album cover ARTIFACT SHORE Fun Is Near (Interference Shift) cd ep 9.98
We carried a split release some time ago by this Minneapolis band and SF’s Linedotstar (see our review for the details)… and quite a cool one it was! On the opening track « 2 In 24 » on their latest cdep Fun Is Near, Artifact Shore initially seem to be continuing on with their prickly post-post-rock blend of noise abrasions and aggressive rhythms. The very next song however reveals other facets of the band’s scope. The title track flows a bit smoother and more melodious, gently fuzzy and maybe even a bit shoegazerish, but still with periodic bursts of distortion. And so these five tracks progress, gradually from fervent sharp insistence into drowsy near-poptronic stuttery dreaminess.
MPEG Stream: « 2 In 24 »
MPEG Stream: « Stupid Coma »

album cover BECK Odelay (Deluxe Edition) (Universal) cd 27.00
For those of you who’ve worn your beloved copy of Odelay down to dust… and who have a few extra bucks in their pockets! Beck’s arguably best album is the latest to grace the Universal Music deluxe reissue series. Hard to believe that Odelay was released almost a dozen years ago, but indeed it was! You can once again revel in the slacker glory of « The New Pollution », « Devil’s Haircut », « Where It’s At », and the other eleven album tracks. Yes, sooo good, but you don’t have to stop there! On this double disc set you also get three bonus tracks, plus a second cd with three remixes (by Aphex Twin, U.N.K.L.E., and Mickey P) and a slew of b-sides!
MPEG Stream: « Where It’s At »
MPEG Stream: « Richard’s Hairpiece (Aphex Twin’s Remix Of « Devil’s Haircut ») »

album cover BOX Studio 1 (Rune Grammofon) cd 17.98
We just love it when a plan comes together. Somebody thought it would be a good idea for these three Norwegians and one American to form a band and knock out some killer electric avant jazz improv jams. And indeed it was! Of course, just WHO these Norwegians and American were made a big difference: Box consists of guitarist Raoul Bjorkenheim (Scorch Trio and a million other projects over the years), bassist Trevor Dunn (Fantomas, Secret Chiefs 3, Mr. Bungle, etc. etc.), drummer Morgan Agren (Mats//Morgan Band), and on electronics & keyboards, Stale Storlokken (Supersilent, Humcrush). None of ’em novices at acting and reacting as interesting sound-makers in diverse contexts.
The first track, « Untitled 9 », is the longest, at 17 minutes, and pretty much says « Shred ». Loud and clear. If you liked the Scorch Trio’s scorching disc on Rune Grammofon, you’ll probably dig this too. And the remaining five tracks here are also worthy, offering up plenty more moody bass burble, glitchy synth textures, threatening electric guitar, and percussive percolation. And though the disc is entitled Studio 1, we should note that this was all improvised live to analog tape with no overdubs or edits. Just pure badass instrumental interplay from four dudes who know what they’re doin’.
MPEG Stream: « Untitled 9 »
MPEG Stream: « Untitled 13 »

album cover BRITISH SEA POWER Do You Like Rock Music? (Rough Trade) cd 14.98
British Sea Power’s recent Krankenhaus? (their question mark not ours) cdep revealed the band as a musical entity with a scope and prowess far beyond that of its fellow early-’00s dance rock Brits. Sure they can still kick out a right-on rollicking anthem like « Atom », but they can also execute a remarkably epic and grand passage filled with dynamics and nuance that gives Sigur Ros, Radiohead or Godspeed You Black Emperor a run for their money. That might be a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the picture, doncha? And they don’t stop there. Nope, they go ahead and expertly dish out the smooth dreamy number « Open The Door » that’s equal parts The Go-Betweens and Yo La Tengo. Really really good and recommended!
MPEG Stream: « The Great Skua »
MPEG Stream: « Open The Door »

album cover FERN KNIGHT Music For Witches And Alchemists (Eclipse) lp 21.00
Another gorgeous missive from the ever expanding world of modern freak folk, this time from Philly based singer, songwriter, guitarist, cellist Margaret Wienk, who with Music For Witches and Alchemists has crafted a darkly dramatic gem of moody mournful melancholia. Equal parts Pentangle, Incredible String Band, and of course some of her more modern sonic compatriots, Brightblack, Vetiver, Espers (Greg Weeks and Meg Baird both play on Music For Witches and Alchemists) and the like, Fern Knight is most definitely modern folk, but at the same time sounds so classic, the songwriting, Wienk’s voice, the arrangements, a perfect combination. But the band manage to take that classic sound and infuse it with some sweet sonic mystery, due in no small part to the unlikely instrumentation, the sweet moaning cellos, dreamy swaths of harp, alien melodies on the singing saw, the twang of the Jew’s harp, the wheezing harmonium, but unlike most bands, those sounds don’t define Fern Knight’s sound, merely add to the texture and mood of the music, which even stripped to its bare basics would still sound as sweet.
MPEG Stream: « Song For Ireland »
MPEG Stream: « Awake, Angel Snake »

album cover FUXA Fuxa Commits Suicide (Mind Expansion) cd 9.98
Wow, haven’t heard from Fuxa in awhile (hey, didn’t we start another Fuxa review with a similar sentiment?). The Michigan space dreamers have never received as much attention as their peers, Windy and Carl, or Add N to (X), but maybe cuz their records are so few and far between. Well, it’s always nice to hear from them, and their latest offering is this single which features a cover and collaboration with of all bands, Suicide!? Well, it sort of makes sense, doesn’t it, as Suicide were a key bridge between minimalist punk and space rock. Fuxa with the help of Martin Rev along with Dean Wareham (Galaxie 500, Lun, Dean & Britta)and Sonic Boom (Spaceman 3, Spectrum) take on a gorgeous and driving retelling of Suicide’s classic « Cheree » that sounds a bit like all of these bands combined. Hopefully, it won’t be forever before a new Fuxa full length.
MPEG Stream: « Cheree (Richard Formby Mix) »
MPEG Stream: « Girl »

album cover HABIBIYYA, THE If Man But Knew (Sunbeam) 2lp 34.00
Now availiable on 180g double-vinyl!
We were intrigued the moment we saw a copy of this reissued early ’70s Eastern-influenced tranquil psych gem. The back cover displays dark and mysteries photos of the five men in The Habibiya. All clad in turbans and sporting long beards (whoops, actually one’s a woman and she’s not bearded!). We could almost hear the mystique before we pushed play. When we did finally listen we were steadily reeled into their raga like hypnotic sounds, influenced heavily by the music of Sufi Muslims from Morocco, where they visited on what was apparently an extremely moving trip for them in 1971. In fact we had no idea at first that The Habibiyya weren’t from somewhere in the East, as the music we were hearing sounded so effortless and true. We later learned that they were in fact from London and featured ex-members of Mighty Baby (kind of the UK equivalent of The Grateful Dead). But where the Mighty Baby stuff we heard was cool and jammy it never really transported us like this recording does. It’s music to close your eyes to, as the rich sounds sweep you away, aiming for the sky as its deep hitting core glows with an undeniable spiritual force. While most bands of the era had their backstage area filled with booze and groupies, The Habibiyya mostly just had books with them backstage like the I Ching and texts from mystic minds like G.I. Gurdjieff and Aleister Crowley.
Using zither, piano, banjo, oboe, koto, shakuhachis and an adaptation of classical Moroccan Andalusi singing they were able to create a sound that felt both ancient and timeless. We can all agree that what usually happens when Western musicians try to tap into an eastern sound and feeling, is that the sound can fall miserably short, sounding tepid and watered down, but there are those special rare occasions, when regardless of origin or location, musicians can tap into a special spirit and make sounds that transcend place and time. The Habibiyya did just that!
MPEG Stream: « The Eye-Witness »
MPEG Stream: « Peregrinations Continued »
MPEG Stream: « Bird In God’s Garden »

album cover HEY WILLPOWER P.D.A. (Tomlab) cd 15.98
It’s taken quite a while for local boys Hey Willpower to have their debut full length come out here in the states. But finally it has arrived, and the party jams are a plenty. The mastermind of Will Schwartz, also of Imperial Teen with most of the music and beats created by Tomo Yasuda from Tussle & Coconut. Hey Willpower have really perfected their live show over the years with impeccable and endearing dance moves and a stage presence that’s as sassy as it is sincere. P.D.A. has a couple tracks re-recorded from their debut ep as well as nine brand new songs that tap into their feel good take at unadulterated dance minded pop that lands somewhere between the Junior Boys and Justin Timberlake.
MPEG Stream: « Hundredaire »
MPEG Stream: « In The Basement »

album cover HUMAN BEAST Volume One (Sunbeam) lp 24.00
Now also reissued on vinyl…
Heavy-ish prog/psych power trio action outta Edinburgh, Scotland circa 1969, here’s the sole album by this obscure but well-regarded band. This is its first fully official reissue, done with the help of the band members themselves. This moody Beast was apparently much heavier in live performance than on this comparatively tame studio recording (a common problem for bands back then, lamented in the liner notes by bassist Ed Jones, who claims that only about 45 seconds of the record really reflects their earbleeding live sound). Even then, Volume One isn’t without, well, volume. And power. Explosive electric guitar breaks and urgent rhythms, alternating with plodding and poetic dreamscapes. Wah-wah’d chicka chicka chicka guitar with Eastern-inflected melodies wending around and around. The first song is called « Mystic Man » and indeed the entirety of The Human Beast’s album evokes a mystic, almost creepy feeling, accentuated by cryptic lyrics, lines like « We celebrate the feel of human meat » and « Mind escapes you, flies to freedom / Leaves your hollow gargoyle kingdom ». There’s certainly a special weirdness to The Human Beast, a peculiar, pagan freakiness. Their cover of The Incredible String Band’s « Maybe Someday » fits right in. Very effective.
And while the production never lets them get quite as Beastly as they wanted to be, for 1969 this is still pretty badass. These guys probably never heard Randy Holden’s Population II, but they probably would have liked it. And they’d certainly heard their share of Jimi Hendrix and Iron Butterfly… While more ’60s psych than ’70s proto-metal (at their heaviest here, closer to Cream than Sabbath), we’d certainly rank ’em in alongside the likes of High Tide, Sam Gopal, NSU, The Dark, Arzachel, and Andromeda…
MPEG Stream: « Appearance Is Everything, Style Is A Way Of Living »
MPEG Stream: « Maybe Someday »
MPEG Stream: « Reality Presented As An Alternative »

album cover INTERZONA Numero 14 (Octubre 2007) magazine + 2 x cd 6.00
We’re not sure how many aQ customers out there are Spanish speakers, but this magazine was just too good to pass up. Hopefully, there ARE a few folks out there who do indeed speak and read Spanish, and who will be super psyched to discover this amazing music magazine, while the rest of us can lament the fact that there’s not an English version. That said, however, some adventurous non-Spanish speaking music lovers out there might just want to pick this up anyway. Oversized, glossy full color cover, and packed with articles about, interviews with and photos of Animal Collective, Vashti Bunyan, Low, Matt Elliott, Carla Bozulich, Grizzly Bear, Pere Ubu, SUNNO))), Jens Lekman, Battles, Scott Walker and more. 120 pages, tons of record reviews, illustrations by Jennifer Heremma and Ariel Pink / Jason Yates as well as 2 free cd-r compilations, one from Constellation Records, featuring tracks by Hrsta, Hangedup, Les Fly Pan Am, Black Ox Orkestar, A Silver Mt. Zion and what appears to be a live 17 minute exclusive track from Godspeed You Black Emperor, and the other from Finland’s Lal Lal Lal label (run by one of the members of Avarus), featuring tracks by Maniacs Dream, Avarus, Kemialliset Ystavat, Fricara Pacchu, The Anaksimandros, Keijo and a whole bunch of Finnish acts we’ve never even heard of!

album cover KONDO, HIDEAKI Structures (PSF) cd 16.98
Fans of the late great Japanese free improv guitar master Masayuki Takayanagi take note of this release. Guitarist Kondo and his group pay tribute with a version of Takayangi’s gorgeous, gradually projected « Herdsman’s Pipe Of Spain ». And the rest of this is quite in keeping with the spirit of Takayangi’s pioneering New Directions Unit. And while therefore pretty « out » sounding, it’s also quite a bit different from some of the more extreme offerings we’ve heard from Kondo’s other band, the electronics n’ computers plus free jazz noisemaking ensemble Exias-J, known for their droning and distorted Borbetomagus-like jams. Here things are often calmer and more, dare we say, melodic. Though this is still pretty darn avant-garde. It opens with a solo guitar piece, finding Kondo playing a « ten-string gut guitar », which is an impressively large, plank-like instrument. Later on, he’s accompanied by a group featuring flute, percussion and contrabass.
And this is called Structures for a reason. Even though there’s a large improvisational element to Kondo’s music (with certain tracks designated as such) he’s really into experimenting with improvisations within particularly strict and unusual theoretical structures. Or at least that’s the idea we get from what we’ve read about it, and certainly the very meticulous music here, full of moody pink-plonk, rumble-fumble, and scritch-scrape, seems like it could creatively stem from such complex, intellectualized musical methodologies…
MPEG Stream: « Herdsman’s Pipe Of Spain »
MPEG Stream: « The Secondary Object Of Mode One, Crossing Lines »

album cover KUHNE, KADET Holding Pattern III Infinite Delay (Tektonic Shift) dvd 21.00
You might recall Ms Kadet Kuhne’s two exceptional IDM albums 2001’s Seismic and 2004’s Thin Air. In the years since she moved to LA and has now returned to the Bay Area with this dvd. We always knew that she was one heck of a multimedia force — filmmaker, electronic music composer, installation artist — just as adept at sculpting atmospheres through visuals as via artfully textured glitch and drone audio… and this document reconfirms it! Holding Pattern III: Infinite Delay is an audio/video work of hers from 2006. Otherworldly languid live-processed soundscapes with dreamy underwater imagery. She’s joined by like-minded artists mem1. Immersive and beautifully crafted.

album cover ONG ONG Issue 4 magazine 6.98
Issue #4 of this Seattle zine has arrived! You simply seldom see this sort of lovingly handmade, cut’n’paste publication these days! Features include stories about Grouper and Blue Cheer, animal facts, assorted other writings, comics, collage, drawings, and reviews of gigs and… beer! The 52-page zine comes in a plastic sleeve which also corrals a handful of odds’n’ends — some screenprinted stickers and a cd-r of educational, spoken word and children’s LP obscurities. Limited to 450 copies!

album cover REID, STEVE ENSEMBLE Daxaar (Domino) cd 15.98
Steve Reid’s resume speaks for itself. Over the last four decades his drumming has pretty much done it all! Mentored by with John Coltrane, playing in ensembles with Sun Ra and Fela Kuti, laying down the beats for Motown hits from Martha Reeves & The Vandellas to his own avant outings and recent collaborations with Kieren Hebden of Four Tet fame. Daxaar was recorded in Senegal with a large ensemble including Hebden on electronics, Khadim Badji on percussion and Jimi Mbaye on guitar. This was by no means Reid’s first time in Africa, as he made the pilgrimage there very early in his musical career inspired by the visits to Africa that had such a strong impact on many of his musical heroes like Don Cherry and Art Blakey. Daxaar opens with a welcoming track played by Isa Kouyate on korah and vocals and the rest of the record finds Reid leading his ensemble through some really nice cosmic afro-jazz. There are a few moments that sound a little more fusiony then we usually expect from Reid, whose taste is for the most part always spot on. Not quite as out as some of his recent offerings but just as skilled, flawlessly executed and another bit of proof as to why he’s one of the greatest jazz musicians still going strong!
MPEG Stream: « Big G’s Family »
MPEG Stream: « Jiggy Jiggy »

album cover ROBEDOOR Pained Seer (Caligulan Records) cassette 4.50
A beautiful swirling murk drone mass from the always transcendent Robedoor! Pained Seer is the first cassette document of Robedoor we’ve gotten our hands on here at aQ, and it’s a gorgeous vision quest to be sure!
The first track, « Acid Collapse », Is an undulating sonic dream, pulsating and writhing, feedback and fuzz rising and falling, spooked vocals mutter desperate incantations in the distance, all buried under an acid tongued drone. The sound is warm and enveloping, wrapping the mind in a twilight, come-down trip blanket, made of ghostly tones and acerbic pulsations. Building slowly in intensity, the sound becomes more and more excited, percussive elements enter to punctuate the brain burning death rattle, eyes rolling back into the head, sun caving in, by the end of it there’s a hole blown in your head, and a vacuous peace where your mind used to be.
The flip side, « Reverse Vision », proceeds in the same mode, but perhaps a bit darker. Doomy even. A blackend progression is played on what sounds like a cheap keyboard set to cello, or maybe bassoon, hissing otherworldly vocals sing fractured melodies, all buried in murk-fuzz reverberating textures. This must have been recorded in some deep dark cavern situated far below LA, some place where that California sun cannot reach. The sound so dense and distorted, harrowingly dark visions creep through the mind’s eye like lost sonic specters searching for a vessel. The piece drifts and drones and floats away into the ether, the progression remaining until the bitter end.
This tape, much like the Swanox / Scraps Of Dogs also on Caligulan featured on this list, is packaged beautifully. A photo of the sun coming through the trees on the cover, with these rad fleur d’lys cut outs on the corners of the inside flap. And A Magic The Gathering card is included in every cassette! Radical shit. Unfortunately, we got the last ten copies of this wonder, so when they’re gone they’re gone. Get it.

album cover STIMULUS Untitled Landscapes One (ICR) cd-r 17.98
A small pressing of some 100 copies on Colin Potter’s ICR label from this little known project Stimulus. Supposedly, this ensemble began life in a more abstract electronica vein; but here they’ve managed an excellent recapitulation of the classic Organum sound, with open-ended acoustic drones crafted out of growling textures and distended bellows massing into a dense, static cloud of acoustic energy. Further on, Stimulus blurs guitars and vibraphone into more of a distort-o-shoegazer drone much more in line with Fennesz or Machinefabriek, then shift to a heavy subharmonic bass drone coupled with elongated church organ tonalities. Well worth investigating!
MPEG Stream: « Untitled 1 »
MPEG Stream: « Untitled 3 »
MPEG Stream: « Untitled 4 »

album cover SWANOX / SCRAPS OF DOGS Split (Caligulan Records) cassette 4.50
A beautiful and harrowingly dark cassette release from the mysterious new tape label, Caligulan! Based right here in not so sunny these days San Francisco, Caligulan brings the droney, woozy, doomy skull fuck sounds that make a tape head cringe with sorrowful delight!
The Swanox side is one long track, called « Forests Of Pluto », and indeed sounds like an exploration of some alien, yet wooded planet. Deep and dark doomy folk, other worldly voices emmanating from blackened caves, the sounds of ancient trees creaking in the haunted winter winds, reverb drenched guitars plunked by some wraithy wood elf of the unspoiled natural landscape of old. The sounds of Swanox on this release are both haunting and contemplative, letting the mind drift off into the spectral world of tones. Spooky and strangely beautiful music!
The Scraps Of Dogs side is also a dark beauty, but much nosier and much heavier. The first track, « Nag Hammadi » is sort of a metallic drift. The sounds of metal scraping against metal, churning and contorting itself into every changing sonic shapes. Bass tones rumble in a deathlike scree, creating beautifully distorted drones and thick swells of darkened texture. The second track, « Leave Your Body Behind », Is all fuzz and rumble. It sounds like an Orcish army on a death march, in blizzard conditions. The distorted textures undulate in a syncopated way, while more high end elements swirl around your head, like some cold blowing, northern wind. Drifting drones made up of thick fuzz and crackle, mixed up in some evil witch’s cauldron, along with a few blackend frog gullets, filtered through the grimmest, most kult coffee machine you could imagine, till it fills your sonic pot with oozing nefarious soundscapes. The coffee machine of grimnity!
The packaging on this fella is beautiful! Much like the Robedoor tape featured on this list, which is also on Caligulan, The cover is adorned with a gorgeous photo of the Northern Woods. More accurately the Pacific North Western woods, where these two doomy bummers originally hail from. The inside is spraypainted to look like some far off galaxy, and there’s a beautiful handmade insert to boot! Along with this tape, and the Robedoor, we got the last 10 copies of this gem, so act now or forever hold your deathlike peace!!!

album cover TAKEN BY TREES Sweet Child o’ Mine (Rough Trade) 7″ 3.98
Oh how we love Victoria Bergsman. From her days with Swedish indie pop sensations The Concretes to her new life as Taken By Trees nobody does bitter sweet pop as spot on perfect as her! Open Field, her debut full length as Taken By Trees was one of our favorite pop records of last year. This new 45 finds her doing the Guns N’ Roses classic on the A side, of course in her trademark somber and pretty style and the B side is a new original track that’s oh so short but oh so sweet.

album cover TENNISCOATS Tan-Tan Therapy (Hapna) cd 16.98
We loooooooooove the spare and wistful dream pop of Tenniscoats (See, we can put as just as many « o’s » in « love » as we do in ‘doom’.). Although we must admit, it took us awhile to really get into Tan-Tan Therapy as this time around they collaborated with Swedish band Tape along with other Swedish musicians, resulting in a much broader and much more lush production but also with an even more somber and melancholy feel. The chamber pop instrumentation of horns, woodwinds, organ, cello, zither and glockenspiels along with some subtle electronic flourishes definitely provides richer textures, but we were kind of missing at first Saya and Takashi Ueno’s more spare and naive side that comes closer to their Maher Shalal Hash Baz roots. But this release is definitely a grower, and one with each new listen we are loving it more and more.
MPEG Stream: « Baibaba Bimba »
MPEG Stream: « One Swam Swim »

album cover WEISMAN, KURT Spiritual Sci-Fi (Important Records) cd 14.98
While we have been fans of most of Kurt Weisman’s previous projects (Feathers, Witch, King Tuff), this first solo outing on Important has really thrown us for a loop. Spazzy sped up strings, sprightly jigs, woodwind-led free jazz and wincing pitch-shifted vocals remind us more of Cocorosie than the Van Dyke Parks comparisons touted on the label. Weird? Definitely. Wonderful? Not so much.
MPEG Stream: « The Young Pioneers Discover Magic »
MPEG Stream: « Mother Daughter Day »

album cover WIRE, THE #289 March magazine 9.98
New Wire magazine time. The usual dizzying assortment of weird new music, from jazz to noise and pretty much every stop in between. On the cover British improv legend John Butcher. Inside, singer songwriter Baby Dee, aQ fave soundmaker Brendan Murray, another a fave, freedrone one woman combo Valet, Global Ear on Brisbane, composer Jed Speare, an awesome Invisible Jukebox with Andrew WK, electronica legends Autechre, artist and folkie Michael Hurley, and of course the usual array of reviews, cds, dvds, lps, eps, performances, installations, festivals, shows, books, movies and loads more. Back page Epiphany found in Atari Teenage Riot’s The Future Of War. As always a great read, and if you’re anything like us you’ll probably end up with a big ol’ list of new records and books to track down…

album cover WOLFMANGLER Dwelling In A Dead Raven For The Glory Of Crucified Wolves (Aurora Borealis) 2lp 25.00
Here now on vinyl, this Wolfmangler release from a few years back…
The return of Wolfmangler, aka Smolken, who also just so happens to be the man behind Dead Raven Choir. Hot on the heels of a split with UK ultra doomlords Moss, Wolfmangler continue to explore the dark world of doom in their own truly peculiar manner. With bass, electric bass, drum, flute, trombone and bassoon (each band member is also credited with things like umber bulk, water nymph, floating eye, tengu, trapper and of course leprechaun) the Wolfmangler ensemble create a truly unique doom, woven together from wheezing woodwinds, throbbing low end, simple occasional drum beats and weird grumbled growly vocals. The result is not so much a massive doom sound as a creepy ancient court music, plodding and funereal. You can almost imagine some black clad procession trudging along the winding cobblestone streets within some walled fortress. Kerry though it sounded like punk rock slowed waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down.
Texturally it’s unlike anything we’ve ever heard. The closest reference might be Skepticism, the way it sounded like their music is being heard through the floor or from a building next door. Wolfmangler’s sound has a similar timbre, a bit like some high school marching band dipped in tar and forced to march through a desert of black sand, or maybe like holding a stylus in one hand, and a scratched up 45 of Fleetwood Mac’s tusk in the other, and trying to manually play the record by dragging the needle along each groove. Warbly and dizzyingly warped, Dwelling In A Dead Raven For The Glory Of Crucified Wolves is some sort of hellish circus music, the soundtrack to a Fellini film, showed one frame at a time, a New Orleans Funeral Jazz band 78 played at 16 rpm on an old dusty victrola. So gorgeously slow, so pretty and creepy and dreamily doomy.
MPEG Stream: « Dirge For A Viking Asshole »
MPEG Stream: « The Last Elegy »

—-* Compilations :

album cover V/A Eccentric Soul: The Outskirts of Deep City (Numero) lp 17.98
Now On Vinyl!!
At this point the Numero Group’s Eccentric Soul series is no longer any sort of secret. The world couldn’t help but take notice of the amazing job the label has done at digging deep into uncharted and forgotten regional labels and scenes from the heyday of soul and funk. So now, we usually don’t have to turn people on to the series but instead we’re often asked -which- of the Eccentric Soul comps is our favorite. A very tough question as they have yet to release a dud. But there are two of the releases so far that are a step or two above the rest in their golden soul perfection. The collection from The Big Mack label out of Detroit and Florida’s Deep City label, a collection that we still listen to all the time.
So we were quite excited when we found out that Numero was going to mine even further into the Deep City vaults with a follow up collection from the amazing Florida label. Apparently Numero Group got their hands on a box of lost Deep City master tapes so seven of those tracks are on here as well as killer tracks from some of the other Miami labels putting out sizzling soul 45’s back in the day. Every song we’ve ever heard from Helene Smith fills us with chills of excitement and she has two more on this collection, alongside amazing songs from a young Betty Wright, Lynn Willliams, Clarence Reid, The Rollers, etc. Anyone who has been taken by the spell of Miami soul needs to get this immediately and in fact this could very well become our new favorite of all the amazing Eccentric Soul releases. So damn pleasing!
MPEG Stream: HELENE SMITH « Pot Can’t Talk About The Kettle »
MPEG Stream: THE ROLLERS « Knockin’ At The Wrong Door »
MPEG Stream: LYNN WILLIAMS « Don’t Be Surprised »

album cover V/A Gold Record Studio: Live At Laney Flea Market (Edgetone Records) 2cd 14.98
BACK IN STOCK! Record collectors, check it out: in a sense, this is a compilation of tracks from some of the rarest records EVER — even though they were just recorded last year! That’s cause they only existed in editions of, like, one. Ok, this is gonna require some explanation. The Gold Record Studio is the latest contraption/conception from our man Jon Brumit (whom we first met when he brought us field recordings from the San Francisco dump!) and colleague Lisa Mezzacappa… Basically a set-up where one-of-a-kind vinyl records were pressed on-the-spot with an antique record cutter for folks who recorded live (and impromptu) in an open-air, homebuilt studio at a local flea market! This was totally free of charge, with instruments and even guest musicians provided, and apparently proved very popular. This took place over several weekends last spring at the Laney College Swap Meet over in Oakland… the City of Oakland actually ponied up some arts-funding money to help make it happen. And it seems like a pretty cool thing, for both the participants (the « recording artists ») and now listeners who get to check out the diverse array of talent (and otherwise) who made records at the flea market, the best (and worst? no such distinctions really being made) have been compiled onto this sprawling double disc set. There’s contributions from folks of all ages, backgrounds and ethnicities. Some musical pros show up (including a couple Serbian prog rockers, and the DJ from the Ghetto Boys!), but also many total amateurs, young kids n’ senior citizens. Lots of surprises in other words!
This man-in-the-street, instant-gratification, no-rules recording project really let some folks get, shall we say, expressive. And creative. And downright weird. Portions of this do come off like a rather dubious talent show, or drunk mom karaoke — but lots of tracks could be some really underground, experimental cd-r fodder, too. As a whole, it’s almost like a hypothetical installment of the Sublime Frequencies series dedicated to the sounds of why-be-normal urban America, jumping from track to track with ADD abandon. For instance, among the many tracks of disc one, you’ve got a woozy improv session with a barking dog factored in, followed a few tracks later by a version of « My Favorite Things » recast conversationally (and humorously) between teenage girls. There’s also a pretty badass blues rock guitar instrumental, some crazy scat singing, and a song that sounds to us a lot like The Shitty Listener! And much much more… It’s mind-boggling and exhausting and pretty darn special. Even the recognizable tunes that people try (for good or ill) are enhanced in our ears by the bustling flea market field recording happening in the background.
And then, there’s a whole ‘nother disc. 50 cuts on disc two, starting off with some very lovely solo guitar from « Sam »…which is followed by a much more maniacal track with a shouting child… and then some guy singing « Let It Be »… a super-distorted rap by a teenage girl… and on and on and on. There’s definitely some Gong Show moments, which are good for a laugh or can be taken as something maybe unintentionally avant-garde. We really like the more « damaged », confusional tracks (of which there’s plenty), where it sorta sounds like the people you hear DON’T know they’re being recorded, or at least seem unaware of where the microphone is, or when the song is supposed to start or stop.
Even in the age of mp3 and MySpace, this Gold Record Studio project has taken the democratization of the « music industry » a step further, down to street level! There’s just something really joyful about it, possibly due to the serendipitous social interaction happening right then and there at the point of creation. You’re getting a glimpse at the inner musical burgeonings of people who until that fateful day they were wandering around the flea market, probably never ever ever dreamed that they would so soon be the proud owners of a physical vinyl artifact with their own singing/rapping/playing/barking/whatever on it, whether silly or serious. And that’s pretty cool.
Also, if you get this, you’ll definitely have some good material to put on your outgoing answering machine message for months to come… file it with stuff like MSR Madness anthologies of song-poem recordings, or Jacob Smigel’s Eavesdrop disc of found sound recordings, although this takes its own unique place in that array of oddity…
MPEG Stream: « Lee, Jon, Suki, Brian, Tom, Jesse »
MPEG Stream: « Emily, Amara, Lucio »
MPEG Stream: « Sam »
MPEG Stream: « Birana, Tanaya, Shelley, Micha »

album cover V/A Welsh Rare Beat 2 (Finders Keepers) cd 23.00
That the Welsh well of groovy folk and psych rarities from the ’60s and ’70s hasn’t run dry, is plentifully proven by this album. Finders Keepers presents a second volume of Welsh Rare Beat, again compiled by DJ Andy Votel and two of the guys from Super Furry Animals. Lots of w’s and y’s in the artist and track names here, there’s tunes from the the likes of Galwad Y Mynydd (also the subject of a separate reissue on Finders Keepers), Y Gwenwyn, YNhw, Y Tebot Piws, Chwys, Meic Stevens, Bran, Sidan, Morus Elfryn, Heather Jones, Edward H. Dafis, AD 73, Bara Menyn, Hergest, and more. No, we haven’t heard of most of ’em either — and the ones we do know, we probably heard first on the original Welsh Rare Beat. And while we’d rate that volume a little higher, there’s treats galore here, from rustic acid folk to glammy rock to disco prog! Even a kids TV show character takes a stab at rock n’ roll. All with a unique Cymaru bent, often with glorious traditional melodies woven through, and gentle voices singing in the slightly phlegmy and certainly indecipherable (to us) Welsh tongue. Informative liner notes are provided, though, to clue us to who these artists were and what they were on about.
MPEG Stream: ELERI LLWYD « Cariad Cyntaf »
MPEG Stream: SIDAN « Ar Goll »
MPEG Stream: CHWYS « Gwr Bonheddig »

album cover V/A Welsh Rare Beat 2 (Finders Keepers) lp 30.00
That the Welsh well of groovy folk and psych rarities from the ’60s and ’70s hasn’t run dry, is plentifully proven by this album. Finders Keepers presents a second volume of Welsh Rare Beat, again compiled by DJ Andy Votel and two of the guys from Super Furry Animals. Lots of w’s and y’s in the artist and track names here, there’s tunes from the the likes of Galwad Y Mynydd (also the subject of a separate reissue on Finders Keepers), Y Gwenwyn, YNhw, Y Tebot Piws, Chwys, Meic Stevens, Bran, Sidan, Morus Elfryn, Heather Jones, Edward H. Dafis, AD 73, Bara Menyn, Hergest, and more. No, we haven’t heard of most of ’em either — and the ones we do know, we probably heard first on the original Welsh Rare Beat. And while we’d rate that volume a little higher, there’s treats galore here, from rustic acid folk to glammy rock to disco prog! Even a kids TV show character takes a stab at rock n’ roll. All with a unique Cymaru bent, often with glorious traditional melodies woven through, and gentle voices singing in the slightly phlegmy and certainly indecipherable (to us) Welsh tongue. Informative liner notes are provided, though, to clue us to who these artists were and what they were on about.
MPEG Stream: ELERI LLWYD « Cariad Cyntaf »
MPEG Stream: SIDAN « Ar Goll »
MPEG Stream: CHWYS « Gwr Bonheddig »

Laisser un commentaire

Entrez vos coordonnées ci-dessous ou cliquez sur une icône pour vous connecter:

Logo WordPress.com

Vous commentez à l'aide de votre compte WordPress.com. Déconnexion / Changer )

Image Twitter

Vous commentez à l'aide de votre compte Twitter. Déconnexion / Changer )

Photo Facebook

Vous commentez à l'aide de votre compte Facebook. Déconnexion / Changer )

Photo Google+

Vous commentez à l'aide de votre compte Google+. Déconnexion / Changer )

Connexion à %s

%d blogueurs aiment cette page :