Thursday, December 30, 2010

What I Heard This Morning: Mike Watt & The Missingmen

Via Mike Watt's Hoot Page:

"hyphenated-man" is the name of my third opera, "contemplating the engine room" (1997) being the first one and "the secondman's middle stand" (2004) being the second. I expressly put together the missingmen (on guitar: tom watson and on drums: raul morales) for this proj a couple of years ago and now w/the mastering by john golden (august 19, 2010), I am so glad to say it has now been realized. it's first release was october 6, 2010 in japan on parabolica records.

whereas "...engine room" dealt w/my pop's life in the navy as a metaphor for the story of the minutemen and "...middle stand" was a parallel to dante's "comedia" dealing w/an illness that almost killed me in 2000, this third opera is quite different in that it has no standard narrative (libretto!) meaning no regular beginning-middle-end and is as it were "simultaneous" in the way a mirror from just inside my head - right in this middle-age moment of mine - was then shattered into thirty pieces and then each piece stuffed in the head to show a piece of my state of mind (or out-of-mind) as of now. "thirty tunes?" yes, they're little ones... actually they're "thirty parts" of one big tune. back in 2005, too heavy to really hear minutemen stuff for many years, I had to face myself and get the nerve up to hear it again when I agreed to let keith scheiron and tim irwin make the "we jam econo" documentary (many thanks to them and all who helped out on that). I even did a few gigs w/george hurley w/us as a duet doing some of the old tunes and it was trippy for me, like I was digging on how "econo" those tiny tunes were - no filler, right to point and distilled down to the bare nada. also, a big influence was those little creatures in those old hieronymus bosch paintings - I read a theory about them maybe being visualizations of proverbs or aphorisms and me, not knowing much about sixteenth century dutch/flemish culture, made up my own meanings! the main parallel I saw w/the minutemen was how many little trips could roll up into one big one. the other thing that came into play was this idea of dorothy (from that "the wizard of oz" movie) kind of tripping on what men do to "be" men - me, taking that perspective on the story and not caring whether mr baum - or the people who adapted his work for that film - intended it or not (though no disrespect to him or the others). so I piled those trips into one pile and that's where this third opera came from.

oh, it was kind of trippy how this piece was actually made. I wrote all thirty parts on one of d. boon's telecaster - the black one he got in kent, ohio in 1984. now I'm not a very good guitarist but tom watson was quite the righteous man in his patience and determination to take the palsy demos I gave him and bring them to the piece. he'd join me a my prac pad w/his guitar and me w/d. boon's and while clearing up uncertainties by actually showing him where my fingers were on the neck, we both would play along and I would have raul try out different drum things so I could piece his parts together. I wanted him to stretch from what he was used to but still have it be natural for him. the main thing I was trying to do was get what I considered an "interesting conversation" between them musically. then in the middle of the "prac'n the 3rd opera" missingmen tour (trippy cuz not once in that whole tour did we play and 3rd opera songs for anyone but I would relentlessly pound the piece into tom and raul's head every day while we were driving in the boat!), we took three days off in the middle (may 3 - 5, 2009) and put into studio g in brooklyn, ny w/one of my bass heroes tony maimone to record just the gutar and drums - no bass or spiel at all. in fact, tom and raul never heard one word or bass note 'till I spent a week doing that stuff in at the g w/tony during june of 2010 and then still not yet 'til he had did the final mix a month and a half after that while I was out on tour w/the stooges. damn, what would this piece be w/out bass brother tony! big respect, same for tom and raul. it might've came out of my head but these dear cats helped me big time realize it. I am truly grateful to them, truly.

Mr. Watt is a busy man is he not?

Letters From A Tapehead

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Oh, 2010... Where Have You Gone? (Definitive)

As promised, here are my personal favorites for 2010.  Hope you enjoy the list and thank you all so much for your support this year.

Letters From A Tapehead

25). Shining – Blackjazz

“With their new album, Blackjazz, Shining keeps their offerings confined to a certain aesthetic, which is basically that of its title.  The album is a spiraling trauma, perfect for obsessive compulsives that hate being slaves to their own "ordered" environment.  For how thick the acid flows throughout Blackjazz, the music is disciplined: allowed to run rampant for periods of time before being reeled back to its former gloriousness of synthesized rage and deadly sonic eruption.” — 1.10.10

24). The Dead Weather – Sea Of Cowards

“Though Sea Of Cowards benefits from its grime in some ways, especially in the way that White is clearly entertaining some new area of creative freedom, you do wonder if The Dead Weather rushed this one out, forgoing refinement in favor of being stripped down and loud.  I do believe that Sea Of Cowards represents somewhat of a watermark for White in terms of his vision and the music he wants to make, but as White’s brag and Mosshart’s brash seem to overpower some of the album’s best moments, maybe persona is the problem.” — 5.28.10

23). Johnny Cash – American VI: Ain't No Grave 

"I think it can be said that, in many cases, Johnny Cash improved the songs he’d chosen for his American Recordings series, and though American VI: Ain’t No Grave is his final act, I sort of wish these recordings had been used differently." — 11.9.10

22). Grinderman – Grinderman 2

“Nick Cave wrote 'No Pussy Blues.'  It shouldn’t surprise me at all that a man of fifty-three years of age, even someone as literarily adept as Cave, could still be so preoccupied with his dick.  After all, so much of a man’s identity, mortality and ego stems from keeping the member 'tamed,' 'charmed,' or 'wrangled' as the single Worm Tamer not so subtly suggests, and Cave’s 'Loch Ness monster,' ('Two great big humps and then I’m gone'), seems a little pent up.” — 12.2.10  

21). Black Breath – Heavy Breathing

“While they don’t really score points for originality, Black Breath’s debut is still strong, loud and wonderfully relentless. Heavy Breathing should appease many a fan of anything generally loud, and potentially corrupt more impressionable youth into becoming a new statistic in an old debate. No point in playing this record backwards: It’s all there to dissect and condemn.” — 4.5.10

20). Maus Haus – Sea-Sides EP

“Though Sea-Sides is essentially a five-song enticement meant to carry you to the next release, it’s worth the attention. Still an eccentric and imaginative unit, Maus Haus continues to mesh modernism with rock n’ roll ancestry, offering new experiences in electronic-composition and giving us a glimpse at life with ‘skyward housing.’” — 5.25.10

19). Golden Triangle – Double Jointer

“To sum the band up perfectly, listen to 'Arson Wells.' If you can imagine The Cramps’ cover of 'Strychnine' by The Sonics, combined with The Count Five’s trail off during 'Psychotic Reaction,' you won’t find a better marriage of garage prowess and proto-punk vitality.  Golden Triangle isn’t the second coming of anything in particular, but they at least know what they’re doing.” — 3.23.10

18). Locrian – Territories

“As constructors of their own brand of Avant noise metal, Locrian members André Foisy and Terence Hannum spend a lot of time fashioning aural dwellings, the amps kicking out less a form of music than a form of abstraction.” — 3.24.10

17). Screaming Females – Castle Talk

Castle Talk caught me off guard. I don’t know what I was expecting from NJ rock trio Screaming Females, this newest album my introductory listen, but liked the album enough to have since been recommending it to rock fans. The name Screaming Females leads to questions about how the music sounds, and whether or not Castle Talk truly consists of real screaming females, which is both a lame joke and too obvious to be true.” — Kicking Against The Pricks, Issue #3

16). No Age – Everything In Between

“Whether or not you thought 2008’s Nouns was worth the hype, No Age play 'abrasive' in an interesting way, their trails of sonic carnage are thoughtfully at odds with the subtlest melodies, which seep into the mire and somehow transcend whatever is on the surface. With their new album Everything In Between, this aspect of No Age has not gone away, nor has it led to any real musical evolution. Whatever precedent Nouns established, the band seem content to remain on course, pondering and manipulating their instruments into poppy punk songs, or generating ambient fields that cross Eno with Sonic Youth.” — Kicking Against The Pricks, Issue #3

15). Black Angels – Phosphene Dream

Phosphene Dream is the newest album by the neo-psychedelic quintet, free of the night air and obscuring sounds that fueled its predecessor.  Inasmuch as they continue to build upon The Velvet Underground’s Warhol-ian art rock daze and the psychedelic blues of hometown heroes The 13th Floor Elevators, The Black Angels attempt clarity with Phosphene Dream, revelatory guitar playing that owes more of itself to the garage gems associated with The Kinks, The Monks, The Troggs and even The Doors. “ — 9.29.10

14). Floored By Floor – s/t

“Designed around the names of its contributors, Nels Cline (Wilco), Yuka Honda (Cibo Matto) and Dougie Bowne (The Lounge Lizards), Floored By Four follows Watt’s eccentric vision and well-established penchant for the avant-garde, (I mentioned this album to my brother over casual conversation and his response was, 'That’s SO Mike Watt.')” — 10.19.10

13). Menomena – Mines

(Transcribed from No Ripcord’s Top 50 Albums of 2010) — Less like the rock collages they’ve thrown together in the past, Menomena’s latest album, Mines, was more quiet and direct though still prone to bouts of sound exploration ('BOTE,' 'Five Little Rooms'). While not necessarily on par with I Am The Fun Blame Monster! or Friend And Foe, Mines ably showcases a band at one with subtlety and song craft, their melodies a defining characteristic that’s reliably engaging and beautifully married to their thick bass rhythms, sax exhalations and piano loops.

12). Gil Scott-Heron – I’m New Here

“In Scott-Heron’s wake, hip-hop was birthed, raised and unceremoniously twisted into a commercialized and over-polished by-product of its former self.  You get a sense that inasmuch as he allows modern beats and production to drive his poetry, as a hip-hop forefather, or 'godfather,' the genre only has relevance so long as he continues to thrive.” — 4.17.10

11). Bird By Snow – Common Wealth

“It’s not easy to make folk-flavored music different when singer/songwriters seem to emerge from obscurity as often as they fade back, but Tucker seems to simply know the notes and the words.  This is music as natural as sunshine, rolling off his strings and keys like rain off a slick surface.” — 11.4.10

10). Ufomammut – Eve

“There are sections of Eve that owe themselves to the drawn out, sludgy ponderings of Sleep, or the attempted directionless ruts that The Mars Volta get so easily trapped into. But, somehow Ufomammut are capable of conceptualizing and committing something like this to tape without coming off as pretentious, gratuitously self-aggrandizing or boring. Instead we hear artists with an interesting perspective regarding the ramifications of humankind’s first sin. To be honest, something like Eve could not be tolerated if grey matter were dead sponge incapable of enrichment, inspiration or wisdom.” — 3.31.10

9). Roky Erickson w/ Okkervil River – True Love Cast Out All Evil

“Erickson’s tale has been mostly tragic, his dealings with law, mental health and drugs an ongoing battle since his days with The 13th Floor Elevators. Love Cast Out All Evil, his first recorded output in fourteen years, finds Erickson a victorious soul coming to grips, in as sincere a way possible, with his life. 'Electricity hammered me through my head/Till nothin’ at all is backward instead,' he sings in 'Ain’t Blues Too Sad,' addressing his days at Rusk and his regimen of electroshock therapy. He’s unapologetic and honest, his mind a healthier place and his baggage something to survey and consider.” — Kicking Against The Pricks, Issue #1

8). Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Before Today

(Transcribed from No Ripcord’s Top 50 Albums of 2010) — In 2010, Ariel Pink made it out of his bedroom and onto 4AD where he and his band, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, broke chillwave by making an off-kilter indie pop album called, Before Today. Reducing chillwave’s monotony in order to embark on an all-out pea soup murk rendition of past and present pop mutations, the Haunted Graffiti took bass-laden funk and R&B ('Beverly Kills,' 'Round and Round') and new wave and college rock ('L’estat (Acc. To the Widow’s Maid),' 'Little Wig') and essentially built a distinctive mix tape, providing evidence that even lo-fi can sound inspiring when it’s not too busy obscuring an obvious lack of musical skill or talent.

7). Black Mountain – Wilderness Heart

“Now, 'accessible' is synonymous with 'middle-of-the-road' in many cases, but with Wilderness Heart there’s enough thought and promise in singer/guitarist Stephen McBean’s songwriting to generate, at the very least, acceptability by any critical measure.  In a perfect world, the Boston-flavored 'Old Fangs' and the hyper-driven 'Let Spirits Ride' would constitute flawless FM fodder.  Amber Webber sings like some wonderful rock siren whose been kept quiet way too long and there’s just so much energy to embrace and enjoy you more or less dispense with any questions over 'lack of originality' or 'derivation.'  Who cares? Sure, it’s derivative.  An argument over Black Mountain’s credibility would be worth having if McBean’s interpretative use of classic rock’s best lessons lined Wilderness Heart like the stream of piss that won Ozzy exile from the Alamo.” — 8.31.10

6). Liars – Sisterworld

"Sisterworld, though, is claustrophobic and paranoid; the Liars' mocking ode to Los Angeles emulative of Brett Easton Ellis' bored complacency and Travis Bickle's urban plague.  'Scarecrows on a Killer Slant' perfectly illustrates their intent, the ease at which singer Angus Andrew questions ('Why'd you shoot the man with the gun?') and then answers ('Cuz he bothered you!') a perfect conveyance of apathy as a byproduct of privilege." — 9.20.10

5). The Besnard Lakes – The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night

""The Besnard Lakes' ...Are The Roaring Night is dominated by swelling crescendos and pensive gaps of radiating atmosphere.  'Albatross' is easily one of 2010's best singles, a light and airy track with bass rhythm peddling jaggedly through its ambience.  It just sounded so heartfelt the first time I heard it, and this unfeigned sensitivity continues as you get through ...Are The Roaring Night; some exceptional moments propagated by a desire to leave the physical plain for another more beautifully isolated." — 9.20.10

4). Marnie Stern – s/t

(Transcribed from No Ripcord’s Top 50 Albums of 2010) — With Marnie Stern’s self-titled third album, her usually high level of dazzling and technical six-string proficiency rides shotgun next to her emotional baggage. Though still composing her wildly dexterous guitar licks with beat machine, Zach Hill, Stern’s typically upbeat flavor takes an introspective turn, her first song a tribute to a deceased ex-boyfriend ('For Ash'), and another conveying a morose sense of self-reflection ('Transparency Is The New Mystery'). As Stern continues to prove her worth as a musician, songs like 'Risky Biz' and 'Female Guitar Players Are The New Black' continuing her grand tradition of unique pop music alterations and song structure, we’re happy this time to get a glimpse of her soul and respond without hesitation, 'You ARE enough.'

3). Mi Ami – Steal Your Face

“In the same way that era of underground inaccessibility eventually morphed into an opportunity for Pepsi to sponsor an anniversary-cloaked 90s version of Woodstock, which only further cultivated an already suffocating era of cynicism, Mi Ami’s new album, Steal Your Face, unapologetically tears up Bob Marley’s likeness and lifts its title from The Grateful Dead. As a comment on the fallacy of counterculture and the ease at which it can be perverted to suit ones agenda, (which they do themselves to some extent, but I guess that’s the point), Mi Ami embrace the tradition of those bands that birthed post-punk indie expression in the mid-80s by being so unmarketable, abrasive and critical of their environment.” — 5.11.10


“What I find most attractive about this album, other than AFCGT’s reveling in the good ol’ days of indie noise terror and creative post-punk expression, is that there’s a strong likelihood that this album will be dismissed as noise: loud, irritating noise.  I like this idea, mostly because I want to believe that rock music can still generate negative responses, or put people off.  I like that there’s a potential for rock music to unlearn, again, and also rediscover the absurd, the abstract and the abominable.  AFCGT (LP) conjures up a lot of excitement and even declares its own war on the digital era.” — 1.18.10

1). Swans – My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky

(Transcribed from No Ripcord’s Top 50 Albums of 2010) — Built from a legacy of experimental noise and industrial cacophony, Michael Gira’s no wave pioneers, Swans, returned after a thirteen-year hiatus with My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky, a solid and relatively accessible foray into the compositionally avant-garde. More of an event than an album, Gira’s catastrophic and, at times, beautiful vision leads to pulsing and intensified carousels of orchestrated dread ('No Words/No Thoughts,' 'My Birth,' 'Eden Prison'), or lonely folk ditties worthy of sunset ('Reeling the Liars In,' 'Little Mouth'). Devandra Banhart and Gira’s three year-old daughter Saoirse, provide the vocal for 'You Fucking People Make Me Sick,' a lovely enough introduction that abruptly collapses into an avalanche of piano keys and horn blasts. Theatrically charged and unstable, My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky took a revivalist’s genre and upped the ante enough to make the charlatans cower.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Don Van Vliet (a.k.a. Captain Beefheart) (1941-2010)

Yesterday, the legendary Don Van Vliet, (better known as Captain Beefheart), succumbed to multiple sclerosis.  He was 69 years old.

When I was in high school, maybe a sophomore, I was first exposed to the craziness of Captain Beefheart through the purchase of Bongo Fury, a collaborative (mostly) live album accredited to both he and Frank Zappa. The first song on the album "Debra Kadabra" began with a few whistling guitar notes and then kicked into gear, Beefheart quickly growling a few lines of the song:

"Debra Kadabraaaaaaaaaah!
Say she's a witch!
Shit ass Charlotte!
Ain't that a bitch!?!"

Around this point in time, Zappa's music was somewhat of an obsession for me.  I'd go to our high school's library, scouring the catalog for magazine articles or album reviews, finding photographs of live performances or just fascinating quotes.  "Beefheart" was a name that would just pop up in my research, a presence relevant in a contemporary capacity, which basically meant that I would have to know a thing or two about the guy.

For a while, though, Beefheart remained on my back burner.  Not sure why.

In 2006, I went on a trip to Kentucky to see Tom Waits.  My then-fiancee and I stayed at a bed n' breakfast run by two VERY culturally endowed older men, both of them suckers for anything esoteric like Zappa or Beefheart.  From them, I got a CD-R of Lick My Decals Off, Baby, Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band's out-of-print follow-up to the better-known, Trout Mask Replica.  I didn't listen to it until I got home and, when I did, I was both amused and captivated.  Beefheart's nonsensical wit and poetic belligerence ("Rather than I want to hold your hand/I wanna swallow you whole/'n I wanna lick you everywhere it's pink/'n everywhere you think") was complimented by the music, whose structure and provocatively primitive assemblage could only be defined as avant-absurdity. 

A couple years later, I read a profile piece on Beefheart penned by Lester Bangs for the Village Voice in 1980 that was featured in the Bangs compilation, Mainlines, Blood Feasts and Bad Taste.  In it, Beefheart's approach to songwriting was discussed and, as it interestingly turned out, his function as a visual artist was essential to his vision:

"When he's directing the musicians in his Magic Band he often draws the songs as diagrams and shapes. Before that he plays the compositions into a tape himself, 'usually on a piano or a moog synthesizer. Then I can shape it to be exactly the way I want it, after I get it down there. It's almost like sculpture; that's actually what I'm doing, I think. 'Cause I sure as hell can't afford marble, as if there was any.'" (You can find the piece here if you'd like to read more.)

His music made much more sense when I read that.  Not that it really had to, but there was some consolation that Beefheart's music was more than just some strange mutated hybrid of free jazz and rock music, but more an aurally-charged translation of the sculpted objects in his head.

You don't have to hear it from me to know that Beefheart was a genius-level artist and musician, as his influence continues to be heard by any band delving into the often-alienating waters of the avant-garde.  But, for me Beefheart functions as the perfect embodiment of experimental rock n' roll, a first notch in the eventual high art that rock music would achieve in later years.  Where Zappa's brand of radical time signatures and mathematical, progressive shifts would represent the merging of rock music and classical composition, Beefheart was a self-taught musician that crafted his own persona and sound, inspired by unconventional mediums and a brilliance that bore a unique vision.


Letters From A Tapehead

Friday, December 17, 2010

No Ripcord: Top 50 Albums of 2010 (Part 2)

No Ripcord's top 50 is up.  You can find the feature here.

I contributed blurbs for My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky by Swans and Before Today by Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti.  It's likely that my contributions to the No Ripcord list will be transcribed once I pull mine together, but there will be other selections to scrutinize and stew over.

In the meantime, if you know the alphabet and you have opinions, disagreements or disparaging remarks for our compiled list, let us know.  The comments section awaits your vehement dismay.  All contributors will be standing by.

Letters From A Tapehead

Thursday, December 16, 2010

No Ripcord: Top 50 Albums of 2010 (Part 1)

Part 1 of No Ripcord's "Top Albums" feature has been posted for everyone's amusement or scrutiny.  You can find the feature here.

I contributed blurbs for Marnie Stern's self-titled album and Menomena's Mines

Within the next couple of weeks, I'll be posting my own selections for the best of 2010.  I offered a taste a month or so ago, but my perspective has since changed a bit, so a definitive list will be up soon.  What I'm hoping is that my list will inspire readers to debate, question or lambaste.  I would like to have more interaction with readers, seeing as you're all nice enough to stop by and check out what I have to say, I'd like to read more of what YOU have to say.

Check out the list over at No Ripcord and, once Part 2 is posted, I will send along an update.

Letters From A Tapehead

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

12.4.93: Frank Zappa on Harmony In My Head

Henry Rollins’ 12.4 broadcast of Harmony In My Head coincidentally fell on the 17th anniversary of Frank Zappa’s passing.  Paying tribute, Rollins dedicated more than an hour and a half to Zappa and closed out his show with some songs by St. Vitus.  Their drummer, Armando Acosta, passed away on Thanksgiving.  Overall, not the most upbeat reasoning behind the set lists, but it’s a worthwhile two hours.

Listen here, or download here. Henry’s broadcast notes are below.


Fanatics! I am back from Africa. I got off the plane a few hours ago. The first flight from Entebbe, Uganda to Dubai, UAE, via Addis Ababa, Ethiopia was about five hours and the one from Dubai to LA was fifteen and change.

I have been here at the office, trying to stay awake so I could finish our show for tonight. Thanks to Thom Storr at Rykodisc for supplying some much needed ingredients.

If you notice, Fanatics, tonight is a bit of a concept show. It’s all Zappa, all night. We take this Saturday’s broadcast to do this because on 12-04-93, Frank Zappa passed away. I know, it’s not the happiest occasion to celebrate the man, his music and his considerable intellect but I wanted to do it, so here we are.

This is by no means comprehensive and there’s a lot eras of Frank that I am leaving out and also, I am not tremendously conversant in all things Zappa but I like all the albums I have.

I am sure many of you remember besides how amazing Zappa and his band mates were, how intellectually intense Frank Zappa was. He was mentally agile, his wit was lightning fast and he didn’t pull punches. There are many sites with his quotes and interviews. Some of the things he said twenty years ago or more sound like they were said last week.

Zappa was a very prolific artist and worked nonstop until he died. He left a lot of music behind. I have heard quite a bit of it but have not heard it all and still have quite a ways to go but I am digging the ride thus far.

You Fanatics know that we listen to FZ now and then on our show but tonight, we pile it on. I tried to keep it varied. It’s really not in any kind of order, just what I thought sounded cool.

I am looking forward to doing the live show at the Echoplex this coming Thursday. I didn’t know the thing was going to sell out so quickly. For those of you who didn’t get a chance to get a ticket, hopefully we can do it again some time.

I am very tired and am typing poorly. I will send this in, get it posted and try to get evened out for the show.

Looking forward to being live on the radio with you all.

Added Saturday afternoon: Armando of St. Vitus passed away on 11-25-10. I just found out now. Info here:

Freak out and STAY FANATIC!!!  –Henry

01. Hungry Freaks, Daddy / Freak Out!
02. We Can Shoot You / Uncle Meat
03. Apostrophe / Apostrophe
04. My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama / Weasels Ripped My Flesh
05. WPLJ / Burnt Weeny Sandwich
06. Zomby Woof / Over-Nite Sensation
07. Absolutely Free / We’re Only In It For The Money
08. 200 Years Old [Live ‘75] / Bongo Fury
09. Brown Shoes Don’t Make It / Mothermania
10. The Idiot Bastard Son / Mothermania
11. Metal Man Has Won His Wings / Mystery Disc
12. Pygmy Twylyte / Roxy & Elsewhere
13. Rudy Wants To Buy Yez A Drink / Chunga’s Revenge
14. Duck Duck Goose / Läther
15. Big Swifty / You Can’t Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 1
16. Inca Roads / Frank Zappa You Can’t Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 2
17. Anyway The Wind Blows / Cruising With Ruben & The Jets
18. Lumpy Gravy Pt. 2: Very Distraughtening/White Ugliness/Amen/Just One More Time/A Vicious Circle/King Kong/Drums Are Too Noisy/Kangaroos/Envelops The Bath Tub/Take Your Clothes Off / Lumpy Gravy

Letters From A Tapehead


Just a tad late in the game on this one. 

On December 7th, I received a press release regarding the legendary Scott "Wino" Weinrich, who will be putting out a solo album in March of 2011.  He's also going to be touring with Scott Kelly of Neurosis, playing the opposite of Dylan and going "acoustic" for a split 7."  More to look forward to for 2011.

Via Earsplit PR:

We don’t need to rave about the well-known legacy of the man who is Scott Weinrich, better known as Wino. With dozens of albums released throughout his time spent in The Obsessed, Saint Vitus, Shine, Spirit Caravan, The Hidden Hand, Shrinebuilder, Dave Grohl’s Probot project and much more since the late ’70s, his mammoth and varied resume spans nearly three full decades, essentially set him up as a purveyor and forerunner of the entire genre we now call doom rock. A true legend; this is Wino. But, with the release of the humble but legendary musician’s new solo album, Adrift, a side of the man that most haven’t heard is being uncovered for the first time.

Answering the call from his friends and supporters to record an acoustic solo album following the sudden and tragic passing of friend and bandmate Jon Blank, who appeared on Wino’s first “solo release”
Punctuated Equilibrium album in 2009, he set to work on his most personal and powerful recording to date. Adrift is a revealing alternative view of this underground legend’s personality and history. Stripped down to the bare minimum — just his voice and his guitar — the songs on Adrift follow classic American songwriting ideals offering a compelling mixture of emotion and storytelling.

Wino is a man on his own in a boat without sails. He’s fighting against tides and storms, enjoying the moments of bright sunshine; bound to the will of something external — the wind, destiny and the drift. Easily his most heartfelt and personal material to be recorded to date, the twelve tracks on
Adrift help elevate this already iconic musician to a new level of storytelling, setting Wino up to fall right in line with greats like Johnny Cash, Woodie Guthrie, Neil Young, Bob Dylan and other classic American songwriters.

Adrift Track Listing:
01. Adrift
02. I Don’t Care
03. Hold On Love
04. Mala Suerte
05. Old And Alone
06. Iron Horse/Born To Lose
07. Suzanes Song
08. DBear
09. Whatever
10. Shot In The Head
11. O.B.E.
12. Green Speed
Adrift is set for official release on respected German label Exile On Mainstream Records March 8th, 2011 in North America, the label now distributed domestically by E1 Entertainment. A limited edition vinyl version of the album featuring extended liner notes and more is to be released in the U.S. on January 18th by Volcom Entertainment.

Wino will hit the road stateside this February on a short acoustic tour, rocking alongside longtime friend, and also Shrinebuilder bandmate, Scott Kelly (Neurosis). The tour will be in support of the upcoming split 7″ between Wino and Kelly, to be released early in the year by Volcom, as well as the
Adrift album. Sponsored by BrooklynVegan, the tour will venture through California, Texas, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland and New York, showcasing both legendary artists each in solo, acoustic mode.

Wino/Scott Kelly February 2011 Tour:

2/05/11 Viper Room, Hollywood CA w/Wino
2/07/11 Casbah, San Diego CA w/Wino
2/08/11 Emo’s, Austin TX w/Wino
2/09/11 Abbey Pub, Chicago IL w/Wino
2/10/11 Great Scott, Allston MA w/Wino Buy Tix
2/11/11 Sonar, Baltimore MD w/Wino
2/12/11 Mercury Lounge, New York NY w/Wino [new site coming soon]

Letters From A Tapehead 

Monday, December 13, 2010

Parts & Labor: Life Prowler (No Age cover)

Just caught wind of a new release from Parts & Labor. There's also a live video of the band covering No Age's "Life Prowler," which is from their new album, Everything In Between.

Via Jagjaguwar press release:

Parts & Labor Unveil Constant Future,
Produced By Dave Fridmann.

(Parts & Labor L to R: BJ Warshaw, Joe Wong, and Dan Friel)


Jagjaguwar is proud to announce the forthcoming release of Constant Future, the fifth full-length album by Brooklyn's Parts & Labor, available on March 7 on CD/LP/Digital formats.

Constant Future is the career-defining statement from Brooklyn-based noise-pop trio Parts & Labor. The album’s 12 tracks deliver the bare essentials that made them sui generis totems of modern art-punk: synthesized keyboard riffs distorted into oblivion, percussion pummeled hypnotically, crackling drones that haunt and soothe, fearless melodies hollered skyward. Their last release, 2008’s acclaimed Receivers, saw Parts & Labor blasting off in all directions and creating collage art from hundreds of fan-curated samples. But Constant Future finds them crashing back to earth, focusing pointedly on what they do best: unique, electronic landscapes melded with buzzing, anthemic hooks. Parts & Labor have distilled the lessons and experiences of nearly 10 years as a band into a catchy, blown-out masterwork.

(Parts & Labor Constant Future album artwork, by BJ Warshaw)  

Maximalist engineer Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips, Mogwai, Sleater-Kinney, MGMT) mixed and co-produced the album with P&L at his Tarbox Road Studios in Casadega, NY. A band already known for their dense, futuristic sound was ultimately transformed into something massive, beaming, downright nuclear. The album is the product of two years of vigorous writing and demoing which resulted in more than 40 songs. For the actual recording, Parts & Labor settled in a former boxing ring in Milwaukee to track the record themselves, with drummer Joe Wong leading the charge.

Constant Future’s 39 minutes, vocalists Dan Friel and BJ Warshaw steadfastly chronicle several whirlwind years of growth, taking lyrical cues from the artful work of their musical heroes (Sonic Youth, Lungfish, Fugazi, Wire). The pair weave tales of teeth-baring city-scapes (“Fake Names”, “Echo Chamber”), the anxiety of death (“Rest”, “Never Changer”) and the horrifying pitfalls of our nascent century (“Outnumbered”, “Skin And Bones”). But, as their sunny refrains would imply, there’s always a glimmer of hope, acceptance and love buried just beneath Parts & Labor’s paranoid surface (“Without A Seed”, “Hurricane”, “A Thousand Roads”).

Parts & Labor took part in a recent fundraiser for
The Voice Project organization which raises money to support the peace movement in Uganda. As part of the fundraiser Parts & Labor performed a cover of No Age's "Life Prowler" from their new album Everything in Between. Other artists who have contributed to the Voice Project include Peter Gabriel, Billy Bragg, R.E.M's Mike Mills, Andrew Bird, and Dawes, just to name a few. You can watch a high-quality black and white video of Parts & Labor's performance below.

VIDEO: Parts & Labor "Life Prowler" (No Age Cover)

1. Fake Names
2. Outnumbered
3. Constant Future
4. A Thousand Roads
5. Rest
6. Pure Annihilation
7. Skin and Bones
8. Echo Chamber
9. Without a Seed
10. Bright White
11. Hurricane
12. Never Changer


Parts & Labor Myspace

Parts & Labor Facebook

Parts & Labor Press Photos

Parts & Labor Artist Page

Parts & Labor Website

Letters From A Tapehead

Friday, December 10, 2010

Over The Hill: Bitches Brew & Fun House

It could be said that the 70s were a schizophrenic decade set on either purifying rock n’ roll (Sabbath, Zeppelin), putrefying rock n’ roll (Styx, Bee Gees), complicating rock n’ roll (Rush, Yes), glossing rock n’ roll (Bowie, T-Rex), or starting from scratch (Ramones, Sex Pistols). Inasmuch as the 60s as a whole, (The Beatles and The Stones especially), can justifiably lay claim to the progression of rock music, even if its foundations were poured in the 50s by Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley, I believe the 70s have had the most profound and timeless effect on what we consider “rock,” especially with art and punk colliding and jazz and rock learning to coexist. In both you have Bitches Brew and Fun House, two diametrically opposed worlds birthed by a shared understanding that their respective genres had reached a peak. It was time to think differently once the 60s were over.

Cover art for Rhino's 2005 Fun House reissue
The same could be said for idealistic views of peace and love, as most of those weekend warriors caught up in the vibe of free love and expanded consciousness eventually bought into the American dream anyway, wound up voting for Reagan and propagated the generational cynicism that supplied 80s hardcore its vitriol and 90s alternative its disillusionment. As far as “peace and love” was concerned, The Stooges had already dispensed with that lie, focusing instead on twat vibes, low minds and feeling “dirt,” a snarling abrasiveness lacing every yelp from Iggy Pop’s throat and Ron Asheton drawing anti-notes and kerrangs from his six-string with Detroit Rock vigor. The Stooges were, as history has told, a natural step in the devolution and dismantling of 60s rock n’ roll, The Velvet Underground and The MC5 already cultivating anti-hippie radicalism by bringing a sense of citified grit and street-infused poetry to the chagrin of sundazed flowerchildren begging for change at the corner of Haight and Ashbury, their collective two-fingered “V” stagnating the San Franciscan air. One year after Woodstock, Fun House was bred to offend.

It isn’t as if sex, drugs and rock n’ roll suffered at the hands of hippie-dom; the unholy trinity was alive and well. The Stooges, though, bore less a musical and meditative brand, Iggy an intense performer and the loud simplicity of the music, (although that’s debatable since Fun House has yet to be perfectly facsimiled), repetitious, obnoxious and even a little confrontational. The sex was in your face, lines like “I’ll stick it deep inside” (“Loose”) sort of canceling out any need for interpretative contemplation.

But, aside from the album’s lyrical candor, the music seemed meant to pummel and degrade whatever height the previous era had achieved with Lennon/McCartney, Dylan, Hendrix, Richards or Clapton. “TV Eye,” “1970” and “Fun House” were all in relentless pursuit of aural battery, Steve Mackay’s saxophone even diminishing jazz’s artistic integrity to some extent.

And while jazz may have suffered at The Stooges’ behest, Miles Davis, a veritable institution in the world of jazz music, also saw a need to begin anew. Davis saw a new future in Sly & The Family Stone, James Brown and Hendrix, so he began to incorporate those sounds into his music, thereby fashioning jazz fusion. Before Bitches Brew, Davis had already worked with jazz keyboardist, Joe Zawinul, in recording In A Silent Way, his first true foray into this new blend of jazz and electricity.

In the same way The Stooges began to tread their way into an anti-mainstream with their self-titled debut, In A Silent Way was the quiet before the storm of Bitches Brew: two LPs of jazz-infused tantrums that essentially dictated the next forty years in avant-garde and progressive music. But, also in the vein of The Stooges, Davis found loops. Jazz itself was already based on the principals of improvisation over steady rhythm, (at least this was what Davis had explored via his period with the second great quintet), but the rock version of repetition: persistent, unchanging bass lines and percussion, chugging rhythms that allowed for sporadic trumpet blasts and keyboard and guitar builds, this was a perversion of Charlie Parker’s grand insult to swinging jazz, be-bop’s powers of corruption plugged into a mass of “turned on” individuals. Try and wrap your head around the 27 minutes it takes to listen to the title track, Davis trading his brass exhalations with Chick Corea and Zawinul, an eerie and thick bass line making itself known. And then the drum kicks: maddening, frustrated, chaotic with spells of mild order transpiring as if the music itself needs to relax.

Cover art for
Bitches Brew: 40th Anniversary Collector's Edition
In both instances, whether seen as the epitome of Detroit trash or the misguided whim of an otherwise dependably reputable auteur, both albums challenge the conventional wisdom of rock music by making it what it should always be: Unconventional. Forty years later, both Fun House and Bitches Brew are appreciated for the liberation they’d offered, given credit for undoing the notion that there’s a school of thought for music meant to inspire and alter perceptions. The school of capitalization, however: Check out Rhino Handmade’s 7-disc 1970: The Complete Fun House Sessions, or Rhino’s 2005 2-disc Fun House reissue and Columbia/Legacy’s The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions released in 1998, or the new 6-disc Bitches Brew: 40th Anniversary Collector's Edition.

After “Feio,” Davis jests, “Ssssssssock it to me!” as if to both honor and abandon his esteemed reputation, almost like he’d realized the album he’d just finished was going to lead him into a new artistic world full of possibilities and uncertainty. The Stooges proper were no longer after Fun House, James Williamson joining the band later on and aiding in creating the seminal Raw Power LP as part of the renamed Iggy & The Stooges.

Letters From A Tapehead

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Boris: Live In Japan DVD

Via Earsplit PR:

BORIS To Release First Official DVD This January

Japan’s rock experimentalists BORIS are well-known not only for their epic discography – as they’ve unleashed multiple releases to the public every year in countless formats since their formation in the early 90s — but also for their captivating live performances they’re constantly booking, playing live throughout every habitable continent on the planet over the past decade and a half. The next official release from the band will bring fans a bit of both worlds, in the form of the band’s first official domestic live DVD from the band!

Set for release via Southern Lord on January 18, 2011, the
Live In Japan DVD captures the intriguing power, majesty and unique psychedelia that only BORIS can deliver, and will bring the band’s incredible stage act to fans who have never witnessed the band live, as well as diehards who venture out to see the act every chance they get. The footage on this official DVD release was filmed in Tokyo at the final show of the band’s 2008 Smile World Tour. Featuring a full set of eleven BORIS originals filmed at Daikanyama Unit, as well as three bonus videos from a set at the Shibuya Club Quattro, this DVD is quite special since BORIS actually play on other continents much more often than in their home country! 

BORIS Live In Japan DVD Track Listing:

1. Flower Sun Rain
2. Buzz-In
3. Laser Beam
4. Pink
5. Statement
6. Floor Shaker
7. Rainbow
8. My Neighbor Satan
9. Ka Re Ha Te Ta Sa Ki – No One’s Grieve
10. You Were Holding An Umbrella
11. “ ”

Bonus Tracks From Shibuya Club Quattro:
12. Tokyo Wonder Land
13. A Bao A Qu
14. Farewell

Letters From A Tapehead

J. Mascis: Not Enough

The big deal with J. Mascis' upcoming album, Several Shades Of Why, is that it's his first solo album.  I like the single a lot: quintessential Mascis, acoustic and reserved without sounding diluted or tired.

Via Sub Pop press release:


J Mascis Several Shades of Why out March 15
Free download MP3 of "Not Enough"

It’s all but inconceivable that J Mascis requires an introduction. In the quarter-century since he founded Dinosaur (Jr.), Mascis has created some of the era’s signature songs, albums and styles. As a skier, golfer, songwriter, skateboarder, record producer, and musician, J has few peers. The laconically-based roar of his guitar, drums and vocals have driven a long string of bands–Deep Wound, Dinosaur Jr., Gobblehoof, Velvet Monkeys, the Fog, Witch, Sweet Apple–and he has guested on innumerable sessions. But
Several Shades of Why is J’s first solo studio record, and it is an album of incredible beauty, performed with a delicacy not always associated with his work.

Recorded at Amherst Massachusetts’ Bisquiteen Studios, Several Shades… is nearly all acoustic and was created with the help of a few friends. Notable amongst them are Kurt Vile, Sophie Trudeau (A Silver Mount Zion), Kurt Fedora (long-time collusionist), Kevin Drew (Broken Social Scene), Ben Bridwell (Band of Horses), Pall Jenkins (Black Heart Procession), Matt Valentine (The Golden Road), and Suzanne Thorpe (Wounded Knees). Together in small mutable groupings, they conjure up classic sounds ranging from English-tinged folk to drifty, West Coast-style singer/songwriterism. But every track, every note even, bears that distinct Mascis watermark, both in the shape of the tunes and the glorious rasp of the vocals. Ten brilliant tunes that quietly grow and expand until they fill your brain with the purest pleasure.

Letters From A Tapehead

What I Heard This Morning: T-Model Ford

T-Model Ford is ninety years old and could probably mop the floor with our current roster of auto-tuned R&B hacks. Though I'd rather not belabor the point about old vs. young, hearing a ninety year old blues man strum a guitar and kick out something genuine makes you wonder when popular culture lost the plot and settled for third-rate. Check out "Comin' Back Home" and listen to an old man play some good music.

Via Pavement PR:



Recorded during a 14 show US tour this year, the groove on this new studio album is pure T-Model Ford. Backed by his regular touring band GravelRoad, and with stellar guest appearances by Brian Olive and Matthew Smith,
Taledragger is a perfect party album with the feel and honesty of a night at the juke joint.

Despite a mild stroke in April 2010, T-Model still plays with an intensity and consistency that belies his age. Now 90-years old, the self proclaimed “Boss of the Blues” continues to show his strengths. Playing the blues is his life, he knows no other way. The well-documented Bad Man can be noted to, at times, simply have it bad, man.

T-Model Ford's new
Taledragger album will be released on January 11, 2011 through Alive Records on color vinyl (limited to 900 copies), 180 gram vinyl (limited to 100 copies and available exclusively by mailorder through Alive Records), as well as CD and digital formats.

"More eccentric than innovative, Ford revisits riffs and motifs well-known in both Delta and Chicago blues. But he has an advantage over ’30s performers, who were limited by the three-minute running time of 78-rpm records. The guitarist slips, lurches and churns until the groove becomes hypnotic. T-Model Ford may not be an originator, but when he bends a song like taffy, he twists it into a shape that is his alone." – Mark Jenkins / WASHINGTON POST

“This is no music for the precious and wanky-fedora-headed-claptonite-bloozers who whine about sh*t being out of tune and wring their hands over a guitar being japanese-made. This is primal jankety-ass rattlin’ and buzzin’ raw music.” - DEEP BLUES BLOG

1. Same Old Train
2. Comin' Back Home
3. How Many More Years
4. Someone's Knocking On My Door
5. Big Legged Woman
6. I Worn My Body For So Long
7. Red Dress
8. Little Red Rooster


Dec. 9 White Water Tavern / Little Rock, AR
Dec. 10 Hi-Tone Cafe / Memphis, TN
Dec. 11 JJ’s Bohemia / Chattanooga, TN

T-MODEL FORD (Photo: Robert Matheu)


Letters From A Tapehead

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Tom Waits: Lucinda/Ain’t Goin’ Down to the Well (Live)

As today marks 61 years of age for Mr. Tom Waits, I figured I’d post this version of “Lucinda/Ain’t Goin’ Down to the Well” from the Glitter & Doom Live album because it’s A). Available and B). Awesome.

Here’s to another 61 years.

Letters From A Tapehead

Friday, December 03, 2010

Deer Tick: Christmas All Summer Long

December is here. Your money is not. In light of yet another holiday season spent in economic turmoil, Deer Tick has released Holy Shit, It’s Christmas, a two song single that might not put you in the holiday spirit. “Christmas All Summer Long,” though, might put you in some KIND of spirit.

"Christmas All Summer Long"

Via Force Field PR:

It's a Holiday surprise from Deer Tick!  A two song digital Christmas single is out now, that's the cover art above.  It's avail. through iTunes and most major digital outlets and also available for free via the Partisan Records site with the purchase of any Deer Tick item.

Deer Tick's John McCauley and Ian O'Neil recently announced a string of stripped down acoustic shows in early 2011, and now McCauley has added another show all on his own, Dec. 20 at the Troubadour in LA, as part of a benefit for Invisible Children.

Deer Tick
Holy S**t It's Christmas
Street Date: Nov. 30, 2010
Digital Only

1. Christmas All Summer Long
2. Holy S**t, It's Christmas

Some tour dates:


Mon-Dec-20 Los Angeles, CA Troubadour *
Fri-Jan-14 Boston, MA Middle East Upstairs
Sat-Jan-15 Providence, RI Met Café
Sun-Jan-16 Northampton, MA Iron Horse
Wed-Jan-19 New York, NY City Winery
Thu-Jan-20 New Haven, CT Daniel Street
Fri-Jan-21 Philadelphia, PA First Unitarian Church Santuary
Sat-Jan-22 York, PA Strand Capitol Performing Arts Center
Sun-Jan-23 Washington, DC Rock and Roll Hotel

* = John McCauley only, w/ Mountain Man, Guards

Letters From A Tapehead

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Shopping For Records #44: Earth's Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of Light 1

Following the release of their compilation/reissue, A Bureaucratic Desire for Extra Capsular Extraction, Earth is releasing a new album, Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of Light 1.

You can find a review of A Bureaucratic Desire for Extra Capsular Extraction at Stereokiller.

Artwork by Stacy Rozich
Via Earsplit PR:

EARTH have completed their highly anticipated upcoming full-length album, which has been a subject of much discussion over the past two years. Following the band's magnificent 2008-released The Bees Made Honey In The Lion's Skull opus, the next chapter in the ongoing EARTH legacy is ready for public consumption. To see release via Southern Lord Recordings in February 2011, the recently completed new album has been titled Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of Light 1, and promises to be a brand new entity within EARTH's already impressive and constantly progressing lineage.

Joining founding guitarist and band frontman Dylan Carlson and percussionist Adrienne Davies, the album lineup this time around also includes cellist Lori Goldston (Nirvana, David Byrne, Black Cat Orchestra, Laura Veirs) and Karl Blau (K Records, Laura Veirs, Microphones) on electric bass. Returning to Seattle's Avast Studios in April and July of 2010 to again work with producer Stuart Hallerman (Soundgarden, Mudhoney, Built To Spill, and Earth2), EARTH's newest masterpiece shows the band continuing to expand on the Americana themes represented on The Bees Made Honey In The Lion's Skull, and even their incredible 2005 album Hex (Or Printing The Infernal Method), taking their sound into broad new directions.

Citing inspiration from British folk-rock bands the Pentangle and Fairport Convention, as well as North African Tuareg band Tinariwen this time around, while still maintaining the thunderous, organic heaviness of previous EARTH releases, the material on Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of Light 1 is more fluid and melodically oriented in nature, relying on more textured patterns and a greater emphasis on improvisational songwriting tactics. This, as well as the inclusion of cello and other experimentations from the musicians involved, culminate into some unforgettable new hymns. The album was mastered by Mell Dettmer, who also remastered the recent re-release of EARTH's first recordings in the form of A Bureaucratic Desire For Extra Capsular Extraction, released by Southern Lord in late October.

Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of Light 1 Track Listing:

1. Old Black
2. Father Midnight
3. Descent To The Zenith
4. Hell’s Winter
5. Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of Light 1

Letters From A Tapehead

The Cult: Embers

Ye disciples of Astbury! A press release via Cornerstone:

Super amazing British crew The Cult are the special guests on Saturday night's Guitar Center Sessions. Show airs at 9pm EST and it's going to be in 3D on Direct TV's n3D. It's also airing in 2D on Direct TV's 101 Channel.

They will be performing a rare and intimate set that includes not only stripped down songs performed by the band, but interviews throughout hosted by Nic Harcourt (of KCRW).

As an appetizer, here’s a video of The Cult performing “Embers” from their Guitar Center Session.

Letters From A Tapehead

Yuck: Rubber

In early October, I mentioned that there were two 7” singles being released by a band named Yuck. “Rubber” was put out as a very strange, yet somehow beautiful, video, the song itself a hybridized byproduct of shoegaze, lo-fi and drone metal. Think Kevin Shields and Dylan Carlson: its rhythm a drone-worthy trudge, its distortion hypnotic and the underlying melodies sort of pretty.

For those of you in the 9-to-5, the video features graphic dog grooming (of the hershey squirt variety) and some nudity, so your bosses may not like you watching it on the company’s dime. To alleviate potential firings, I’ve also posted the single by itself along with a remix.

Yuck’s upcoming album, simply titled Yuck, will be out next February on Fat Possum Records.


Yuck - Rubber from Yuck on Vimeo.

Via Force Field PR:

Over this past year, Yuck have emerged as one of the best and brightest new bands around, not to mention one of the most mercurial and unpredictable. Far from following any set patterns, they have instead forged their own path and cultivated a fervently devoted fanbase in the process, from their gorgeously winsome debut single "Georgia", released on Transparent (and recently on Fat Possum in the US), to the 4 track, piano-led Yu(c)k EP Weakend, on Mirror Universe Tapes, to finally signing with Fat Possum/ Pharmacy Recording Co and releasing their sprawling, epic single "Rubber" in November. 

That deliciously maverick streak shows up once again on this, their hotly anticipated debut album. Self-produced, it finally unveils the full breadth and scope of Yuck, showcasing a band capable of sprinting off in pretty much any direction you can think of, so diverse and fully realised is its vision. It also shows that their previous releases were merely skimming the tip of the iceberg in terms of what the quartet of Daniel Blumberg, Max Bloom, Mariko Doi and Jonny Rogoff are capable of. This is a confident, wildly ambitious record, but also one which brims over with a ragged warmth and tenderness, tipping its hat at alt music heroes past such as East River Pipe, Dinosaur Jr and Sparklehorse while at the same time retaining a unique identity entirely its own. From the rousing call to arms of the opener "Get Away", to the hypnotic sturm und drang of "Rubber", and the grungy serotonin rush of "Operation", it is clear that this is a band in full control of their powers when it comes to anthemic and offbeat guitar rock. But they also reveal an achingly fragile side too, as with the gorgeous, heartsick croon on "Suck", or on "Sunday", where Blumberg asks, "Did you take the rhythm from me? Yesterday I had it all" over chiming, jangling guitars.

Additionally, after an autumn tour which took in raucously received performances at this year's In the City and a sold-out London show at the Lexington, Yuck will be taking to the road for another headline tour of the UK, before heading off to the US for a spate of live dates, not to mention their debut shows at SXSW in March.

Letters From A Tapehead

Gritty Death Mask...

Ben Parrish of Kill Rock Stars made the following statement: Gritty should join Taiwan Housing Project ✌️ — benjamin parrish (@mrbe...