Friday, February 13, 2015

On Pause… And Apologies…

So, I have a day job.

I know, I know: It's difficult to imagine that the compensation I receive for dispensing my unique perspective on music for all of you to consume, cherish and wholeheartedly agree with isn't enough to keep my family fed, the house paid for and the lights forever aglow. Obviously, I don't get paid for this gig. As I'm sure you're all aware, Letters From A Tapehead is for me a labor of love. And, sometimes, that labor of love is difficult to maintain and keep current with content because…well, because life happens. I do try and provide content as worthwhile as anything you'll read in Pitchfork, Stereogum, Tiny Mix Tapes…etc. I may not always succeed, (or maybe I never succeed to this level as far as some of you are concerned), but I do my best to think and listen before I touch a keyboard. It's not uncommon for me to be up long past my bedtime on a work night wringing out the grey matter for whatever quality comment or I can capture because I want to make sure music fans have a reason to come back and check out what I have to say. Being a music fan myself, I want to ensure that what you're reading is accurate, entertaining, informative and worthwhile. If it's not, then there's no point in me doing this.



That being said, the last two weeks have been an absolute drain. My professional life has been occupying a great percentage of my time, which has left me very little to spend with my family let alone this labor of love I often access when all real world obligations have been met, when the little one is asleep and when nothing else requires my immediate attention. Because, inasmuch as we live for our passions, we also need to satisfy those who depend on us for company and support. I couldn't with a clear conscious decide "tonight's a writing night" when my daughter has been justifiably trying to get my attention long into the hours I've spent hunched over my laptop attempting to meet some very ambitious and somewhat unrealistic deadlines for the sake of my paycheck. I was able to acquire some off time over the past couple days, so naturally I've spent that time spent with family. They are owed my time over everything and everyone else. And, to be honest, my wife and daughter have both been incredibly patient with me as my job's demands have grown more significant. It would shitty of me to say to them, "Now that I have a free moment, leave me alone so I can review some albums."

So, as my family has been patient, I'm asking the same of you. I've noticed that my readership has dwindled a tad, which is understandable. But, for those of you who've hung in, thank you for doing so and I'm hoping to be on track very soon.


Sincerely,
Letters From A Tapehead

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Singles: Noah Wall, Evans the Death, Ariel Pink, Viet Cong, Run the Jewels, Holy Sons

Noah Wall: "Closed Source" & "Hot Glue" (via Force Field PR/Stadiums & Shrines/YouTube)


Evans the Death: "Enabler" (via Force Field PR/Under the Radar/Soundcloud)


Ariel Pink: "Dayzed Inn Daydreams" (via Force Field PR/Rolling Stone/YouTube)


Viet Cong: "Silhouettes" (via Jagjaguwar/T Magazine/YouTube)


Run The Jewels: "Lie, Cheat, Steal" (via Noisey/YouTube)


Holy Sons: "Long Days" (via Thrill Jockey Records/YouTube)


Sincerely,
Letters From A Tapehead

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Daughter of a Tapehead: Sleater-Kinney

Sleater-Kinney
No Cities To Love
Sub Pop
Released: 1.20.15


















*... And, we're out of time.

As far as No Cities To Love, it's a strong release from Sleater-Kinney and definitely a welcome return.  Reunions have a tendency to disappoint and this thankfully isn't one of them.

Sincerely,
Letters From A Tapehead

No Ripcord: Disappears

Disappears
Irreal
kranky
Released: 1.20.15



Sincerely,
Letters From A Tapehead

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Singles: No Spill Blood, Sam Prekop, The Soft Moon, Disgrace

No Spill Blood: "El Duurto" (via Us-Them Group/Noisey/Soundcloud)


Sam Prekop: "Weather Vane" (via Thrill Jockey Records/Soundcloud)


The Soft Moon: "Black (Trentemøller Remix)" (via Captured Tracks/FADER/Soundcloud)


Disgrace: (via Earsplit PR/Decibel Magazine/Soundcloud)


Sincerely,
Letters From A Tapehead

ZU: "Rudra Dances Over Burning Rome"

I perked up this morning at news of an LP from the jazz wreckage trio ZU, Cortar Todo.  The first single from the upcoming album is called "Rudra Dances Over Burning Rome" and if you like your Albert Ayler coupled with kick blasts and scraping low end, then this is for you.  Cortar Todo will be released via Ipecac Recordings on March 23rd, just in time for Spring.  Check out the track below:



After you check out the track, read up on the new album.  All info has been provided by Rarely Unable.

And, if you're wanting to read more, here's a review of the band's Public Guilt reissue of their album, The Way of the Animal Powers.  You can check that out at No Ripcord. 

ZU ANNOUNCE THEIR BRAND NEW FULL LENGTH, CORTAR TODO, UPCOMING ON IPECAC RECORDINGS ON 23RD MARCH

LISTEN TO "RUDRA DANCES OVER BURNING ROME"
https://soundcloud.com/ipecacrecordings/zu-rudra-dances-over-burning-rome/s-ut0Z5

In March 2015, ZU are preparing to release a brand new full length via Ipecac Recordings, entitled
Cortar Todo.

For over fifteen years, ZU's modus operandi of straddling and abusing musical genres has resulted in over fifteen unique album releases across labels such as Ipecac, Atavistic and Headz (Japan). Their experimental amalgam of metal, math, no-wave, noise and electronics, led acclaimed composer John Zorn to describe their sound as
"a powerful and expressive music that totally blows away what most bands do these days".

In the running for the title of 'the world's hardest working band', ZU have performed over 2000 shows throughout Europe, US, Canada, Asia, Russia, Mexico and even Africa, touring with the like of Mike Patton (as the Zu/Patton quartet), also sharing the stage with Faith No More, Fantomas, The Melvins, Lightning Bolt, Sonic Youth, The Ex, and countless others. They have also collaborated with a vast number of musicians including Mike Patton, The Melvins, Dälek, Jim O' Rourke, FM Einheit (Einsturzende Neubauten), Peter Brötzmann, Nobukazu Takemura, Eugene Robinson (Oxbow), Steve MacKay (The Stooges), The Ex, Thurston Moore, Stephen O Malley, Damo Suzuki (Can), Mats Gustafsson, NoMeansNo, Joe Lally (Fugazi).


Five years since their last full length on Ipecac, the critically acclaimed Carboniferous, and following a three year hiatus, ZU returned in May 2014 with the release of a brand new EP, Goodnight Civilization (Trost Records) and with a line up change that introduced the mighty Gabe Serbian, best known as the drummer for the legendary Californian band, The Locust.

Recorded in the countryside near Bologna, Italy, in the summer of 2014, the album features some very special guests including keyboard player Joey Karam (The Locust), Italian guitar maverick Stefano Pilia (who plays regularly with the likes of Mike Watt, David Grubbs and Rokia Traore) and perhaps most unexpectedly, a field recording of an indigenous Shipibo medicine man recorded by Massimo during his travels around the Amazon.

Cortar Todo reveals new dynamics from the band, the album is more direct, sharp, focussed, and more intense and musical than anything we have heard from ZU so far.

www.ipecac.com


Sincerely,
Letters From A Tapehead 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Mount Eerie: "This"

I know what to expect when it comes to Phil Elverum.  I knew for example that, once I found out Elverum, (or as he's professionally known, Mount Eerie), had released a new single, that I was probably going to need to listen to it five or six times before I'd have ANY idea of how to describe it.  Elverum is blessed with a distinct and sensitive hand when composing melodies, his harmonized quests dominated by subtlety, warmth and a light dose of unease. 


Elverum's new single, "THIS," is the first from the upcoming new Mount Eerie release, Sauna, which will be out in early February through his P.W. Elverum and Sun label.  The song begins with an aftershock, the type that would normally follow an unspeakably horrible or dramatic event, and then transitions into a graceful organ melody that's eventually built upon by the voices of Allyson Foster (Hungry Cloud Darkening) and Ashley Eriksson (Lake), a beautifully sung first verse is accompanied by light bass tones.  Woodwinds eventually flutter as if an ensemble were tasked and a severe amplified drone blankets the flurry.  It's lovely and unsettling.

The track was premiered on NPR.  All info on the release came from Force Field PR. 



Mount Eerie shares "THIS," the first official single / video from Sauna, via NPR

VIDEO: "THIS" -
NPR / YouTube


More about Sauna:

Mount Eerie is pleased to announce a new full length album to be named
Sauna due out from P.W. Elverum & Sun on Feb. 3, 2015. "Vikings and zen and real life" are the reference points. All of the song titles are single words and some of the songs are very long. This is music meant to weigh heavy on you like a lot of cold water at night, and also the sword glimmering at the bottom of the lake at night.

Twelve songs, 55 minutes total, inhabiting two high resolution 45rpm LPs, super-pretty heavy old-style gatefold jackets, jumbo poster, download card... luxury packaging.

Mount Eerie
Sauna
(P.W. Elverum and Sun)
Street Date: Feb. 3, 2015
Pre-order it here 


Track List:
1. Sauna
2. Turmoil
3. Dragon
4. Emptiness
5. (something)
6. Boat
7. Planets
8. Pumpkin
9. Spring
10. Books
11. This
12. Youth

(total time 55:09)


MOUNT EERIE LINKS:

Label / Official Site - www.pwelverumandsun.com 

Tumblr - http://pwelverumandsun.tumblr.com/ 
Twitter - http://www.twitter.com/PWElverum

Sincerely,
Letters From A Tapehead

Friday, January 09, 2015

Singles: Cotillon, Ghostpoet, Sonny & The Sunsets, Eskmo

Cotillon: "Left Bank" (via Force Field PR/The FADER/Soundcloud)


Ghostpoet: "Off Peak Dreams" (via Play It Again Sam [PIAS]/Soundcloud)


Sonny & The Sunsets: "Happy Carrot Health Food Store" (via Force Field PR/Indie Shuffle/Soundcloud)


Eskmo: "Mind Of War" (via Force Field PR/FACT/Soundcloud)


Sincerely,
Letters From A Tapehead

RPM Records Plus More / Vintage & Collectibles

RPM Records Plus More / Vintage & Collectibles is a relatively new record store that has opened up in Philadelphia. I haven't had the chance to check it out just yet, but based on pictures of the store I've seen and various social media interaction, it looks like something special that the community should hold on to. The store's owners, Rachel O'Donnell and Craig Surgent, are very invested in local music and seemingly determined to better the community through art and music, keeping both available to the citywide subcultures through which our collective creative identity can (and should) thrive and evolve. It's important stuff. 



Anyway, the store's timing in opening its doors was apparently not great. Active late in 2014, customer intake has been slow thanks to rough weather, which has naturally led to decrease in walkability for local businesses. That being said, RPM Records Plus More / Vintage & Collectibles has a GoFundMe campaign set up to help the business persist. In addition to contributing to this campaign, if you're in the neighborhood, maybe head over and see what the store's about. I still have to do this as well, so this suggestion applies to me as much as anyone reading this. That being said, I felt I would be derelict in my duties if I didn't try to at least drum up some support for the store. After all, even in the Internet age, record stores continue to be hubs for both intellectual and creative exchange and development. If you're a human being, you've subsisted on art in any of its various forms of existence at some point in your life and it's through independent avenues that one can become truly inspired.

You can find the RPM GoFundMe page here: http://www.gofundme.com/js99rc

The store doesn't seem to have a website, but here's the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/RPMRecordsPlusMore

RPM Records Plus More / Vintage & Collectibles
205 West Girard Ave
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19123

Sincerely,
Letters From A Tapehead

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

The Body/Thou: "Terrible Lie" (Nine Inch Nails cover)

The Body and Thou covered "Terrible Lie," one of the best inclusions in the Nine Inch Nails milestone release, Pretty Hate Machine.  The electrified tension Trent Reznor was able to conjure back in 1989 has undergone an horrific, blood-chilling and brutal treatment with this rendition, which is featured in the groups' newest collaboration, You, Whom I Have Always Hated.  The album will be out later this month.  

You can listen to "Terrible Lie" here:

"Terrible Lie"

(I was unable to get the embed code to work.)

All info and links were provided by Thrill Jockey Records.



The Body & Thou cover Terrible Lie (Nine Inch Nails)

Taken from new collaboration release
"You, Whom I Have Always Hated" out 26th January


"Thou's Bryan Funck issues searing verses, while The Body's Chip King shrieks the "terrible lie" hook, until righteously dumb-as-hell breakdowns slam this industrial sad-bastard fest into the damn ground" - NPR

Thou, who are no strangers to covering songs (in the past they done Soundgarden, Nirvana, Alice In Chains, Black Sabbath, Minor Threat) and this time along with The Body, they have reworked Nine Inch Nails' classic "Terrible Lie" into a ferocious and intense beast of a song. It's available on The Body and Thou's new collaborative release "You, Whom I Have Always Hated" (out on 26th January).

Just premiered on NPR Music, you can hear their version of Terrible Lie on Soundcloud below!

LISTEN: Terrible Lie:
https://soundcloud.com/thrilljockey/the-body-thou-terrible-lie-1/s-ekdd3

The Body and Thou are bands with Southern US roots that have been pushing the boundaries of metal music for over a decade. Both have maintained relentless touring schedules, a dedication to DIY ethics & aesthetics, and a complete commitment to push their respective brands of extreme music into previously unexplored territories like no other bands in the genre. "You, Whom I Have Always Hated" is a new collaborative release that showcases both bands' unique abilities to create music that is emotionally effecting and unrelenting with its power.

The CD and digital versions of the release combine recordings by long time Thou engineer James Whitten (originally released only on LP as "Released From Love" on Vinyl Rites) and new material recorded by Seth Manchester and Keith Souza of Machines with Magnets, long-time engineers for The Body. The Body and Thou plan to reunite in the latter half of 2015 for some more touring shenanigans. Thou will be making an appearance at Roadburn Festival in the Netherlands this April.

Video of The Body & Thou performing Terrible Lie live at Gilead Fest 2014 HERE

You, Whom I Have Always Hated tracklist:
1. Her Strongholds Unvanquishable
2. The Devils of Trust Steal the Souls of the Free
3. Terrible Lie (Nine Inch Nails cover)
4. Beyond the Realms of Dream, That Fleeting Shade Under the Corpus of Vanity
5. He Returns to the Place of His Iniquity
6. Lurking Fear
Sincerely,
Letters From A Tapehead

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