Monday, November 30, 2009

What I Heard This Morning: Exploding In Sound — Circulatory System

A word or two from Mr. Goldin:

The year is coming to a close, and the world approaches the ever futuristic sounding year 2010. With the decade in its closing stages, a strange and disjointed musical era comes to an end, but not before Exploding In Sound returns with the biggest and most triumphant compilation yet… CIRCULATORY SYSTEM. Like the organ system that spreads nutrients our bodies can’t live without, helping fight disease, Exploding In Sound aims to do similar for your musical distribution network with the fourth installment of its acclaimed series. Through the nineteen track Circulatory System compilation, I aim to spread great new music to everyone interested in helping fight the disease that is tired old generic rock. It’s with the spreading of the compilation that we can combat the toxins being force fed to us with truly incredible new music that will prove beneficial for the mind, body, and soul. Featuring new music from some of the greatest independent bands in the world including The Willowz, Rishloo, Constants, Radio Moscow, Irepress, Stomacher, The Boxing Lesson, and many more, Circulatory System is a 100% FREE digital download, containing artwork, band descriptions, links for further enjoyment, and more. With a release date strategically following in the wake of Thanksgiving weekend, I am enormously thankful and humbly gracious for everyone who has helped put this record together, especially the bands, their labels, and management. Without the willingness and cooperation of these incredible artists none of this would be possible, and your cooperation is appreciated and never forgotten. To the fans of the site, thanks for your continued support and I know you'll enjoy what I truly believe to be the most spectacular compilation yet! As always, support the artists and great music will continue to be made. Thanks.

Sharing of the download link is HIGHLY recommended and encouraged to anyone and everyone you think might be interested. As this is a FREE compilation, the goal is to gain the maximum audience achievable, and the power of word of mouth is never underestimated. THE TIME TO LET THE ‘CIRCULATORY SYSTEM’ FLOW HAS ARRIVED… GET OUT THERE AND DOWNLOAD, SHARE, POST, and SPREAD the word to everyone you know. Great music is being made, and it’s up to us, the fans, to deliver it to as many willing listeners as possible. ENJOY!

Special thanks go out to all of the bands, Zachary Howard for his incredible artwork, Ty Griffin (, Lindsay and Joel at The Mylene Sheath, Ben Gram, Craig Cirinelli, Mary Ghaffari, Larry Suglio, Ryan Cano (The Loyalty Firm), Casey Tipton, Alex Mohler, Tony Pennington, Jenny Tuite, Ridd Sorenson, Pete at Ernest Jenning Record Co, my family, friends, and everyone who is supporting the cause. We're only getting started.

Dan Goldin / Exploding In Sound

So, like before, the price is right and Mr. Goldin continues his quest to promote and build up some deserving bands. Download the album, check it out and offer up some support. I’d like to highlight Radio Moscow, Ultra Violent Lights, Bloody Knives and Irepress.

1. Radio Moscow - I Just Don't Know
2. The Willowz - Repetition
3. Ultra Violent Lights - In Lieu of Pay
4. Woolgather - Wind-Up Bird
5. Stomacher - Police
6. The Boxing Lesson - Muerta
7. Gift Horse - Missionaries
8. Tangents - Fall Asleep Again
9. Constants - Damien
10. Bloody Knives - Buried
11. Rishloo - Downhill
12. The Dirty Dishes - Stolen Apples
13. Solar Powered People - Melting Ice & Snow
14. Blind Dog Sky - I'm Comin' Home
15. Blood Warrior - Blood Letting
16. Waxhouse - Ration
17. Monument to No One - Planetary
18. Emptyself - Just Go On
19. Irepress - Adeluge

Letters From A Tapehead

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Shopping For Records #20: Minotaur Schminotaur...

I don’t think it gets any more excessive or less affordable than this ridiculous creation.

Box set artistes, Artists In Residence, have a brilliant vision when it comes to blowing albums into these extraordinary epics that don’t warrant necessity. In the case of The Pixies, as has been talked about and anticipated since the 4AD label posted the digital press release video in late April, A+R came up with the Minotaur set: A $495 product of absolute devotion that turns the band’s impact into something you can touch and smell. Artwork, multiple formats, DVD/Blu Ray concert footage and video... I would honestly sue if any additional releases, B-sides or compilations were put out by The Pixies after shelling out 5 C-notes on what should be the definitive “you will never need another Pixies album or video in your life” box set. The Minotaur set should lay the band to rest for eternity, at least until all 3,000 units are spent. After that, there’s a Deluxe Edition that’s much cheaper.

This image was pulled from A+R’s website

Letters From A Tapehead

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

No Ripcord: Kraftwerk

The Catalogue: Four Decades of Masterworks
Kling Klang/EMI/Mute/Astralwerks
CD/Download Released: 10.6.09
CD & Vinyl Box Set: 11.24.09

No Ripcord review

Letters From A Tapehead

Shopping For Records #16 (Reprise): The Only Music You’ll Have Time To Hear Is That Of Miles Davis Pt. II...

Miles Davis’s 71 CD set, The Complete Columbia Album Collection, is out in time for Christmas and exclusively available at Amazon. As I wrote back in September, I believe this set to be overkill, but it’s still impressive and beautifully packaged and guaranteed to be an overwhelming listen.

It does, however, demonstrate exactly how amazing Miles Davis was. How many musicians can claim to be so prolific as to boast this many works of pure genius? The man was an extraordinary gift. Whether Columbia/Legacy honor the artist with this release, or see it as an opportunity to capitalize on Davis when other labels are so quick to do the same, these albums will always be something to treasure.

Letters From A Tapehead

Monday, November 23, 2009

What I Heard This Morning: Charlotte Gainsbourg & Beck

I understand her peppy, art snob appeal; her wit and bilingual intellect. Charlotte Gainsbourg owns that “thing” that makes her seem interesting enough to star in a surrealistic video with Beck, that thing that made Michel Gondry go, “Yes, she should be in The Science Of Sleep.” I, unfortunately, haven’t been able to get around her painfully dull performance in Jane Eyre.

But, “Heaven Can Wait,” is at least as interesting and vibrant as most Beck songs typically are. The video is strange, but the intended irony just sort of makes the video’s oddities seem more annoying than special. Listen to the song.

Letters From A Tapehead

Friday, November 20, 2009

Shining: Fisheye...

Norwegian “progressive” quartet, (“Progressive” because there’s no other close to suitable English word that properly categorizes or describes this band), Shining, is releasing their new album, Blackjazz in early February 2010.

Being a fan of their last album, 2007’s Grindstone, I have only the highest hopes for Blackjazz, though I’m quick to keep my skepticism at an all-time high. Grindstone was a ridiculous album in and of itself: odd, chaotic, loud, fractured and beautiful all at once. It’s going to be a tough album to outdo, though I guess in the rare instance that a creative force manages to author its own language, potential for greatness is easier to attain.

“Fisheye,” a song from their new album, features the band as a group of funk-driven industrial mad hatters, stomping the veritable fuck out of the audience with panache and intensity. And sure, why not throw a little Steve Mackay Stooges sax soloing in there? Go ahead. The genre-mash runs rampant enough, why not add some jazz?

The album is being released by Indie Recordings.

Letters From A Tapehead

Boris: Japanese Heavy Rock Hits trailer for Volume 3...

This month, the third volume of Boris’s 7” series, Japanese Heavy Rock Hits, will be released. A trailer featuring a snippet of the song, "16:47:52…,” is up to boost your anticipation while lowering your mood slightly.

If you missed it, the review for the series can be found here.

Letters From A Tapehead

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Mailbox Giveth: Shrinebuilder & Pelican

Neurot Recordings
Released: 10.27.09

What We All Come To Need
Southern Lord
Released: 10.27.09

I realize that seeing a word like “Iommic” in relation to any band basically says it all. When I checked out their artist page over at the Neurot Recordings website, this word was applied to the supergroup, Shrinebuilder, as a way to perfectly illustrate the sort of mesmerizing sludge they conjure on their self-titled debut. But I think sometimes these overused one-word descriptors shortchange a band. At this point, the unending presence of Black Sabbath within hard rock and metal is as inescapable as The Beatles in pop and rock music. Metal is a genre that Tony Iommi fashioned and pioneered with a deft hand and a uniquely dark vision. It’s too seminal to outrun. So, maybe we retire Iommi-as-riff for the sake of Shrinebuilder and instead focus on the brand of epic gloom and theological introspection that they’ve created because, honestly, this album is too good for clever all-encompassing genre-specific adjectives.

Shrinebuilder is comprised of metal legend Scott “Wino” Weinrich, Melvins drummer, Dale Crover, bassist Al Cisneros (Sleep, Om) and guitarist Scott Kelly (Neurosis). With what seems to be an almost complete absence of egos, Shrinebuilder is a sum of pioneering abilities that aim for a new beginning. Though obvious and relatively predictable in terms of their heft and inclination toward the metallic aural odyssey, Shrinebuilder strings together an exact combination of the artists and their respective styles in almost too perfect a way.

With as much blustery might as anything Sabbath or Zeppelin pulled off, and as much exploratory perseverance as Pink Floyd or Hawkwind, “Solar Benediction” rocks, stomps and drifts into a weeping series of guitar solos. The passion is breathtaking, but loud enough to keep the pulse pounding.

“We stand burning before you/Returning wisdom with blood…”

The wistful “Pyramid of the Moon” and shadowy motion of “Blind For All To See” makes for one of the best sequenced pairings I’ve heard this year, the energy rising and falling enough between the two to keep the persistence interesting. “Blind For All To See” in particular has an entrancing rhythm with elements building up, sonic weight and bells that grow in volume without ever exploding into an expected payoff. Instead, “The Architect” takes all the conventional wisdom of a rock n’ roll riff and utilizes it to release any pent up aggression. Cisneros’s bass line leads into what would otherwise be another song, but my incomplete promo copy doesn’t come up with the final track. Based on the four out of five songs I’ve heard, I can only hope that Shrinebuilder’s debut leads the band into many sequels.

”Pyramid of the Moon”

Also plunging into the depths of the swampy metallic riff, instru-metalists Pelican draw from their own time-space continuum, not so much in the stoner/occult sense but as the “winds of destiny” dance notes throughout their newest offering, What We All Come To Need.

Pelican take a mostly straight-line approach with their music. Beginning with the mid-tempo slam of “Glimmer,” they allow themselves to drift, jam, wallow, relax and energize in an organized array of amplification. Pelican’s music has strength in a more life affirming kind of way, which isn’t to say that they allow you see God or help you lose weight, but that they possess a rugged durability that seems to carry on in spite of whatever. It’s motivational in that sense.

As Pelican come to further represent the more progressive aspects of metal music, (the presence of Sunn O)))’s Greg Anderson and Isis’s Aaron Turner making perfect sense), they also present an alternative to the somewhat typical and calamitous aspects of being dark and demonic. “The Creeper” has somewhat of a Southern articulation, “Ephemeral” is high-timbre guitar rock and “Specks Of Light” seems to chew on Kyuss’s desert sand a bit. Songs like “Strung Up From The Sky” and “An Inch Above Sand” play loud n’ heavy against ethereal tones, while the title track seems to play around with Alice In Chains’s “Sludge Factory,” a similar structuring and sound borrowing a bit from the 90s alterna-kitty.

Allen Epley (Shiner, Life & Times) provides the album its only vocal expression with “Final Breath.” The track has a slow burn, Epley a rather graceful presence amidst heavy bass rhythm and near-dissonant guitar soloing. The album ends with high frequency winds and sporadic guitar cutting through what remains of its colossal storm.

Letters From A Tapehead

Animal Collective: In The Flowers

In terms of clever self-promotion, including a lyric like “I like this song” in your single gets marks for effort. Even better, though? Spell out your lyric in magnetic letters.

The new video for Animal Collective’s not-so new single, “In The Flowers,” is predictably trippy and doesn’t do much to enhance the song’s already celebratory throb. Amateur ballet dancers? Eh. To be honest, Merriweather Post Pavilion's optical illusion of an album cover better expresses the creative surge that courses through AC's music. If nothing else, at least the song is good.

Letters From A Tapehead

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Them Crooked Vultures: It’s out there, so get consumin’...

I know that I’ve been rather aggressive with the Them Crooked Vultures coverage, but to my credit, they keep putting out video announcements with music. They should rename this band, Them Crooked YouTube Whores:

Also, there’s an interview with Josh Homme over at the Record Store Day website.

Letters From A Tapehead

What I Heard This Morning: Hush Arbors

As Hush Arbors, folk musician Keith Wood has found himself a nice and cozy spot with Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore and Dinosaur Jr.’s J. Mascis. His latest album, Yankee Reality, is out now on Moore’s Ecstatic Peace! label with Mascis acting as its producer. The album itself is a poppy mixture of psych-country and folk that focuses solely on storytelling and really sells his attention to melody.

Mascis also collaborates with Wood on “Day Before,” his raw and unmistakable six-string squeal cutting through the walls of acoustic guitar:

”Day Before”

May as well through some distortion in as well:

”The Devil Made You High”

Letters From A Tapehead

Monday, November 16, 2009

Them Crooked Vultures: Nobody Loves Me & Neither Do I

The ever-distinct brand of Josh Homme continues to shine even under his latest endeavor, Them Crooked Vultures. As excited as I was to hear "New Fang" when it went public, this live performance of "Nobody Loves Me & Neither Do I" injects me with rock n' roll glee: wild rhythmic change-ups and guitar riffs that sneer and flaunt their cleverness and vitality like a stiff middle-finger to FM radio. John Paul Jones is almost in Zeppelin rebellion, having to begin again since rock radio killed "Stairway," and having a great time doing it. I'm even ready to forgive Dave Grohl for the The Foo Fighters after hearing this one.

Letters From A Tapehead

Saturday, November 14, 2009

What I Heard This Morning: Dinowalrus

Already hearing some noise for next year, Brooklyn sound-grinders, Dinowalrus, swat the dust off the Cuisinart and process some weird shit together.

Mostly a garage-based melodic take on New York City No Wave, (more Suicide than Teenage Jesus; more James Chance than D.N.A.), Dinowalrus takes unpredictable rhythmic liberties with bass-driven funk and even industrial-sized power metal. It's as if they've sampled the more impressive loops of twenty or thirty years worth of genre-defining New York amazement and mashed them into another unconventional future sound. The guitar riffs for "Electric Car, Gas Guitar" sound legitimately pulled from any Ramones show, as do the Talking Heads-thick bass licks from "Bead."

"Nuke Duke 'Em"

"Nuke Duke 'Em" (Remixed by The Mae Shi)


"Electric Car, Gas Guitar"

Their album, %, is due out in January 2010.

Letters From A Tapehead

Friday, November 13, 2009

What I Heard This Morning: Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band

How does one NOT give credit to any 76 year-old willing to tear it up, even if their efforts are mostly annoying, contrived and pretentious as hell?

This version of the Plastic Ono Band, featuring Sean Lennon semi-Sgt. Pepper clad and a bassist rocking a McCartney-inspired Hofner, (Seriously, is that some kind of middle finger, or are they just riding the wave of reinvigorated Beatles popularity?), sounds like they know how to carry a tune. Their singer, however, factors them into the avant-garde conundrum: Is it good, or does it pretend to be good?

Their latest album, Between My Head And The Sky, was released in September of this year.

Letters From A Tapehead

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Beatles-centric Entry # Whatever: “The Beatles On Record...”

The History Channel will be premiering a new Beatles documentary entitled, The Beatles On Record, which follows the Fab Four as they evolve in the studio. Having already been broadcast by the BBC earlier this year, it will air on Wednesday, November 25th for U.S. audiences. While the amazing Beatles Anthology docu-series perfectly captured The Beatles from their beginning to the end, a documentary solely devoted to the band in the studio is something I’d love to check out. Inasmuch as the new Beatles reissues better-demonstrate the truth to their sound, this documentary should explain exactly how groundbreaking they were, confirming their fully-integrated importance to the musicscape that’s followed.

©2009 A&E Television Networks. All Rights Reserved.

Letters From A Tapehead

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Thursday, November 05, 2009

What I Heard This Morning: Alexandra Hope, The Darlings and Big Spider's Back...

Earlier this year, I wrote a small piece about a single from Alexandra Hope's then-upcoming album, Invisible Sunday. The video of her latest single, "The Mirror," was posted at IFC's The Independent Ear along with a few words of approval for Ms. Hope that the song will easily back-up.

Alexandra Hope - "The Mirror"

Yeah I Know the new album by NY garage poppers, The Darlings, was released around August and combines cute and cuddly guitar rock with a fun and juvenile temperament. The Darlings do concern themselves with love in the most puppy dog manner of conveyance and discuss the pleasures of getting "fucked up in the dark", but in a tone completely laced with pubescent discovery. Honestly, this band takes their name more seriously than their music, as every song emanates a "darling" appeal the level of which typically results in squeezed cheeks, kissy faces and baby talk.

Still, the album's a pleasantry.

Darlings - "Teenage Girl" from Joseph Tirabassi on Vimeo.

Electronica artist, Big Spider's Back, a.k.a. Yair Rubinstein, came up with this Eastern influenced piece of psych-ambience that had enough going on to be at least interesting. His debut EP, Warped, is set to release later this month.

Warped from Karla Santos on Vimeo.

Letters From A Tapehead

New Selections — DEAFKIDS, Marisa Anderson, Circuit des Yeux, Moaning, Here Lies Man

Some new and not-so-new selections for June.  DEAFKIDS: " Espiral da Loucura " (via Rarely Unable /  Bandcamp ) Via Ra...