Monday, November 28, 2005

No "Holiday Blahs" at VMCS

In the lamestream, the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas are pretty sparse as record companies hold onto their big releases in hopes you'll instead snatch up those overpriced box sets (although some of those Rhino comps look tasty). To get a feel, just look at today's Large Hearted Boy's listing of this week's Amazon releases. Pretty sparse and pretty crappy. Luckily, for those of us who could get two shits about the holidays, the independents have craploads of new releases and reissues. Here's just a sample and it's a looooooong post.


SKY SUNLIGHT SAXON - Tyrants in the house. CD $13
Latest offering by this 60's icon and ex front
man for the Seeds. All you can expect and more
from the legend!

Album by the acid folk/psychedelic project of
Craig Williamson from Hamilton, New Zealand
(known also from heavy/stoner rock band
Datura).Sitar-driven, mantraesque songs. Blends
elements of space/folk/blues with sounds from the
Eastern shore for hippiesque psychedelia. Imagine
an exotic incarnation of Ethereal
Counterbalance's Rod Goodway jamming with
Spacemen 3, Holy River Family Band, Saddar Bazaar
and reaching/producing a trancelike
phantasmagoric state... First edition of 320 with
paste-on 4-colour silkscreen print featuring a
psychedelic lapwing, handmade by the SG Art
Department. LP $22



NADJA: Truth Becomes Death CD (ALIEN 058CD) 13.50
"Finally a full-fledged metal release on Alien8 Recordings. Alright, perhaps that's a bit of an exaggeration but the music of Nadja comes pretty damn close. Nadja is an ambient doom metal monster fronted by multi-talented Toronto musician and writer Aidan Baker. The music of Nadja will certainly be name-checked with current rulers of the genre Sunn O))) and with good reason. Having said this, Nadja is different than the bulk of bands operating in the outsider metal movement these days as they employ a much heavier use of ambient aesthetics and influences that help forge their sound."


ARCTIC MONKEYS: I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor 10" (DNO 070EP) 6.50
Vinyl EP version. "One hates drawing comparisons like this, but we gotta say it. This very much feels like how things felt leading up to Franzmania.

FV 030CD

MX-80: We're An American Band CD (FV 030CD) 13.50
"We're An American Band -- MX-80's first studio album in over a decade -- is both hilariously depressing and morosely upbeat. The ground-breaking Bay Area quartet, known for its searing guitar work -- by founder Bruce Anderson -- and deadpan commentary of vocalist Rich Stim, has managed to combine the worst of the digital and analog worlds to create a masterwork that mixes Satan, Howard Hughes and current theories on brain transplants. In a bit of musical cannibalism, We're an American Band, includes samples from the cinematic tapestries of O-Type, the musical side excursion guided by MX founders Dale Sophiea and Anderson. Claimed as an inspiration by many underground stars, MX-80's 30 year career is crowned by this tract on the modern American, living up to its moniker as the 'the most arty Heavy Metal band in the world.'"

MORRICONE, ENNIO: Crime and Dissonance 2CD (IPC 066CD) 18.00
Compiled by Alan Bishop (Sun City Girls/Sublime Frequencies). Liner notes by John Zorn. On Mike Patton's label. Means this is not just another throwaway Italian repackage. "In Crime and Dissonance, Mike Patton has pulled together a rare collection of Morricone tracks that reflect his connection to the Maestro via a shared passion and commitment to the extreme and the experimental. Psychedelic sitars, heavy breathing, screams, screeches, electric guitar feedback... much of Morricone's language here keenly intersects with the abstract metal soundscapes of Patton's own music giving us fresh insights into their deeply powerful and uncompromising aesthetics. Both artists have straddled the pop and experimental worlds throughout their careers, creating a body of work that is honest, authentic, meticulously crafted, imaginative and cathartic. Both artists have also suffered from a measure of misunderstanding. But the music lives on. Like all great music the bizarre miniatures that comprise this remarkable set are still as fresh as the day they were recorded (some thirty to forty years ago) and now through the generosity and vision of a youthful and committed contemporary music master, they reach a new generation of ears to inspire even newer vistas of creativity. It is the responsibility of the few to carry the torch of truth and integrity through the dark ages we find ourselves in and this heroic set of soundtrack rarities shows us that the spirit of freedom is, has been and always will be alive and well. One only has to look for it." -- John Zorn NYC 2005.

K7 021DVD

EINSTURZENDE NEUBAUTEN: Liebeslieder DVD (K7 021DVD) 17.00
"Einsturzende Neubauten was one of the key pioneers of industrial music. Known for their avant-garde methods, Einsturzende Neubauten have used jackhammers, drills, chainsaws, junk metal, tapes and amplified guitar noise and a multitude of found sounds over the past twenty years to make music. Much more than a spectacle of disaster and ruin, Neubauten's great and various noises eroticize de-sensitized and dead zones of contemporary life. Surprisingly, given their extraordinary visual spectacle, Liebeslieder is the first proper Einst�rzende Neubauten documentary. Commissioned by the German WDR TV's architecture division, it charts their beginnings in a hole beneath an Autobahn overpass in Berlin, where guiding spirit Blixa Bargeld and NU Unruh made music by hurtling themselves at its metal walls. It takes you through the early Untergang years, when they picked up momentum -- and members FM Einheit, Alex Hacke and Mark Chung -- through a seemingly perverse celebration of collapse and decline. Using interviews, concert material and often rare film footage, Liebeslieder plots their spreading influence around the world, their blitzes on moribund British and American music scenes, and their outings as teen idols in Tokyo. The documentary also highlights their theatre work with Peter Zadek, Heine M�ller, Japanese Butoh dancers, Erich Wonder and La La La Human Steps. On top of this Liebeslieder includes concert footage from their 1993 tour and, in full, their first ever music videos 'Interim' and 'Blume.' After Einst�rzende Neubauten, everything else is silence." -- Biba Kopf. DVD, region-free, 2-sided for worldwide format access (side A= PAL, side B = NTSC); 100 minutes, stereo.


HAFLER TRIO, THE: A Thirsty Fish 2CD (KP ATF) 21.00
"And so it came to pass...and stayed there, finally. A splendidness of extra-re-releasement: sonically enhanced by an order of magnitude, with a full previously lost quarter of the thing put back where it belongs, and oh, how we laughed! Artwork restored, millions of minions having toiled for years. Yes, miracles performed *every day*! Come on in! The water is wonderful!" Originally released as a 2LP by Touch, then re-issued on one CD (and thus leaving off one side of the music) by Mute, now finally re-released in its original form, as a 2CD set, in the usual Hafler Trio package, with booklet, a poster and a postcard.


CUTLER, IVOR: Life In A Scotch Sitting Room Vol. II CD (CRREV 001CD) 16.00
2002 reissue of this 1978 album release, originally issued on Virgin. "The first release on the Rev-Ola label through Cherry Red. Ivor Cutler... from his early jazz outings to his work with The Beatles, Soft Machine and a host of other luminaries, to his amazing continued output of poetry and stories, to his recordings on Creation, the enigmatic Mr. Cutler has for decades been the secret star of whatever literary vanguard Britain possesses. Life In a Scotch Sitting Room Vol II catches Mr. Cutler in his usual spectacular live performance, at Glasgow's 3rd Eye Centre in the 1970s. Songs, poems, stories and invaluable 'Jungle Tips'... this edition features special additional artwork by Mr. Cutler. A must-have for all lovers of the inimitable 'Glasgow Dreamer.'

Artist: WIRE, THE
Title: #262 December 2005
Label: THE WIRE (UK)
Format: MAG/CD
Price: $8.00
Catalog #: WIRE 262
"On the cover: Lightning Bolt (Alan Licht visits the Rhode Island duo who are reconfiguring US Hardcore with their breakneck drum and bass thrash). Features: Tujiko Noriko (The Japanese electronic musician and film maker's naive charm belies a touch of steel); Kang Tae Hwan (The pioneering Korean sax improvisor recalls the tribulations of blowing free under martial law); Susanne Brokesch (Since moving to Brooklyn, the Austrian artist matches her electronica to the paintings of Paula Brook); Invisible Jukebox: Ray Russell; Vashti Bunyan (Rob Young meets the forgotten 60s pop star turned singer-songwriter now championed by the free folk generation); Ken Hyder (Will Montgomery follows the Scottish percussionist's quest for the link between Improv and shamanic trance); The Primer: Jamaican deejays (Brian Marley toasts the titans of talkover, including I-Roy, U-Roy, Big Youth, Dr Alimantado, Dillinger, Trinity and more.
All copies of the December issue will come complete with an exclusive free 16 track CD, The Wire Tapper 14. The Wire Tapper 14 is the latest volume in The Wire's ongoing series of exclusive new music compilations. The CD will be given away free with every copy of the December issue worldwide and will contain a range of new, rare or exclusive tracks that together will span the spectrum of the kind of new, underground music that gets featured in the magazine each month, from electronic music, avant rock and new jazz, to dub, hiphop, traditional musics and beyond."

And finally, via Aquarius

album cover LADY SOVEREIGN Vertically Challenged (Chocolate Industries) cd + dvd 11.98
As we mentioned in the last list, we just can't get enough Grime. We absolutely dug Dizzee Rascal, Wiley, Virus Syndicate, and even M.I.A. who had a bit of grime going on. But over in the UK, grime is the shit, happening on loads of 12"s, in clubs, and on underground radio stations, but very little of it has made it over here, unfortunately, outside of a few comps. It makes perfect sense that Lady Soveriegn would be the one to follow Dizzee and M.I.A. from undergound hype to next big thing. EVERY time we play this in the store at least one person buys it, and usually half the people in the store come up to see what we're listening to. It's that catchy and funky and fucked up, and totally unlike anything else you've heard -- okay, other than M.I.A. maybe, but Lady Sovereign sounds so much more raw and gritty and weird, maybe like M.I.A.'s snotty, sexy little sister. The grooves are grime for sure, super stuttery and repetitive, with thick swaths of fuzzy synth and huge rolling basslines, but the arrangements are really damaged and complex, with plenty of start and stops, twisty and tangled, the tonguetwisting vocals careening at breakneck speed all over the place, riding a huge synth line, skipping nimbly over a spastic drum break, like a musical version of a Jackie Chan action sequence. Lady Sovereign is ducking and dodging and spitting madly over funky beats and all manner of samples. But no matter how crazy the tunes are, it's all about Lady Sov's flow. The sticker on the front of the disc describes her as "Eminem if he was an 18 year old female from South London" which makes for good copy but isn't entirely accurate. She's got a really unique voice, sometimes squeaky and feminine, but more often a bit scruffy and growly, and it's amazing how many syllables she can spit per minute, dizzying! And she can easily slip into some strange melodic vocalization for a song's chorus before slipping back into her Cockney growly snotty delivery. And her lyrics are really funny, plenty of shit talking of course, but lots of self deprecating references to her slight stature (5'1", hence the title) and her baggy clothes, and lots of other really silly randomness. Although sometimes the delivery is so rapid fire it's hard to catch anything but a word here and there. Hardly matters though, you'lll be too busy bouncing or dancing or whatever you do with these tunes blasting in the background.
Vertically Challenged may be an ep, but it's pretty long, eight tracks, 35 minutes, features a handful of remixes, one from the Beastie Boys' Adrock and one from Ghislain Poiror, and features guest vocal spots from UK grimies Shystie, Frost P., Zuz Rock.
Also includes a DVD with an interview, live footage, all the videos and other goodies.
So though an ep it's definitely all killer and no filler, unlike most hip hop records, and it definitely lays the groundwork for Lady Sovereign to blow up M.I.A. big in the not too distant future. And we're definitely psyched for that. The more GRIME the better, and we'd sure as hell rather hear Lady Sovereign on the radio and on MTV than J-Lo or Madonna or Ashlee Simpson!
MPEG Stream: "Random"
MPEG Stream: "Ch Ching (Cheque 1-2 Remix)"

album cover CHASSE, LOREN Script Lichen (Edition Graphon) 3"cd in petri dish w/lichen 23.00
There's no better way to visually represent the music of Jewelled Antler's Loren Chasse than with the various bits and fragments of nature's detritus, stones, pebbles, sticks, leaves, branches, dust and dirt. This newest release from Chasse goes a step further, encapsulating the disc itself (a little 3" cd) along with a sponge and a piece of lichen gathered from the German countryside in an actual petri dish, all in a sealed medical baggy. Wow. And the music inside is just as meticulously assembled as the packaging. Delicate and crystalline, intricate structures, microscopic movements, gentle reverberations, subtle scrapings, abstract shimmer and barely discernable micromelodies. It's almost impossible to tell which parts are natural ambience, and which parts are Chasse reacting and responding to nature, but that's what makes his work so vital and fascinating and what makes Script Lichen such an engrossing listen. And like the rest of Chasse's work, this is not something you just throw on (although you could), this music requires deep listening, active listening, the act of listening akin to a slow, exploratory wander through a sonic forest, every step causing brambles to shimmer and rub against each other, breezes to send leaves drifting earthward, the crunch of each step, the forest, and the earth around it, shifting slightly, the sonic evidence of such minute movements deftly captured by Chasse and reworked into a subtly different soundworld. So nice.
Each 3" cd comes packaged as we said in a petri dish with a sponge and a piece of lichen, wrapped in a medical baggy, every one with a sticker, and hand numbered. LIMITED TO 250 COPIES!!! We only got 50 and once those are gone this will be out of print and gone for good!

album cover TARANTULA A.D. Book Of Sand (Kemado Records) cd 14.98
Not sure what it was exactly, but something kept us from checking these guys out before now. Ultimately it might have been the band's penchant for dressing up in period costumes for their record covers. Who knows. Whatever it was, we're sure kicking ourselves now, this record is a killer. And it sounds nothing like we would have imagined from the name and the album cover and the label. Yeah, we know, book, cover, book cover. We're sorry. We were wrong. We love this record. Penance? All we can do now is try to convince you all how great it is. And it is. Some impossible hybrid of classical chamber music, post rock and sludge metal. Sort of. Or if you can imagine the Rachels, or maybe Godspeed You Black Emperor in their practice space, and every few minutes when someone opens the door, the sound of Corrupted, who practice right across the hall and leave their door open all the time, comes rushing in. Big riffs battle keening strings, huge pummeling waves of downtuned guitar, segue into near pastoral stretches of moody meandering post rock, or occasional bits of moody psychedelic folks, with lilting vocals and gentle guitars, or long passages of classical guitar, or gorgeously abstract ambient interludes constructed from subtle vocals and Eastern tinged drones but they eventually always return to the RIFF, exploding in a frenzy of guitar versus string section, like a heavy metal Dirty 3 or Apocalyptica jamming with Boris, or... heck we don't know, it's just so perfectly schizophrenic, veering wildly from heaviness to melancholy moodiness and back again over and over and over. Epic and dreamy and heavy and darn near perfect. We love discovering new music, sort of why we do this, but there's definitely a special satisfaction and secret joy in realizing a band you thought sucked actually completely kills! Being wrong never felt so right!
MPEG Stream: "The Century Trilogy I: Conquest"
MPEG Stream: "Who Took Berlin (Part I)"

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Angelina "just a pair of lips" to Gaiman

I assume Jolie is playing the mother-monster - from an fan review of a Neil Gaiman book signing:

The question of Beowulf came up, and Gaiman said he was asked by his eleven-year-old daughter what Angelina Jolie was like, was she pretty, "because that's what's important to eleven-year olds", but said he couldn't really tell, describing her face covered in 150 light spots, her costume as the suit from Tron with 'Mother' written across her breasts, so really, she was just a pair of lips to him. On set, he hung out with Ray Winstone and Crispin Glover, who had voice coaching in Old English from a 'proper professor with elbow patches' and it sounded like they were speaking to each other in Geordie.
Glover, by the way is aptly cast as Grendel.

Maryland-based band welcomed as "NY art-rock"

With the exception of the final sentence, this is a nicely written review - it's always great to read rock writers who can actually write (hi, Freedom)... via the NYTimes

November 22, 2005
Rock Review | Animal Collective

Those Drones in a City Jungle are Both Artful and Natural

Animal Collective started its set on Sunday night at Webster Hall with rough scraping sounds, a loop of a shout and a swelling chordal drone. It was the latest variant of the drone that runs through great primitivist New York art-rock. And Animal Collective harnessed it in ways all its own: not the ominous fixations of the Velvet Underground, not the oceanic expanses of Sonic Youth, not the jittery stasis of TV on the Radio, but something at once joyful, obsessive and oddly pastoral.

Animal Collective, from Brooklyn, makes albums that betray long, strange, manic hours in the studio, layering and tweaking sounds. On its most recent albums, "Sung Tongs" and the wonderful new "Feels" (Fat Cat), song forms emerge from the echoes and loops and speed-shifted voices. With song titles like "Grass" and "Bees," the lyrics, when they can be deciphered, place human interactions in a dream world of nature and geography that's equally likely to be bucolic or dangerous.

The songs elapse on an individual time scale that has nothing to do with three-minute pop expectations. Often, the lyrics say their piece - or shriek it, in the excitable vocals of the band's guitarists, Avey Tare (a k a Dave Portner) and Deakin (Josh Dibb) - then drift into dizzying instrumental stretches populated with as many sounds as a forest (or a city block) on a summer night.

Onstage, the four-member band could still construct elaborate electronic wildernesses, with Geologist (Brian Weitz) manipulating electronic gadgets to send voices and sounds ricocheting above and through the music. But it also pared down the music to a core that could be almost folksy - a chord or two, a skiffle-like drumbeat from Panda Bear (Noah Lennox), a voice with a melody that could have Appalachian roots - or insistently, relentlessly Minimalist. At times the music rocked, but just as often it heaved in slow-gusting crescendos, bounced like a horse-drawn cart, shimmered like a moonlit pond or bounded ahead like a newly unleashed dog.

Behind the music was the attentive planning of a band determined to be warped and exploratory; imitators of the Animal Collective are likely to pride themselves on a madcap self-indulgence that's only half of the charm. Even as the Animal Collective's songs spiraled into soundscapes or melted themselves down, there was something logical and organic within: the rigor of the New York drone coupled with the whimsy of a band that has created its own habitats and laws of evolution. It's rock with a giddy intelligent design.

Henry Rollins Talks About His Publishing, Literature, etc

The Modern Word Website has a great interview with Rollins and he talks extensively about books and authors he has published:

The other book I wanted to ask you about was Michael Gira’s book, The Consumer.

Yeah, we put out The Consumer. And I’ve known Michael a long time and I just remember, he had all this writing, which I have a lot of – xeroxes and things he gave me in the mid-80s. And I remember just how crazy this stuff was. Like, you’d never read anything like it!

I did shows with Michael, I’ve got tapes of Michael reading at shows, and you can hear hair growing, it’s just the delivery, like, “You kill me,” “I drink my own blood,” “You’re a cop, you own me, I love you.” God, it’s so unrelentingly heavy, the audience would just be bludgeoned into complete obedience. At one point in the 80s or early 90s, I called him and I said, “Hey, Michael, what about all that writing, should we do a thing here?” and he went, “Yeah.” And he got to work and he assembled and edited and presented us with The Consumer, and we put it out, it sold very well. It sold through the print run. And I called him and said, “We’ve sold through. What do you want to do? You want us to do it again?” And he goes, “No, this time around, I’m going to put it out, I’ve got my Young God label, I’m going to do Young God Publications and I’m going to put it out.” And I said, “Good luck to you. Go ahead.” Because a lot of times, the author, after four years of having the book in print, has figured out that he can do it himself. And that’s okay, because I would never endeavor to own anything of Michael’s.

So now until he gets it out, it’s one of those silly pricey things on, like $70 or something. But hopefully Michael will put it back out. I mean, I’d put it back out if he wanted me to. But he says he wants to do it because he’s got his Young God thing going.

Monday, November 21, 2005

MacRock 2006 Website Up

The best college music (indie rock and folk) conference in the lower mid-Atlantic will return April 7 and 8 to the Mennonite town of Harrisonburg, VA. Why is there nothing in Washington even close?

website is sparse - but bands can download applications here - due end of January...

When the Freedom Talks to Conor

I think Freedom is in love with the indie hearthrob and jealous of those girls in the "upper reaches of the not-quite-sold-out venue."

Anybody hazard to guess what "hopelessly brilliant" means? Entire review here.

When Oberst performed a riveting solo acoustic version of the elegiac junkie ballad "Lua," the moment was ruined when some girls in the upper reaches of the not-quite-sold-out venue simultaneously shrieked, "WE LOVE YOU!!!!!"

They may love the indie heartthrob, but they apparently don't love his gorgeous songs enough to respect them. Oberst, however, was unfazed, lost in the lyrics and the gentle, acoustic strumming. But mostly the lyrics: For several lines, he stopped playing the guitar and just sang in that odd cadence of his, his left hand stuffed into his pants pocket as he explored the upper end of his range, sounding frail and vulnerable and hopelessly brilliant.

Previously on Freedom watch:

More on J. Freedom Du Lac

29 Sep 2005 by Jim H

New Music Scan


JARBOE: The Men Album 2CD (ALP 167CD) 19.00
"Six years in the making, Jarboe's The Men Album project is finally revealed via a twenty track double-CD, showcasing the impressive range of her interests & artistry. The Men Album brings together an eclectic global roster of artists from diverse musical backgrounds whose only commonality, for the most part, is Jarboe herself. Beyond the music, The Men Album examines the dreams of a woman and the exploration therein of her identity as seen through the 'masculine gaze.' Featured artists include veteran performers: Blixa Bargeld, Alan Sparhawk, Jim Thirlwell, Edward Kaspel, David Torn, Chris Connelly, David J, Mika Vainio, and many more collaborators.


MORRICONE, ENNIO: Happening CD (ACMEM 058CD) 16.00
"This album is the fifth of our very successful El's themed Ennio Morricone compilations. Morricone Happening is a psychedelic montage with the centrepiece being the music from three important soundtracks from the maestro's oeuvre; The Serpent (Yul Brynner, Dirk Bogarde, Henry Fonda), Bluebeard (Richard Burton) and Burn! (Marlon Brando's best screen performance). With this album we reach the point where Mojo and Q should be writing about Ennio Morricone as the master of psychedelia. This music is far ahead of it's time....if you want a glimpse of what pop might be in the future."

Title: Two Soundtracks for Angela Bulloch
Format: CD
Price: $17.00
Catalog #: SEMI 007CD
"David Grubbs (Bastro, Gastr Del Sol) has a long-standing history of collaboration and interest in contemporary visual arts. This new mini-album features two compositions commissioned by Angela Bulloch for two of her installation pieces. The two pieces on this CD accompany the works 'Z Point' and 'Horizontal Technicolour,' two major works that make use of -- or, rather, are connected to --Antonioni's 'Zabriskie Point.' 'Z Point' is based on original film material of the famous desert explosion from the final scenes, whereas 'Horizontal Technicolour' uses material filmed by the artist herself at Death Valley, a setting similar to the one used in the final scenes from Antonioni's film. The two pieces by David Grubbs are beautiful and intricate works in which the original Antonioni soundtrack, the translations of the film in other languages, and his own sound palette come together. They show yet another different approach to his diverse musical capacities and are maybe closest in spirit to his Thirty-Minute Raven mini-album on Rectangle. The CD comes with a 12-page booklet with previously unpublished stills from the Death Valley desert taken by Angela Bulloch."

Title: Warm and Cool
Format: CD
Price: $14.00
Catalog #: THR 162CD
"Warm and Cool was recorded with the help of Television band-mates Fred Smith and Billy Ficca (also of Verlaine's earlier band, Neon Boys), as well as Jay Dee Daugherty (The Church) and Patrick A. Derivaz, who helped engineer Television's 1992 self-titled album. Verlaine and his collaborators created the album mostly by improvisation and recorded the tracks with a minimum of rehearsal. Unlike most of Verlaine's work, Warm and Cool is entirely instrumental, with guitars often filling the traditional role of a voice in the melody. The album was initially released in 1992 in the wake of a short-lived Television reunion and the rise of Nirvana into a musical environment that clearly favored loud guitars and walls of sound. Warm and Cool's sparse sound scapes represent a clear rebellion from that. Now in 2005, Warm and Cool is being reissued in the midst of another Television reunion."

PURCHASE Black Sheep Boy Appendix

Okkervil River
Black Sheep Boy Appendix
CDEP / 12" (JAG089)
Okkervil River’s Black Sheep Boy Appendix is not just a companion piece to their critically-acclaimed 2005 release; it’s also a condensed, alternate vision of that record’s imagery and themes, with the ultimate intent to exhaust and destroy both. This ambitious mini-album rounds up and reworks the band’s favorite unfinished songs (tracked for the Black Sheep Boy full-length) and then punctuates and bookends them in brand-new compositions; in the process, it shows songwriter Will Sheff and company both revisiting themes from their past and shooting off in some startling new directions. “Missing Children” entombs an unnerving fairy tale monologue in an arrangement that recalls The Marble Index or Tilt; its melody is reprised twenty minutes later in a frenetic and jangly rocker that might have been hatched from the side of Love’s “A House is Not a Motel.” In between is everything else; suffocatingly lush string instrumentals, skittering found sounds, lean rockers, deafening epics, the rhythm section interrogating the lead singer, and “Black Sheep Boy #4,” which messily dispatches the Black Sheep Boy character in a lurid crime scene high on a plateau of hallucinatory, cinematic folk.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

New Release Scan - Week of Nov 13 2005

First, let me UNrecommend the new flavored Dasani water. I bought the lemon-"flavored" water after a long walk this morning (awesome Fall weather in DC, by the way) and nearly spit it up. Thinking it would taste like fresh filtered water with a twist of the yellow fruit, I was instead appalled to get a nutrasweetish diluted lemonade taste. Not that I normally buy bottled water (big ripoff) but I was thirsty and still a mile from home.

Now that you have been properly warned, here are some new releases or reissues that have caught my eye this week - they come from FE, Bomp and Aquarius, all fine mail-order independent outfits with easily findable webpages.

Why give your money to Jeff Bezos when you can give it to someone that can use it and is doing great things for music retail?


DC 291CD

HOWLING HEX, THE: You Can't Beat Tomorrow CD/DVD (DC 291CD) 13.50
"The DVD contains the pilot episode of The Howling Hex's variety show, You Can't Beat Tomorrow, while the CD is the soundtrack of the same name, containing complete versions of the songs featured in the show -- and more. Listeners who've already sampled the high-energy sounds of The Howling Hex (as heard on their CD, All-Night Fox) will be thrilled by the expanded lineup, featuring The Theatre Fire on banjo, violin, trumpet and pedal steel guitar and Neil Michael Hagerty on lead vocals and guitar. The video presentation weaves a collage of every-day images, musical segments and a hilarious animated serial following a group of all-American types down at Henry's bar."


MANGUM, JEFF: Live at Jittery Joe's LP (SODY 030LP) 13.00
"Already considered a classic live album from the genius behind Neutral Milk Hotel. Includes solo versions of several Neutral Milk Hotel classics, Phil Spector's 'I Love How You Love Me,' and the never officially released Jeff Mangum original 'I Will Bury You In Time.' This vinyl edition will also include a poster with new artwork from In The Aeroplane Over The Sea artist Brian Dewan. First time on vinyl."

SN 011LP

BILLY, BONNIE 'PRINCE': Summer In the Southeast 2LP (SN 011LP) 15.00
Double LP version.


FM3: Buddha Machine Soundbox (BUDDHA 001) 23.00
2nd edition now available! A unique 'soundbox' from China, which is causing senstation worldwide. A totally dazzling item which causes jaw-dropping delight everywhere -- Alan Bishop bought twenty-four of these on sight, Brian Eno bought eight (how's that for apocalyptical math?). FM3 are a duo of Christiaan Virant and Chinese keyboardist and computer musician Zhang Jian -- based in Beijing. The Buddha Machine is a hardware loop player, built kind of like a little AM radio (available in 6 different colors, shipped randomly), but without all the nonsense -- total genius from out of nowhere. More info/pictures at: [there's also a definitive FM3 interview at:]. Comes with 2 x AA batteries. "The Buddha Machine is a small soundbox made in China which comes with an integrated speaker, a volume control, mini jack-out and a switch to choose between nine different loops which are stored on a small chip and can be directly played by this mini soundsystem."


ADOLESCENTS Complete Demos 1980-1986 Special
packaging just for the band to sell on the road!
Not available in stores. The cover and LP labels
are black and white instead of black and red.,
Each LP jacket is hand-numbered, no bar code.,
opaque green marble color. re-sealable poly
sleeves instead of shrink-wrap.The entire
production run of this special edition is limited
to 2000 LP $14


NO NECK BLUES BAND "Qvaris" (5 Rue Christine) cd/lp 14.98/14.98
Yet another freaky transmission from
whatever otherworldly outpost these mysterious NY
free jazz / drone rock / outsider avant hippy
tribalists call home, and lordy, is it a
gloriously moody creep! A series of slithering,
warbling, shimmering, stumbling psychedelic jams
deftly constructed from grinding electric
guitars, pounding krautrock rhythms, haunting
quavering organs, alien little pizzicato
melodies, all swirling and swaying in a dense
murky haze. However, unlike the delicate ambience
and unstructured abstraction of past NNCK
efforts, Qvaris is downright rocking, with at
least half the tracks held together by shuffling,
stomping, swinging drum beats. Those tracks are
especially reminiscent of krautrock legends
German Oak, with their strangely claustrophobic
vibe and dense unfunky funk. The less structured
bits scattered throughout are sparkly
kaleidoscopic flares, free floating stretches of
smeary ambience and glistening radiance. The
combination of the two, surprisingly lush and
lustrous. All of Qvaris sounds much more composed
and less improvised than most NNCK material,
which makes the whole record sound less 'New
Weird America' and more like some weird psych
rock / post rock band whose propulsive rocking
manages to get sort of twisted and tangled, into
a deliriously druggy moonlit tumble through the
looking glass.
Judging from the cryptic liner notes, the
album artwork, and the video on the NNCK website
(, the new record seems
to somehow concern a certain sacred object, that
appears (at least to our untrained eyes) to be a
sequined eggplant, which in some strange way
makes perfect sense when you're dealing with the
cracked vision of the No Neck Blues Band. But
don't let the addition of sparkling vegetables to
the mix throw you off, this is some of the most
gorgeously dreamy and drone-y and drugged out
psychedelic free folk noise rock you'll ever hear!