Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Body: The Myth Arc

The Body specializes in misery.

For their latest album, No One Deserves Happiness, the duo, members Chip King and Lee Buford, decided that their brand of bleak metal should be expanded or altered with unsettling dance rhythms and corrupted electro beats.  The group's latest single, "The Myth Arc," is, in some ways, kind of beautiful.  While a very loud series of echoing blasts of machined static drives the song, not to mention the droning riff that crumbles slowly after every stroke, vocalist Chrissy Wolpert, (Assembly of Light), exudes a calm and delicacy that's at odds with the horror beneath her, so much so that her promise that "I will find you" takes on a haunting level of foreboding.  It is genuinely chilling and not too far removed from the sonic mastery that Scott Walker and SunnO))) exhibited in 2014's Soused.

You can check out the video below.

All video and release information and links were provided by Thrill Jockey.

Actor Keir Gilchrist of It Follows stars in the stylish new video from The Body

The Myth Arc directed by Thou's Mitch Wells

The Body's acclaimed new album No One Deserves Happiness is out now

“[They] take doom metal as their core template and shred it to pieces until it's completely unrecognisable." - Pitchfork

"[No One Deserves Happiness] sees the band take a further leap in conception, scope and delivery." - FACT

"This album, like everything the band has done, is designed to break us now only for us to thank them later." - SPIN

"On 'Starving Deserter' they casually unleash the best track The Melvins never recorded." - The Wire

On the cusp of their US collaboration tour with grind band Full of Hell this August & September, The Body have unveiled their eerie and haunting new video for "The Myth Arc," a track taken from the duo's critically acclaimed latest album No One Deserves Happiness.

The video features notable actor Keir Gilchrist (It Follows, It's Kind of a Funny Story, The Good Neighbor), and is directed by Mitch Wells, bassist of sludge metal giants Thou. Gilchrist has been a longtime fan of The Body's and always attends their shows in LA. A truly open-ended video that will linger in the mind after viewing.

WATCH: The Body - The Myth Arc (Official Music Video):
YouTube Link To Video:

On No One Deserves Happiness, The Body’s Chip King and Lee Buford set out to make “the grossest pop album of all time.” The album themes of despair and isolation are delivered by the unlikely pairing of the Body’s signature heaviness and 80s dance tracks. The Body can emote pain like no other band, and their ability to move between the often strict confines of the metal world and the electronic music sphere is on full display throughout No One Deserves Happiness, an album that eludes categorization.

No One Deserves Happiness has received high praise from SPIN, NPR Music, The Quietus, FACT, Noisey, Thump, A.V. Club, and The Wire. They are one of the most in-demand bands around: In the past two years, they have joined forces with metal bands Thou, Sandworm, Full of Hell, and Krieg, recorded with Wrekmeister Harmonies, and collaborated with electronic producer The Haxan Cloak for "I Shall Die Here". They are currently working on a collaboration with renowned UK dubstep pioneer The Bug. This unexpected list of collaborators and unpredictable touring approach further emphasises the demand for the band’s distinctive sound and their open, explorative nature.

The Body - No One Deserves Happiness Out now via Thrill Jockey
Available on CD / LP / DL

1. Wanderings
2. Shelter Is Illusory
3. For You
4. Hallow / Hollow
5. Two Snakes
6. Adamah
7. Starving Deserter
8. The Fall and the Guilt
9. Prescience
10. The Myth Arc

The Body profile page:

The Myth Arc (Official Music Video):

Two Snakes (Official Music Video):

Shelter Is Illusory (Official Audio):

The Body on: Facebook / Bandcamp

Letters From A Tapehead

Friday, August 12, 2016

Singles: Band Aparte, Girl Tears, Kishi Bashi, Douglas Dare, Fire to the Stars, Miss Lava, Purling Hiss, The Well, The Julie Ruin

Band Aparte: "Cherry Chapstick" (via Force Field PR/Noisey/Manifesto Records/Soundcloud)

Girl Tears: "Sedated" (via Omnian Music Group/Sinderlyn/Soundcloud)

Kishi Bashi: "Say Yeah" (via Joyful Noise Recordings/Soundcloud)

Douglas Dare: "Doublethink" (via Erased Tapes/Stereogum/Soundcloud)

Fire to the Stars: "Wholesale Slaughter" (via Fire to the Stars/Soundcloud)

Miss Lava: "Another Beast is Born" (via Earsplit PR/YouTube)

Purling Hiss: "Fever" (via mutante-inc./Drag City/Soundcloud)

Perpacity: "9725" (via Shameless Promotion/Bandcamp)

The Well: "Black Eyed Gods" (via Us-Them Group/RidingEasy Records/Soundcloud)

The Julie Ruin: "Mr. So and So" (via Hardly Art/Paper Magazine/YouTube)

Letters From A Tapehead

Friday, August 05, 2016

Over the Hill (plus 10): The Beatles' Revolver

When The Beatles' entire catalogue had been remastered in 2009, I penned a three-part review of the box set for No Ripcord.  For the band's 1966 release, Revolver, this is what I had to say:

"In a way, Revolver is a bolder album than Pepper was, an experimental hybrid clashing symphonic string arrangements ('Eleanor Rigby'), rock n’ jolly 'Singin’ In The Rain'-styled ditties ('Good Day Sunshine'), kid-friendly sing-alongs about friendly aquatic transports ('Yellow Submarine'), Eastern influences ('Love You To') and the decade’s introduction to psychedelic rock n’ roll ('She Said She Said,' 'Tomorrow Never Knows'). An absolute plethora of influences and styles at work and they marry perfectly onto Revolver with nary a concept at work, nor a marching suit to hide behind. 

Revolver is Beatlemania’s actual 'good riddance' and the very reason they couldn’t go on as a touring band. As a continually growing entity, confronted by the possibility of having to appease public expectations with renditions of 'I Saw Her Standing There' and 'I Wanna Hold Your Hand,' the studio was their only means to continue as a band. No single song spoke that truth louder than 'Tomorrow Never Knows,' its eerie and ultra-modern tonality quite possibly The Beatles’ most exciting contribution to rock music."

Today, Revolver turns 50 and still stands as one of the most important rock albums to date.  And, with this being the year that George Martin passed away, his vision having contributed significantly to the album's brilliance, it would almost seem disrespectful not to give Revolver a spin today.

As far as what to write, Revolver's been analyzed, critiqued, dismantled, and reconsidered enough times that it's pointless to try and add any new observations or even attempt to find its flaws.  The album's continued importance in the ongoing story of rock n' roll, not to mention our collective pop-fueled consciousness, will not be denied or usurped.  It's a permanent fixture that's transcended generations and influenced countless musicians and even studio techs.

And now that I've made the babyboomers happy by getting on my knees and bowing repeatedly to the tune of "we're not worthy...we're not worthy," I would like to express a couple of things personally that have made this album important to me.  (Because why not channel my own inner-babyboomer and make this all about me?)

First off, let's talk about that cover by Klaus Voormann

As a child, I drew.  A lot.  And being someone of the visual persuasion, Voorman's intricate and caricatured line drawing was something I'd stare at quite a bit.  It was like the original Where's Waldo, some obscure bit always hiding in plain sight within the contextual mire of collaged photos and ink. 

I'd thought about the cover differently, however, one day while home sick from school.  I was watching a VHS copy of The Compleat Beatles, an early 80s documentary about the band and I have a very vivid memory of the scene when they begin discussing the track, "Tomorrow Never Knows."  While the song played in the background, the camera would pan over the cover in varying ways, trying to visually capture the intensity and otherworldliness of the track.  It was a very simple device, but I watched that ten of fifteen seconds over and over again. 

Second, "Tomorrow Never Knows:"

I share this one with a lot of people.  In my mind, "Tomorrow Never Knows" is what ends most arguments that begin with claims that The Beatles were overrated.  That isn't to say they didn't have their moments when a song or two missed the mark, or that their reputations as Jelly Babies-smeared, cherub-faced moptops didn't have some validity prior to their most innovative period.  I'll concede that point, albeit begrudgingly.  But, "Tomorrow Never Knows" is, in many ways, defined how music would sound for years following. There's no hook, no bridge, no conventional structure. This song is a breathing stream of consciousness, John Lennon's Tibetan Book of the Dead inspired (Ringo Starr's whimsical thought bubble spoken aloud supplying the title) thoughts carried by one captivating bass rhythm and simplistic drum loop, which likely informed the later structural personas of drum-n-bass music, trance, post-punk...etc.  In addition to its altering of the pop song paradigm, its use of prerecorded samples, which were curated by Paul McCartney, is a remarkable innovation, something we take for granted now as music, primarily early hip-hop, has used sampling through the last 30 or more years.

I didn't know any of this, though, the first time I really listened to this song.  When I was about 10 or 11, I'd recorded Revolver onto a cassette tape, the vintage pops and cracks audibly carried from my father's original U.S. pressing.  I found myself concentrating on "Tomorrow Never Knows," understanding that it was NOT a Beatles track.  It was something else.  To this day, I get chills listening to this song.   

Third, Paul McCartney as bassist:

In all honesty, the George Harrison-scribed "Taxman" was the first song that made me actually think about Paul McCartney's brilliance as a bassist. I always felt he'd been buried up to that point, or it could be that the song's very minimalist structure allowed me the opportunity to listen to what he could actually do.  His near-funk riff truly drives this song and is its most distinguishing characteristic.  So, from the standpoint of listener and appreciator, one able to discern and distill elements from a song, "Taxman" was the track that first trained my ear to locate sounds. 

Letters From A Tapehead

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

I Heart Noise: Boris's Pink (Deluxe Edition)

Pink (Deluxe Edition)
Sargent House
Released: 7.8.16
Originally released: 2005 via Diwphalanx Records (Japan); 2006 via Southern Lord Recordings (U.S.)

Letters From A Tapehead

Monday, August 01, 2016

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez: "Running Away"

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (The Mars Volta/At the Drive-In) is at the start of a very heavy season of solo releases, which, with help from Ipecac Recordings, will carry through till year's end.  For the second installment of this series, a video for the track "Running Away," featured on the album Corazones, has surfaced and features cameos from Buzz Osborne (Melvins), Teri Gender-Bender (Le Butcherettes) and John Frusciante (Red Hot Chili Peppers) to name a few.  And they all inflict onto Rodriguez-Lopez physical harm.  Pitchfork premiered the video, which you can check out below. 

A schedule of Rodriguez-Lopez's solo releases can be found below along with other information, all of which was provided by Speakeasy PR.



Aug. 1, 2016, El Paso, Tex. – Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (At The Drive In/Mars Volta) premieres the video for “Running Away,” from the latest in his ongoing series of solo albums, Corazones, via Pitchfork (

The clip, which was directed by Violeta Felix and shot by Adrian Blanco, features Omar in a series of Los Angeles-based encounters with friends who might not be terribly happy to see him. Guests include Buzz Osborne, Teri Gender Bender, John Frusciante, Robin Laananen, Tatiana Velazquez, Aura T-09 and Eva Gardner.

Omar, in partnership with Ipecac Recordings, recently announced the release of a series of solo albums, which kicked off on July 15 with
Sworn Virgins. The previously unreleased albums were recorded from 2008 to 2013, while he lived in Zapopan, Mexico and continued when he returned to El Paso. The titles are released on a bi-weekly basis with the first spate of albums running through the end of the year. Each album will see a digital release with a limited number of physical copies (CD) available on Rodriguez-Lopez’s various live outings. A limited edition CD/LP box set will become available in 2017, once the full run of releases are available.

The releases can be purchased via Bandcamp ( and iTunes (

Omar Rodriquez-Lopez initial release schedule:
Sworn Virgins (July 15)
Corazones (July 29)
Blind Worms, Pious Swine (August 12)
Arañas en La Sombra (August 26)
Umbrella Mistress (September 9)
El Bien Y Mal Nos Une (September 23)
Cell Phone Bikini (October 7)
Infinity Drips (October 21)
Weekly Mansions (November 4)
Zapopan (November 18)
Nom De Guerre Cabal (December 2)
Some Need It Lonely (December 16)

Letters From A Tapehead

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Daughter of a Tapehead: Boris

Pink (Deluxe Edition)
Sargent House
Released: 7.8.16
Originally released: 2005 via Diwphalanx Records (Japan); 2006 via Southern Lord Recordings (U.S.)

* I'm in the midst of finishing up a review of the Pink reissue for I Heart Noise.  I'm hoping to have that out very soon.

** While the tendency for Boris to genre-hop isn't necessarily something one can glean from a single track, this aspect of the band makes them difficult to readily categorize and I think Isabella picked up on that.  

Letters From A Tapehead

What I Heard This Morning: Nisennenmondai

Nisennenmondai is a three-piece from Japan whose propulsive art rock mutations seem to derive mainly from the No Wave era groups like DNA and Mars, whose own caustic brands of anti-melody had been inspired largely by the urban ruin of late-70s New York City, not to mention the desire to simply play music that had no clear ancestor, namely traceable roots to rock, blues, jazz, funk...etc., (though I could argue some connection to free jazz).  I'd also cite the psychedelic and repetitious elements of groups like Neu! and Can as possible influences as well as post-punk's utilization of dub reggae.  

Nisennenmondai has apparently been playing together since 1999, so it embarrasses me a little to be discovering this group almost twenty years later.  But, the tracks I sampled from the group's recent release #N/A warranted acknowledgement.

On September 2nd, Nisennenmondai will be releasing the #6 EP, its single track pulled from the sessions that birthed #N/A.  The B-side features a remix of #6 by Throbbing Gristle's Chris Carter

Below is a teaser video announcing the EP.  I've also embedded a Soundcloud link with some cuts from #N/A that you can check out.  The EP will be out on On-U Sound and the info below (along with a link to pre-order the album) was provided by Julian T. Schoen - Artist, Event & Project Management.  


Watch the Teaser Video now //\\ Pre-order limited edition vinyl
#6 is out September 2 on On-U Sound

Nisennenmondai - #6 EP Teaser
(YouTube // Vimeo)

Earlier this Spring, Nisennenmondai, the female trio from Tokyo, Japan, that make live, hypnotic, instrumental industrial / no-wave jams, released their collaborative
#N/A full-length with legendary producer and On-U Sound captain Adrian Sherwood. The LP was well received by the likes of Pitchfork, Resident Advisor, XLR8R and others.

Today, the trio & Sherwood are pleased to announce the follow-up
#6 EP, available September 2 on limited edition vinyl, featuring an exclusive bonus cut from the #N/A sessions along with a very special remix by the underground legend Chris Carter, best known for Throbbing Gristle, Carter Tutti Void, and Chris & Cosey.

Nisennenmondai is composed of Sayaka Himeno on drums, Yuri Zaikawa on bass, and Masako Takada on guitar. They have been composing live, instrumental music since 1999, first channeling a noise / no wave aesthetic in the vein of Sonic Youth, only later developing into streamlined, hypnotic, minimalist sound that could be likened to
"organic live techno".

Already receiving support from the likes of Battles, Prefuse 73 and Throbbing Gristle, Nisennenmondai began their dive into electronic music culture with their collaboration with Shackleton last year. Linking with Sherwood helps continue this trajectory while adding a new layer to their hypnotic jams. 


Nisennenmondai -
#6 EP
(On-U Sound, out September 2)


Track Listing

Side A

Side B
#6 (Chris Carter Remix)


(Site // Facebook // Twitter)

On-U Sound
(Site // Soundcloud // Twitter // Facebook

Letters From A Tapehead

VH1 Classic Will Be MTV Classic...

All those of years of GEN X'ers being ignored or maligned by their babyboomer parents, indifferent and cynical marketers and a media that was more than happy to cater to perceptions of "slacker-dom," and the one bone we're thrown is MTV Classic.  I don't know whether to celebrate or tell Viacom to go fuck themselves because, chances are, this "new" network is probably going to have as much success as VH1 Classic's very lazy attempt at recapturing the so-called magic of a bygone era.  Remember Nick At Nite?  That's basically what this is, except for the ex-Manic Panic set who insatiably scour Buzzfeed for lists pertaining to topics like "You were a 90s kid if..." and "Things only 90s kids will understand."

Sorry, that's my 90s era cynicism kicking in.  

You can find an article on the re-branded MTV Classic at Stereogum.

I'll probably wind up watching it.

Letters From A Tapehead

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Blonde Redhead: "This is the number of times I said I will but didn't (4-Track Demo)"

At the end of September, Blonde Redhead will be releasing Masculin Féminin, a 37-track compilation featuring the band's first two releases (s/t and La Mia Via Violenta) along with singles, demos, essays, and unseen photographs.  Masculin Féminin is being released as part of the 200 Line series, a faction of Numero Group's archival endeavors that specializes in the forgotten recorded artifacts from the DIY era. 

You can listen to the track below or check out the Black Book article.

There's also a trailer announcing the release.

Information and links were provided by Force Field PR.

Blonde Redhead shares rare early demo via Black Book ahead of Numero Group box set release

STREAM: "This is the number of times I said I will but didn't" (4 track demo) -
Soundcloud / Black Book

VIDEO: Trailer Video -

Teeming with the energy and grit of pre-Giuliani Manhattan, Blonde Redhead's long out-of-print early recordings have finally crawled their way out of the '90s basement thanks to Numero Group who will issue a 4LP / 2CD set on Sept. 30. Weighing in at 37 tracks, Masculin Féminin compiles the band's first two albums for Steve Shelley's Smells Like Records (self-titled and La Mia Via Violenta), their period singles, extant demos, and radio performances across four LPs or two CDs. Dozens of previously unpublished photographs illustrate two lengthy essays on this essential New York band's formative years.

This is the latest installment in Numero Group's 200 Line series which has also included releases from Unwound, Bedhead, Codeine, White Zombie and The Scientists.

"These songs combine a raw need, a ready access to neediness, with seemingly incongruous cinematic changes reminiscent of '60s Italian pop music and movie scores. They switch between emotional grandeur and eye scratching immediacy." -Arto Lindsay


10/09 Laval, QC - Salle Andre-Mathieu
10/11 New York, NY - The Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph
10/13 Washington DC - The Howard Theatre
10/14 Durham, NC - RJ Reynolds Industries Theater

Blonde RedheadMasculin Féminin
(Numero Group)
Street Date: Sept. 30, 2016
Pre-order here

Track List:

LP 1 -

1. I Don't Want U
2. Sciuri Sciura
3. Astro Boy
4. Without Feathers
5. Snippet
6. Mama Cita
7. Swing Pool
8. Girl Boy

LP 2 - 7"s and Bonus Material

9. Amescream
10. Big Song
11. Inside You
12. Vague
13. Jet Star
14. This Is The Number Of Times I Said I Will But Didn't (4 Track Demo)
15. Instrumental (Live at Snacktime)
16. Slogan Attempt
17. Swing Pool Instrumental (Live at Snacktime)
18. Woody (4 Track Demo)

LP 1 -
La Mia Vita Violenta

19. (I Am Taking Out My Eurotrash) I Still Get Rocks Off
20. Violent Life
21. U.F.O.
22. I Am There While You Choke On Me
23. Harmony
24. Down Under
25. Bean
26. Young Neil
27. 10 Feet High
28. Jewel

LP 2 - 7"s and Bonus Material

29. Flying Douglas
30. Harmony (7" Version)
31. 10 Feet High (7" Version)
32. Valentine
33. Not Too Late
34. (I Am Taking Out My Eurotrash) I Still Get Rocks Off (KCRW Session)
35. Pier Paolo (KCRW Session)
36. Country Song (La Mia Vita Violenta Outtake)
37. It Was All So Sudden (4 Track Demo)


Letters From A Tapehead

Faith No More: "The Jungle (Live 1986)"

An expanded edition of Faith No More's 1986 debut LP, We Care A Lot, will be out August 19th via Koolarrow Records.  In the interest of promoting the reissue, a video of the group performing "The Jungle" at San Francisco's The i-Beam has surfaced online.  This footage will be included in the reissue, along with demos and other live recordings.

Information on the reissue is provided below along with pre-order links, all of which were provided by Speakeasy PR.  




SAN FRANCISCO, July 27, 2016 – As part of the build up to the release of Faith No More's We Care A Lot reissue (Aug. 19, Koolarrow Records), watch new, rare footage (audio and video by Chris Husband) of Faith No More performing 'The Jungle' live from 1986 at The i-Beam in San Francisco:

The footage and track are included on the album reissue, and the track is also now available (as well as "We Care A Lot" and "As The Worm Turns') as instant downloads on the iTunes pre-order link:
“This was an album that started as a demo, before any label had any interest in us,” explained Faith No More bass player Bill Gould. “There were a couple of reasons we decided to release this now: first of all, it’s been 20 years since it has been commercially available. Secondly, when cleaning out my basement, I discovered the original master reels, and we all thought that resurrecting this from the original tapes would be a great way to reintroduce We Care A Lot into the world. Lastly, this has been a band effort; we are releasing this in the same way as we recorded it, deciding everything amongst ourselves and getting our hands deep into the nuts and bolts… just like we used to.”

The original 10-song album, remastered by Maor Appelbaum via the original reels Gould eluded to, is enhanced with nine bonus tracks including demo versions (taken from the original 8-track tapes) of “Greed,” “Mark Bowen,” “Arabian Disco” and “Intro,” live versions of “The Jungle” and “New Beginnings” and new mixes, via Matt Wallace, of “We Care A Lot,” “Pills for Breakfast” and “As The Worm Turns.” Liner notes from keyboard player Roddy Bottum and behind-the-scenes photos will be included with the physical release.
We Care A Lot (Deluxe Band Edition) is available now for pre-order on CD (, digital ( and vinyl (

We Care A Lot arrived in November 1985 via Maximum RocknRoll editor Ruth Schwartz’s Mordam Records. The seminal album, boasting the timeless title track, which can still be heard daily on radio stations worldwide, confounded music fans and critics alike. As Pitchfork said in a 2015 article dubbed “The Misunderstanding of Faith No More,” the unpredictable and hard-to-define band “had radically altered the parameters of popular music years before the fabled alternative revolution.” Rolling Stone called it a "raw punk album" while Select Magazine dubbed it "a lustful marriage of mutoid metal and dance floor verve."

“When strangers ask what Faith No More is I’ve always said, ‘well, it’s kind of an art band…’ I say that mostly to distance us from the hard rock world that we’re often times lumped into. I mean, hard rock, sure, that was part of it, but our roots most definitely and pointedly stem from a specific freakout art time and place in San Francisco, a time that no longer exists. In 1982, the hippies mingled with the punks, the artists hung out with the musicians, the dance people and the punks were one and the Satanists and the sexual pioneers… all part of the same scene,” Bottum explains, colorfully setting the scene for the original inspiration for the band and We Care A Lot. “That weird SF window provided a platform from which we were free to express and cultivate a really uniquely odd sound experience. In Los Angeles, no one really cared much, but SF was always super supportive, encouraging us, directly and not, to get our collective freak on.”

“We felt like it was time to take the next step,” adds drummer Mike Bordin. “We raised as much money as we were able and booked time at Prairie Sun Studios just north of San Francisco. I can’t remember how long it took us to record the album, but not a lot, maybe a few days. The songs were sharp from having played most of them at various shows. Very stripped down, basic as could be. The place was on a farm in chicken country (Petaluma). Hard work, but a ton of fun too.”

We Care A Lot (Deluxe Band Edition) track list:
1. We Care A Lot
2. The Jungle
3. Mark Bowen
4. Jim
5. Why Do You Bother
6. Greed
7. Pills for Breakfast
8. As The Worm Turns
9. Arabian Disco
10. New Beginnings
11. We Care A Lot – 2016 Mix
12. Pills for Breakfast – 2016 Mix
13. As The Worm Turns – 2016 Mix
14. Greed – Original Demo
15. Mark Bowen – Original Demo
16. Arabian Disco – Original Demo
17. Intro – Original Demo
18. The Jungle – I-Beam, SF, 1986
19. New Beginnings – I-Beam, SF, 1986

Letters From A Tapehead


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