Wednesday, September 19, 2018

New Selections — Death Valley Girls, Saturn and the Sun, Eiko Ishibashi, Hekla, The Soft Moon, An Eagle in your Mind, J Mascis, Cripple Bastards, Pig Destroyer

Some new singles and others I've been meaning to post. Enjoy.

Death Valley Girls"More Dead"
(via Stereo Sanctity / Suicide Squeeze / YouTube)

Via Stereo Sanctity:

After recently announcing that their new album Darkness Rains is set for release on Oct 5th via Suicide Squeeze Records, Los Angeles doom boogie/dystopian punk/occult glam rockers Death Valley Girls have shared a new single & video entitled "More Dead".

Speaking about the new track, the band commented:
"After having experiences with people we love struggling to stay alive, we believe the harder the battle, the less one is able to ask for help. We wanted to write a song about how important and necessary each person is, especially these days. We need numbers now more than ever to fight the good fight."

The video director Dylan Mars Greenberg went on to add “I wanted to create a video that dealt with a serious issue that affected both Bonnie and I but in an abstract way. I used animation to generate the concept of rebirth and the juxtaposition of aerial videography with dark environments to tell the story of the overworld and underworld fighting over a soul.

I should also mention we filmed with an iguana indoors but then he escaped into Bronson canyon. We all believe he is now very strong and happy in his new world.”

Rock n’ roll has always served as a means to elevate the fringe of society, though it’s accentuated the plights of the outcasts and misfits in different ways throughout the years. In its infancy, rock was a playful rebuttal against segregation and Puritanism. In the ‘60s, it became a vehicle for an elevated consciousness. In the years following the Summer of Love and the clampdown on Flower Power, that countercultural spirit adopted the aggravated and occasionally nihilistic edge of bands like The Stooges, Black Sabbath, MC5, and The New York Dolls. And then as the ‘80s approached, popular rock n’ roll turned into a relatively benign celebration of hedonism and decadence, but that contingent of dark mystics from the ‘70s who lifted the veil and used music as a means of rallying people to altered planes had left their mark. It was an undercurrent in rock that would never die, but would percolate in corners of the underground. Today we can see it manifest in LA’s Death Valley Girls.

Death Valley Girls feels less like a band and more like a traveling caravan. At their core, vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Bonnie Bloomgarden and guitarist Larry Schemel channel Death Valley Girls’ modern spin on Fun House’s sonic exorcisms, early ZZ Top’s desert-blasted riffage, and Sabbath’s occult menace. Their relentless touring schedule means that the remainder of the group is rounded out by whichever like-minded compatriots can get in the van. On their third album Darkness Rains, bassist Alana Amram, drummer Laura Harris, and a rotating cast of guests like Shannon Lay, The Kid (Laura Kelsey), and members of The Make Up, The Shivas, and Moaning help elevate the band from their rogue beginnings to a communal ritualistic musical force. On the surface level, Death Valley Girls churn out the hypercharged, in the red, scuzzy rock every generation yearns for, but there is a more subversive force percolating beneath the surface that imbues the band with an exhilarating cosmic energy.

Death Valley Girls’ second album Glow In The Dark was based on the concept that many of us are trying to become more enlightened, and you can tell by the way they ‘glow in the dark.’ Darkness Rains goes a step further, attempting to shift the consciousness of those that have not yet considered how we are all connected and how that relates to the way we view life beyond death. Those that ‘glow’ can use the songs on Darkness Rains as new chants—or they can be used for pure entertainment. “Songs come from beyond and other worlds, you just have to tune into the right radio wave signal to dial them in. Our signal happens to be in a 1970 Dodge Charger Spaceship,” says Schemel.

Album opener “More Dead” is a rousing wake up call, with a hypnotic pentatonic guitar riff and an intoxicating blown-out fuzz-wah solo underscoring Bloomgarden’s consciousness-rattling proclamation that you’re “more dead than alive.” The pace builds with “(One Less Thing) Before I Die”, a minute-and-a-half distillate of Detroit’s classic proto-punk sound. But at track three, Death Valley Girls hit their stride with “Disaster (Is What We’re After)”, a gritty, swaggering rager that takes the most boisterous moments off Exile On Main Street and beefs it up with Zeppelin’s devil’s-note blues. Darkness Rains retains its intoxicating convocations across ten tracks, climaxing on an astral plane with the hypnotic guitar drones and cult-like chants of “TV In Jail On Mars.”

“Learn from the stars and beyond! Be happy and thankful we got to live together on Earth at the same time! And death is just a shift—stay alive and awake,”Bloomgarden and Schemel respond when asked for a final thought on Death Valley Girls. “Embrace the darkness and don’t fear the Reaper.” Suicide Squeeze Records is proud to further the cause by releasing Darkness Rains on October 5th, 2018 on LP/CD/CS/ and digital formats. The first vinyl pressing is limited to 1,500 copies. Both the cassette and vinyl include digital downloads.


Death Valley Girls Tour Dates:
09-13 - Pioneertown, CA @ Pappy and Harriets *
10-03 - Los Angeles, CA @ Teragram Ballroom **
10-04 - Tustin, CA @ Marty’s on Newport **
10-05 - San Diego, CA @ Casbah **
10-14 - Desert Daze Festival - Lake Perris, CA w/ My Bloody Valentine, Death Grips, Shellac etc.
10-18 - Riverside, CA @ Aurea Vista
10-19 - Las Vegas, NV @ Bunkhouse Saloon
10-20 - Phoenix, AZ @ Yucca Tap Room
10-21 - Tucson, AZ @ Club Congress
10-23 - Austin, TX @ Hotel Vegas
10-24 - Dallas, TX @ Regal Room
10-25 - Norman, OK @ Opolis
10-26 - Memphis, TN @ The Hi Tone
10-29 - Baltimore, MD @ Metro Gallery #
10-30 - Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie #
11-01 - New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge #
11-02 - Cleveland, OH @ The Winchester #
11-03 - Detroit, MI @ Deluxx Fluxx #
11-04 - Chicago, IL @ Beat Kitchen #
11-05 - Milwaukee, WI @ Cactus Club #
11-07 - Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge #
11-08 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge #
11-09 - Boise, ID @ The Olympic #
11-11 - Chico, CA @ Duffy's #
11-13 - Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios #
11-14 - Vancouver, BC @ Fox Cabaret #
11-15 - Bellingham, WA @ The Shakedown #
11-16 - Seattle, WA @ Freakout Festival
11-17 - Eugene, OR @ Old Nicks #
11-20 - San Francisco, CA @ Rickshaw Stop #

Saturn and the Sun: "In Love With The Extreme"
(via Modern Matters / iDeal Recordings / Soundcloud)

This is the title track to Saturn and the Sun's upcoming LP, which will be out September 21st via iDeal Recordings. Members Joachim Nordwall and Henrik Rylander also perform together as The Skull Defekts.


Eiko Ishibashi: "Iron Veil"
(via Drag City / Bandcamp)

Via Drag City:

Eiko Ishibashi's sixth solo album, The Dream My Bones Dream, rides the rails into a partly envisioned, partly imagined past. It's been four years since Car and Freezer, a time during which Eiko has been steadily working, writing for stage and cinema, playing live, recording and releasing Kouen Kyoudai (Editions Mego), a collaboration with Merzbow; and Ichida, her collaboration with Darin Gray. What a work ethic!

Amongst all this abject jet-setting and debauched gadding about, the music of The Dream My Bones Dream started to gather. Following the death of Eiko's father, she discovered photos from a time she knew nothing about: his childhood. Having never discussed this part of his life, he came of age during an infamous setting of recent Japanese history, the occupation of China's Manchurian region in the 1940s. In the light of this, questions about Eiko's lost family history took on a larger resonance. The Dream My Bones Dream imagines a past she never knew, those who raised her father and the environment in which is grew up in.

The music is richly conceived in cinematic arrangements with details referencing Eiko's grandfather, who worked as a railroad man in occupied territory. For Eiko, the train that ran through this rough terrain is now headed for her future, and only by accepting its past will she able to direct it through what is to come. Something to think about, yeah? We at Drag City are hopeful that this musical message will be blared down the main streets of Fascist Everytown USA - at least until they come to get us!

On The Dream My Bones Dream, as with Eiko's previous albums, the diverse sounds within the musical arrangement and the qualities of Jim O'Rourke's mix (off the couch and mixing again!) are crucial to the achievement. The Dream My Bones Dream is a record of exquisite musicality and deep emotions, a travelogue pointed towards a time hopefully better than the future we see coming down the line! Listen to the first single, "Iron Veil", now and pre-order the album for November 16th.


Hekla"Heyr Himna Smiður"
(via Phantom Limb / YouTube)

Via Phantom Limb:

Describing her sound as "minimalistic sci-fi", mysterious avant-garde musician Hekla has today released her uniquely beautiful debut album for solo theremin and voice Á, on Phantom Limb, a label run and curated by former FatCat Records, Thrill Jockey and Royal Albert Hall execs.

You can download and stream Á on Bandcamp, Apple Music, etc. It's also available on heavyweight 180g black vinyl here and at all good record stores.

After sharing the surreal and Gothic-tingled video for 'Ekki Er Allt Gull Sem Glóir' last month, Hekla has just released the Logi Hilmarsson directed video for 'Heyr Himna Smiður'. The track is Hekla's version of the classic Icelandic hymn by the late Þorkell Sigurbjörnsson.

Hekla has confirmed dates in Europe, including headline shows in London, Bristol and Berlin in October. Please note London venue has now moved from The Islington to Jazz Servant Quarters.

Tour Dates:
September 21 - Copenhagen, DK @ Festival of Endless Gratitude [tix]
October 15 - London, UK @ Jazz Servant Quarters * [tix]
October 16 - Bristol, UK @ The Cube [tix]
October 25 - Berlin, DE @ Ausland
December 13 - Berlin, DE @ Kantine am Berghain **

* w/ Ingrid Plum Trio
** w/ Kaufmann Frust, Indridi

A Berlin-residing Icelander, Hekla’s sparse, delicate, fractal music exists within these two worlds: dark and magical as Iceland’s permanight folklore; and (though beatless) as deeply sonic and intense as Berlin’s electronic scene. A long-term scholar of solo theremin, Hekla (shortened from her own name Hekla Magnúsdóttir) uses her instrument as an otherworldly and highly evocative Siren-call. A spectral, wailing, howling, lamenting yearning second-voice that underpins a soft vocal delivery... as if her studio had been haunted with a chorus of ghostly backing singers.

While a handful of reference points share a similar ground to Á - Colleen's interplay of voice and instrumentation; the richly immersive film score work of sadly passed fellow Icelander Jóhann Jóhannsson's; "grandmother of theremin" Clara Rockmore's close relationship with such a singular instrument; Julia Holter's intelligent and classically-aligned songwriting - Hekla's music still exists singularly. A one-off talent, emerging from no particular scene, ascribing to no particular rules.

As a creative tool, the theremin - bizarre, unique, and rarely heard - can be expressive, intuitive and highly adaptable. In Hekla's hands, her instrument covers an enormous range, from skittering birdsong of high frequency chirrups and chirps, to grinding, tectonic sub-bass. We are given the throbbing, apocalyptic dread of 'Muddle' and the baroque beauty of traditional Icelandic hymn 'Heyr Himna Smi∂ur' in sequential tracks on the album's A-Side. Appropriately, she also writes that the album title - Á - is similarly multifaceted in her native Icelandic: "a river is an á and also it means ouch like when you hurt yourself, and also when you put something on top of something you put it á (on) something."

The album was written and self-recorded by Hekla in her home studio in Berlin around her son's daycare schedule. Icelandic super-musician Mr Silla (a part-time múm member) guests on a number of tracks. Tallinn-based engineer Jose Diogo Neves - a stalwart of Icelandic and Portuguese music - mixed and mastered Á.


The Soft Moon: "Like A Father" (remixed by Imperial Black Unit)
(via Stereo Sanctity / Sacred Bones Records / YouTube)

Via Stereo Sanctity:

Following the release of his fourth studio album Criminal earlier this year via Sacred Bones, Luis Vasquez AKA The Soft Moon has announced the release of Criminal Remixed VOL. 1 and Criminal Remixed VOL. 2, co-released with Berlin-based record label, aufnhame + wiedergabe. Today sees the unveiling of the standout track "Like A Father", remixed by Imperial Black Unit. The Soft Moon will be playing two UK shows in November in London & Manchester.

Berlin-based French duo Imperial Black Unit transforms The Soft Moon’s “Like A Father“ into a dark EBM anthem, with an unique mix of old school sounds and their vision of the shape of Techno to come.

Both 12”s are limited to 1000 copies. The digital version will be released as an album and will be available on Bandcamp and via all digital platforms.


An Eagle in your Mind: "Flows"
(via Bandcamp)

"Flows" is featured in AEM's Miraculous Weapons, which released June 1st, 2018. You can sample the album and purchase a digital copy here.

Via AEM:

An Eagle in your Mind announces the release of its new clip "Flows" on October 8th.
Minimalist and lush images for a renewed musical syncretism: it could be a post-war staging of Antigone, a Bollywood, or a futuristic cartoon of the 70's. It could be question of the suicide of Cleopatra or the flight of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden ...


J Mascis: "Everything She Said"
(via Sub Pop / YouTube)

Via Sub Pop:

On November 9th, J Mascis will release Elastic Days, a collection of songs brimming with epic hooks and subtle guitar textures that slide against each other like old lovers and snare you in surprisingly subtle ways. You can hear this in J’s new lyric video for “Everything She Said,” directed by Joe Salinas.”

J Mascis has extended his international tour schedule to support
Elastic Days with UK dates for early 2019. The newly added dates begin January 16th in Oxford at O2 Academy and end January 25th in Glasgow at St. Luke’s. These dates follow J’s previously announced North American tour dates which run November 7th through December 16th.

Nov. 07 - Vancouver, BC - Imperial
Nov. 08 - Portland, OR - Aladdin Theater
Nov. 09 - Seattle, WA - Tractor
Nov. 10 - Bellingham, WA - Wild Buffalo
Nov. 14 - San Francisco, CA - Slim’s
Nov. 15 - San Diego, CA - Soda Bar
Nov. 16 - Los Angeles, CA - Lodge Room
Nov. 17 - Denver, CO - Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox
Nov. 18 - Fort Collins, CO - Washington’s
Nov. 20 - Chicago, IL - City Winery*
Nov. 21 - Chicago, IL - City Winery*
Nov. 27 - Atlanta, GA - City Winery*
Nov. 28 - Nashville, TN - City Winery*
Nov. 29 - Louisville, KY - Zanzabar*
Nov. 30 - Detroit, MI - El Club*
Dec. 01 - Toronto, ON - Great Hall*
Dec. 04 - Philadelphia, PA - World Cafe*
Dec. 05 - Washington, DC - City Winery*
Dec. 07 - Brooklyn, NY - Rough Trade*
Dec. 08 - New York, NY - Public Arts*
Dec. 09 - Hamden, CT - Space Ballroom*
Dec. 12 - Providence, RI - The Met*
Dec. 13 - Boston, MA - The Sinclair*
Dec. 14 - Northampton, MA - The Academy of Music*
Dec. 15 - Portland, ME - Port City Music Hall*
Jan. 16 - Oxford, UK - O2 Academy
Jan. 17 - Bristol, UK - Thekla
Jan. 18 - Brighton, UK - Concorde 2
Jan. 19 - London, UK - Islington Assembly Hall
Jan. 20 - Nottingham, UK - Rescue Rooms
Jan. 22 - Liverpool, UK - Arts Club
Jan. 23 - Manchester, UK - Gorilla
Jan. 24 - Leeds, UK - Belgrave Music Hall
Jan. 25 - Glasgow, UK - St. Lukes
* w/ Luluc

Pre-orders for
Elastic Days through and select independent retailers will receive the limited Loser Edition on clear vinyl with purple swirl (while supplies last). There will also be a new t-shirt design available.

Cripple Bastards: "Non Coinvolto"
(via Earsplit PR / Relapse Records / YouTube)

Via Earsplit PR:

Italian grindcore legends CRIPPLE BASTARDS celebrate thirty years of misanthropic extremity with their seventh full-length album, La Fine Cresce Da Dentro (Meaning "The End Is Growing From Within").

Recorded at the legendary Fredman Studios in Gothenburg, Sweden with producer Fredrik Nordström (At The Gates, Dark Tranquility),
La Fine Cresce Da Dentro delivers eighteen tracks of inconceivable speed and brutality surpassing even their previous work. Over three decades in, the CRIPPLE BASTARDS outfit shows no signs of slowing down and continues to destroy unsuspecting eardrums with hate-filled, grind punk chaos!

CRIPPLE BASTARDS' La Fine Cresce Da Dentro is due out November 9th on CD, LP, and digital. Physical preorders are available via HERE and digital downloads/streaming services HERE.

10/06/2018 Padiglione 14 - Collegno, IT
10/20/2018 Fabrik - Cagliari, IT
11/03/2018 Factory - Azzano Veneto, IT

Pig Destroyer: "House of Snakes"
(via Earsplit PR / Relapse Records / YouTube)

"House of Snakes" is featured in Pig Destroyer's latest LP, Head Cage.

Letters From A Tapehead

Friday, September 14, 2018

The Key: The Jesus Lizard — 9.8

All Souls
The Jesus Lizard
Union Transfer

Following my interview with David Yow, I was able to attend the Philly stop of The Jesus Lizard's current run of shows at Union Transfer. I want to state for the record that David Yow is 58 years old and I hope to possess an iota of the energy he burned through during that gig by the time I'm his age. I also never want to see a younger band or performer visibly worn out after a much less physically demanding show. The Jesus Lizard played three encores that were three to five songs apiece after an hour or more of constant crowd engagement, (i.e. body surfing, stage diving, being yanked), while pounding us all with decibel after decibel. The theater of it all was a sight to behold and I'm fortunate I had the opportunity to witness it.

This show review was also written for Philadelphia's The Key. Please check out the live photos by Josh Pelta-Heller, because my iPhone shots are nowhere near as good.

Letters From A Tapehead

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Ex Hex — 9.10.18

Ex Hex
Boot & Saddle, 9.10.18.

Mary Timony continues to rule. I was happy to have the opportunity to watch her play.

Letters From A Tapehead

Saturday, September 08, 2018

The Key: Interview w/ David Yow of The Jesus Lizard

So, I had the opportunity to interview The Jesus Lizard's legendary vocalist, David Yow. As it worked out, I had to take the call in my office at my day job, hoping that no sudden work-related emergencies would interrupt our conversation. Luckily, that didn't happen.

This is my first article for Philadelphia's The Key, which is the editorial arm of 88.5 WXPN. Enjoy.

photo by: Joshua Black Wilkins

Letters From A Tapehead

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

New Selections — Emma Ruth Rundle, Tropical Fuck Storm, Primitive Man, Private Life, Uniform, Erika Wennerstrom, Djrum, Windhand

Starting August off with some new singles.

Emma Ruth Rundle: "Darkhorse"
(via Rarely Unable / Sargent House / YouTube)

Via Rarely Unable:

“In the wake of weak beginnings, we can still stand high,” Emma Ruth Rundle sings over banks of electrified minor chords and ghostly guitar leads on "Darkhorse". It’s a statement of purpose and a recurring motif throughout the album. “The record is about overcoming—understanding and embracing the crippling situation and then growing beyond it,” Rundle says. “Horses keep working their way into the lyrics and visual dimension of this record. They’re powerful and beautiful yet not free really. So the dark horse works for me in a visual way, as a representation of a contained force that will win the race or exceed the expectation of society and self.”

The songs that comprise On Dark Horses vibrate with restlessness and forward motion. Prodding and preening the wounds unmasked in Marked For Death, Rundle’s third LP for Sargent House brings cinematic instrumentals to her sprawling narratives. These eight new tracks capture the evolution of Rundle as an artist—vestigial traces of 2011's Electric Guitar: One’s savvy guitar work, the heart-on-sleeve intensity of Some Heavy Ocean (2014), and the high-stakes torch songs of Marked For Death can all be heard in equal and harmonious accord.

On Dark Horses is due out on September 14 via Sargent House. Pre-orders are available here, and Emma Ruth Rundle will tour in support of the album this Autumn - check out all tour dates listed below.

Emma Ruth Rundle, On Tour:
September 8 Chicago, IL @ Ars Memoria **art show & listening party**
September 15 Louisville, KY @ Zanzabar +
September 16 Detroit, MI @ El Club +
September 17 Toronto, ON @ Sneaky Dee’s +
September 19 Portsmouth, NH @ The Press Room +
September 20 Allston, MA @ Great Scott +
September 21 Brooklyn, NY @ Saint Vitus +
September 22 Philadelphia, PA @ PhilaMOCA +
September 23 Baltimore, MD @ Metro Gallery +
September 24 Pittsburgh, PA @ Club Cafe +
September 25 Chicago, IL @ The Empty Bottle +
September 27 Davenport, IA @ Figge Art Museum / All Senses Festival
September 28 Rock Island, IL @ Rock Island Brewing Co.
October 6 Lille, FR @ Aeronef +
October 7 Colmar, FR @ Grillen +
October 9 Bermeo, ES @ Beleza Malandra Ateneo Kulturala +
October 10 Oviedo, ES @ Lata de Zinc +
October 11 Porto, PT @ Passos Emanuel +
October 12 Lisbon, PT @ Music Box +
October 13 Madrid, ES @ Changó +
October 14 Barcelona, ES @ AMFest 2018
October 16 Marseille, FR @ Le Molotov +
October 17 Zurich, CH @ Rote Fabrik +
October 18 Leipzig, DE @ UT Connewitz +
October 19 Prague, CZ @ Klub 007 +
October 20 Köln, DE @ Gebaude 9 +
October 21 München, DE @ Milla +
October 23 Berlin, DE @ Bi Nuu +
October 24 Hamburg, DE @ Hafenklang +
October 25 Malmo, SE @ Plan B +
October 26 Oslo, NO @ BLÄ +
October 27 Stockholm, SE @ Strindbergs Intima +
October 28 Gothenborg, SE @ Skjul Fyra Sex/Skjulet +
October 29 Copenhagen, DK @ Hotel Cecil +
October 31 Rotterdam, NL @ Rotown +
November 1 Groningen, NL @ Vera +
November 2 Paris, FR @ Petit Bain +
November 3 Manchester, UK @ Soup Kitchen +
November 4 Bristol, UK @ Rough Trade +
November 6 Glasgow, UK @ Stereo +
November 7 Newcastle, UK @ The Cluny +
November 8 London, UK @ Oslo +
November 9 Kortijk, BEL @ Sonic City Festival
November 10 Antwerp, BEL @ Trix +
November 30 Nashville, TN @ The High Watt +
December 1 Atlanta, GA @ Drunken Unicorn +
December 3 Dallas, TX @ Double Wide +
December 4 Austin, TX @ Barracuda +
December 6 Albuquerque, NM @ Sister +
December 7 Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar +
December 9 Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo +
December 10 San Francisco, CA @ Rickshaw Stop +
December 12 Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios +
December 13 Seattle, WA @ Barboza +
December 15 Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court +
December 16 Denver, CO @ Lost Lake +
December 17 Kansas City, MO @ The Riot Room +

+ w/ Jaye Jayle
** ERR solo gallery show with new large oil paintings and '
On Dark Horses' album listening party**


Tropical Fuck Storm: "You Let My Tyres Down"
(via Speakeasy PR / Joyful Noise Recordings / YouTube)

Via Speakeasy PR:

Tropical Fuck Storm, featuring ex-The DronesGareth Liddiard and Fiona Kitschin with fellow Australian indie noisemakers Lauren Hammel (High Tension) and Erica Dunn (Harmony/Mod Con), release their debut album, A Laughing Death in Meatspace, in North America on Oct. 26 via Joyful Noise Recordings.

The album, which is available for pre-orders via Joyful Noise’s website (, is already being hailed as a potential best of for 2018 with both The Quietus and Australia’s Double J including the album in their best of 2018 (so far) coverage. Double J said,
“Filled with the sort of acerbic wit only Gareth Liddiard can muster, this is the most essential, moody, pulverising, funny, off-key, venomous Antipodean post-punk album of the year.” Noisey Australia, in an extensive interview with Liddiard and Dunn point to the band’s “anarchic energy” and claim we’re witnessing “the birth of a new rock powerhouse,” while Liddiard’s laid bare in a discussion with The Guardian, touching on the societal influences that imbue the album’s lyrics, from the societal fallout from recent technological advances to the hopes for a new generation of rebellion, leaving the revered British paper to declare Meatspace “a glorious detour into deconstructed rock music, reflective of social malaise and unafraid to tell it like it is.”

“The band and myself are quietly confident that the US release of ALDIMS will bridge America’s political divide and usher in a millennia-long age of peace and prosperity,” said Liddiard.


Primitive Man: "Naked"
(via Earsplit PR / Relapse Records / CVLT Nation / YouTube)

Via Earsplit PR:

One year after each releasing two of 2017's heaviest albums, Denver's PRIMITIVE MAN and New York City's UNEARTHLY TRANCE unite for an exercise in complete and total suffering, coming August 17th via Relapse Records. Across seven apocalyptic tracks, both bands tap into some of the most uncomfortable, vile realms of blackened doom and dissonant, harsh noise put to tape in the new millennium.

PRIMITIVE MAN & UNEARTHLY TRANCE's split LP will be available on CD, LP and digital formats through Relapse Records. Physical packages, digital downloads, and streaming services are available at HERE.

PRIMITIVE MAN will return to Europe next month on a headlining tour with labelmates -(16)-. The tour begins August 29th in Dortmund, Germany and concludes September 15th at Bloodshed Festival in Eindhoven, Netherlands. PRIMITIVE MAN will also make various summer festival appearances such as Psycho Las Vegas and Temple Of Ascension Vol. 1. All confirmed tour dates are available below.

8/17/2018 Temple Of Ascension Vol. 1 - Edmonton, AB
8/18/2018 Psycho Las Vegas @ Hard Rock Hotel And Casino - Las Vegas, NV
w/ -(16)- :
8/29/2018 Junkyard - Dortmund, DE
8/30/2018 IFZ- Leipzig, DE
8/31/2018 KB18 - Copenhagen, DK
9/01/2018 1000fryd - Aalborg, DK
9/02/2018 Hafenklang - Hamburg, DE
9/03/2018 Magasin4Brussels, BE
9/04/2018 Tiefgrund - Berlin, DE
9/05/2018 Poglos - Warsaw, PL
9/06/2018 Fuga - Bratislava, SK
9/07/2018 Desszert Feszt Budapest Opening Party - Budapest, HU
9/08/2018 Reflektor Venue - Timisoara, RO
9/09/2018 Something For The Core VII - Bucharest, RO
9/10/2018 Mocvara - Zagreb, HR
9/11/2018 Circolo Magnolia - Milano, IT
9/12/2018 Sunset Bar - Martigny, CH
9/13/2018 Gaswerk - Winterthur, CH
9/14/2018 Jubez - Karlsruhe, DE
9/15/2018 Bloodshed Fest 2018 - Eindhoven, NL


Private Life: "Hesitation"
(via Earsplit PR / Dark Operative Digital / Pop Matters / YouTube)

Via Earsplit PR:

Pop Matters is hosting a premiere of "Hesitation," the trippy new video from Texas/California-based psychedelic cyber-synth rock duo PRIVATE LIFE - the collaborative project between Christopher Royal King (This Will Destroy You) and drummer/multi-instrumentalist Sam Chown (Shmu) - as their Silent Partner debut album nears August release through Dark Operative Digital.

PRIVATE LIFE's Silent Partner is a fascinating blend of cyberpunk, dream pop, psych, prog, and kraut vibes from the '70s, bits of thrash, and modern modular electronic synths. Think of it as the latest operating system update for a computer with plenty of Talking Heads, Gang Of Four, and Bloc Party on the hard drive. The album is completed with psychedelic cover art by Keith Rankin.

The new video for "Hesitation" was directed by Anthony Ferrara aka Bokeh Monster. Offers Chown,
"The video features Natalie Wetzel, also known as G'NAT. Weirdly enough, I met her through Wayne Coyne, in Miley Cyrus' Winnebago in Oklahoma City, of all places. Fast forward a couple of years later and a friend of mine had recommended I reach out to Anthony to do a music video. I was supposed to fly out to Los Angeles to be in the video with Chris but for whatever reason, those plans got thwarted. Anthony suggested that he hire actors to be in the video instead. He ended up just using footage of Natalie. When I saw the video for the first time, I was like, how do you know Natalie? Apparently, she was his roommate and longtime good friend."

Ferrara adds, "Somewhere out there is a feedback loop with your name on it — I sincerely hope all of you get to experience the same immersive, chrono-sensory breakdown I had trying to deconstruct PRIVATE LIFE's 'Hesitation.' It defies the nesting boxes I put it in, and this struggle became the appeal. Endless love and gratitude for Gnat's exquisite character work as the Scarlet Cardinal running through those hallways, forever and ever. The only way out is to stop and change."

Pop Matters posts in part, "The absence of the band in the clip adds to PRIVATE LIFE's overall enigmatic presence, the tune imagining the Lemmy-led Hawkwind covering Pink Floyd in a chill backstage lounge somewhere in Middle America. PRIVATE LIFE sounds like the American landscape today: Odd noises, thunderous layers and time that passes with almost hallucinatory rapidity. How do you take a journey to the center of the mind when the mind is rapidly eroding? PRIVATE LIFE seeks to answer that question and, maybe, in its own way, remind us that the best we can do is enjoy the ride."

Dark Operative Digital will release Silent Partner digitally on August 17th; find digital preorders HERE where the track "Bloody Blister" is streaming and watch for a physical version to follow.

The impetus for PRIVATE LIFE stemmed from King's desire to start a high BPM, futuristic cyber-synth group comprised of him on modular synths with the accompaniment of drums. After a series of conceptual meetings and rehearsals, the duo hatched out schematics and installed configurations wherein Chown's drums would trigger additional modular synths beyond King's main melodies. Demos were cut, and the duo saw tremendous sonic potential in their unique approach. A few months later, the duo holed up in Austin's 5th Street Studios to capture the seven songs that would become their debut album, with overdubs recorded in both Austin and Los Angeles.


Uniform: "Alone in the Dark"
(via Rarely Unable / Sacred Bones Records / YouTube)

Via Rarely Unable:

Today, Uniform unveil the second single off their highly anticipated album, The Long Walk - coming August 17th on Sacred Bones. "Alone in the Dark" is an homage to Jack Sholder's slasher flick of the same name. Vocalist Michael Berdan explains that "in the film, Jack Palance, Martin Landau and Donald Pleasance star as a gaggle of mental patients who escape an asylum during a power outage and proceed to hunt down their psychiatrist. In our song, I'm referencing my personal feelings of isolation that come in the middle of the night, when I'm left with only the sensation of college level existential terror and prayers to a God who may or may not be listening, if even there at all."


Erika Wennerstrom: "Staring Out the Window"
(via Big Hassle Media / Relix / YouTube)

Via Big Hassel Media:

Erika Wennerstrom shares her new video, "Staring Out The Window," today on Relix. A contemplative, self-loving and relatable song -- the lyrics say it all: "Want to be among good people that make you feel good / That don't make you feel so misunderstood / And sometimes it's so much easier said than done." The new video release comes with new tour date announcements, as well, starting on the east coast, and heading down to North Carolina.

Aug 1 - Washington, DC - Gypsy Sally's
Aug 2 - Baltimore, MD - WTMD First Thursdays
Aug 3 - Philadelphia, PA - WXPN Free At Noon
Aug 4 - Philadelphia, PA - Boot & Saddle
Aug 6 - Manchester Center, VT - Billsville
Aug 7 - Woodstock, NY - Colony
Aug 8 - York, PA - Sign of the Wagon
Aug 11 - Harveysburg, OH - Bellwether Festival
Aug 12 - Nashville, TN - Basement East
Aug 14 - Pisgah Forest, NC - Bent River Farm


Djrum: "Waters Rising"
(via Julian T. Schoen - Artist, Event & Project Management / Bandcamp)

Via Julian T. Schoen:

R&S is locked in on Djrum, the London based producer readying his latest full-length, Portrait With Firewood, coming August 17. Slithering electronics weave through ghostly vocal samples on "Waters Rising", the second cut shared from the LP. 


Windhand: "Grey Garden"
(via Relapse Records / NPR / YouTube)

Via Relapse Records:

Richmond, Virginia's psychedelic heavyweights WINDHAND unveil "Grey Garden," the video and lead single off their forthcoming album Eternal Return. Today NPR debuted the Jordan Vance directed piece describing the song, "is led by Morris' towering riff and a guitar tone so deep, so thick that it's like sipping on a frothy pint of the void...there's a serious undercurrent of grunge. Windhand spends a good section of the track to drop out of distortion and meditate on flannel-powered flange and EBow as Cottrell's voice drifts in and out of space." Read all about it here and check out NPR's 200 Greatest Songs By 21st Century Women which recently featured WINDHAND's classic, "Orchard".

Eternal Return is a complete life-to-death journey. As unplanned things go, it's an observation of as well as a reflection on life's ups and downs, joys and sorrows, beginnings and ends. Between the band's 2015, highly acclaimed Grief's Infernal Flower, and 2018's Eternal Return, WINDHAND welcomed new life, survived lineup changes, and mourned unexpected death. The songs and song ordering are the direct result of those experiences. Where "Halcyon" is assured in its opening, the closing track "Feather" is its funeral march.

Eternal Return all throughout the winter. Out of the sessions, "Halcyon," "Grey Garden," "Red Cloud," and the monstrous "Eyeshine" emerged as the heaviest tracks, while "Pilgrim's Rest," "Diablerie," and "Feather" embodied the more reflective side of WINDHAND. The juxtaposition of heavy, psychedelic and pensive is less like Black Sabbath or Sleep and more like Soundgarden or Veruca Salt. But the name-drops aren't absolute so much as signals of WINDHAND's ability to stretch beyond genre confines.

Eternal Return represents a new era for the group, a chrysalis moment that takes them to new and unforeseen heights. Boosted by Garrett Morris' consistently cool riffs-forged at the crossroads of Iommi's otherworldly import and Kurt Cobain's spontaneous precocity-powered by Ryan Wolfe and Parker Chandler's groove-laden rhythms, and propelled by Dorthia Cottrell's smoky yet wistful vocals, WINDHAND's new album is a two-step jump for Richmond's finest purveyors of the psycho-actively heavy. Adorned by Arik Roper's (Sleep, High on Fire) impressive cover art, Eternal Return not only looks the part of WINDHAND's artistic growth but sounds the part.

WINDHAND brought Jack Endino back into the fold. Together, they spent two weeks recording at Soundhouse Recording in Seattle. Described as "smooth" and "intense," the sessions with the famed producer were just what WINDHAND wanted. Endino also understood the group's artistic progression, chiefly the admiration of and blending in late '80s/early '90s grunge. Out of it all, WINDHAND continued to refactor and refine their vision of heavy. A new era of psychedelic heaviness is upon us with WINDHAND's genre-blurring
Eternal Return. Sweet, fuzzed-out oblivion has never been closer...

Eternal Return sees its release October 5th on Relapse Records. WINDHAND venture on a full North American tour this fall with Satan's Satyrs. Check below for a full list of dates and go to to pre-order your copy.
10/08: Atlanta, GA - The Earl #
10/09: New Orleans, LA - Gasa Gasa #
10/10: Houston TX - White Oak Music Hall #
10/11: Dallas, TX - Club Dada #
10/12: Austin, TX - Barracuda #
10/14: Albuquerque, NM - Sister #
10/15: Phoenix, AZ - Valley Bar #
10/16: Los Angeles, CA - El Rey Theatre #
10/17: Oakland, CA - Starline Social Club #
10/19: Portland, OR - Aladdin Theatre #
10/20: Vancouver, BC - Venue #
10/21: Seattle, WA - Neumos #
10/23: Denver, CO - Larimer Lounge #
10/24: Kansas City, MO - The Riot Room #
11/01: Philadelphia, PA - Underground Arts #
11/02: Brooklyn, NY - Elsewhere #
11/03: Boston, MA - Brighton Music Hall #
11/04: Montreal, QC - Le Belmont #
11/05: Toronto, ON - The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern #
11/07: Chicago, IL - Subterranean #
11/08: Minneapolis, MN - Fine Line Music Cafe #
11/09: Milwaukee, WI - Cactus Club #
11/10: Indianapolis, IN - The Hi-Fi #
11/11: Nashville, TN - The Basement East #
11/12: Louisville, KY - Zanzabar #
11/13: Columbus, OH - Ace of Cups #
11/15: Richmond, VA - The Broadberry #

# - w/ Satan's Satyrs

Letters From A Tapehead

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Guerilla Toss: "Meteorological"

I was elated to find out that Guerilla Toss will be releasing a new LP this September called Twisted Crystal. Last year's GT Ultra spent many days and nights at constant rotation in the confines of my car's CD player. GT Ultra made my top 5 favorite records for 2017.  

You can find GT Ultra here via Guerilla Toss' Bandcamp for preview or purchase. I recommend the purchase option.    

"Meteorological," the lead single from Twisted Crystal, continues the band's foray into funk and electronic dance modes, moving from the noisier output of prior releases (i.e., Eraser Stargazer) to more accessible, albeit characteristically odd, territory, a modern homage to the mutant disco and synth pop that flourished beneath the post-punk umbrella in the early 80s. The video premiered at Stereogum, but you can check it out below.

Twisted Crystal is releasing September 14th via DFA Records. All info, links, music, and tour dates come courtesy of Force Field PR.  

Guerilla Toss announces new DFA LP, Twisted Crystal, shares new track / video via Stereogum, plus fall tour dates

Today Guerilla Toss announces its third LP for DFA, Twisted Crystal, due Sept. 14 (pre-order it now). The video for the album's first single, "Meteorological" was made by Giraffe Studios and is up now at Stereogum, who praised the song's "disorienting forward momentum and catchy hooks." The band has also announced a full North American tour for the fall - see full dates listed below.

Analog synthesizers give tangible life to the works of Guerilla Toss. Whether it be the sound of a rocket ship, a kitten-with-a-wah, distorted dolphins, or a clavichord made out of honey-baked ham, the band consistently finds new ways to bring together the many ideas that combine to shape each new batch of art-rock puzzle pieces.

Twisted Crystal, Guerilla Toss’ new LP, feels more personal than ever for the band. Angular yet irresistibly catchy, this collection of pop songs pulls influence from powerful groups like The Slits, ESG, Gina X, and early Madonna, with sing-speak vocals from Kassie Carlson nodding to legendary artists like Laurie Anderson, Grace Jones, and Lizzy Mercier Descloux – combining this all into a twisted, crystalline concoction.

Oracles and enigmatic egos are common lyrical themes, but charismatic instrumentality springs the listener back to extraterrestrial comfort. Old favorite sounds ring true from the trusty Sequential Circuits Six Track Synthesizer and Clavia Drum Machine. New, more refined sounds are molded and polished by drummer/producer Peter Negroponte, whose passion for perfection and creation goes far beyond an all-consuming Tetris effect. Peter has truly excelled on this new recording, creating a complex networks of beats and sound that become easily intertwined with the rhythmic fabric of life.

Raised in a devoutly religious family, vocalist Kassie Carlson started performing at the age of five. She often participated in large pastoral choral performances, as well as her family’s four-part harmony gospel quartet, making her no stranger to the stage. Growing up under the fear of God leaves a distinct footprint on your perception. An omnipresent male dictates not only your present waking life but also the rest of your eternity. Discovering a rock band was more than self-expression for Kassie, it was a manifestation of a self-healing temple, a personal pipeline for power. What better way to part the waters of toxic sludge than a matriarchal shout?

Arian Shafiee, Guerilla Toss’ resident textural-guitar guru, is inspired by aspects of non-Western tuning and extended techniques. He designs moments of dense, glistening, pitch-shifted harmony and measured strumming that link classical impressionism to no-wave and early minimal music. His recent solo work truly comes through on this new record, as he tethers fantastical surreality to noise rock to deconstructed Middle Eastern pop music.

Keyboardist Sam Lisabeth paws the keys with distinct virtuosity and expressive sass. A new member, Stephen Cooper (of the band Cloud Becomes Your Hand), binds the group with an urgent, disciplined, and melodic style. The hypnotic, ostinato-like basslines and up front rhythm tracks guide and grip each song like gravity, keeping the listener from swirling off into the cosmos.

In albums past, Kassie’s performances resembled more of a manic, possessed high priestess; humming at the gates of hell, hacking telepathy and tugging the strings of every audience member.
Twisted Crystal goes beyond this familiar darkness, leading us into a rhythmically calming charm with deep wisdom, serenity, and understanding. What is a twisted crystal? And who told you it would heal?

At times the listener wanders through mazes of dizzying, alternately pulsing time signatures, but the roads always bounce, meet and magically snap back together. That meditative groove, both live and in the studio, has become signature for Guerilla Toss, drawing deep influence from 70s krautrock and experimental rock music like Tom Tom Club, Talking Heads, Brian Eno, Neu!, Cluster, Todd Rundgren, and La Dusseldorf.

A constantly evolving, living breathing entity, the band now presents the album
Twisted Crystal. Enjoy the same surrealistic, kinetic healing energy of live Guerilla Toss, today in your own home.

“Magic is Easy. Hypnotize yourself well.”

09/17 Winooski, VT @ The Monkey House
09/18 Montreal, QC @ l’Escogriffe Bar Spectacle
09/19 Toronto, ON @ The Baby G
09/20 Cleveland, OH @ Mahall’s
09/21 Athens, OH @ The Union
09/22 Chicago, IL @ The Hideout
09/24 Milwaukee, WI @ Cactus Club
09/25 Minneapolis, MN @ 7th St. Entry
09/26 Omaha, NE @ Reverb Lounge
09/27 Lawrence, KS @ White Schoolhouse
09/28 Denver, CO @ Hi-Dive
09/29 Salt Lake City, UT @ Diabolical Records
09/30 Boise, ID @ Funky Taco
10/02 Butte, MT @ Covellite Theater
10/03 Spokane, WA @ Bartlett
10/04 Seattle, WA @ Vera Project
10/05 Portland, OR @ Bunk Bar
10/06 Eugene, OR @ Lorax
10/07 Arcata, CA @ Outer Space
10/09 Redding, CA @ The Dip
10/10 San Francisco, CA @ Bottom of the Hill
10/11 Los Angeles, CA @ Zebulon
10/12 San Deigo, CA @ Whistle Stop
10/13 Tijuana, MX @ Moustache
10/14 Phoenix, AZ @ LBX
10/15 Tucson, AZ @ Club Congress
10/19 Austin, TX @ Hotel Vegas
10/20 Denton, TX @ Dan’s Silverleaf
10/21 Fayetteville, AR @ Smoke & Barrel
10/23 Nashville, TN @ The End
10/24 Asheville, NC @ Mothlight
10/25 Durham, NC @ Wicked Witch
10/26 Richmond, VA @ Gallery 5
10/27 Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s
10/28 Cambridge, MA @ Elk’s Lodge
10/30 Providence, RI @ Columbus Theater

Guerilla Toss
Twisted Crystal
Street Date: September 14, 2018
Purchase here

Track List:
1. Magic Is Easy
2. Jesus Rabbit
3. Meteorological
4. Hacking Machine
5. Retreat
6. Come Up With Me
7. Walls Of The Universe
8. Jackie’s Daughter
9. Green Apple


Letters From A Tapehead

Thursday, June 28, 2018

What's (Re)New? — Sunn O)))'s White1 and White2

Sunn O))) is now twenty years old. For those of you who've breathed the frequency all these years and accepted that maximum volume does indeed yield maximum results, the story begins with the LA Rehearsal/Rifftape March 1998 demo, which was recently issued and quickly bought up from Sunn O)))'s webstore. 

Following that release, the band's WHITE1 and WHITE2 albums have been reissued.  Myself a fan of both albums, I am very excited about these reissues, which have been repackaged as 180-gram white vinyl double-LPs with posters.  Both are now available to purchase from the webstore.  

Please leave me a couple of copies: I have to wait a full week until payday.

If you're interested, you can find more Sunn O)))-related stuff here:

• A review of 2009's Monoliths & Dimensions 
• A review of the 2011 reissue of ØØ Void
• A review of Soused, Sunn O)))'s collaboration with Scott Walker
• A review of 2015's Kannon from Daughter of a Tapehead
Sunn O))) w/ Dead in the Dirt and T.O.M.B.: Live at Union Transfer — 9.5.12

All release info, links, and tour dates were provided by the kick ass people at Earsplit PR.

SUNN O))): Southern Lord Is Pleased To Present Both Historical WHITE Albums In Their Fundamental And Proper Forms, Coinciding With The Label's 20th Anniversary

Photo by Kerry O_Sullivan
SUNN O))) is reissuing both WHITE albums this summer, coinciding with Southern Lord's 20th anniversary.

For these reissues SUNN O))) took the original full-length unedited premasters/final mixes to Matt "The Alchemist" Colton at Alchemy Mastering in London for a complete high resolution 88K/24bit mastering and, crucially, cut the lacquers using Alchemy's half-speed method on their Neumann SX 74 cutterhead. The outstanding results allow the original full-length mixes to be pressed at high fidelity on the vinyl format. The new
WHITE masters reveal a broader frequency response, the bottom end is deeper and more intense, low mids are lusher, high frequencies are smoother, and the stereo image is vastly improved, seeming more three dimensional and more dynamic. The sound is clearer, sharper, more direct.

SUNN O))) co-founders Stephen O'Malley and Greg Anderson originally conceived the
WHITE albums to be "acoustic" but the sessions at Fontanelle's Magnetic Park studios in Portland Oregon quickly took a far different route toward the psychedelic and the electronic/synthetic, with trance and drone experiments.

WHITE1 was originally released in 2003 by Southern Lord as a CD and very limited three-sided LP edition of 540 copies in a white sleeve with a sticker, packaged in an embroidered pillowcase and containing a sleeping pill. The WHITE1 album was a great step forward into the experimental and highly collaborative area which SUNN O))) has metamorphosed via and travelled since. Together with the generosity and talent of the unique and great guest artists Julian Cope, Joe Preston, Rex Ritter, Ulver, and Runhild Gammelsaeter, the concept of SUNN O))) was brought forth from the shadows of the earth unto the broader cosmic spheres.

WHITE2 was originally released in 2004 by Southern Lord as a CD and limited double-LP edition of 1000 copies in a tip-on gatefold sleeve in various vinyl colors. The WHITE2 album was notably the first collaboration with the Hungarian legend and singer Attila Csihar, which has since begat a long and fruitful creative story of the O))) ethos. With the WHITE albums SUNN O))) took a bold step the experimental and highly collaborative path the concept of the group has traveled since. Together with Attila, WHITE2 featured the extraordinary talents of special guests Joe Preston, Rex Ritter & Dawn Smithson. Along with WHITE1, the album brought the concept of SUNN O))) further forth, arriving at a truly transcendent note with the pairing of the "Decay" tracks featuring Attila. And, the sky cracked open.

Southern Lord is offering each these reissues on 180-gram white vinyl, housed in Stoughton Printing old style gatefold tip-on sleeves. Each includes an A1 poster with classic portraits of the band from the period by Kerry O'Sullivan and Glynnis McDaris. T-shirts and other exclusive packages are also available. Limited to 1,000 copies, these shall be made available exclusively via and Other vinyl colors will be available through all outlets later in July.

For twenty years, SUNN O))) has been challenging the way we think about music. From 1999's
The Grimmrobe Demos to 2015's Kannon, core members Stephen O'Malley and Greg Anderson have forged connections between the worlds of metal, drone, contemporary composition, jazz, and minimalism with startling results while remaining true to the eternal principles of volume, density, and weight. In 2015, SUNN O))) released their first full-length LP in six years, Kannon, with its roots in recent collaborations with Norway's Ulver (Terrestrials) and Scott Walker (Soused).

SUNN O))) will perform live at the Psycho Las Vegas festival on August 19th alongside Godflesh, Goblin, Enslaved, All Pigs Must Die, Wolves In The Throne Room, and many more.

SUNN O))) Live:
8/19/2018 Hard Rock Hotel & Casino - Las Vegas, NV @ Psycho Las Vegas [info]

Letters From A Tapehead

Monday, June 25, 2018

Notes from The Record Room: Confessions to the Hip Priest — Fall Poseur’dom (or, Being Late to The Fall)

Back in 2006, Henry Rollins exposed me to The Fall via his Harmony In My Head radio show at the now-defunct Indie 103.1. For a while, each episode would feature at least one Fall track and his fanaticism with this band was enough to convince me to run out to the sorely missed Tower Records in King of Prussia and pick up A Part of America Therein, 1981, which is a compilation of live performances. I was not immediately taken with the album, nor the material per se, so I chalked this venture up to just being at odds taste-wise with a diehard fan. The Fall just wasn’t for me.

The first time I listened to Get Up With It, an electric era double-LP from Miles Davis, (I’ve written about the record before, so sorry being redundant), I couldn’t get through the first track. “He Loved Him Madly,” which was written as a meditation on the life of Duke Ellington, was over 30 full minutes of ambient sound and icy guitar notes, scattershot snare rolls arbitrarily placed throughout till an eventual, albeit muted, stride enters well beyond the track’s halfway point. I picked up the CD because it was Miles Davis and it was cheaply priced, ignorant to this phase of the artist’s evolution and expecting something other than what I was hearing. I grew bored and I pulled the CD out of my car stereo, annoyed at the purchase.

But, as the story goes, if something you’re exploring doesn’t resonate right away, you try again. And, if you’re compelled to do so, you try some more. It’s probably not a surprise to say that Get Up With It eventually became one of my all-time favorite records and I spent a healthy portion of time with it, learning to appreciate its subtleties as well as its more abrasive moments. “Rated X” is a contained anxiety attack. The emotional state of the artist is bare and as honest as we all hope our interactions are with the people we know, love, or trust. It’s the sort of truth that you hope to find in any form of art.

We forget sometimes, especially in this reality of media plentitude, to stop for a second and listen. Or watch. Or absorb. Even the simple act of chewing before you swallow seems like a lot to ask of us in this day and age. Immediate gratification is the goal. If whatever you’re devoting your dwindling attention span to doesn’t excite every sensory receptor in the space of five seconds, you’re likely to focus on something else. These are not new observations, but they’re applicable to my relationship with The Fall’s music.

Before Mark E. Smith passed away earlier this year, I’d finally begun to understand and appreciate what he was doing. It took 11 years of occasional listening and it’s because, at some point, I’d made the mistake of making up my mind and deciding that one uneven live CD could sum up a band as prolific and varied as The Fall were. I won’t go into a lesson about how sticking to one’s convictions can limit experience or perspective, (because honestly some things necessitate being treated with an unmoving yes or no), but my stubbornness did me no favors in this case.

And, I’ll admit to some laziness as well. Coming at a band like The Fall so late in the game, it’s an overwhelming discography and history to digest, especially when you consider the band’s numerous line-ups.

So, I’ve been slowing acquiring Fall LPs for the last year or so, beginning with The Fall’s second release, Dragnet. A friend of mine burned a copy of 1996’s The Light User Syndrome for me some years ago, and I’ve been reacquainting myself with it. A posthumous convert or poseur, I’m reconciling with failing to recognize the importance of a sea change level band. Paying penance in the name of the hip priest. 


Letters From A Tapehead

New Selections — Death Valley Girls, Saturn and the Sun, Eiko Ishibashi, Hekla, The Soft Moon, An Eagle in your Mind, J Mascis, Cripple Bastards, Pig Destroyer

Some new singles and others I've been meaning to post. Enjoy. Death Valley Girls :  " More Dead " (via Stereo Sanctit...