Thursday, November 29, 2012

Cover of the Day: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

Push the Sky Away is the new upcoming release from Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds.  It's out in February of 2013 and already up for pre-order at

Anticipation is high to say the least.

I just reviewed the last three Bad Seeds reissues for No Ripcord

Letters From A Tapehead

METZ: "Dirty Shirt"

METZ makes me very happy.  Their energy is refreshing and I'm hoping that it catches on, resulting in more bands sounding like they give a shit about making music.  The self-important indie thang is played; bring on the excitement, please.

The band is releasing a digital single, "Dirty Shirt/Leave Me Out."  You can listen to "Dirty Shirt" on the Soundcloud link below and check out the trailer for the single. 

All info and links are courtesy of Sub Pop.

   METZ - Dirty Shirt by SubPop

METZ release "Dirty Shirt"/ "Leave Me Out" digital single on December 4!

Pitchfork TV live stream w/ King Tuff on December 19!

New live sessions from Noisevoxx, Slacker Radio & Daytrotter!

Updated tour dates for 2012-13!

Listen to "Dirty Shirt" here.
Watch "Dirty Shirt" trailer here.

On December 4, Sub Pop will release the digital single for "Dirty Shirt" + "Leave Me Out" by Toronto’s METZ. These songs were previously only available as a limited-edition 7" single, and “Dirty Shirt” can now be streamed online via Pitchfork. Additionally, Pitchfork TV will broadcast a live streaming concert you can view on December 19 (at 12:30pm ET) featuring sets from METZ and label mate King Tuff. This video piece gives a glimpse of both the figurative a-side of this single and METZ live in Toronto at the record release show for their 2012, self-titled debut album (see news story November 29).

METZ will wrap up their 2012 tour schedule with a show on December 19 in Brooklyn, NY at the Music Hall of Williamsburg with King Tuff. Then in early 2013, the band will kick off a massive European tour, which begins on January 25 in Athens, GR at Six D.O.G.S. Cultural Center and currently ends on March 12 in Brussels, BE at Muziekodroom. Please find a full list of tour dates below.

In related news, METZ have three new live sessions that feature versions of "Dirty Shirt" & "Headache" to share at this time: A Noisevoxx "Noisemakers" segment, which was recorded in conjunction with "Live at Braund Sound" and "Stereospectacular" (watch here); Slacker Radio (watch here); and Daytrotter (listen here). The latter two performances also include album cut "Wasted". 

METZ, led by the singles "Headache" (Mp3) & "Wet Blanket" (official video), is now available worldwide on CD, LP and digitally from Sub Pop.

Tour Dates
Dec. 19 - Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg*
Jan. 25 - Athens, GR - Six D.O.G.S. Cultural Center
Jan. 26 - Larissa, GR - Stage Club
Jan. 28 - Manchester, UK - Soup Kitchen
Jan. 29 - Glasgow, SF - Broadcast
Jan. 30 - Leeds, UK - Brudenell Social Club
Jan. 31 - Brighton, UK - Green Door Store
Feb. 01 - London, UK - Birthdays
Feb. 04 - Amsterdam, NL - Paradiso
Feb. 05 - Nijmegen, NL - Merleyn
Feb. 06 - Lile, FR - L'aeronef
Feb. 07 - Paris, FR - Point FMR
Feb. 08 - Clermont Ferrand, FR - L Cooperative de Mai
Feb. 09 - Poitiers, FR - Confort Moderne
Feb. 10 - Toulouse, FR - Dynamo
Feb. 12 - Porto, PT - Plano B
Feb. 13 - Lisbon, PT - ZDB
Feb. 14 - Madrid, ES - Siroco
Feb. 15 - Barcelona, ES - La 2 de Nista
Feb. 16 - Saint Malo / Brittany, FR - La Route De La Rocke
Feb. 18 - Zurich, CH - Mascotte
Feb. 19 - Fribourg, CH - Fri-Son
Feb. 20 - Milan, IT - Ligera
Feb. 21 - Rome, IT - Traffic
Feb. 22 - Bologna, IT - Freakout
Feb. 23 - Zagreb, HR - Park (Purgeraj)
Feb. 25 - Vienna, AT - Arena
Feb. 26 - Munich, DE - Orangehouse
Feb. 27 - Nuremburg, DE - K4
Feb. 28 - Leipzig, DE - Nato
Mar. 01 - Hannover, DE - Cafe Glocksee
Mar. 02 - Hamburg, DE - Molotow
Mar. 03 - Berlin, DE - Berghain Kantine
Mar. 04 - Copenhagen, DK - Vega
Mar. 05 - Gothenborg, SE - Pustervik
Mar. 06 - Oslo, NO - Blaa
Mar. 08 - Malmo, SE - Debaser
Mar. 09 - Stockholm, SE - Svenaska Musikklubben
Mar. 10 - Zeewolde, NL - Where The Wild Things Are
Mar. 11 - Brussels, BE - AB Club
Mar. 12 - Hasselt, BE - Muziekodroom
*w/ King Tuff

Letters From A Tapehead

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Mystical Weapons: "Mechanical Mammoth"

Sean Lennon and Greg Saunier (Deerhoof) are collaborating as Mystical Weapons, an instrumental psych band that will release their self-titled debut in 2013. 

All info and links are courtesy of Terrorbird Media.

Mystical Weapons debut the Martha Colburn directed video for "Mechanical Mammoth" on Spin

The debut collaborative project from Deerhoof's Greg Saunier & Sean Lennon out January 15 on Chimera

WATCH: "Mechanical Mammoth" via Spin / via YouTube
LISTEN: "Mechanical Mammoth" via Rolling Stone / via Soundcloud / via MP3

Welcome to the debut album by Mystical Weapons, a wild improvisational duo ride through terra incognita, helmed by multi-instrumentalists Sean Lennon (Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger) and Greg Saunier (Deerfhoof). Mystical Weapons is one of those projects that evolved almost of its own accord. A couple of years ago the Plastic Ono Band was playing a show in San Francisco with Deerhoof. Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger was doing a club date the next day, so Sean asked Greg if he’d like to form an ad hoc duo to open the show. Bam. That was it. And it worked so well, they were both hungry for more.

Shortly thereafter, Greg moved from Tokyo to New York, and the duo began a series of occasional live shows in which they relied almost entirely on the idea of instant composition. Improvising along to the surreal animated films of Martha Colburn, Mystical Weapons created a screaming wall of guitar feedback, drum explosion, organ gush and whatever else they could jam in there.

For their studio work, however, the duo have chosen to take a somewhat less aggressive stance. The music here is still instrumental but it moves through a variety of moods and styles. “Whisper of the Blue Tongue” combines Umma Gumma guitar flights with the coarse organ sound of Miles Davis’ early electric period. “Consortium Musicum” feels like one of Morricone’s spaghetti western themes being eaten by a Japanese film monster. “Dirty” is a lovely piece of blocked piano chords and light drumming worthy of Bill Evans. “Gross Domestic” mixes the feel of ’69 Soft Machine and Waka/Jawaka Zappa as brilliantly as anyone since the legendary French free-rock band, Red Noise.

Truly, the music here is all over the place, but it’s held together by a rigorous intelligence of conception and a joyful “DO IT” spontaneity that continually challenges both players and listeners. With the mystical weapons Jodorowsky displays in his 1973 film, The Holy Mountain, you need to be careful when selecting just which psychedelic shotgun you need for a specific job. With these Mystical Weapons, you can just relax and leave it to them. They destroy form in any style you can imagine.


Mystical Weapons
Mystical Weapons
Out January 15 on Chimera Music

Impossible Shapes
Mechanical Mammoth
Silk Screen Eyes
Whispers The Blue Tongue
Goddess Curlers
Hostile Takeover
Gilbert Releases His Pet Salamander Into The Wild
Colony Collapse Disorder
Distant City
Dirty Neon
Gross Domestic Happiness
Consortium Musicum

Mystical Weapons
Chimera Music

Letters From A Tapehead 

Pissed Jeans: "Bathroom Laughter"

New Pissed Jeans track!  Their upcoming new album, Honeys, is slated for early 2013.  In the meantime, appreciate the gnarl. 

Hope For Men (2007)
King Of Jeans (2009)

All info was provided by Sub Pop.

Pissed Jeans share Honeys album details!

Pissed Jeans will release their stellar fourth album, Honeys, on CD, LP, and digitally through Sub Pop Records on February 12, 2013. The album, which features the single “Bathroom Laughter,” along with stand-outs “Health Plan,” “Loubs,” “Vain in Costume,” and “Teenage Adult,” was recorded by Grammy-nominated producer Alex Newport at Milkboy Studios in Philadelphia. 

SPIN, who spoke with Pissed Jeans’ singer Matt Korvette about the recording of
Honeys, raved: “Listeners will have the opportunity to take in yet another electrifying helping of Korvette’s very distinct, some might say sobering, dispatches from beyond the cubicle to address both ‘crippling pet allergies’ (‘Cathouse’), a ‘blistering fear of going to the doctor’ (‘Health Plan’) and more… Honeys is arguably their most muscular and direct effort yet…” (see interview November 14).

Pitchfork premiered the first single, the aforementioned “Bathroom Laughter” as a “Best New Track,” and said,
“…the rage boils over in typical fashion on leadoff track ‘Bathroom Laughter.’ It isn't easy to ascertain, exactly, what has captured the animus of Mr. Korvette this time around, as the band rips through an impossibly scuzzy, breakneck punk romp that reimagines previous single ‘False Jesii Pt. 2’ hopped up on gas station coffee” (see news story & tracks November 20).

More on Pissed Jeans
Honeys: The songs on Honeys are direct without being obtuse, evocative without being vague, and personal without being indulgent. They also rock like nobody's business. Do yourself a favor and forget all the claptrap you've heard about other bands delivering the goods. If you want bloodthirsty, you’ve got it… Sean McGuiness makes other rock drummers look like one of those dimwit longhairs with an involuntary smile playing a bongo by himself on the lawn behind a store that sells rain sticks. With a bass that bass that sounds like a train filled with stolen shopping carts crashing into an orchestra pit, Randy Huth doesn't waste a note. Bradley Fry doesn't look like a guitar hero; he looks a nice guy who would volunteer to help you reformat the drive on your laptop. But if he looked like he sounds he'd be wearing a necklace of human heads and even his reflection would turn you to stone. Matt Korvette screams out observations on the tedium and absurdity of adulthood, delivered in a fashion similar to the way people must sound when being waterboarded. Sometimes the band sounds like hearing yourself being bashed over the head with a snow shovel… (read more at Sub Pop).

Letters From A Tapehead

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Aperiodic: Free Form Punk Jazz and a Shitload of Reverb

Future Feedback
Phratry Records
Released: 10.23.12

An absence of instruction; an onslaught of something primordial and gooey, I often wish that pop musicians would make albums like Future Feedback, the latest release from the experimental free form punk band Aperiodic, whose members include guitarist Kevin Parrett, drummer Matt Shulz (formerly of Enon and currently with Holy Fuck) and multi-instrumentalist Ben Perkins (The Exponential).  It stands to reason that a creative height is ultimately followed by its necessary destruction and that the complete removal of musical syntax, the perversion of phrasing or riffing and that the complete absence of discipline with regard to percussion or rhythm is required to carry it all out.

Impulse! jazz understood thisLou Reed understood this.

Arguing the merit of Aperiodic, since punk rock's inception, the booooosshhhwaaaah concepts of traditional music and attention to form had to be challenged.  No Wave took license with the rebellion punk rock initially meant to incite and the genre turned into something truly abrasive, an art concept that ran with punk's intended threatening demeanor and injected it full of sonic shrapnel.  The period itself lasted maybe a year, but bands like DNA, Teenage Jesus & The Jerks and Mars had an immeasurable impact on later era noise/art bands.  As pretentious as it is to say that melody is pointless, that rhythm is a mere triviality and that notes are a waste of time, such declarations have some validity.

Notice I said "some."  Inasmuch as improvisation has enabled music to grow and allowed musicians to rethink and reinvent, if everything were noise there would be no point.  A piece of bass heavy, organically strange anti-music like "The New West" only retains its worth so long as there's somewhere to go once these aurally offensive fantasies are appeased.  And while there seems to be little on the surface other than aimless drum and guitar work, you do find here and there some semblance of composition.  The reason a band like Aperiodic interests me is because there's something to be found the more you listen, which isn't the easiest thing to do.  I'd be lying if I said Future Feedback was something I could simply throw on, absorb and dismantle.  I'm not even sure I think it's cool, but I do think it's interesting enough to discuss.

A few months ago, I posted "Voided," a track that owes a lot to the high frequency, difficult to absorb, NYC-addled art rock destruction cultivated by the No New York set and other second gen acts or performers like Glenn Branca and Sonic Youth.  As a single, it's demonstrative of much of what you'll hear in Future Feedback, the type of alienating, distorted, free form experimentation that's either earned love and devotion or inspired ire and complete and utter disdain throughout the years.  "Munich Structures" follows with Dirty Three styled violin strings and rampant piano keys, heavy kick drum and a veritable sword fight of percussive elements and "L'Ange Ex Terminateur" sounds like whale song feeding back into an arena-sized amplifier.

"La Pena Vivir," though, follows with more structure, a very ominous and atonal surge resting beneath a shower of cymbal and snare beats.  It's like listening to Rashied Ali or Elvin Jones back up Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo, the brittle and lasting churn of squealing and expansive reverb ghostly against the overabundant bass tone and percussion.  For me, "La Pena Vivir" is Future Feedback's highest point, a balanced synthesis of Aperiodic's experimental jaunts and some willingness to refine and formalize their sound.

The doom-laden piano ditty "Amelia's Regret" follows a riff of sorts, though its use is sporadic.  The closing track, "De-Realization," is a wildly inarticulate 7+ minutes, featuring degraded dialogue samples and scrubbed bass strings.  I love that drum rhythm, though.  Schulz drops a jazz combo as the noise fades and various stabs in the soundscape lessen, carrying the album to fruition in a series of snare hits that add purpose to the mix.  It's a beautiful thing and the sort of compositional perfection you only hear from a band so determined to be anything but.

Edit: It was brought to my attention that I incorrectly named one of the members of the band, Aperiodic.  The drummer's name is Matt Schulz.  I apologize for the error as I do normally attempt to edit, re-edit and re-edit the edits in order to make sure there are no careless mistakes, especially with regard to band names, album names and, of course, the names of members or performers discussed. This was a slip-up.  Thank you to "Anonymous" for pointing it out. 

Letters From A Tapehead

Isis: "Pliable Foe" (Video)

"Pliable Foe" from the new Isis rarities compilation, Temporal.

Letters From A Tapehead

Friday, November 23, 2012

Swarm of Arrows: Lesser is More...

Swarm of Arrows
The Great Seekers of Lesser Life
Dullest Records
Released: 11.12

“We’re alive like death!”

A macabre oxymoron sung overtop a slowly climbing line of fretwork, I can easily accept its logic as the words are driven through Wino-sized guttural modes of conveyance and a coupled attack of riff and stomp. Here is when “rock” meets “metal” and both embrace, content to enhance their respective gifts (as corny as that sounds) and generate a healthy dose of head-knock and hip swagger. You certainly hear that in the following track, “Chasing The Deathstar,” placed second in The Great Seekers of Lesser Life, the new album from Philadelphia metal band, Swarm of Arrows. They swing, they bend and they break when necessary, tapping into some of the more progressive elements of Mastodon, the rugged aggression of St. Vitus, some of the jazz-oriented guitar/drum combos of Helmet, (most notable in “Damage Generator,” though they inject the device with a heavy dose of speed) and vocal melodies employed by Alice In Chains

“The Sky Will Save Us All,” which is one of the album’s strongest moments in terms of tone and melody, demonstrates a want to incorporate musical intricacies as well as unbridled aggression. Vocalist/guitarist Keats Rickard’s throaty narration is evocative of Dave Mustaine in “Dawn Patrol” or Phil Anselmo in “Shedding Skin.” An expected onslaught of “loud” occurs that doesn’t come off as cliché or tired, a clear utilization of tried and true methods being well appropriated.

What struck me about The Great Seekers of Lesser Life the first time I listened to it, is that there don’t seem to be any gaps in terms of where Swarm of Arrows has incorporated their influences, whether it be 70s sludge rock, 80s thrash or even grunge. And the band has no qualms making this known, but it’s not to their detriment. “Rustmaker,” an underlying cello quivering beneath its introduction, is a perfect marriage of many of these era specific elements: riff-driven verses, more melody in the hook, softened edges at the bridge. “Illuminate,” beginning as a quick to the point, high tempo and seemingly simplistic metal track, transitions into a wildly circular exercise in dexterity, taking seamless liberties with rhythmic shifts in the space of two and half minutes.

To that point, the songs are mostly pop length. While I won’t accuse the band of “jamming econo,” there is something to be said for how much Swarm of Arrows can inject into a three-minute song in terms of time signature and transition without overdoing it or being flung into the trappings of self-indulgence and pretension. Even in rock, there is a tendency to dismiss the presence of academia in music, likening “proggy” embellishments to the elitist sophistication of composers or musical scholastics.  I do think for metal fans there tends to be more forgiveness and certainly more of a threshold for any kind of exploratory musical tangents or over-the-top attempts at grandness.  The sturdy construct and the well-suited persistence of vision herein allow the band to get across as much as possible in as clear and concise a way as they're able.

But, whatever progressive elements Swarm of Arrows indulge, there’s enough metal-as-evolution-of-blues riffing, too. Songs like “Floaters” and “Hollowcast” revel in amplification, “Gravel and Gold” chugs with High On Fire caliber sludge and “Little Marching Vipers” exudes doom-laden sonic vitriol and possibly establishes a Neurosis connection a la its momentary interlude of ritualistic drum circle. The aforementioned “Damage Generator,” (drummer, Tim Lynam featuring prominently), is an off-register speed metal track offering one final thrust of metallic heft before “Breath of the Hourglass” ends the album in an appropriately somber way, its last series of drum-addled guitar arrangements carrying to a close.

A free download of the album is available on Black Friday, November 23rd.

Letters From A Tapehead

Monday, November 19, 2012

MONO: "Dream Odyssey"

"Dream Odyssey" is streaming via One Inch Badge and is a new single from MONO's latest album, For My Parents...

Link provided by Rarely Unable.

Letters From A Tapehead

The VSS: "Lunar Weight" (Live, 1997)

90s synth punkers, The VSS, are reissuing their discography, Nervous Circuits + 25:37, via Sargent House on November 27th.  Below is a clip of the band performing the song, "Lunar Weight," in 1997 at Philadelphia's First Unitarian Church. 

All info and links were provided by Us/Them Group.

Influential synth-punk band The VSS announce deluxe 2xLP discography reissue

Click image above to watch live video

"The VSS invented a fierce, highly unconventional sound unlike that of any other contemporary band. Theirs was a maelstrom of hard punk energy comprised of dissonant guitar, bass, drums, as well as keyboards. The result was something organic and angry and intensely human, but it was laced with a sharp, robotic edge. On all of their releases The VSS effortlessly overstep the boundaries of all traditional rock formats (and that includes punk rock), producing one explosive sonic exorcism after another." -- 

Fabled San Francisco art-punks The VSS announce the deluxe reissue of the band's studio discography via Sargent House. Back in print on vinyl for the first time since its original release in 1997, Nervous Circuits is the highly influential sole full length album by The VSS. This double LP reissue is paired with 25:37, an expanded edition of the band's singles collection 21:51, which was previously only available on CD.

Nervous Circuits is available for streaming HERE. Watch live videos of "I Cut My Teeth" (VIDEO) and the songs "Death Scene" + "What Kind of Ticks?" (VIDEO).

The VSS operated on a simple imperative to create a total environment of sound, light and physical catharsis. As could be expected, that type of intensity tends to burn itself out quickly. Thus, The VSS lasted just over 2.5 years, beginning January 1995 in Boulder, Colorado and ending unceremoniously in July 1997. In that time the band relocated to San Francisco, toured the U.S. four times and Europe/UK once, released a series of 7-inch EPs (all of which are on
25:37) and issued Nervous Circuits, their only full length album.

To this day, The VSS is commonly known for two things, 1) its inventive use of horror-film keyboards, angular guitar, unusual rhythmic shifts and jarring vocal effects in creating a dark sound that merged punk, goth, psychedelia and experimental rock, and 2) its "crazy" light show, an unprecedented notion for the underground basement show set. These two components are said to be influential on the aesthetics of myriad bands to follow in the 15 years since the band's demise. Of course, the synthesizer was nothing new in punk rock. It was a key component in 60s garage rock, as well as late 70s post-punk/new wave. However, by the mid-90s, the synthesizer was such anathema to musicians still reveling in the faux-grit of grunge, that to the members of The VSS, adding keyboards to underground noise-punk seemed the perfect prescription for what had become a staggeringly dull scene.
Nervous Circuits was recorded and mixed over the course of one week of sessions (usually lasting upwards of 16-hours per day) in October 1996 at the same Denver studio in which The VSS recorded its debut EP (which comprises tracks 1-4 of 25:37). Tracking of Nervous Circuits began on a Monday morning and the last mix was completed that Friday (Halloween) at midnight. The band then raced across town to play a late-night show that was one the most intense and unhinged performances of its brief tenure. 25:37 collects the group's 4-song debut EP Via The VSS, two songs from The VSS/T Tauri split 7", four tracks from the self-titled Gravity Records 7", and one from the split EP with Rye Coalition.

The members of The VSS went on to a number of projects. Vocalist Sonny Kay maintained his influential record label GSL, a successful visual arts career and led the bands Year Future and Subpoena The Past. Guitarist Josh Hughes, keyboardist/bassist/vocalist Andrew Rothbard and drummer David Clifford formed SLAVES in 1997, later changing their name to Pleasure Forever and signing to Sub Pop in 2000. Following Pleasure Forever's demise in 2003, Hughes went on to form Rabbits (Relapse Records), Rothbard has released a series of solo albums under his full name Andrew Douglas Rothbard and Clifford went on to play drums in L.A. instrumental post-rock band Red Sparowes.
Nervous Circuits + 25:37 will be available on double LP and download via Sargent House on November 27, 2012.

Artist: The VSS 

Album: Nervous Circuits + 25:37
Label: Sargent House
Release Date: November 27th, 2012

LP1 -
Nervous Circuits 
01. Death Scene
02. In Miniature
03. Sibling Ascending
04. Effigy
05. Lunar Weight
06. Conscious
07. What Kind Of Ticks?
08. Chemical In Chemistry
09. Swift Kicks
10. Nervous Circuits

LP2 - 25:37 
01. The Flesh Inside
02. Indian-sick
03. Evolution
04: Silt, etc.
05. Muscle
06. The Fist and Fingers
07. I Cut My Teeth
08. Cosmic Retribution
09. Crawling In Place
10. Response
11. No Hands

On the Web:

Letters From A Tapehead

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Lushlife: "Magnolia"

"Magnolia" is a single from Philadelphia area rapper/multi-instrumentalist, Lushlife.  His very excellent album, Plateau Vision, was released 4.17.12.


Letters From A Tapehead

Led Er Est: "Divided Parallel"

"Divided Parallel" is from The Diver, Led Er Est's June release.

Letters From A Tapehead

What I Heard This Morning: Hilly Eye

"Amnesia" by Hilly Eye, a single from their upcoming album Reasons To Live. 2013 is on the horizon.

All info comes courtesy of Enabler Agency.

On January 22nd, New Jersey label, Don Giovanni will release the debut album from Hilly Eye, Reasons To Live.

Hilly Eye is a collaboration between guitarist/vocalist Amy Klein and drummer/vocalist Catherine Tung. The duo formed in 2009 as a way to experiment with noise and melody. Their favorite band at the time was the Osaka noise band Afrirampo and they wanted to start something like that — a two girl band that was super primal and agressive, but also psychedelic and dreamy. Something really stripped down and raw that could also be beautiful. Alternating between quiet and loud, delicate melodies and big swathes of noise, contrasting elements.

You can stream their 1st single, "Amnesia"
"The album is about the struggle to gain your independence, to move beyond the limits that other people place on you, and to free yourself from the limits you place on yourself. For us, psychedelia is this kind of place where there are no limits. we like the idea of music being something ineffable." — Hilly Eye


11/30 - Brooklyn, NY - St. Vitus
12/14 - Brooklyn, NY - Death by Audio

JANUARY 22ND, 2013

1. Almanac
2. American Rail
3. Amnesia
4. Animal
5. Double Dutch
6. Jacob's Ladder
7. January
8. Jersey City
9. Louisville
10. Way Back When

Letters From A Tapehead

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Inbox Giveth: Cultura Tres & Galvano

I've been getting some furious and rather viscous metal albums from Devouter Records, who clued me into Cultura Tres and Galvano.  I have permission to share their albums online, though I'll insist once you've listened to and agreed to what both bands have produced, you'll please spend your money and own these albums proper.

All info, links and music is provided by Devouter Records. 

CULTURA TRES: El Mal Del Bien Album Released Today Through Devouter Records. UK dates
El Mal Del Bien, the mind-bending sophomore album of the Venezuela's Cultura Tres, originally issued by the band in 2011, is being re-released today on CD by the UK based label Devouter Records. Devouter has recently released on vinyl debut albums by Make and Galvano and has some more intriguing offerings in the pipeline.

El Mal Del Bien is a highly versatile trip filled with oppressive passages and hypnotic rhythms, engaging bass lines, drawn out sludgy riffs occasionally entwined with classic solos and trash/death assaults; all this enriched by the double guitar interplay and discordancy - the Cultura Tres imprint, and multi-faced vocal styles. The album has received glowing reviews from all over the world, describing it as “a musical revelation for those tired of the usual” (Captain Beyond Zen), way heavier than ever before (Doommantia), haunting and mesmerizing" (Metal Underground), "pretty much flawless" (Terrorizer) and “a solid gold sludge doom masterpiece that deserves to be heard” (Sonic Abuse), to mention but a few.

The CD edition of
El Mal Del Bien contains two tracks who could be found only digitally by now and don’t appear on the vinyl version of the album. The release comes as a 4-panel Digipack CD with the original El Mal Del Bien cover art and full lyrics. Both CD and Vinyl can be ordered directly from Devouter Records and are distributed via Shellshock commercial partners, and will soon be available from Record Heaven, Sweden. The album can be streamed in full here:

To support the release Cultura Tres will play in UK on the following dates:
Nov 15th - The Hole in The Wall, Colchester (w/ Telepathy & Old Man Lizard)
Nov 17th - The Asylum 2, Birmingham (w/ Slabdragger, Undersmile, Grimpen Mire & more)
Nov 16th - The Purple Turtle, London (w/ Abrahma, Enos, Telepathy & more)


Two Titans sees the duo deliver sludgy powerful riffs and intense drumming combined with slowed down dark passages. They enable you to go through a full spectrum of emotions then back again. Describing the album, Mattius (singer/guitarist) comments that:
‘All these songs are personal, all the way throughout the record. They are about personal matters and demons. It's about finding the darkest corners, the dark lord within and to show up for battle. Portrayed as two titans in constant battle: Good/Evil, Darkness/Light and so on. And sometimes wanting to embrace either side. It's about knowing when your mind is pulling tricks and being able to stop it. It's also celebrating our musical force as a duo.’

Galvano hail from Gothenburg, Sweden and comprises of duo Fredrik and Mattias. Formed in 2005, the band had one direction and one aim, to create something heavy. But it wasn’t until 2007 that the band let the outside world hear what they were creating when they released their first demo and started to play shows. The following years saw more touring across Europe playing alongside bands such as Black Breath and Alaskan.

Tour Dates:
Nov 30 Die Grosse Welt Hannover, Germany 

Dec 01 Hühnermanhattan Klub Halle, Germany 
Dec 02 Cab03 Leiden, Netherlands Dec 03 TBA 
Dec 04 L’Ecurie Geneva, Switzerland 
Dec 05 Block 56 Basel, Switzerland 
Dec 06 Tiefgrund Berlin, Germany 
Dec 07 La Casa Cottbus, Germany 
Dec 08 Plaque Leipzig, Germany

Letters From A Tapehead

Lee Ranaldo: "Stranded"

A new video from Lee Ranaldo's recent release, Between the Times and the Tides

Lee Ranaldo STRANDED Official Video from Lee Ranaldo on Vimeo.

Letters From A Tapehead

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Diamond Version: "Science for a Better Life"

Some industrialized pharmaceutically charged sloganeering paranoia for you from Diamond Version.  "Science for a Better Life" is the first single from their upcoming release, EP2, which is the second of five 12" EPs the band will release before putting out their first LP in 2013.

All info below is courtesy of Mute Records.




EP2 – OUT NOVEMBER 26th via 12”

December 4th via Digital Download

“a shining example of borderless digital creativity” – Juno

“unashamedly dancefloor-friendly” – The 405

Diamond Version will release EP2 on 12” on November 26th and via Digital Download on December 4th.

Featuring the tracks “Science For A Better Life”, “Shift The Future” and “Forever New Frontiers”, this is the next installment in a sequence of five 12" / download EPs to be released throughout 2012 and 2013, culminating in a debut full length record in 2013.

With playful humor, Diamond Version explore Daily Short Message Information Culture (DSMC), their phrase to describe the relentless slogans we are bombarded with, rendered meaningless by their constant repetition.
"We both are obsessed with company logos," explain Diamond Version. “We collected these slogans and started reading them, without knowing the companies. In this amount and concentration they become absurd."

A version of “Shift The Future” was transmitted at the No Nukes 2012 festival in Japan, organized by Ryuichi Sakamoto as a reaction to the reopening of the Oi nuclear power plant following 2011’s nuclear disaster, watch the video message here:

EP2 follows EP1: Technology At The Speed Of Life / Empowering Change, described by The Wire as “metallic ring modulated tones gleam in the dark always driven forward by a malevolent computational funk”.

Diamond Version is the collaborative project between two of the most groundbreaking, experimental and forward thinking creators in modern music, Byetone and Alva Noto. As joint heads of the German-based label Raster-Noton, with their solo projects, they have been releasing work that spectacularly blurs the lines between the visceral and the conceptual, bridging the gap between gallery and dancefloor.

"Diamond Version is a project born out of a live situation. We occasionally performed encores together after our solo sets. These spontaneous and improvised tracks always had a kind of 'special energy' which we missed in our solo works.”

The debut of their audio-visual live performance, with special guest Atsuhiro Ito, was at Sonar 2012, reviewed here by The Quietus,

Future dates will be announced shortly.

Science For A Better Life
Shift The Future
Forever New Frontiers

Raster-Noton and Mute have collaborated previously in the past with the Short Circuit Festival at the Roundhouse London in 2011 and the Raster-Noton 15th Anniversary event at Berghain, Berlin.


Technology At The Speed Of Life: 
Empowering Change: 
Watch the trailer for Diamond Version’s debut EP: 
Watch Diamond Version: Mission Statement -

Diamond Version boxset subscription

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Letters From A Tapehead

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Kicking Against The Pricks: Dinosaur Jr. & Menomena

A few belated reviews from Kicking Against The Pricks. 

Dinosaur Jr.
I Bet On Sky
Released: 9.18.12

Letters From A Tapehead

Monday, November 05, 2012

Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me

Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me, the upcoming new documentary about the very seminal (and obvious, thanks to the title) Big Star, will premiere in New York on November 10th.  Check out the trailer below.

Info comes courtesy of Force Field PR.

Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me documentary makes NYC premiere Nov. 10

Official Trailer: 

BIG STAR: NOTHING CAN HURT ME will premiere in NYC on Saturday, November 10th at 9:45pm at the SVA Theater (333 West 23rd St) as part of the DOC NYC Film Festival. Jody Stephens (last remaining member of Big Star) and John Fry (Ardent Studios founder and Big Star engineer) will both be in attendance at the screening and will participate in a Q&A following the screening along with the filmmakers. BIG STAR: NOTHING CAN HURT ME recently had its world premiere at BFI London Film Festival, Indie Memphis and showed a work-in-progress version at SXSW in March. The film will also screen at IDFA in Amsterdam this November.

Additional info about the film:
BIG STAR: NOTHING CAN HURT ME is a feature-length documentary about legendary Memphis band Big Star. While mainstream success eluded them, Big Star's three albums have become critically lauded touchstones of the rock music canon. A seminal band in the history of alternative music, Big Star has been cited as an influence by artists including REM, The Replacements, Belle & Sebastian, Elliot Smith and Flaming Lips, to name just a few. With never-before-seen footage and photos of the band, in-depth interviews and a rousing musical tribute by the bands they inspired, BIG STAR: NOTHING CAN HURT ME is a story of artistic and musical salvation.

Selected press quotes:
"The movie is brilliant-a boon to Big Star fans, as well as an indispensible primer for anyone who ever has wondered what artists such as the dB's, R.E.M., Matthew Sweet, the Bangles, the Replacements, Teenage Fanclub, This Mortal Coil, the Posies and literally thousands of others found so inspiring." - Jim DeRogatis, WBEZ
"The movie is destined to be a seminal rock doc in the canon, and one that will bring Big Star to a new generation of fans." - Indiewire

"Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me
is a feisty, moving tribute." - Ain't It Cool News
"With three perennial albums and a gripping story to boot, it's bizarre that this documentary hasn't been made before (better late than never, as they say) but the wait was worth it. Observing the band's finest tunes (or rather, CHOONS) and their enduring legacy, Nothing Can Hurt Me is profoundly moving, dramatic, insightful, entertaining and up there with the best music documentaries ever made - yeah, I said it." - Grolsch Film Works

Letters From A Tapehead

Friday, November 02, 2012

Liars: "Brats" (Video)

Into The Woods released a video of Liars performing "Brats" from their latest album, WIXIW, as part of its "Far From Home" series.

WIXIW was reviewed at No Ripcord. All info is courtesy of Mute.

Far From Home Episode #25 - Liars "Brats" from INTOTHEWOODS.TV on Vimeo.



This is the story of Liars crawling into an attack to perform “Brats”, the latest single off of their sixth studio release WIXIW. If you had to have anyone crawling around in your attic shaking out the cobwebs, might as well be these boys. Exploding with sound it is Aaron, Angus and Julian doing what they do best—cultivating the bizarre and embracing their music with abandon.

Special special love for everyone at Into The Woods.


Stream it LIVE

“Fascinating turns of change have always been Liars' sole consistency, and in that respect, I hope they stay the same forever." — Pitchfork

Photo Credit: Zen Sekizawa

Liars recently released remixes of “Brats" on a 12” on October 16th. This is the first in a series of three albums to be released on vinyl all promoting singles off of WIXIW.

"BRATS" remixed by Cadence Weapon


BRATS (album version)
BRATS - David Scott Stone remix
BRATS - Cadence Weapon remix
BRATS – Vessel remix

Letters From A Tapehead

What I Heard This Morning: My Education

Here's a trippy video from post-rock band, My Education, who will be releasing their album, A Drink For All My Friends, at the end of November.  The track is called, "Homunculus" and I think it's worth a look/listen. 

And, hey — Rolling Stone's David Fricke likes them, so they must be better than everything you're listening to right this second.

All info comes courtesy of Us/Them Group.  The video is courtesy of Consequence of Sound.

My Education premiere mind-bending video via Consequence of Sound, announce forthcoming album 'A Drink For All My Friends' 

Click image above to watch video

"There must be something on the air, or in it, to explain the space rock blooming in central Texas. This Austin sextet expands on the arc-riff grandeur of local travelers Explosions in the Sky with John Cale-like viola and simple, rising melodies that take you way up and out. My surprise find at SXSW this year, My Education are advanced ecstasy." -- David Fricke, Rolling Stone

Austin, TX sonic explorers My Education premiere the first video from their forthcoming new album today via Consequence of Sound. The mind-warping visuals and brute force of the track "Homunculus" is available to watch/share HERE. The long-running 7 piece band's sixth album, A Drink For All My Friends will be released November 27th, 2012 in North America on Headbump Records/Haute Magie and in Europe on Golden Antenna.
A Drink For All My Friends is the band's most streamlined and aggressive effort yet, while remaining an entrancing cinematic journey throughout, exploring everything from the final communiques from doomed airline pilots to a frenetic and violent outburst from a laboratory golem.

Since forming in 1999, the band's membership has expanded and contracted while the sonic landscapes have grown with each release. My Education has released 5 full-length albums, several singles, compilation appearances, and a 12" vinyl collaboration with avant-hip hop duo Dalek. Recordings have been remixed by members of bands Kinski, Pelican, Red Sparowes and Dalek.

In June 2010 the band completed a series of improvisational recordings with Salt Lake City ensemble Theta Naught that were released April 2011 on Differential Records. "SoundMass" performances at SXSW and Austin Psych Fest were greeted with wild acclaim, and a Daytrotter SoundMass session was released in July 2011. Vinyl of this release is brand new and out now. Additional SoundMass performances are currently being scheduled to promote the vinyl and new recordings are also in the works. My Education's collaboration with the Noble Motion dance company premiered with three sold out shows in June 2011 at the Austin Ballet. A new limited edition CD of
Sunrise remixes is out now on Reverb Worship as well as a limited edition live "bootleg" CD entitled Bamboozled from the band's 2010 tour. On the horizon: My Education's first European tour now booking for spring 2013.

A Drink For All My Friends will be available on LP, CD, cassette and download on November 27th, 2012 via Headbump Records in the US and Golden Antenna in Europe.

11/30 Austin, TX @ The ND (album release party)


Artist: My Education
A Drink For All My Friends
Label: Headbump Records (US) / Golden Antenna (EU)
Release Date: November 27, 2012

01. A Drink For...
02. ...All My Friends
03. Mister 1986
04. Black Box
06. Happy Village
07. Homunculus (VIDEO)

On The Web:

Letters From A Tapehead

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Om: "State Of Non-Return" (Video)

Om's "State Of Non-Return" is a single off of their latest album, Advaitic Songs.  I posted about this song a few months ago, but a video for the track debuted today via Stereogum.   

Advaitic Songs was reviewed at No Ripcord.

Letters From A Tapehead

Jah Wobble & Keith Levene: "Yin & Yang"

Jah Wobble and Keith Levene, the Public Image Ltd. twosome that brought to life the pinnacle release, Metal Box, have partnered on a new album called, Yin & Yang.  You can check out the profanity-enriched new title track here.

And, if you need to reminded how well these two worked together on Metal Box, or if you just want an excuse to treat your ears to post-punk excellence, the full album is available below.

All info comes courtesy of MVD Entertainment.

Jah Wobble and Keith Levene Yin & Yang

Available on December 11

The first collaboration by Public Image Limited founding members since the landmark 1980 album
Metal Box

FREE DOWNLOAD of "Yin & Yang" HERE (Explicit)

Due for release on Cherry Red Records (via MVD in North America) on December 11, Yin and Yang is the first full-length collaboration by PIL founding members Jah Wobble and Keith Levene since the landmark 1980 album Metal Box. Below, Jah Wobble spills the beans on the making of the album.

"I reunited with Keith a couple of years ago. He was off smack and keen to play again. We had a bash in a rehearsal room and it went well. To start with I got him to play on three tracks of the album, (Psychic Life) that I was making with Julie Campbell (Lonelady). Since then we have performed 'Metal Box in Dub' live. These shows were very well received. As far as I was concerned he was back and on top of his game again. I thought it would be a good idea to go and record some new material.

I wasn't sure what we would come up with. As we proceeded, in a very relaxed fashion, the realisation dawned on me , that we were making music that was linked to psychedelic music (especially the British variety), of the swinging sixties through the mid seventies that we both would have been exposed to when we were young. (Albeit our stuff has a spiteful post modern edge to it, I must admit it was a good, (if rather juvenile), laugh referring to myself, (and the listener) as a c*** , as well as eulogising about my beloved Jags and Staffs in the mist of a psychedelic onslaught). Bands such as Hawkwind and the Pretty Things spring to mind. Our 7/4 version of George Harrison's 'Within/Without you' reminds me of Cream, in its wild approach and execution. There are elements of Americana in 'Yin and Yang' as well. Check out the Keith's acoustic work on the dubby Appalachian flavoured 'Strut' . Likewise listen to the Southern States R&B of 'Mississippi', especially the baptist church organ of the multi-talented Jonas Persson. But my favourite track is the moody instrumental 'Back on the Block', just listen to the controlled anger of Keith's electric guitar.

When Keith and I performed Metal Box In Dub I invited my regular trumpet player Sean Corby along. I knew that he would help inject an element of 'Electric period Miles' into the mix. Not long after we had finished recording Metal Box back in 1979 I heard Miles Davis's Dark Magus. Well, it absolutely blew me away. Talk about cathartic moments. Since then I had dreamed of introducing trumpet into compositions such as 'Graveyard' and 'Memories'.

Sean steals the show on 'Fluid', my old friend 'Little Annie' does the same on 'Vampires'. Marc Layton-Bennett, my regular drummer, plays like a demon throughout. The track 'Understand' features Nathan Maverick on vocals. He is the singer that we employed to handle vocals on the Metal Box in Dub performances. I was determined to get him to help write a song for this album. And the boy did good. He really reminds me of someone. Just can't quite put my finger on who it is."


Yin & Yang project page:

Jah Wobble page:

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...