I’m back! And what a mess I’ve made already. Between all the new records and used records pouring in here we might need to take over the neighbours! Anyway, loads of killer stuff in and lots to do so I’ll leave you to it….
…..pick of the week…..
Alejandro Jodorowsky: The Holy Mountain (Real Gone) LP
“One of the ironies of the career of Chilean-born filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky is that while he is best known as a visual stylist, his most avid and loyal champions have often been musicians. When Jodorowsky arrived in New York from Mexico City in 1970 carrying a copy of the then-unreleased El Topo, it was the jazz producer Alan Douglas who bought the distribution rights to the film. When Jodorowsky and Douglas were looking for a venue in which to screen El Topo, it was John Lennon and Yoko Ono who asked for it to run at midnight following their short-film festival at New York’s Elgin Cinema. After six months of sold-out midnight screenings at the Elgin, it was Lennon’s manager, Allen Klein (ABKCO’s founder), who bought the rights to El Topo and agreed to produce its follow-up, The Holy Mountain. And when Jodorowsky wanted, in his words, ‘another kind of music — something that wasn’t entertainment, something that wasn’t a show, something that went to the soul, something profound,’ for the soundtrack to The Holy Mountain, forward came jazz legend Don Cherry and crack studio musician (and one-time Archie) Ron Frangipane to share composing and (along with Jodorowsky) conducting duties. And, boy, did they deliver — the score to The Holy Mountain is every bit as hallucinatory as the fantastic visual imagery in the film itself. The deep, primordial chants that begin the movie, ‘Trance Mutation,’ give way to an almost jaunty percussion-and-plucked-strings melody, ‘Pissed and Passed Out.’ On the next track, ‘Violence of the Lambs,’ a single flute is slowly joined by a set of mournful strings while, onscreen, Gestapo-like soldiers in gas masks parade with bloody lamb carcasses on sticks. ‘Drink It,’ an upbeat sitar folk melody, follows, briefly accompanying the main protagonist The Thief’s ill-considered decision to guzzle tequila (or sleeping potion). Then there is ‘Christs 4 Sale,’ a blaring orchestral riff that sounds like it was ripped from a 1950’s swords-and-sandals epic. The next track, ‘Cast Out and Pissed,’ begins with a beelike buzz, then is overwhelmed by a cacophony of drums, horns, and, finally, screaming. ‘Eye of the Beholder’ which follows, changes moods entirely once again — a string section swells with overwrought romanticism. (Onscreen, a group of young prostitutes prays in a church. One of them later walks arm and arm with a chimpanzee.) And then there is ‘Communion,’ a brooding, trumpet-led number that would be at home on the noir-steeped Chinatown soundtrack. (As ‘Communion’ plays, the Thief is not driving through Los Angeles at night but eating the face off a statue of Christ.) This veritable cornucopia of musical styles would be more than enough to fill an entire movie. It would be more than enough to fill three movies. But in fact, the eight musical compositions described above play entirely in The Holy Mountain’s first 24 minutes. Still ahead lie the hard rock of ‘Psychedelic Weapons,’ the pomp and circumstance of the waltz ‘Miniature Plastic Bomb Shop,’ the gospel-inflected sax of ‘Isla (The Sapphic Sleep),’ and so on. Every one of the 24 tracks on the film’s soundtrack presents another vertiginous twist in the philosophical and spiritual journey that is The Holy Mountain. Now, Real Gone Music, in association with ABKCO Music & Records, Inc., presents, for the first time ever on vinyl, the original soundtrack to Alejandro Jodorowsky’s 1973 masterpiece The Holy Mountain. The double-LP edition features liner notes by New York Times contributor Eric Benson that include exclusive quotes from Jodorowsky himself, festooned with copious production stills. Produced for release by Grammy-winning producer Teri Landi and Mick Gochanour, and mastered from the original tapes by Joe Yannece (with lacquer cutting on the LP by Carl Rowatti at Trutone Mastering), this long-awaited release of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s The Holy Mountain: Original Soundtrack offers a major addition to the soundtrack canon and a completely unique listening experience.”
File Under: OST, Cult Films, Psych, Folk, Rock
Black Angels/Sonic Jesus: Fuzz Club (Black Angels Inc.) 10″
The Fuzz Club SPLIT SINGLE SERIES. 2 very long tracks. Fuzz Club Records are thrilled to announce the next issue of the ‘Split Single Series’, a regular release of 10″ vinyl limited editions. Formed in 2004, The Black Angels have already gained the cult status. Their critically acclaimed fourth LP, ‘Indigo Meadow’, was another big statement from the champions of Psych Nouveau. In a way they represent a solid bridge between the ‘Brian Jonestown Massacre’ and the international Psych scene of today, and they keep spreading that joyful psych-infection that has been taking over the globe in the last few years. Sonic Jesus are a young band from Doganella Di Ninfa, Italy. They took part in the Reverb Conspiracy (curated by Fuzz Club and Austin Psych Fest) twice. Their sound is a colourful blend of Sixties, Folk, Krautrock and Shoegaze, made up of drones and layers of sound combined with poetic lyrics. This single is a preview of their debut LP, which will be released next year.
File Under: Psych, Fuzz
Circle & Mamiffer: Enharmonic Intervals (Sige) LP
Forget what you know about the Seattle-area sound-art project Mamiffer and the Finnish hypno-rock institution Circle. Enharmonic Intervals (for Paschen Organ), the first in a proposed series of joint efforts involving these parties, contains few of the musical hallmarks you might associate with either performer. The comforts of austere piano sketches and solemn nocturnes are largely absent; the wallop of repetitive rhythms and metallic kitsch is nowhere to be found. It’s as if an unseen hand has erased the auditory signatures of each group and left behind only impressions, embers, filaments, and shadows. As with Mamiffer’s recent collaboration with Locrian, the work is anything but a predictable merger of two bands’ established visions. Recorded over a single day at Keski-Porin Kirkko, the nineteenth-century stone church in the heart of Circle’s hometown, the basic tracks for Enharmonic Intervals exude divine inspiration. Caressed by Faith Coloccia, Aaron Turner, Jussi Lehtisalo, and Mika Rättö, the house of worship’s immense Paschen organ sets a liturgical, contemplative mood, which persists unabated through a cycle of improvisations and short compositions. The album opens and closes with slowly building sinfoniettas of sustained drone and flatlining feedback that shine heavenly light onto the wan, academic corpse of avant-garde minimalism. In the middle, all sorts of hell breaks loose: Coloccia chants wordless omens on a distant shore, Turner shouts his lungs out, Lehtisalo speaks in tongues from atop synthesized snowbanks, Rättö gargles operatic gibberish, hummingbird guitars flutter past, and delicate chords glisten like dewdrops on Arctic lichen. Much of this earthly ruckus stems from additional sessions spent brainstorming, fine-tuning, cooking, and stoking the sauna at the Lehtisalo family cottage, deep in rural Finland. (A couple of months later via the miracle of technology, Eyvind Kang tacked on a spot of viola while visiting Turner and Coloccia at their Washington state abode.) Instead of engaging in some lazy superstar jam, Mamiffer and Circle have gone above and beyond to create a site-specific triumph that bridges the gap between serene, holy bliss and the warm, messy sprawl of humanity. Amen to that, brothers and sisters.
File Under: Drone, Ambient, Metal
Alex Calder: Strange Dreams (Captured Tracks) LP
Alex Calder’s sophomore release with Captured Tracks is as familiar as it is foreign – brining together both infectious melodies and texture to create tidy, acid-induced pop sequences. Strange Dreams takes a confident step forward from Calder’s previous release and brings the focus and ambition of Alex’s songwriting to all aspects of his music. This record delivers, while still maintaining the youthful humour that has become his trademark.
File Under: Indie Rock, Pop, CanCon
Guided By Voices: Bee Thousand (Scat) LP
Little introduction should be required here. Let it suffice to say that Bee Thousand is arguably the best, or at least among the top Guided By Voices albums in a copious discography. Accordingly, the album has stacked up accolades over the years, including being voted #1 on Amazon.com s 100 Greatest Indie Rock Albums of All Time. It s a staple of such lists, and has also placed highly on those curated by Spin, Pitchfork, Mojo and Rolling Stone.This new LP pressing, the first since the late 90s, honors the album s 20th anniversary. It features new (and definitely improved) mastering from John Golden, a substantial gatefold jacket with a previously unpublished Robert Pollard collage, and high-quality virgin vinyl from RTI.
File Under: Indie Rock, Classics
Isis: Oceanic (Robotic Empire) LP
The defining Isis album, now that it’s all said and done, Oceanic finally returns to vinyl after being out of print for years. Showcasing a band at the height of a monumental transition, Oceanic is hailed by fans as the band’s landmark album and has earned widespread critical acclaim (even being dubbed “seminal” by Drowned in Sound). Raising the massive bridge between crushing metal and atmospheric post-rock, Isis truly came into their own on their brilliant sophomore album. This stunning double-LP comes housed in a heavyweight tip-on gatefold jacket and has been carefully re-mastered and re-cut for optimal sound quality. “Isis is one of the few heavy metal bands recording without regard for convention, and […] few have succeeded in such breathtaking fashion.” —Chris Ott, Pitchfork (9.1 rating)
File Under: Doom, Metal
Isis: Panopticon (Robotic Empire) LP
Finally repressed after years of unavailability and highly sought-after. On ISIS’ third-full-length album, Panopticon, the unblinking eye of counterinsurgency is exposed with mesmerizing stereophonic clarity. The perpetual collapse and crush of ultra-dynamic sound-design takes on the heightened dimensions of institutionally-induced anxiety, and the carefully constructed artifice of an omniscient predatory apparatus becomes the paradigm of surveillance culture. Meanwhile, panoptic cognizance, while ostensibly the utmost of all Orwellian implications, portends to far more insidious applications: Just as hidden crosshairs hold sway over every prison yard, to see everything is to know all. Features a guest bass appearances from Justin Chancellor of Tool and production by Matt Bayles (Mastodon, Botch, Pearl Jam, etc.). Deluxe double-LP features a stunning gatefold jacket with different artwork than the CD version on Ipecac. Finally re-pressed after years of unavailability. Highly sought-after.* ISIS has grown considerably over the years and now has a highly devoted following as a result.* Recent tours include sharing the stage with Tool, Jesu, Torche, Boris, These Arms Are Snakes and an overall great variety of bands.* Double LP packaged in a deluxe gatefold jacket with exclusive artwork designed by Aaron Turner.
File Under: Metal, Doom
Lazer/Wulf: The Beast of Left & Right (Retro Futurist) LP
Lazer/Wulf is an instrumental metal trio, which sometimes includes vocals. No, let’s start over. It’s a funk group with thrash roots. Or a jazz trio with sludge issues. Whatever it is, it’s not the easiest thing to describe, which makes it that much easier to love. Just ask the band’s rabidly devoted following. To put it another way; imagine a giant trampoline rigged to explode. It’s fun for everybody, but likely to kill you at any moment. Circumstantially, it’s heavy as hell, and tends to unify audiences with how simply fun it all is, even as it toes the line between “challenging listen” and “utter alienation.” The Beast of Left and Right was written to be a palindrome, here is an explanation from the band: “As far as the symmetricality, we wrote the album to be a palindrome—that is, it’s the same backwards and forwards. The album is in two distinct halves, Left and Right, and we wrote them to be the “opposite” of each other. On the full 9-track version that’s on CD, track 1 uses the exact same chords, riffs and drum tracks as track 9 but one is major and the other is minor; track 2 lyrically opposes track 8 (and both are re-recordings from our EP); track 3 uses the rhythm of track 7 backwards (we even recorded the guitars for track 3 backwards and reversed them to the version that’s on the album); track 4 uses all the same drum parts and melodies as track 6 but the song structure is backwards, and 5 is the center track—no song opposes it, but it incorporates parts of the songs on either side of it. The idea is that either way you choose, Left or Right, the paths are the same.” Released on Carl McGinley of Kylesa’s Retro Futurist label.
File Under: Metal, Instrumental
Melvins: Eggnog/Lice All (Boner) LP
This double-LP package combines two of the earliest releases from the often imitated but never duplicated Melvins. Formed in the early-’80s in the scenic wonderland known as Aberdeen, WA, the band took inspiration from Black Flag, Black Sabbath, Venom, Flipper, Stooges and other floggers of high-energy, low-velocity plod. Today, more than 30 years later, they might be more popular than ever. Slow and steady wins the race. Disc one is Eggnog, from 1991. Originally released as a 10-inch, Eggnog is a wild ride into the outer limits of Melvins-dom. The first side cuts loose with three quick blasts. “Wispy” has the Lorax (Lori Temple Black) on bass and Dale Crover on drums, pounding one note in unison while Buzz Osborne bellows and whispers and turns his guitar on and off. “Antitoxidote” is a rabid horse galloping off into the desert, with yet more stops and starts and feedback detonations. “Hog Leg” sounds like a syphillitic Jimmy Swaggert trying to mimic Dio while being backed by a drunken ZZ Top cover band. Side Two features the side-long epic “Charmicarmicat,” with seasick waves of guitar and slow-motion madness bringing communicable disease and poisonous jellyfish ashore, stinging and infecting the unsuspecting sunbathers before gently washing out to sea again. Disc two is Lice-All, from 1992, previously known as self-titled, and also previously known as something else we’re all not gonna talk about, thank you very much. This was their last release before signing their Atlantic deal, and features the introduction of new bass player Joe Preston (previously of Earth, currently of Thrones). It’s one long, slow, loud blob of drones, moans and fuzztones. The opening endless power chord shimmer influenced Sleep, Sunn O))), and countless other sludge metal drone freaks for years to come. The LPs have been remastered and are back in print on vinyl for the first time in 15 years. The new gatefold packaging includes never-before-seen vintage photos, as well as the original artwork and insert, all tidied up and ready to meet Mom and Dad. Free download is included.
File Under: Metal, Doom, Sludge
Melvins: Ozma/Bullhead (Boner) LP
This double-LP package combines two of the earliest releases from the often imitated but never duplicated Melvins. Formed in the early-’80s in the scenic wonderland known as Aberdeen, WA, the band took inspiration from Black Flag, Black Sabbath, Venom, Flipper, Stooges and other floggers of high-energy, low-velocity plod. Today, more than 30 years later, they might be more popular than ever. Slow and steady wins the race. Disc one is Ozma, from 1989, which was recorded soon after their move from Washington to San Francisco, and was their first release to include the diminutive yet mighty Lorax (Lori Temple Black) on bass. In fact, the first sound one hears at the album’s opening is Lori standing on her tiptoes to switch on her amp, thereby warning the listener of the onslaught to come. Distorted, down-tuned doom riffs start, stop, lurch sideways with no warning, and seem to end before they start. Buzz Osborne adds extraneous guitar static and vocal squeals. Drummer Dale Crover plays as if he’s inside a barrel going over Niagara Falls; the long, slow fall allows the space between beats to grow and grow until he crashes into the water with the vessel blasting apart in an explosion of drum rolls. The classic Melvins heavy grind is set up and broken up by assorted odd sidetracks: “Revulsion / We Reach” flows forward slower and slower until it eventually melts into a gooey feedback drone. “Raise a Paw” is a superball paddled against one’s head by a grinning village idiot. “Love Thing” enlists in the Kiss Army before getting dishonorably discharged. Disc two is Bullhead, from 1991. The songs are longer, the mood is calmer, yet more menacing. “Boris” (which gave the Japanese group their name) is a long, slow, low death march of addiction and self-abuse. “Zodiac” is a frantic punk rock machine gun blasting away at Buzz’s demons (both inner and outer). “Cow” is a happy baboon bashing away at the best drum solo of his life. “It’s Shoved” is a groovy beat for the cast of Shindig to bop along to, until their carefree performances of The Pony, The Mashed Potato, and The Watusi are horribly interrupted by the soundstage tilting up and sliding them all into a mangled heap of screaming dancers, broken cameras and flaming electronic equipment at the bottom. The LPs have been remastered and are back in print on vinyl for the first time in 15 years. The new gatefold packaging includes never-before-seen vintage photos, as well as the original artwork and insert, all tidied up and ready to meet Mom and Dad. Free download (with one extra track) is included.
File Under: Metal, Doom, Sludge
Jack Name: Weird Moons (Castle Face) LP
Jack Name’s genius is the listener can never anticipate his next direction. A change of trajectory is as likely a return to the beginning as it is a sharp upwards spike that pulls one deeper into one’s seat and threatens unconsciousness. Nothing here is concrete or predictable. Songs float, attract, repel, and rebound off each other like pitch black matter. A wonderful followup to 2014’s masterpiece Light Show (God?), Weird Moons was recorded in a room with mirrored walls, moth-eaten shades pulled low to block the sun’s brutal radiation and the howls of the urchins 60 stories below. Less a sequel to the tales spun in the first, and more a rocket that has jettisoned its initial thruster to be driven further away from this mortal orb and deeper into this sticky story. Reminiscent of late-era Can, Bruce Haack, Hans Edler, Solid Space, Dario Argento and VHS tapes, it’s fucking great. Listen to this album in an egg-shaped speaker chair, if possible.
File Under: Rock, Glam, White Fence
OST: Hannibal Season 2 Parts 1 & 2 (Invada) LP
Invada Records are proud to announce the vinyl release of two volumes music from hit NBC television series Hannibal by Brian Reitzell. Spread across two double gatefold LPs, each volume available as 140gm and coloured variants. Accompanying the release, director David Slade has provided rare photos from his personal collection for the artwork. Each LP comes with a download card. The music has been sequenced in the chronological order it appears on the show itself, allowing for an essential listening experience as dictated by the music’s creator. Over the last decade and a half, multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer Reitzell has created his own unique method of scoring films, drawing equally from his experience as a recording and touring musi-cian with bands such as Redd Kross and Air, and his massive knowledge of recorded music. Brian’s past films include The Virgin Suicides, Lost In Translation (for which he received a BAFTA award nomination), CQ, Friday Night Lights, Stranger Than Fiction, Thumbsucker, Marie Antoinette, The Brothers Bloom, 30 Days Of Night, Beginners, and Red Riding Hood. His video game credits include his critically acclaimed score for THQ’s Red Faction: Armageddon and the upcoming Watch Dogs for Ubisoft.
File Under: OST
OST: My Life Directed By Nicolas Winding Refn (Milan) LP
My Life Directed By Nicolas Winding Refn is a fascinating, behind the- scenes documentary directed by Liv Corfixen, the wife of Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive, Bronson). It is a heartfelt and authentic portrait of the acclaimed and controversial director during the filming and release of Only God Forgives. This one hour-long film takes the audience on-set with the director in the streets of Bangkok and offers a unique perspective on the filmmaker’s family life.
File Under: OST, Drive
OST: Warning Sign (Invada) LP
Invada Records proudly presents the release of a Synth-Heavy Score from one of the Industry’s most creative composers; Craig Safan’s music to the 1985 20th Century Fox sci-fi thriller Warning Sign. Famous for his score to the timeless classic The Last Star Fighter, as well as A Nightmare on Elm Street, Part IV and (amazingly) the hit series Cheers! Safan’s film music is notable for its clever use of electronics, and Warning Sign is no different. Recorded using a Synclavier Synthesizer – an expensive piece of kit at the time – the score is fully electronic but no less effective than his orchestral work, and provides an entertaining and futuristic soundscape for the story of a man-made virus that is accidentally released into its laboratory, turning its work-ers into zombies. The Synclavier creates an appropriate atmosphere, which Sa-fan layers with different effects, from an electric piano that illus-trates a desolate location in the film’s early stages to the use of metallic effects as percussion for the chemically-affected staff. Safan weaves dissonant sounds to suggest chaos and para-noia, and innovatively synthesises human voices to convey a sense of tortured souls to those infected. An intense score where the foreboding turns to reality with an eerie and uncomfortable texture, broken only by a beautiful and warm melody for the resolution and end credits, where all is well. This special edition that features an expanded version of the original 1985 LP program, along with 15 unreleased cues presented as bonus tracks. The release features new art-work by Marc Bessant, liner notes by Safan himself plus George Ginn presenting a comprehensive package befitting one of the scores that was an important part of 80s electronic film music.
File Under: OST
Parquet Courts: Content Nausea (What’s Your Rupture) LP
Content Nausea, Parkay Courts’ second release of 2014, is the inevitable repercussion to Sunbathing Animal’s pure emotion. With one member completing a degree in mathematics, and another starting a family, Content Nausea features mostly the work of Andrew Savage and Austin Brown, with the help of a few friends (Jackie-O Motherfucker’s Jef Brown on saxophone and Eaters’ Bob Jones on fiddle). This likely explains the homophonic name shift from Parquet Courts to Parkay Courts, which was previously used on last years’ Tally All the Things That You Broke EP. Featuring some of the band’s most accessible and dissonant recordings, Content Nausea was recorded, mixed and mastered in two weeks on a 4-track tape machine. The band wanted something that listeners could “live with over the winter.” At 35 minutes, the record lies somewhere between an EP and an LP, but who’s counting? On Content Nausea, we find the band confidently exploring sounds that were previously only hinted at; Townes Van Zandt and Dylan are evident points of departure on “Uncast Shadow of a Southern Myth,” a lonesome tale about “two men tragically colliding in the deep south,” explains Savage. The 13th Floor Elevators get a hat tip via NYC reinterpretation of “Slide Machine,” and there’s even an unexpected, gender-bending cover of Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made for Walking.” “A personal karaoke standard,” explains Savage. Mostly, Content Nausea reflects the rapid change in the band’s hometown of New York City, while at the same time emphasizing the changes in the band itself. The record’s sleeve is a bleak vision of Freedom-Tower-era NYC flooded by (what else?) content. A city that is becoming increasingly unrecognizable to its romantic history. Not unlike Parkay Quarts.
File Under: Rock, Punk
Iggy Pop: American Caesar (Plain) LP
American Caesar was originally released in 1993, a couple of years after Iggy Pop’s all star “comeback” album Brick By Brick. Returning to the studio with his muscular, tight touring band, Iggy and Co. made what is arguably his best solo effort since New Values in the 1970s, a dark, loud and subtly atmospheric double album recorded in New Orleans with producer Malcolm Burn. Iggy explores the dark heart of America in songs that range from all out hard rock such as “Wild America” and “Sickness” to calmer numbers like “Jealousy” and “Mixin’ The Colors.” Iggy also puts his stamp on the rock classic “Louie Louie” and makes it his own via some updated lyrics. The provocateur ends the record with the funny and brutal spoken word piece “Caesar” in which he plays a U.S. version of the ancient leaders of the Roman Empire. This is most definitely an Iggy Pop record and a hidden gem in his catalog at that. Includes a previously unavailable insert with an image of Iggy on one side and the lyrics on the other. 180 gram vinyl pressing from Plain Recordings.
File Under: Rock, Stooges
Red Aunts: Come Up For A Closer Look (In the Red) LP
The Red Aunts were an all-female punk band that formed in 1991 in Long Beach, California, when Terri Wahl (guitar / vocals) recruited friends Kerry Davis (guitar / vocals), Debi Martini (bass / vocals), and Lesley Ishino (drums). Their brand of unfiltered music is toxic, taking a sharp claw to every riot grrrl cliché it can shred. After five albums, several years of touring and a huge fanbase, they called it quits in 1998. The ladies recently decided it was time to wake people up and save the music with their unique form of rock. Come Up for a Closer Look is their “Greatest Hits” compilation, a gatefold-sleeve double-album complete with killer art and photos, plus liner notes by Red Aunts fan Sasha Frere-Jones. “The Red Aunts are nothing to mess with … wonderfully reckless rock.” —L.A. Times
File Under: Punk
Sleater Kinney: No Cities to Love (Sub Pop) LP/DLX LP
“We sound possessed on these songs,” says guitarist/vocalist Carrie Brownstein about Sleater-Kinney’s eighth studio album, No Cities to Love. “Willing it all – the entire weight of the band and what it means to us – back into existence.” The new record is the first in 10 years from the acclaimed trio – Brownstein, vocalist/guitarist Corin Tucker, and drummer Janet Weiss – who came crashing out of the ’90s Pacific Northwest riot grrrl scene, setting a new bar for punk’s political insight and emotional impact. Formed in Olympia, WA in 1994, Sleater-Kinney were hailed as “America’s best rock band” by Greil Marcus in Time Magazine, and put out seven searing albums in 10 years before going on indefinite hiatus in 2006. But the new album isn’t about reminiscing, it’s about reinvention, the ignition of an unparalleled chemistry to create new sounds and tell new stories. “I always considered Corin and Carrie to be musical soulmates,” says Weiss, whose drums fuel the fire of Tucker and Brownstein’s vocal and guitar interplay. “Something about taking a break brought them closer, desperate to reach together again for their true expression.” The result is a record that grapples with love, power and redemption without restraint. Produced by longtime Sleater-Kinney collaborator John Goodmanson, who helmed many of the band’s earlier albums including 1997 breakout set Dig Me Out, No Cities to Love is indeed formidable from the first beat. Sleater-Kinney’s decade apart made room for family and other fruitful collaborations, as well as an understanding of what the band’s singular chemistry demands. “Sleater-Kinney isn’t something you can do half-assed or half-heartedly,” says Brownstein. “This band requires a certain desperation, a direness. We have to be willing to push because the entity that is this band will push right back.” “The core of this record is our relationship to each other, to the music, and how all of us still felt strongly enough to about those to sweat it out in the basement and to try and reinvent our band,” adds Tucker. With No Cities to Love, “we went for the jugular.” The deluxe version of No Cities to Love comes pressed on colored 180-gram vinyl complete with a bonus colored 180g 12” featuring two exclusive tracks on one side and an etching on the other. All of which is housed in a very cool slipcase with its own exclusive cover art and a 2-sided poster. The album is also available as standard vinyl edition pressed on black vinyl.
File Under: Indie Rock
Viet Cong: s/t (Flemish Eye) LP
It takes less than sixty seconds of album opener “Newspaper Spoons” for you to realize that Viet Cong is a winter record. The album has barely begun, and the guitar doesn’t snarl until the end of that opening minute, but it still presents a palpable iciness in just a few short moments. It’s bitter. It stings. But once you’re in it, and you’re bracing yourself and charging ahead, “Newspaper Spoons” moves from a punishing, almost militarized drumbeat to a melody that’s still menacing but also delicate, almost celestial. That instinct for humanizing a stone-cold song is Viet Cong’s greatest gift and sharpest weapon. It’s harsh, but exhilarating. Themes of deconstruction and disintegration, of hardening and crumbling seem to come from every direction. But time and again, they are rescued by something – a little bit of humor, a cathartic moment, even a basic human goof. In fact, as the members of Viet Cong worked through the songs that make up this record, they erred on the side of keeping those moments that save it from being overly mechanized. “There have to be strange little goofups and stuff that’s sometimes intentional, sometimes not,” bassist and lead singer Matt Flegel explains. “I have a bleak sense of humor, too, so some lyrics might seem funny to me even though anyone else might think they’re desperately hopeless.” Recorded in a barn-turned-studio in rural Ontario, the seven songs that make up Viet Cong were born largely on the road, when Flegel and bandmates Mike Wallace, Scott Munro and Daniel Christiansen embarked on a 50-date tour that stretched virtually every limit imaginable. Close quarters hastened their exhaustion but also honed them as a group. With all four members traveling in one car, the mood conflated with the soundtrack, the soundtrack with the cities around them, and so forth. There was repetition, but it was all different. This combined with the grey, chilly emptiness of Calgary rendered a record with a viscerally rugged vibe, one that Flegel even describes as “shit earth.” As Viet Cong pushes forward, the six-minute “March of Progress” is when it begins to really take flight. A lengthy, almost industrial march chugs along for a full three minutes before the floor gives out underneath it and gives way to a spare little riff and the album’s first real melody. “That’s the one where I thought ‘that’s what I want us to be doing. Finally,'” explains Flegel. “That was the sound that I had heard in my mind before we even got started.” Later still, that negative space gives way to a richer melody, and it’s here that Flegel sings “we build the buildings and they’re built to break,” a declaration that is in many ways this album’s thesis. The repetition throughout Viet Cong hypnotizes but it also softens, leaving a space that is deceptively personal. “Continental Shelf” orbits a thousand-watt hook with a thick crackle and a battering-ram drum line. It’s so arresting that you barely notice it doesn’t have a chorus, and then in comes a line like “if we’re lucky we’ll get old and die” and you can’t believe Leonard Cohen (or Trent Reznor, or Nick Cave, or Sinatra) didn’t get to it first. “Silhouettes” is a tripwire of a song, opening with an almost Joy Division-esque exposition and moving at breakneck speed – frantic and pitch-black at a thousand miles an hour – until before you know it they are howling. Actually howling, and maybe you are too. You can designate records as seasonal, and you can feel Viet Cong’s bleakness and declare it wintry. But the only way you get a frost is when there’s something warmer to freeze up. So yes, Viet Cong is a winter album, but only until it is a spring record, then a summer scorcher, then an autumn burner, then it ices over again. They build these buildings, and they’re built to break.
File Under: Indie Rock, Post Punk
Aphex Twin: Selected Ambient Works II (1972) LP
Black Keys: Thickfreakness (Fat Possum) LP
Glenn Branca: Lesson No.1 (Superior Viaduct) LP
Caribou: Our Love (Merge) LP
Cramps: A Date With Elvis (Vengence) LP
Cramps: Big Beat From Badsville (Vengence) LP
Cramps: Fiends of Dope Island (Vengence) LP
Cramps: Look Mom No Hands (Vengence) LP
Cramps: Rockinnreelininauckland… (Vengence) LP
Cramps: Smell of Female (Vengence) LP
Cramps: Stay Sick (Vengence) LP
Crime: Murder By Guitar (Superior Viaduct) LP
Death in June: Nada Plus! (Pylon) LP
Decemberists: Tain/5 Songs (Jealous Butcher) LP
Tashi Dorji: s/t (Hermit Hut) LP
Kyle Bobby Dunn: And The Infinite Sadness (Students of Decay) 3LP
Alain Goraguer: La Planete Sauvage OST (Superior Viaduct) LP
Hawkwind: Doremi Fasol Latido (Rock Classics) LP
Lee Hazlewood: Love & Other Crimes (1972) LP
The Heads: Everybody Knows We Got Nowhere (Rooster) 5LP Box
Mark Hollis: s/t (Ba Da Bing) LP
Hot Snakes: Automatic Midnight (Swami) LP
Hot Snakes: Suicide Invoice (Swami) LP
Isis: In The Absence of Truth (Robotic Empire) LP
King Khan & BBQ Show: Invisible Girl (In The Red) LP
Natural Snow Buildings: Night Coercion… (Ba Da Bing) 4LP
Life Without Buildings: Any Other City (What’s Your Rupture) LP
Night Flights: Vol 1 (Agitation) LP
Oh Sees: Carrion Crawler (In The Red) LP
Oh Sees: Castlemania (In The Red) LP
Oh Sees: Drop (In The Red) LP
Oh Sees: Putrifiers (In The Red) LP
Oh Sees: Singles Collection 1 & 2 (Castle Face) LP
Oneohtrix Point Never: Betrayed In The Octogon (Software) LP
Oneohtrix Point Never: Zones Without People (Software) LP
Oneohtrix Point Never: Russian Mind (Software) LP
Oneohtrix Point Never: Drawn And Quartered (Software) LP
Oneohtrix Point Never: The Fall Into Time (Software) LP
Pip Proud: A Bird In The Engine (Superior Viaduct) LP
Pip Proud: Adreneline & Richard (Superior Viaduct) LP
Ty Segall: Lemons (Goner) LP
Ty Segall: Manipulator (Drag City) LP
Ty Segall: Melted (Goner) LP
Ty Segall & White Fence: Hair (Drag City) LP
Silkworm: Libertine (Comedy Minus One) LP
Sleep: Volume One (Tupelo) LP
Sonic Youth: A Thousand Leaves (Goofin) LP
Sonic Youth: Anagrama (Goofin) LP
Sonic Youth: Destroyed Room (Goofin) LP
Sonic Youth: Goodbye 20th Century (Goofin) LP
Sonic Youth: Smart Bar Chicago 1985 (Goofin) LP
Dusty Springfield: Dusty In Memphis (4 Men With Beards) LP
Stereolab: Mars Audiac Quintet (1972) LP
Swans: The Seer (Young God) LP
T Rex: Slider (Fat Possum) LP
Total Control: Henge Beat (Iron Lung) LP
Total Control: Typical System (Iron Lung) LP
Tom Waits: Frank’s Wild Years (Music On Vinyl) LP