Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Daughter of a Tapehead: Swans

Young God Records
Originally released: 1983
Reissued: 11.14

*Yeah, she wasn't too happy with me.

**Swans might be a tad too much for a six year-old's ears.  That notwithstanding, the new Filth vinyl sounds great. The crushing, pulverizing force that dominates this release sounds immense.  If you purchase the album through Young God Records, your copy will be autographed by Michael Gira.  You can purchase the album here.

Here's the track she sampled:

Letters From A Tapehead

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Disappears: "Halcyon Days"

2015 is weeks away and with that obviously come January releases.  First point of interest so far is this track from Disappears called "Halcyon Days," a minimalist, repetitious and spacy mutation.  In the simplest of comparisons, one could consider it a Bauhaus'ian attempt at something Neu! might've composed, a very cyclical, cold and immersive derivation.  Kranky will release Disappears' new album, Irreal, on January 19th.  The album was produced by John Congleton at Steve Albini's Electrical Audio in Chicago.   

You can hear the track here:

All info was brought to you courtesy of Rarely Unable.  "Halcyon Days" had premiered at The Quietus on December 5th and their assessment of the track is a much more eloquent interpretation than mine.  You can also sample "Another Thought," which is another single from Irreal that surfaced a few weeks ago.  


Ahead of Irreal's January 19th release on Kranky, the Quietus have premiered 'Halcyon Days', which samples Disappears in their most potent form. Here's their take on the track... 

"Processed, reedy pulses echo briefly before being cut dead in the left channel, stubby chugs itch away in the right, the whole coaxing out an atmosphere of fraught, slightly doomy angst, brought even closer by Brian Case's droning, monotonous vocals. Admittedly things do let up, as more resonant guitar lines spill out, glossing the track with a reverb'ed sheen as the track closes, but it feels like the Chicago outfit's most icily focussed offering yet."


About the album...Irreal, the fifth long player from Chicago's Disappears, is another trip down the rabbit hole.

The album plays out as a dream sequence - hazed dub landscapes give way to the groupʼs most experimental and open music yet. If their last album Era confirmed the fact that Disappears are on their own trip, then Irreal is where it kicks in.

Eternalism, roboethics, identity - the album is a Ballardian mix of imperfect melodies, half thoughts and good ol' dystopian modernity. It is a masterclass in texture, pace and control. Produced by John Congleton at famed Chicago recording institution Electrical Audio, Irreal sits in the negative space where art rock and post punk collapse onto each other. Irreal is the sound of Disappears reporting back from The Void.

Track list:
1. Interpretation
2. I _ O
3. Another Thought
4. Irreal
5. OUD
6. Halcyon Days
7. Mist Rites
8. Navigating the Void

Stream 'Another Thought' via Soundcloud

Letters From A Tapehead

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

The Mailbox Giveth: Sleaford Mods

Sleaford Mods
Chubbed Up +
Ipecac Recordings

Sleaford Mods is an interesting entity.

Following much of the rhythmic and minimal throb of Factory-era post-punk and, of course, hip hop's rise from being a "sample sport," as Public Enemy once put it, to the largely trap-centric hit machine it is today, Sleaford Mods embodies a tirade-level synthesis of the two: a beat-powered device with which to bathe in poetic and profanity-laced commentary. The group (vocalist Jason Williamson and track maker Andrew Fearn) gained some notoriety stateside with its 2013 release, Austerity Dogs, despite having been about five albums deep in its discography. The group's new release, Chubbed Up +, is a singles compilation that includes three previously unreleased tracks. It was released by Ipecac Recordings.

The mostly repetitious loop'd loop of springy bass riffs and flat percussion offer Sleaford Mods the distinction of being the more sophisticated offshoot of something loosely akin to Wesley Willis while Williamson's rage succeeds at some level in being both engaging and amusing. This is especially true of "Jobseeker," wherein he's playing both the prospective employer and employee roles during a job interview, ("So, Mr. Williamson, what have you done to find gainful employment since your last signing on date?" "Fuck all! I sat around the house wankin.'"), Fearn's synthesizer and percussion treatments purposefully goofy. Throughout the length of Chubbed Up + I do find myself laughing at Williamson's more humorous observations than captivated by his serious and perhaps even more legitimized critique of society as a whole.  And maybe that's due to his voice, itself the cartoon'ish offspring of some magical union having occurred between Brick Top and Gargamel.

Having said that, Williamson is lyrically provocative and I'd be remiss if I didn't acknowledge the weight of much of what he speaks.  In "Scenery" Williamson declares, "I'll be the first generation to take a real drop in living standards," and it's difficult to argue.  The song is a multi-class summation in what could be a day in the neighborhood, cynically pointed and relatable to many who breathe air and live day to day with their eyes open.  While the cultural discrepancies are many, there's an everyman perspective at work with Sleaford Mods that, despite Williamson's vernacular, is easy to absorb even if it is presented in a non-linear and scattered manner.

The excited jog of "Black Monday for the Tory" cites social unrest and seems to point to some  futility in demonstration: "We took back the streets through the potholes and the last remaining internet cafes on the boulevard/We overturned world order: 10,000 strong/It's not enough anymore just to have a fucking singalong."

And, then there's "Jolly Fucker," which puts a face and a name to the group's numerous targets of discontent.  "I rot away in the aisles of the co-op, mate—no prob!" Williamson blurts, his passionate array of stanzas peppered with gems about "arrogant cunts," "wasting money on shit coffee all the time" and "loads of office turds."  The "Bah, bah, crack sheep! Have you any rock!?!" line is one of my favorite on the album.

Despite being a compilation, Chubbed Up + is sequenced well enough to present as an LP, "Committee" providing a strong and serious opener, the aforementioned "Jobseeker" adding humor and then the funk-laden head knock of "14 Day Court" being the more dimensionally composed combo of the two.  Williamson's spoken freestyle rarely falls in line rhythmically, a mad rush of words spewed between song titles and some attempts at choruses, though he's likely to simply speak the name of the song a few times in place of a hook.  Comparisons to The Fall's Mark E. Smith are certainly accurate, though Williamson lacks Smith's flamboyance, his demeanor something closer to football hooligan.  When he finds his place, he comes off as more of a hardcore vocalist, no real melody to distill or growl to abuse, but syllabic placement.  Probably the best examples of this would be the distinctly atmospheric "Tweet Tweet Tweet" and the less impressive "Pubic Hair Ltd.," ("Who gives a fuck about yesterday's heroes?").  And then the album's closer, "Fear of Anarchy," which at points sounds like a late 90s straggler from the Go soundtrack, finds him almost singing.

While I wouldn't call this collection of songs uneven, certainly some tracks are better than others.  That being said, Sleaford Mods' brand of rebel yell is at its best honest and thoughtful, not just the mental runoff of some seething malcontents whose words are inspired by social media and online propaganda.  As with a group like Dan le Sac Vs. Scroobius Pip, Sleaford Mods' poetry of life finds its soapbox through song, frustration and anxiety shaped into something meaningful.  I just wish there was some hope in there somewhere, too. 

Letters From A Tapehead

Friday, December 05, 2014

Clark: "Eno/Clark Mix"

All Saints, a label that was launched in the early 90s, has just released four 90s-era Brian Eno LPs: Nerve Net (1992), The Shutov Assembly (1992), Neroli (1993) and The Drop (1997).  Electronic composer Chris Clark, (or as he's better known, Clark), pulled together a mix culling samples of each of the Eno releases.  It's a pretty fluid 34 minutes of instrumental (and some vocal) works and provides a convincing sales pitch for the releases.  I myself have unfortunately never heard these albums, so Clark's mash-up has given me reason to explore them.  If you want to check it out, you can do so via Soundcloud below:

If you'd like to find out more about the reissues, I've included info which was provided courtesy of Julian T. Schoen — Artist, Event & Project Management.  There are also two Eno cuts you can sample: "Prague" and "Fractal Zoom."

All Saints shares Brian Eno reissues mix by Warp's Clark
4 Record Eno Reissues available now

Hear the Clark / Eno mix now

Buy the reissues via All Saints / Brian Eno Shops

New Mix:
Clark / Eno x All Saints Reissues Mix
(Pitchfork / Soundcloud)

All Saints Records was founded in 1992 by Dominic Norman-Taylor as an extension of Brian Eno's Opal Records.

This week saw the release of an ambitious Brian Eno reissue project, featuring 4 of his classic 90s records, each paired with their own bonus disc of previously unreleased, new and unheard Eno material from that time.

Today, Warp artist Clark presents a mix of Eno music showcasing music from all 8 discs of these reissues. Hear the mix now via Pitchfork, and head over to the Eno & All Saints shops for more info on the reissues.

Hear Brian Eno's "Prague" and "Fractal Zoom" now.


All music by Brian Eno
Out Now -

All Saints Records
Buy Now via All Saints / Brian Eno


Nerve Net

1992's Nerve Net shows Eno returning to his more rock-oriented sound, as well as the long lost album My Squelchy Life, previously slated for a 1991 release but ultimately pulled at the last minute, lost in the lore of the Eno mythology until now.

CD Track Listing

Disc 1 - Nerve Net
1. Fractal Zone
2. Wire Shock
3. What Actually Happened?
4. Pierre In Mist
5. My Squelchy Life
6. Juju Space Jazz
7. The Roil, The Choke
8. Ali Click
9. Distributed Being
10. Web
11. Web (Lascaux Mix)
12. Decentre

Disc 2 -
My Squelchy Life
1. I Fall Up
2. The Harness
3. My Squelchy Life
4. Tutti Forgetti
5. Stiff
6. Some Words
7. Juju Space Jazz
8. Under
9. Everybody's Mother
10. Little Apricot
11. Over

Vinyl Track Listing

Side A

A1. Fractal Zoom
A2. Wire Shock
A3. What Actually Happened?

Side B
B1. Pierre In Mist
B2. My Squelchy Life
B3. Juju Space Jazz
B4. The Roil, The Choke

Side C
C1. Ali Click
C2. Distributed Being
C3. Web

Side D
D1. Web (Lascaux Mix)
D2. Decentre


The Shutov Assembly

The Shutov Assembly (1992), is an ode to Russian artist and friend Sergei Shutov, who used to paint to Eno's work but had difficulty accessing it through Soviet Russia. Eno collected unreleased material on a tape to give to Shutov, only to discover a common thread that transformed this into a complete body of work. The bonus material includes 7 unreleased recordings taken from the same period.

CD Track Listing 

Disc 1 - The Shutov Assembly
1. Triennale
2. Alhondiga
3. Margraph
4. Lanzarote
5. Francisco
6. Riverside
7. Innocenti
8. Stefelijk
9. Ikebukuro
10. Cavallino
Disc 2 - Bonus Material
1. Eastern Cities
2. Empty Platform
3. Big Slow Arabs
4. Storm
5. Rendition
6. Prague
7. Alhondiga Variation

Vinyl Edition

Side A
A1. Triennale
A2. Alhonidga
A3. Markgraph

Side B
B1. Lanzarote
B2. Francisco
B3. Cavallino

Side C
C1. Riverside
C2. Innocenti
C3. Stefelijk

Side D
D1. Ikebukro



1993's Neroli is named after the sensual oil derived from the Seville orange, and Eno links this LP to the sense of smell, fragrance and perfume. It is one solid piece with no break and is considered Eno's ultimate realization of "mood music". Also included is the previously unreleased New Space Music, a single, hour-long piece of ambient, long-form drone music complimenting Neroli.

CD Track Listing

Disc 1 - Neroli: (Thinking Music Part IV)
1. Neroli

Disc 2 - New Space Music
1. New Space Music

There is no vinyl edition due to the artist's wish not to break up the music with split sides.

The Drop 

1997's The Drop is "jazz from a vague, alien perspective" and Eno's foray into 'drop' music, with the additional bonus material including 9 rare tracks recorded during the same period and previously only available through a limited edition of 1000 sold at Eno's 2006 77 Million Paintings exhibit in Japan. 

CD Track Listing 

Disc 1 - The Drop 
1. Slip, Dip
2. But If
3. Belgian Drop
4. Cornered
5. Block Drop
6. Out / Out
7. Swanky
8. Coasters
9. Blissed
10. M.C. Organ
11. Boomcubist
12. Hazard
13. Rayonism
14. Dutch Blur
15. Back Clack
16. Dear World
17. Iced World
Disc 2 - Bonus Material
1. Never Stomp
2. Systems Piano
3. Bonk 12
4. Luxor Night Car
5. Targa Summer
6. Cold
7. Little Slicer
8. Surf Birds
9. Targa

Vinyl Edition

Side A
A1. Slip, Dip
A2. But If
A3. Belgian Drop
A4. Cornered
A5. Block Drop
A6. Out / Out
A7. Swanky

Side B
B1. Coasters
B2. Blissed
B3. M.C. Organ
B4. Boomcubist
B5. Hazard

Side C
C1. Rayonism
C2. Dutch Blur
C3. Back Clack
C4. Dear World
C5. Slicing System
C6. Sharply Cornered

Side D
D1. Iced World

More info on All Saints

All Saints (Site / Facebook / Twitter / iTunes / Soundcloud)

In 1992, All Saints was founded. Named after a West London street, the label re-issued albums originally released on Opal Records as well as new material from Brian and Roger Eno, Laraaji, Harold Budd and more. With more than 40 releases and over 20 years to its name, All Saints is compiling classic material alongside unheard rarities for several releases in 2013 and 2014.

Letters From A Tapehead

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Stereokiller: Child Bite

Child Bite
Strange Waste EP
Housecore Records
Released: 11.25.14

Letters From A Tapehead

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Singles: Rhyton, tētēma, Unsacred

Rhyton: "California Black Box Vapors" (via Thrill Jockey Records/YouTube)

tētēma: "Tenz" (via Speakeasy PR/Ipecac Recordings/Wondering Sound/YouTube)

Unsacred: "Plague" (via Earsplit PR/CVLT Nation/Soundcloud)

Letters From A Tapehead

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Daughter of a Tapehead: Deerhoof (Track Review: "Big House Waltz")

La Isla Bonita
Polyvinyl Records
Released: 11.4.14

Track review: "Big House Waltz"

*Yes, this is the "Matchbook Meets Maniac" 7."  Unfortunately, I don't have a physical copy of La Isla Bonita yet, though I plan on picking one up.  As is usually the case, Deerhoof have delivered a winner.

**Satomi Matsuzaki's voice has been a subject of complete fascination.  "How does she sing like that, Daddy?  It's awesome!"  My daughter has true voice envy.

Letters From A Tapehead

Six Organs of Admittance: "Wax Chance"

Ben Chasny, Mr. Six Organs of Admittance himself, has gone psych-drone for this latest single, a shrieking and inebriated number called "Wax Chance" that's taking the lead for his upcoming new release, Hexadic.  There's a seasick sway to the bass and drum in this track, Chasny barely audible when he decides to coax a few syllables between any available space that isn't overtaken by his six-string dissonance.  I'm intrigued and already looking forward to hearing Hexadic in early 2015.  It's set to release in February via Drag City.

Listen to the track here:

Links and info were provided by Rarely Unable.


Following the recent announcement regarding Hexadic, the upcoming album by Six Organs Of Admittance, much has been made of the new combinatorial system devised by Ben Chasny which spawned it, even though it hasn't yet been fully revealed to the public. Now it is time for the ears of the world to begin to hear the Hexadic sound...

"Wax Chance," is the debut track available for preview, the guitar is dialed up to the breaking point, the vocals squeezed through dimensional wormholes, bass and drums walking with eerie tranquility - but what one really comes away with is the scalar invention explored most evidently during the solo portion of the song.
Hexadic processes built the riffs and the lengths of phrases, but they also suggested the scale being played in for every piece on Hexadic - and with "Wax Chance," Ben gets a verse or two in, before setting upon his guitar to run that particular scale raw. Clearly invigorated by new ways of playing, Ben finds sound in places that we don't necessarily hear touched on everyday. Hexadic processes determined the structure of the lyrics as well, coming up with a series of initial letters from which Ben hangs our all-too-human words. This interaction between the system and the soul produces music that is entirely an expression of Six Organs of Admittance - the system simply facilitates and guides the expression. Additionally, the Hexadic song structure allows the rhythm section to explode with Ben at suggested measures that supplies a linear punch to the proceedings. If that doesn't describe adequately what you think you're hearing on "Wax Chance," we'll spell it out for you: R-O-C-K.

LISTEN TO "WAX CHANCE" ty/six-organs-of-admittance-wa x-chance/s-aTF3A products/hexadic

Letters From A Tapehead

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Bee vs. Moth: "Machine Room Reverie"

There's a lovely tension to this instrumental from Bee vs. Moth called "Machine Room Reverie," itself the marriage of bowed instrumentation and bass licks that make me think of a suburban grade 23 Skidoo.  The song has a somber (and maybe even indifferent) bent, which is found mostly in its string melody, as it casually strolls through surroundings not completely bereft of grace.  To my ear, the music wants to either cite some beauty in monotony, or poetry in routine, that key melody addressing fleeting periods of warmth while the rhythm remains content to walk in place.

Check out the video here:

Bee vs. Moth released their album Shelter in Place back in September. (And, yes, it's probably another winner that I missed this year).  You can check out the album via the Soundcloud link below.

All info the release was provided by Us/Them Group.

Bee vs. Moth share video from new album, announce winter dates   

Watch "Machine Room Reverie" video HERE.

Listen to Shelter In Place album HERE.

"I fall in love with maybe two, maybe three jazz records a year. But every once in a while something comes along and perks me up. I hear the sounds of Ornette Coleman and the band Television. And sometimes in the same song." - Bob Boilen, NPR

Austin jazz-punk group Bee vs. Moth share another video from their new album today via Brooklyn Vegan. The clip for "Machine Room Reverie" is available to watch/share HERE. Bee vs. Moth have lined up a variety of Austin shows for the winter. Please see current dates below. 

The band recently premiered the first video from the album via Austin Chronicle. The clip for "It Looked Good In The Showroom" is available to watch and share HERE. The band's entire new album is streaming in full (all tracks cleared for posting) HERE.

Bassist Philip Moody and drummer Sarah Norris started Bee vs. Moth together, and began performing in 2004. The band has since grown into a diverse, rotating cast with ambitious arrangements featured in film and television scores, original videos, and live shows in Austin and throughout the country.
Shelter in Place delivers the power and wit Bee vs. Moth fans expect from a band that likes its jazz served with a New Wave punch. But for this record, their third studio release, the band adds a kaleidoscope of new sounds with strings, saxes, brass, organ, and found percussion front and center. Working in a garage studio for several months with friends from varied corners of Austin's music scene, the band expanded its creative process to produce a focused and intensely creative result.

Shelter in Place is released September 9th, 2014 on CD and download. The record follows the band's 2007 debut, Soundhorn, and 2010's acclaimed Acronyms.

Bee vs. Moth also continues to produce unique film and recording projects. The 2012 SXSW Film Festival commissioned the band to debut a new silent film score for Ernst Lubitsch's The Oyster Princess (1919). This followed Bee vs. Moth's acclaimed score to Buster Keaton's The Cameraman. The band's songs made their second appearance in a season of PBS' Roadtrip Nation. Currently, Bee vs. Moth is collaborating with Austin band The Invincible Czars to re-imagine the symphonic masterpiece Pictures at an Exhibition for an 11-piece double rock band, complete with horns, strings, guitars, drums, and percussion 

12/09 Austin, TX @ Holy Mountain 12/20 
Austin, TX @ Vortex Theater - Yule Bazaar 
01/23 Austin, TX @ Carousel Lounge

Letters From A Tapehead


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