Monday, June 30, 2014

METZ: "I'm A Bug (Urinals cover)"

Stereogum premiered a cover of the Urinals' "I'm A Bug," performed by the excellently charged and wildly distorted rock trio, METZ.  As with everything this band has committed to tape, the muddy distortion is prominent, the drums are exceedingly lo-fi and the energy is dialed up.  Apparently a follow-up to the band's self-titled debut is in the works, so we'll be on the lookout.  In the meantime, check out the track below and read up on some tour dates.  METZ will be playing traveling companions to Cloud Nothings for a few dates.

A link to the video and touring info was provided by Sub Pop.

Listen to METZ cover of the Urinals
“I’m A Bug” (Stereogum premiere)

Updated 2014 Summer & Fall tour dates

The ever-mighty METZ have dropped a blistering cover of “I’m A Bug,” originally recorded by Southern California punk band the Urinals. Stereogum, who premiered the track had this to say, “I’m A Bug” is one many fine minimalist outbursts by late-’70s SoCal punk trio the Urinals, but there’s nothing minimalist about METZ. The Toronto trio are the latest to cover “I’m A Bug”...and they’ve turned it into one of their patented noise-rock onslaughts with typically bracing results. Which is to say: Like most METZ songs, this thing will squash you. (Like a bug, see?)(see premiere June 30th).”

METZ are hitting the road this week for a North American west coast tour with Cloud Nothings. The trek kicks-off July 2nd in Portland, OR at Hawthorne Theater and ends on July 8th & 9th with a two-night stand in Los Angeles, CA at the Roxy. METZ will then head to the UK for a short tour, beginning August 10th in North Yorkshire, UK at Beacon Festival and ending on August 16th in London, UK for ATP's Jabberwocky Festival at ExCel London.

Additionally, METZ has three festival appearances to mention: July 19th in Pemberton, BC at Pemberton Festival; October 4th in Sacramento, CA at TBD Fest; And November 7th-9th in Austin, TX at Fun Fun Fun Fest. Please find a complete list of tour dates below.

METZ are currently hard at work on the follow up to their critically acclaimed, self-titled Sub Pop debut.

Tour Dates
Jul. 02 - Portland, OR - Hawthorne Theater*
Jul. 03 - Seattle, WA - Neumos*
Jul. 04 - Victoria, BC - Upstairs Cabaret*
Jul. 05 - Vancouver, BC - Rickshaw Theater*
Jul. 07 - San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall*
Jul. 08 + 09 - Hollywood, CA - Roxy LA*
Jul. 19 - Pemberton, BC - Pemberton Festival
Aug. 10 - North Yorkshire, UK - Beacon Festival
Aug. 11 - Birmingham, UK - Hare & Hound
Aug. 12 - Sheffield , UK - Harley
Aug. 13 - St Albans, UK - Horn
Aug. 15 - Saint-Malo, FR - La Route du Rock Festival
Aug. 16 - London, UK - ATP's Jabberwocky Festival @ ExCeL London
Oct. 04 - Sacramento, CA - TBD Fest
Nov. 07-.09 - Austin, TX - Fun Fun Fun Fest
* w/ Cloud Nothings

Letters From A Tapehead

Friday, June 27, 2014

What I Heard This Morning: Dama/Libra

The artfully aware crew over at Northern Spy Records checked in yesterday with a track from Dama/Libra, an experimental and prominently vocal endeavor from Joel R. L. Phelps (Silkworm) and G. Stuart Dalquist (Burning Witch, Sunn O))), Avsa, Goatsnake).  The group has a new album coming out called Claw and its first single is "The Chant," a harmonized vocal at the forefront of an otherwise pulsating and slow drone track, a thudding tom drum and bass strum buried underneath varying synthesizer effects, resultant in a brass-laden exit that's both unexpected and almost celebratory in its surprising and spontaneous glow. 

You can check out the track below.  Tour dates were provided by Northern Spy Records.

Dama/Libra Tour 2014

August 17—Quarters—Milwaukee, Wisconsin
August ?18—The Hideout—Chicago, Illinois
August 20—Middle East—Boston, Massachusetts
August 21—St. Vitus—Brooklyn, New York
August 22—The Brillobox—Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
August 23—Kung Fu Necktie—Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
August 25—Double Happiness—Columbus, Ohio
August 26—Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center—St. Louis, Missouri

Letters From A Tapehead

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Singles: Wolves in the Throne Room, Ought, Pink Mountaintops, Earth, Incarnated, Beige Eagle Boys

Wolves in the Throne Room: "Initiation at Neudeg Alm" (via Earsplit PR/Noisey/Soundcloud)

Ought: "Today More Than Any Other Day" (via Rarely Unable/Vimeo)
Ought "Today More Than Any Other Day" from Constellation Records on Vimeo.

Pink Mountaintops: "The Second Summer of Love" (via Jagjaguwar/YouTube)

Earth: "From The Zodiacal Light" (via Rarely Unable/Soundcloud)

Incarnated: "Madness" (via Earsplit PR/YouTube)

Beige Eagle Boys: "I Saw Your Face on the Pavement" (via Earsplit PR/YouTube)

Letters From A Tapehead

Monday, June 23, 2014

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Austerity Program's Beyond Calculation streaming

I received an email from Controlled Burn Records Monday afternoon detailing the new release from ex-Hydra Head noise punkers The Austerity Program, Beyond Calculation, along with permission to embed the album here for anyone who would like to check it out.  If you're looking for bass-prominent, pseudo-industrial stomp and circumstance in the vein of Pure-era Jesus Lizard or Big Black, (which is apparently a "fumbling comparison" as noted by the band's press release), this will be worth a listen.  I spent some time with this today and I enjoyed it. 

All info comes courtesy of Controlled Burn Records.

Drum machine vs. the over-educated: drum machine usually wins.

"Everything the band does seems to be an exercise in discipline, and the belt has been tightened an extra notch for their new LP, Beyond Calculation. …(T)he album finds Foley and Calabrese streamlining their sound even further … into concise parcels of tightly wound maliciousness." - Brian Cook, Noisey

"Hits hard, but shows a band in complete control of their ferocity. - Miles Bowe, Stereogum

"Beyond Calculation is clearly the duo’s strongest work yet, an album that advances into a focused distillation of what the band can unleash with a drum machine, atomizing bass and a guitar that sounds like its being strummed with a bayonet." - Shane Mehling, Decibel (print)



Even the instrumental one is about violence, fate and desperation. Really.

Their former label Hydra Head may have died, but the Austerity Program are as raggedly alive as ever. Skip the fumbling comparisons to Godflesh or Big Black - they've distilled a decade and half of seething paranoia into a record that's all their own. By "all their own" we mean "no one else is out there sounding like this".

150 gram vinyl LP
Regular old CD
Digital download (including free via Bandcamp)
1/4" open reel tape, for the truly hardcore/weird.

Where can people get it:
Direct from us
Aquarius Records (San Francisco, CA)
Vacation Vinyl (Los Angeles, CA)
Reckless Records (Chicago, IL)
Bull City (Durham, NC)
The Sound Garden (Baltimore, MD)
Hydra Head webstore
Bandcamp directly from us. "Name your price" download. Yes, that includes FREE.
International / other record stores via Cobraside Distribution.
Digital distribution. Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, Beat, Deezr, Rdio, Google Play. And probably the Pirate Bay, Mediafire, blogs, torrents and all that stuff.

Letters From A Tapehead

Monday, June 16, 2014

Shopping For Records (Father's Day Edition): Sun Ra, Rickie Lee Jones, Pentagram, Charles Mingus, Sunn O)))/Ulver

I was given the gift of record shopping for Father's Day this year.  Better yet: I was given the gift of shopping at the Princeton Record Exchange, which I hadn't visited since Record Store Day in 2013.  Left with a stipend and about an hour or so to peruse, I was happy to spend more time navigating the inventory than last time, though I was not the only Dad given the day to record shop.  The store was packed with Dads toting impatient, bored children and wives that seemed stuck in this permanent scowl that said very plainly, "When will he grow the fuck up?"  Those Dads could very easily have replied, "When will you stop taking me dress shopping?"

There were more deals than I had cash, unfortunately.  I found a copy of Madlib's Shades of Blue, which I probably should've picked up.  I also found a stack of used Japanese Public Image Ltd. CDs that were going for $10 apiece and a sealed copy of OFF!'s First Four EPs 7" set.  To do this trip right, you need about $200-$300 and absolutely no sense of buyer's remorse. 

Here's what I picked up:

Princeton Record Exchange
Princeton, New Jersey

Sun Ra
Philly Jazz Inc.
Originally released: 1978
Reissued: ??

If there was one item I was determined to find at the Exchange, it was Sun Ra's Lanquidity, an album that I'm sure I've talked about too often.  And, yes, I'm aware that my last few record outings have involved Sun Ra in some way, so I apologize if my accounts of these hauls have grown monotonous and predictable, but I'm in the midst of a phase, I guess.  And Lanquidity has been on my list for quite some time.  I've had it on CD for a number of years and figured it would rate a perfect needle drop.  This edition is 180 gram, silver cover and reissued recently, though I don't have a date.  I bought it new for about $13.


Rickie Lee Jones
Warner Bros.
Released: 2.28.79

I have no Rickie Lee Jones in my collection so, for $1.99, I decided to change that.

Originally released: 1985
Reissued: 2010

I felt compelled to throw this copy of Pentagram's Relentless under my arm once I'd lifted it from the METAL bin, mostly because it looked pretty: pitch black sleeve and the typographic and geometric brawn of the Pentagram logo sort of promising a heavy listen.  It's not that I'd never heard a Pentagram album before, but I'd never owned one.  Seemed a travesty, so I figured it was time I fixed that.  It's a nice gatefold edition with a poster.  I'm hoping to drop the needle on this soon.  It was about $23. 

Charles Mingus
The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady
Originally released: 1963
Reissued: 1995

I found a used copy of The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady by Charles Mingus on CD and threw it in the pile.  It's an album I'd wanted to own for quite some time, an unfortunate straggler on my famed back burner.  I'd first found out of its existence via Lester Bangs, his appreciation of the album pretty spectacular in contrast to his relative disdain of most others.  I've listened to it maybe two or three times and it's one of the more beautifully unsettling jazz albums I've heard from a big band ensemble, aside from maybe John Coltrane's Ascension.  It's unapologetic in its force. 

Sunn O))) & Ulver
Southern Lord
Released: 2.3.14

The Sunn O)))/Ulver collaboration, Terrestrials, is one of my favorite releases of 2014 so far.  That being said, I felt I should own this.  If you want to know what I thought of it, you can find my review at Stereokiller

Letters From A Tapehead

Thursday, June 12, 2014

OOIOO: "Jesso Testa"

Last month, I posted about OOIOO's upcoming new album, Gamel, and its first single, "Atatawa."  Today, a new single called "Jesso Testa" hit the web and it previews another upbeat and perfectly strange performance from the album, some excellent guitar phrasing alongside rallying vocals and odd moments of haphazardly slung bass tone worked into the traditional style of Javanese gamelan.  I'm really interested to hear Gamel in its entirety.  

You can check out the track here:

All info comes courtesy of Thrill Jockey Records.




Japanese experimental group OOIOO, lead by Yoshimi, will release their new album 'Gamel' in Europe on 30th June.

Gamel incorporates a new found gamelan influence into their brand of euphoric and chaotic rock music. After making 'Atatawa' available last month on Soundcloud, you can listen to another fabulous track called 'Jesso Testa'. The song instantly hits with its blasting guitars and breakneck speed percussion. While its chaotic-ness makes it oddly beautiful and damn right fun.

Four years of work went into making
Gamel, the bold new album inspired by the Javanese style of gamelan and the first new music from Yoshimi in over five years. Gamelan is an ancient form that has inspired a great many composers and musicians over the past century, from Erik Satie and Claude Debussy to Mouse on Mars and Sun City Girls. The introduction of this traditional form transformed the group into a super tribe, side-stepping the road between the past and the future.

Yoshimi is this month's The Wire Magazine July cover story, where she talks to writer James Hadfield about the making of
Gamel, Boredoms, collaborating with Kim Gordon, and even how insect sounds are one of her sources of musical inspiration.

OOIOO will be embanking on a rare US tour in July. Full dates are below:

Tue July 15th Chicago, IL - Lincoln Hall
Thu July 17th Washington, DC - Rock & Roll Hotel
Fri July 18th Brooklyn, NY - Rough Trade Brooklyn
Sat July 19th Boston, MA - Cafe 939 w/ Black Pus
Sun July 20th New York, NY - Le Poisson Rouge
Mon July 21st Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda's w/ Buffalo Stance
Tue July 22nd Toronto, ON - Lee's Palace
Wed July 23rd Detroit, MI - Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit

Letters From A Tapehead

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Singles: Bo Ningen, J Mascis, Open Mike Eagle, The Hissy Fits, Rabbitsss

Bo Ningen: "Slider" (via [PIAS]/Nowness)
Bo Ningen: Slider on

J Mascis: "Every Morning" (via Sub Pop/YouTube)

Open Mike Eagle: "Doug Stamper (Advice Raps) (feat. Hannibal Buress)" (via Friends of Friends/Bandcamp)

The Hissy Fits: "Last December" (via Video Director, George Booker/YouTube)

Rabbitsss: "Incdntly" (via PMA PR/Vimeo)
Rabbitsss - 'Incdntlly' - Music Video from anfw on Vimeo.

Letters From A Tapehead

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

"We Get It... You're Sick:" Generous Lover by Sore Saints

Sore Saints
Generous Lover 10"
Dullest Records
Released: 3.4.14

Sore Saints seem in tune with much of the noise/punk revitalization that's giving Canada some DIY cred, a scene rife with names like METZ, HSY, Odonis Odonis and White Lung, bands that deliver genuine and aggressive jolts of "looking back" post-hardcore, punk and post-punk that grant the music a much-needed second wind as opposed to a simple paint-by-numbers rehash.  The Brooklyn/Philadelphia four-piece delivered a 10" four-song EP called Generous Lover earlier this year and it's the type of sans bullshit rock culled from the emotionally brimming depths of late 80s/early 90s alt-rock that relies as much on its lyrical distress as it does the angst-riddled tone emanating from those blessed guitars.

In some ways a sludge informed interpretation of Fugazi and Hüsker Dü, "Anhedonic" rattles till its stride is met, vocalist Nick Guidott working in multi-tracked growls as the guitar lead and bass groove generate a gratifying rush.  As if thematically, the bass melody of "Anhedonic" is adapted as a guitar riff for the following track, "Choke Down," preceding a rhythmic stroll thick with distortion and drummer Jon Murphy's snare contact.  Your head will nod. You won't be able to help it.

Scott Signorino's low end drives "Control," a post-punk caliber throb anchoring guitarist Justin LaFontiane's discordant guitar sounds. It's excellently throwback without sounding old, a sleek pulse and percussive weight. A quick two-minute song called "Wasting Breath" provides a lively outro to the EP, solidly rhythmic with bursts of percussion. 

Please sample Generous Lover below and spend a little money if you dig it.

Letters From A Tapehead

No Ripcord: Keiji Haino & SUMAC

A review of the recently released experi-METAL (buh-dum-chck) collaboration between Keiji Haino and SUMAC is up at No Ripcord .  The album...