Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Stereokiller: Child Bite

Child Bite
Strange Waste EP
Housecore Records
Released: 11.25.14

Letters From A Tapehead

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Singles: Rhyton, tētēma, Unsacred

Rhyton: "California Black Box Vapors" (via Thrill Jockey Records/YouTube)

tētēma: "Tenz" (via Speakeasy PR/Ipecac Recordings/Wondering Sound/YouTube)

Unsacred: "Plague" (via Earsplit PR/CVLT Nation/Soundcloud)

Letters From A Tapehead

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Daughter of a Tapehead: Deerhoof (Track Review: "Big House Waltz")

La Isla Bonita
Polyvinyl Records
Released: 11.4.14

Track review: "Big House Waltz"

*Yes, this is the "Matchbook Meets Maniac" 7."  Unfortunately, I don't have a physical copy of La Isla Bonita yet, though I plan on picking one up.  As is usually the case, Deerhoof have delivered a winner.

**Satomi Matsuzaki's voice has been a subject of complete fascination.  "How does she sing like that, Daddy?  It's awesome!"  My daughter has true voice envy.

Letters From A Tapehead

Six Organs of Admittance: "Wax Chance"

Ben Chasny, Mr. Six Organs of Admittance himself, has gone psych-drone for this latest single, a shrieking and inebriated number called "Wax Chance" that's taking the lead for his upcoming new release, Hexadic.  There's a seasick sway to the bass and drum in this track, Chasny barely audible when he decides to coax a few syllables between any available space that isn't overtaken by his six-string dissonance.  I'm intrigued and already looking forward to hearing Hexadic in early 2015.  It's set to release in February via Drag City.

Listen to the track here:

Links and info were provided by Rarely Unable.


Following the recent announcement regarding Hexadic, the upcoming album by Six Organs Of Admittance, much has been made of the new combinatorial system devised by Ben Chasny which spawned it, even though it hasn't yet been fully revealed to the public. Now it is time for the ears of the world to begin to hear the Hexadic sound...

"Wax Chance," is the debut track available for preview, the guitar is dialed up to the breaking point, the vocals squeezed through dimensional wormholes, bass and drums walking with eerie tranquility - but what one really comes away with is the scalar invention explored most evidently during the solo portion of the song.
Hexadic processes built the riffs and the lengths of phrases, but they also suggested the scale being played in for every piece on Hexadic - and with "Wax Chance," Ben gets a verse or two in, before setting upon his guitar to run that particular scale raw. Clearly invigorated by new ways of playing, Ben finds sound in places that we don't necessarily hear touched on everyday. Hexadic processes determined the structure of the lyrics as well, coming up with a series of initial letters from which Ben hangs our all-too-human words. This interaction between the system and the soul produces music that is entirely an expression of Six Organs of Admittance - the system simply facilitates and guides the expression. Additionally, the Hexadic song structure allows the rhythm section to explode with Ben at suggested measures that supplies a linear punch to the proceedings. If that doesn't describe adequately what you think you're hearing on "Wax Chance," we'll spell it out for you: R-O-C-K.

LISTEN TO "WAX CHANCE" ty/six-organs-of-admittance-wa x-chance/s-aTF3A products/hexadic

Letters From A Tapehead

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Bee vs. Moth: "Machine Room Reverie"

There's a lovely tension to this instrumental from Bee vs. Moth called "Machine Room Reverie," itself the marriage of bowed instrumentation and bass licks that make me think of a suburban grade 23 Skidoo.  The song has a somber (and maybe even indifferent) bent, which is found mostly in its string melody, as it casually strolls through surroundings not completely bereft of grace.  To my ear, the music wants to either cite some beauty in monotony, or poetry in routine, that key melody addressing fleeting periods of warmth while the rhythm remains content to walk in place.

Check out the video here:

Bee vs. Moth released their album Shelter in Place back in September. (And, yes, it's probably another winner that I missed this year).  You can check out the album via the Soundcloud link below.

All info the release was provided by Us/Them Group.

Bee vs. Moth share video from new album, announce winter dates   

Watch "Machine Room Reverie" video HERE.

Listen to Shelter In Place album HERE.

"I fall in love with maybe two, maybe three jazz records a year. But every once in a while something comes along and perks me up. I hear the sounds of Ornette Coleman and the band Television. And sometimes in the same song." - Bob Boilen, NPR

Austin jazz-punk group Bee vs. Moth share another video from their new album today via Brooklyn Vegan. The clip for "Machine Room Reverie" is available to watch/share HERE. Bee vs. Moth have lined up a variety of Austin shows for the winter. Please see current dates below. 

The band recently premiered the first video from the album via Austin Chronicle. The clip for "It Looked Good In The Showroom" is available to watch and share HERE. The band's entire new album is streaming in full (all tracks cleared for posting) HERE.

Bassist Philip Moody and drummer Sarah Norris started Bee vs. Moth together, and began performing in 2004. The band has since grown into a diverse, rotating cast with ambitious arrangements featured in film and television scores, original videos, and live shows in Austin and throughout the country.
Shelter in Place delivers the power and wit Bee vs. Moth fans expect from a band that likes its jazz served with a New Wave punch. But for this record, their third studio release, the band adds a kaleidoscope of new sounds with strings, saxes, brass, organ, and found percussion front and center. Working in a garage studio for several months with friends from varied corners of Austin's music scene, the band expanded its creative process to produce a focused and intensely creative result.

Shelter in Place is released September 9th, 2014 on CD and download. The record follows the band's 2007 debut, Soundhorn, and 2010's acclaimed Acronyms.

Bee vs. Moth also continues to produce unique film and recording projects. The 2012 SXSW Film Festival commissioned the band to debut a new silent film score for Ernst Lubitsch's The Oyster Princess (1919). This followed Bee vs. Moth's acclaimed score to Buster Keaton's The Cameraman. The band's songs made their second appearance in a season of PBS' Roadtrip Nation. Currently, Bee vs. Moth is collaborating with Austin band The Invincible Czars to re-imagine the symphonic masterpiece Pictures at an Exhibition for an 11-piece double rock band, complete with horns, strings, guitars, drums, and percussion 

12/09 Austin, TX @ Holy Mountain 12/20 
Austin, TX @ Vortex Theater - Yule Bazaar 
01/23 Austin, TX @ Carousel Lounge

Letters From A Tapehead

Monday, November 17, 2014

mr. Gnome and The Heart of a Dark Star

mr. Gnome
The Heart of a Dark Star
El Marko
Released: 11.18.14

The Heart of a Dark Star, the title of the newest release from Cleveland-based fantasy rock duo, mr. Gnome, apparently owes its title to Neil Gaiman. The phrase was pulled by singer/guitarist Nicole Barille from the book, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, as a metaphor for the type of journey this album details, that is in her words, “the ultimate journey into the unknown.” Within seconds of the band’s intro track, “Melted Rainbow,” its whirring and delicate propulsion spinning through its cycle as keystrokes dance upon its construct, Barille sings, “Because I can’t explain just where we are right now,” summarizing the album’s starry eyes and excited uncertainty without much by way of fear or caution, a sound as free-floating and willing to discorporate as most children when enraptured by tales of wonder.

The work of singer/guitarist Barille and drummer/pianist Sam Meister, mr. Gnome’s visual aesthetic and music-aided fantasies weave color, tempo and texture into an energetic and imaginative storybook that’s surrealistically conceived, with beasts to either run from or slay, seas to explore to their depths and moons to live upon while “waiting for our eyes to bloom.” Capturing childlike vigor or whimsy in a genre largely devoted to cynics like myself, (i.e., all rock’ish things qualified “alt,” “indie,” or “art”) the application of fantastical imagery could be perceived a hard sell initially, despite whatever accolades the group garnered following their debut, 2011’s Madness in Miniature. Couple that with the presence of Barille, whose own vocal styling seems fashioned from the “little girl lost” motif, and an overabundance of distortion-laced awe and you have what is essentially a band that could be marketed for the Disney set though its packaged for adults who may easily translate much of the band’s vision as simply the byproduct of some chemical excursions or possibly an indication of arrested development.

But, then again, how many kid-friendly entertainers would instruct its listeners to “fuck the plan/let’s get high?” Not many, I would guess.

These songs work, though, because they’re mostly enthralling. They happen and, when they do, it’s difficult not to feel lighter, bouncier. If nothing else, mr. Gnome employs a dense array of textural sweetness that’s comparable to ingesting multi-colored sugar, (or in Barille’s words on the album’s opener, “a melted rainbow”). It’s nice on the ear.

Though comparable to Madness in Miniature in terms of its sequential continuity, (interlude-length songs like “Dark Star” and “Folk Lonely” providing means of transition between tracks without cuts), The Heart of a Dark Star is a more immediate and fluid effort, even when mr. Gnome throw in changes or slow things up. It’s rare any song of theirs plays the same throughout. The celebratory and Cramps’ish square dance of “Rise & Shine” takes a minor shift in percussion toward the end. “Star Stealers,” which begins with a high-tempo synthesizer-rich trance rock sound falls into this slowed-up, ethereally charged snare-racket, Barille’s multi-tracked vocal finding various, ghostly pockets throughout the expanse of the track. With its steady distorted strum and propulsive drum sound, “Hangunder,” (probably my favorite track on the album), is an instance where one of the album’s more invigorated offerings remains consistent in terms of structure.

While I can’t say a need for respite from the album’s guitar-heavy overlay becomes necessary at any point, mr. Gnome provide one with their sole ballad and longest track, “Light.” Beginning the second half of the album, “Light” is something of a modern love song, Barille’s melodies and suggestive lyrics evocative of FM fodder to some extent. The track’s production is also characteristically smooth. In context to the rest of the album, ”Light” is kind of an outlier, though it’s not such a stretch that it detracts from its cohesion.  And then the Mariachi flavor of "Storm" also emerges as an oddly shaped addition, though, with volume in mind, it rests nicely within the framework.


Carrying the album to completion, the final riff that closes the even sway of “Follow” is appropriated to fit the multi-vocal harmonizing of “No Place Like Home.” A host of voices comprise the album’s closer, “The Sea” a little over two minutes sung a cappella. It’s a nice, quiet close.

There’s an obviousness to the toy piano in “Mustangs,” (itself an element that’s already run its course thanks to bands like The Dresden Dolls and Psapp), and “Odyssey” plays like some take on Get Behind Me Satan-era White Stripes, (although I love Barille’s solo on this track), but The Heart of a Dark Star is an overall good listen. Loud, melodic and smartly composed, mr. Gnome craft themselves a distinct persona that’s allowed them to grow as songwriters, not to mention as the visual and sonic authors of their own imagined dwelling.

Letters From A Tapehead

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Sketchbook '95-'97

Found an old sketchbook of mine.  This one holds much of my doodles, self-absorption, pondering and other such brain spew from my last year in high school till well into my sophomore year of college.  The stickers that adorn it reflect much of what I was listening to back then, including bands like NOFX and Rancid whose CDs I've since completely removed from my collection.  There's even a 311 quote scrawled on the outside pages that makes me want to cringe.  Inside is a ticket stub from my first Henry Rollins (autographed) spoken word gig along with a college newspaper article on the show, an assessment of an Oasis gig written on top of a sticker I picked up at the merch table and an illustration inspired by Fugazi's "Waiting Room."

The photo of Frank Zappa was a Xerox from the Weasels Ripped My Flesh CD that I taped to the cover.  On top I wrote the Joe's Garage quote:

“Information is not knowledge.
Knowledge is not wisdom.
Wisdom is not truth.
Truth is not beauty.
Beauty is not love.
Love is not music.
Music is THE BEST.”

Obviously it's not legible now.  The marker didn't sit too well on the tape. 

Also, note the Black Flag bars I scrawled more than once and the Faith No More sticker, which came from a copy of King for a Day … Fool for a Lifetime.  Much of the identity documented in this book's pages were either made permanent or purposefully left behind.  It was an interesting relic to page through. 

Sorry for the trip back. 

Letters From A Tapehead

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Shopping For Records: The Bought of 2014 — Earth, clipping., Electric Wizard

Some more purchases for 2014.  Happy to receive some comments and recommendations for other 2014 releases.

Primitive and Deadly
Southern Lord Recordings
Released: 9.2.14

"You get the sense that, throughout Earth’s Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of Light: 1, stories are being spun using the band’s instrumental language and economy of notes, traditional narratives normally told over a backdrop of folk music, blues and country.  Dylan Carlson plays as if exiled in some very distant, unpopulated part of his imagination, a vagabond absorbed in his internal surroundings, uncertain of where the elusive horizon will lead." - No Ripcord, 3.14.11

Between Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of Light I and II, I found myself both enchanted by and invested in Earth's instrumental vision, Dylan Carlson's lengthy, guitar-enriched, country-infused drones a voyage of sorts, dirt-encrusted and vast. For Earth's newest release, Primitive and Deadly, Carlson invited vocalists Mark Lanegan (Screaming Trees, Queens of the Stone Age) and Rabia Shaheen Qazi (Rose Windows) to contribute voices, adding a new layer to his ultra-slow movements, which, for this release, gain some momentum and a touch more grit.

"Torn by the Fox of the Crescent Moon," with crystalline notes that follow the track's thematic grind, introduces the album's patient stride.  While "Crescent Moon" is ruggedly gorgeous, there's some sinister contrast to Lanegan's first track, "There is a Serpent Coming," his war torn, blues-bred throat married to the tones beneath.  The full b-side is devoted to "From the Zodiacal Light," Qazi's vocal belted out, lovely against the backdrop.  

Granted, some of what you'll hear in Primitive and Deadly seems recycled from prior Earth albums, maybe stuck in the comfort of its own self-generated mire.  This is especially true of the second half of the album with tracks like "Even Hell Has Its Heroes" and "Badger's Bane."  Even the other Lanegan track, "Rooks Across the Gates," brings to mind the same ultra-slow travelogues found in the Angels series and 2008's The Bees Made Honey in the Lion's Skull.  But, this doesn't make the tracks any less enjoyable.  The first half features its strongest offerings, but Primitive and Deadly remains a worthy addition to Earth's canon.  And, it sounds great through a stereo.

Double-LP, brown vinyl.  

Sub Pop
Released: 6.10.14

Hyper surreal street poetry over minimalist electronics: no one sounds like clipping. 

Before I'd heard CLPPNG, the group's Sub Pop debut, I saw the band live performing these tracks with stage rumbling bombast and emcee Daveed Diggs' lightning fast wordplay.  In terms of sound and presence, the performance was solid.  I was naive to think that the same level of volume and intensity could be duplicated with a studio release, so I found myself somewhat disappointed when I gave CLPPNG a spin initially, an opinion that has steadily grown more positive.  And while I do at times still consider the production comparably thin, the group's adherence to its own idiosyncrasies makes for some remarkable moments, clanging percussion, pouring water, incidental environs, synthesizers and alarm clocks providing key elements to much of what you'll hear.  Standouts like "Body & Blood," "Taking Off," "Dream" and "Story 2," exhibit Diggs' knack for spitting thickly descriptive verse, not to mention the group's often aversion to straight rhythm and pop-laden hooks.  The only song I really don't like on this album is "Tonight," which is an unpleasant and grating listen.


Electric Wizard
Time to Die
Spinefarm Records
Released: 9.30.14

Amidst the sounds of processional organ and the great outdoors, Electric Wizard's latest tribute to doom, devils and smoke, Time to Die, is introduced by a news anchor detailing some grisly scene wherein a murder was committed in name of Satanic ritual and controlled substances.  Next, riffing on what sounds like some homage to the theme of Phantom of the Opera, "Incense for the Damned" pushes an impenetrable wall of metallurgic tar through chord and tempo.  Strong opener.  

"We wanna get high before we die..."

Following 2010's Black Masses, which didn't necessarily earn the band a whole lot as far as praise is concerned, (because it wasn't very good), Time To Die is what some might recall a return to form, itself a fully-realized, muck laden and serrated doom proper.  Listening to Time to Die you get the sense that Electric Wizard (members Jus Oborn, Count Orlof, Liz Buckingham and Mark Greening) thought about what they were pulling together for this album, keeping their obvious allegiance to amplification and darkness but not shying away from the occasional melody or change.  The title track for instance is pure sludge, thick enough to drown in, but that subtle touch of synthesizer melody following the hook really does something to enhance its otherwise simplistic construct, not to mention the soloing guitar phrase they add.

While I get that a lot of what Electric Wizard does seems predictable, it's difficult not to consider what the group accomplishes in terms of reps and strokes.  Sure, they're a doom metal band inhabiting the lowest instrumental registers possible, crafting sounds deep enough to crush small animals via sonic weight alone.  Through sheer gut, I responded with the utmost appreciation when the solid, guttural blocks of guitar sound came across in "I Am Nothing."  Is this type of song unusual or somehow an evolution of sound for Electric Wizard?  No, absolutely not.  But, I'll be damned if it doesn't sound good.  Certainly there's no skimping on the noise factor through these grooves, nor the density of their output.  And, if you want something faster, check out "Funeral of Your Mind," which almost sounds like something Kyuss might've come up with had they absorbed more Pentagram or Saint Vitus during their heyday.

One of the LP's more refined offerings, "We Love the Dead," features one of the album's best riffs, a sly and sinister lick that evokes Iommi at his heaviest.  Following with an acid rock march, "SadioWitch" provides the album its single most modestly timed song, a mere four-something minutes next to the album's host of otherwise seven to eleven-minute downers.  And then "Lucifer's Slaves" rocks out like Blue Cheer or King Crimson tripping millennial, occult-centric balls, falling hard on every heavy down stroke and sneaking in those momentary fret seizures.

Time to Die is a double-LP with a nice gatefold and a poster.  Another stereo gem.

Letters From A Tapehead

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Shopping For Records: Ty Segall's $INGLE$ 2...

Because it wasn't enough that Ty Segall released what will likely be one of the best albums of 2014, a new singles and rarities compilation dubbed $INGLE$ 2 will be released later this November via Drag City.  Normally I like to have appropriate tracks on hand to post alongside announcements like this, but such is not the case this time around.  There is, however, a lot of info on the release which was provided by Mutante, so give it a look if you're interested.


You thought Manipulator was the money album of the year? Think...AGAIN! 2014 ain’t done yet, and $ingle$ 2 is here. And this time, it’s for the money. Two times! As all of the ears that have heard what Ty Segall’s been putting out for the past five-ish years already know in their tiny l’il ear-brains, our kid’s got any number of places that he’s coming from, and putting them all into his rock and roll music is what he’s all about! $ingle$ 2 sweeps out the ashes of the breakneck days (and nights!!!!) of 2011–2013, and burns down the house all over again in the process.
$ingle$ 2 slinks low and flat-out sprints behind the scenes of the Goodbye BreadTwinsSleeper trilogy (no it isn’t!), collecting all the now-out-of-print sides that totally work amazingly well together when placed back-to-back-to-back as an album. The super-deadly “Spiders” single is spun again here in full, as well as the epically pop b-sides for “I Can’t Feel It,” “The Hill,” and “Would You Be My Love.” Plus tracks for other righteous labels, like Permanent, Castleface and Famous Class.

Covering The Groundhogs, the Velvets and GG Allin, Ty reps for a good array of punk godheads too. Between the covers and the originals,
$ingle$ 2 is also a run through the SF 388 scene circa 2010–2013, with various local heroes like King Riff, Mike Donovan and Ty himself at the board. Sure, there’s the knotting up of all the loose ends for the heavy-breathin’, AADin’ freak-fans — but $ingle$ 2 is really about the rush of getting a single for the a-side and then finding a total sunshine jewel like “Children of Paul” or “Mother Lemonade” on the flip. Or a stone-solid jam on a classic, like the COMPLETE retooling of “Femme Fatale.” Or hearing the Mackay-style sax bleatings of“F**ked Up Motherf**ker,” and it f**king YOU up too! Closing the album with the seemingly unlikely (“Music for a Film”) and the seemingly inevitable (“Pettin the Dog,”a mighty hardcore slamming of the lid) cleanses the palate for...what? Another spin, probably! $ingle$ 2 has been designed to withstand obsessive flipping.

01. Spiders
02. Hand Glams
03. Cherry Red
04. Falling Hair
05. Children Of Paul
06. It’s A Problem
07. Mother Lemonade
08. For Those Who Weep
09. F**ked Up Motherf**ker
10. Femme Fatale
11. Music For A Film
12. Pettin The Dog

Tue. Nov. 4 - Hamburg, DE @ Knust
Wed. Nov. 5 - Dresden, DE @ Beatpol
Thu. Nov. 6 - Berlin, DE @ Astra Kulturhaus
Fri. Nov. 7 - Copenhagen, DK @ Pumpehuset
Sat. Nov. 8 - Stockholm, SE @ Kägelbanan Södra Teatern
Mon. Nov. 10 - Manchester, UK @ Gorilla
Tue. Nov. 11 - Leeds, UK @ Brudenell Social Club
Wed. Nov. 12 - London, UK @ Electric Ballroom
Thu. Dec. 11 – Perth, AU @ The Bakery
Sat. Dec. 13 – Meredith, AU @ Meredith Festival
Sun. Dec. 14 – Melbourne, AU @ Corner Hotel
Mon. Dec. 15 – Melbourne, AU @ Corner Hotel
Wed. Dec. 17 – Sydney, AU @ Oxford Art Factory
Thu. Dec. 18 – Sydney, AU @ Oxford Art Factory
Fri. Dec. 19 – Brisbane, AU @ The Zoo
Sat. Dec. 20 – Byron Bay, AU @ The Northern
Fri. Jan. 30 – San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall

Pre-order $INGLE$ 2:

Manipulator purchase links:
Drag City -
Amazon -
iTunes – 

Ty Segall online:

Letters From A Tapehead

Singles: Bass Lions, Shabazz Palaces, Child Bite, Mourn, 11Paranoias, Naomi Punk, Grouper

Bass Lions: "We Got Guts" (via Bass Lions/Soundcloud)

Shabazz Palaces: "Motion Sickness" (via Sub Pop/YouTube)

Child Bite: "Ancestral Ooze" (via Earsplit PR/Decibel Magazine/YouTube)

Mourn: "Silver Gold" (via Captured Tracks/Soundcloud)

11Paranoias: "Lost To Smoke" (via Raraly Unable/Metal Hammer/Soundcloud)

Naomi Punk: "Television Man" (via Captured Tracks/YouTube)

Grouper: "Holding" (via Rarely Unable/Kranky/Soundcloud)

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...