Showing posts from January, 2014

Liars: "Mess On A Mission" (and a limited-edition album covered in string)

So, there are 500 of these available for pre-order .  If you have money and meet the appropriate criteria recommended before purchasing, (like, if you're a Liars fan and you really want to own their upcoming new album, Mess , in some physical manner), you should probably think about picking this up.   Me?  I'm broke.  I know that the asking price of $35 is generous, but it's a couple days till payday and the family has to eat. And, to be honest, this is the type of specialized, high-value album I would NEVER play.  It's a vacuum-sealed gate-fold with REAL string housing clear vinyl: it checks off all the little boxes that qualify the release as both inventive and instantly collectable.  And, then there's that whole "limited edition" thing.  While the designer and visual fetishist in me believes that this album is somehow necessary for the preservation of my ability to work creatively and remain inspired (which, to some extent, might be true), the audiop

No Ripcord: Pontiak

Pontiak INNOCENCE Thrill Jockey Records Released: 1.28.14 No Ripcord review Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead

Singles: Ought, Wolf People, PINS, Christina Vantzou, TOY

Ought : "Waiting" (via Rarely Unable/Soundcloud) Wolf People : "When the Fire is Dead in the Grate" (via Sure Shot PR/YouTube) PINS : "Waiting For the End" (via [PIAS] America/ Brooklyn Vegan /Vimeo) PINS - Waiting For The End from PINS on Vimeo . Christina Vantzou : "Going Backwards to Recover That Which Was Left Behind" (via Rarely Unable/ Kranky /Soundcloud) TOY : "It's Been So Long" (via [PIAS] America/YouTube Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead

The Body: "Shrouded" & "To Attempt Openness"

I was a fan of The Body 's very disturbing 2010 release, All the Waters of the Earth Turn to Blood . That being said, the band's 2013 release, Christs, Redeemers , escaped me, the misfortune of which has only been compounded by my awareness of the ridiculously uncomfortable tracks, "Shrouded" and "To Attempt Openness." The news of The Body's upcoming European tour brought me to the videos, which I feel compelled to attach because they're both very creepy, suitable visual components for the music.  I consider The Body's art expert in its ability to remove any notion of joy from one's life, their amplified misery both compelling and awful. The Body - Shrouded from Thrill Jockey Records on Vimeo . The Body - To Attempt Openness from Thrill Jockey Records on Vimeo . All info comes courtesy of Thrill Jockey Records. THE BODY ANNOUNCE EUROPEAN TOUR AND FESTIVAL APPEARANCES IN APRIL AND MAY We are very pleased to announce The Body

Qui: "Whateryadoin?"

Do you miss Ween ? It's likely you'll be missing them for years to come, then. However, Qui is pretty cool and seems to have embraced the same goofy duo dynamic that Ween possessed, sans the overt genre parody. The track "Whateryoudoin'?" takes the group's creative relationship and twists into this this comedic love song addressing the growing romantic tension between them.  The track is featured in their upcoming new album, Life, Water, Living... , will be out in late February.  All info and links are courtesy of Us/Them Group. Qui premiere second video via SPIN from forthcoming album, tour with Moistboyz  L.A. duo Qui premiere the second video from their forthcoming third album today via SPIN. The clip, for "Whateryadoin?" is available to watch/share HERE . Hot on the heels of the album release, Qui take to the road with fabled hard rock band Moistboyz (ex- Ween , Mondo Generator ) on the west coast. Please see all dates below.

Vivian Girls (2007-2014)

Punk'ish interpretation of the Shangri-Las ' dynamic?  Yeah, I enjoyed Vivian Girls .  While the lo-fi Spector thing has lost some of its novelty, and the Girls themselves have split off into a bunch of separate entities ( La Sera , The Babies , Upset and every Frankie Rose project), it's not too surprising (though disappointing) that the band has decided to call it a day.  A note from the band was offered as their obit and two farewell shows have been announced. I reviewed Share The Joy , the band's 2011 release, for Kicking Against The Pricks . All info comes courtesy of Force Field PR.   Vivian Girls announce split, playing farewell shows in NY & LA Vivian Girls have announced their official split with the announcement of farewell shows in NY & LA. The girls will continue to focus on other projects - Katy with La Sera (new album due later this year), Cassie with The Babies and solo work, and Ali with Upset. A note from the band: Brook

Singles: Pontiak, New Bums, Mt. Royal, Doomsquad, C O L L E C T R E S S

Pontiak : "Wildfires" (via Thrill Jockey Records/Soundcloud) New Bums : "The Killers and Me" (via Rarely Unable/ Drag City /YouTube) Mt. Royal : "Missing Reward" (via PIAS/ Brooklyn Vegan /YouTube) Doomsquad : "Disremember/Dismemberment" (via Force Field PR/ Noisey /Soundcloud) C O L L E C T R E S S : "Spell" (via Rarely Unable/Soundcloud) Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead

No Ripcord: Mogwai

Mogwai Rave Tapes Sub Pop Released: 1.21.14 No Ripcord review Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead

Daughter of a Tapehead: Zombi's Spirit Animal

Zombi Spirit Animal Relapse Records Originally released: 2009 Reissued: 1.7.14   *The views of the five year-old featured don't necessarily reflect the views of her father: Zombi ARE awesome and I'm NOT cheap.  At least, not really. Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead

Shopping For Records: Skeletonwitch's Serpents Unleashed Limited Edition

So, if you're looking for a specialized album and you're really into helping pets, look no further:   Skeletonwitch , are issuing a limited-run, hand-screened 180-gram version of their 2013 release, Serpents Unleashed .  All proceeds are going toward pet shelters that reside in and around the general vicinity of the band's hometown in Ohio and will be available to purchase on January 20th.  Listen to the band discuss it in the video below: Skeletonwitch will also be on tour with Amon Amarth beginning Friday, January 17th.  Tour dates along with more info on the limited Serpents Unleashed is brought to you courtesy of the always wonderful people at Earsplit PR. SKELETONWITCH To Release Limited Edition Serpents Unleashed LP - Proceeds To Aid Animal Shelters In Band's Home State; Tour With Amon Amarth Begins Friday SKELETONWITCH will release a hand-screened, 180-gram limited vinyl edition of their acclaimed, Billboard-charting 2013 release, Serpents Unleashed

Singles: Young Fathers, Helms Alee, We Are Hex

Young Fathers : "Get Up (Radio Edit)" (via Friend of Friends Music/ NME /Soundcloud) Helms Alee : "Pleasure Center" (via Us-Them Group/ Noisey /Soundcloud) We Are Hex : "Tongues" (via Latest Flame Records/ CVLT Nation /Vimeo) We Are Hex - TONGUES from †HEXPORIUM† on Vimeo . Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead

Gary Grimshaw (1946-2014)

I found an obituary at Billboard . As a graphic designer by trade, I've gravitated toward poster art for as long as I can remember.  After college, I had aspirations of becoming one of those well-known poster and flyer artists that advertises gigs locally while inadvertently informing the look and feel of a generation and its music, sort of along the lines of Art Chantry , Raymond Pettibon or Emek .  Grimshaw was such an artist, someone who managed to visually capture a place and time memorably while helping to establish its aesthetic. Music and art define points in time and identify cultural shifts in consciousness.  From album covers and gig posters and flyers, to video and t-shirt design, would music have the same weight without its visual component?  Would any era in music's still developing history, whether it be jazz or country, disco or punk, new wave or hip-hop, have as much impact without texture or color, appearance or tone?  I personally can't think of

What I Heard This Morning: Boss Keloid

I hear a lot of heavy bands. I hear enough heavy bands that, at points, I have to ask myself if what I'm listening to qualifies as "heavy." This scrutiny extends to metal, particularly since the genre is now susceptible to instances of "acceptance" amongst those who, at any other point in time during metal's three or four decades in existence, would otherwise pay it no mind or run away. I won't name names, but I'll say that certain metal albums circulating last year were granted some significant acclaim, much to the chagrin of the genre's loyalists, a legion of music fan eternally devoted to being both aurally slaughtered by the masters of their obsession and to being ousted by proper, decent society. Plus, the genre has been infiltrated by charlatans in the same way punk had been in the mid-90s, bands that figured out that if you could simply play fast, wear the uniform and embrace a certain level of attitude, no matter how insultingly tame

Singles: Carla Bozulich, Woods, Cripple Bastards, Damaged Bug

Carla Bozulich: "Deeper Than the Well" (via Rarely Unable/ Consellation Records /Soundcloud) Woods: "Leaves Like Glass" (via Force Field PR/ Woodsist /Soundcloud) Cripple Bastards: "Malato Terminale" (via Earsplit PR/ Relapse Records /YouTube) Damaged Bug : "Eggs At Night" (via Tell All Your Friends PR/ Castle Face Records /Soundcloud) Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead

Shopping For Records: New Year's Eve (Part 2)

A couple more acquisitions from my last record store treks of 2013... Siren Records Doylestown, PA Deathfix s/t Dischord Records Released: 2013 Still trying to wrap my head around this one.  Upon first listen of the self-titled debut of Deathfix , (featuring members of Fugazi , French Toast and Medications ), I felt like I was listening to an amalgamation of Big Star and some Double Nickles Minutemen , which I initially found interesting (especially when I heard the song "Hospital" and there's something very rhythmically Mike Watt about "Playboy").  Now, I sort of feel like I'm listening to post-hardcore go through its Don Henley phase.  Deathfix has some good moments to it, though.  I really like "Low Lying Dreams," which sounds like it could've been pulled directly from any Mark Lanegan album post- Bubblegum . "Dali's House," though silly and a little overlong, has a groove that hangs out in your head long afte

thisquietarmy: "From Darkness"

Morning, everyone. I received an email last night from Erich Quach , the sole force behind the doom/drone metal monster known as, thisquietarmy .  Quach released the album, Hex Mountains , back in October of 2013 and it was, unfortunately, one of many releases I did not get to review.  Quach's purpose in writing me was to promote a new video for the album's lead track, "From Darkness,"  which hit the web on New Year's Day.  With the aid of Alaskan drummer, Scotty Rooney , "From Darkness" is a radiating and chunky bit of instrumentalist travelogue that's offered visual backing from its video, which is a compilation of icy and darkly enhanced recordings of mountainous regions as viewed from some anonymous highway(s). I enjoyed it.  Maybe you will, too. Hex Mountains is available to purchase digitally at Bandcamp .  Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead

The Inbox Giveth: Oikos & Insect Ark

Oikos Vigilia Knockturne Records Released: 11.1.13 Over the last couple years, I've listened to Earth incorporate more folk and country into their repertoire and Sunn O))) thicken its ultra-bottom distortions with some symphonic additives. With that in mind, the tender guitar phrase introducing Vigilia , the newest offering from the now solo drone project, Oikos , wasn't too surprising. While drone and ambient pursuits seem to follow a more compositional approach lately, an album like Vigilia still remains devoted to the manipulation of sound, at its most ominous, meditative and gorgeous. A cassette only release from Knockturne Records, Vigilia is the soul creation of Rafael Femiano , now the lone presence behind Oikos. The project had been a duo initially, Femiano having worked with former member, David San Martin . While the gentle guitar strum of the title track is eventually lost beneath a mire of deep, undulated tones and sheets of metallic groan, the fol

Shopping For Records: New Year's Eve (Part 1)

My last record store treks of 2013... The Vinyl Closet North Wales, PA Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso UFO The Day Before the Sky Fell in American — 9/10/01 Galactic Zoo/ Eclipse Records Released: 2004 This one is out of print.  I'd been eying up the CD version of Acid Mothers ' The Day Before the Sky Fell in America — 9/10/01 for some time, but just never pulled the trigger for one reason or another, usually because there was something else I was more desperate to grab or because the sticker price was just a bit too high.  The LP was sitting in the JUST ADDED bins at The Vinyl Closet and, seconds after walking through the door, I picked it up.  Being that it was the only album I purchased that day, I was done my record shopping after being in the store for less than a minute.  The album itself is a live recording of an in-store performance the members of Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso UFO had done the day before 9/11.  It's highl

Singles: Pixies, Deaf Scene, The Bushwick Hotel, DVA, Tim Larson

Pixies : "Blue Eyed Hexe" (via YouTube) Deaf Scene : "Nephilims" (via Soundcloud) The Bushwick Hotel : "Graffiti of the Young Man's Mind" (via YouTube) DVA : "Mulatu" (via Northern Spy Records/YouTube) Tim Larson : "6" (via Us-Them Group/Soundcloud) Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead

Buried in a Good Mix Tape: Best of 2013 Mix...

Another year, another mix... I began assembling my Best Of compilation for 2013 mentally around January when I'd listened to the Mystical Weapons album.  Real assembly began midway through November, sequencing and transitions being my normal areas of focus.  I had a version of this mix locked down until I made the mistake of listening to the Savages album and then suddenly I HAD to include one of their songs.  So, one track was eliminated and then a lot of space had to be cleverly handled to gain one minute so I could fit all of this neatly into one 80-minute CD.  Overall, I'm pretty happy with it. For the cover, I hijacked press materials from The Monkees ' the 1968 psych train wreck, Head . Original image   Cover image What do you think of my selections? Melt-Banana – My Missing Link ( "fetch" ) Dead in the Dirt – No Chain ( The Blind Hole ) A Fucking Elphant – I'm Addicted to Drugs & Sex and I Want Y

Oh, 2013... Where Have You Gone?

It's been a rather inactive couple months from me.  We'll say that life needed some attention and that I spread myself thin enough that I considered putting Letters From A Tapehead to rest, citing mental exhaustion and an overall lack of enthusiasm for listening, analysis and writing.  I also felt that I was no longer saying anything particularly new, instead spewing mediocre sentences, making tired comparisons and drawing half-assed conclusions.  I can't tell you how many reviews I started and failed to finish.  It's bad enough when your professional life seems lackluster and unremarkable, let alone when your only true creative pursuit follows the same direction.  So, I drafted a blog post basically saying "adios," and of course, "thank you all for reading this for so many years." But, once I typed out my frustrations and read it over in my head, I felt a little better.  I then went out alone and did some record shopping, brushing my fingers along