Formed in Austin in March 2013, Institute includes members of Wiccans, Glue, Blotter, Recide and more. Before they were even a proper band, singer Moses Brown had a couple of raw post-punk songs sitting on a four-track at his house. Once the lineup solidified, the band touched up one of those songs (“Dead Sea”) for a demo, then quickly wrote enough material to flesh out that demo (re-released on Deranged), a seven-inch (on Katorga Works), and now their debut EP for Sacred Bones.
We fell in love with this band as soon as we heard those early demos, and then saw a blistering set from them in their hometown earlier this year. The Salt EP is as sharp as the band’s earlier work but suggests longer, more experimental forms (“An Absence”) and a more incisive lyrical perspective, dealing with topics from existentialism to Brown’s experience as a closeted youth. Institute have already toured with their new labelmates in Destruction Unit , and we’re stoked to officially welcome these young men into our family.
After the release of two critically acclaimed EPs, Woods spent 2017 writing and recording songs on an eight-track in an abandoned flat she was living in at the time. Layering piano, synth, tape machine, field recordings, vocals, drone, unadorned beats, and old string instruments, these songs culminate in her debut solo LP Colt. Straddling the acoustic and electronic worlds, Colt is an intensely personal journey through grief, abandonment, and mutating love. Woods navigates this journey with a lyrical potency that cuts through stark piano, sensuous synth work, and textural acoustics. Somewhere between Marissa Nadler, Grouper and Julee Cruise, these songs evoke both the anguish of their content and the ecstasy of their craft.
Growing up in an artistic household on Dublin’s Northside, Woods studied film and literature, dropping in and out of fine art school. A singular vision and tenacious creativity has seen Woods cross multi-disciplinary thresholds, exploring visual and performance art alike. Her work has received critical acclaim all over Ireland with honors from the Dublin Fringe Festival and the Irish Film Institute.
Written and recorded at home in Dublin, Colt was mixed by and co-produced with James Kelly (WIFE, Altar of Plagues) in Berlin in the winter of 2017.
“Colt was created as a way to process and make sense of the everyday,” Woods imparts. “As a means to speak with inner voices, explore aloneness, and understand the complexities of desire. As a vehicle for imaginative flight, as a quest for resilience and connectivity to the outside world, as a medium through which to journey into the present, to temper the mind and inhabit the body.”
FORMAT INFORMATIONColoured LP Info: Limited edition blue vinyl.
Before Blinko went on to found the essential anarcho band Rudimentary Peni, whose storied body of work also appeared on Outer Himmilayan, he and label co-founder Cooper were The Magits. The lone release by the minimal synth-and-vocals duo, Fully Coherent, was the inaugural release on Outer Himmilayan — and, in fact, Blinko and Cooper’s impetus for starting the label. The four tracks on Fully Coherent are short, sharp bursts, comprising a total of four minutes. Here, they’re presented alongside “A Pawn in the Game,” a song that sees Blinko and Cooper get truly weird with the extra space the longer runtime afforded them
The next release on Outer Himmilayan was S-Haters’ Death of a Vampire 7”, which the quartet quickly followed with Stories as Cold as the Irish Sea. The band was recognizably a deathrock act, their gothic punk in the same lineage as Joy Division and PIL’s Metal Box, but it showed the same sonic adventurousness that characterized the rest of Outer Himmilayan’s output. “1980,” an oddity taken from the rare Another Bouquet on the Grave of Free Enterprise cassette comp, shows the most experimental flourish, with dueling male/female vocals and a prominent acoustic guitar.
The final Outer Himmilayan release before it became strictly a Rudimentary Peni label was Soft Drinks’ Popstars in Their Pyjamas7”. Popstars ended up being the synth-punk trio’s only release before their breakup, though they would also record “Dangers of Drink,” for the Bouquet of Barbed Wire comp and included here, as well as the one-off track “Misconception,” previously unreleased but now available exclusively on Outer Himmilayan Presents
This LP comes with 20 -page zine featuring all liner notes and ephemera associated with the original releases, alongside previously unreleased photos
I just want to tell you something.
There should be something I could tell you, there should be something I could do to reach you directly, but there is nothing useful in the way we define “you”, or “me”. There should be something I could tell you, there should be something I could say directly without lyrics and melody.
Maybe that’s what I’m trying here. Something else than lyrics or melody. It’s not the words. It’s not in the rhythm. It’s not in the streaming. It’s not in the “message”. It’s not in the product. It’s not in the algorithms. It’s not something you decided. It’s not something they decided for you.
I want to tell you something. I just want to say: Thank you. I love you.
The follow-up to Jenny Hval’s acclaimed 2016 album Blood Bitch is The Long Sleep, an adventurous new EP that sees the Norwegian multidisciplinary artist embracing an instinctive, even subconscious, approach to creating meaning. In contrast to Hval’s more explicitly conceptual work, The Long Sleep foregrounds the act of composition itself, letting the melodies and structures reveal the other elements of the songs. All of the songs on the EP recycle the same compositional motives, but manipulate them into very different shapes that take them further and further out of their original, "life-like" context.
Hval recorded The Long Sleep with longtime collaborator Håvard Volden and producer Lasse Marhaug, along with an ace new supporting cast of talented players from the jazz world — Kyrre Laastad on percussion, Anja Lauvdal on piano, Espen Reinertsen on saxophone, and Eivind Lønning on trumpet. Hval calls them some of her favorite contemporary musicians, and their musical background helps to give the songs on The Long Sleep their intuitive, improvised feel.
“The lyrics were a way of reckoning with my own memories and also of trying to process my reactions to the human situation,” Yamada explains. “I wanted the voice to have a kind of ghostly quality, to emerge from and recede back into the song, or to pass over it like weather. It’s one of many layers of sound, which are meant to blend together in such a way that on one listen you might hear one thing, and on another listen you might hear something else, so the music seems to change even as it stays the same.” Yamada has spent the last decade as a working musician, moving between semipermanent home bases whenever she isn’t living in a tour van. In some ways, then, it feels inevitable that Vive la Void became a meditation on the strange rhythms of long-term touring, constant relocation, and the accompanying stream of brief but compelling encounters. It’s a testament to her empathy and creativity that these songs feel both specific and universal, familiar yet tantalizingly unknowable.
“I feel like the movement of life in the sphere of consciousness is this process of trace-leaving,” Yamada reflects. “Wherever we go, whomever we interact with, whatever we touch, we leave and absorb these invisible traces, this residue of memory that lingers. I wanted the sonic textures of this record to explore that state of being there and not there, of something being with you but not tangible.”
STAFF COMMENTSBarry says: Mixing the hypnotic driven forces of Moon Duo with a clear influence from Krautrock and cosmic ambient works of the 70's, Yamada has crafted a superb LP, a great indicator for the future.
FORMAT INFORMATIONColoured LP Info: Limited "Death Money", Purple & Green Marble vinyl.
Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.
LP includes MP3 Download Code.
Johnny Jewel turns “Ash to Bone” into a late-night cinematic torch song, Tri Angle Records composer Katie Gately’s “Siphon” is a dark choir of warping angels, black metal band Wolves in the Throne Room’s take on “Exhumed” makes the pounding industrial anthem even denser and heavier, and Toronto producer Joanne Pollock (formerly one half of Poemss with Venetian Snares’ Aaron Funk) makes “Soak” feel like an aching classical standard— until it starts warping in on itself and goes somewhere else entirely.
The songs on Additions traverse a vast amount of sonic ground, but taken together, they cohere remarkably well as an album, all while serving to enrich the experience of Okovi.
“These four new songs were intended to be on Okovi,” Nika Roza Danilova explains. “Each of them represents a snapshot of my journey in making the record, and are just as precious to me as the songs that made it onto the final track listing. The remixes are beloved in their own way, as most were born from organic circumstances, and have drawn the original songs into completely new atmospheres.”
FORMAT INFORMATIONColoured LP Info: Grey and black starburst vinyl.
The immediately evident result of that exploration is the experimental quality of much of the material on Drift. Songwriters Mark Perro and Nick Chiericozzi chase their muses down a few dozen thrilling rabbit-holes over the course of the album’s nine tracks. The songs on Drift veer in a number of directions, but notably, almost none of them feature a prominent electric guitar. The lone exception, “Killed Someone,” is a rowdy riff-rocker, worthy of the finest moments of the band’s now-classic Leave Home and Open Your Heart albums. The rest of the album drives down stranger highways. “Secret Light” is an improvisation based on an old piano riff of Perro’s. “Maybe I’m Crazy” is a synth-driven dancefloor stomper for long after last call. “Rose on Top of the World” and “When I Held You in My Arms” are paisley-hued, psyched-out jams with big, beating hearts.
The album was recorded to 2" tape with Travis Harrison (Guided by Voices) at Serious Business Studios in Brooklyn. A whole pile of instruments was involved — synths, strings, sax, steel, harmonica, tape loops, on top of the usual guitar, bass, and drums. Unlike recent releases from The Men, there aren’t many overdubs on Drift — a reflection of the personalities of its makers becoming less frantic, Chiericozzi suggests. In fact, the band removed a lot of the additional parts they tried adding early on, giving the final product a bit of a ghostly feel. The songs on Drift took giant leaps and trips from their beginnings only to find the band returning to the first spark of creation.
FORMAT INFORMATIONColoured LP Info: “Deep Drift” colour vinyl.
“Guilt is my biggest demon and has been following me since childhood. Everything I do strengthens the narrative that I am guilty” Vasquez reflects. “The concept of ‘Criminal’ is a desperate attempt to find relief by both confessing to my wrongdoings and by blaming others for their wrongdoings that have affected me.”
‘Criminal’ marks a striking and important chapter in his self-exploration, both artistically and emotionally. As a young musician living in Oakland, Vasquez began to try and process the narrative of his difficult upbringing veiled through musical exploration. Taking krautrock's motorik beats and Post-Punk deconstructions and honing them into a hushed percussive incantation, The Soft Moon's self-titled debut album took shape. The album was released in late 2010 by Captured Tracks and was praised by critics and emulated by contemporaries.
In 2012 the apocalyptic conceptual work of 'Zeros' emerged, shortly followed by Vasquez moving to Venice, Italy in 2013, acting as a catalyst for 2014’s release, ‘Deeper’. While previous albums were primarily instrumental records, where Vasquez’s voice was diffused amidst the music as another instrument, ‘Deeper’ marked the beginning of a new musical direction where vocals and lyrics became something more than a mere presence. ‘Deeper’ was a descent into the womb of childhood trauma, anxiety and fear, and although Vasquez survived this dark exploration of himself, he did not return alone.
Working once more with Maurizio Baggio, who produced ‘Deeper’, at La Distilleria in Bassano Del Grappa, Italy, ‘Criminal’ sees Vasquez further explore putting his lyrics at the forefront and letting his raw emotions flow. The album is Vasquez's way of holding himself accountable and seeking redemption for the abuse he inflicts on himself and others, and acknowledges roots in the abuse which, inflicted upon him as a child, broke him.
STAFF COMMENTSBarry says: Thudding drum machines, screaming distorted guitars and barely-there vocal abstractions fed through a wall of effects. It's a delicate but perfectly achieved bout of melodic suggestions and visceral, white-hot emotion.
FORMAT INFORMATIONColoured LP Info: Limited edition clear vinyl.
“We started playing ‘No Fun’ after BBC6 Radio asked us to record an Iggy song for his 70th birthday. We added it to our set to work it out for the session and kept playing it every night because everyone loves that song. We worked up a version of ‘Jukebox Babe’ because our sound engineer Larry got it stuck in his head and was singing it all the time. We figured, we may as well play it if we’re going to hear it all the time.
The Stooges and Iggy, and Suicide/Alan Vega/Martin Rev, are all huge influences on us. But we never want to do faithful covers of great songs, because what’s the point? So we tried to push both of the tracks in less obvious directions, incorporating other influences, like California psych and cosmic disco, giving them more of a summer vibe. We knew Sonic Boom was working outside of Lisbon, so we asked him to produce the tracks, recording them in August for maximal summer heat.”
FORMAT INFORMATIONLtd 12" Info: White vinyl edition.
12" Info: Black vinyl edition.
The psychotic tale of “Mirror of the Madman” shatters into to the softness of “Summer Came Early,” an epitaph to the environment, written in a post-warming future. “Forever Free” captures a “baroque” approach, with a curious combination of sounds: the fake harpsichord synth sound and the mellotron, plus the “bleeping sound” sequence caused by Hugo Quezada’s personal obsession with Raymond Scott. The track is a tale of mental entrapment and finding the key to freedom from within. The final song, “You Got A Problem Son,” almost went undiscovered. It could have easily been buried and forgotten eternally, had it not been found by Quezada and Martin Thulin while listening through the 8-track tapes for something else. The lead sound was made with a four-oscillator synth, with the four oscillators slightly out of tune with one another; a nice metaphor for the band perhaps, ending the trip with a disjointed rush; a mod-tale, begging for repeated listening.
Anthology is a near-comprehensive survey of John Carpenter’s greatest themes, from his very first movie, the no-budget sci-fi film Dark Star, to 1998’s supernatu¬ral Western, Vampires. Those sit alongside the driving, Led Zeppelin-influenced Assault on Precinct 13 theme, Halloween’s iconic 5/4 piano riff, and the eerie synth work of The Fog. Carpenter and his band also cover Ennio Morricone’s bleak, minimalist theme for The Thing.
We also get vital new recordings of the themes to ’80s classics and fan favorites Big Trouble in Little China, Escape From New York, Christine, and They Live, along with the romantic Starman, which earned Jeff Bridges his first Oscar nomination as a lead actor. The collection is rounded out by the menacing, heavy themes to Prince of Darkness and In the Mouth of Madness, the latter a Metallica-inspired riff originally played for the film by Kinks guitarist Dave Davies, and now played by his son Daniel.
STAFF COMMENTSBarry says: I don't think many people could argue that John Carpenter isn't one of the most respected and prolific figures in soundtrackery, and this should prove it. Some of the most recognisable themes in all the land. Awesome.
FORMAT INFORMATIONLP includes MP3 Download Code.
Fittingly, the 11 electronics-driven songs on Okovi share musical DNA with her early work on Sacred Bones. The music was written in pure catharsis, and as a result, the sonics are heavy, dark, and exploratory. In addition to the contributions of Danilova’s longtime live bandmate Alex DeGroot, producer/musician WIFE, cellist/noise-maker Shannon Kennedy from Pedestrian Deposit, and percussionist Ted Byrnes all helped build Okovi’s textural universe.
With Okovi, Zola Jesus has crafted a profound meditation on loss and reconciliation that stands tall alongside the major works of its genre. The album peaks of tragedy with great wisdom and clarity. Its songs plumb dark depths, but they reflect light as well.
Last year, I moved back to the woods in Wisconsin where I was raised. I built a little house just steps away from where my dilapidated childhood tree fort is slowly recombining into earth. Okovi was fed by this return to roots and several very personal traumas.
While writing Okovi, I endured people very close to me trying to die, and others trying desperately not to. Meanwhile, I was fighting through a haze so thick I wasn’t sure I’d find my way to the other side. Death, in all of its masks, has been encircling everyone I love, and with it the questions of legacy, worth, and will.
Okovi is a Slavic word for shackles. We’re all shackled to something—to life, to death, to bodies, to minds, to illness, to people, to birthright, to duty. Each of us born with a unique debt, and we have until we die to pay it back. Without this cost, what gives us the right to live? And moreover, what gives us the right to die? Are we really even free to choose?
This album is a deeply personal snapshot of loss, reconciliation, and a sympathy for the chains that keep us all grounded to the unforgiving laws of nature. To bring it to life, I decided to enlist the help of Alex DeGroot, who has been the only constant in my live band and helped mix the Stridulum EP back in 2010. It will be released on Sacred Bones, the closest group of people I’ll ever have to blood-bound family.
FORMAT INFORMATIONColoured LP Info: Rust coloured vinyl.
LP Info: Black vinyl edition.
-Nika Roza Danilova, June 2017
Collects the early Zola Jesus EPs Stridulum and Valusia in a single volume for the first time.
FORMAT INFORMATIONColoured LP Info: Smoke coloured vinyl.
CD Info: The CD contains the entire "Soeur Sewer" 7" as well as the three songs from the Die Stasi single.
In classic Psychic TV fashion, rumors and myths surround the album’s creation. Most have suggested that it was recorded in a single session over a cup of coffee on a lone 4-track cassette recorder above an old YMCA building in London, though later revealed that the recordings were from various sessions over the course of a couple years prior to the record’s release. After quickly pressing the songs to vinyl, the record was originally only available through Rough Trade for a few hours on December 23, 1984 and pressed on picture discs, which adorned a photo of P-Orridge’s first born, Caresse, in exactly 999 copies. The pressing sold out immediately that day which caused Temple Records, their “in-house label”, to later release a standard reissue version in 1986.
What makes the songs, or rather versions of songs, so unique is the primitive and fragile nature of the arrangements while the flimsy, immediate vocal delivery makes the album sit unknowingly between demo and fully realized album. “Baby’s Gone Away” and “New Sexuality” are just a couple examples of songs that fans of Psychic TV became intimately familiar with from live experiences, but on A Pagan Day, they are released in their infantile stages with no full band, just Alex & Genesis finding their way through the songs with an acoustic guitar, drum machine and organ. “Cold Steel” shows a true peek behind the curtain, sung effortlessly by Fergusson and would then later become the classic standard “The Orchids.” Most notable is the band’s cover of Pearls Before Swine’s “Translucent Carriages” of which P-Orridge accords special praise to Tom Rapp, the song’s original author and icon to both P-Orridge and Fergusson
SQÜRL is: Jim Jarmusch, Carter Logan and Shane Stoneback.
An enthusiastically marginal rock band from New York City who like big drums & distorted guitars, cassette recorders, loops, feedback, sad country songs, molten stoner core, chopped & screwed hip-hop, and imaginary movie scores.
SQÜRL began in 2009 when Jim Jarmusch and Carter Logan teamed with producer Shane Stoneback to record some original music for the film The Limits of Control. Echoing the varied Spanish landscapes captured in the film, the three emerged with a set of slow-motion psychedelic rock instrumentals (releasing them as Bad Rabbit). Following these scoring sessions Jim, Shane, and Carter continued to record new originals while also exploring the back-alleys of American country, noise, and psychedelia. SQÜRL released a series of 3 EPs, recorded over a 3 year period by Shane at Treefort Recording in Brooklyn, NY. Jarmusch and Logan’s collaboration continued as a duo with SQÜRL’s acclaimed score for Paterson, and a trio with Stoneback for EP #260
While the ensuing years saw Psychic TV’s major label infection and record breaking live album release binge, it wasn’t until 1988 that the band started to ready itself for a chart-friendly pop endeavor in the form of Allegory and Self. This would be the band’s most notable and successful endeavor, but tragically, it would be the final songwriting collaboration between P-Orridge and Fergusson. Allegory and Self was a perfect storm of catchy pop melody along with subversive counter-culture reference and occult leanings, packaged in a perfect bundle of underground hits.
The record’s opening track “Godstar,” a song gushing obsessive praise upon the fallen Rolling Stones member Brian Jones, would give the album its most notable identity. “Godstar’s” melodic hooks and haunting, Phil Spector-era lyrical chant gives into to all the hallmarks of a chart-topping hit. “Just Like Arcadia” and “Being Lost” follows in similar footsteps, charging along with a somewhat whimsical Beach Boys-esque pop quality. The album also contained a sneak-peak into what direction Psychic TV was heading into going forward, apparent in the acid house number “She Was Surprised.” Tracks like “Starlit Mire” and “Thee Dweller” reflect more of what the Psychic TV live experience was akin to in the ’80s, aggressive and hypnotic. All together, Allegory and Self would stand alone as the band’s signature apex from the original ’80s line-up.
Subordination was written in the days leading up to Institute’s first European tour, where they then had a chance to sculpt the songs live before recording them in summer of 2016. The song writing and recording process sought to close the gap between the band’s records and shows, to make an album as representative of their live set as possible. It was the most collaborative Institute writing session to date, with all four band members contributing (gtr -Arak Avakian, drums - Barry Elkanick, bass- Adam Cahoon & vox - Moses Brown). They worked again with producer Ben Greenberg (Uniform) and fully captured the intensity that has made them one of the best live punk bands touring today.
Frontman Moses Brown’s lyrics remain deeply personal, but rather than diving into introspection and plucking out intimate details about his life, he attempts to dismantle systems of patriarchal thought and power. Brown investigates national insecurities and American socialization failures through the lens of his personal experiences in both public school and art schools.
The songs on Subordination address the lonely sham of playing by the rules, the search for money and power, the annihilation of a true personality, and the stan¬dards of normalcy that from childhood conditions us to feel abject.
FORMAT INFORMATIONColoured LP Info: Indies exclusive coloured vinyl.
Offering a cosmic glimpse into the hidden patterning embedded in everything, Occult Architecture reflects the harmonious duality of these light and dark energies through the Chinese theory of Yin and Yang.
Following the Yin (feminine, darkness, night, earth) represented on Occult Architecture Vol. 1, Vol. 2 presents the Yang. Yang means “the bright side of the hill” and is associated with the male, sun, light and the spirit of heaven, and as such Vol. 2 explores the light and airy elements of Moon Duo’s complex psyche.
“In production we referred to Vol. 1 as the fuzz dungeon, and Vol. 2 as the crystal palace,” guitarist Ripley Johnson explains. “The darkness of Vol. 1 gave birth to the light of Vol. 2. We had to have both elements in order to complete the cycle. We’re releasing them separately to allow them their own space, and to ensure clarity of vision. To that end we also mixed Vol. 2 separately, in the height of Portland summer, focusing on its sonic qualities of lightness, air, and sun. Listeners can ultimately use the two volumes individually or together, depending on circumstance or the desired effect.”
Vol. 2 was mixed in Portland by the band’s longtime collaborator Jonas Verwijnen
STAFF COMMENTSBarry says: If you haven't heard of Moon Duo already, where have you been? This is the second (and equally excellent) album they have put out in 3 months! Driven psychedelic haze, hypnotic distortion and ethereal vocals, pushed together into a perfect combination of melody and drive. How do they keep doing it?
It should come as no surprise to fans of the Chilean trio Föllakzoid that upon meeting the legendary Jason Pierce a.k.a. J. Spaceman (Spacemen 3, Spiritualized), they discovered they were kindred spirits. Föllakzoid and Spaceman’s projects share a restless drive to explore the outer limits of music, as well as an uncanny ability to lock into a groove until it infiltrates the deepest recesses of the listener’s psyche. When Föllakzoid met Spaceman backstage at a Wooden Shjips gig at London’s Electric Ballroom several years ago, they instantly became friends. For London Sessions, the Chileans and Spaceman joined forces for new, live-to-tape renditions of “Electric” and “Earth,” two highlights from Föllakzoid’s III.
The recordings were made in a private studio in London while Föllakzoid was on tour in Europe in June 2016, and Spaceman’s contributions breathe new life into the songs. “Jason added a very different harmonic atmosphere to the songs,” guitarist Domingo Garcia-Huidobro explained. “It somehow rearticulated the space and metric that already existed in a way the band never could.”
Man is a rabid dog, straining at its leash of mortality with bared teeth. Snarling and clawing over each other, we aim to reach a higher ground to claim as our own. There are those who will attempt to exert power over others to attain it. They will sniff you out; lay claim over your body, your actions, your thoughts, your time. (How starkly human, so desperate for the sense of vantage over all versions of its own reflection!) Their aims are empty, because their power is a construct they created and gave back to themselves. They too are small and inconsequential. All people are only human and humans are only animals. The nature of existence and our sentience is chance, owing nothing to anything. Humankind is of no special significance to the universe. (Despite all our scrambling rejections, we cannot transcend all of our instincts — just animals, lost in a confused dream, where mankind is real and at the center of everything). We are each nothing but a single, short-lived cell in a vast organism which itself will one day die. If we accept that the only true claim sentience gives us is our tiny sliver of time, it opens us to revel in it, to make CONTACT. When we pick up on transmissions between the private rooms inside our heads and the flesh of our vessels, when thought escapes its isolation and is seen, heard and understood. When our mind uses the body in order to transcend and escape it! The moments of connection/communion/CONTACT, when the veil is for a brief but glorious moment lifted, and we are free. Empathy! EMPATHY, NOW!
World Eater, the new album by Benjamin John Power’s Blanck Mass project, is a reaction to this. There is an underlying violence and anger throughout the record, even though some of these tracks are the closest Power has ever come to writing, in his words, “actual love songs.”
“Maybe subconsciously this was some kind of countermeasure to restore some personal balance,” Power explains.
On World Eater, Power further perfects the propulsive, engrossing electronic music he has created throughout his impressive decade-plus career, both under the Blanck Mass moniker and as one-half of Fuck Buttons, as he elaborates upon the sound of 2015’s brilliant double album Dumb Flesh. As massive as the sonic world of the new record often feels, its greatest achievement is in its maximization of a limited set of tools, a restriction intentionally set by Power himself.
“As an exercise in better understanding myself musically, I found myself using an increasingly restricted palette during the World Eater creative process. Evoking these intense emotions using minimal components really put me outside of my comfort zone and was unlike the process I am used to. Feeling exposed shone a new light on this particular snapshot. I feel enriched for doing so.”
STAFF COMMENTSBarry says: Once again, Power brings it with a heady and churning suite of crackling drones, glimmering pads and reticent melodies. Forged through repetition and determination, there lies within a wealth of beauty and startling directional clarity, revealed through minute changes in timbre and force. A brilliantly measured and impeccably conceived electronic rite of passage.
Offering a cosmic glimpse into the hidden patterning embedded in everything, Occult Architecture reflects the harmonious duality of these light and dark energies through the Chinese theory of Yin and Yang.
In Chinese, Yin means “the shady side of the hill” and is associated with the feminine, darkness, night, earth. Following this logic, Vol. 1 embraces and embodies Moon Duo’s darker qualities — released appropriately on February 3, in the heart of winter in the Northern Hemisphere.
According to guitarist Ripley Johnson, “the concept of the dark/light, two-part album came as we were recording and mixing the songs, beginning in the dead of winter and continuing into the rebirth and blossoming of the spring. There’s something really powerful about the changing of the seasons in the Northwest, the physical and psychic impact it has on you, especially after we spent so many years in the seasonal void of California. I became interested in gnostic and hermetic literature around that time, especially the relationship between music and occult qualities and that fed into the whole vibe.”
Adds keyboardist Sanae Yamada, “the two parts are also intended to represent inverted components of a singular entity, like two faces on the same head which stare always in opposite directions but are inextricably driven by the same brain.”
Vol. 1 was mixed in Berlin by the band’s longtime collaborator Jonas Verwijnen.
STAFF COMMENTSBarry says: Pulsing, synth-driven electronica meets hypnotic psych headfirst on Moon Duo's latest odyssey. From the dark-wave gloom-step of 'Cold Fear' to the rocking swagger of'White Rose', Moon Duo consistently smash the boundaries. Play loud.
“This record is primarily about psychic transition,” Berdan explained. “The distress that these songs attempt to illustrate comes from a place of stagnation and monotony. This is what happens when old ways of thinking become exhausted and old ways of coping prove ineffective. Something must change or it will break.”
The characters Berdan brings to life in his lyrics quit using but have ruinous relapses (“Habit”) or struggle as their resolve crumbles (“Bootlicker”); they use alcohol to ease their insomnia but and are helpless when they get sober and stop sleeping again (“Night of Fear”); they’re existential misanthropes trapped in dead-end lives (“The Lost”).
Greenberg sets these stories to menacing guitar and samples of literal sounds of war — the kick drums are bombs going off, the snares are gunshots. He drew the record’s immense sample library from action movies, Foley sound packs, field recordings, and more, and the result is devastating. The guitar is also as crucial as ever, and now as indebted Slayeras it is to Big Black. Greenberg conjures up massive riffs and shredding solos, pushing the band deeper into the metal world whose borderlands they’ve long stalked.
“We are surrounded by war and the whole world is burning and it doesn’t seem like there are any appropriate reactions or responses left anymore,” Greenberg elaborated. “This music is our response to and our reflection of the overwhelming violence, chaos, hate, and destruction that confronts us and everyone else in the world every day of our lives. When we play, I don’t feel powerless anymore. I hope this record can help others transcend their anger and frustration.”
STAFF COMMENTSBarry says: A visceral and brutal assault of double kick drums, pummelling grindcore guitars and low-fi gritty production aesthetic make this a force to be reckoned with. Electronic backboned brutalist sound sculptures for the enraged.
FORMAT INFORMATIONColoured LP Info: Indies exclusive white vinyl.
Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.
Atticus Rose, Leopold Ross And Bobby Krlic
Almost Holy - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
“Occasionally a project comes along where one feels compelled to contribute,” Atticus said of seeing the early footage that convinced him to work on the film. “It’s a different world over there – of course we have dire poverty in the U.S. – but to see an army of drug-addicted children living in those conditions, children the same age as my own, under ten years old but covered in track marks and sleeping on sewers to stay warm, and someone is asking you to write a little music to help the cause. It would be hard to find a reason not to.”
His collaborators felt the same way, and the trio soon began work on the score — the Ross brothers in the U.S. and Krlic in the U.K. The distance meant the composers initially worked separately, but in the end, the soundtrack feels remarkably coherent.
The message and content of film kept the trio inspired, and once Krlic had emigrated to the U.S., they met at Atticus’ studio and continued to work on the album as a free-standing piece. The film remained the anchor and the catalyst for their creativity, but several of the tracks on the record don’t appear in the picture at all. Almost Holy is thus not simply a soundtrack album, but a soundtrack and an album, one that both enriches its film and stands apart from it.
In the words of Jenny Hval: “Blood Bitch is an investigation of blood. Blood that is shed naturally. The purest and most powerful, yet most trivial, and most terrifying blood: Menstruation. The white and red toilet roll chain which ties together the virgins, the whores, the mothers, the witches, the dreamers, and the lovers. Blood Bitch is also a fictitious story, fed by characters and images from horror and exploitation films of the '70s. With that language, rather than smart, modern social commentary, I found I could tell a different story about myself and my own time: a poetic diary of modern transience and transcendence. There is a character in this story that is a vampire Orlando, traveling through time and space. But there is also a story here of a 35-year old artist stuck in a touring loop, and wearing a black wig. She is always up at night, jet lagged, playing late night shows - and by day she is quietly resting over an Arp Odyssey synthesizer while a black van drives her around Europe and America. So this is my most fictional and most personal album. It’s also the first album where I’ve started reconnecting with the goth and metal scene I started out playing in many years ago, by remembering the drony qualities of Norwegian Black Metal. It’s an album of vampires, lunar cycles, sticky choruses, and the smell of warm leaves and winter.”
Jenny Hval has developed her distinct take on intimate sound since the release of her debut album in 2006. For her last two solo albums, 2013's Innocence Is Kinky and 2015’s Apocalypse, girl, Hval has received thoughtful and widespread international acclaim for her fascinating voice, singular delivery and markedly non-traditional arrangements which incorporate elements of poetry, prose writing,
performance art, and film. She eloquently brings to light issues of both male and female gaze.
STAFF COMMENTSBarry says: It sounds like Hval may have just written her opus. Subversive synthetic rhythms and churning drones are cut through with stunningly serene moments (Conceptual Romance is a particularly stunning interlude after an abstract trio of mood-setting numbers). Spoken word samples set the tone to a backdrop of meditative swirls and vocal swoops on 'Untamed Region' while follower 'The Great Undressing' is brilliantly syncopated spoken/sung words over the backdrop of almost utopian arpeggios and crescentic pads. Harsh moments make the lucid intervals all the more stunning, revealing the beauty behind the struggles, accentuating both the highs and lows. Masterpiece.
Ghosthouse shares a basic configuration with the previous Uniform releases, but the tools have evolved far beyond their initial drum machine and bass synth setup. These songs have grown from a broader palette of sounds — shots, explosions, implosions, impacts, ricochets, collapse; the sounds of conflict, war, and destruction that we witness every day. The result is the most sonically confrontational Uniform material to date, and Berdan’s lyrics, largely inspired by his lifelong battle with insomnia and depression, match them for relentlessness.
The three songs on Ghosthouseshow the incisiveness that Greenberg and Berdan now have at their command. The title track addresses the feeling of lying awake at night and wondering if it’s still possible to make peace with an estranged friend after their death. “Waiting Period,” a riff on the Hubert Selby Jr. novel of the same name, is the internal dialogue of a man waiting for his handgun application to clear so he can kill himself. The “Symptom of the Universe” cover pays mostly faithful homage to Black Sabbath, but trades the original’s “summer skies of love” for something far bleaker. These tracks reveal the incredible range that’s possible within the Uniform musical template, and they provide a fascinating glimpse of what’s to come.
For Telling It Like It Is, Rønnenfelt and his bandmates have foregone much of their past proclivity for wild stylistic swings in favor of thematically unified, complicated, but fundamentally cohesive song arrangements; the studio itself at times acting as an auxiliary band member. The result is the most focused vision of Marching Church yet, but one that has lost none of its swagger, and none of its power to enthrall.“We have here one world united under the sparks of one enormous disco ball hanging over us like the moon,” Rønnenfelt elaborates. “In one fleeting moment in the light of its mirrored surface we see human endurance, in the next we see doom.” The light and shade he finds in this worldview permeate the songs on Telling It Like It Is. Rønnenfelt describes the new work “an album which raises multiple flags,” and “the sound of individualism stuck in the center of the modern world, swimming with and against the current.”
The band in 2016 comprises Rønnenfelt and his frequent collaborator and Iceage bandmate Johan S. Weith (on electric viola and guitar here), Lower‘s rhythm section of Kristian Emdal and Anton Rothstein, trumpet player Jakob Emil Lamdahl, and Hand of Dust’s Bo Høyer Hansen. Augmenting these sessions are Maaike Van der Linde and Thora Sveinsdottir of the Stargaze Orchestraon flute and strings, and Sonja La Bianca of Choir of Young Believers on saxophone. The obvious chemistry among these players makes this the most cultivated Marching Church album to date, unveiling the full spectrum of capabilities and musical dexterity of each player. Telling It Like It Is taps into a debauched lunacy that teeters equally on the verge of exhaustion, and the charged sensuality rooted in our loins that keep us going.
While lead single ‘No More Parties in The Attic’ is laden with an enticing no-wave, post-punk sound, layered with distorted guitars and ominous drones– ‘Orlando' chimes in with echoing vintage synths, courtesy of Hugo Quezada that clash with a chilly electro backbeat and an anthemic soulful bass line setting the tone. With her disarming quietude nursery rhyme like vocal delivery, Anika remarks on the creation process: “Well, that day I was speechless and empty; a reflection of the times. I became a vessel for the past; the only way to deal with or help understand the present. Enlightenment came with the help of some strong leading ladies; A certain author, a certain film and a certain actress. Go figure.”
Anika released her self-titled debut album in collaboration with Geoff Barrow’s Invada imprint and Stones Throw to critical acclaim in 2010. This new project was created during the rehearsal sessions for Anika's Mexican live debut back in March 2014. An unexpected partnership formed between Annika and local producers, Martin Thulin (Crocodiles producer) synth-head Hugo Quezada (Robota) and Riotboy sweetheart Hector Melgarejo (Jessy Bulbo / Nos llamamos) to form Exploded View. The four musicians discovered a new sound, several steps removed from the krautrock-isms of Henderson’s previous work during their rehearsals and live performances in Mexico City. The straight to tape sessions that followed in the San Rafael neighborhood, ventured somewhere new; a lighter place, unguarded, veering from any script. Improvisation was the guiding principle and the source of the band’s inspiration. The studio itself was outfitted so that every sound produced in the room would be recorded. A Tascam 388 8-track captured everything – fully live, fully improvised, first-takes only. Produced by Thulin and Quezada and mastered by Josh Bonati in NYC.
For fans of Can, dub, and political revolution.
STAFF COMMENTSMartin says: Berlin's Exploded View formed around Annika Henderson (aka Anika), better known, up to this point, for the sparse, troubled beauty of her solo work. The exploded view in this case is formed by what was initially intended to be Anika's backing band, but is now the entity in its own right. This is a disturbed dream, a fitful night of drones, Kraut dub and fractured melodies over which Anika's low tones brood and rant on subjects as diverse as capitalism, the illusion of existence and Robert De Niro. A dark joy.
Don’t sleep. Don’t retreat. Stay awhile. Let’s spend the night together. Cheena testify to a long history of New York nights, trading insults and borrowing beer at rooftop parties that began years ago. There’s plenty of New York in this band – Lou Reed’s better glam punches found a jawline or two among them, the heavy handed playing of the Dolls, and that particular manner of NY glam you can hear in Kiss– that’s all in Cheena.
Spend The Night With...is a soundtrack to nights where revelry and lust are never isolated from poor decisions and vanity, where the grave sincerity of a bathroom confession explodes into cruelty and hysteria. Nights on busy streets or crowded subway cars coloured with elegant ambition and constrained by the practicality of street smarts. While we say this is NY music, we must also say this is American music. One could imagine a timeless jukebox of American RNR history from hard glam to cocaine / codeine country has blasted into the imbibed ears of our Cheens for many nights on end. Thus we hear songs for and of the night, songs pieced together out of iPhone recordings of 5am guitar histrionics and lyrics scraped out of speed fried text exchanges. There is a long history of bands as disparate as the Byrds, Gun Club, and the Flesh Eaters which had to reconcile RNR with country and blues roots; a tradition of truly AMERICAN music that feeds on itself. This is where I would isolate the sound of Cheena.
America eating itself. Every generation gets the Cheena it deserves because we still live in cities and we still need RNR to live. We still need guitars to be gripped by gods. We still need bards to write odes to heroic crime and ignoble, destitute hedonistic excess, we still need music to drink to that also contains the darkness and disease of hangovers so we aren’t too far away from what is raw and what is real. With love and admiration, I kiss your hand from Melbourne to the Sacred Bones offices and the 538 roof. – DX (Total Control, UV Race, Distort).
In the spirit of solidarity with the other revolutionary communities of our sisters and brothers, the psychedelic Unit urges you to use this album’s energy, energy your speakers can hardly contain, for its intended purpose: to break the chains which you, at the dawn of your understanding, have fastened around your hands and feet. And to see to it that the thrones of every despot erected within you are destroyed. This is crazed-psychedelic-freek-noise guerrilla warfare and these are our streets. The pigs of the law can use their system to manipulate and censor our messages. The control creeps can keep their airwaves safe and comfortable. But none of them have been able to make us turn our voices or our guitar amps down. Destruction Unit sacrificed their ears to make this album as loud of a statement as possible. Will you lend them yours? Negative Feedback Resistor was produced by The Ascetic House and Joe Cardamon in 2015, with the help of Adult Swim and Sacred Bones Records. It was recorded by Joe Cardamon and Greg Gordon at Valley Recording Company, mixed by Ben Greenberg at The Bunker and mastered by Alex DeTurk at Strange Weather.
Destruction Unit is R. Rousseau, J.S. Aurelius, N. Nappa, R. Rousseau, A. Flores with additional accompaniments by A.Z. Hungtai (Dirty Beaches, Last Lizard), D. Bolles, (The Germs), L. Rahbek (Lust For Youth, Posh Isolation) and J. Sanes (Hoax, Liebestod).
STAFF COMMENTSBarry says: A wall of feedback has never been such an enticing start to a song as on 'Negative Feedback Resistor'. What will happen next? Sludgy stoner bass, walls of distortion, driving distorted hardcore guitar? All are possible (probable, even) and are fist-pumpingly
triumphant to boot. Get in the pit, this one is rawkous.
FORMAT INFORMATIONLtd LP Info: Limited edition coloured vinyl edition.
Ltd LP includes MP3 Download Code.
It’s a record explicitly written for the fidelity of the vinyl format, with louder songs beginning each album side and quieter songs at the interior. His attention to sequencing paid off; the album flows like a piece of classic cinema, and sounds like it’s splashed across a drive-in screen in 70mm. Recorded using vintage gear by Phil Manley (The Fucking Champs, Trans Am) at El Studio in San Francisco and Miles’ Garden Chamber home studio, the record is a treasure of tube-amp warmth, and a landmark in the songwriter’s catalog. Miles wrote most of Call by Night on piano, and while the wall-of-sound guitar and cinematic synth playing that helped define his earlier efforts is still present, the beating heart of the songs is left more open thanks to his new method.
Where previous full-lengths were cloaked in distinct aesthetic choices, this record exists outside of any stylistic restraints. “Divided in Two,” the lead single, considers dignity, class, honor, and father-son relationships through the devastating lens of PTSD, all set to a sardonic flag-waving waltz, with martial percussive bomb blasts. The title track explores the enduring aesthetic of British psych-folk. Other songs dip into the traditions of gospel music, sea shanties, and even big-box power ballads, using antique instruments and Miles’ unique perspective on the modern world to forge a new collection of entries for the American songbook. Miles has said the songs on Call by Night mark his “more definitive commitment to seek, listen, and give voice to an enduring muse.” If that’s true, then the muse has obviously been singing to him loud and clear.
New solo record by the guitarist of The Fresh & Onlys
FORMAT INFORMATIONLP includes MP3 Download Code.
2016 will host the first ever John Carpenter tour and in true Carpenter spirit, a sequel to Lost Themes: Lost Themes II. The follow-up brings quite a few noticeable changes to the process, which result in an even more cohesive record. Lost Themes’ cowriters Cody Carpenter (John’s son) and Daniel Davies (John’s godson) both returned. Cody was recently also heard as a composer for Showtime’s Masters of Horror series (Cigarette Burns and Pro-Life), and NBC’s Zoo. Davies was a composer for NBC’s Zoo, as well as the motion picture Condemned.
All three brought in sketches and worked together in the same city, a luxury they weren’t afforded on the first Lost Themes. The result was a more focused effort, one that was completed on a compressed schedule — not unlike Carpenter’s classic, notoriously low-budget early films. The musical world of Lost Themes II is also a wider one than that of its predecessor. More electric and acoustic guitar help flesh out the songs, still driven by Carpenter’s trademark minimal synth.
Keep your eyes peeled for John and his co-writers to hit the road next year performing both lost and newly found themes, in addition to retrospective work from Mr. Carpenter’s multi-generational career. Long live the Horror Master.
STAFF COMMENTSBarry says: Master of Kosmische synth-workouts and general synth-based sountracking legend John Carpenter returns here with the second instalment of his surprising 'not a soundtrack' offering from last year. More twinkling synths, motorik pulses and cavern-soaked reverbed drums. Though soundtracks have always been Carpenters raison d'etre, this outstanding expansion on his lost themes selections just goes to show that Carpenter is indeed the king of the cosmic.
FORMAT INFORMATIONLtd LP Info: Super limited purple & white swirl vinyl! Includes a download code which also includes a bonus track.
Inner Journey Out started out the way many Ills records have - with frontman Tres Warren's demos. Like all of their records, Elizabeth Hart's bass is the glue that holds everything together. Where other recent albums found Warren overdubbing himself to create a blown-out, widescreen sound, this recording handed the reigns to a multitude of guest players. A cadre of musicians and vocalists – including Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval, who duets on lead single “I Don’t Mind” – join in on the journey. This is the first record to feature touring keyboard player Brent Cordero, his Farfisa and Wurlitzer work is a staple throughout. Rounding things out, is a platoon of drummers and percussionists including Chris Millstein, Harry Druzd of Endless Boogie, Derek James of The Entrance Band, and Charles Burst, one of the record’s engineers. These musicians build the frame on which Warren lays his hazy guitar and vocals. An endless array of friends and guests also provide pedal steel guitar, horns, strings, and backing vocals, which culminate in a career-defining moment for the Ills.
Thematically, Inner Journey Out is a detailed exploration of the interior and the exterior, and the pathway between the two. The focused songwriting makes the stylistic departures fit seamlessly within the band’s dexterous ethos. The rousing gospel number “Another Change” and the far-out free jazz exploration “Ra Wah Wah” help shape Inner Journey Out into a multi-faceted, full album experience. It’s the most personal Psychic Ills album, too, hinting tantalizingly at love and loss but denying the listener resolution — asking questions, but never answering; seeking, but never fully concluding.
A decade on from releasing their critically lauded cult debut, Dins, and the deep dive into cosmic improvisation of Mirror Eye that followed, through the more recent and straightforward outings of Hazed Dream and One Track Mind, Psychic Ills have delivered their most remarkable statement yet with Inner Journey Out.
File next to other drop out symphonies like Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space by Spiritualized, Pacific Ocean Blue by Dennis Wilson, and Born to Be With You by Dion, and let your journey begin.
STAFF COMMENTSBarry says: This is a swooning, cosmic psych delight. Swaying bass and distant guitars meld together beautifully into a cauldron of reverb and delay. Reminiscent of early Floyd freak-outs and modern psychedelic indie bastions. Swooning melodies and slide guitar abound. Acid-soaked summer sounds.
FORMAT INFORMATION2xColoured LP Info: Limited desert haze coloured vinyl.
Lust for Youth are a three-piece from Copenhagen. 2014’s acclaimed album, International, took the melancholic insomnia of their former releases out into the street and away from the domestic frustrations of a life in headphones. Suddenly, surrounded by bodies, and with a staccato heart, Balearic infatuations and capricious nights in crowded clubs set the mood for Norrvide’s pining sighs. International marked Lust For Youth’s new-found decadence with fully resolved charm and enhanced self-deprecation. This was swiftly channeled into their recent hit, “Better Looking Brother.” Compassion’s first single was streamed over 50k times in its first month, capping off a highly successful 2015 of worldwide tours and critical social media updates.
Compassion restates beauty for a time of crisis and clickbait. Judgement, design, form, and opinion: to what end will we refine our world if we can’t also make an anthem of our lives? This is the tender conspiracy: I’m on twitter; I have an anthem. Do we have an anthem? We have lust. Let’s meet IRL.
Lust for Youth are affectionately vicious, and vulnerably sharp. They are the anticipation of the comedown as you come up on the best you’ve ever been offered from a bathroom stall. This is the spectrum: a low you know, and a dizzy new height.
Hearts blind lights and finance desire. Is it the fate of the cunning to look good, or is it just cunning to look this good? Compassion is dexterity: we all look this good. An impulse is an appetite, and you’re entitled to everything. Multitask collapse and revolution because you’re a beautiful mess.
Compassion is deliverance.
Anticipate compassion. —Patrick Quick
While Paradise is indeed concerned about the ills that technology has wrought in the modern world, it’s also a record fraught with existential ennui. A fear permeates the record that the world will never get any better; that we as humans have made our bed and now must lie in it. The combined weight of those external and internal forces lay the foundation for the album, and they give it its power. Paradise builds on 2013’s Imps of Perversion LP and 2015’s Penetrate 7" by venturing further outside of traditional notions of punk, and diving even deeper into outer sounds. Synthesizers, mechanized drum machines, and samplers play as critical a role on the record as the more familiar squall of Ivan Drip’s buzzsaw guitar and Chris Bug’s vocals. Any noise a band member could make that helped contribute to the record’s atmosphere of unease was welcome; synth player Allegra Sauvage adds cello to two songs, and drummer/producer Andy Chugg plays trumpet on the title track.
The sessions for Paradise were held at the Population Control Center, and the result is the most collaborative Pop. 1280 release to date. Despite its misgivings about technology, Paradise was made possible by the confluence of humans and their machines, at times struggling for control, but ultimately working together to create this vital, vicious piece of art. If the bitter irony makes you smile, hold that pose — the camera lens is watching.
Eight pivotal contemporary electronic artists were moved to reshape the original songs on Lost Themes in tribute to one the genre's great pioneers. Several of the remixes were released as part of the digital deluxe edition of the album, but Lost Themes Remixed marks the first time any of the tracks have been on vinyl.
FORMAT INFORMATIONLP Info: Standard black vinyl edition.
When Norwegian noise legend Lasse Marhaug interviewed Jenny Hval for his fanzine in early 2014, they started talking about movies, and the conversation was so interesting that she asked him to produce her next record. It turned out that talking about film was a great jumping off point for album production. Hval’s songs slowly expanded from computer loops and vocal edits to band mates Håvard Volden and Kyrre Laastad — and finally exploding into collaborations from Øystein Moen (Jaga Jazzist/Puma), Thor Harris (Swans), improv cellist Okkyung Lee and harpist Rhodri Davis. All of these musicians have two things in common: they are fierce players with a great ear for intimacy, and they hear music in the closing of a suitcase as much as in a beautiful melody.
And so Apocalypse, girl is a very intimate, very visual beast. It dreams of an old science fiction movie where gospel choir girls are punks and run the world with auto-erotic impulses. It’s a gentle hum from a doomsday cult, a soft desire for collective devotion, an ode to the close-up and magnified, unruly desires. Jenny Hval has developed her own take on intimate sound since the release of her debut album in 2006. Her work, which includes 2013's critically celebrated Innocence Is Kinky (Rune Grammophone), has gradually incorporated books, sound installations and collaborations with poets and visual artists. For Hval, language is central, always torn between the vulnerable, the explosive and total humiliation.
In 2012, ‘Sundowner’ – the second track from the album – soundtracked the London Olympics Opening Ceremony. The song was chosen by Underworld’s Rick Smith and performed by London’s Symphony Orchestra to 900 million people worldwide.Power’s newest solo offering, Dumb Flesh, was written, produced and recorded by Benjamin in a number of different locations over the space of a year. It began life in Fuck Buttons’ ‘Space Mountain’ studio, moved into a windowless attic space in Hatch End, North London, then was finished up at Ben’s new home in Edinburgh.
The geographical spread of the sessions is reflected in the shifting landscapes of the tracks and the ever-changing sound-palette used to realize Dumb Flesh as an expansive body of work.As a work of art, Dumb Flesh is a comment on the flaws of the human form in its current evolutionary state. The frailty of the human body naturally became a resonant and inescapable part of the album's gestation. “We are at the mercy of our genetic heritage everyday. No matter how intelligent we are compared to other life forms, we’re still made up of the same building blocks and things can go very wrong”. In particular, the first single ‘Dead Format’ reflects upon this reality, whilst ‘Atrophies’ and ‘Detritus’ acknowledge the organic decay we will all inevitably succumb to.
The album went through myriad stages of completion before arriving at this definitive version. Benjamin elaborates “There must have been at least three occasions where I re-produced the whole thing, replacing instrumentation and experimenting with new machines until I was happy with where the evolution of the project had arrived. That’s the difference between the subject matter of Dumb Flesh and the process of creating it; an end point can be reached. Saying that, I don’t like to stick around in one place too long so we’ll see where this leads to next.”
“I had clear what I wanted to revisit from the last album, as well as what I didn’t want to do again,” Ives said. “I definitely wanted to make a good-sounding record, clear and heavy. I wanted to get away as much as possible from the ‘band’ sound. The last album wasn’t recorded live, but I tried to make it sound as if it had been. This time, I wanted to make an electronic-like album instead.”
The result is an album in the self-recorded Moonlust that falls well outside the boundaries of the prevailing psych-rock idiom. In addition to the French soundtrack and Gainsbourg influences, they cite inspiration from the soul ballads of Aretha Franklin, ’80s South American synthpop acts like Los Encargados, Virus, and Los Prisioneros, and the contemporary French electro group Air. The songs are streamlined hook delivery machines, without any baroque arrangements or unnecessary flourishes to get in the way of their ultimate goal.
To Ives, the lyrical themes on the record represent “feeling lust, desire, for something that you see when it’s dark but it’s so far away that it’s unreachable. It’s an unrealistic target, like God, maybe, or a dream archetype of a goddess. It’s the feeling of melancholy that you can’t fulfill with anything.”
If that feeling sounds anything like the songs on Moonlust, then here’s hoping that he and Manu keep reaching out into that cosmic void anyway.
STAFF COMMENTSAndy says: Gorgeous record alert! Languid, shimmery, indie-Floyd sounds. Like when Air had a stab at The Floyd, but way better! Just lovely, mellow, melodic music. Definitely worth checking.
For III, the band wanted to expand their sound while building an atmosphere with mainly monochords and reiteration. After recording and mixing the album on their own at their studio at BYM Records, they partnered with German electronic maestro Atom TM to flesh out the album’s synth parts. Most of the sounds he provided were atonal electronic sounds, aiming for concrete frequencies and sampled organic glitches. (The Korg synthesizer Atom TM plays on this record was used by Kraftwerk on a tour during the ’80s and given to him by Florian Schneider.)
III is a four-part minimal sound voyage in which you can hear Föllakzoid’s musical language developing into something more upbeat, obscure, and sharp, yet even simpler in terms of elements. During the past year, the band played more than 80 gigs, including at Primavera Sound Festival (both Porto and Barcelona), ATP Festival in the UK, Musique Volantes in Lyon, and Lollapalooza Chile. The shows for III, including a confirmed set at Austin Psych Fest in May, should spread the band’s fog-enshrouded gospel to an even wider audience.
FORMAT INFORMATIONLtd LP Info: Limited to just 400 copies only on GOLD vinyl!
Ltd LP includes MP3 Download Code.
Rønnenfelt discovered the answer to that question with a lineup rounded out by Kristian Emdal and Anton Rothstein of Lower, Cæcilie Trier (Choir of Young Believers), Bo H. Hansen (Hand of Dust, Sexdrome) and Frederikke Hoffmeier (Puce Mary). Under Rønnenfelt’s leadership, the group composed some music, rehearsed twice, and played their show. It was decided that night that this incarnation of Marching Church would make a record.
This World Is Not Enough was influenced at first by obscure works like David Maranha’s experimental drone-rock saga Antarctica, and eventually by soul bandleaders like James Brown and Sam Cooke. “The whole month of writing and rehearsing and the one week we had in the studio was truly an explosion of ideas,” Rønnenfelt said. “Improvisation, something I have never worked with before, was crucial in the making of this album, considering the loose nature of the writing on some of these songs. The album works because of the band’s incredible ability of breathing life into these, at times, very simple ideas and experiments.” The eight tracks that made the final cut are, in Rønnenfelt’s words, “songs of nocturnal longing, preposterous self-obsession and cockeyed etiquette,” and they are an exemplary statement of the songwriter’s extraordinary growth since the birth of Iceage.
Evolving the sound of their critically acclaimed first two full length records, Mazes (2011) and Circles (2012), Ripley Johnson and Sanae Yamada have developed their ideas with the help of their newly acquired steam engine, Canadian drummer John Jeffrey (present on the band‘s last release, Live in Ravenna. Moon Duo used the creative process as a flickering beacon of sanity in an ocean of uncertainty while in these land bound months. The unchartered rhythms and tones of this album reflect their striving for equilibrium in this new environment, and you can hear that Shadow of the Sun is the result of months of wrangling with this profound, unsettling way of being. Exploring the record, a listener will perceive the song "Night Beat," with its off-kilter dance rhythm, as an attempt by the band to find meaning and acceptance in this new, shifting ground, while “Wilding" delivers a familiar Moon Duo sound, taking refuge in a repetitive, grinding riff-scape. Elsewhere on the record, the band recognizes that no journey is possible without being on the road, paying tribute to the cosmic trucker boogie saint in “Slow Down Low” and “Free the Skull.” From the narcoleptic dancefloor killer “Zero,” the record spirals perfectly into a resplendent daydream, the ecstatically pretty “In a Cloud,” which is a spectacular moment to witness.
In a nod to a great pop tradition, the lead single, “Animal,” will appear as the A-side of a 7-inch, packaged with each copy of the vinyl edition. The song has an early West Coast punk viciousness to it that is entirely unique to the Moon Duo catalog, and it will also appear as the last track on the CD.
To further coat the album with an air of uncertainty and tension, the duo decamped to Berlin to mix with Finnish beat-meister Jonas Verwijnen of Kaiku Studios. There in a counter-intuitive act of creative catharsis, they managed to dissolve the album’s formal technique into a cool and paradoxically sane sound of confusion.
The result, at the end of the trip, is the album Shadow of the Sun.
FORMAT INFORMATIONLtd LP includes MP3 Download Code.
John Carpenter has been responsible for much of the horror genre’s most striking soundtrack work in the fifteen movies he’s both directed and scored. The themes that drive them can be stripped to a few coldly repeating notes, take on the electrifying thunder of a rock concert, or submerge themselves into exotic, unholy miasmas. It’s work that instantly floods his fans’ musical memory with imagery of a menacing shape stalking a babysitter, a relentless wall of ghost-filled fog, lightning-fisted kung fufighters, or a mirror holding the gateway to hell. Lost Themes asks Carpenter’s acolytes to visualize their own nightmares.
“Lost Themes was all about having fun,” Carpenter says. “It can be both great and bad to score over images, which is what I’m used to. Here there were no pressures. No actors asking me what they’re supposed to do. No crew waiting. No cutting room to go to. No release pending. It’s just fun. And I couldn’t have a better set-up at my house, where I depended on (collaborators) Cody (Carpenter, of the band Ludrium) and Daniel (Davies, who scored I, Frankenstein) to bring me ideas as we began improvising. The plan was to make my music more complete and fuller, because we had unlimited tracks. I wasn’t dealing with just analogue anymore. It’s a brand new world. And there was nothing in any of our heads when we started other than to make it moody.”
As is Carpenter’s style, repetition is the key to the thundering power of these tracks, their energy swirling with shredding chords, soaring organs, unnerving pianos and captivating percussion. Singularly titled to inspire dread with such names as “Vortex,” “Dominion,” “Abyss,” and “Purgatory,” but all linked into a unified whole, Lost Themes has a mesmerizing power. Horror fans will be reminded of Carpenter’s past works, as well as ancestors like Mike Oldfeld’s Tubular Bells and the raging guitars and chiming percussion of Goblin’s Suspiria. “’Both classical music and rock and roll are part of my musical language, which is riff-driven,” Carpenter explains. “So if you listen carefully, I’m sure you can hear some echoes from my past. But I’m sure that’s true of any composer. You just bring your music along with you.”
FORMAT INFORMATIONLP includes MP3 Download Code.
In the summer of 2013, The Men had just come home from five straight months of touring. For Perro and Chiericozzi, the desire to create was still strong, so they did what they used to do when they first started the band — they started jamming.
Although the production began using the most conservative rock n’ roll devices, Chiericozzi suggested adding drum machine to the song “Pouring Rain,” and everything changed. Over the next six months, the two Men and their collaborator Kyle Keays-Hagerman spent countless hours reshaping every song, constructing them from nothing.They obsessed over every tone, every part. They’d spend an entire day on one snare crack.
The album slowly plumed into a cloud of future primitive psychedelia bursting with glimmering electronics and cinematic, vibrato storytelling. The result of that process is Hypnotized: something borne from The Men, but free of it. It was mixed the weekend after Tomorrow's Hits was released, and then Perro and Chiericozzi were off again.
Dream Police is not a side project, rather a new realization for the original brains behind The Men's psychedelic & sonically stimulating vision.
The band has returned with a renewed sense of enthusiasm and an all-new lineup. Sean Ragon, once the project’s lone member, is now flanked by Jasper McGandy on bass and Christian Kount on electric guitar (both of whom were members of seminal Sacred Bones band The Hunt). Cory Flannigan on drums and Paige Flash on cello complete the five-piece. The end result is Cult of Youth as they were always meant to sound.
The contributions of the new members are evident on every track on Final Days, from the anthemic “Empty Faction” to the gorgeous album closer “Roses.” Final Days is the culmination of everything Cult of Youth has been moving towards the past seven years — post-industrial, post-punk, and post-enlightenment.
Addendum: Real human bones were used on this recording and a portion of the lyrics were written in jail.
That is not to say the record is without substance. There are still some deeply introspective moments as well, notably the instrumental passages “Ultras” and “Basorexia,” which evoke the morning-after loneliness that a lot of earlier Lust For Youth work has explored. According to Rahbek, “the record sort of happened by chance. Hannes and I had talked about recording some stuff together for the fun of it, and Malthe offered to help us record. Initially, we were just going to do a song or two, but within a few weeks it was obvious that it was a combination that worked. The period was strange, terrible things happened in everyone’s life outside of the studio, so as a result many hours were spent in the studio, like a safe zone.”
“As the title indicates,” Rahbek adds, “the record deals with the rootless, sometimes almost inhuman, nature of traveling and touring. Hotel rooms and strangers’ beds, drugs and clubs, and the impossibility of living a regular life.” It may be an irregular life, but nothing could suit them better. International is Norrvide’s magnum opus, and with Fisher’s production and Rahbek’s co-writing skills, the potential this band has always shown has been fully realized. The album features additional production by Elias Bender Rønnenfelt of Iceage as well as Adrian Toubro of Lower
In early 2007, David Lynch was the subject of a retrospective art exhibition at Paris' Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain. Evocatively titled The Air is on Fire, it was notable for being the first major comprehensive exhibition of the avant-garde director's paintings, photographs and drawings. It wasn't strictly a visual affair; throughout the entire gallery's two floors and four rooms, a pervasive, interactive soundscape escorted viewers through the work. That soundscape, which shares the name of the exhibition, was composed by Lynch and his collaborator, Dean Hurley, and it's being issued for the first time on vinyl by Sacred Bones Records as a special Record Store Day release.
That’s most clear on the dreamy organ and skipping riff of the title track, which recalls the Velvet Underground, or the handclaps and swinging organ bloops over the potent shredding and guttural riff delivered by Johnson in "When You Cut": 'He is an incredible guitar player', enthuses Yamada, 'He is one of those musicians who has the ability to elicit a guttural, corporeal response in the listener'. Throughout, "Mazes" is the sound of Moon Duo carving out their own identity, looking to the horizon, and moving forward.
Ripley says that, as a guitarist and songwriter, delineating between Moon Duo and Wooden Shijps 'happens naturally. I focus on one project at a time, and the way the two bands operate is very different. And there are certain limitations that Moon Duo is forced to accept, not having a drummer for example, and I really like that. I like the creative challenge of working with limitations. Having done so much home recording cultivates that. Working with one other person is much different from working with four'.
Yamada is happy to discuss how the romantic relationship at the core of Moon Duo has affected "Mazes": 'Any creative partnership involves a certain level of intimacy, as does any coupling. In each type of partnership you understand certain things about the other or others involved based on the nature of your interactions', she explains. 'To mix the two is kind of a melding of intimacies – you discover different dimensions of knowing the other person. At the same time it is hard to distill specific aspects that that dynamic brings to the music'. And she insists: 'The music is the music'.
'We wanted to do something in a more ‘rock 'n' roll band’ style, something a bit fuller than our previous recordings'. In terms of recording this meant that Moon Duo 'used more tracks on this record, in order to get a denser, layered sound to make this our ‘rock band’ record. I grew up a huge Stones fan, so I've always liked that dense sound, with multiple guitar tracks, percussion, piano, organ - anything you can squeeze into the mix'.
This meant a vastly different recording process to Moon Duo’s first two EPs, which were recorded fast and at home. "Mazes" was a more drawn-out process, involving proper recording studios for the first time including the trip to Berlin to mix and re-record certain parts and the track "Run Around". 'The working title was Die Blumen [the flowers], so going into the mix sessions we kind of felt like it was becoming our ‘Berlin record’, but in the end it retained the stamp of San Francisco and we liked Mazes title better anyway'. And ultimately, "Mazes" is a definably American record, recorded against the backdrop of the Johnson and Yamada’s move from the Californian coast to the heights of Colorado. 'I think a lot of our music has something to do with the mythology of the road', muses Moon Duo’s Sanae Yamada. And if "Mazes" is a quest, a journey through American landscape and music, Johnson concludes that its key is 'finding one's place in the world; moving forward, and the different paths one takes moving through life, trying to reach various goals, literally moving; love; pain; change. Or just getting by, and making sense of things'.
STAFF COMMENTSDarryl says: All the Moon Duo dynamics are in place; repetitive grinding riffs and the swirling keyboards, but with an added 60s garage-esque bounce the songs really shine through.
FORMAT INFORMATIONLtd LP Info: 180g pressing in deluxe spot-gloss printed gatefold sleeve.
STAFF COMMENTSDarryl says: Wild, electro-garage-rock. A mutant cross of Cabaret Voltaire and The Gories, totally recommended!!
FORMAT INFORMATIONCD Info: The CD includes the two Sacred Bones singles, the HoZac single, and the song from Killer Diller Records' Wild About Jenkem comp.
17 NEW ITEMS
192 NEW ITEMS
MorrisseyAll The Young People Must Fall In Love (Bob Clearmountain Mix) / Rose Garden (Live At The Grand Ole Opry, Nashville)
Various ArtistsA Disco Fantasy - Inc. Sylvester, Louie Vega, Amp Fiddler, Sweet Tooth T & Greg Wilson
Various ArtistsSpider-Jazz - KPM Cues Used In The Amazing Animated Series - That We Are Not Allowed To Mention For Legal Reasons
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Sun 20th - 11:47