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HOLY MOUNTAIN

La Otracina

Blood Moon Raiders

    This liberation of inverted progressive surf rock from psychedelic epithets plays like a fan-fiction account of Dick Dale's meeting with Sonny Sharrock at Amon Düül II's rehearsal space to discuss the 'post-rock' epidemic. Unlike so many other instrumental soundtrack bands who employ ho-hum, choose-your-own-adventure tactics, La Otracina sticks to the rails of their own twisting corkscrews and spine-snapping dives. This work does not lend itself to the standard fare apathy of background music. "Blood Moon Raiders" is its own ride, with its own ticket, and the doors are locked after take-off. Pinch some headphones to your dome and situate the rest of your form into a beanbag as you navigate the fibrous landscape of a black-light poster. The tracks flow from a subtle new-age contingency to violent bouts with Laotian street gangs. Remember to pack a sack lunch and strap on a machete before mounting this electric buck-bot. Don't fret—the intention has always been to crack open your skull or drown you.

    International Hello

    International Hello

      International Hello is the perfection of California psychedelic rock in all its ecstatic glory. Grady Runyan's guitar playing is as fantastic, spacey and heavy as ever, as is Scott Derr’s always-pertinent bass throb. Drummer and singer Rubin Fiberglass is just perfect as a screaming maniac who can actually keep time while Doug Pearson’s electronics consistently enhance the dominant power-trio rock that swirls in the sky like some kind of creation myth. In case you don’t recognize the names, these guys were the prime movers and shakers behind the band Monoshock. Does it sound like them? Yeah but it’s way back there, and this is about a new place they’re going. And it’s good. You’ll see.

      Debut recording from former members of Monoshock The perfection of California psychedelic rock in all its ecstatic glory. LP includes free digital download coupon. '[Monoshock were] three of the most clued-in musical minds I’ve ever met or observed, and they breathed in and coughed out a whole host of killer influences. Starting with the most obvious: Hawkwind, The Stooges, Can, Black Flag, Pere Ubu, Pink Fairies, Von Lmo, the MC5 and Chrome. Later in their flickeringly brief career they trended more toward heavy Japanese-style PSF psychedelia and outré space rock experimentation a la F/i, Vertical Slit and any number of barefoot Germans from the 1970s. I’m not sure where they’d have ended up had the band not petered out in 1995—it appears from the direction they were trending on... that it was into a heads-down, dark and deep spastic noise murk rather than back to the bull-rushing primitive fuzz-punk squeal of these earlier recordings.' —Jan Hinman, Agony Shorthand.

      Comprised of two songs that build on Om's use of cyclical rhythm, riff and vocal intonation, the duo's new album "Conference Of The Birds" blends metal, doom, chant, drone, dub and psychedelia. The band's lyrics expound upon the structure of the universe, potentiality and freedom from the physical body. Engineered by Billy Anderson and produced by the band, "Conference Of The Birds" progresses beyond their debut, "Variations On A Theme", with more fully realized songwriting and production. Om is Al Cisneros and Chris Hakius, rhythm section of legendary sludge and stoner rock pioneers, Sleep.

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Coloured LP Info: Coloured vinyl repress.

      Six Organs Of Admittance

      Dust And Chimes - Remastered Edition

        Ben Chasny was on a holy roll when he laid down the eleven tracks on Dust and Chimes. It was 1998 and y’all were floating on that Bill Clinton peace-and-prosperity bubble. Meanwhile, Chasny had dropped his self-titled debut LP earlier that year, and the cognoscenti and illuminati were pricking up their ears. Dust and Chimes announced the arrival of a brow-furrowed troubadour whose complex, morosely beautiful guitar playing didn’t Basho you over the head with Fahey-isms.

        The three solo guitar tracks here contain quicksilver skeins of glinting acoustic work, recorded over a decade before the American Primitive style of playing would be of any interest to the indie world. Brilliant darkness and somber ecstasy abound, as Chasny ragas against the machine with a bold inventiveness. Elsewhere one may hear hints of Tyrannosaurus Rex’s impish arboreal-folk charm and feathery Donovan-esque incantations—reverent but not lightweight in the least.

        Now newly remastered, Dust and Chimes sounds like the work of a young sage wise beyond his tears.

        White Manna returns to prove just how deep their thrust is. Dune Worship, the Arcata, California, group’s sophomore album, follows in the vein of last year’s self-titled debut, mining another batch of primal, outward-bound jams that reek of eternity.

        “Transformation” channels prime-time Hawkwind, evoking that sense of zooming headlong in endless flight with every atom buzzing. Like the best space-rock songs, it intensifies and ascends ever higher as it goes. The staunch, towering riffs of “X Ray” are as foreboding as the next report from the EPA. This is White Manna’s idea of a power ballad… until it accelerates in the last minute and leaves the listener blissfully charred.

        The speedy yet smooth “I’m Comin Home” could be the recurring theme for that impossible sequel to Easy Rider, while the ten-minute “Illusion of Illusion” simmers with astral, meditative menace—a massive, billowing specimen of rock that glows like the earth’s inner core. The epic finale, “Solar Returns,” is as majestic and momentous a climax as one would expect from these profound pros, whose singleness of purpose remains irrepressible and righteous.

        Food Pyramid’s new LP Ecstasy and Refreshment calls to mind Sky Records’ 1970s kraut-pop output filtered through 1990s DC futurism - Trans Am-esque motorik pop, Game Boy console sound effects and the current Mordant Music roster, particularly Echoplekz. Disembodied voices float in and out of the mix, reminiscent of Byrne / Eno’s ethnomusicology-inspired My Life in the Bush of Ghosts or The Residents’ Eskimo. There is a strange post-DC vibe here, much like if Dischord Records’ Black Eyes played ambient synth-jams instead of Wire-y punk.

        The record also calls to mind Cloudland Canyon, perhaps not surprising since Kip Uhlhorn from that band mastered Ecstasy and Refreshment and is helping to release it to a wider audience. Jana Hunter from Lower Dens, Nona Invie from Dark Dark Dark, and Tony Janas and Otto Junker from Deep Earth lent their collaborative efforts as well.

        White Manna play space rock with a scorched-earth policy, taking their listener on a journey of intensity and intoxication over the course of five gloriously unfurling tracks.

        The Arcata, California quartet may telegraph where they’re coming from and where they’re going to take you with their track titles, but knowing the itinerary doesn’t dampen the thrill of their excursion into stellar depths. White Manna know the transcendental and transformative powers of repetition, locking you into their thick hazy grooves, ramping up the intensity of distortion and guitar wig-outs as they explore their own hallucinatory visions. You won’t try to escape.

        Opening track “Acid Head” is not false advertising. Opening with an amiable boogie-rock amble before morphing into stentorian, Loop like riffing, you’ll know immediately that you can count on White Manna to envelop your head in the Asheton brothers’ genius string thuggery and convulse you with the primordial throb of the Stooges (and, later, Hawkwind) harnessed, before sonic irony was invented. White Manna group focuses on mantric riffs that accelerate into speed-freak, headbanging frenzies that make you feel indestructible. But on “Don’t Gun Us Down,” White Manna throw a change-up, setting the science-fictional scene with billowing solar winds, before shifting into a mantric cruiser over which a wah-wah-ed guitar articulates a hedonist manifesto—perhaps “fire all of your guns at once and explode into space.”

        White Manna won’t dazzle you with eclecticism; instead, they’re monomaniacs who repeatedly win you over with their irrepressible ability to soar out of the mundane and into the unknown, by tried-and-true methods that have been upgraded to modern 21st century specs. Just two notes ridden into eternity is all the fuel these songs need to unravel spaced out vocal lines and searing guitar riffs over the course of lavishly extended jams where time melts completely and a second lasts forever, always bowing out before the comedown.

        Far more powerful than any empty chemical trip, White Manna take you on an organically rapturous journey of hypnotic power and psychedelic spiritualism – enveloping, agonizing, beautiful and destructive.


        STAFF COMMENTS

        Matt says: It was always gonna take some serious guts to fight off Wooden Shjips' and Moon Duo’s annual psychedelic take over; but somehow this year, I think White Manna have done it. Perhaps it’s that we all recognize Ripley’s cuddly face now, but White Manna’s self titled debut (released on Holy Mountain, as was the Shjips first record) instantly struck a darker, heavier, more “balls-out” chord with us here in the shop. These were instant air guitar anthems, and the aggressive, more Stooges-esque vocal delivery would leave us gasping for breath when the songs finished. With riffs as snappy and incessant as this, you've little chance to get lost in dreamworld, rather you're catapulted full-throttle down the Californian highways from which the band hail.

        I have to quote the sales notes: "White Manna focus on mantric riffs that accelerate into speed-freak, headbanging frenzies that make you feel indestructible" - you can't really expand on that, but I'll try. Adopting some classic trad-psych arrangements with the speaker melting guitar production of today, White Manna don’t hide behind walls of synthesizers, throwing stones; instead they meet you head-on with a big fuck-off axe - “you want some?” they snarl, drummer and bassist on the wings – the pretenders shy away - and the Manna continue onwards, leaving everyone shaking in their boots. In short, White Manna, for this year at least, are the scariest and fiercest band you can purchase from our dusty racks; and when sharing floor space with White Hills, Wooden Shjips and the plethora of ‘60s-‘90s psych re-issues that we stock, then that, my friends, is saying something.

        "War Dream", the second album from Baltimore’s Crazy Dreams Band, is saturated with heaviness, psychedelia, pomp and grit, and noticeably lacking any nostalgia hangups. This rock music is refractory and satisfyingly off; put on a slide, manipulated and projected on a screen, or felt through a chain-link fence. Lost love, genocide and forgotten histories collide with raw-dog vocal thundering, slippery bass frequencies, adventurous percussion and seductive guitar ripples.

        Opener “Feels So Good” is a swirling dirge that could be a half-figured-out version of “Carouselambra”; “Awkward for Everyone” showcases recent addition Jorge Martins of Lisbon duo Fish & Sheep playing what sounds like a deflating blow-up Les Paul copy that actually has strings - you’ve got to hear the killer solo! The sidelong “Life Is the Knife” is like a secret ritual from an unreleased Billy Jack sequel where he went back
        to Vietnam and built a temple that bled the purest opium. Here, Jake Freeman’s adventurous sub-frequencies and Nick Becker’s saucy space wanderings shine on to break the dawn in half. "War Dream" was recorded in three days at Beat Babies in Woodstock, MD, by Chris Freeland (OXES, Frenemies, Long Live Death, Baltimore Rowdies
        Collective) with heaping platefuls of assistance from his brother Mickey (Bow ’n’ Arrow, Height with Friends) and a cat that looked like a dirty snowman.

        A rock band for the rave generation? Or a rave band for modern day rockers? "Dos" single-handedly flew across genres and took us all into the heady world of psychedelia, San Francisco and guitars. Melodies and hooks so beautifully transcendental that they cannot be ignored, whatever musical camp you occupy. Ripley Johnson's epic riffs cascade with elegance over drummer, Omar Ahsanuddin's rabid, ferocious yet mechanical clattering; organ and bass (Nash Whalen / Dusty Jermier) rumble and stir the thick psych stew while vocals rise and fall like whispering angels. While "Dos" is accessible and welcoming, it's cross-over potential should not cloud it's creditability as one fuzz heavy, psychedelic rock masterpiece and while it's production and style draw from the past, it's energy, charisma and euphoria lift it well beyond any of it's contemporaries in 2009. A God-like album for one and all.

        FORMAT INFORMATION

        LP includes MP3 Download Code.

        Southern Illinois native Zac Nelson is a drummer, and knowing that you should also know that he is a madman. One of the few known photos of him looks like a cult leader or someone who might know a thing or two about eating diamonds. While he is a current member of Who's Your Favorite Son God and Prints, Hexlove is Nelson all by himself going nuts. Nelson's enthusiastic mania is not just in the realm of Keith Moon-ness but as a multi-instrumentalist who channels Dennis Wilson, Neil Michael Haggerty, and post-"Vision Creation Newsun" Boredoms, and combine it all and play it off like it was mixed by Tod Dockstader. No one is ever going to think you should listen to "Knew Abloom" on nitrous because it already sounds like it's on nitrous. Simply put, Hexlove is unlike anything and sounds exactly like right now should.

        San Francisco four piece Wooden Shjips first came to our attention in February this year when we heard the blistering sonic guitar attack that is "Dance California", and we have been waiting on the album ever since. Mixing a loose, funky drum beat, groovy bass-lines, droning organ, fuzz guitar and incomprehensible lyrics isn't rocket science and so many do it that it is easy to get lost in the also-rans. Fortunately Wooden Shjips tower above the best of the rest with their swirling maelstrom of psychedelic space rock. Without doubt slaves to the groove, the Shjips quite simply lock your body into a heavy trance like strut, whilst lifting the lid on your head and teleporting your brain to the outer reaches of the universe.

        Ainotamenishis is a loud, heavy guitar group from Tokyo who were birthed from one oviduct marked 'Velvet Underground' and a massive salpinx marked 'Gaseneta'. Their high-energy rock'n'roll action was first captured on an extremely limited CDR release, now released for the first time on vinyl. Ainotamenishis's brand of controlled panic is sure to spike the tongues of all those who purport to talk about the rock. It is primal, punk, eerie, harsh, and utterly essential.


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