Monday, April 30, 2012

What I Heard This Morning: San Gabriel

Producer Butchy Fuego's San Gabriel project spawned "Can't Work," which is maddeningly repetitive and also strangely captivating, is a single from his new EP, VOLFE.  The EP will be out in May.  The remix, though, created by Eye of Boredoms fame, acts as an intersection for electro-beat convergence and relentlessly positioned pulsations, which is working to either mock club music or intellectualize it like Free Jazz.  Not an easy 4 minutes and 41 seconds to sit through, but it's what you expect from a Boredoms-related project, Fuego himself a touring member of the very seminal and highly revered noise collective.

All info comes courtesy of Terrorbird Media.

SAN GABRIEL's frantic debut VOLFE set for late May, new track "Can't Work" up now with remix from EYE (of Boredoms) new solo project from producer/percussionist Butchy Fuego (Pit Er Pat, Boredoms, MIA) takes a more experimental approach on tropical beats.

LISTEN: Can't Work + EYE (of Boredoms) remix
(via The FADER)

WATCH: Experimental Forest 

LISTEN: Batalla Ultima
(via Mishka)

San Gabriel is the new forward-thinking beat project from the multi-instrumentalist/producer Butchy Fuego. His upcoming album
VOLFE is full of warped and pulsing pan-global club music; a signature marriage of tropical riddims, dubbed out soundscapes, and modern R&B minimalism. Striking the perfect balance of booming bass and tricky rhythms, VOLFE makes for some serious sideways heat.

Minimal in their framework yet vibrant in detail, San Gabriel tracks have their own recognizable style. Immediately remarkable is Fuego's sense of space. You can hear the meticulous attention given to every sound in every bar, parts of
VOLFE may have you imagine it being made with the aid of a giant spliff sprinkled with the ashes of both La Monte Young and King Tubby. While many of the percussion samples may mimic the sounds of machinery, the programming is very far from mechanical with impeccable drumwork that only a seasoned drummer can pull off (note: Fuego also performs and is a touring member of the legendary Boredoms and was a founding member of now defunct Thrill Jockey band Pit Er Pat.)

From the first second of the fast, thumping opener "Club Mate" you know you're getting into something you haven't heard before with it's dizzying almost-fractured MPC work. The uptempo stuttering rhythms and twitchy high-hats meshed with dark spooky vibes on lean tracks like "Gore Text" and "Can't Work" sit nicely with the more spacious, sexy sounds of "Z Trail" and "Experimental Forest". An incredibly promising and unique debut, we're left eagerly awaiting what San Gabriel has in store for us in the near future.

Upon launching into another very busy year with Boredoms/Boadrum, Fuego will be touring Japan as San Gabriel between Boredoms dates and will be lending his drumming talents to the upcoming Congos performance in London this June. An in-demand drummer and producer Fuego's resume is stellar recently working with folks such as Nite Jewel, MIA
, Rainbow Arabia, Julia Holter, Lucky Dragons, and many more.

5/4 Vancouver, BC @ The Waldorf (San Gabriel)
5/11 Kyoto, JP (San Gabriel)
5/12 Osaka, JP (San Gabriel)
5/17 Osaka, JP (Boredoms)
5/19 Tokyo, JP (Boredoms)
5/21 Shizuoka, JP (Boredoms Solar Eclipse Show)
5/26 Tokyo, JP Hot Banana Party (San Gabriel)
6/2 Nagano, JPTaico Club (Boredoms)
6/22 London, UK (w/ The Congos)

San Gabriel -
out May 22nd digital, June 26th on vinyl on Time No Place

Letters From A Tapehead 

I Heart Noise: Helmet

I had the opportunity to write somewhat of a “classics” review for Boston’s I Heart Noise music blog, which is run by Ilya Sitnikov. I reviewed Helmet’s debut full-length album, Strap It On, which was originally intended to be used for an Amphetamine Reptile feature series. It’s now being treated as a guest review. Helmet fan? Give it a look and then do some searching around I Heart Noise: It’s a very comprehensive blog and it features some excellent bands, releases and music. Ilya does an excellent job.

Strap It On
Originally released: 1990
Re-released: 11.91 via Interscope


Letters From A Tapehead

Friday, April 27, 2012

Ty Segall Band: Wave Goodbye

It was announced maybe last week that psych rock solo artist, Ty Segall, would be releasing a new album with his touring band as Ty Segall Band in June via In The Red.  Its name is Slaughterhouse.  A new single for the album was just made available online, "Wave Goodbye," which I've listened to two or three times today.  There's a ratty t-shirt feel to the song that I truly appreciate, not to mention the jamming outro.  I'll be on the lookout for this one when it comes out, especially since it looks like they'll be covering "Diddy Wah Diddy" by Captain Beefheart.

All information below is courtesy of Force Field PR.

Ty Segall Band shares first single, "Wave Goodbye," from new album Slaughterhouse out June 26 on In The Red

MP3: "Wave Goodbye" -


In The Red is over the moon and happy as a pig in shit to announce the debut release by the Ty Segall Band. The Ty Segall Band is Ty Segall (obviously), Mikal Cronin, Charlie Moothart, and Emily Rose Epstein. While Ty has released many incredible solo releases, Slaughterhouse marks the first release where he has recorded with his touring band. For this mini-album (it's only 10" but you get two!), the band recorded with Chris Woodhouse at The Hangar, turned their amps all the way up, set their fuzz pedals on obliterate, and commenced to kick ass and take names. Seriously, this record will melt your face. All of Ty's usual psych-pop sensibilities are still present, but Slaughterhouse adds the full-throttle, go-for-the-throat bombast that the band delivers in the live setting. This is fuzz riffs, bratty howl and Cro-Magnon bashing. The whole thing culminates with a fuzztone feedback freakout that's pretty much the only sensible way to end a workout of this magnitude. This is fucking great! So is the Ty Segall Band. - Larry Hardy, In The Red


05/02 San Francisco, CA Independent *%

05/03 Portland, OR Star Theater %

05/04 Vancouver, BC Waldorf Hotel %
05/05 Seattle, WA Chop Suey %
05/06 Missoula, MT The Palace %
05/08 Minneapolis, MN 7th Street Entry %
05/09 Madison, WI High Horse Saloon %
05/10 Chicago, IL Lincoln Hall !%
05/11 Detroit, MI Lager House !%
05/12 Toronto, ON Horseshoe Tavern !%
05/13 Montreal, QC Il Motore !%
05/14 Portland, ME Space Gallery !%
05/16 New York, NY Webster Hall $%
05/18 Philadelphia, PA Johnny Brenda's %
05/19 Raleigh, NC King's Barcade %
05/20 Atlanta, GA Earl %
05/21 Nashville, TN The End %
05/22 Memphis, TN Hi Tone %
05/23 Little Rock, AR Whitewater Tavern %
05/24 Houston, TX Walter's %
05/25 Austin, TX Mohawk (outside) %
07/15 Chicago, IL Pitchfork Festival

! = w/ The Strange Boys

$ = w/ The Men
% = w/ White Fence
* = w/ Shannon and the Clams, The Mallard


Ty Segall Band
(In The Red)
Release Date: June 26, 2012

Double 10" LP / CD
Track List:

1. Death
2. I Bought My Eyes
3. Slaughterhouse
4. The Tongue
5. Tell Me What's Inside Your Heart
6. Wave Goodbye
7. Muscle Man
8. That's The Bag I'm In
9. Diddy Wah Diddy
10. Oh Mary
11. Fuzz War

 Official Site -

Letters From A Tapehead

Monday, April 23, 2012

Swans: We Rose From Your Bed With The Sun In Our Head (Revisited)

In January, Young God Records put out a handmade version of We Rose From Your Bed With The Sun In Our Head, which is a live double-LP from Swans.  Despite its varying degrees of expense, up to $600 if I remember correctly, all 1,000 copies sold out within 24 hours.  For those of us, (as I myself had neither the money nor the knowledge that sale had commenced), that missed out, a general release of the album is planned for May 1st.

All info has been provided by Howlin' Wuelf Media.

The band's 2010 release, My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky, was reviewed for No Ripcord and my pick for best album of the year.

SWANS  -  We Rose From your Bed With The Sun In Our Head (2XDigipackCD)

Release Date: May 1, 2012

Available in limited quantities in stores and primarily through and live Swans concerts.

TRACK LISTING: disc one: 1. intro/no words no thoughts 2. jim 3. beautiful child 4. the apostate 5. yr property 6. sex god sex disc two: 1. the seer (intro)/ i crawled 2. eden prison 3. 93 ave. b blues / little mouth.

Recorded variously in Melbourne Australia, Berlin Germany, and NYC.

SWANS: michael gira - guitar, vocal; norman westerg - guitar; phil puleo - drums, duclimer; thor harris - drums/percussion, vibes, clarinet, melodica, violin; christoph hahn - double lap steel guitar; christopher pravdica - bass.

“We Rose…” was initially released as a limited edition of 1000, handmade special 2xcd package with various levels of purchase for fans to offset the costs of the new Swans studio album
The Seer. The edition of 1000 sold out in under 24 hours.

These recordings capture the rejuvenated and invigorated Swans as the group staked out new sonic and rhythmic terrain in 2010/11. The seeds of much of the upcoming album
The Seer are contained herein as the group developed new material while on tour. The tour(s) saw Swans enjoy the largest and most diverse audiences of their career. Contrary to the expectations of some, the experience was, though sometimes extreme, always joyous.

Below is a statement from M.Gira posted at

Note from Michael Gira: 

Thanks to all of you who attended the Swans shows during our recent tours. The experience, for us, was life-giving and nourishing. The audiences were not only the largest with which we’ve ever been blessed, but the most genuinely connected and in tune with the sonic/psychic experience in which we all participate. Thank you!...

Represented in these discs are the best recordings we could provide of the (ever-evolving) shows. Those of you who attended the early shows realize that the first iterations of the music morphed and grew (seemingly with a will more expansive than our own) into something quite different by the
end. This, in itself, was immensely gratifying. We also developed many new songs  – or sonic events is perhaps a better way to describe some of them - along the way. In compiling these recordings and mixing them with my trusted friend and engineer Kevin McMahon (at Marcata Studio, Gardiner NY), we did our best to represent that transition... if you choose to acquire this 2 disc set, in my view it would behoove you to listen to the music at a generous volume level. This has absolutely nothing to do with an aggressive intent, as some mistakenly assume. Exactly the opposite, in fact. As with the live experience, it’s all about immersion. We – Swans - experience that sense of being subsumed in something greater than ourselves when we perform, too. Maybe that’s even our selfish reason for making the music in the first place. At the best of moments, it doesn’t even feel as if we are playing the music ourselves. More that we’re animated – vivified – by the ongoing sonic wave.  I can’t speak for my friends and cohorts, but it’s what I live for. In any event, it’s my hope these discs provide you with a positive experience of some sort....

Letters From A Tapehead

Sunday, April 22, 2012

4.21.12 — Record Store Day: Long In The Tooth

Long In The Tooth
Philadelphia, PA

This year, I had to overcome a lot of cynicism.

As 2011's Record Store Day proved to be a mad rush of E-Bay opportunism thanks to the simultaneous wonder and woe of the RSD Exclusives, I decided this year that I would go to another store, Long In The Tooth, located at 20th and Sansom in Center City.  The store being opened at 12, it was a good idea to get there early, flashing back of course to the line I had to stand in last year and the ensuing wrestling match that followed once the doors were opened.

My brother and I arrived at the store at 10:50.  No line.  No shouting or incidental noise.  No pushing and shoving.  All we saw was a paper sign on the door, with an amusing magic marker drawing of a Jesus fish with sad eyes and a big ANTI slash cut across it diagonally.  The sign read, "NO PHISH — We will open today @ 10:30."  "Fuck," I thought, "We're late."

Last year, I and some friends, went to A.K.A. Music in Olde City.  The RSD Exclusives were set out on tables and racks, a veritable yard sale positioned in front of the store as you walked in.  Because of this, you had to push your way through hipster commerce to get into the store, which put me off.  I was expecting this as my brother and I walked into Long In The Tooth, but this wasn't the case.  The owner kept all the exclusives behind the counter, so customers had to ask what was available.  Otherwise, shoppers were scattered about the store, their fingers busy filing through its very well-stocked inventory.  The air was relaxed.  Almost too relaxed.  With ample time to sort and sift through the store's wares and ask about albums as we thought of them, we were free to explore.

In spite of my pseudo-reservations regarding the Exclusives, there were some releases I wanted to check out.  I had a printed list sticking out of my back pocket, which I didn't even really use, so more than a few times I would peer out past the counter, squinting my eyes in effort to get all the clarity out of them that I could.  A pretty expensive STAX box set of 7" vinyl, Never To Be Forgotten - The Flip Side of Stax 1968-1974, was very much in demand and rightfully so. If not for the $75 price tag I would've picked one up myself, but that would've depleted most of the day's budget.  I did, however, find the Lee Perry Blackboard Jungle Dub box set, three 10" albums colored red, yellow and green.  $37, to me, was very reasonable.  My other "must have" was the Mike Watt & The Missingmen/Chuck Dukowski Sextet split 7," which I picked up for $8.  I'd been asked to keep my eyes peeled for a copy of Bill Evans' Selections from Live at Art D'Lugoff's, but as far as jazz releases, Long In The Tooth only received the The Dave Brubeck Octet's Distinctive Rhythm Instrumentals.  My brother's Exclusives included the Watt/Dukowski 7," the "Diddy Wah Diddy" 7" from Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band and the Pretty In Pink soundtrack, which I thought about picking up as well, but didn't.

The Eponymous To Anonymous box set from TomahawkOne Drop by Public Image Ltd. and the double LP edition of Iggy & The Stooges' Raw Power were also considered, but price and availability were factors.

Once I had secured my Exclusives, I turned my attention to the stacks.  I pulled Open Your Heart by The Men, one of my favorite albums of 2012, a live four-song 7” from OFF! titled Live at Generation Records and a used copy of God is the House by Art Tatum.  I had contemplated picking up Ufomammut's Oro: Opus Primum, a remastered double LP of Hüsker Dü's Zen Arcade and Conference of the Birds by Om, but the aforementioned budget limitations spoke much louder than my impulses.

I was very happy, though, to get that Lee Perry set and Watt/Dukowski split.  I was also happy to leave the store feeling as though as I was amongst vinyl junkies and music fans as opposed to online merchants looking to score some easy cash.  I'm pretty sure I'll return to Long In The Tooth for next year's RSD and hopefully many times before then. 

Letters From A Tapehead

Friday, April 20, 2012

Cypress Hill: I Wanna Get High

4/20: Do I really need to explain why Cypress Hill's "I Wanna Get High" is getting a spotlight today?

If you're going to celebrate, don't get behind the wheel.  That's as socially responsible as I'm going to get, so absorb. 

Letters From A Tapehead

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Exray's: Ancient Thing

Exray's, the electronic-based indie pop duo comprised of Jon Bernson and Michael Falsetto-Mapp, is a dreamy, gaze-oriented outfit, crafting the sort of music that rides on a pulse and orbits any headspace with minimal friction. "Ancient Thing," the new single from their upcoming LP, Trust A Robot, isn't necessarily the sort of song you'd want to advertise your album. It's low on energy, ponderous and slow, noir-based storytelling with barely a melody to latch onto.
Still, I thought Exray's last album had some interesting moments and I definitely listened to it more than once.  The band was spotlighted in 2010.  Trust A Robot will be out June 26th via Howells Transmitter.

All links and info come courtesy of Terrorbird Media.

Exray's Announce New Album Trust a Robot for June 26th Release on Howells Transmitter; Dystopian Visions Meet Lo-Fi Electronic Pop on New LP

First Single "Ancient Thing" Available for Free Download & Stream

Shigeto, Devonwho Remixes En Route

DOWNLOAD/STREAM: "Ancient Thing" via direct mp3 / via Soundcloud

WATCH: "You Can Trust a Robot" video via Echolocale / via Vimeo

Jon Bernson and Michael Falsetto-Mapp specialize in lo-fi electronic pop made from gritty beats, voice mail vocals and timeless melodies. Trust a Robot, set for release June 26th on Howells Transmitter, reveals the Exray's obsession with the dystopian visions of Philip K. Dick, Syd Mead, William Burroughs and James Blaylock. The band is coalescing a growing electronic pop movement in San Francisco that taps into the beatmaking world, underground dance music, inventive songwriting and a fascination with the future. This is evident on the first single from the new album "Ancient Thing," available now for free download and stream. Additionally, a live video for the song "You Can Trust a Robot" recently hit Echolocale, and was filmed in a large, icy, industrial warehouse studio that's fitting for the song's apocolyptic scenario.

Since the release of their first record, Exray's has performed with a long list of likeminded innovators: Toro Y Moi, tUnE-yArDs, The Soft Moon, Nite Jewel, Cloud Nothings, Thao Nguyen, Matthew Dear, Adventure, Dosh, Braids, Tim Cohen, The Sandwitches, John Vanderslice, Weekend and Pictureplane. The band released their debut EP Ammunition Teeth in October of 2010, the same month that David Fincher's blockbuster The Social Network featured Exray's song 'Hesitation' alongside an Academy Award winning score by Trent Reznor. In February 2011 Exray's released their first self-titled LP and a series of videos, which received attention from the likes of Pitchfork, Altered Zones, Spin, Prefix, MOKB, The Bay Bridged, and more.
Guests on the new album include Heidi Alexander (The Sandwitches), Nate Query and Chris Funk (The Decemberists), Jean Yaste (Future Twin), and more. Remixes from Devonwho (All City) and Shigeto (Ghostly International) are confirmed, and Exray's will be hitting the road for a west coast tour in June.


Click Here or Above for the "You Can Trust a Robot" Video


Exray's - Trust a Robot
Out June 26th on Howells Transmitter

Letters From A Tapehead

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

No Ripcord: The Mars Volta

The Mars Volta
Warner Bros./Sargent House/Rodríguez-López Productions
Released: 3.26.12


Letters From A Tapehead

Dear Grass Is Green: I missed Jawbox, too.

Grass Is Green
Exploding In Sound Records
Released: 3.1.12

I've been listening to Ronson, the third album from Boston post-punk/post-hardcore band, Grass Is Green, on and off since its release.  Many times I've sat listening to it and attempted to perfectly distill my reasons for liking it, which hasn't been easy.  Speaking objectively, Grass Is Green could serve as the functioning successor to Disc 2 of Dischord Records' 20 Years of Dischord compilation, their own sound the perfect culmination of many of the bands featured on that disc, namely Fugazi, Faraquet, Branch Manager, Smart Went Crazy, Jawbox and LungfishRonson captures many of the elements that shaped and informed early pre-Alternative 90s America, the sort of off-kilter rock sounds that epitomized the shift from hardcore to indie rock.  The combined efforts of guitarist/vocalist Andy Chervenak, guitarist Devin McKnight, bassist Michael Thomas and drummer Jesse Weiss, despite their allegiance to point and sound in time, are refreshingly guitar-driven and loud.

But, saying that a band simply "emulates an already established sound to supply its output" as opposed to "embraces an established sound to inspire its output" shortchanges their abilities.  Derivations and nostalgia be damned, Grass Is Green is a good band, capable of being somewhat whimsical ("Three Little Chickens"), melodic and pop-driven ("Nice Guy of the Year Award") or a little esoteric ("Devin's Lament").  Ronson provides a musically well-versed collection of songs that can appeal to both appreciators and casual listeners, the funk-laden tone of "Dance Punk Revival School" or the Thurston Moore-based strums of "Panera" contrasting nicely with the more ballad-toned "Somebody's Something" or straightforward and catchy "Riff Sibling."  Other songs like "Life Of Mike" and "Baby Prieto's Big Score" will have an audience with alterna-heads and listeners that latch onto college radio like newborns suckling mama's instant breakfast, but to the absolute exclusion of nobody.  Even at its most experimental, Ronson is just a fun and entertaining album, which is something you can't really explain with an academic's perspective and a lexicon abundant with five dollar adjectives.

Letters From A Tapehead

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

What I Heard This Morning: Shmu

Sam Chown, half of the experimentalist duo known as Zorch, is putting out a solo album called Discipline/Communication under the name, Shmu.  Steely Dan would be proud of Chown's new single, "House Of Stares."

All info and links come courtesy of Us/Them.

Zorch multi-instrumentalist Shmu posts first track from solo debut via Consequence of Sound

Click image above to watch video 

Sam Chown, drummer/singer/multi-instrumentalist in Austin's hyper-kinetic duo Zorch premieres the first song from his forthcoming solo debut under the moniker Shmu today. The track, "House of Stares" is available at Consequence of Sound to stream/download HERE.

"House of Stares" showcases a much more subdued and dare we say "pop" side of the musician's talents seldom heard in Zorch. Throughout, Shmu's album Discipline/Communication is a melodic exploration into combinations of pop, shoegaze, glitch, psych and experimental rock into a cohesive and original whole spread across the disc's 16-tracks.

Chown wrote, produced, recorded and performed all instruments on the album.  Discipline/Communication will be available June 5th on CD and download via Grand Theft Zamboni Records.

Artist: Shmu
Label: Grand Theft Zamboni Records
Release Date: June 5, 2012

01. Impressions
02. House of Stares (MP3) (VIDEO)
03. Backwoods
04. Directions
05. Crazy #107
06. Shadowgames
07. Happiness
08. Peaceful Swan
09. Vanitos
10. &hearts
11. Heads Will Fall
12. Floatin' Oculus
13. Turpentine
14. Fester
15. Dangerous Passion
16. Pool Party (Place 4 Us)

On the Web:

Letters From A Tapehead

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Yuck: Chew

So, here's the problem with Yuck:

As has been the case since their debut LP, Yuck is as throwback as a throwback can be. Their new single, "Chew," earned itself an interesting amount of "sounds familiar" comments on Soundcloud and, listening to the track, it's a remarkable lift.  Granted, similarities and derivations are inescapable, many bands either tapping their influences closely, acting with homage-like flattery or utilizing their peers as a precipice from which to begin their own thing.  While "Chew" sounds like it's resultant from multiple spins of Egg Hunt's two-song 7," Nothing Is Shocking by Jane's Addiction and Smashing Pumpkins' Siamese Dream, Yuck loves them some early 90s alternative and the band replicates it well.  But, the eternal question begs: Are we moving forward or thriving on nostalgia?
 Yuck's debut was reviewed at No Ripcord.

Link to the song was courtesy of Force Field PR.

Official site - 
Facebook - 
Twitter -!/yuckband 

Letters From A Tapehead

Friday, April 13, 2012

Kicking Against The Pricks: Grinderman

Issue #19 of Kicking Against The Pricks is up and features interviews with The Pop Group's Mark Stewart and Mount Eerie, live reviews of The Mountain Goats and Earth and album reviews for The Futureheads, Lee Ranaldo, The Shins, Nite Jewel, Lotus Plaza and Magic Castles.

My contribution was a review of the new remix album from Grinderman, Grinderman 2 RMX.

Grinderman 2 RMX
Released: 3.26.12

Letters From A Tapehead

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Neneh Cherry & The Thing: Dream Baby Dream (Suicide cover)

Found this via Stereogum.

Neneh Cherry & The Thing covering Suicide's "Dream Baby Dream."  This is excellent.  Knowing Suicide as the stripped down, keyboard-powered duo they were, hearing them interpreted by a jazz and vocal ensemble really does add some dimension to their work. 

Their album, The Cherry Thing, will be out June 18th on Smalltown Supersound and the more I read about it, the more I want to hear it.

While Neneh Cherry is most closely associated with her hit "Buffalo Stance," she had an interesting period early in her career when she fronted Rip, Rig + Panic, one of the many groups born out of the  The Pop Group's dissolution.

Oh, and apparently jazz great Don Cherry was her stepfather.

Letters From A Tapehead

Less Artist More Condos: A Place To Bury Strangers/Ceremony

Two new songs from A Place To Bury Strangers and Ceremony are being issued on a split 7" series for Less Artist More Condos, proceeds for which are being donated to a charity on behalf of the late Ariel Panero, co-owner of the record label, Famous Class.  The series will span a planned six releases this year. 

Links, songs and info are provided by Terrorbird Media.

A Place To Bury Strangers and Ceremony release the first LAMC 7" today on Famous Class

The Brooklyn label sets next Less Artist More Condos 7" release for July with Future Islands & Ed Schrader's Music Beat, all digital proceeds go to charity in honor of Ariel Panero.

LISTEN: A Place To Bury Strangers - Burning Plastic
LISTEN: Ceremony - Send Me Your Dreams

In loving memory of their dear friend and label partner, the late Ariel Panero, the Brooklyn-based label Famous Class releases the first volume of their upcoming
LAMC split 7" series today. The series gets its name from the epic Less Artists More Condos concerts that Ariel threw, showcasing amazing bands in some strange and unique venues. Ariel’s driving force was a desire to get the bands he believed in the recognition he felt they deserved. This series simply tries to honor that idea.

For each LAMC split 7” Famous Class asked one of their favorite bands to provide them with an unreleased track for the A-side. They were then asked to pick their favorite emerging artist to provide a track for the B-side. Like how Ariel’s LAMC shows introduced New Yorkers to bands they might not have otherwise discovered – Famous Class hope that this series will do the same.

On the first 7" in the series, A Place to Bury Strangers invited Ceremony. The APTBS track sounds like nothing else the band has done before getting into some very dreamy and poppy territory (a la New Order), while the flipside from Ceremony delivers the darkness with layers of guitar squall and rhythmic drive. The tracks are now available for purchase on the FAMOUS CLASS bandcamp page with 100% of the proceeds going to the Ariel Panero Memorial Fund at VH1 Save the Music.

There are six of these bad boys coming before the end of the year and the acts participating are going to be crazy. The next one drops this July from Future Islands and Ed Schrader's Music Beat.

more info on the first 7"s participants...

Noise is like death; they are both prone to speculations about what may or may not be there, falsely perceived or deceptively real. They require a free fall of faith. In noise, you may choose to land lovingly on melody or you may stay lost in the technicolor grey sheets of teeth-on-glass distortion. If purgatory were an airport, Oliver would be the voice echoing through the abandoned terminals leading you to your departure, the sky above the runway filled with jets like a swarm of metallic locust. And that bass has got you feeling like riding a torpedo into Atlantis. It's enough to make the kids in back overtake security and rip up the front row seats and throw them into a bonfire because nobody can sit down to this shit anyway. This isn't the music to pick up the pieces, it's about calling bad luck bullshit and shattering that mirror into more pieces than there are empty coke bags in Brooklyn. It's safer than chemicals but it gives you the same high. It's a one sided argument; a thousand turbines aimed at a million megaphones in the bottom of the Grand Canyon aimed at your neighbor's window. Running lawnmowers dropped into a pool full of aluminum cans. A hail of light bulbs on a tin roof. This is infinite night, a dragstrip of mirrors, speed without end, amen.

Ceremony formed in 2004 from the ashes of the highly revered indie/shoegaze band Skywave. With multiple critically acclaimed releases, Ceremony have been taking their mix of classic pop songwriting and extreme guitar sounds into newer and ever-darker areas, as featured on "Disappear" (2007), "Rocket Fire" (2010), the "Not Tonight" EP (2011), and the forthcoming EP "Red Eyes". In concert, Ceremony's immediate, driving rhythm section, and super-charged guitar assault make them a band that must be seen and heard to be believed. The overwhelming power of their live shows leaves a mark on every person who loves the volume and ferocity of a beautiful, overdriven guitar storm 

Letters From A Tapehead

The Inbox Giveth: ALARIC/ATRIARCH Split

split LP
20 Buck Spin
Released: 5.15.12

A new inclusion to my ever-expanding wishlist, the Alaric/Atriarch split LP, which will be out in the middle of May, is a fascinatingly dark and dimensionally charged rock album, each band complimenting the other with its own distinct and strange understanding of how to translate its influences.

Alaric, in particular, is damn near post-punk, the band’s delivery allegiant to the likes of Joy Division or Bauhaus, if you could imagine either band being interpreted by Saint Vitus or even Flipper.

Atriarch, their guitar solos cold and remarkably isolated or distant, carry an air of foreboding doom, their sound comprised of shrieking black metal and steady drones.

The song selections are perfect for this type of release, demonstrative of what each band has to offer while unified in the effort’s presentation.

Read up on the release and check out the videos, which have been provided by Earsplit PR.  Live dates promoting the release are upcoming, but none for us on the East Coast.  Weak.

ALARIC & ATRIARCH Record Release Tour Begins Today 
In support of the previously announced forthcoming split LP between Oakland's anarcho death rock outfit ALARIC and Portland's blackened death/doom unit ATRIARCH, both bands will kick off a pre-release tour tonight in Seattle. Following tonight's kickoff performance the two acts will then traverse south down the West Coast performing together over the next five days.

4/10/2012 Highline - Seattle, WA w/ Bell Witch, Countdown to Armageddon [info
4/11/2012 Branx - Portland, OR [info] 4/12/2012 Wondering Goat - Eugene, OR [info
4/13/2012 Submission - San Francisco, CA w/ Negative Standards, Swamp Witch [info
4/14/2012 First Church Of The Buzzard - Oakland, CA w/ Altar de Fey, Crimson Scarlet [info] 4/15/2012 Blank Club - San Jose, CA w/ Swamp Witch [info]

Set for worldwide release on May 15th (not 4/17 as initially announced) the
split LP offers three new ALARIC tracks on the A-side and two from ATRIARCH on the B-side, making for nearly a half-hour of brand new material as both bands are diligently crafting their next full-length releases for later this year.

ALARIC released their self-titled debut LP via 20 Buck Spin in October 2011 to incredible critical acclaim worldwide, the band's infectious execution of coalescing classic dark anarcho punk, new wave and Goth influences into their own unique entity, both haunting and instantly memorable. Some called it the album Amebix should have made. Zero Tolerance Magazine proclaimed without hyperbole,
"Morbid, threatening and obsidian... Album of the Year by a long shot." Portland's ATRIARCH released their debut LP Forever The End in 2011 via Seventh Rule. A harrowing amalgam of death rock, black metal and doom, the band were quickly considered one to watch. Featuring past members of 20 Buck Spin alumni Graves At Sea and Trees, the band is currently in the studio recording their second LP and first for Profound Lore.

Letters From A Tapehead

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

What I Heard This Morning: First Person Shootr

The video for "Punch Struck," a single from First Person Shootr (Fred Warmsley), seems to capitalize a bit on imagery based on The Ring, its central figure hiding behind her hair at points, her surroundings an isolated and monochromatic treed forest or barren mountainside.  The song itself is ghostly and gaze-inducing, simplistic but engrossing.  The song is featured on the album, Mobility For Gods, which was released at the end of February.

All info comes courtesy of Force Field PR.

First Person Shootr "Punch-Struck" from TERROREYES.TV on Vimeo.

First Person Shootr premieres music video for "Punch Struck"

VIDEO: "Punch Struck" (Dir. by -

Still from the "Punch Struck" video

Musical inspiration comes from odd places: A lost love, a tragic event, or perhaps a hurdle you have finally leaped over.

For Fred Warmsley, the man behind First Person Shootr, inspiration spawns from riding in his Mothers Camaro as a child in the early 90s hearing musicians like the Deele, The System, and Tony! Toni! Toné!

The First Person Shootr experiment, which began in the Spring of 2011, has blurred ambient instrumental, minimal, and 2 step, with traces of the R&B sound Fred used to hear in his mother's Camaro. His first EP will be released via Lefse Records in February.

First Person Shootr
Mobility For Gods
(Lefse Records)
Street Date: February 28, 2012

cassette / digital

1. Punch Struck
2. See Inn
3. You New Web
4. U're Better Off
5. Pain For Your Win

Letters From A Tapehead

Monday, April 09, 2012

Stereokiller: Ufomammut

Oro: Opus Primum
Neurot Recordings
Released: 4.17.12

Letters From A Tapehead

MusicFilmWeb: Kill Your Idols

For Issue #6 of Kicking Against The Pricks, I penned a review of Scott Crary's no wave documentary, Kill Your Idols.  The article was picked for MusicFilmWeb's Music Documentary Monday feature.

Kill Your Idols
Directed by Scott Crary
Released: 2004

Letters From A Tapehead

Thursday, April 05, 2012

U.S. Christmas: Bad Heart Bull reissue

U.S. Christmas' (USX) first album, Bad Heart Bull, is being reissued on vinyl by Play The Assassin at a very limited quantity of 250 with proceeds going to the National Breast Cancer Foundation and the Oglala Sioux Tribe/Pine Ridge Reservation.  Collectors will appreciate that the vinyl itself will be available in three different variations, which are detailed below.  All info has been lovingly provided by the good people at Earsplit PR.

The band's 2011 single-song release, The Valley Path, was reviewed at Stereokiller.

U.S. CHRISTMAS To Reissue Debut On Vinyl Via Play The Assassin

New Jersey-based indie imprint Play The Assassin will issue Bad Heart Bull, the debut release from Appalachian doom folksters, U.S. CHRISTMAS on May 8, 2012. Originally self-released by the band on CDR in 2004, the vinyl will be limited to 250 copies and issued in three different configurations -- ultra clear with black splatter; bone white with blue swirl, and swamp green with yellow haze. Vinyl/T-shirt bundles and autographed test pressings are available with all proceeds being split between the National Breast Cancer Foundation and the Oglala Sioux Tribe/Pine Ridge Reservation.
Bad Heart Bull is a 43-minute slab of mutant doom blues; think Neil Young without the “Heart Of Gold.” “I used a lot of different electric guitars and amps –- a little Fender Vibro Champ for some of the leads on ‘Black Snake’ and an Orange full-stack for the wall of distortion, but the foundation of Bad Heart Bull was Les Paul Customs and Marshall Mosfet stacks,” says Hall. Pre-order Bad Heart Bull now at THIS LOCATION.

Now dubbed USX, U.S. CHRISTMAS is an apocalyptic space-rock/doom ensemble originating from the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina. Led by guitarist/vocalist Nate Hall, the band, now featuring BJ Graves (drummer), Justin Whitlow (percussion, sounds), Josh Holt (bass, drones), and Meghan Mulhearn (violin) -- have entered their second decade of blurring the boundaries of crushing rock and acoustic dark blues.

The band’s eclectic musical influences range from modern metal and doom to guitar slingers and classic artists including Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Hawkwind, Caustic Resin, and Neurosis. While the music of U.S. CHRISTMAS has never been described as being jammy or amorphous, the band’s brand of dirty, loose psychedelic rock originates from members bringing their individually-created musical parts into a room together and letting their collective synergy form a singular groove. One would think the spaciness of the music would bring lyrical themes dealing with outer-space, yet their lyrical content actually focuses more towards that of nature, earth, and terrestrial human history.

After a pair of self released CDRs (
Bad Heart Bull and Prayer Meeting), U.S. CHRISTMAS released their third album, Salt The Wound, via Russia’s RAIG Imprint, and then signed with the United States-based, Neurot Recordings (home of Neurosis, Shrinebuilder, Across Tundras, etc.) to release three studio offerings: Eat The Low Dogs, Run Thick In The Night and The Valley Path. Hall will be issuing his debut solo album, A Great River, via Neurot next month.!/USX.APPALACHIA

Letters From A Tapehead

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Om: Advaitic Songs

So, as if Al Cisneros didn't have enough going on with Sleep's Dopesmoker reissue, Letters From A Tapehead favorites, Om, will be releasing a new album, Advaitic Songs, in July via Drag City.  A promotional teaser video has posted.

I'm going to listen to "At Giza" a million times now.  This news came via Tiny Mix Tapes, who seem to think that Grails drummer Emil Amos is a member of Sleep.  Does anyone know if Amos is filling in on drums for any tour dates, or is this just an error? 

Letters From A Tapehead

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Bass Drum Of Death: I Wanna Be Forgotten

Simply put, I fully support denim jackets in rock music.

All info comes courtesy of Life or Death PR & Management.




Bass Drum of Death is a two piece band from Mississippi composed of John Barrett on guitar and vocals and Colin Sneed on drums. Together they make blown-out, blazing songs. Their debut LP was released last spring on Fat Possum Records. John wrote and recorded the whole record himself using drums, a guitar, a USB microphone, and a computer before teaching Sneed to play drums for the live show and beyond. The songs are about drugs, religious girls, panic attacks, mild to severe depression, Elvis appearing in your dreams and giving you advice, gravity bongs, and the devil living inside your brain.

Now, with Spring kicking into full gear, Bass Drum of Death is gearing up to release a 7" as well as a split 7" with DZ Deathrays through 3|4 (3qtr). Then on the precipice of Summer, Bass Drum of Death and DZ Deathrays are hitting the road bringing a dose of the things we love about summer -- long nights, adolescent debauchery and rock and roll -- to a city near you. The two bands won't stop until they've completed a lap around the country and Canada too. Don't miss this grungy party when it hits your town.

Listen: "I Wanna Be Forgotten" -


Bass Drum of Death 7"

A. White Fright
B. I Dunno

Bass Drum of Death / DZ Deathrays Split 7"

 A. I Wanna Be Forgotten (Bass Drum of Death)
B. No Sleep (DZ Deathrays)


6/6 Birmingham, Al - Bottle Tree

6/7 Atlanta, GA - 529
6/8 Raleigh, NC - King's Barcade 
6/9 Washington, DC - Red Palace 
6/10 Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda's
6/12 Brooklyn, NY - Glasslands
6/13 Boston, MA - Great Scott
6/14 Montreal, QC - Quai Des Brumes
6/15 Toronto, ON - Wrongbar
6/16 Pittsburgh, PA - Shadow Lounge
6/18 Detroit, MI - Magic Stick Lounge
6/19 Cleveland, OH - Beachland Tavern
6/21 Bloomington, IN - The Bishop
6/22 Chicago, IL - Schubas
6/23 St. Louis, MO - Old Rock House
6/24 Milwaukee, WI - Cactus Club
6/25 Minneapolis, MN - 7th Street Entry
6/28 Seattle, WA - Sunset
6/29 Vancouver, BC - Biltmore
6/30 Portland, OR - Mississippi Studios
7/2 San Francisco, CA - Bottom of the Hill
7/6 Los Angeles, CA - The Echo
7/7 San Diego, CA - Soda Bar
7/8 Phoenix, AZ - Rhythm Room
7/10 Austin, TX - Mohawk (Small Room)
7/11 Dallas, TX - Club Dada
7/12 Houston, TX - Fitzgerald's Downstairs
7/13 New Orleans, LA - One Eyed Jacks
7/14 Oxford, MS - Proud Larry's

Letters From A Tapehead

Monday, April 02, 2012

K-Holes: Window In The Wall

As the camera scans the sidewalk, a used condom comes into view.  After that, there are episodic dealings with drug use and prostitution delivered with the expected amount of visual grit and dramatic tone.  "Window in the Wall," new single from K-Holes, fits perfectly.

All info comes courtesy of Hardly Art.  Some of this may be repeated from my last entry regarding K-Holes, which introduced their first single ("Rats") from the upcoming album Dismania


VIDEO - "Window in the Wall"
[dir. Sebastian Mlynarsky]
MP3 - "Rats"

With little over a month to go until the May Day release of their sophomore LP
Dismania, K-Holes (New York's best live band™) have unveiled a new video for Side A closer "Window in the Wall." From its first, striking shot of a used condom withering on the pavement in the morning sun, this bleak-but-gorgeous video commands your attention. The clip, from filmmaker Sebastian Mlynarsky, employs the storytelling possibilites of the music video format to stunning effect. Two young lovers fight, swear, and reunite, unable to distentangle from one another and the abusive, drug-fueled life of codependency and hustling that they've fallen into. Dark stuff, to be sure, but presented with a deft and visionary touch--just like the music on K-Holes' Dismania. You can watch the video via at the above link.

About the record:

The K-Holes speak at once of the mystic and the cosmopolitan, the primal and the urbane, the earthen elements and their synthesized cousins. But unlike their contemporaries, the K-Holes’ sound is not of the grinning, gregarious panderer. Nor is it of the bored or at-ease. Rather, it’s the sound of escape.

Escape from the concrete scrabble of New York, that moneyed parking lot for the cynical and privileged; escape from the vulgar materialism sung from the metropolitan mouth; escape from the vacuous r’n’r pantomime that smells of mere vaudevillian entertainment in any number of the city’s myriad dives. The K-Holes set these things afire, and in their stead, they proffer a wet hand, leading you, the listener, to another flame, a funereal white-hot pyre--one that promises more than sheer nihilism. One that promises freedom amongst cages of different shapes, sizes and colors. A way out.

Their abdication follows a natural extension of the atrophied rock/roll ligament--unfurling from H. Williams to G. Vincent to Larry & the Blue Notes to the Pagans, Birthday Party, Flesh Eaters, Scientists, beyond--colored, at times, with smudges of primitive ceremony. As we follow their trajectory, running from the towering urban oppression, we catch whiffs of guttural noir in the honk of the sax, we hear the jagged swaths of guitar, we sense the bite and lust in their gang vocal. It’s fueled, all the while, by a low, thundering beat of tribal divination. Their burghal séance urges us onward, upward, and we sense the fire nearing. But the heat emanates not from the flame to which we run. It flowers from the cleansing pyre that has devoured us from the inside all along: the one that burns us up and tells us to move, in any direction at all, in any way we see fit, consequences be damned.


Press quotes:

“This is music that inspires the behavior of heathens: topless dancing, violent sacrifice, Bacchanalian orgies, and New Year’s cleansings.” -- L.A. Record

“Throw-you-down-on-the-floor-over-a-chalk-drawn-pentagram-with-a-head-full-of-mescaline music.” -- Qro Magazine

“The soundtrack to your Halloween.” -- Impose

“It's real noisy and then there's some sax.” -- VICE


Official site



Letters From A Tapehead

Liars: No. 1 Against the Rush

The experimental, No Wave inspired Liars have a new album coming out called, WIXIW, which will be on the virtual and physical shelves in June via Mute Records.  Their new single, "No. 1 Against The Rush," is available through their Facebook page, but I've had no luck getting the track to play.  There is, though, a teaser trailer for the new album, which I will be reviewing for No Ripcord once a promo is made available.

Letters From A Tapehead

Cover Of The Day: Sleep's Dopesmoker

News of Sleep's Dopesmoker reissue has had me salivating since word crossed my inbox not too long ago. The album's new artwork has been released. What do you think? Typographically speaking, I'm not too impressed. I like the illustration, though I'm not sure if it's as compelling as the music. This isn't the most memorable image, certainly not to the iconic extent of something like Holy Mountain.



All info comes courtesy of Earsplit PR.

SLEEP: Dopesmoker Deluxe Reissue Cover Art Revealed

As previously announced, Southern Lord Recordings will release a deluxe reissue of one the most essential albums of modern times - Dopesmoker from stoner metal icons, SLEEP. This reissue is entirely remastered from the original smoke-encrusted Ampex reels, and features an unreleased live recording of one their greatest live performances -- “Holy Mountain” from San Francisco’s I-Beam in 1994 -- as well as a brand new artwork by long time SLEEP artist Arik Roper, who crafted something truly special and consciousness-expanding for the album’s rebirth. Check it out at THIS LOCATION.
Dopesmoker stands as one of the towering achievements in recent metal history: a mesmerizing, intoxicating, and incredibly complex composition that remains unrivaled in the evolution of stoner metal.

In conjunction with its release, SLEEP will be headlining the 2012 edition of the Roadburn Festival in Tilburg, Netherlands before departing on a 24-city tour of Europe and the UK commencing May 3 in Wroclaw, Poland.

SLEEP 2012 European Tour Dates:
4/14/2012 Roadburn Festival – Tilburg, Netherlands
5/03/2012 Asymmetry Festival – Wroclaw, Poland w/ A Storm of Light
5/04/2012 Amager Bio – Copenhagen, Denmark w/ A Storm of Light
5/05/2012 Betong – Oslo, Norway w/ A Storm of Light
5/06/2012 Strand – Stockholm, Sweden w/ A Storm of Light
5/08/2012 Tavastia – Helsinki, Finland
5/09/2012 Berghain – Berlin, Germany w/ A Storm of Light
5/10/2012 Conne Island – Leipzig, Germany w/ A Storm of Light
5/11/2012 Lucerna Music Bar – Prague, Czech Republic w/ A Storm of Light
5/12/2012 Club 202 – Budapest, Hungary w/ A Storm of Light
5/13/2012 Tvornica Kulture – Zagreb, Croatia w/ A Storm of Light
5/14/2012 Arena – Vienna, Austria w/ A Storm of Light
5/16/2012 Circolo Degli Artisti – Rome, Italy w/ A Storm of Light
5/17/2012 Fillmore Club – Cortemaggiore, Italy w/ A Storm of Light
5/18/2012 Dachstock – Bern, Switzerland w/ A Storm of Light
5/19/2012 Fzw – Dortmund, Germany w/ A Storm of Light
5/20/2012 Gagarin 205 – Athens, Greece
5/22/2012 The Arches – Glasgow, Scotland w/ A Storm of Light
5/23/2012 Button Factory – Dublin, Ireland w/ A Storm of Light
5/24/2012 Stylus – Leeds, United Kingdom w/ A Storm of Light

5/25/2012 ATP I’ll Be Your Mirror – London, United Kingdom w/ Slayer, Melvins
5/26/2012 Villette, Sonique – Paris, France
5/27/2012 Trix – Antwerp, Belgium w/ A Storm of Light
5/28/2012 Feierwerk – Munich, Germany w/ A Storm of Light

5/31/2012 ATP Primavera Sound Barcelona – Barcelona, Spain w/ Wolves In The Throne Room

"Proceeds the Weedian. Nazareth."

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...