Friday, April 28, 2006

Soho is officially over

Ira Barouch, Rocks in Your Head’s owner, will close the store on Wednesday, and plans to relocate to 133 Roebling St. in Williamsburg.

“I’ve been losing money for the last few years, and the rents being what they are, business hasn’t been good,” Barouch said on Monday. “The name of retail is location, location, and when the location’s not any good, that’s why we’re moving.

“I’ve been complaining about Soho for 20 years,” he said. “This used to be an interesting neighborhood. When I first opened, I could stand on the street and at least half the people walking by were potential customers and interested in music. Now, it’s much less. Hopefully, Williamsburg’s a cooler neighborhood.”

The store’s rent is currently $5,000 a month, up from $300 a month in 1978.

more here

Friday, April 21, 2006

I have a painted rock for sale

Electrical Audio Studios of Chicago announces the most sought after e-Bay auction of this year.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Oh yeah...

Bukowski: Born Into This

Arriving on or around: Thursday, Apr 20, 2006

Monday, April 17, 2006

Iggy, Albini, Jack White to team up for Stooges re-up

Is Mike Watt there, too?

Iggy Gets Busy On Stooges Reunion Disc
Iggy Pop
April 17, 2006, 3:45 PM ET
Tamara Conniff, L.A.
Punk icon Iggy Pop has been holed up in "a little cottage in the boonies on a little river" in Florida writing music with his old band the Stooges. The as-yet-untitled set, the legendary rock act's first since 1973, is due out next year via Virgin and will be produced by Steve Albini. It will also feature several tracks produced by Jack White (White Stripes, Raconteurs).

via Billboard

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

More on Six Organs of Admittance Release

Via Drowned-in-sound

Ben Chasny's Six Organs Of Admittance are to release their new album, The Sun Awakens, on June 5th.

Recorded as a three-piece, with Chasny (pictured, also of Comets On Fire) appearing alongside Chris Corsano and John Moloney (Sunburned Hand of the Man), the album will see the light of day via Drag City records, a la previous long-play offering School Of The Flower.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Burma is leaking


Monday, April 10, 2006

Lost Burma Tracks Found

The Phoenix has an article on Rick Harte, founder of Boston's Ace of Hearts Records. He's back in the game - having released just released a retrospective and consulting with Mission of Burma. Of interest is this news that I hadn't seen reported elsewhere:

More important to hard-core Burma fans, Harte recently rediscovered a pair of unfinished songs on the same tape reel as “Max Ernst” and “Academy Fight Song,” which the band returned to the studio to complete.

“It was peculiar because we don’t have that much attachment to these songs anymore,” Miller relates. “We hadn’t heard them since 1979, and we played only one of them out, for only about six months.” Nonetheless, “Devotion” and “Execution” are now complete and will appear on Harte’s next compilation as well as the Burma EP Signals Call and Marches when Matador reissues the band’s historic catalog later this year. As for Burma’s current music, their new The Obliterati (Matador) hits the street May 23.

Vandal Punk hosts Radio Talk Show

The Washington Post Style section has an extended profile of Vandal, punk, lawyer, (ex-)record label owner and Radio Talk Show host - Joe Escalante - where he dispenses "entertainment lawyer" advice to aspiring rockers and film-makers:

Tony from Gardena, Calif., is calling: "My question is I'm in a band now and we're starting off and we came up with a name and want to know if any other band has this name. Like, is there a Web site where we can put in the name and see? And if we use this same name . . ."

"Okay, Tony," Escalante says. "I've got a Web site for you. Ready?"

"Um, yeah," Tony says.

"Okay, I'm going to spell it for you because it's kind of hard to pronounce. Ready? G. . ."

"G," Tony repeats.

"O," Escalante says.

"O. . . . "

"O. G. L. E," Escalante continues.

"Okay, and I can just go there and find out if . . . ?" Tony says, sounding more dude-ish all the time.

"What's your name?" Escalante wants to know.

"My name's Tony," he replies.

"Oh, hey, Tony," Escalante says. "Now, what's the name of your band?"

"Phonetic," Tony says.

Well, good luck with that.

Some points of interest from the article:
  • He lives in the house formerly owned by The Pointer Sisters - which I find very funny - not just for the irony given the PS were on the top of the heap while the Vandals were being ignored by the MTV world but for the fact that the Pointer Sisters all lived in the same house like The Monkees.
  • His label introduced Blink-182 to the greater, mainstream world. He vows never to put out another record again. Can you blame him?
  • He no longer writes any Vandals songs but says that their songwriter is making a full-time living at it
  • Escalante is described as a "devout Catholic"

Primo quote:
"I've said this on my show -- if you're 40 and you're just starting your rock career, it's over. Don't even. Don't kid yourself," Escalante says. "Apologize to everybody in your family, apologize to your wife or your husband, your kids, everybody who may go see you in a showcase, because it. Is. A. Fantasy. And then I get calls right away, from people who say, 'Oh, I don't believe that -- my friend's 40 and his band totally kicks ass and he just got a record deal,' and I stand by it. It's over for your friend. . . . Next call."

Sunday, April 09, 2006

You Can't Take It With You...

... so you might as well buy as much stuff as you can to leave behind for your loved ones... or you just might want to listen to some cool music and marvel at some these cool artifacts. Screw your loved ones - I'm willing my collection to a museum.

Here's some highlights from Forced Exposure's recent additions for 4/10/06


SPECTRE FOLK: Requiem for Ming Aralia CD (3LOBED 019CD) 13.50
"Leaping forth from a prior discography consisting of CD-Rs and cassettes, Spectre Folk's Requiem for Ming Aralia is a powerfully assured psychedelic folk statement. Spectre Folk is a one-man operation consisting of Pete Nolan (drums for the Magik Markers, Shackamaxon, GHQ, Virgin Eye Blood Brothers, Wooden Wand & the Vanishing Voice, etc.). Nolan's significant responsibilities elsewhere have made him into a man who rarely has a chance to slow down. Spectre Folk offers the listener the ability to glimpse at one of those rare calm moments and it showcases the delicately twisted calm bubbling underneath the drumming furor Nolan unleashes elsewhere. Ranging from atmospheric instrumental explorations to dark and moody sing-alongs, Requiem for Ming Aralia offers a little bit of everything for fans of 'out' music. From the opening moments of the first track to the final notes of the album-closing 'Bindi Clip,' Spectre Folk has crafted an extremely solid album packed with rich, full sounds. While Nolan definitively remains his own man and Spectre Folk displays the unique sound which permeates all of his varied projects, an astute listener will detect shades of both Jandek's loosely organized outsider folk and the free-wheeling ebullience of Ben Chasny both independently and simultaneously throughout Requiem for Ming Aralia."

COR 0784

JANDEK: What Else Does the Time Mean? CD (COR 0784) 7.00
46th Jandek release, and the 3rd of 2006! Features strangled, tinny guitar and even a harmonica! Pictured on the front, a young man in winter, sitting on a bench, holding an axe.

(Jandek is playing Portland in a few weeks)


"Charles Manson visited New York City in the early '60s with his guitar, his songs and a vain longing for recognition; he then returned to Beverly Hills to record in 1967. While Manson was being tried and convicted for participation in the Tate-Labianca Murders, the government attempted to discredit the hippie movement by citing him as an example, hoping to defuse the rising tide of anger among the population over the war in Vietnam. But his songs, while controversial, are still considered musically and historically significant. This record was released briefly by ESP in 1974, and is now being reissued in extended format. With new and insightful liner notes by Manson acquaintance, Lie producer, and veteran rock road manager Phil Kauffman, this digitally remastered LP contains the most comprehensive collection of recordings that Charles Manson cut prior to the Tate-Labianca Murders and includes 12 bonus tracks that were not on the original 1974 ESP release. This is the first authorized version of this album. All royalties from sales of this album go to the estate of one of Manson's victims."

PF 011CD

WIRE: Pink Flag CD (PF 011CD) 16.00
Pink Flag is proud to announce the first ever 'proper' CD release of Wire's first three late-'70s classics. The re-mastered albums have the same track listing, in the same order as the original vinyl releases -- i.e. no inappropriate extra 'bonus' tracks muddying the conceptual clarity of the original statements -- and are presented in digipack replicas of the original vinyl sleeves with a 12-page booklet detail. "Wire's debut Pink Flag, released in December 1977, was too late -- a year after the Pistols' debut release -- to be part of UK punk's first flush but, timing wasn't all that set the record apart. The band's modernist, deconstructed rock went way beyond the buzz-saw rockabilly that had, even by the second half of '77, become punk's staple. Pink Flag's stripped-down minimalist approach was a major revelation and a big influence on the hardcore punk, new wave and underground rock scenes of the '80s and beyond."

PF 012CD

WIRE: Chairs Missing CD (PF 012CD) 16.00
"1978's Chairs Missing represented perhaps the biggest conceptual leap made during this period of Wire, and was widely misunderstood at the time yet it remains, to the band and production crew, Wire's favorite '70s album. At once more stark and more lush than the band's debut, Pink Flag, the album exerted its own influence on the course of music history having laid down one of the earliest (if not the earliest) blueprints for the genuinely post-punk aesthetic."

PF 013CD

WIRE: 154 CD (PF 013CD) 16.00
"154 was the third and final tableau in Wire's late '70s triptych of albums for EMI's Harvest label and the first to be released to universal 5-star reviews from the British music press. The album itself was more fractured than its predecessors but this shouldn't take away from the fact that it boasts moments of an assured originality and some very strong tunes! Thus it has remained the most popular '70s album amongst Wire fans."

YAZ 2202CD

VA: The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of 2CD (YAZ 2202CD) 26.00
"A double CD packaged in a beautiful DVD-size digi-pac containing 46 of the rarest and greatest blues and country 78s from the 1920s and early '30s. Included are two newly discovered masterpieces by legendary blues figure Son House, 'Mississippi Country Farm Blues' and 'Clarksdale Moan.' These have never been heard before and will generate tremendous interest among all blues fans. Likewise, country enthusiasts will be excited to hear the long lost, often believed never issue Georgia Pot Lickers record, both sides featuring duet fiddling by all time greats Lowe Stokes and A.A. Gray. And these are just the beginning of a lineup of super rarities and unissued gems. Many of the tracks, like Luke Jordan's 'If I Call You,' have never been heard even by the most advanced collectors, thus imbuing this release with loads of charisma and cachet. Striking cover art by legendary cartoonist Robert Crumb. Inside the larger format package is a booklet insert with extensive graphics and notes, including a hilarious expos� on the lunacy of collecting. Features super rarities, many never before heard, by giant figures in early American rural music like Andrew and Jim Baxter, Sweet Brothers, Jay Bird Coleman, Clarence Ashley, Tommy Johnson, Dock Boggs, Memphis Jug Band, Allen Brothers and many many more."

Punx Chix E-Member E-13

From SomethingILearned's comments page on a Poison Idea compilation

sometimes you forget just how good the bad old days were, and how good the music was...the P.I. tune is awesome, but i gotta give e-13 props, they, during those days gave tom and the boys a definite run for their money as the best punkers on the block...absolutely incredible live, and completely horrible drunken retrobates, personally. the lockjaw track is really cool, too.
definetly captures their meat-headed approach to any form of social interaction.

one of my friends in high school went out with the bass player of e-13, she was always crying cuz he was always in jail, and not for little things, for assault and burglary, things like that.
i had a date with john, the singer once, i read him my poetry, he ridiculed it until i cried.
i thought we were gonna make out! lol
i didn't go to another punk show untill all those guys were dead or in prison.
-and all you macho jerks wonder why morrisey is such a turn on?
fuck e-13.

Founder Damon Oliver met his demise last month (of liver disease)

More on the band that was more rotten than Poison Idea....

(source of record cover image above)

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Louisville Pays Homage to Native Son

Dave Grubbs gets the hometown paper treatment after winning a prestigous $20k grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts:

Here's why he won:

  • Grubbs is a vital part of rock's experimental community, and his partnership with Jim O'Rourke and John McEntire in Gastr del Sol has been hugely influential on the post-rock generation -- musicians eager to expand the parameters of music made with traditional rock instrumentation.

  • Between band and solo work, Grubbs has released more than 20 full-length records and operates a label, Blue Chopsticks. He has toured the planet.

  • He's an assistant professor of Radio and Sound Art at Brooklyn College, where his challenge is to expand the tradition-based -- and safe-as-milk -- training of his students.

    "I grew up on punk and hardcore, so I always liked really extreme musics," he said. "The lure of experimental music wasn't so much the intellectual side or even the artistic side, but just the fact that sonically it was extreme and it interested me in the way that hearing Black Flag really interested me, or listening to Sun Ra's or John Cage's music.

    "In Cage's case, it got me interested in reading Cage's writings, and eventually I wrote a Ph.D. dissertation that's largely about Cage. Certainly it's a progression of seeking out certain kinds of extreme things. Chalk it up to thrill-seeking."

  • The article has lots more and a bunch of groovy pictures.

    Unfortunately, the article fails to mention Grubbs' short stay in Washington DC and the push among its many citizens to dedicate a park and build a statue to the man.

    New Update at Teen Glue Sniffer

    Jack Thompson's Swellsville excerpts here

    Yoot to appear on annoying TV show; play new song

    Sonic Youth On Gilmore Girls
    Apr 07, 2006
    Story by: Tony Gedrich
    Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon, along with their daughter Coco, will appear in the season finale of the WB show Gilmore Girls. The episode, in which the three will perform an acoustic version of Sonic Youth's "What a Waste," is being taped today, April 7, and will air May 7. "What a Waste" is a track off of the forthcoming Youth album, Rather Ripped, out June 13. The CD version of the album will be released by Geffen Records, while the vinyl will be released on Sonic Youth's own Goofin' Records label.

    Friday, April 07, 2006

    5 Reason Proving that Scarlet J. is Really, Really Hot

    right here

    Flesh Eaters play "warm up" tour

    Thursday night, Desjardins will front a legendary Flesh Eaters lineup that hasn't been seen onstage for 25 years. Recruited to record the intense roots-punk album "A Minute to Pray A Second to Die," released in 1981 by Slash Records' Desjardins-helmed subsidiary Ruby Records, the band featured guitarist Dave Alvin and drummer Bill Bateman of the Blasters, bassist John Doe and percussionist D.J. Bonebrake of X and saxophonist Steve Berlin, today a member of Los Lobos.

    The so-called "all-star" Flesh Eaters played a handful of club sets in 1981; their lone concert appearance was as an opener for the Fall and Blurt at the long-defunct Myron's Ballroom in downtown L.A.

    The lineup would have remained a dim, cherished old-school punk memory, but England's All Tomorrow's Parties festival beckoned this year.

    "John (Doe) got a call from Mark Arm in (the founding Seattle grunge band) Mudhoney," Desjardins says. "They wanted the Flesh Eaters to play on the day they're curating. Each day, a major independent band is curating. ... (Arm) said, 'Any lineup's OK, but this is the one we want to see.'"

    here's the full story - DesJardins is saying this will be the last reunion...

    Nick Sylvester re-emerges

    ...with an MP3 blog (utilizing

    ... via his old prep school pal Philebrity

    Sunday, April 02, 2006

    Captiol Erases Cigarettes from Beatles re-ish

    Notice anything different? And what happened to the drummers left hand? It's gonna be hard to hold that drumstick without his fingers.

    Drew Cline wonders if Van Halen's 1984 is next...

    Flying Junk notices that there's lots of pictures of Beatles smoking

    buy it

    And finally from Bomp!

    WARLOCKS, The - Isolation / Red Camera (Bomp)
    This release was originally intended as a single
    for The Warlocks and The Sisters Of Mercy tour,
    but due to time limitations just now released.
    Definitely worth the wait! This beautiful 7-inch
    features two previously unreleased tracks, "Red
    Camera," recorded live on KEXP Seattle before the
    band's radio show there last winter, and the
    studio song "Isolation," dropped from their
    Mute/Emi release 'Surgery'. It's a limited
    pressing of 1,000 copies on purple vinyl, with a
    4 color and silver sleeve. 7" $6.50

    SAINT BASTARD- debut 7" from NYC's Saint Bastard.
    " Radioactive sludge meets song oriented "punk":
    100% real punk with no "post" anything
    filler"-Martin Bisi "Scuzzy old-style punk
    rockers" (LA Weekly editorial "GO" pick) "punk
    verging on oi" (Chuck Eddy, Village Voice)" 45
    RPM $5


    More new blatant consumerism

    Here's a few picks from this week's Forced Exposure list...

    TRR 098CD

    MONO: You Are There CD (TRR 098CD) 13.50
    "Throughout their six-year career, Mono has ascended consistently in both popularity and critical acclaim, with record sales and live show attendance corresponding. But still elusive to the Japanese quartet has been the successful translation of their powerful and violently beautiful live performances to their recordings. Despite their albums' masterful subtleties and majestic walls of noise, the consensus has remained that their transcendent live show is simply incomparable. If there is any chance of breaking that spell, it lies in You Are There, without a doubt the prime contender to unite the live and recorded worlds of Mono. With You Are There, Mono's representation of tragedy comes with an inherent joy, delivered with the hope that in all dark there is equal parts light. They're not heavy like Black Sabbath -- they're heavy like Beethoven."

    WIRE 266

    WIRE, THE: #266 April 2006 MAG (WIRE 266) 8.00
    "On the cover: Tom Verlaine (On the eve of his first new albums in 13 years, the reclusive Television guitarist allows Alan Licht a rare audience). Features: Mouthus (The elusive and prolific Brooklyn noise-rock duo pinned down by Marc Masters); The Knife (Louise Gray looks behind the many masks of the Swedish electro-prankster siblings); Ned Sublette (The writer and musician talks up his Cuban music book and his work with artist Lawrence Weiner); Invisible Jukebox: Burnt Friedman; Linder (Brian Dillon unpicks the secret history of a transgressive visual artist and musician, from punk to present); Spring Heel Jack (Keith Molin� charts the progress of John Coxon and Ashley Wales from '90s drum 'n' bass to noughties free Improv); Primer: The Fall (A user's guide to the Mancunian iconoclasts' intimidatingly vast discography)."

    PLAIN 113LP

    FLAMING LIPS, THE: Telepathic Surgery 2LP (PLAIN 113LP) 17.00
    Deluxe LP reissue, 3-sided. "Experimental, even by The Flaming Lips standards, the band's third album is a glorious and mind-expanding mix of heavily effected guitar solos, backwards recordings and surrealistic imagery. Again, the classic song titles keep coming with 'Chrome Plated Suicide,' 'Hari-Krishna Stomp Wagon (Fuck Led Zeppelin),' and 'Drug Machine in Heaven.' Telepathic Surgery became a big influence on many bands such as Mercury Rev and Beck to Grandaddy and The Olivia Tremor Control. Deluxe reissue on blue vinyl. 23-minute bonus track on Side 3."

    PLAIN 114LP

    FLAMING LIPS, THE: In A Priest Driven Ambulance 2LP (PLAIN 114LP) 17.00
    "The final pre-major label album from The Flaming Lips brought a huge shift in sound that would define their work over the greater part of the next decade. The first album to feature Mercury Rev's Jonathan Donahue on guitar, In A Priest Driven Ambulance features more structured songwriting and tighter production. The lyrical wit and insight of Wayne Coyne had never been better as his obsession with religious imagery moved to the forefront. Features 'Unconsciously Screamin',' 'Rainin' Babies,' and 'God Walks Among Us Now.' Deluxe reissue on pink vinyl. Bonus 12"."

    MA 050CD

    VA: Caroline Now! The Songs of Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys CD (MA 050CD) 15.50
    Originally released by Marina in 2000, Caroline Now! celebrates the songs of Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys with a main focus on their lesser known gems including previously unissued compositions. It features exclusive contributions by such eminent Wilson-o-philes as Alex Chilton, Teenage Fanclub's Norman Blake, Kim Fowley and Belle & Sebastian's Stevie Jackson. Most of the tracks appear in quite different sounding reworks. Highlights include The High Llamas' electronic version of "Anna Lee The Healer" and Saint Etienne's sparse "Stevie." The legendary '60s group The Free Design specially reformed for this occasion with their first recording in 30 years. The 24-page booklet features extensive liner notes, an exclusive Brian Wilson interview and many rare photographs. Get ready for some good, good vibrations!

    LOCUST 079CD

    FOSTER, JOSEPHINE: A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing CD (LOCUST 079CD) 13.50
    "Over the course of just a few years, Josephine Foster has captivated audiences & critics alike through a magnetic patchwork of recordings ranging from broken spirited balladry (Born Heller), fiery psych rock gestalt (All The Leaves Are Gone) to the voice of an outsider folk siren (Hazel Eyes, I Will Lead You). The two constants are the utterly overwhelming strength and seductive unease of her voice & the bravery of her iconoclastic spirit. For anyone else, what lies inside her latest offering, A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing, might be a freakish turn but for Josephine Foster this is a grand part of a continual movement. And so it goes, A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing is a deeply absorbing, magical reconstruction of 19th century miniature German art song -- the intimate sibling to operatic arias customarily performed in the parlor. The album floats in a wash of blissed out voice and electric guitar in an almost dreamlike fashion through a salon of her own invention. In a music where sacred cows roam the pastures a plenty, Foster pays tribute -- on her own terms -- and in the process makes a case for German as a new found romance language."

    IMPREC 081CD

    ELECTRIC GHOSTS: The Electric Ghosts CD (IMPREC 081CD) 13.00
    Duo of Daniel Johnston and Jack Medicine. "The Electric Ghosts is a side project that Daniel and his tour manager/Hyperjinx Tricycle bandmate created while on the road touring America, playing shows and searching for salvation."

    HJR 023LP

    STATON, CANDI: His Hands LP (HJR 023LP) 17.00
    New album, released for the first time; CD is on Astralwerks in the US. "Candi Staton's triumphant return to soul music. The album combines her own new compositions with originals from admirers like Will Oldham, alongside a handful of revivals of luminaries like Charlie Rich and Merle Haggard. Recorded last year in Nashville by musicians including Aretha's right-hand man Barry Beckett, Jerry Lee Lewis' mainstay Chip Young, and members of the Lambchop crew, this is the soul album of 2006. There are southern soul voices and there are southern soul voices. Raw and ravaged, Candi Staton's is one of the signature sounds of the genre. It's a voice with a tear in it, the cry of a woman wounded by life, by men, by woes turned inwards. On her new album for Honest Jon's, it's also the voice of a gospel singer returning to the music that first made her name: the country soul songs presented by the same label on its 2004 compilation Candi Staton, twenty-six tracks of Muscle Shoals magic." -- Barney Hoskyns

    GOO 009LP

    CICCONE YOUTH: The Whitey Album LP (GOO 009LP) 13.00
    "A deluxe vinyl re-release of Ciccone Youth's The Whitey Album, the full-length recorded by Sonic Youth's Top-40 obsessed alter-ego is now available on the band's own Goofin' imprint. In 1988, after hinting that a tribute to the Beatles' White Album was in the works, the band about-faced and delivered this brain-sick celebration of pop culture and The Material Girl in particular. The album has been spectacularly remastered and manufactured to provide hi-fi reproductions of such favorites as 'Needle-Gun,' 'MacBeth,' and Mike Watt's original demo recording of 'Burnin' Up.'"

    Saturday, April 01, 2006

    Blatant Consumerist Advocacy

    New shit from AQ:

    album cover BISHOP, SIR RICHARD Fingering The Devil (Latitudes) cd 13.98
    The newest in the frustratingly limited Latitudes series. Former contributors have included the Grails, Shit & Shine, Will Whitmore, Ginnungagap and Ariel Pink (don't bother asking, they are all long gone). Here we have the Sun City Girls' Sir Alan Bishop, in his solo guitar Improvika mode. Very much in the spirit of the current American Primitive / neo Appalchia sound, exploring similar territory as Jack Rose, Stephen Basho-Jungans, Charlie Schmidt and of course John Fahey, but on these improvised tracks, Bishop injects a healthy dose of flamenco which is sort of surprising. Not that Bishop isn't well versed in various musics of the world, he most definitely is as any number of SCG records will attest to, but it still sounds a little surprising in this context, but the result is truly gorgeous. Moody and emotional, dark and dense, dreamy and lyrical. Just Bishop and a steel string guitar unfurling dense tangles of intricate fingerpicking, as well as slow contemplative melodies, all rich with Spanish flavor. Occasionally Bishop goes for an Eastern raga like vibe instead, and ends up sounding closer to UK guitarist James Blackshaw or Rose at his most drone-y. So so lovely indeed!
    Comes packaged in a super intricate hand screened die cut fold over sleeve with a full color insert. The cover has a breathtaking silver foil stamped embossed frontpiece and each copy is hand stamped and numbered. Limited to 1000 copies worldwide, 500 of which made it to the United States, about 50 of which made it here. So you know what that means!

    album cover PENTAGRAM First Daze Here Too (Relapse) 2cd 14.98
    It's a time of joy, and a time of doom. That's because in the space of just the past month or two we've gotten not one but now two awesome, unearthed releases of previously lost early '70s underground heaviness from a bunch of longhaired DC-area Blue Cheer fans who, if they'd only managed to get a record deal back then, might have gotten huge and now be known as the American Black Sabbath. Well they really are the American Black Sabbath anyway, but not as many people know it. We're talking about the legendary original lineup of Pentagram, and their even more obscure evil twin Bedemon.
    Two lists back, we were freaking out over the long awaited release of that Bedemon album, upon which sometime Pentagram guitarist Randy Palmer's home recorded hymns of doom finally saw the light of day. We're still freaking out about it (just got more in, it's relisted this list), but now our frenzy is doubled. Yes, that amazing release wasn't enough, now here's First Daze Here Too, the follow-up to First Daze Here (natch) the AQ fave 2002 release that compiled a bunch of rare '70s era Pentagram recordings that were otherwise unavailable except perhaps with sub-par sound to rabid tape-traders. First Daze Here astounded us, being one of the best '70s heavy rock albums that never was we'd ever heard. Great songs, restored to sound better than fans has ever heard 'em. Incredibly, Relapse has now put together a solid -second- collection of unreleased vintage Penta-tracks from '72-'76. So many classics in their original form: "When The Screams Come", "Wheel Of Fortune", "Virgin Death", "Target", "Nightmare Gown", "Much Too Young To Know", an alternate version of "Be Forwarned", and more -- even their heavy take on the Stones' "Under My Thumb"! Sound quality varies, from tracks recorded for professional demo purposes to lower-fi rehearsal tapes, but fans will dig it all... though at 22 tracks total we'll admit that it's not all entirely the equal of the 100 percent killer first First Daze Here. This is more like 90 percent, yet it's not like we'd have wanted them to leave anything off. And in fact, we know that there's still more in the Pentagram vaults, so maybe we can look foward to a third volume someday...
    Relapse have pulled out all the stops with this one, which after all these years Pentagram definitely deserve. It's a double disc (though actually we think all of it could have fit on one stuffed to the gills 80 minute cd) handsomely packaged with a huge thick booklet full of prevously unseen, sepia-toned band photos and text by original Pentagram drummer and keeper of the flame Geof O'Keefe, including track-by-track commentary... there's also notes from other former members as well. Doom on!

    album cover V/A Not Alone (Jnana / Durtro) 5cd 37.00
    Talk of this compilation has been making the rounds for months, and now that it's here we can see why. We can also see why it took so dang long. But it was well worth it. The final product, the lineup, the songs, the packaging, the cause, WOW. The bands are a who's who of indie / avant / alternative rock / folk / electronica / experimental, all over the map. It's dangerously close to being SO eclectic that it's just a mess, but if you approach it as the worlds longest mixtape, made by your coolest friend with the best record collection it all starts to make some sort of skewed sense. But who cares? Look at this lineup:
    Angles Of Light, Michael Yonkers, Antony And The Johnsons, Thighpaulsandra, Devendra Banhart, William Basinski, Bevis Frond, Teenage Fanclub, Sundial, Six Organs Of Admittance, Suishou No Fune, Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, Richard Buckner, Vashti Bunyan, Damon And Naomi, Shock Headed Peters, Isobel Campbell, Dolly Collins, Shirley Collins, Bill Fay, Marissa Nadler, Tom Recchion, Colin Potter, 7 Year Rabbit Cycle, Linda Perhacs, Max Richter, Current 93, Jad Fair, Simon Finn, Edward Ka-Spel, Pearls Before Swine, Nurse With Wound, Jarboe, Charlemagne Palestine, Thurston Moore, Jim O'Rourke, Mirror, Matmos, Alex Nielson & Richard Youngs, Larsen, Faun Fables, James William Hindle, The Hafler Trio, Keiji Haino, Allen Ginsberg, Howie B, Ghost,, Cyclobe, Fursaxa and more more more!
    The liner notes make it impossible to tell just which tracks are exclusive or unreleased and which are album tracks, but again it hardly matters in this context. Like borrowing some cool kids Ipod and setting it on shuffle. And of course the most important part of all this, and the whole reason this compilation exists is that all proceeds go to Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) to support their work in fighting HIV / AIDS in Africa.
    Packaged in a cool slipcover box, with individually printed cd sleeves, a HUGE book with liner notes from Mark Logan who runs Jnana records as well as information about Medecins Sans Frontieres, as well as track by track notes from each band.