents of distressed sound. The more distressed and heavy and fucked up and crackly and distorted the better. The problem lies in the fact that a movement usually entails everyone and their brother suddenly wanting to sound like whatever band or sound is ‘happening’ at the moment. SUNNO))) spawned a legion off doomdrone combos, and these movements are not all that different.
A band, be they pop or metal or whatever, can wrap everything in buzz and distortion and suddenly whatever genre they were can get hyphenated with the suffix GAZE, or alternately, a band can blur everything, slow it down, make it muddier and murkier and dronier, and voila, become a doomdronewhatever outfit.
But with all these things, it’s not as easy as the truly amazing artists make it sound. And this becomes evident on almost first listen. Anyone can plug their guitar into a laptop, but no one can create gauzy gristly soundscapes like Fennesz. Anyone can tune way down and let their guitars ring out, let riffs crumble to pieces, but it takes more than that to make something a compelling listen.
From the very first listen to Belong’s last full length, October Language, we knew these guys were special. They were one of those bands who had the sound down, but were using the sound to create glorious sonic worlds of their own invention. Not aping anyone else’s sounds, merely absorbing elements, and transforming them into something new, and distinctly Belong. And the other thing about Belong, was they weren’t just making beautiful noise, they were writing songs, that were infused with beautiful noises, sometimes obfuscated by them, but there was always a song, a melody, never just sound for sound’s sake.
This new four song ep takes things even further, by being about someone else’s songs. Reinventing, reimagining, reinterpreting the sounds of four different artists, and making them all sound like they could have come from nowhere else than this mysterious entity known as Belong.
The first might be the best of the bunch, and it’s no coincidence that it’s the most song-y. A Syd Barrett cover, via the somewhat more obscure Cleaners From Venus, « Late Night » in the hands of Belong becomes an epic sweeping cinematic warped record spinning underwater, on the surface of some alien moon, beneath the warm glow of twin suns. Soaring vocals, gorgeous melodies, all beneath a thick churning lush wall of crumbling, shimmering sound. Woozy and seasick, dizzying, dense and warm and absolutely gorgeous, it’s almost like a more blurred and buzzed version of Oval, digital skipping replaced by indistinct slow motion riffage, everything gauzy and washed out. The other three tracks, covers of ’60s psych pop songs by Tintern Abbey, Billy Nicholls and July, are even more ethereal, almost choral sounding, voices and streaks of sound drifting in a softly churning sea of hum and whir, and breathy blur. The final track a thick, viscous outro, the July original barely audible beneath a blown out swirl of creeping low end and free floating metallic flutter, somehow sounding heavy and intense, but laid back and soporific at the same time, eventually fading to a whispery hum. So good. Definitely one of our favorite groups exploring the world of distressed / decayed / deconstructed / dreamy / dronelike sound.
SUPER LIMITED! ONLY 300 COPIES!! Each one hand made by the group using recycled sleeves.
MPEG Stream: « Late Night »
MPEG Stream: « My Clown »

album cover BIXOBAL Number 2 January 2008 (Ri Be Xibalba) magazine 2.00
Seems that our pal Eric Lanzillotta (former proprietor of Anomalous Records) is serious about this ‘zine publishing venture. Issue one of Bixobal appeared just three or four short months ago, now here’s the equally interestin’ issue number two, again a bargain at two bucks. It’s a digest-sized black and white 55 page xeroxed affair, crammed with cool things to read if you’re into stuff along the lines of experimental drone, free improv, and international exotica. Based in the Pacific Northwest, Bixobal’s got various folks from Sun City Girls/Climax Golden Twins axis on board as contributors. Contents this ish include among other things Part II of Sir Richard Bishop’s Indian travelogue, interviews with avant vocalist Phil Minton and electronic musician Robert Haigh, an article about the whys and wherefores of collecting « bad records » with advice about doing so, a Rob Millis essay about the wondrous « talking machine », and a hilarious rant from cranky old Uncle Jim taking music journalism to task for the overuse of certain words, like « jangly » and « soundscape » (good thing we’re careful never ever to use such terms, ha!). Plus then there’s 24 densely packed pages of music reviews, from Angelblood to Zashiki Warashi. Plenty of readin’ here to entertain and inform the average AQ customer for sure!

album cover BLACK COBRA Feather And Stone (At A Loss) cd 13.98
Two man heavy riff-machine Black Cobra return with another pummeling release on At A Loss. Picking up right where Bestial left off, Feather And Stone shreds from the start. Brutally punishing circular riffs, heavy as all hell doomy moments, throat ripping screams, and incredibly hard hitting and precise drums. The fact that this massive sound comes from two fellas is pretty damn amazing. The album has all kinds of peaks and valleys. Amidst the constant time signature shifting, and brain-burning riff heavitude, there are a couple of beautifully dark intros and outros thrown in, giving the album a very balanced feeling. But it’s mostly just crushingly heavy and ripping. If you can imagine a heavier, much more misanthropic Karp, that’s kind of what they remind us of. Feather And Stone is a must for anybody needing a little taste of thrashing triumphant, sometimes doomy and dark, sometimes fast and techy, but always heavy and punk as fuck ROCK music. It tastes good. This is also an enhanced disc, including some pretty righteous footage of the Cobra ripping at Roadburn! Proving these guys really are that HEAVY, even with just the power of two! For fans of Cavity, Karp, Floor, Torche, and things that kill shit!
MPEG Stream: « Five Daggers »
MPEG Stream: « Ascension »

album cover BLUE SABBATH, BLACK CHEER / ANAKRID s/t (Black Horizons / Steronucleosis / PsychForm) lp 14.98
The return of Blue Sabbath Black Cheer. This time teaming up with fellow low end noisemakers Anakrid. For this tag team effort, each band gets a side, and uses mostly the other band’s sound as source material. We weren’t able to tell which side was which, but they were both awesome, and because of the cross pollination, either side could have come from either band.
The A side is a dark stuttery dronescape, bits of hiss and static, fluttering lowend synth, some sort of moody minimal new wave, a cinematic drone with a subtle underlying beat, murky and propulsive, creepy and throbbing, sounding not unlike Wolf Eyes recording for Kompakt. A buzzing lo-fi doomdrone black ambient sort-of techno maybe? Whatever it is, it’s killer.
The flip side is more post industrial drone, a bleak barren soundscape, peppered with crumbling rhythmic crunch, all manner of grinding metallic whirs, deep ribcage rattling rumbles, almost like some slowed down caveman krautrock, blinding streaks of feedback melted into soft smears and strewn over boiler room hiss and no-radio-reception static, the track morphs into something much more lovely, a beautifully subdued percussive outro, but peppered with sharp bursts of demonic growls or thunder cracks or slowed down bullwhip cracks, or all three woven into super creepy blasts of harsh weirdness, made even more so by the beautiful drift lurking beneath.
Gorgeously packaged. Thick plastic sleeves, printed vellum inserts, the record pressed on thick coke bottle clear vinyl, the ink black and metallic silver. So nice.

album cover BORIS Statement (Southern Lord) 7″ 3.98
New Boris record. We toyed with the idea of just leaving it at that. Three simple words. Certainly enough to produce a frenzy of adding to cart and buy-button mashing. For Boris obsessives, the above should indeed be enough. Hop to it. NEW BORIS RECORD!!! It’s limited. Of course. Colored vinyl. And if you don’t buy one now you’ll be shelling out $50 for it a few months down the line on eBay. But you knew that already.
For the rest of you, and in the interest of the folks who still want to know what it might sound like before they pull the trigger, allow us to continue the review forthwith:
Two tracks, both short and sweet. One from the forthcoming new album Smile, one exclusive to this here 7″ (and perhaps a forthcoming import 12″), but for the collector or completist inclined among you, again,the B side will not be on the album.
The A side is pretty killer, fans of Boris’ Pink will feel right at home. A serious Kiss like riff, some cowbell, and then some ridiculously blown out in the red acid psych lead guitar. It’s weirdly lo-fi sounding, but still fierce, and if the band sounds a bit fuzzy and muddy, the leads sound like Wata is IN your headphones, ramming her guitar straight into your ears. It’s pretty amazing actually. The music is a wild wooly garage metal stomp, tons of FX, wah wah, the vocals though are a bit of surprise. Weirdly poppy. Double tracked. Super melodic, almost sing-along-able. But it’s all about the riffy groove and those impossibly acidic guitar freakouts. WOW.
The flipside, « Floor Shaker », starts out all ambient and shimmery, slow groovy guitars, eventually the track kicks in and we’re in some seriously poppy territory, the vocals soaring and melodic, it almost sounds like some lost grunge band, that sort of punky riffage wrapped around pop hooks, near the end of the track it gets all weirdly distorted, but it’s kind of an exciting new direction, some sort of metallic grunge pop. Looking forward to hearing Smile now for sure.
The packaging as always is over the top. Yellow vinyl, yellow inner sleeve, the band in full glam mode on the cover, all glamour poses and teased hair, inside, Wata reclining on a little Orange amp, facing a MASSIVE stack with THREE cabinets, and THREE heads. A total Japanese psych freek guitar geek pin up if there ever was one.
Again, super limited, only 3000 copies worldwide, we got tons, but as with most Boris stuff, these are gonna fly out of here. Which also means ONLY ONE PER CUSTOMER!!!

album cover BRETHREN OF THE FREE SPIRIT All Things Are From Him, Through Him And In Him (Audiomer) cd 22.00
Brethren indeed. This is the work of two consummate stringed instrument manipulators working in the improvised avant-folk idiom… Brother #1, from England, AQ fave James Blackshaw (who just blew us away with an amazing solo instore performance two weeks ago!), a dexterous master of the 12 string guitar. Brother #2, from Belgium, Renaissance lute player Jozef Van Wissem (who was also recently scheduled for an AQ instore alongside his pal Tetuzi Akiyama but unfortunately had to cancel due to a bad cold or flu). Van Wissem has received acclaim from us and others for his solo recordings incorporating electronics and field recordings alongside his innovations on classical lute improvisation.
Together, it’s a perfect pairing, Blackshaw and Van Wissem conjuring a delicately dense intertwining of forward-flowing fingerpicked minimalist melodies… stately spiritual praises that are all instrumental but for a brief Current 93ish spoken coda to track one, « …The Lifting Of The Veil ». And track three, « How The Unencumbered Soul Advises That One Not Refuse The Calls Of A Good Spirit », is more of an electrically-charged, expansive soundscape of moody string-strike. Electronics, « tennis edits » (??) and the « feline vocals » of one Bun Bun are also woven into the mix with Blackshaw’s 12 string and Van Wissem’s baroque lute.
To sum up: alchemical loveliness, utterly mesmeric! Really our only complaint about this is also a compliment: at just under a half hour total (28:39), we wish it were longer! The trance-like reveries this induces are too soon interrupted unless we set our cd player on repeat… (not an option with the super-limited vinyl version of this of course.) That’s right, the lp version is LIMITED TO 330 COPIES. Whereas the cd is limited to a mere 1000. And we only have a few of the vinyl…
MPEG Stream: « …The Lifting Of The Veil »
MPEG Stream: « All Things Are From Him, Through Him And In Him »

album cover BRETHREN OF THE FREE SPIRIT All Things Are From Him, Through Him And In Him (Audiomer) lp 30.00
Brethren indeed. This is the work of two consummate stringed instrument manipulators working in the improvised avant-folk idiom… Brother #1, from England, AQ fave James Blackshaw (who just blew us away with an amazing solo instore performance two weeks ago!), a dexterous master of the 12 string guitar. Brother #2, from Belgium, Renaissance lute player Jozef Van Wissem (who was also recently scheduled for an AQ instore alongside his pal Tetuzi Akiyama but unfortunately had to cancel due to a bad cold or flu). Van Wissem has received acclaim from us and others for his solo recordings incorporating electronics and field recordings alongside his innovations on classical lute improvisation.
Together, it’s a perfect pairing, Blackshaw and Van Wissem conjuring a delicately dense intertwining of forward-flowing fingerpicked minimalist melodies… stately spiritual praises that are all instrumental but for a brief Current 93ish spoken coda to track one, « …The Lifting Of The Veil ». And track three, « How The Unencumbered Soul Advises That One Not Refuse The Calls Of A Good Spirit », is more of an electrically-charged, expansive soundscape of moody string-strike. Electronics, « tennis edits » (??) and the « feline vocals » of one Bun Bun are also woven into the mix with Blackshaw’s 12 string and Van Wissem’s baroque lute.
To sum up: alchemical loveliness, utterly mesmeric! Really our only complaint about this is also a compliment: at just under a half hour total (28:39), we wish it were longer! The trance-like reveries this induces are too soon interrupted unless we set our cd player on repeat… (not an option with the super-limited vinyl version of this of course.) That’s right, the lp version is LIMITED TO 330 COPIES. Whereas the cd is limited to a mere 1000. And we only have a few of the vinyl…
MPEG Stream: « …The Lifting Of The Veil »
MPEG Stream: « All Things Are From Him, Through Him And In Him »

album cover BROTHERS OF THE OCCULT SISTERHOOD Odalisque At Secret Vortex (Akoustic Desease) cd-r 13.98
More mysterious and otherworldy sounds from our favorite Australian free folk brother / sister duo, and it sounds just as good as ever. Their sound is still like a down under cousin to the foresty folk of Finnish groups like Avarus and Anaksimandros, which makes a lot of sense since both groups end up releasing records on many of the same labels.
This is BOTOS’s first release for Italian cd-r label Akoustic Desease (another AD release, Siddhi, is reviewed elsewhere on this list) and it’s a beaut. Mixing soft shimmery strum, convoluted glitched out electronic stutter, dark ominous drones, tribal rhythms, abstract ambience into a sprawling exploration of lost sonic rituals and stumbling noise making free for alls.
The percussion is mostly found (at least it sounds that way), clanks and clunks, rattles and scrapes, here and there some actual drumming surface, but even then it’s simple and muted, various strings buzz and creak and scrape, bits of twang, atonal strum, detuned chords, all wound into stretched out melodic tangles, above it all, flutes flutter, horns moan and whistle, it’s all gloriously ramshackle, the vibe is a bunch of folks gathered around a pile of noisemakers, in the shade of a big tree beneath a blue sky and Summer sun. It’s not at all dark or creepy or ominous, it’s more festive and celebratory, voices drift in and out, chimes tinkle, bells ring, drums skitter, occasionally everything locks into a distinct groove, sounding almost like some skeletal krautrock, but for the most part, the sound meanders and drifts, lazy and lost, laid back and content, carefree and happy.
Housed in an oversized ultra thick fold over cardstock sleeve, the cd affixed to a nub inside, LIMITED TO 116 COPIES, each one hand numbered!!
MPEG Stream: « I See The Buddha In Your Eyes »
MPEG Stream: « Humming Key »

album cover CHALK, ANDREW & DAISUKE SUZUKI The Days After (Faraway Press) cd 24.00
Chalk and Daisuke Suzuki have known each other for many years now, as Suzuki runs the Siren label out of Japan and had released Sumac, Chalk’s masterful collaboration with Jonathan Coleclough. Suzuki is also responsible for one of the very few published interviews with the somewhat reclusive Chalk. Their friendship certainly runs deep, and out of this friendship came the impetus to collaborate once again (both Suzuki and Chalk had contributed to the now defunct Ora project well over a decade ago). Slippery drones open the album, declaring that Andrew Chalk is definitely a principle author of this album and mimicking many of the fog-enveloped sounds that Chalk brought to Mirror’s Eye Of The Storm. While these sounds quiver like a distant mirage out on the open desert for a passage of time that could be 5 minutes or it could be 25, the long-string drones begin to separate into a series of alien plucks which bear more than a passing resemblance to the expressionist poetics of Keiji Haino at his most introspective. Echoes and vibrations of these plucks ripple underneath in the shadowy reflection pool of echo and shimmer. As the album progresses, the enveloping opiated drone wrapping around cold, cold, cold field recordings of arctic winds racing across a seashore becomes the center piece, reflecting just how good Andrew Chalk’s sounds are. Lo and behold, it’s another excellent Andrew Chalk record.
MPEG Stream: « Kasuri »
MPEG Stream: « Flaxen »

album cover DEAD LETTERS SPELL OUT DEAD WORDS A Line : Align (Mystery Sea) cd-r 17.98
This is the first time we’ve reviewed anything by Swedish dronescaper Thomas Ekelund, aka Dead Letters Spell Out Dead Words, which is weird as folks around here are big fans. It’s not for lack of releases, he’s been pretty prolific, it just one of those things, so many releases, artists, records, so little time.
Well, we aim to change that all right now, with this, the latest from Ekelund, a limited cd-r released on night-ocean-drone label Mystery Sea, and Ekelund’s sounds here sound right at home. Three looooong tracks, the first, ultra minimal, it takes minutes to get going, but once it does, it’s a fantastic expanse of ultra minimalism, so minimal in fact that much of it borders on Francisco Lopez territory. But turn it up, and listen close, and Ekelund’s soundworld will reveal itself to you. A washed out murmur, peppered part way through with footsteps, the sound of metal on metal, some sort of random field recording, of men working, the clang and clatter overshadowing the whispery sounds beneath, but by the end of the first track, those whispery sounds have built into growling swells, thick smears of muted melody, crumbling and almost industrial sounding when paired with the grind and creak of the workmen.
The second track starts off in a similar fashion, strange super close mic’d sounds, thumps and scrapes, crinkles and cracks, over a super busy microscopic dronescape, all hisses and whirs and little bits of almost invisible melody, but it doesn’t take long for that track to also swell into something dense and thick, high end tones rest atop a pulsing sea swell like drone, the low end fading out leaving a strangely dreamy high end shimmer, eventually fading out and leaving just those strange clunks and scrapes and that whirling swirling whisper beneath.
The closing track is a continuation of track two, in fact, they all sort of fit together into one sprawling soundscape, but the closer remains murky and minimal, a subtle scraping floating on a thick, but soft and smeared low end rumble, it’s only in the last minute or two that other sounds join in, strange twinkles and glimmers, like laying on the ocean floor and watching bits of sunlight slowly make their way through the swirling blue grey sea.
Amazing packaging too, full color tray card, numbered, the booklet a half booklet, leaving half of the cd face exposed. Very striking.
And as always LIMITED TO 100 COPIES.
MPEG Stream: « At Keiller’s Park (Summer 2006) »
MPEG Stream: « At Keiller’s Park (Fall 2007) »

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