Thursday, May 31, 2012

Liars: WIXIW (stream)

WIXIW, (wish you), new album by Liars, will be out June 5th.  In the meantime, NPR has made the full album available for streaming.  I haven't listened to the entire thing yet, but what I've heard is blissfully eerie.  An EP for their new single, "No. 1 Against The Rush," is available as of May 29th.  All info and links are provided by Mute Records.





is Liars' "electronic" record, and a darn good one at that. -NPR  

Liars walked away with what may be the most enjoyable album of their career.-SPIN

In essence, it’s a dark pop masterpiece." -KCRW


Photo Credit: Zen Sekizawa


Liars are Angus Andrew, Aaron Hemphill and Julian Gross. In preparation for their upcoming sixth studio release, Liars have partnered with NPR for a “First Listen” to premiere
WIXIW. Being touted as “the best Radiohead album since Kid A,” we are excited for you to hear the album in its’ entirety as the band embraces whole new levels of anxiety, darkness and mystery.

In support of
WIXIW ‘s release on June 5th, 2012 the band will be touring this summer commencing in New York City on June 20th at Webster Hall. Oneohtrix Point Never has just been announced as the opener for the New York City show.

All tour dates are currently ON SALE!

The band recently released a video for their first single “No. 1 Against The Rush.” In traditional Liars fashion the plot is drenched in layers of creepy madness, following each member of the band as they are abducted by a shadowy figure in downtown LA.

Aaron Hemphill discusses collaboration behind the scenes with the Director, LA-based artist Todd Cole (known for his films for the fashion king Rodarte):
“Beginning with Patrick Daughters' video for “Plaster Casts Of Everything,” we've really enjoyed giving directors complete freedom in executing a visual interpretation of a Liars song entirely based on their own reaction…free from any factual references or creative input from us. We were really won over by Todd Cole's enthusiasm for “No. 1 Against The Rush”, as well as his very musical and rhythmic pacing in his treatment. Despite being wrapped head to toe in plastic, being dragged through broken glass, and being strangled to the ground, we had the easiest job to do on the set and we eagerly look forward to any new forms of punishment that can be inflicted upon us in making the next video.”

The video was recently featured on the last episode of MTV’s Weird Vibes!

Watch it here:

“No. 1 Against The Rush”is available via digital download on May 29th and on 12" in June preceding the 11-track album,
WIXIW (pronounced “wish you”), out June 5th, 2012. The single will feature remixes of the title track from Vince Clarke (Erasure / VCMG / Yaz) and Matmos plus an exclusive b-side, “We’ll Never Learn."

This exclusive remix is by People Get Ready, and will unavailable elsewhere, so listen to it while you can!

Angus Andrew explains the album title
WIXIW, “’wish you’ is a familiar and universal sentiment of longing and hope, but when misspelt becomes uniquely shrouded and difficult to interpret, which in many ways is representative of our music and the songs we wrote for this album."

WIXIW is Liars’ sixth studio album and the follow up to 2010’s critically lauded Sisterworld, which garnered an 8.1 Pitchfork rating and Best New Music distinction.

The album, with artwork designed by John Wiese, will be available on CD, deluxe vinyl (with CD) and limited edition vinyl with silk-screened embossed covers hand dipped in black wax by the band. Pre-order is available from where you can see images of the limited edition run being produced.

Recorded in LA, self-produced by the band with additional production from Daniel Miller and mixed by Tom Biller, the album is hard to shake, tough to pin down, and impossible to get out of one’s head even after an initial listen. Simultaneously the most accessible and most challenging release from these iconoclasts, it is both a summation of Liars’ work up to now, and a complete break from anything you’d ever heard the band do previously.

“If we aren’t confusing people, it’s not us,” Andrew laughs. “If we aren’t confusing ourselves with what we do, then we’ve failed.”


Wednesday 6/20 – Webster Hall – New York City, NY*

Friday 6/22 – The Music Box – Los Angeles, CA
Thursday 7/5 - The Filmore – San Francisco, CA
Saturday 7/7 – Doug Fir Lounge – Portland, OR
Sunday 7/8 – Neumos – Seattle, WA
Monday 7/9 – The Biltmore Cabaret – Vancouver, BC
Wednesday 7/11 – Urban Lounge – Salt Lake City, UT
Friday 7/13 – The Bluebird Theater – Denver, CO
Saturday 7/14 – The Granada – Lawrence, KS
Sunday 7/15 – The Waiting Room – Omaha, NE
Tuesday 7/17 – First Avenue – Minneapolis, MN
Wednesday 7/18 – Mad Planet – Milwaukee, WI
Thursday 7/19 – Metro – Chicago, IL
Friday 7/20 – Magic Stick – Detroit, MI
Saturday 7/21 – Lee’s Palace – Toronto, ON
Monday 7/23 - La Sala Rossa – Montreal, QC
Tuesday 7/24 - Paradise – Boston, MA
Wednesday 7/25 - U Street Music Hall – Washington DC
Thursday 7/26 - Union Transfer – Philadelphia, PA
Friday 7/27 – Grog Shop – Cleveland Heights, OH

Saturday 7/28 – A&R Music Bar – Columbus, OH

*With Oneohtrix Point Never


No. 1 Against The Rush

No. 1 Against The Rush - Vince Clarke Remix
No. 1 Against The Rush - Matmos Remix
We'll Never Learn


The Exact Colour Of Doubt

No.1 Against The Rush
A Ring On Every Finger
Ill Valley Prodigies
His And Mine Sensations
Flood To Flood
Who Is The Hunter
Annual Moon Words  

Watch a series of video teasers created by the band on their Tumblr, which have given rise to much speculation on where this ever evolving, ever influential band are headed:

Watch a trailer for
WIXIW here:

LIARS: Website| Facebook | Tumblr
MUTE : Website | Facebook | Twitter

Letters From A Tapehead

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Ween (1984-2012)

So, one of Pennsylvania's own…

Aaron Freeman, better known as Gene Ween of the perpetually strange and very dynamic duo Ween, announced today at Rolling Stone that the band is no more.  Formed in 1984, both Gene and cohort Mickey Melchiondo, or Dean Ween, crafted some of the most deranged, trippy and ridiculous albums to ever gain an ear, venturing in a multitude of styles both brilliantly parodic and truly inventive.

For years, thanks to what I still consider to be the atrocity that is "Push th' Little Daisies," (yeah, I still don't like that song), Ween was not on my radar.  Shortsighted on my part, because once The Mollusk and Quebec reached my ears, (thanks, Chris), I wanted to hear little else.  I know the album that critics readily point out is Chocolate and Cheese, which I enjoy very much, but I consider The Mollusk and Quebec two pinnacle albums from the band's canon.  Quebec, especially, is fascinatingly dark, the smooth jazz and Casio glaze of "Zoloft," the goofy paranoia of "So Many People in the Neighborhood," the acoustic jam of "Tried and True" and then the very adrift "Captain" ("Turn around and take me home").  From start to finish, as thorough as both Dean and Gene were at keeping their tongues embedded in their cheeks, there's an overwhelming sense of misery to the album I find engaging.  I do remember reading that Quebec was Gene's catharsis album, as he'd gotten divorced around the time recording commenced, so the Quebec's mood is understandable.

I reviewed their last album, La Cucaracha, in 2007.

Sorry to see you go, Ween. R.I.P.

Letters From A Tapehead

Shopping For Records: Swans The Seer

I know I've been jocking Swans hard lately, but a release date and details regarding their upcoming new album, The Seer, have surfaced.  Legacy Swan Jarboe will appear, as will Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.  The live DVD that I spotlighted over the weekend will be available at concerts only.  So, unless some Philadelphia area shows develop, I guess I'm shit out of luck.

All info comes courtesy of Howlin' Wuelf Media.  

SWANS - The Seer (YG45) 2xDigipack CD, 3xLP, Digital

(This album is also available as a special edition that includes a Swans Live DVD (at and live concerts only; view a trailer here:

RELEASE DATE: August 28, 2012

Track Listing: 1.) Lunacy 2.) Mother of the World 3.) The Wolf 4.) The Seer 5.) The Seer Returns 6.) 93 Ave. B Blues 7.) The Daughter Brings the Water 8.) Song for a Warrior 9.) Avatar 10.) A Piece of the Sky 11.) The Apostate ...Total Running Time: approx. 2 hrs.


 Recorded at Studio P4 and Andere Baustelle in Berlin, by Kevin McMahon and at Marcata Studio, Gardiner, NY, by Kevin McMahon. Additional recording at Trout Recording, Brooklyn, NY, engineer: Bryce Goggin. Mixed by Kevin McMahon at Marcata. Produced by Michael Gira.

SWANS: Michael Gira - voice, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, harmonica, casio, sounds; Norman Westberg - electric guitar, voice; Christoph Hahn - lap steel guitars; electric guitar, voice; Phil Puleo - drums, percussion, hammer dulcimer, voice; Thor Harris - drums, percussion, orchestral bells, hammer dulcimer, handmade violin thing, vibraphone, piano, clarinet, voice; Christopher Pravdica - bass guitar, voice, incredible handshake. Honorary Swan: Bill Rieflin - piano, organ, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, drums, percussion, casio, synthesizer, bass guitar, voice, bird idea....

SPECIAL GUESTS INCLUDE : Al and Mimi of Low - (co-vocals with MG on Lunacy); Karen O - (lead vocal on Song for a Warrior); Jarboe - (background vocals on Piece of the Sky and The Seer Returns); Akron/Family - (background vocals on Piece of the Sky)... (many more guests - see full credits below) 

"The Seer took 30 years to make. It's the culmination of every previous Swans album as well as any other music I've ever made, been involved in or imagined. But it's unfinished, like the songs themselves. It's one frame in a reel. The frames blur, blend and will eventually fade.

The songs began on an acoustic guitar, then were fleshed out with (invaluable) help from my friends, then were further tortured and seduced in rehearsals, live and in the studio, and now they await further cannibalism and force-feeding as we prepare to perform some of them live, at which point they'll mutate further, endlessly, or perhaps be discarded for a while.

Despite what you might have heard or presumed, my quest is to spread light and joy through the world. My friends in Swans are all stellar men. Without them I'm a kitten, an infant. Our goal is the same: ecstasy! "


The songs The Seer, Ave. B Blues, Avatar, and The Apostate were developed organically as a group in rehearsals and on tour. They morphed constantly throughout the last series of Swans tours, and were captured and lovingly adorned in the studio. The remaining songs on the album were developed from the ground up in the studio with the participation and input of all the contributing musicians, guided by an invisible hand... 


SWANS: Michael Gira - voice, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, harmonica, casio, sounds; Norman Westberg - electric guitar, voice; Christoph Hahn - lap steel guitars; electric guitar, voice; Phil Puleo - drums, percussion, hammer dulcimer, voice; Thor Harris - drums, percussion, orchestral bells, hammer dulcimer, handmade violin thing, vibraphone, piano, clarinet, voice; Christopher Pravdica - bass guitar, voice, incredible handshake. Honorary Swan: Bill Rieflin - piano, organ, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, drums, percussion, casio, synthesizer, bass guitar, voice, bird idea.... SPECIAL GUESTS: Karen O - lead vocal on Song for a Warrior (Karen appears courtesy Interscope Records); Al and Mimi of Low - co-vocals on Lunacy; Jarboe - backing vocals and voice collage on Piece of the Sky and backing vocals on The Seer Returns; Seth Olinsky, Miles Seaton, Dana Janssen (Akron/Family) - backing vocals on Piece of the Sky; Caleb Mulkerin and Colleen Kinsella of Big Blood - accordion, vocals, dulcimer, guitar, piano and assorted other instruments on the Seer Returns; Sean Mackowiak (the grasshopper) - acoustic and electric mandolins, clarinet, various songs; Ben Frost - fire sounds (acoustic and synthetic) on Piece of the Sky; Iain Graham - bagpipes on The Seer ; Bruce Lamont - horns on The Seer; Bob Rutman - steel cello on The Seer; Cassis Staudt - accordion various songs; Eszter Balint - violin, various songs; Jane Scarpatoni - cello various songs; Kevin McMahon - additional drums on the Seer Returns, electric guitar, sounds on various songs; Bryce Goggin - piano on Song for a Warrior ;Stefan Rocke - contra bassoon on the Seer...


Produced by Michael Gira. Recorded at Studio P4 and Andere Baustelle in Berlin, by Kevin McMahon, assistants Marco and Boris, and at Marcata Studio, Gardiner, NY, by Kevin McMahon. Additional recording at Trout Recording, Brooklyn, NY, engineer: Bryce Goggin, assistant: Adam Sachs. Mixed by Kevin McMahon at Marcata. Mastered by Doug Henderson at Micro-Moose Berlin. Pre-mastering by Jamal Ruhe at West Westside Music... Artwork: Paintings and Swans photo portraits by Simon Henwood. Art direction and design: M.Gira. Layout by Earl Kuck at Revolver. Photo adjustments by David Clark Perry... This album is also available as a special edition that includes a Swans Live DVD (at and live concerts). DVD Credits: Directed, filmed and produced by Simon Henwood and Marco Porsia. Edited by Marco Porsia. Additional cameras: Rodney Ascher, Dan Knight, Phi Tidy, Alessandra Romeo.

SWANS U.S. Tour Dates:
9/6/2012 Vancouver BC Venue
9/7/2012 Seattle WA Neumo's Crystal Ball Reading Room
9/8/2012 Portland OR Hawthorne Theater
9/9/2012 9/10/2012 San Francisco CA The Regency Grand Ballroom
9/11/2012 Los Angeles CA The Music Box
9/12/2012 Phoenix AZ Crescent Ballroom
9/14/2012 Austin TX La Zona Rosa
9/15/2012 Houston TX Fitzgerald's Upstairs
9/16/2012 Dallas TX Trees
9/18/2012 Oklahoma City OK ACM Performance Lab
9/19/2012 Kansas City MO Beaumont Club
9/20/2012 Lincoln NE Bourbon Theatre
9/21/2012 Minneapolis MN Fineline Music Cafe
9/22/2012 Milwaukee WI Shank Hall
9/24/2012 Denver CO Gothic Theater

Xiu Xiu is support on all shows.

Letters From A Tapehead

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Cover(s) of the Day: Crassical Collection poster

The Crassical Collection: A series of Crass reissues distributed through Southern Records, Christ — The Album, Penis Envy, Stations of the Crass, The Feeding of the Five Thousand, Yes Sir, I Will and Ten Notes on a Summer's Day — The Swan Song, are all available as of April of 2012.  Fitting each cover like a puzzle piece, the resultant image is this poster by Crass designer, Gee Vaucher.

Letters From A Tapehead

Swans: DVD Trailer for The Seer

This is a trailer for a live DVD that will be sold alongside special edition copies of Swans' upcoming new release, The Seer.  My guess?  This is the visual version of their still-new live album, We Rose From Your Bed With The Sun In Our Bed.  Still pretty awesome, though, if you've heard that live LP.  A review will be available soon.  In the meantime, check out the trailer:

Letters From A Tapehead

What I Heard This Morning: Cold Specks

I haven't heard I Predict A Graceful Expulsion, the newly released new album from Cold Specks.  However, I was very impressed with a version of Swans' "Reeling The Liars In" she'd recorded for a Record Store Day exclusive, Dancing Coins EP.  Perfect voice for this kind of song, just a haunting and world-weary tone.  Excellent cover; please give it a listen.

Via New Music United.

This is a video for her single, "Blank Maps."

Links were provided by Mute Records.




Debut album, I Predict A Graceful Expulsion out May 22nd

Haunting doom-laden soul”

“When she begins singing, you understand the fuss…”

"I can tell you without a doubt that Al Spx is going to be a superstar before year’s end."

“Positively spellbinding and downright possessed”

Currently touring through the US and celebrating the release of her debut album I Predict A Graceful Expulsion, and a #1 Most Played Song of The Week for Blank Maps at KEXP, Cold Specks is ready to announce new tour dates including stops in Brooklyn at Glasslands on August 1st and Los Angeles at the Echo on August 16th.

Otherwise known as Al Spx, Cold Specks hails from Etobicoke, Canada although she now calls London home. Channeling James Joyce’s Ulysses she donned the name Cold Specks from Joyce’s gripping script “Born all in the dark wormy earth, cold specks of fire, evil, lights shining in the darkness.” 

Describing her sound as ‘Doom Soul’, Cold Specks’ music is steeped in the musical traditions of the Deep South. No wonder then that Al cites the Lomax Field Recordings and James Carr as influences along with Bill Callahan and Tom Waits. With a voice that evokes the ‘spirit feel’ of Mahalia Jackson and the visceral tones of Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Cold Specks’ sparse arrangements and chain gang rhythms stop you dead in your tracks.

“My little brother, who was spending his summers with our mother in Toronto, had always told me of this girl he was friends with that had this amazing voice,” recalls Cold Specks’ manager, Jim Anderson. “As a producer I’d heard that so often that I didn't take too much notice. Then I came in one night to find him and a few friends drinking in the flat and playing a CD of her demos. I was completely transfixed and just kept pressing repeat. I knew I had to work with her. I eventually persuaded her to come over. At that point she had never played with another musician and was completely self-taught with her own unique tuning and timings, which we had to decipher.”

“Jim convinced me to fly out and work on the record for a few months,” explains Al Spx. “That was a year and a half ago. I guess I’m permanently based here now. I didn’t know anyone when I moved here. We needed musicians and Jim knew a bunch. Rob Ellis (PJ Harvey’s regular collaborator) has been helping out with some arrangements and percussion and Jim’s old friends Pete Roberts (guitar), Thomas Greene (piano) and Tom Havelock (cello) also play on the record.” 

May 23rd – Stubb’s – Austin, TX*
May 24th – One Eyed Jacks – New Orleans, LA*
May 25th – Variety Playhouse –Atlanta, GA*
May 26th – Grey Eagle – Asheville, NC*
May 27th – Rock and Roll Hotel – Washington, DC*
May 28th- Johnny Brenda’s – Philadelphia, PA*
May 30th – Bowery Ballroom – New York, NY*
May 31st – Middle East Downstairs – Cambridge, MA*
June 2nd – The Music Hall –Toronto, ONT*
July 27th & July 28th - Calgary Folk Festival –Calgary, AB
July 29th – Hillside Festival – Guelph, ON
August 1st- Glasslands- Brooklyn, NY
August 3rd- August 5th - SappyFest- Sackville, AB
August 7th – Le Divan Orange – Montreal, QC
August 8th – The Great Hall – Toronto, ONT
August 10th – August 12th – Regina Folk Festival – Regina, SK
August 16th – The Echo – Los Angeles, CA

*With Great Lake Swimmers 



Letters From A Tapehead

Friday, May 25, 2012

Rock For A Difference

I received an email a few weeks ago from Derek Jordan, member of the band Decoded, in regards to a benefit called, "Rock For A Difference."

For the month of May, Decoded and other L.A. based bands played a show every Thursday at AMPLYFi, inviting Los Angeles area organizations that provide community improvement.  Proceeds from the show would then be donated to the said organization.  

I, unfortunately, did not pick up on this quickly enough to write about BEFORE the shows took place, but if Decoded decides to continually organize these events, then shedding light might still be worthwhile.  Plus, there's one show left on May 31st. 

May 3rd – Ace of Hearts -
May 10th – Create Now! -
May 17th - Coalition for Clean Air -
May 24th – HeARTS Giving Hope -
May 31st – Rent.Food.Broke. -
For info, click here:
Letters From A Tapehead

Shopping For Records: Totimoshi's Avenger on vinyl

Next week, At A Loss Recordings is releasing Avenger, the 2011 release by heavy rock trio, Totimoshi, on vinyl in a very limited run of 500 copies.  Check out the video for the single, "Avenger," and then read my review of the album, which you can find at Stereokiller.  I even got quoted in the press release.  Go me.

All info and links are courtesy of Earsplit PR.

TOTIMOSHI: At A Loss To Release Vinyl Version Of Avenger; Pre-Orders Available NOW! 

On May 29, At A Loss Recordings will unleash the vinyl edition of Avenger, the critically-acclaimed studio offering from California desert death rock trio, TOTIMOSHI. Championed by Rock Sound for its “smart and uniquely wonky brand of hard rock that’s sometimes bluesy, sometimes sexy, sometimes spaced out but never anything less than completely compelling,” and commended by The Obelisk for its absorbing variations, noting: “It’s dissonant but melodic, dirty and clean, noisy but engaging, structured but open,” Avenger is another eclectic milestone in the band’s already winding catalog of sonic ingenuity.

And now, Avenger will finally be available on vinyl! The pressing is limited to 500 copies and available on either opaque purple or black vinyl. Pre-orders are available at THIS LOCATION. Avenger was produced by Toshi Kasai (Melvins, Shrinebuilder, Tool), mastered by John Golden (Melvins, Mike Watt, OM) and includes appearances by Dale Crover (Altamont, The Melvins, Shrinebuilder), Brent Hinds (Mastodon) and Scott Kelly (Neurosis, Shrinebuilder).

“Avenger is fresh and crisp, with much to digest…. a thoroughly satisfying album.” 

Though it aims for the throat, Avenger consistently seeps into the soul, proving that Totimoshi remain one of the most original forces in modern metal.” — Exclaim

“Comparable to classic rock, but fused with enough modernity to grant relevance over nostalgia, TOTIMOSHI is a steady and robust rock unit, at times flirting with enough progressive adventure to negate expectations of typical rock repetition.” — Stereokiller

“The freshness of a band setting their own rules and virtually creating their own unique pigeon hole is rare, admirable and in the case of Californians TOTIMOSHI deeply satisfying.” — This Is Not A Scene “…their best piece of work to date.” — Doommantia 

“Sludge metal meets alternative metal meets ‘70s hard rock… an album which – with the presence of elements from a number of different rock genres – probably will have a broad appeal among fans of alternative rock/metal, sludge metal, psychedelic heavy rock, progressive hard rock and perhaps even dark progressive metal along the lines of Psychotic Waltz.” — Sea Of Tranquility

Letters From A Tapehead

No Ripcord: Mount Eerie

Mount Eerie
Clear Moon
P.W. Elverum and Sun Released: 5.22.12

Letters From A Tapehead

Thursday, May 24, 2012

What I Heard This Morning: JBM

This video of musician Jesse Marchant, otherwise known as JBM, was filmed at the Philadelphia venue Johnny Brenda's by Out Of Town Films.  The song is called "Moonwatcher."  His latest album, Stray Ashes, released 5.22.

All info, links and video comes courtesy of Terrorbird Media.

JBM Stray Ashes Out Now On Western Vinyl

On Tour Now With Damien Jurado, June East Coast Shows Announced

Listen: Stray Ashes via AOL Spinner
Download: "Winter Ghosts"

Watch: "Ferry" via YouTube
atch: "Moonwatch" via YouTube

JBM’s sophomore album
Stray Ashes is out now on Western Vinyl. The album is streaming its entirety at AOL Spinner. Stray Ashes is the follow-up to JBM's 2010’s debut, Not Even In July, which garnered an imposing number of accolades from outlets such as American Songwriter, Filter, Paste, Spinner and many others. JBM is currently on tour; supporting Damien Jurado in May and just announced a string of headlining east coast dates, which includes a June residency at NYC’s Rockwood Music Hall. Bowery Presents recorded JBM performing “Ferry” off of Stray Ashes at Serett Metal Works in Brooklyn and Out Of Town Films caught up with the Jesse for a special recording of "Moonwatcher" in Philadelphia. Interview Magazine recently sat down with Jesse before a sold out show with Damien Jurado at the Mercury Lounge and said, “If Bon Iver scored Into the Wild, it would sound a little bit like JBM… JBM's sophomore album Stray Ashes is like a musical green screen on which both lush landscapes and overcast cityscapes can be superimposed.“ You can read the full feature here.

Despite feeling disillusioned, drained, and disconnected after an intense year of touring, Brooklyn-based recording artist Jesse Marchant, a.k.a. JBM, felt an insatiable need quietly gestating. After a much-needed break, he relocated to a remote cabin in the Catskills and started the long process of writing and recording
Stray Ashes. Like a twilight journey through canyons, with noctilucent clouds on the horizon, these songs flow with refined grace and raw force.

Rather than starting with an acoustic guitar and vocals, Marchant experimented with drums and loops of electric guitar melodies. As the winter progressed, he continued this process until the song structures emerged. To record he relocated to a large log house next to a frozen lake inhabited by hundreds of geese in upstate New York. Despite the din of geese fighting outside, and being attacked by one particular goose on more than one occasion, he managed to record everything but the vocals. He then moved to the city temporarily where he wandered the streets listening to the instrumentals and writing lyrics.

Next, John Congleton joined the project for additional recording and mixing. Congleton's contributions help to define a sonic space throughout
Stray Ashes that perfectly cradles Jesse's earnest vocals, as do the additional performances of McKenzie Smith (of Midlake, Drums), and Macey Taylor (of A.A. Bondy, Bass) on several tracks, which were recorded by Congleton in his Texas studio. The gauzy sonic blanket Marchant and Congleton have created provides a foundation for the mysterious collection of songs on Stray Ashes. We don't have to fully understand them to be moved by these shining beacons guiding us through a mellifluous fog. Propelled by Marchant's voice, songs like "Winter Ghosts" and "Keeping Up" seem to effortlessly fill the room with an addictive somber haze, while Marchant seems to implore us to return to something true and meaningful on other standouts like "Ferry" and "Only Now." “JBM has the lush and haunting vocals that are reminiscent of his musical peers - Jim James or Justin Vernon" - Filter Magazine

"...each listen reveals a new layer to be heard and understood." – American Songerwriter

"Marchant, a guitarist since age 7, crafts songs that are lyrically bittersweet but sonically optimistic, with piano and string accompaniments swelling alongside the ubiquitous acoustic six–string" – Paste Magazine

JBM Tour Dates

05.23 Atlanta, GA @ The Earl w/ Damien Jurado
05.25 Nashville, TN @ The Basement w/ Damien Jurado
05.26 Bloomington, IN @ The Russian w/ Damien Jurado
06.03 Philadelphia, PA @ Milkboy Philly
06.04 New York, NY @ Rockwood Music Hall
06.05 Washington, DC @ DC9
06.07 Boston, MA @ Café 939 at Berklee
06.11 New York, NY @ Rockwood Music Hall
06.12 Washington, DC @ DC9
06.14 Boston, MA @ Café 939 at Berklee
06.17 Philadelphia, PA @ Milkboy Philly
06.18 New York, NY @ Rockwood Music Hall
06.25 New York, NY @ Rockwood Music Hall

JBM Offical Website

Western Vinyl


Letters From A Tapehead

A Place To Bury Strangers: You Are The One (Grindhouse-inspired video)

The single, "You Are The One," from A Place To Bury Strangers' upcoming new album, Worship, has surfaced.  The song itself is minimal and eerie, propulsive and subtly dissonant.  The video is not so subtle, a clear homage to 70s grindhouse, exploitation cinema, blood, violence and nudity in full swing.  Don't watch this at work, but check it out anyway.

All info and links provided by Dead Oceans.

A Place To Bury Strangers Release Video for "You Are The One"

Worship Pre-Order Available Today

A Place To Bury Strangers have released a new video for their song "You Are The One." It is available exclusively at today.

Directing duo Matt Moroz & Tracy Maurice deliver a twisted nightmare in this grindhouse-esque clip produced by Greencard Pictures. Shot on 16mm film, their dark, experimental style expertly mirrors the mood of APTBS's track and elevates the music video to a cinematic noir thriller.

Moroz and Maurice's creation recalls a 70s-era, B-movie that is definitley Not Safe For Work. The duo says,
"We really loved the song. The video evoked something extremely dark, weird and disturbing." In it, the viewer follows a mysterious figure as he visciously beats total strangers, leers at nubile young girls at an underground club, and initiates a blood-soaked make-out session.

Watch the video for "You Are The One"

Worship, A Place To Bury Stranger's third album, will be released June 26 (June 11 UK) on Dead Oceans and is available for pre-order today through SC Distribution. All pre-orders come with an early download on June 11. Along with the CD and LP (on "Blue Death" colored vinyl) versions of Worship, there is also deluxe bundle offer that includes entry to win a Death By Audio 'Fuzz War' effects pedal made by frontman Oliver Ackermann.

Worship A Place To Bury Strangers is touring throughout June with This Will Destroy You and will appear at the Metallica-curated Orion Music & More festival on June 24 in Atlantic City, NJ.


"APTBS deliver the noisiest, most jagged fuzz in the catchiest packages..." -ALTERNATIVE PRESS

Onward to the Wall opens with "I Lost You"...a pummeling onslaught of banshee-wail guitar stacked on top of a chugging motorik bass riff, plus some gnarly, rancid feedback." -PITCHFORK

"APTBS re-arrange the basic elements of Noise-Pop by destroying whatever preconceived notion you had towards the genre. Instruments are merely tools used to test the limits and knowledge of what sonic exploration really means, and Onwards to the Wall resembles the Home Depot at times." -AQUARIUM DRUNKARD

"Onwards to the Wall is, by all accounts, punishing, brutal, bloody, visceral, damning and torturous while retaining a knack for melody and sugar-coated pop songsmithery." -POPMATTERS


06/02/12 - Austin, TX - 29th Street Ballroom*^

06/03/12 - El Paso, TX - Low Brow*^
06/04/12 - Phoenix, AZ - Rhythm Room*^
06/05/12 - San Diego, CA - Casbah*#+
06/06/12 - Visalia, CA - Cellar Door*#+
06/07/12 - Los Angeles, CA - Echoplex*#+
06/08/12 - San Francisco, CA - Bottom of the Hill*#+
06/09/12 - Chico, CA - Cafe Coda*#
06/10/12 - Portland, OR - Doug Fir *#
06/11/12 - Seattle, WA - Crocodile*#
06/12/12 - Vancouver, BC - Biltmore Cabaret*#+
06/22/12 - Atlantic City, NJ - Showboat Atlantic&
06/24/12 - Atlantic City, NJ - Metallica's Orion Festival, Bader Field
07/21/21 - Denver, CO - Underground Music Showcase

* = w/This Will Destroy You

^ = w/El Paso Hot Button
# = w/Dusted
+ = APTBS plays last
& = w/ Gaslight Anthem & Cage The Elephant 

Video: "You Are The One"

MP3: "You Are The One"

Video: "So Far Away"

A Place To Bury Strangers Official Site

Press Photos & Album Artwork



Dead Oceans Artist Page

Letters From A Tapehead

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Shopping For Records: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds Part 4 — Nocturama, Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus/Dig!!! Lazarus, Dig!!!

The fourth and final wave of reissues for the monumental and brilliant Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, their remaining albums, Nocturama, Abattoir Blues / The Lyre of Orpheus and DIG!!! LAZARUS, DIG!!!, will be released mid-August.

All info and reissue details are courtesy of EMI.

The third wave of Nick Cave reissues were reviewed for No Ripcord in 2011:  
Let Love In & Murder Ballads
The Boatman's Call & No More Shall We Part

Dig!!! Lazarus, Dig!!! was reviewed in 2008.


U.S. Release Date: August 14

Hollywood, California – May 22, 2012 - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds have announced release plans for the final set of remastered and expanded reissues of their classic albums. The new CD/DVD Collectors Editions, to be released in the U.S. on August 14, include Nocturama (2003), Abattoir Blues / The Lyre of Orpheus (2004), and DIG!!! LAZARUS, DIG!!! (2008), Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’ twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth studio albums, respectively.

These latest releases are the fourth set of reissues from a series that sees Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’ entire studio album catalogue released in 5.1 Surround Sound.

Each deluxe Collectors Edition of
Nocturama, Abattoir Blues / The Lyre of Orpheus, and DIG!!! LAZARUS, DIG!!! includes the remastered original stereo album, the new 5.1 surround mix, a specially commissioned short film made by UK artists Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, non-album b-sides from the singles, videos, and exclusive sleeve notes.

* * *

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Nocturama (2012 Remaster) – CD/DVD


1. Wonderful Life
2. He Wants You3. Right Out of Your Hand
4. Bring It On
5. Dead Man in My Bed
6. Still in Love
7. There Is a Town
8. Rock of Gibraltar
9. She Passed By My Window
10. Babe, I'm On Fire


1. Wonderful Life
2. He Wants You
3. Right Out of Your Hand
4. Bring It On
5. Dead Man in My Bed
6. Still in Love
7. There Is a Town
8. Rock of Gibraltar
9. She Passed By My Window
10. Babe, I'm On Fire
11. Shoot Me Down
12. Swing Low
13. Little Ghost Song
14. Everything Must Converge
15. Nocturama
16. Do You Love Me Like I Love You (Part 12: Nocturama)
17. Babe, I’m on Fire
18. Bring it On
19. Wonderful Life
20. He Wants You
21. Right Out of Your Hand
22. Bring It On
23. Dead Man in My Bed
24. Still in Love
25. There Is a Town
26. Rock of Gibraltar
27. She Passed By My Window
28. Babe, I'm On Fire
29. Shoot Me Down
30. Swing Low
31. Little Ghost Song
32. Everything Must Converge
33. Nocturama
34. Do You Love Me Like I Love You (Part 12: Nocturama)
35. Babe, I’m on Fire
36. Bring it On

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds -
Abattoir Blues / The Lyre of Orpheus (2012 Remaster) – 2CD/DVD

CD 1

1. Get Ready for Love
2. Cannibal's Hymn
3. Hiding All Away
4. Messiah Ward
5. There She Goes, My Beautiful World
6. Nature Boy
7. Abattoir Blues
8. Let the Bells Ring
9. Fable of the Brown Ape

CD 2

1. The Lyre of Orpheus
2. Breathless
3. Babe, You Turn Me On
4. Easy Money
5. Supernaturally
6. Spell
7. Carry Me
8. O Children


1. Get Ready for Love
2. Cannibal's Hymn
3. Hiding All Away
4. Messiah Ward
5. There She Goes, My Beautiful World
6. Nature Boy
7. Abattoir Blues
8. Let the Bells Ring
9. Fable of the Brown Ape
10. The Lyre of Orpheus
11. Breathless
12. Babe, You Turn Me On
13. Easy Money
14. Supernaturally
15. Spell
16. Carry Me
17. O Children
18. She's Leaving You
19. Under This Moon
20. Hiding All Away (Live at Maida Vale)
21. There She Goes, My Beautiful World (Live at Maida Vale)
22. Do You Love Me Like I Love You (Part 13: Abattoir Blues / The Lyre of Orpheus)
23. Nature Boy
24. Breathless
25. Get Ready for Love (Live)
26. Get Ready for Love
27. Cannibal's Hymn
28. Hiding All Away
29. Messiah Ward
30. There She Goes, My Beautiful World
31. Nature Boy
32. Abattoir Blues
33. Let the Bells Ring
34. Fable of the Brown Ape
35. The Lyre of Orpheus
36. Breathless
37. Babe, You Turn Me On
38. Easy Money
39. Supernaturally
40. Spell
41. Carry Me
42. O Children
43. She's Leaving You
44. Under This Moon 45. Hiding All Away (Live at Maida Vale)
46. There She Goes, My Beautiful World (Live at Maida Vale)
47. Do You Love Me Like I Love You (Part 13: Abattoir Blues / The Lyre of Orpheus)
48. Nature Boy
49. Breathless
50. Get Ready For Love (Live)

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds –
DIG!!! LAZARUS, DIG!!! (2012 Remaster) – CD/DVD


1. Dig!!! Lazarus, Dig!!!
2. Today's Lesson
3. Moonland
4. Night of the Lotus Eaters
5. Albert Goes West
6. We Call Upon the Author
7. Hold On to Yourself
8. Lie Down Here (And Be My Girl)
9. Jesus of the Moon
10. Midnight Man
11. More News from Nowhere


1. Dig!!! Lazarus, Dig!!!
2. Today's Lesson
3. Moonland
4. Night of the Lotus Eaters
5. Albert Goes West
6. We Call Upon the Author
7. Hold On to Yourself
8. Lie Down Here (And Be My Girl)
9. Jesus of the Moon
10. Midnight Man
11. More News from Nowhere
12. Accidents Will Happen
13. Fleeting Love
14. Hey Little Firing Squad
15. Do You Love Me Like I Love You (Part 14: DIG!!! LAZARUS, DIG!!!)
16. Dig!!! Lazarus, Dig!!!
17. More News from Nowhere
18. Midnight Man (Live)
19. Night of the Lotus Eaters (Extended Version)
20. Dig!!! Lazarus, Dig!!!
21. Today's Lesson
22. Moonland
23. Night of the Lotus Eaters
24. Albert Goes West
25. We Call Upon the Author
26. Hold On to Yourself
27. Lie Down Here (And Be My Girl)
28. Jesus of the Moon
29. Midnight Man
30. More News from Nowhere
31. Accidents Will Happen
32. Fleeting Love
33. Hey Little Firing Squad
34. Do You Love Me Like I Love You (Part 14: DIG!!! LAZARUS, DIG!!!)
35. Dig!!! Lazarus, Dig!!!
36. More News from Nowhere
37. Midnight Man (Live)
38. Night of the Lotus Eaters (Extended Version)

Letters From A Tapehead

Kicking Against The Pricks: My Bloody Valentine

Issue #20 of Kicking Against The Pricks has been posted.  For this issue, I was asked to review the recent reissues of My Bloody Valentine's classic LPs, Isn't Anything and Loveless, along with the new compilation double-disc release, EPs & Rarities, which features You Made Me Realise, Tremolo, some B-sides and unreleased tracks. 

My Bloody Valentine
Isn't Anything
Originally released: 11.1.88 (via Creation Records)
Reissued: 5.7.12

Kicking Against The Pricks review

My Bloody Valentine
Originally released: 11.4.91 (via Creation Records)
Reissued: 5.7.12

My Bloody Valentine
EPs & Rarities
Compiled and released: 5.7.12

Letters From A Tapehead

Monday, May 21, 2012

Liars: No. 1 Against The Rush (Revisited)

"No. 1 Against The Rush" is Liars' new enticement for their upcoming album, WIXIW, which will be out June 5th.  What the song demonstrates is the band's somewhat expected, or at least "understood," progression from No Wave-influeneced to New Wave-influenced, their one time atonality and dissonant strangeness working slowly towards a more electronic-based, post-punk and synthesized dynamic.  Liars still possesses an experimental and eerie grit, though, and I'm very excited to hear the full extent of what the single merely suggests.

Letters From A Tapehead

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Soft Moon vs. John Foxx & The Maths: "Evidence"

Though I've yet to hear a proper album from The Soft Moon, (consider them shameful inclusions getting way too much heat on the backburner), every song I've listened to has been gothic, post-punk gold and apparently a new album will be out titled, Zeros. This collaborative single, "Evidence," sees Soft Moon Luis Vasquez with John Foxx & The Maths taking on an electronic-based and somewhat industrial approach.

Info provided by Life or Death PR & Management.

   The Soft Moon vs. John Foxx & The Maths - "Evidence" by Life or Death PR

After a pair of lauded releases in 2010's self-titled LP and 2011's Total Decay EP, The Soft Moon are proud to announce their forthcoming second LP, Zeros, due this fall for the ever-reliable Captured Tracks. Though still a ways off on the horizon, The Soft Moon mastermind Luis Vasquez took time to talk to Stereogum about the new record in today's Progress Report. For more about the recording process and what to expect from the next album, read the piece below.

Additionally, The Soft Moon recently released a new song via Twitter that was created in collaboration with legendary electronic musician John Foxx and his new band The Maths. The track "Evidence" was born naturally out of the two artists' mutual appreciation for one another. Speaking with Artrocker last year, Luis had this to say of John Foxx's influence on his own music,"Foxx's Metamatic album is what led me to discover the Arp Odyssey, the most crucial instrument in my collection, and the key synthesizer used in creating my unique sound. So, that album is very important to me and what I do." With regard to the collaboration, John Foxx said, "The Soft Moon are where minimalism maximises into a new universe of possibilities. It's an absolute joy for us to work with them.'' This momentous collaboration will be memorialized with a one-sided 7" featuring "Evidence" due June 26th from Captured Tracks. Listen to "Evidence", the result of their collective labor below now, and prepare yourself for Zeros.

MP3: The Soft Moon vs. John Foxx & The Maths —



05/18 Arhaus, DK - Pop Revo Festival
05/19 Stockholm, SE - Debaser
05/20 Malmo, SE - Debaser
05/22 Copenhagen, DK - Loppen
05/23 Berlin, DE - Bi Nuu
05/24 Amsterdam, NL - Sugarfactory
05/25 London, UK - XOYO
05/26 London, UK - ATP @ Ally Pally
05/27 Paris, FR - Cabarete Sauvage
05/28 Kortijk, BE - Sfinxen Festival
05/31 Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg 

* * = w/ Cosmetics and Black Marble

For more John Foxx info visit:
Follow The Soft Moon on Twitter:

Letters From A Tapehead

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Pop. 1280: "Bodies in the Dunes"

A video for Pop. 1280's "Bodies in the Dunes" has surfaced online and features a serial killer's threatening silhouette and some scenes involving a few very doomed prostitutes.  The band's latest album, The Horror, was released earlier this year.

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

Pop. 1280's The Horror was reviewed at No Ripcord.




Today, Vice / Noisey share the new video for "Bodies In The Dunes," the latest single from the grating New York cyberpunks Pop. 1280. The video was directed by Jacqueline Castel, a hyper-talented director who makes tense, kinetic work under her Future Primitive production house. Castel's videos are stark and confrontational-she's created incredible work for Zola Jesus, Naked On The Vague, Blank Dogs, and a bunch of other pretty bleak and downbeat acts.
 The video is not for the faint of heart-it was based loosely on a Long Island serial killer who was responsible for murdering four prostitutes in cold blood and dumping their bodies in "heavy underbrush along a beachfront causeway."  
The track is from Pop. 1280's recent LP, The Horror, which was released through Sacred Bones earlier this year. You can order the record right here. Castel was also on a panel discussion Vice / Noisey hosted at Internet Week this past Tuesday-you can check that out here.  (Link was inactive.)

POP. 1280

5/19 - Detroit, MI @ Jumbo's !
5/20 - Chicago, IL @ Treasure Town $
5/21 - Minneapolis, MN @ Memory Lanes #
5/22 - Fargo, ND @ The Aquarium (Dempsey's Upstairs)
5/24 - Seattle, WA @ Josephine ^
5/25 - Portland, OR - TBA
5/26 - San Francisco, CA @ Submission (Warm Leatherette Party)
5/27 - Oakland, CA @ The New Parish @
5/28 - Los Angeles, CA @ Fenix 5-4 *
5/29 - Los Angeles, CA - The Down and Out
5/30 - San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar )
5/31 - Tucson, AZ @ The District %
6/1 - Las Cruces, NM @ Trainyard
6/2 - Austin, TX @ The Parrish (Chaos in Tejas)
6/3 - Tulsa, OK @ Yellow Brick Road +
6/4 - Memphis, TN @ Hi Tone >
6/5 - Nashville, TN - @ The End w/ Useless Eaters
6/6 - Asheville, NC - TBA
6/7 - Durham, NC @ The Pinhook
6/9 - Brooklyn, NY @ Glasslands

! = w/ Frustrations, Protomartyr & Body Holographic

$ = w/ w/ Running, Brain Idea & Toupee
# = w/ w/ STNNNG
^ = w/ Dreamsalon & Haunted Horses, Perpetual Ritual
@ = w/ Ceremony, WHIRR, Gun Outfit, ++++ & Big Kids
* = w/ Merx & Shark Toys
) = w/ Beaters, Baptism of Thieves
% = w/ Rubylyth
+ = w/ Western Survival & NoWater
> = w/ Mark Sultan & True Sons Of Thunder
? = w/ O'Death and Colin L. Orchestra
Letters From A Tapehead

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What I Heard This Morning: Shintaro Sakamoto

Funk-bred pop out the mouth of former psych band Yura Yura Teikoku frontman Shintaro Sakamoto, "In A Phantom Mood" is something to snap your fingers to: a magnetic and chill little ditty that seems to be in line with last year's Petra Haden/Yuka Honda pop quartet, If By Yes.  An album titled, How to Live With a Phantom, will be out this July.  All info and links are courtesy of Force Field PR.

Shintaro Sakamoto preps release of How To Live With A Phantom

Due July 17 via newly-launched Other Music Recording Co.

STREAM: "In A Phantom Mood" -

Shintaro Sakamoto begins a new and perhaps unexpected chapter in his storied career with the release of his debut solo album, the otherworldly folkpop masterpiece How to Live with a Phantom. For over two decades Sakamoto was the frontman and leader of Japanese psychedelic phenomenon Yura Yura Teikoku, a Tokyo-based band that formed in 1989 as part of the burgeoning underground scene based around Koenji's legendary UFO Club, appearing on the PSF label's iconic Tokyo Flashback compilations and signing to the Captain Trip imprint. And yet across their 20-year trajectory, they rocketed out of the underground and achieved massive mainstream success throughout Japan with an always-evolving psych-pop sound that eventually found them working with Sony Music and headlining major music festivals across the country. It was a rare case where great, boundary-breaking music resonated with the masses. While the group only ever played a handful of shows outside of their homeland, they achieved cult status throughout the world and saw several albums reissued in limited pressings in the U.S., including the critically acclaimed Hollow Me/Beautiful on James Murphy's DFA label.

Immediately following Yura Yura Teikoku's break-up in 2010, Sakamoto began recording as a solo artist - truly solo, he plays all the instruments here save percussion and woodwinds - and after more than a year holed up in his home studio,
How to Live with a Phantom was born. The resulting album is a bold stylistic departure, even for an artist whose career has been defined by them. It is a single-minded exploration of the sounds of 1970s radio pop from around the
globe, combining American folk-rock and the evocative Japanese pop music that was influenced by it, but simultaneously referencing everything from French pop to Afro-funk, tropicalia, Krautrock and the lighter side of psychedelia. Most of the songs are built around Sakamoto's hypnotic electric-bass grooves (he learned to play for these recordings), a crisp drum set and bubbling percussion, layered with dreamy guitars and vintage synthesizers, and topped by meticulously arranged female vocal harmonies, horns, and Sakamoto's own languid yet deeply expressive lead vocals. It's a set that's both sun-drenched and full of melancholy, and while the musical references and inspirations may be clear,
How to Live with a Phantom is a wholly original album that will connect to a broad spectrum of listeners - from folk and pop aficionados to world music fans, psych-heads and many more. We could not be more excited to be releasing How to Live with a Phantom as Other Music Recording Co.'s debut full-length, and we know you will be as moved by this record as we are.

Shintaro Sakamoto

How To Live With A Phantom
(Other Music Recording Co.)
Street Date: July 17, 2012 

Label -

Letters From A Tapehead

Obits: "Let Me Dream if I Want To"/"The City Is Dead" 7"

"Let Me Dream if I Want To" b/w "The City is Dead" 7"
Sub Pop
Released: 5.15.12

Brooklyn based Obits released a new two-song 7," covers of Mink DeVille's "Let Me Dream if I Want To" and "The City is Dead" by The Kids.  Perfectly out of tune, attitude badly adjusted: if you couldn't get a sense of how much early punk rock owes to Nuggets-based psych garage rockers like The Seeds or The Electric Prunes, Obits, themselves somewhat built out of that sound, ably puts the "garage" across.  The band has a great time with the homage, crafting a really good and entertaining two song single.  I've listened to it maybe four or five times consecutively and the Animals-inspired throb of "City is Dead" is perfect for this type of format.

Letters From A Tapehead

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Sleep's Dopesmoker: Reconsidered for 2012

Dopesmoker (Reissue)
Southern Lord
Originally released: 4.22.03 (via Tee Pee Records)
Reissued: 5.8.12

Substance experimentation and abuse have been contributing to record collections since before Charlie Parker’s appetite for heroin inspired his jazz peers to riddle their own arms full of “holes of creative inspiration,” emulating the man’s routine in an effort to become half the player he was. Drugs alter your perceptions, sometimes for the betterment of one’s own abilities to create, and have been known to influence the best known works of art, literature and music. Let’s not consider the junkie’s ultimate price for now as this is NOT an article directed toward protecting children from snake-headed pill pushers or aiding the promotion of a drug-free America. After all, I’m writing about Dopesmoker, one of the loudest, proudest odes to herb since Black Sabbath’s “Sweet Leaf,” a gargantuan, hour-long tribute brought to be by stoner metal pioneers, Sleep. The last thing I want to endorse is avoidance of substances, especially when ingestion or inhalation can generate something this powerful.

If you know the album, you likely know its legend: Sleep’s single hour/single song LP was too bold and ambitious a move for their then-record label, London Records, to consider releasing. As a compromise, Dopesmoker was split up into sections and retitled Jerusalem, but that was still not enough to persuade the label to release the album. Out of frustration and disillusionment with their situation, Sleep called it quits. Jerusalem was later bootlegged and released by Rise Above Records/The Music Cartel in the late 90s and Dopesmoker was finally released as a definitive album by Tee Pee Records in 2003. Southern Lord has been granted the privilege of reinvigorating the release, updating its artwork and repackaging it for a 2010 generation’s worth of appreciators, (or so we hope), and for existing fans of the album that wish to hear the severity of the music on a turntable. As far as I’m concerned, stereos in our digitally-addled world starve for albums like this.

The Dopesmoker artwork was updated by artist Arik Roper, (check out some details of the CD digipack at the blog for Aaron Edge Design here), and was developed into both CD and double-LP packages. Included in the new edition is a live version of “Holy Mountain” performed by Sleep in 1994. The vinyl version also includes the live track, “Sonic Titan,” which was included in the Tee Pee version.

Having seen sections of Dopesmoker performed live a couple years ago, its reputation as a masterpiece of its genre lies solely upon the riffs. Granted the album’s legend is also noteworthy and essential to its being, but the band took advantage of the supposed creative freedom that had been promised them by their record label and came up with something truly primal. For all its hour plus ferocity, Sleep’s concept never really loses steam nor does it bore with its length. In the same way John Coltrane’s Ascension seemed hell bent on cultivating pure unbridled, improvisational strength over a considerable length of time, Dopesmoker, albeit packaged with a sense of adolescent, bong tinged juvenilia, is a strangely ponderous, super repetitive study on composed riff arrangement that doesn’t really stray too far from the traditional song structure. It would be fair to consider the song derivative of hippie-rock jam culture, harkening back to the days of live bands riding guitar-fueled tangents to endlessness.

But, even in spite of Sleep’s jamming dynamic, there’s no free floating, improv’d attack. You could almost consider this built out in movements, the track’s opening set of riffs acting as anchor while the band carries through verses, breakdowns and a couple guitar solos. The fact that the song is so structured might encourage skeptics to discredit it as merely a pretentious stab at metallic grandeur, its discipline seeming to betray the laid back, glazed over state of being one gets from one bong load too many. But, its make-up seems more concerned with volume than chilling out, meditative but feral.

Remastered and ready to be received, Sleep’s Dopesmoker remains unsurpassed.

Letters From A Tapehead

Dylan Ettinger: Wintermute

I received an email not too long ago from Vomitrocious Media about musician Dylan Ettinger and his new album, Lifetime of Romance.  His single, "Wintermute," should garner some attention from those turned on by old school throb of synth pop or artsy interpretations of dance groove, Ettinger's dark arrangements interesting enough to spin in your head for a few days. 

Not safe for work due to boobs and butts.

Letters From A Tapehead

New Selections — Emma Ruth Rundle, Tropical Fuck Storm, Primitive Man, Private Life, Uniform, Erika Wennerstrom, Djrum, Windhand

Starting August off with some new singles. Emma Ruth Rundle:  " Darkhorse " (via Rarely Unable /  Sargent House  / YouTub...