Thursday, August 28, 2014

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Monday, August 25, 2014

Shabazz Palaces - 8.22.14

Son Little
Shabazz Palaces
Union Transfer, 8.25.14.

Letters From A Tapehead

Friday, August 22, 2014

Earth: Primitive and Deadly trailer

A preview of the upcoming new album from Earth, Primitive And Deadly, surfaced yesterday.  Sounds promising, doesn't it?  And, Mark Lanegan's involved!  An abundance of details were sent my way along with the trailer, which you can view below, by Earsplit PR.  Read up and get psyched (or lackadaisically enthused in a bloodshot manner of speaking). 

EARTH: Trailer Featuring New Music From Primitive And Deadly LP Released

As the Ouroborean creative cycle of Seattle's EARTH circles into its twenty-fifth year, the band prepares to unveil their glorious tenth full-length studio LP, Primitive And Deadly, the album set to hit the streets in less than two weeks through Southern Lord.

With some of the most massive and straightforward rock movements in the band's continuing duration, and featuring the first vocal contributions since their seminal 1996 Pentastar album, Primitive And Deadly is undoubtedly a standout release in EARTH's impressive catalog. With founding guitarist Dylan Carlson weaving his slow-motion, organic dirges throughout the amazingly restrained percussion of his longtime cohort Adrienne Davies, the duo are here joined by bassist Bill Herzog (Sunn O))), Joel RL Phelps, Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter) and additional guitarists Brett Netson (Built To Spill, Caustic Resin) and Jodie Cox (Narrows). Rabia Shaheen Qazi of Rose Windows lends her angelic voice to the album's third composition, "From The Zodiacal Light," as heard via Pitchfork in recent weeks, while the fifth track, "Rooks Across The Gate" and second track, "There's a Serpent Coming," feature evocative vocal contributions from Mark Lanegan previously of Screaming Trees, Queens of the Stone Age, Mad Season and more. The lyrics for "Rooks..." were written by Dylan Carlson and the lyrics for "Serpent.." by Lanegan.

A brand new trailer featuring audio clips of "Rooks Across The Gate" featuring Lanegan's vocals, the instrumental LP-opening track, "Torn By The Fox Of The Crescent Moon," a session of photos of EARTH in the secluded desert landscape of Joshua Tree, California, the entire inner and outer layouts of the Primitive And Deadly cover layout by Samantha Muljat and more has been published in advance of the album's looming released date.

Tap into Primitive And Deadly and view the new trailer at THIS LOCATION.

And hear all of "From The Zodiacal Light" playing via Pitchfork RIGHT HERE.

Southern Lord will issue Primitive And Deadly on colored 2xLP, CD and digital download in North America on September 2nd and just a day earlier In Europe. Preorders are posted at EARTH's new online store HERE.

With their tours of Japan, Australia, New Zealand and most recently Europe in support of Primitive And Deadly now behind them, EARTH is now preparing to bring their new material to American fans on a month-long tour from September 4th through October 3rd, with direct support from dark folk act, King Dude.

Phone interviews with EARTH's drummer Adrienne Davies and guitarist Dylan Carlson are now available pre-tour, as are in-person interviews along the upcoming US tour routing.

EARTH US Tour w/ King Dude:
9/04/2014 Crocodile - Seattle, WA
9/06/2014 Shakedown - Bellingham, WA
9/07/2014 Doug Fir - Portland, OR
9/08/2014 Midtown Barfly - Sacramento, CA
9/09/2014 Catalyst Atrium - Santa Cruz, CA
9/10/2014 Bottom Of The Hill - San Francisco, CA
9/11/2014 Hollywood Forever Cemetery - Los Angeles, CA
9/12/2014 SD Music Thing Fest - San Diego, CA
9/13/2014 Yucca Tap Room - Tempe, AZ
9/14/2014 Sister - Albuquerque, NM
9/16/2014 Red 7 - Austin, TX
9/17/2014 Club Dada - Dallas, TX
9/18/2014 One Eyed Jacks - New Orleans, LA
9/19/2014 Drunken Unicorn - Atlanta, GA
9/20/2014 Kings Barcade - Raleigh, NC
9/21/2014 Rock N Roll Hotel - Washington, DC
9/23/2014 Great Scott - Allston, MA
9/24/2014 Saint Vitus - Brooklyn, NY
9/26/2014 Boot And Saddle - Philadelphia, PA
9/27/2014 Midpoint Music Fest - Cincinnati, OH
9/28/2014 Pygmalion, Music Fest - Urbana, IL
9/29/2014 Empty Bottle - Chicago, IL
9/30/2014 Record Bar - Kansas City, MO
10/01/2014 Larimer Lounge - Denver, CO
10/02/2014 The Complex - Salt Lake City, UT
10/03/2014 Neurolux - Boise, ID

Open-minded music fans the world over have long praised EARTH's pioneering and visionary delivery of their slow-motion anthems from the Sub Pop albums of the early 1990s, to their more Americana-inclined direction of the early 2000s and beyond. Now, nearly two-and-a-half decades into their musical evolution, the band prepares to release Primitive And Deadly, a truly epic, diverse collection of songs which flow seamlessly, and while revisiting some of their earliest works, the album also explores massive new sonic territories for EARTH. The foundation of the record was laid in the mystic desert high lands of Joshua Tree, California at Rancho de la Luna where the band recorded after hours of meditation on each track's central theme. Upon returning to Seattle these were edited, arranged and expanded upon at Avast with the help of long-term collaborator Randall Dunn (Sunn O))), Wolves In The Throne Room, Eagle Twin).

Letters From A Tapehead 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Phawker: Ishmael Butler (a.k.a., Palaceer Lazaro of Shabazz Palaces)

I co-authored an interview with Ishmael Butler, who is otherwise known as Palaceer Lazaro of Shabazz Palaces.  Q & A was handled by Jonathan Valania, Editor-in-Chief at

Letters From A Tapehead

Singles: Sunflower Bean, Itasca, Trans Am, Run The Jewels, Mega Bog, Deaf Wish

Sunflower Bean: "Tame Impala" (via Dark Matter Media/Interview Magazine/Soundcloud)

Itasca: "Nature's Gift" (via Force Field PR/Vogue/Soundcloud)

Trans Am: "Insufficiently Breathless" (via Thrill Jockey Records/Vimeo)
Trans Am - Insufficiently Breathless from Thrill Jockey Records on Vimeo.

Run The Jewels: "Blockbuster Night Part 1" (via Stereogum/Soundcloud)

Mega Bog: "Cologne in the Night" (via Couple Skate/Soundcloud)

Deaf Wish: "St. Vincent's" (via Sub Pop/Soundcloud)

Letters From A Tapehead

Friday, August 15, 2014

Stereokiller: Big Black Cloud

Big Black Cloud
Lessons in Fuck You 2
Eolian Empire
Released: 8.5.14

Letters From A Tapehead

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Holy Sons: "Breakdown (On The Beach)," "Beverly Hills," "Addiction," "More Therapy"

About a month ago, I started receiving PR about Holy Sons, which is a solo project from the multi-instrumental talent Emil Amos of Grails and Om.  Amos will be releasing The Fact Facer in late September via Thrill Jockey Records and, while I haven't heard actual tracks from the album just yet, interesting pseudo-covers of punk tracks emerged that I thought were worth checking out.  Also included is "More Therapy," which is a Holy Sons original. 

All info, links and sounds come courtesy of Thrill Jockey Records.

Hear Holy Sons bonus tracks featuring covers of hardcore legends Black Flag, Circle Jerks and Slapshot

Brand new Holy Sons album 'The Fact Facer' on 22nd September

Holy Sons is Emil Amos, a musician whose chameleonic tendencies and technical versatility has lead to him becoming an in demand multi-instrumentalist as a founding member of Grails and Lilacs & Champagne, as well as a member of Om.

The Fact Facer, his Thrill Jockey Records debut out on 22nd September, bathes Emil's thoughtful, and even at times philosophical, songs in technicolor darkness, and reinforces Holy Sons as his musical centerpiece.

A hugely prolific artist, in the last couple of weeks Emil has been releasing bonus tracks including covers of Black Flag, Circle Jerks and Slapshot, giving each his own twist and changing the dynamics on them. While "More Therapy" his own original track showcases his songwriting skills. The Metro called More Therapy a "characteristically frank, darkly compelling expression of his troubled soul". Listen/download all four bonus tracks below:

Breakdown (On the Beach) (Black Flag cover):

Beverly Hills (Circle Jerks cover):

Addiction (Slapshot cover):

More Therapy (bonus track):

The Fact Facer will be released on 22nd September in Europe and will be available on CD / LP / DL. Pre-order the album from the Thrill Jockey mailorder store HERE

The Fact Facer tracklist:
1. Doomed Myself
2. Line Me Back Up
3. Transparent Powers
4. Selfish Thoughts
5. All Too Free
6. Wax Gets in Your Eyes
7. Life Could Be a Dream
8. Long Days
9. No Self Respect
10. Back Down to the Tombs
11. The Fact Facer

Holy Sons/Emil Amos on:
Facebook / Twitter / Official Website

Holy Sons is at the center of his many musical personalities and is his longest standing project, acting as an outlet for some of his most personal and direct songs. In Holy Sons, Amos puts his restless imagination to work using a variety of inventive home recording methods to turn melodic slow-burners into multi-layered, atmospheric missives. While his methods and prolificacy provide a kinship with Sebadoh, Ariel Pink and other musicians who have offered countless transmissions from their bedroom floor, Holy Sons comes from the mind of someone who has internalized the minutia of 70s rock music and eschews the stereotypical lo-fi sound for a much deeper and more varied palate. The Fact Facer, his Thrill Jockey debut, bathes Amos’ thoughtful, and even at times philosophical, songs in technicolor darkness, and reinforces Holy Sons as his musical centerpiece.

The songs on The Fact Facer creep up on the listener, their fiercely addictive melodies unraveling slowly and purposefully. Jumping smoothly between many facets of Amos’ songwriting, the album does much to establish him as a talented multi-instrumentalist. From the lysergic leads of “Selfish Thoughts”” to the Danny Kirwan referencing solos of “Transparent Powers” and the skillful acoustic flourishes of “The Fact Facer,” Amos proves himself as adept and creative a guitarist as he is a drummer. It is telling that Amos has built up two Holy Sons bands simultaneously: one based in Portland and one based in New York. Wherever the wind takes him, there are musicians willing to pick up their instruments and follow his lead.

Amos currently resides in Brooklyn, where he recorded the majority of The Fact Facer. He plans to tour the US later this year, solo and with one of his two backing bands.

Letters From A Tapehead

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Shopping For Records: The Bought of 2014—Swans, Thee Oh Sees

Here are a couple more 2014 records I've purchased.  Start a conversation by commenting if you're not hip to my take on things.  I'm normally up for a lively debate. 

To Be Kind
Young God Records/Mute
Released: 5.12.14

In 2012, I wrote the following about Swans' then-new release, The Seer:

"Listening to The Seer, it does sound dangerously absolute, its surrealistic intensity, abstruse composition and overt theatricality securing for the band a creative peak, one considerable enough to leave little left for any subsequent releases. How does one carry on when the mountain’s been scaled, when the view’s been absorbed and considered? There seems to be so much more distance left to tackle, but how do you reach the sky?"

When NPR featured the band's newest release for its "First Listen" series, I jumped on the opportunity to hear it.  And though I'd sampled a couple tracks from the album before then as they were happily disseminated across the interwebs, I still wasn't sure how Michael Gira and company would be able to not only meet the sonic and compositional extremes The Seer had in abundance, but also how they could follow a statement so bold with another very ambitious and enormous album without sounding redundant, self-indulgent or excessive.

To Be Kind not only squashed my concern, (with severity), but also perfectly complimented The Seer, matching its might note for note while finding a way to expand upon its scope.  The album adheres to those Swans extremes while sounding evolved.  Somehow Gira can just do this.  I don't know how, but he's managed so far to find another way for Swans to progress.  No sacrifice.  No compromise.

Getting into the album, (its two hours and three slabs to consider), "Screen Shot" instigates this frenzy of compositional mayhem with one sinister bass riff.  From this moment on, you're in.  Invested.  The piano melody that follows the bass loop is both creepy and gorgeous, juxtaposed with the track's gain in momentum and volume.  Tracks like "Just A Little Boy" and "A Little God In My Hands" revel in their basic constructs, allowed to grow more and more pronounced, complexities incorporated seamlessly.  As Gira shrieks "I'm just a little boy!," he's met with a laughing audience that's either entertained, patronizing or callous.  Consequently, the mood of the song could be derived from any one of those three perceptions.  "A Little God In My Hands" is proof positive that anxiety can be almost goofy, the excesses in repetition and gleeful intensity both engrossing and over-the-top.  When those horns blast it's elating, but so unnecessarily epic the effect is somewhat parodic.

But, this is the essence of To Be Kind, its basic inclination is to first crawl, then walk, then run and then attempt flight by leaping off the tallest precipice so as to make the loudest, most destructive and unforgettable impression.  And, once Swans have your attention, they come at you with the thirty-plus minutes of "Bring The Sun/Toussaint L'Ouverture," which begins with a series of stomping chords and mutates into various instances of impassioned crescendos and heightened tension.  Oh, and there's a horse.

Menacing string arrangements grace "Some Things We Do,"(with vocal accompaniment from Little Annie) and post-punk ruts comprise most of "She Loves Us."  There's a relatively meditative ambiance to "Kirsten Supine," aided by Annie Clark (St. Vincent).  The addition of a female presence softens Gira's otherwise venomous disposition, sort of granting him sensitivity within the context of the trials oft associated with the tortured artist.  The song grows restless, falling hard on bass notes and the clangor of bells and cymbals.  No opportunity to writhe and spit is lost.

And then "Oxygen" opens with that grinding riff, a warped rhythm spinning the song as Gira chants and bellows, swimming in the mire as trumpets fire and free form sonics swallow the construct.  The propulsive and militarized build of "Nathaniel Neal" precedes the "Memories"-centric "To Be Kind," a soft beginning that eventually melts into a violent array of distortion and fury.  No encores necessary.  I think it's safe to say that Swans could call the whole thing off at this point and still have crafted one of the boldest sonic statements of the 21st century.  No small feat considering how young our century is.

I purchased my copy directly from Young Gods Records and managed to get mine autographed.  And, there's a cool poster with chubby-cheeked babies.  Quite the buy.  Definitely on my top five for 2014.

Thee Oh Sees
Castle Face
Released: 4.20.14

Thee Oh Sees released Drop on Record Store Day this year.  As I remain very fond of last year's Floating Coffin, and Thee Oh Sees in general, Drop was immediately added to the wishlist and obtained.  And, it doesn't disappoint.  While Drop doesn't boast a bouncy, infectious track like "Toe Cutter - Thumb Buster," (one of my favorite singles of 2013), Thee Oh Sees continue to make highly enjoyable psych rock albums that are easy enough to digest, but distinctly strange and modern.  I love the drowsy guitar strum in "Camera" and the King Crimson/Lennon-pop of "The King's Nose."  "Transparent World" might be my favorite song on the album, a solid bass rhythm anchoring floating guitar sounds and subtle synth touches.

I picked this one up from Castle Face Records.

Letters From A Tapehead

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

The Pop Group: We Are Time & Cabinet Of Curiosities

So, The Pop Group has gone all "crowd-source" and is gifting some very cool swag for some of your hard-earned.  Your money will be helping the band release both compiled and reissued material, which will be delivered via the Freaks Are Us label.  On October 21st, We Are Time, originally released as a 12" in 1980, will be reissued.  Also on tap is a compilation titled, Cabinet of Curiosities, which will feature rarities from the band.  Both albums are also being made available as offerings to help incentivize your generosity through The Pop Group's Pledge Music campaign.

You can find information on the band's upcoming releases below and link up to their page at Pledge Music.  All info comes courtesy of Howlin' Wuelf Media.

The Pop Group, one of the most wildly innovative and barrier-shattering band to emerge from the late '70s post-punk era, are finally seeing their rare and fabled legacy reissued for the first time, along with previously unheard gold from the archives. After spending over a year collating original singles, albums and previously unreleased studio and live recordings, the band will put out a series of albums over time on the new Freaks Are Us label via Kartel Label services and Amped.

The band has also teamed up with Pledge Music for a campaign offering fans exclusive and very limited memorabilia via the band's facebook & twitter, with a share of any surplus revenue going to CAAT (Campaign Against Arms Trade).

We Are Time, named after one of their most infamous onslaughts and originally released on vinyl in 1980, has been remastered from original tapes and is one of two albums being released on October 21st spearheading the reissue program. Of the early live and studio recordings that comprise We Are Time, frontman Mark Stewart says "The Pop Group was mutating so fast right from the start that it was crucial to document those first experiments with this compilation. We Are Time is really 'the' teenage Pop Group album. It's full of defiance and the material demonstrates the band's staunch independence and our really early DIY ethic before the studio became another instrument."

Guitarist Gareth Sager explains that the band was "trying in an inexplicably naive manner to combine Patti Smith's Rimbaud ramblings, James Brown, the Stooges, Roxy Music, T. Rex and classical aleatoric music. You can hear the results of this on tracks 'Genius Or Lunatic,' 'Colour Blind,' 'Trap,' 'Sense Of Purpose,' 'Kiss The Book' and 'We Are Time." He goes on to say "soon after this the band were bringing in other influences, Ornette Coleman, King Tubby, Funkadelic, Debussy, Jacques Brel, Fela Kuti, Steve Reich and then you get 'Thief Of Fire.'"

Also being released in October, Cabinet Of Curiosities is a brand new, nine-track compilation which kicks off with the fractured future-funk single "Where There's A Will," originally released as a double A-side shared with The Slits in 1980, and described by Sager as "The group's best attempt to mix a message with a groove plus some real free playing. If you are really unhinged you may be able to dance to this." Next up is the unheard, original Andy Mackay (Roxy Music) produced version of "She Is Beyond Good And Evil," probably the band's most infamous song (covered by St Vincent on the Jimmy Fallon Show and throughout her Strange Mercy tour).
Cabinet Of Curiosities continues with BBC John Peel session tracks "We Are Time" and "Words Disobey Me," and rounds up previously unreleased songs,"Abstract Heart" and "Karen's Car," and other alternative versions. Of "Karen's Car," recorded in Finland, Sager recalls "appropriately our final stand with just Stewart, Sager, Smith and Waddington left. This is the sound of paranoia, groove and noise at its height. There was nowhere left to go". Mark Stewart describes Cabinet Of Curiosities as being of similar status to a lost Pop Group album.
Their original missives, which Mark Stewart describes as
"an index of possibilities", still explode with an incandescent spirit and energy, which has influenced numerous musicians throughout the years.

"It's one of those moments when the cogs of your mind shift and your life is going to irreversibly change forever" - Nick Cave on hearing The Pop Group for the first time.

"Without The Pop Group I don't know what The Minutemen would have sounded like" - Mike Watt

Both albums will be available on all formats individually and also packaged together as a limited CD box set accompanied by memorabilia and an extensive 36pp booklet.

A UK tour is planned to accompany the first wave of reissues.

We Are Time

1. Trap

2. Thief Of Fire
3. Genius Or Lunatic
4. Colour Blind
5. Spanish Inquisition
6. Kiss The Book
7. Amnesty Report
8. Springer
9. Sense Of Purpose
10. We Are Time

Cabinet Of Curiosities

1. Where There's A Will

2. She Is Beyond Good And Evil
3. Colour Blind
4. Words Disobey Me
5. Don't Sell Your Dreams
6. We Are Time
7. Abstract Heart
8. Amnesty Report III
9. Karen's Car

Letters From A Tapehead

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Singles: Nick Oliveri's Uncontrollable, Alma Construct, Literature, Medicine, Oscillator Bug, Bowl Ethereal

Nick Oliveri's Uncontrollable: "Human Cannonball Explodes" (via Howlin' Wuelf Media/Schnitzel Records/Soundcloud)

Alma Construct: "On The Edge, Surrounded With The Shores of Assudrey" (Force Field PR/R&S Records/Soundcloud)

Literature: "New Jacket" (via Force Field PR/A.V. Club/Soundcloud)

Medicine: "Turning" (via Captured Tracks/YouTube)

Oscillator Bug: "Giimmi Goe" (via Us-Them Group/Tiny Mix Tapes/Soundcloud

Bowl Ethereal: "The Last Minute" (via Earsplit PR/Noisey/YouTube)

Letters From A Tapehead

Godflesh: "New Dark Ages"

The gratifying ruckus of chord and calamity that is "New Dark Ages," the first new single from Godflesh's upcoming full-length, A World Lit Only By Fire, breeds heavy sounds and promise.  The single is eruptive, compelling and assuredly factorial.  With the release of June's Decline and Fall EP, the rekindled partnership of Justin K. Broadrick and GC Green was more or less announced.  With A World Lit Only By Fire, Godflesh delivers its first full album in 13 years.  The album will release October 6th.

I recommend the single.  You can sample it below.

All info and links were provided by Rarely Unable PR.


LISTEN TO "NEW DARK AGES" HERE: godflesh-2/new-dark-ages/s- Az4VJ

(photo credit VB)
Industrial metal innovators Godflesh have announced the details of their highly anticipated full length A World Lit Only By Fire, set for an October 6 release on their own Avalanche Recordings label. The album arrives on the heels of June’s Decline And Fall EP, which was met with widespread acclaim for its effortless synthesis of the duo’s fan-favoured early albums, themselves groundbreaking genre experiments that pioneered an integration of electronic music’s bombastic rhythms, metal’s bludgeoning force, and post punk’s aural atmospherics. Whereas the new EP succeeded by fulfilling listener expectations, the full length exceeds them; delivering a full force exploration of the furthest boundaries of Godflesh’s extreme sonics, and then pushing beyond them, detailing the rich musical experience accrued in the dozen year span and countless musical projects (Jesu, Final, Vitriol, Greymachine, Techno Animal, etc.) between recordings.

The duo, comprised of legendary talents of Justin Broadrick (also of Jesu, JK Flesh, Techno Animal, Pale Sketcher, and more) and GC Green, formed in 1988 in the same fertile Birmingham, UK scene that forged the talents of Napalm Death, Carcass, and Head of David among many others. Initially disbanding in 2002, the band resumed live performances in 2010 and began the arduous work of crafting a follow up to 2001’s Hymns. The resultant self-recorded ten song set mounts the thin line between high definition clarity and raw, visceral heaviness, inducing a meditative state via seething minimalism that hinges on ritualistic riff repetition and the tenuous membrane between anxiety-inducing dissonance and cathartic minor key melody.


1. New Dark Ages
2. Deadend
3. Shut Me Down
4. Life Giver Life Taker
5. Obeyed
6. Curse Us All
7. Carrion
8. Imperator
9. Towers of Emptiness
10. Forgive Our Fathers


Tue 09.12.14 The Haunt Brighton
Wed 10.12.14 Garage London
Thu 11.12.14 Rescue Rooms Nottingham
Fri 12.12.14 Sound Control Manchester
Sat 13.12.14 Art School Glasgow

FOR MORE INFORMATION: pages/Justin-K-Broadrick/ 118373041529126

Letters From A Tapehead

The Mon: "Doppelleben"

Acting somewhat contrary to his normal work with the doom metal colossus Ufomammut , vocalist/bassist Urlo performs as The Mon , whose new...