Aquarius Records ………. RECENTS

album cover EARTH The Bee Made Honey in the Skull of the Lion (Southern Lord) cd 14.98
Our beloved Earth return, and continue to move ever farther away from their pioneering slowmotion riffage, into a world much more stately and elegiac. A sound that more and more resembles A Cormac McCarthy novel rendered in notes and chords. In fact, some forward thinking movie exec, might consider having the modern incarnation of Earth score the next (inevitable) McCarthy movie adaptation. Blood Meridian? Would be pretty amazing. And almost overkill. As the sound of Earth evokes all of those images all on its own. The heat rising off sunbaked desert highways, animal carcasses beneath leafless tress, carrion circling overhead, old farmhouses burnt out and abandoned. The sky thick with a haze of campfire smoke, a dusty path stretching out forever into the horizon.
The sound on Bees is not a huge departure from Hibernaculum, more a subtle progression. The first track sounds as if since the last record, the fields have grown more fallow, the creek dried up, the youngest passed away and is buried in the backyard, beneath a pile of stones so the coyotes don’t dig her up, the factory in town closed down, everything quietly and sadly fading away, leaving nothing but ghost towns and weed choked fields.
But the music on Bees, is not all as dour as that, it’s also strangely hopeful, glimmers of sunlight through the slowly parting clouds, the chords major, the melodies, sweeping and majestic, it’s hard with Earth to not think in cinematic terms, like coming over the hill to discover a verdant valley, a rushing river, and cows grazing, fattened on the bounty of the land.
The guitars on Bees are thick and full, but not distorted or heavy really, just massive, paired up with piano, and organ, thick ropy bass, leaving plenty of space, lots of drift and shimmer, the drums not so much a pound as a soft insistent shuffle, the music moving in waves, like a heavier Low playing country music, or Godspeed slowed way down, darkened and simplified. Earth is now a four piece and it shows, the sound is definitely more expansive and sprawling, cinematic and subtly complex. They’re even augmented by jazz guitarist Bill Frisell on a few tracks.
Fans already know they need this (and probably already have it), but folks who have yet to check out Earth, or found their doomdrone trailblazing unappealing, might really dig this, as might fans of the Dirty Three, Calexico, Friends Of Dean Martinez and other outfits who traffic in the twangier strains of dark dolorous slowcore.
Cool cover art by Arik Roper, housed in a gorgeous black slipcover, letterpressed and printed in gold metallic ink.
MPEG Stream: « Omens And Portents I: The Driver »
MPEG Stream: « Rise To Glory »
MPEG Stream: « Miami Morning Coming Down II (Shine) »

album cover ELEMENTAL CHRYSALIS, THE The Dark Path To Spiritual Expansion (Glass Throat Recordings) 2cd 23.00
Finally, the return of the Elemental Chrysalis, the duo of Chett Scott (aka Ruhr Hunter, he also runs Glass Throat Recordings) and James Woodhead, who were responsible for The Calocybe Collection, one of our favorite discs of 2005. A sprawling woodlandscape of dark ominous dronemusick and fluttery forest folk. It’s been 3 years but once you hear The Dark Path To Spiritual Expansion, you’ll understand what took so long.
A gorgeously packaged double disc set, looooooong tracks, four songs on each disc, the shortest clocking in at 7:32, the longest at 26:55. Gone is much of the drone, leaving their sound much more folky, the focus on the strings, plucked and strummed, buzzing and humming, the sound a mysterious mystical crawl, foresty, funereal, dark and dolorous and dreamlike.
The first nearly 15 minutes of the opening track consist of the same acoustic melody, repeated over and over, like some magical mantra, and it works somehow, the repetition trancelike, the subtle variations, propelling the track forward. Eventually, the track spreads out, the vocals ghostly moans, the strums become more abstract, the sound underpinned by haunting shimmers and whirs.
While these guys do get lumped in with the free folk or freak folk of forest folk movements, on The Dark Path, they are definitely something more akin to classic seventies folk. It could be some lost disc from a mysterious UK hippy commune in 1971. Opening for Comus and The Incredible String Band. This is some serious Wickerman shit. But without all the silliness or overt weirdness. The Elemental Chrysalis have created timeless folkmusic. A sort of foresty country music. Bits of twang definitely inform the band’s dark wistful threnodies. The pace is lugubrious, the sound is sprawling and soporific, the voices drawled to the extent that they often sound like just another instrument. And the instrument list again is extensive and massive, a handful we’d never even heard of, but the band don’t do the usual, everything and the kitchen sink, instead, they are employed subtly and judiciously, so much that you could be forgive for believing it to be just voice and guitar and a bit extra ambience. There are a few moments, especially on the second disc, where the band stretch out and craft some serious sonic soundscapes, but even then, they tend to drift above that same gorgeous forest floor folk flutter.
A gorgeously languorous countrified folk flecked slowcore, that will no doubt appeal to all the various folks mentioned above, but should also appeal to fans of later Earth, and anyone into dark beauty and haunting musical mystery.
Fantastic packaging, an oversized thick cardstock 6 panel fold over sleeve, green and black, stunning cover art, linernotes and credits, the cds mounted on nubs on two of the panels…
MPEG Stream: « In Through A Desert Door Of A Wooded Heart »
MPEG Stream: « Procession Of Burning Flowers »
MPEG Stream: « Hehaka »

album cover FENNESZ Transition (Touch) 7″ 8.98
The master returns. To teach the young ones a thing or two about the guitar. And about turning that guitar into something wholly other.
It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Christian Fennesz, but thankfully, very little has changed, he can still take a guitar and a laptop and create a dense world of dreamlike shimmer, with a deftness that puts most other soundmakers to shame. So here’s a brief two song taste of what Fennesz has been up to lately. And if this single is any indication, the upcoming full length is going to be the drone-y dreamy disc of the year!
But for now, we’ll take these two, and just play them over and over. The A side finds the guitar completely transformed into muted smears, the overall sound a shifting sea of corrosive crumbling distortion, but rendered in breathless whispers and washed out hues. The metallic thrum is spread out into soft shimmers, a murk that would almost sound industrial if it wasn’t so pretty.
The flipside is more guitar oriented, a steel string acoustic, the melodies branching out in simple softly strummed strands, a skeletal framework for swirls of soft hiss and chunks of fragmented melody drifting by like leaves on a forest stream. The sound is like some simple folk music, broadcast via a staticky short wave radio, but beneath the guitar, and the dreamy hiss, are lush, stately swells melodic and cinematic, that infuse the track with a dark, but sweetly sorrowful elegiac quality. Gorgeous.

album cover FORGOTTEN WOODS Sjel Av Natten (No Colours) lp 19.98
Now available on vinyl! It’s pricey because of the terrible exchange rate and overseas shipping for heavy heavy vinyl, but it’s worth it, it’s Forgotten Woods!
Before all you Forgotten Woods fanatics freak out the way we did when we first saw this, let us say that most of this disc IS included in the still available Baklengs Mot Stupet 1992-1996 triple cd set. But don’t stop reading, there is definitely still a good reason to pick this up, even if you have the 3cd set. There are basically two possibilities for wanting to own this, a brand new reissue of Sjel Av Natten. Either you’re a newbie, who wants to check out FW, but doesn’t want to drop $25. Although we can pretty much guarantee, that once you wrap your ears around this you WILL want everything you can get your hands on. Or, you already own the set, but desperately need every bit of Forgotten Woods there ever was, and the fact that this record contains two exclusive, unreleased FW jams is enough to send you scooting toward the buy button.
For the newbie, let’s explain the wonder and allure that is Forgotten Woods (we’ll get to the extra tracks in a second):
So…what’s the big deal you ask, why are these Forgotten Woods so unforgettable? Well, first off, and at first listen, this will definitely appeal to the whole raw, old-school, Nordic forest black metal necrocrowd. Really good grim stuff in the unholy spirit of classic Darkthrone and Burzum, but with that extra kinda inept, Benighted Leamsish fuckedupedness to it that of course makes us love it all the more. And, additionally and importantly, there’s also always a strange, unexpected sort of poppiness underlying everything. As a friend (who also likes this band, and is a member of Thuja, the Blithe Sons, Buried Civilizations, the Skygreen Leopards and a bunch of other Jewelled Antler acts) put it, « man it’s good…completely inept, like they’re barely pulling it off, total 13-year-old-metal-kid-in-the-basement drums. » So, this is most definitely the kind of black metal (like Benighted Leams, Xasthur, Lugubrum, Leviathan, Abruptum, Meads of Asphodel, Ved Buens Ende, and Sigh for example) that we have to recommend to all of our customers who are into (not-necessarily metal) weirdness.
So for the rest of you, the ones who already love and cherish their Forgotten Woods discs, there are indeed two unreleased tracks (three, if you count the weird 10 second spoken word outro), both incredibly raw, some sort of rehearsal or practice space recordings, but even in that form, maybe especially, they completely kick ass, heavy and stumblingly brutal, but with an incredible pop sensibility buried right below the surface. The second track has a definite Slinty Ved Buens Ende vibe, but both are amazing, proving that besides being grim and true, these guys, whether they realized it or not, were incredible songwriters as well. So recommended, as is the triple cd set (maybe even more so!).
MPEG Stream: « Untitled 1 »
MPEG Stream: « Untitled 2 »

album cover FORGOTTEN WOODS The Curse Of Mankind (No Colours) 2lp 26.00
Finally, the last piece of the Forgotten Woods puzzle. We listed the amazing 3cd box Baklengs Mot Stupet 1992-1996 ages ago, and STILL we can barely keep it in stock. It collected most of the essential FW material, all of it mindblowing. Recently, one by one, the various releases included in the 3cd box have been getting reissued on vinyl. This, The Curse Of Mankind is the last one to hit wax, a bit prciey as the exchange rate sucks and overseas shipping on heavy heavy vinyl is steep, but it’s a doozy. A massive double lp.
If you’re new to the wondrous and cracked black world of Forgotten Woods, then read on…
Clearly this ’90s Norwegian black metal band has a cult following! But just why are these Forgotten Woods so unforgettable? Well, first off, and at first listen, this will definitely appeal to the whole raw, old-school, Nordic forest black metal necrocrowd. Really good grim stuff in the unholy spirit of classic Darkthrone and Burzum, but with that extra kinda inept, Benighted Leamsish fuckedupedness to it that of course makes us love it all the more. And, additionally and importantly, there’s also always a strange, unexpected sort of poppiness underlying everything, despite song titles like « Grip Of Frost » and « Dimension Of The Blackest Dark ». As a friend (who also likes this band, and is a member of Thuja, the Blithe Sons, Buried Civilizations, the Skygreen Leopards and a bunch of other Jewelled Antler acts) put it, « man it’s good…completely inept, like they’re barely pulling it off, total 13-year-old-metal-kid-in-the-basement drums. » That by itself would be enough to explain this band’s appeal. But our sensibilities here at AQ are further stoked by the fact that the more you delve into these discs, the more you find yourself wondering just what the hell you’re listening to…as Forgotten Woods mysteriously morphs by the third cd into something that sounds like jazz-inflected, naive indie-rock mopery, with clean jangly guitars that starts to sound like Felt or The Church or even Maher Shalal Hash Baz! Other tracks seem to echo The Cure, all slow and post-punkish… what a weird band! We can only wonder at what they thought they were doing, and wonder even more so at why they’re so accepted by the grim black metal underground. It’s the kind of black metal (like Benighted Leams, Xasthur, Lugubrum, Leviathan, Abruptum, Meads of Asphodel, Ved Buens Ende, and Sigh for example) that we have to recommend to all of our customers who are into (not-necessarily metal) weirdness.

album cover FORMBY, RICHARD Vol. 1 (Mind Expansion) cd 12.98
Richard Formby is someone you are probably less familiar with than most of the bands he has worked with: Vibracathedral Orchestra, The Telescopes, The Jazz Butcher Conspiracy, Fuxa, Mogwai, Spaceman 3, Dean & Britta, The Pale Saints, Hood, the list goes on. Known mostly as a producer and remixer for the past twenty years, this is his first release as a musician, and we’re surprised it’s taken so long as this is really quite good. Part of a planned three volume set, Volume 1 is comprised of 8 instrumental compositions perfect for a blissful night-drive. From the motorik propulsions of « Karoli » (a memorium to Can’s Michael Karoli),the minimalist groove of « Oscillate », the cinematic « Universi », and the wistful chamber pop of « Crater Ives » to the dreamy loping drones of the 20 minute final track, « The Church Bells at Filey ». Recommended!
MPEG Stream: « Karoli »
MPEG Stream: « The Seveneight »
MPEG Stream: « Crater Ives »

album cover GHOST TO FALCO Like This Forever (Below PDX) cd 12.98
Anyone remotely familiar with aQ knows we’ve long had a soft spot for earthy, psych-tinged music that weaves its way along beautiful shadowy paths through the dewy glimmers and murky sludge. Well, here’s something new that fits the bill and has been pleasing many an ear around here! We actually put a call out to these Portland, OR folks back in October to send some of their music down the coast. A few months have passed and here we are finally with cds in hand, and we think it was worth the wait! Heck, in the short time we’ve had Like This Forever in stock, in-store play has already been stirring up many many queries with at least one purchased each time it’s spun.
Stormy waves of electric guitar distortion and reedy woodwinds crash upon one another, then melt into clear smooth bell chimes. Horns and piano also enter the fray that ebbs and flows around mainman Eric Crespo’s emotive vocals that have been compared to those of Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes. As you listen you get a sense that Crespo and co. may have been raised on a balanced diet of Pink Floyd and Fleetwood Mac as well as Pavement and Slint. Yes, all the most nutritious and tastiest food groups! Recommended.
MPEG Stream: « Hopeless Or Not »
MPEG Stream: « The End »

album cover GHOST TO FALCO Like This Forever (Below PDX) lp 12.98
Anyone remotely familiar with aQ knows we’ve long had a soft spot for earthy, psych-tinged music that weaves its way along beautiful shadowy paths through the dewy glimmers and murky sludge. Well, here’s something new that fits the bill and has been pleasing many an ear around here! We actually put a call out to these Portland, OR folks back in October to send some of their music down the coast. A few months have passed and here we are finally with cds in hand, and we think it was worth the wait! Heck, in the short time we’ve had Like This Forever in stock, in-store play has already been stirring up many many queries with at least one purchased each time it’s spun.
Stormy waves of electric guitar distortion and reedy woodwinds crash upon one another, then melt into clear smooth bell chimes. Horns and piano also enter the fray that ebbs and flows around mainman Eric Crespo’s emotive vocals that have been compared to those of Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes. As you listen you get a sense that Crespo and co. may have been raised on a balanced diet of Pink Floyd and Fleetwood Mac as well as Pavement and Slint. Yes, all the most nutritious and tastiest food groups! Recommended.
MPEG Stream: « Hopeless Or Not »
MPEG Stream: « The End »

album cover GNAW THEIR TONGUES Dawn Breaks Open Like A Wound That Bleeds Afresh (Universal Tongue) 3″cd-r 8.98
We almost missed out on this one completely. Limited to 100 copies or so, we tried to order 40 and were informed they only had a handful left. So we begged and pleaded, and the label agreed to press up 40 more copies just for us, and thus for you. Whew! Since we discovered this band we’ve become pretty obsessed. As have you all, judging from how quick we sell out of Gnaw records. They’re heavy, they’re super fucked up, it’s not just black metal or sludge, it’s some head spinning hybrid equal parts abstract industrial, ambient collageblasting blackness, hyperspeed grind, blackdrone, harsh and hellish, but strangely musical, their last record, the recently reviewed An Epiphanic Vomiting Of Blood (they have a knack for titles too) is pretty much a shoe in for record of the year. Have a look at that review for some serious gushing.
This 3 song ep, is GTT at their most black metal. The first two tracks, while laced with bits of orchestral grandeur, and blown out crumbling bliss, spend most of their time blasting away, but even then, there are bits of melodic flair here and there, the distortion is so thick and intense, the whole thing threatens to blur into some thick whirring drone, the opener has a killer breakdown groove, utterly majestic and epic, before flitting back to the black blast. The second track is another blackened monster, furiously thrashing and convulsing wildly, but it too is peppered with bits of glimmering effulgence, and a middle breakdown where distorted guitars are pitched up and allowed to shimmer ominously like some Bernard Hermann score, before the metal drops back in, transforming the track into a pummeling slow motion Godflesh style industrial dirge that eventually launches itself back into a furious burst of grim brutality.
The final track is the creepiest of the bunch, long drawn out synth drones, wavering ominously, wrapped in bis of whir and metallic buzz, samples distorted and effected drifting amidst the swirling black ambience, the moodiness eventually overtaken by a thick wave of white noise distortion and what sounds like voices screaming in terror, finally splintering into a hellish black frenzy.
Packaged in a mini 3″ dvd-style case, with full color artwork, and pressed on a black cd-r. Limited to these 40 copies, once they’re gone, might be tough to convince them to make us more again…
MPEG Stream: « Blood Drenched Altars »
MPEG Stream: « Knife… Martyr… Despair »

album cover GRIS Il Etait Une Foret (Sepulchral Productions) cd 13.98
We loved the debut release from the band Niflheim, as much as you can love something that dark and dour and depressing and miserable, but love it we did. A crushing chunk of soul shearing Burzumic buzz, laced with strange drones, and bits of haunting ambience.
For some reason the band changed their name to Gris, and this, Il Etait Une Foret, is the first under the new monicker, but, it’s actually the 2nd chapter in Gris/Niflheim’s musical quest which is apparently meant to span seven volumes. But we’re off to a pretty good startŠ
But with the name change, the sound has changed as well, pretty dramatically actually, but before we get into it, we feel that we have to preface the following with this disclaimer: we definitely get pretty hyperbolic about the music we love, proclaiming things the best ever, the most fucked of all time, the heaviest, but you know, there’s nothing wrong with that really, cuz often, for that moment, whatever we’re listening to really is. You’re not playing things side by side, not comparing two records, you’re letting a single record and the music within overwhelm you and engulf you and carry you away, so it’s no wonder, that in the throes of that sort of listening, whatever that record is, it IS in fact for that moment the MOST. The great records are the ones that continue to be the most even on repeated listens.
Okay with that out of the way, this Gris record has some strange ineffable quality, some wondrous confluence of heaviness and prettiness, that in short order has quickly made it our most listened to and probably favorite black metal record of the year so far. It’s not the heaviest, or the fastest, or the grimmest, but it is truly strange, beautifully unique, mournful yet majestic, depressive yet dreamy.
The sound is definitely Burzumic, a loping lurching almost midtempo buzz, the guitar super brittle and crunchy, the arpeggiated notes dripping with crumbling distortion, the vocals some of the most anguished we’ve heard, recalling Weakling for sure, as well as groups like Hekel and Malcuidant. A raspy near hysterical wail, always on the verge of cracking completely. The riffs are moody and melancholy, intense and emotional, often a second, acoustic, guitar, offers up a melodic counterpoint, giving the depressive dirge a strangely stately and classical vibe. The songs often burst into epic crescendos, the screams growing even more tortured, strings soaring, it’s like a black metal opera, over the top and super intense, cinematic and totally heart wrenching. Rare is the band of any stripe, especially black metal, that is able to illicit that sort of response in the listener.
Some of the tracks are just acoustic guitar and drums, a loose skeletal framework, the vocals a howling banshee wail scrawled across the rhythms below, bursts of machinegun like double kick drum, soaring guitar leads, flurries of piano notes, those tracks occasionally erupting into walls of blasting buzzing neo classical blackness, but still rife with mournful melodies and strange sonic flourishes, choral vocals, drifting drones, but the core is this super intense, ultra moving heaviness that loses none of it’s emotional impact even when it’s furiously pounding away.
Other tracks find the piano picking out a sad melody beneath a crushing doomic plod, wrapped in yet more strings, and the vocals, continuing their harsh howling lament.
Then there’s the closing track, a full on classical piece, none of that fake synth ambient classical bullshit, this is a dense chunk of modern classical, strings and piano, wound into tense melodies, weaving back and forth, creating an epic and moving coda, dark and evocative haunting and mysterious, gloriously emotional and so stirring and lovely.
Not sure what else to say, at the risk of slipping into hyperbole again (but you -were- warned!), this record is absolutely amazing, a definite contender for BM record of the year, and not only does it have already anxiously awaiting chapter three, it’s got us all fired up to go back and revisit the first one as well. SO recommended.
MPEG Stream: « Il Etait Une Foret… »
MPEG Stream: « Le Gala Des Gens Heureux »
MPEG Stream: « Cicatrices »

album cover GROWING Lateral (Social Registry) cd 9.98
Brooklyn-based ambient-drone duo Growing never fails to please the devoted. It could also easily be said that the duo has failed to truly diverge from their original starting point. Although, part of the charm of this sort of music is indulging in a process of creation that celebrates the difference and repetition within a given theme or concept; expanding or investigating a specific idea over a length of time. Thus, if you like Growing, you’ll love this EP. All of the usual landmarks are here: a Nadja on opium meets some sort of Windy & Carl and Labradford hybrid, heavy filter manipulations, masked, aquatic tremolo and chorus leads, and full-on auto-pan attacks that completely embrace stereo dynamics. We’ve read that — specifically within the ambient-drone scene — Growing has been particularly reluctant to utilize computers, preferring to employ pedals and more organic looping techniques. Still, a quick listen to this release unearths enough digital-sounding distortion to make the listener wonder whether or not these two dronesters have finally caved in or not. Fans of long, drawn-out melodic landscapes or psychedelic explorations won’t want to miss out on this one. Definitely recommended.
MPEG Stream: « First Contact »
MPEG Stream: « Lateral »

album cover GROWING Lateral (Social Registry) lp 13.98
Brooklyn-based ambient-drone duo Growing never fails to please the devoted. It could also easily be said that the duo has failed to truly diverge from their original starting point. Although, part of the charm of this sort of music is indulging in a process of creation that celebrates the difference and repetition within a given theme or concept; expanding or investigating a specific idea over a length of time. Thus, if you like Growing, you’ll love this EP. All of the usual landmarks are here: a Nadja on opium meets some sort of Windy & Carl and Labradford hybrid, heavy filter manipulations, masked, aquatic tremolo and chorus leads, and full-on auto-pan attacks that completely embrace stereo dynamics. We’ve read that — specifically within the ambient-drone scene — Growing has been particularly reluctant to utilize computers, preferring to employ pedals and more organic looping techniques. Still, a quick listen to this release unearths enough digital-sounding distortion to make the listener wonder whether or not these two dronesters have finally caved in or not. Fans of long, drawn-out melodic landscapes or psychedelic explorations won’t want to miss out on this one. Definitely recommended.
MPEG Stream: « First Contact »
MPEG Stream: « Lateral »

album cover GUAPO Elixirs (Neurot) cd 14.98
Prog nutters? These guys are, definitely. And be prepared to go prog nuts yourself for this new release from AQ-faves Guapo. This British band is now on Neurosis’ Neurot label, after releases for (among others) Mike Patton’s Ipecac and our own Andee’s tUMULt. We’ve been fans of ’em for a long time, obviously, and are in good company! This new one is everything we’d expect from Guapo: extended, mostly instrumental cinematic symphonics, dark and moody, played with the virtuosity and verve of their ’70s prog rock ancestors. Heck, I (Allan) played a 15 minute track from this, « King Lindorm », on my prog / krautrock radio show last night, Klaus To The Edge (www.westaddradio.com/klaus), and it fit right in perfectly alongside the ’70s likes of Cornucopia and Gnidrolog!! Droning strings. Eastern melodies. Bombastic battery. Elegant eeriness.
Yet at this point, Guapo have developed their own sound to a degree where you can’t just tag them as a retro proposition. Creatively, they’re bringing their old school prog rock inspirations into the 21st century, and have refined their approach to a point where they have as much in common with modern post rock soundscapers as they do with the eccentricities of hoary prog heroes Magma.
As always, the duo of Daniel O’Sullivan (Fender Rhodes, piano, bass, guitars, harmonium, modular synthesizers, autoharp, voice, electronics — whew!) and David J. Smith (drumkit, percussion) are their own veritable prog rock orchestra, though they do have occasional help from guests, including vocalist Jarboe from the Swans on one song. That’d be « The Selenotrope », one of two tracks originally from Guapo’s tour-only Twisted Stems cdep, both of which are included here, and which we previously described as sounding something like a horror movie soundtracks scored by The Necks. (To Guapo fans who happen to already have Twisted Stems, we say no worries, you’ll still be getting well over 40 minutes of brand new music on Elixirs too.)
All this proggy goodness comes wrapped up in a snazzy black & white artwork, packaged in a jewelcase with cardstock slipcase.
MPEG Stream: « Jewelled Turtle »
MPEG Stream: « Arthur, Elise, and Frances »

album cover HOT CHIP Made In The Dark (deluxe) (Astralwerks) cd+dvd 17.98
In the last few years Hot Chip have made the transition from being a well kept electro-pop secret to one of the more popular bands in the world of indie/electro-rock. It’s for good reason as they really found a refreshing way to tap into both the more interesting elements of electronic pop while also delivering jams that you can really shake your stuff too. Incorporating elements of indie rock, electronica, pop, and even sneaking some avant garde and experimental influences into their super catchy blend of music for the masses, a sound that doesn’t pander but instead creates a super fun place where music lovers of all stripes and persuasions can come together for a super good time. Tapping into everything from OMD to Daft Punk, Prince to Gary Numan, Justin Timberlake to Soft Pink Truth. This is what the kids are going crazy for at the moment, and they could be doing lots worse cause Hot Chip are really good!
MPEG Stream: « Ready For The Floor »
MPEG Stream: « Don’t Dance »

album cover ICON Night Of The Crime (Rock Candy) cd 17.98
Most of the metalheads we know, especially ones with a soft spot for classic eighties metal, are unanimous in their love of Phoenix hard rockers Icon. Their first disc was an all time classic, super rocking, crazy catchy, hooks galore and a raspy vocalist with a voice that sounded quite a bit like Blackie Lawless from W.A.S.P., in fact the whole band was sort of a dead ringer for W.A.S.P., or early Great White even. One of those records we NEVER get tired of listening to. Both Allan and Andee rank it as one of their all time favorites.
Icon’s follow up was this disc right here, finally given a super deluxe reissue treatment, by Rock Candy, the UK label that gave us killer reissues from the Sea Hags, Zodiac Mindwarp, the Plasmatics, Billy Squier, and now this, Night Of The Crime.
The liner notes call this « without doubt one of the greatest melodic hard rock records ever made, » and while we might not go quite that far, it is pretty awesome. But be warned, it’s way more AOR than hard rock a lot of the time, plenty of keyboards, some ballad-y bits. But the songs are all crazy catchy, and the hardest rockers, like « Raise The Hammer » and « The Whites Of Their Eyes » could easily have been outtakes from their first record.
The sound hovers somewhere between Whitesnake, Autograph that sort of poppy hard rocking eighties sound and more commercial fare like John Parr. But it’s the hooks and the killer voice that makes this stand out. The songs stick in your head like crazy, and it’s difficult to imagine why these guys weren’t huge. The liner notes are packed with photos and stories, the band had some serious Behind The Music drama going on, it makes for a good read. But again, if you don’t dig the sound of the eighties, poppy melodic radio ready hard rock, big hair, all that, you might not be able to get into this. Allan and Andee both love the first Icon desperately, but only Andee is willing to stand up for this one, but he stands proud, hair teased, spandex pants, bullet belt, Chuck Taylors, lots and lots of scarves, head banging to his heart’s content.
MPEG Stream: « Raise The Hammer »
MPEG Stream: « The Whites Of Their Eyes »
MPEG Stream: « Rock My Radio »

album cover INQUISITION Nefarious Dismal Orations (No Colours) picture disc lp 27.00
Finally availabe on vinyl! And not just any vinyl, super evil full color picture disc vinyl! Packged in a full color gatefold sleeve, the picture disc an eye popping detail of the bizarre oil painting on the cover. Sorta pricey cuz of the bad exchange rate and overseas shipping, but well worth it, after all, how else will all you vinyl obsessives be able to TOUCH THE MAGIC HOOF?!
Two years ago, we just about sold our souls to Satan in tribute to the glorious magnificence of this band’s Magnificent Glorification Of Lucifer album. Allan’s favorite black metal record of 2005 by far. Now this two-man cult is back with a new album for No Colours and we’re sacrificing babies over here in celebration. Well not really but guitarist Dagon and drummer Incubus would probably like to hear that. And if anyone was gonna convince us through the power of stabbing riffage, flashing battery, and croaking vox that Satanism is the way to go, these are the dudes to do it!!
What makes the storming black metal of this Seattle duo so special? Certainly not just their love of Satan, though they do seem more sincerely devoted than most. No, they’re just -different- from the hordes of hordes out there. For one thing, Dagon’s vocals aren’t the usual high-pitched anguished rasps, nor are they deathly grunts. They’re more like droning crypt-creakings, layered and insidious, truly « nefarious dismal orations », an integral part of Inquisition’s trance-inducing doomic atmospheres — along with the varispeed velocity of their attack, seemingly simultaneously plodding yet blurred with speed. Then there’s the RIFFS. You can’t argue there. Inquisition understand old school heavy metal hookiness without being overtly retro, y’know? And this stuff oozes METAL as much as it gives off a sinister shine of actual originality and serious Satanic faith. Pure metalness plus weirdness (in the arcane, occult sense of « the weird »), yeah! We’re spellbound. And what the heck is going on with the buried, backwards masked munchkinisms we think we’re hearing at the end of the amazing title track?
Clearly Germany’s No Colours, a label with lots of staggeringly excellent, evil bands, is well aware that Inquisition is indeed a cut above and deserving of special treatment. They’ve produced a limited edition initial run of this cd, a thousand copies packaged inside a black cardboard slipcase with a die-cut pentagram!! If that wasn’t enough, there’s also a full-colour poster folded up and inserted inside the slipcase too. We got a bunch of ’em but don’t know how long these will last.
It would be wrong and misleading to say that this sounds like Om meets Watain, but somehow it we think it has the EFFECT of what such a indescribable hybrid would sound like. But if we did have to compare Inquisition on this album to anybody, we’re reminded the most of good ol’ Immortal. Recommended as if you couldn’t tell already.
MPEG Stream: « Ancient Monumental War Hymn »
MPEG Stream: « Where Darkness Is Lord And Death The Beginnning »

album cover ISUNGSET, TERJE Ice Concerts (All Ice) cd 16.98
The return of perhaps the world’s only musician whose main instrument is in fact ICE. That’s right, ice. Fashioned into percussive instruments and horns. Listening to this, we’re once again completely baffled by how ice can be made to sound so, well, musical. The sound is like a gamelan, or a xylophone, some notes deep and rich, others delicate tinkles. And then there’s the horns, fashioned from ice, their sound can range from high pitched whistle to conch shell moan. We’ve yet to see a performance in person, but he sounds here are so fantastical, and so compelling, we’re beginning to think a trip to colder climes is definitely in order.
This particular disc, one of two new ones from musician and ice sculptor Terje Isungset, is a document of the very first ice music tour, 29 concerts performed in Norway and Japan and Norway. And the liner notes cleverly point out that « No concerts were cancelled due to bad weather ». Each track is from a different performance, the liner notes explain what instruments were played on each track, ice percussion, icefon, icehorn or simply ice, and who accompanied Isungset and on what, flute, trumpet, sampler, vocals. In addition, the weather conditions during the recording of each track are recorded: « 3 degrees below zero, no wind, aurora borealis », « 6 degrees below zero, clear sky, no wind ». So cool.
While there are accompanists on most of the tracks (Supersilent’s Arve Henriksen shows up on many of the tracks), some of them just ice instruments, most of the rest feature ethereal female vocals. The results are soft and shimmery, the tones rich and resonant, a sort of wintery new age drift, it’s not difficult to imagine Bjork getting Isungset to play on her next record, many of the vocalists do affect a similarly Bjork-like coo. But whatever else is going on, it’s the magic and the mystery of the ice, and it’s impossible not to be wowed by these sounds. When we play it in the store, people literally will not believe this is the sound of ice. Check out the sound samples and you’ll see what we mean.
Dreamy, delicate, soft and sleepy, and very very beautiful.
And like the two ice music releases before it, Ice Concerts also boasts some of the most amazing packaging we have ever seen. The booklet and tray card are semi-transparent vellum, printed images of ice, the bubbles trapped inside the ice, in gorgeous deep blues, the whole thing wrapped in a thick slip cover made from a thick foggy semi transparent textured plastic, the front with various sized circles cut out like little bubbles, the edge cut away to reveal the cd’s spine, which is filled with water, with tiny bubbles drifting back and forth, and yes, we mean ACTUAL water, in a little custom made vial, so perfect it does indeed look like the cd tray is full of water, just waiting to be frozen and played! So awesome!
MPEG Stream: « Dolosaigi »
MPEG Stream: « Kveldssong For Blakken »
MPEG Stream: « Contemplations »

album cover LUMERIANS, THE Corkscrew Trepanation (Subterranean Elephants Recording Company) 12″ 12.98
Well, it looks like the Wooden Shjips don’t have the market cornered on sixties inspired drone drenched psychedelic drug rock after all. The Lumerians offer up their own take on modern psych with their debut ep, 5 songs, all of them looooong and gorgeously tripped out. Where as the Shjips seem to be channeling the Doors, the Lumerians take ? And The Mysterians, mix in some Fuzztones, and filter it through the sound of Spacemen 3 and Loop resulting in a mesmerizing, repetitive organ infused doped up hypnorock.
The second the opening track kicked in we were SOLD. Fuzzy blown organ, pounding simple drum beat, super sixties vibe, buzzy and trippy and druggy and totally divine. The vocals drawling over that relentless beat and that warm thick organ. Wooden Shjips fans will freak, and just might have found a new favorite local band.
The second track is just as cool, but way different, super minimal, almost jazzy, with muted percussion, subtle bass grooves, soft shimmery synths, very spacious (and space-y) and laid back, like a druggier more psychedelic Necks.
The B side is all slow lugubrious organ drenched crawl, shuffling drums, a wall of washed out buzz, with one track introducing some ethereal, blissed out female vocals, drifting weightless above the fuzzy groove, giving that track a serious shoegaze vibe.
Killer stuff. Super limited. Only 500 copies, each pressed on nice thick clear vinyl, housed in a plastic PVC jacket with a thick color cardstock insert, and comes with a code, so you can download MP3’s for your iPod as well.

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