Thursday, May 05, 2016

Shopping For Records: Sherwood At The Controls Vol. 2: 1985-1990

Producer and On-U Sound owner Adrian Sherwood is releasing the second installment of his Sherwood at the Controls series.  Sherwood at the Controls Vol. 2: 1985-1990 features tracks from Mark Stewart (The Pop Group), Lee "Scratch" Perry, Ministry, and KMFDM to name a few, and will be out June 24th.  The first volume, which encapsulates selected material from 1979 till 1984, was released April of 2015. 

In light of Prince's recent and very unfortunate passing, a cover of his song "Girls & Boys" by the group Pankow, which is coincidentally featured on the compilation, is available online.  You can check out the track below:

Here is a video trailer advertising the compilation:

You can read more about the release below. All info, links, and tracks were provided by Julian T. Schoen.

Pankow covers Prince "Girls & Boys", off Sherwood At The Controls Vol. 2: 1985-1990 on On-U Sound June 24

Stream Pankow "Girls & Boys" (Prince Cover)

Sherwood At The Controls Volume 2: 1985-1990

Last month, On-U Sound and Adrian Sherwood announced news of a second label compilation, Sherwood At The Controls Volume 2: 1985-1990, which will be available June 24th on vinyl, CD and digitally. Volume 2 includes cuts from Lee Scratch Perry, Mark Stewart, and Tackhead, as well 5 previously unreleased tracks from the On-U vault.

Today, in respect and honor to the spirit and untimely death of Prince, the group releases a serendipitous 1987 metal dance deconstruction cover of the Purple One's classic "Girls & Boys", by Italian group Pankow, with additional production from Sherwood, available on this compilation.

To add some context to this song and its history, here is a snippet from the compilation's liner notes -

Adrian's mid-80s productions with the Tackhead axis were some of the most innovative of the period in their sheer sonic extremity - creating huge walls of sound with skull-crushing beats, a Dadaist collage of vocal samples, and instruments pushed way into the red. Distortion became another colour in his sonic palette, just as echo, reverb and parametric EQ had been to his dub productions. These records caught the ears of musicians from the emerging second wave industrial scene - an international affair taking inspiration from earlier groups like Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire but applying it to tracks intended for a dancefloor or rock club. The hybrid would be dubbed 'electronic body music', and Sherwood very much had a hand in shaping the sound, being invited to work with the likes of Einstürzende Neubauten, Ministry, KMFDM, Nitzer Ebb and Nine Inch Nails.

Pankow were from Florence, Italy and Adrian made their acquaintance after producing fellow hometown act Rinf (also featured on this comp). Pankow's early synth and drum machine excursions such as "Das Vodkalied" have become a seminal touchstone for modern techno producers such as Helena Hauff in recent years, with their heavier late-80s productions with Adrian Sherwood being championed as metal dance classics by On-U compiler Trevor Jackson. They also ended up having their records released in the states by Wax Trax!, and worked on two albums with Adrian, Freiheit Für Die Sklaven (Freedom For The Slaves) and Gisela. This irreverent deconstruction of a Prince song is a highlight of their time working together and appeared in extended form on the humorously titled EP, Pankow Play The Hits Of The Nineties.

Various Artists - Sherwood At The Controls Vol. 2
(YouTube // Vimeo // Pre-Order)

Various Artists - Sherwood At The Controls Volume 2: 1985-1990
(On-U Sound, out June 24)
2LP // CD // Download


Track Listing -
1. Mark Stewart - Hypnotised (12" Mix) [1985]
2. Tackhead - Mind At The End Of The Tether [1987]
3. Doug Wimbish & Fats Comet - Don't Forget That Beat (alternate dub) [1985]
4. Flux - The Value Of Nothing [1986]
5. The Unknown Cases - Masimbabele 89 (Adrian Sherwood Remix) [1989]
6. Keith LeBlanc - These Sounds [1989]
7. The Beatnigs - Television (Dance Mix) [1988]
8. Pankow - Girls & Boys [1987]
9. Ministry - All Day Remix [1986]
10. Rinf - Big Bondage (Kinky Sex Wet Mix) [1987]
11. KMFDM - Don't Blow Your Top (Adrian Sherwood Remix) [1988]
12. Dub Syndicate - Snatch A Style [1985]*
13. Lee Perry - Music & Science Madness [1987]*
14. Bim Sherman - Haunting Ground Dub [1986]*
15. African Head Charge - Hold Some More Version [1990]*
16. Dub Syndicate - Early Mafia [1990]*

* - Previously Unreleased

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

Letters From A Tapehead

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

What's (Re)New?: Pentagram's First Daze Here & First Daze Here Too

Pentagram reissues.  Not much to say about this except, "Just take my money, Relapse Records."

Check out the remastered "Forever My Queen" below.  Info and links come courtesy of Relapse Records. 

PENTAGRAM: Relapse Announces Deluxe Reissues of First Daze Here And First Daze Here Too 

Hear The Remastered Version of "Forever My Queen" now at YouTube

You can't talk about heavy metal without talking about PENTAGRAM. The legendary D.C. band has been committed to the dark arts for going on half a decade, and has only recently seen the kind of recognition its legacy deserves. Though the band has released nine influential full-lengths over the course of its career, PENTAGRAM's most popular and influential material since its Relapse resurrection fifteen years ago can be found in First Daze Here, a collection of the band's earliest works that has been out-of-print for years and will now finally see a new reissue via Relapse this coming June. Its companion First Daze Here Too, a 22-track collection of unreleased studio recordings and live rehearsals from the early '70s, will also see its first reissue since going out of print several years ago.

Both reissues have been newly remastered and include in-depth liner notes from founding PENTAGRAM member / original drummer Geof O'Keefe along with gorgeously revitalized layouts. CD Version of First Daze Here includes a vinyl-shaped CD featuring the two newly remastered versions of the infamous Macabre 45! The original mix of the long-lost 45 will also see its first-ever vinyl pressing for this reissue, and is available in the deluxe First Daze Here / First Daze Here Too bundle or along with the Bone White / Gold Merge LP of First Daze Here.
Stream the remastered version of the classic track "Forever My Queen" now at this location.

First Daze Here and First Daze Here Too will both be released this June 17 on 2CD/LP/Digital and 2CD/2xLP/Digital respectively. Physical pre-orders, including a variety of limited-edition vinyl colors and exclusive package options containing the Macabre 7", can be found via at this location. Digital pre-orders for First Daze Here and First Daze Here Too are available via Pentagram's Bandcamp page here and here respectively.
PENTAGRAM have also announced a West Coast tour with Wax Idols and King Woman this coming May! The band will be crushing audiences for two weeks kicking off this May 17, and will also be performing at Psycho Las Vegas this August - check out a full list of dates below.

***All Dates With Wax Idols & King Woman***
May 17 Seattle, WA Studio Seven
May 18 Portland, OR Dante's
May 19 Boise, ID Neurolux
May 20 Salt Lake City, UT The State Room
May 21 Denver, CO Marquis Theater
May 23 Phoenix, AZ Nile Theater
May 24 Los Angeles, CA The Echo
May 25 San Diego, CA Brick By Brick
May 26 Santa Ana, CA The Observatory
May 27 San Francisco, CA DNA Lounge
May 28 San Jose, CA The Ritz
Aug 27 Las Vegas, NV Psycho Las Vegas

First Daze Here Tracklisting: 

Disc 1
1. Forever My Queen
2. When The Screams Come
3. Walk In The Blue Light
4. Starlady
5. Lazy Lady
6. Review Your Choices
7. Hurricane
8. Livin' In A Ram's Head
9. Earth Flight
10. 20 Buck Spin
11. Be Forewarned
12. Last Days Here

Disc 2
13. Be Forewarned (The Macabre 7" - Original Mix)
14. Lazy Lady (The Macabre 7" - Original Mix)

First Daze Here Too Tracklisting: 

Disc 1
1. Wheel Of Fortune
2. When The Screams Come
3. Under My Thumb
4. Smokescreen
5. Teaser
6. Little Games
7. Much Too Young To Know

Disc 2 
8. Virgin Death
9. Yes I Do
10. Ask No More
11. Man
12. Be Forewarned
13. Catwalk
14. Die In Your Sleep
15. Frustration
16. Target
17. Everything’s Turning To Night
18. Take Me Away
19. Nightmare Gown
20. Cartwheel
21. Cat & Mouse
22. Show ‘em How

Pre-Order 'First Daze Here' & 'First Daze Here Too' at Relapse HERE

Letters From A Tapehead

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Singles: Kikagaku Moyo, Hooded Fang, The Red Krayola with Art & Language, La Luz, Zig Zags, Gruesome

Kikagaku Moyo: "Green Sugar" (via Tell All Your Friends PR/Consequence of Sound/Soundcloud)

Hooded Fang: "Dead Battery" (via Force Field PR/DIY Magazine/Soundcloud)

The Red Krayola with Art & Language: "No! No! No! Trust Yourself!"(via Drag City/Soundcloud)

La Luz: "Easy Baby" (via Hardly Art/YouTube

Zig Zags: "They Came For Us" (via Terrorbird Media/Castle Face Records/Consequence of Sound/Soundcloud)

Gruesome: "Raped By Darkness" (via Earsplit PR/Relapse Records/Revolver Magazine/Soundcloud)

Letters From A Tapehead

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Prince (1958-2016)

Prince Rogers Nelson, known to us all simply as Prince, (and for a time, "The Artist"), has passed away at the age of 57.  Prince was a provocative, often controversial, and always brilliant entertainer, one whose gifts as a musician and willingness to carve his own path awarded him status as either an inspiration or a question mark.  He was essential to the story of Rock 'N' Roll and it's strange that he's no longer with us.

A little over thirty years ago, Tipper Gore tried to save us from Prince.  Did you know that?  Long before her husband Al served as Vice President, got ridiculed for "inventing the Internet," and became the spokesman for climate change, she was a Senator's wife who took issue with the music industry's then relaxed stance on lyrical content.  An evidently out of touch mother, Gore purchased a copy of Purple Rain for her daughter who, at the time, wasn't yet a teenager.  And it was with the song "Darling Nikki," a song about a girl that apparently had no qualms about "masturbating with a magazine," that set Tipper on her crusade to save the children from inappropriate and/or obscene language in music. 

With the aid of other concerned wives of U.S. Senators, she founded the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC), an organization whose sole purpose was to vilify musicians for attempting to pursue their freedom of expression and apply its own standards of decency to material viewed through the questionable lens of so-called "porn rock."  And through said interpretation, Gore and company compiled a list of songs they referred to as the "Filthy Fifteen," songs they felt could inflict emotional harm and potentially corrupt any youthful ears that may have happened upon them.  Prince had the honor of being the first name on this list, his name eventually accompanied by the likes of Judas Priest, Sheena Easton, Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, and Twisted Sister, (the laughable rebellion addressed in "We're Not Gonna Take It" was apparently too much for the organization to handle).  The labeling of material deemed too offensive to market to children was the organization's crowning achievement, though I've always felt the label did more to excite curiosity than provide any real warning, children normally drawn to the mysteries of things their parents would normally try and protect them from.

Thirty-plus years later, no one gives a shit that "Darling Nikki" flicked the bean in a hotel lobby.  Instead, Purple Rain is considered only for its place in the annals of popular culture, an encapsulation of an era perfectly rendered through Prince's words and music.  And Prince himself didn't wind up disgraced or blacklisted because some uptight parent with pull decided to sic the word police on him.  Instead, he's met with admiration, his music having touched lives.  He challenged antiquated perspectives on sexuality, taking norms to task through performance.  He even abandoned his name for a time so as to disassociate himself from a bad professional relationship and was eventually able to procure and maintain control of his work and distribute it as he saw fit.

So, while I can't claim to be a devoted fan by any stretch, I am an appreciator.  As I type this, "Baby I'm A Star" is pounding out of my speakers, the mood celebratory and good.  And while the man himself ceases to be, the work lives on.  It's a cliché to be sure and it's an observation made time and time again when eulogies are scribbled or typed in an effort to offer some consolation.  But, that doesn't make it any less true.  Dust off the records, throw 'em on, and appreciate that you're alive to experience them. 

R.I.P., Prince.

Sincerely,Letters From A Tapehead

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Virus: "Steamer"

It seems fitting that Virus would follow-up their excellent The Agent That Shapes The Desert a month after I've replaced my last copy.  I managed to break the CD pushing it into its case.  So, I had to get a new one very quickly. 

Anyway, "Steamer" is the lead single from the group's upcoming fourth release, Memento Collider, and it continues the group's funk-tinged rhythmic strike and metallic unorthodoxy.  While the track doesn't stray too far from what's come before, Virus dabbles in time signature to a pretty significant level and almost "ghosts" the track up with instances of quivering theremin sound.  There's a lot for the ears to distill, from the dominance of low end and melodic textures to the group's undeniable camp factor.

Memento Collider is to be released June 3rd via Karisma Records.  The track was premiered by Decibel Magazine and all the info below was provided by Earsplit PR.

VIRUS: Norwegian Avant-Garde Rock Unit To Release Fourth Full-Length Via Karisma Records This June; New Track Streaming At Decibel

Norwegian avant-garde rockers/recent Karisma Records signees, VIRUS, will release their fourth full-length on June 3rd, 2016. Titled Memento Collider, the mysterious record boasts six tracks of the band's signature brand of experimentation with cover art by the Trine and Kim Design Studio.

In advance of its release, Decibel Magazine is currently streaming fourth track, "Steamer," issuing of the gripping psalm,
"VIRUS has been making the weird of the top-40-of-the-year, you-gotta-hear-this variety for fifteen+ years. And before the onset of this particular plague, vocalist/guitarist Czral spread avant-garde infection of the black metal sort with Ved Buens Ende, in addition to numerous others. When we asked him for a quote about this premiere of a track from the band's upcoming fourth full-length Memento Collider he responded with the following: ' [It's] a tribute to extinct instincts and Chernobyl Wildlife.'... while we aren't completely sure what that means, it seems fitting."

Hear "Steamer," now playing at THIS LOCATION.
Memento Collider Track Listing:
1. Afield
2. Rogue Fossil
3. Dripping Into Orbit
4. Steamer
5. Gravity Seeker
6. Phantom Oil Slick

Forged by Carl "Czral" Michael Eid from the ashes of '90s avant-garde black metal project Ved Buens Ende with the idea of generating a new kind of experimental metal/rock, VIRUS has been distributing their pulsing, tantalizing sounds since 2000. Czral brought with him bassist Petter "Plenum" Berntsen and drummer Einar "Einz" Sjursø and recorded their only demo that same year. The band was picked up almost immediately by Jester Records and released their debut album
Carheart in 2003, but an accident in 2005, which left Czral hospitalized for a year, forced the band into hiatus until 2008. VIRUS would reappear that year with the release of their Season Of Mist-issued sophomore full-length The Black Flux. The album earned "Album Of The Year" status in several publications, as did their 2011 follow-up, The Agent That Shapes The Desert, which was released on the band's own label Virulent Music. VIRUS' long-awaited live debut came in 2011, and aside from club appearances and tours in both Europe and the USA since then, the band has appeared at a variety of prestigious festivals. And now Memento Collider awaits. Further info, including additional track teasers and preorder links will be unveiled in the coming weeks.

Letters From A Tapehead

Buried in a Good Mix Tape: Revisiting Marijuana's Highest Notes for 4.20...

It's April 20th.  Four-twenty.  Sleep put it best:

A while ago I'd compiled some songs written as tribute to or inspired by the holiest of all leaves.  I was going to re-post the list, but found that many of the links are no longer operable.  So, in the spirit of the occasion, I'm revisiting the list and adding more tracks.  Hopefully, you'll find this mix suitable to today's agenda.  Any additions?  Hit me up in the comments or on the socials.

Cypress Hill: "Hits From the Bong"

Cypress Hill/Sonic Youth: "I Love You, Mary Jane"

Black Sabbath: "Sweet Leaf"

Sleep: "Dopesmoker"

High On Fire: "Fertile Green"

Kyuss: "Gardenia"

The Goats: "Wake 'N' Bake"

The Other Half: "Mr. Pharmacist"

Electric Wizard: "Dopethrone"

The Pharcyde: "Pack the Pipe"

Tito y Tarantula: "Cucarachas Enojadas (Angry Cockroaches)"

Madvillian: "America's Most Blunted"

Freddie Gibbs & Madlib: "High (feat. Danny Brown)"

Curtis Mayfield: "Pusherman"

Peter Tosh: "Legalize It"

Cab Calloway: "Reefer Man"

Ray Charles: "Let's Go Get Stoned"

Lee "Scratch" Perry: "The Ganja Man"

Letters From A Tapehead

Polonium Re-programmed...

Controlled Burn Records
Released: 4.8.16

If you’ve ever listened to the industrialized post-hardcore of The Austerity Program and thought to yourself, “Huh… I can get into this,” Polonium was the initial creative outlet for AP bassist Thad Calabrese and guitarist/vocalist Justin Foley, the mid-90s starting point. The album is called Seraphim and it rests nicely alongside much of what influenced its creation, Calabrese and Foley consciously adding to and subtracting from the Amphetamine Reptile/Touch and Go idiom in order to come up with what you’ll hear.

It’s difficult not to cite either Godflesh or Big Black when listening to the contents of Seraphim, its generous Melvins-caliber sonic muck working so heavily within the aforementioned and, perhaps, accidentally perfect construct of “pigfuck” and/or post-hardcore.  The factorial blasts of drum sound and eventual sludge-laden crawl of "Bastard" set a precedent in some ways for the album as you're continually led through torrents of guitar-accented battery for its duration.  And, while Polonium seems to cling to a basic mode of conveyance, they make the most of it.  The percussive imbalance of "Kitchen" offers tension; the circle pit inductive sway of "Kids On Top" offers release; the chunky chord phrase and heightening aggression of "Nebbish" offers both.  From that standpoint alone, I consider it a worthwhile release.

All of the music herein was re-recorded over a two-year period by Foley.  Seraphim is now available for purchase at Controlled Burn Records.  

Letters From A Tapehead


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