Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Singles: A Place To Bury Strangers, DADRAS, Antigama, Hey Mandible

A Place To Bury Strangers: "What We Don't See" (via Dead Oceans/Big Mouth Publicity/Drowned In Sound/YouTube)

DADRAS: "Mormon Disco" (via Friend of Friends/Soundcloud)

Antigama: "Used To" (via Selfmadegod Records/Earpsplit PR/YouTube)

Hey Mandible: "Missing Monet" (via Fort Lowell Records/Soundcloud)

Letters From A Tapehead

KEN mode: "Blessed"

New single from KEN mode!

"Blessed" is the first glimpse into the band's upcoming new release, Success.  Engineered by the one and only Steve Albini, (and if you check out the track you can certainly hear Albini's signature drum sound), the album is due to release mid-June and the shock and grunt of the lead single certainly goes the distance in terms of selling its promises of alienating and unbridled pigfuck-allegiant rock music.  While I wouldn't go so far as to say the torch has been passed from David Yow's maniacal grasp, the muck and angst-fueled motion of KEN mode is worthy enough to at least sit alongside some of the finest albums to emerge Touch & Go and AmRep.  I'm very much looking forward to giving Success a spin or twelve. 

"We can play this game a little bit longer/But we all know we're not really welcome here...  Oh no... "

You can also view an album trailer here:

All info, links and sounds have been brought to you by Rarely Unable.


The latest turn from KEN mode will take many by surprise. The Winnipeg trio can announce that their next album is titled Success, and is a bold move towards sounds that inspired them at their beginning sixteen years ago, and now doubly so on their sixth full-length, which will see release on June 15th (Season Of Mist).

Recorded with legendary engineer Steve Albini (Nirvana, the Jesus Lizard, PJ Harvey and so many more) to capture the material in a fully live and analog session in the band's hometown in November 2014, brought to fruition is the most raw, rock and roll sound the band has ever put forth.

We are pleased to share the video for album opener "Blessed", which premiered worldwide on the Noisey network including Germany, France and the UK. The song features no guitar, only bass, and that's not all it features either, this Christopher Mills (Tegan & Sara, Rush, Metric, Modest Mouse, etc) directed video boasts appearances from guest vocalist Eugene Robinson (Oxbow), guest cello by Natanielle Felicitas, and guest noise by Dylan Walker (Full of Hell).


Rock, noise, math, indie – KEN mode offer a root to it all on Success, locating a common ancestor that's behind all that they do and have done as a band. It's one seriously fermented sound that pervades these recordings, a goldrush of skewed rhythms, corrosive riffs and scorching pickup abuse, so diligently pulled off and inherently important to the band. Their path first appears to be one of complex inspiration, but a lineage soon becomes clear, lighting up a way through concentric circles of legacy that encompasses Revelation Records, Dischord, Touch And Go, Sub Pop – the full spread of inventive heavinesses that fed in to the grunge estuary, and out in to the open sea of independent labels in the final decade of the last century, where KEN mode first appeared.

Success is a funny concept; in its rawest, most pure form, it is entirely relative, and this was the subject KEN mode chose to approach their new album with. Sonically, and lyrically, a shift has been made from the classic spitting of metallic hardcore tinged vitriol, that the band has become known for, to a rawer, more mature, even humourous indie rock aesthetic. In April 2014, the band set out to pay tribute to where they've come from: a salute to both their Canadian Prairie roots, and a time when they first started to care about making music; the burgeoning 'grunge' and Touch & Go/Dischord scenes of the late 80s/early 90s, with bands like Nirvana, Big Black, Cop Shoot Cop, The Cows, Circus Lupus, and Drive Like Jehu warping their teenage minds. Lyrically, the band's fascination with comedy spirals around classical western concepts of 'success' - from employment, sex, marriage, religion, socioeconomic standing, and particularly the many perceptions people have of how they, and those around them, happen to fit into the world.

Artwork from acclaimed Winnipeg based fine artist Randy Ortiz can be viewed below, along with the track listing for the album.

1. Blessed
2. These Tight Jeans
3. The Owl
4. I Just Liked Fire
5. Management Control
6. A Passive Disaster
7. Failing At Fun Since 1981
8. A Catalog Of Small Disappointments
9. Dead Actors

The current lineup of Jesse Matthewson (vocals, guitar), Shane Matthewson (drums) and Skot Hamilton (bass, vocals) will be touring Europe from April 1st, delivering Success as it was recorded - live, primal, and in your face. It's recommended that you experience it in the flesh, and as such, the band will be organising special release show album pricing on many of their dates surrounding the release date.


April 1, 2015 – Fribourg, Switzerland @ Fri-Son
April 2, 2015 – Lyon, France @ Sonic
April 3, 2015 – Frankfurt, Germany @ Elfer Club
April 4, 2015 – Delemont, Switzerland @ Sas
April 5, 2015 – České Budějovice, Czech Republic @ Velbloud
April 6, 2015 – Praha, Czech Republic @ 007
April 8, 2015 – Geneva, Switzerland @ Usine
April 9, 2015 – Tilburg, Netherlands – Roadburn Festival
April 10, 2015 – Rouen, France @ L’Oreille Qui Traine
April 11, 2015 – Winterthur, Switzerland @ Gaswerk

May 25, 2015 - La Louviere, BE @ Taverne Du Theatre
May 27, 2015 - Copenhagen, DK @ Kb18
May 28, 2015 - Hamburg, DE @ Astra Stube
May 29, 2015 - Paris, FR - OTB Festival
May 31, 2015 - Bristol, UK - Temples Festival
June 1, 2015 - London, UK @ Macbeth
June 2, 2015 - Lille, FR @ Peniche
June 3, 2015 - Sint, BE @ Jeugdhuis Job
June 4, 2015 - Caen, FR @ TBA
June 6, 2015 - Poitiers, FR - Less Playboy Is More Cowboy Fest

All dates with Fight Amp
June 16, 2015 - Toronto, ON @ The Shop (Parts & Labour) w/The Great Sabatini
June 17, 2015 - Montreal, QC @ Turbo Haus w/The Great Sabatini
June 18, 2015 - Brooklyn, NY @ St. Vitus w/Pyrrhon, Couch Slut
June 19, 2015 - Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie
June 20, 2015 - Columbus, OH @ Ace of Cups w/Lo-Pan
June 21, 2015 - Chicago, IL @ The Burlington w/GOBO’S CVIT
June 26, 2015 - Winnipeg, MB @ The Goodwill w/Pop Crimes, Teethmarks *no Fight Amp




Letters From A Tapehead

Sunday, March 29, 2015

R.I.P., Joe Walker

I was saddened to learn this morning that Joe Walker, one of the three Fishtown area music critics whose viewpoints fueled the entertaining little web show called Breakfast at Sulimay's, has passed away at the age of 90.  Alongside fellow critics Bill Able and Ann Bailey, Mr. Walker was lively with witticism and anecdote, offering incite when he could and always giving fair consideration to what he was hearing.  He was unapologetic about how little he cared for contemporary pop, hip-hop or metal, but he consistently put across a willingness to listen, even when something he'd heard was not "my cup of tea."  Of the three voices, his was certainly my favorite and also the least dismissive.

While the concept of Breakfast at Sulimay's had the embedded charm of being a senior citizen-led platform for critique pertaining to modern music, which in some ways allowed for a level of perspective not often heard in the vast corridor-riddled online world of pitchforks, dropping needles and self-appointed music experts, the show itself was a fun thing to watch and the various reactions of Bill, Ann and Joe to what they were hearing certainly inspired some laughs.    

Scrapple TV, the Philadelphia-based video company responsible for Breakfast at Sulimay's, posted a tribute to Mr. Walker.

R.I.P. and T.T.F.N.

Letters From A Tapehead

Friday, March 27, 2015

Ty Segall: "Queen Lullabye; King Tuff: "She's On Fire"

Because what's a year in music without some insane number of releases from Ty Segall?

This time he's sharing a side with King Tuff for a split live 12" titled Live At Pickathon, which features performances from the 2013 Pickathon Music Festival.  This is apparently the second installment in an ongoing series, the first of which featured Diarrhea Planet and Those Darlins. You can sample two tracks from each artist on the Soundcloud link below.

All info and links are courtesy of Force Field PR.

Ty Segall & King Tuff announce split Live at Pickathon 12" on Easy Sound

Listen to two songs from the 12" now over at Pitchfork
These blistering performances are being released for the first time as part of Live At Pickathon vinyl series

Pickathon Music Festival and Easy Sound Recording Company are excited to announce the second record in its limited pressed, vinyl-only Live At Pickathon series. Featuring songs by the prolific Ty Segall and King Tuff, recorded live in Happy Valley, Oregon during Pickathon 2013.

Beginning on May 5, these limited edition splits will be available at independent record stores across the U.S., directly from Ty Segall and King Tuff while they are on tour, as well as at this year's Pickathon taking place July 31-August 2 on Pendarvis Farm. A very limited web pre-order is now available via Easy Sound at http://www.easysoundshop.com/product/live-at-pickathon-ty-segall-king-tuff-lp

Pitchfork is now streaming two tracks from the release-live versions of "Queen Lullabye" by the Ty Segall Sleeper Band on The Woods Stage and "She's On Fire" by King Tuff in the Galaxy Barn.

Live At Pickathon: Ty Segall / King Tuff
12" limited pressing standard weight black vinyl
Street Date: May 5, 2015

(A) Ty Segall Sleeper Band - Live At Pickathon 2013
01 Sleeper
02 The Keepers
03 Crazy
04 The Man Man
05 Queen Lullaby
06 Girlfriend

(B) King Tuff - Live At Pickathon 2013
01 Anthem > Keep On Movin'
02 Dancing On You
03 Stranger

04 She's On Fire

Artwork by Travis Bone at Furturtle

The first split in the
Live At Pickathon series, featuring Diarrhea Planet and Those Darlins, will be released for Record Store Day on April 18 with upcoming releases in the series to be announced soon.
The 17th annual Pickathon occurs July 31 - August 2, 2015 at Pendarvis Farm in Happy Valley, Oregon. Tickets on sale and lineup announcements begin April 7, 2015 at 8am PST.

Easy Sound Recording Co. 'The First Year' catalog -

Letters From A Tapehead

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

What I Heard This Morning: NY IN 64

With the rhythmic musculature of bands like Dub Trio and Triclops! and some of the space-related, progressive elements of a band like Russian Circles, NY IN 64's "Maintaining Now, The Contact" is the latest single from the band's upcoming release, NY64.  Structurally, there's some academia to its make-up, but there's a fluidity to the changes and the opening movement is really strong.  The interaction between the thick bass groove and the numerous guitar applications that thread through the rhythm section are really well-handled.  I'm interested to give this full album a listen.

Check out the song:

NY IN 64: New Jersey Instrumental Act Featuring You And I and East Of The Wall Members Releases Debut LP Details + Track

NY64 To See April 7th Release Via Magic Bullet Records

New Jersey's instrumental quartet, NY IN 64 -- featuring former members of You And I and current residents of East Of The Wall -- will release their recently completed debut LP, NY64 via Magic Bullet Records on April 7th with a vinyl edition to follow shortly after. The enigmatic album's artwork, track listing and additional details have been revealed this week, in addition to new live shows the band is booking in support of its release.

NY IN 64's maiden voyage into album land explores vast, lush terrain in genre territories some may apply "post" prefixes to, or refer to as "progressive," but the simple fact is, the band merely executes spectacularly crafted, instrumental, melodic, hardcore/rock, constructed from an unbreakable core, and its shimmering layers seemingly weaving directly into the earth as they unfold. With turmoil and tranquility interwoven throughout the entire album, the seven dynamic sequences that formulate NY 64 were recorded in November at Volume Fact and Backroom Studios (The Dillinger Escape Plan, Foxy Shazam, Meek Is Murder) by guitarist Chris Alfano, and mastered by Nick Zampiello at New Alliance East, and the cover photography and layout by guitarist Justin Hock.

Magic Bullet Records has unveiled the track listing and cover art for NY 64, which will see official release on CD and digital outlets on April 7th. A 12" vinyl version will be released in the near future as well, with a street date to be confirmed shortly. Digital preorders via Bandcamp have been posted HERE; CD and LP preorders will be available shortly.

NY IN 64's sixth track "Maintaining Now, The Contact," is now playing via Bandcamp HERE and Youtube HERE.

NY 64 Track Listing:
1. Soon, You Will Lose Me
2. Bystander
3. A Towering Relic
4. Washington Square
5. The World's Fair
6. Maintaining Now, The Contact
7. Stan & Steve

NY IN 64 has begun booking new shows in support of their debut album, including a short record release trek. The three-city run sees the band playing Wayne, New Jersey on Wednesday, April 8th -- just one day after the record is released -- followed by a show in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Friday, April 10th and a set in New York City on Saturday, April 11th. Additional tour dates will be announced in the coming weeks, along with additional album news and more.

NY IN 64 Live:
4/08/2015 Gili's Place - Wayne, NJ w/ Locktender, Entia, Forever Losing Sleep, Facility
4/10/2015 Lava Space - Philadelphia, PA w/ Locktender, Soul Glo, To Tremble
4/11/2015 ABC No Rio - New York, NY w/ Locktender, Cinema Cinema, Sangharsha

After taking a fifteen-year hiatus from writing music together, Justin Hock and Thomas Schlatter - both part of the writing team behind '90s screamo band, You And I - began laying down the framework to collaborate once again. To flesh out the outfit, Schlatter and Hock recruited New Jersey musical veterans Chris Alfano and Seth Rheam, best known for their work in the progressive powerhouse East Of The Wall, among many other acts, completing the lineup for NY IN 64. Completely void of vocals, the raw energy of '90s hardcore supplied by Hock and Schlatter, mixed with the refined technical aspects of progressive metal Alfano and Rheam deliver, were like two worlds colliding, however, resulted into something that seamlessly blended the two contrary styles. While injecting the energy and enthusiasm of a basement show into a more refined musical composition, NY IN 64 attempts to harness two sides of many coins; youth and age, rawness and precision, joy and hostility.


Letters From A Tapehead 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Singles: Chastity Belt, Frank Rabeyrolles, So Stressed, Crom Dubh

Chastity Belt: "Cool Slut" (via Hardly Art/YouTube)

Frank Rabeyrolles: "Third Skin (Demo)" (via Wool Recordings/Soundcloud)

So Stressed: "Merv King & The Phantoms" (via Honor Press/Noisey/YouTube)

Crom Dubh: "Cutting Teeth II" (via Earsplit PR/Soundcloud)

Letters From A Tapehead

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Johnny Cash: "Danny Boy"

Have a very happy and safe St. Paddy's. 


Letters From A Tapehead

White Hills: "No Will"

Taking a cue from Bauhaus' "Dark Entries," the psych-fuzz duo White Hills has released a new single called "No Will."  This post-punk/gothic nod was pulled from the band's upcoming new release, Walks For Motorists, which will be out on April 6th via Thrill Jockey Records.

Check out the track:

After that, read up on the release.  All info, links and sounds were supplied by Thrill Jockey Records.

Psych rockers White Hills share new track 'No Will'

Taken from forthcoming new album
Walks For Motorists out 6th April

White Hills on tour throughout this April & May, including dates with Mudhoney

"Demented, wigged out and stupendously mind-blowing" - Classic Rock

"Crunchy psychedelia-imbued creep-rock featuring some growling heavily reverbed vocals and drums" - The 405

"Successfully melded disparate in uences and genres to bring to life their chilling and dystopian world view" - Shindig

White Hills have been a fixture of the psych-rock revivalist scene for a number of years now, thanks to a sound that brought Hawkwind-style, blissed out cosmic sprawl down to an intimate scale.

Their forthcoming new record
Walks for Motorists (produced by David Wrench, who’s worked with FKA Twigs, Jungle, Caribou), was their first album they recorded outside of their native New York City, and the temporary move to the countryside in Bryn Derwen, Wales for the recording seems to have had the opposite of the effect you might suspect the pastoral scenery would have.

Their brilliant new single 'No Will' which you can listen below, is a taut, almost gothic post-punk track that's reminiscent of prime-era Bauhaus... taking the pair’s psych trip to an intriguing dark side. Perhaps inspired by their work with Jim Jarmusch on the vampire movie
Only Lovers Left Alive last year?


Walks For Motorists will be released on 6th April and will be available on LP, CD and digital download.

White Hills have been developing an entirely new live set focusing on new music, and will be playing many major festivals in 2015, including Roadburn, Primavera, ATP Iceland, and selected dates with grunge heroes Mudhoney. Full list of tour dates are below:

White Hills 2015 European Tour:
Thu April 9th Manchester, UK - Islington Mill - tickets
Fri April 10th London, UK - Birthdays - tickets
Sun April 12th Tilburg, The Netherlands - 013 (Roadburn Festival) - tickets
Mon April 13th Hamburg, Germany - Molotow Club - tickets
Tue April 14th Copenhagen, Denmark - Loppen - tickets
Wed April 15th Gothenburg, Sweden - Truck Stop Alaska
Thu April 16th Malmö, Sweden - Inkonst - tickets
Fri April 17th Aarhus, Denmark - Radar - tickets
Sat April 18th Berlin, Germany - Urban Spree - tickets
Sun April 19th Dresden, Germany - Groovestation - tickets
Mon April 20th Pilsen, Czech Republic - Papirna Plzen
Wed April 22nd Feldkirch, Austria - Graf Hugo
Thu April 23rd Madonna Dell'Albero, Italy - Bronson - tickets
Fri April 24th Colle Val D'Elsa, Italy - Sonar
Sat April 25th Mezzago, Italy - Bloom
Sun April 26th Savona, Italy - Raindogs
Tue April 28th Karlsruhe, Germany - Kohl Kutlur Raum
Wed April 29th Munster, Germany - Gleis 22 - tickets
Thu April 30th Leipzig, Germany - UT Connewitz
Fri May 1st Brussels, Belgium - Magasin 4 - tickets
Sat May 2nd Rouen, France - 106 Club * - tickets
Sat May 9th Yverdon-des Bains, Switzerland - Swiss Psych Festival - tickets
Wed May 13th Prague, Czech Republic - Lucenra Music Bar *
Thu May 14th Vienna, Austria - Arena Big Hall *
Sat May 16th Rome, Italy - Sinister Club
Tue May 19th Schaffhausen, Switzerland - Kammgarn *
Wed May 20th Geneva, Switzerland - L'Usine *
Thu May 21s Zug, Switzerland - Chollerhalle *
Fri May 22nd Feyzin, France - L’Epicerie Moderne *
Sat May 23rd Lille, France - Aeronef * - tickets
Mon May 25th Gladbeck, Germany - Reuhrpott Rodeo Festival - tickets
Fri May 29th Barcelona, Spain - Primavera Festival - tickets
Thu July 2nd Keflavik, Iceland - Asbru (ATP Iceland) - tickets

* w/ Mudhoney, Barton Carroll

White Hills are proponents of psychedelia as transformation. The music made by
Dave W. and Ego Sensation is risky and cutting edge, rooted in dystopian futurism and hyper-conscious of society’s constant desire for a new and better drug. That progressive aesthetic is at the heart of White Hills’ forthcoming new album Walks For Motorists, their most daring and radically stripped-down record that emphasises rhythm and groove.

The album bursts forth with a new kind of intensity, one born out of laser-focused precision and detail-oriented songwriting. Possibly surprising to fans familiar with the mega Hawkwind-style guitar squall of earlier albums... the songs on
Walks For Motorists began as a keyboard melody or bass line, and several songs on the album don’t even feature guitar at all. This is propulsive, open music, surreal to its core but made to inspire people to get out of their seats and move.

Walks For Motorists is the band's most diverse album to date. Fuzzed-out rockers sit comfortably next to kraut-infused grooves, and there are more vocal contributions from Ego than ever before.

White Hills on:
Facebook / Twitter / Official Website

Letters From A Tapehead

Friday, March 13, 2015

No Ripcord: The Body & Thou

The Body & Thou
You, Whom I Have Always Hated
Thrill Jockey Records
Released: 1.26.15

Letters From A Tapehead

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Mailbox Giveth: Sweaters & Pearls

A little over a month ago, I received a package in the mail from Jason Deagan of Sweaters and Pearls Records, a label that specializes mostly in 7" single and EPs.  This specific area of interest connects directly to Deagan's other passion, which is his 7 Inches [Every Day] blog that reviews new 7" releases daily.  

The contents of the package were as follows with a few words regarding each release:

Harpoon Forever
American Flag EP

There's a resigned tone to much of Harpoon Fever's 4-song EP American Flag, itself packed with Malkmus-laden slack rock that fully embraces the melodic persuasion of its 90s jump off.  While I wouldn't call the music lackadaisical, there's a charm or preciousness to it that enables my college flashbacks to surface with every strum of a guitar, especially true with the somber stride of "Slag Away" that's occasionally interrupted by a shift in tempo.  It's like a mild slap to the face, the recipient awake long enough to skip a little before going back to a more sober strut.  The track "Chickens" finds some common ground with the tangential rock jams that allowed Sonic Youth's Murray Street to shine, enlivening the track a tad just before it ends.

While I found American Flag mostly emulative, this release is a couple years old and it's very possible that Harpoon Forever's grown creatively.  I haven't yet heard the band's newest LP, A Prince For All Seasons, which just came out in February.

Black vinyl 7;" 4 tracks.

Soccer Mom
You Are Not Going to Heaven

"Shoegazery" and post-hardcore guitar textures abound, Soccer Mom's You Are Not Going to Heaven is an alt-rock 10" owing much to the sort of 90s-era sonic evocation that's since regained some relevance over the last couple of years, college-ready, left-of-the-dial fuzz and tone that reeks of ring tees and Half-Cabs.  This album was released in 2011.   

Though structurally there's not much new to hear, Soccer Mom works in some ethereal melodies that are distinct enough to latch onto and the band manages to attach some of its own signature to the idiom, songs like "(A) Natural History" and "American Flag (Eagle Flag 911)" reason enough to keep the record on rotation.  I found myself putting this on a lot, actually.  I'm not naive enough to think that some part of the brain engaged by nostalgia wasn't partly to blame, but You Are Not Going to Heaven is a well-crafted pop-fueled listen.

White vinyl 10;" 6 tracks.

R. Stevie Moore
I Missed July 7"

Millennial laptop maestros invoke the name of R. Stevie Moore with a reverence comparable to how Keith Richards may have talked about Muddy Waters back when he was a younger Stone. Being the guy that long ago planted the do-it-yourself seed by pursuing his art through home recording before easily acquired tech enabled the intolerably sour to sound so very sweet, it's understandable that an artist like Ariel Pink, whose own career was grown out of bedroom recordings, would be so indebted to Moore's work. Moore is an indie icon with a catalogue that spans decades. Plucked from this catalogue are the two songs the comprise the I Missed July 7:" The title track, taken from the 1978 LP, Games And Groceries, and "Traded My Heart For Your Parts," from the 1994 release, Unpopular Singer Vol. 1 & 2.

With a considerable leap in time from the A-side to the flip side, Moore's humorous disposition remains consistent. Since recording methodology had time to evolve, the less refined and shaky psych-pop of "I Missed July" sounds more lo-fi than the much later composed "Traded My Heart For Your Parts," though it's more of a complete entity, certainly indicative of the era but also hook-driven. "Traded My Hearts For Your Parts" is more of a folky goof, amusing content put into motion by acoustic chords that bounce from ear to ear and a bass tone that yearns to lounge. It's an interesting selection of tracks and it could possibly be a good introduction to Moore's music, two artful approaches certainly inspired and enabled by time, place and the means with which to create.

Red vinyl 7;" 2 tracks.

Fat History Month
A Gorilla 7"

Fat History Month's four-song A Gorilla is a melancholic collection of lose art rock and math-informed chord churn.  I hear a lot of Slint, but not so much that I feel Fat History Month simply plugged in and followed Spiderland like a map.

The band works in nuance, engaging in sonic tangents that resemble jams at points ("B") or falling hard on the notes generating a post-hardcore haze ("Heart Takes A Beating").  The opening track, "Gorilla," narrates death at the hands of its namesake, hard luck addressed in an almost joking manner till the outro seems to communicate some spiritual ascendency.  They go out on a lonely instrumental called "()," a picked guitar melody strolling over top a percussive skip.

I liked this one a lot.

Yellow vinyl 7;" 4-tracks.

Letters From A Tapehead


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