Thursday, April 28, 2016

Singles: Kikagaku Moyo, Hooded Fang, The Red Krayola with Art & Language, La Luz, Zig Zags, Gruesome

Kikagaku Moyo: "Green Sugar" (via Tell All Your Friends PR/Consequence of Sound/Soundcloud)

Hooded Fang: "Dead Battery" (via Force Field PR/DIY Magazine/Soundcloud)

The Red Krayola with Art & Language: "No! No! No! Trust Yourself!"(via Drag City/Soundcloud)

La Luz: "Easy Baby" (via Hardly Art/YouTube

Zig Zags: "They Came For Us" (via Terrorbird Media/Castle Face Records/Consequence of Sound/Soundcloud)

Gruesome: "Raped By Darkness" (via Earsplit PR/Relapse Records/Revolver Magazine/Soundcloud)

Letters From A Tapehead

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Prince (1958-2016)

Prince Rogers Nelson, known to us all simply as Prince, (and for a time, "The Artist"), has passed away at the age of 57.  Prince was a provocative, often controversial, and always brilliant entertainer, one whose gifts as a musician and willingness to carve his own path awarded him status as either an inspiration or a question mark.  He was essential to the story of Rock 'N' Roll and it's strange that he's no longer with us.

A little over thirty years ago, Tipper Gore tried to save us from Prince.  Did you know that?  Long before her husband Al served as Vice President, got ridiculed for "inventing the Internet," and became the spokesman for climate change, she was a Senator's wife who took issue with the music industry's then relaxed stance on lyrical content.  An evidently out of touch mother, Gore purchased a copy of Purple Rain for her daughter who, at the time, wasn't yet a teenager.  And it was with the song "Darling Nikki," a song about a girl that apparently had no qualms about "masturbating with a magazine," that set Tipper on her crusade to save the children from inappropriate and/or obscene language in music. 

With the aid of other concerned wives of U.S. Senators, she founded the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC), an organization whose sole purpose was to vilify musicians for attempting to pursue their freedom of expression and apply its own standards of decency to material viewed through the questionable lens of so-called "porn rock."  And through said interpretation, Gore and company compiled a list of songs they referred to as the "Filthy Fifteen," songs they felt could inflict emotional harm and potentially corrupt any youthful ears that may have happened upon them.  Prince had the honor of being the first name on this list, his name eventually accompanied by the likes of Judas Priest, Sheena Easton, Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, and Twisted Sister, (the laughable rebellion addressed in "We're Not Gonna Take It" was apparently too much for the organization to handle).  The labeling of material deemed too offensive to market to children was the organization's crowning achievement, though I've always felt the label did more to excite curiosity than provide any real warning, children normally drawn to the mysteries of things their parents would normally try and protect them from.

Thirty-plus years later, no one gives a shit that "Darling Nikki" flicked the bean in a hotel lobby.  Instead, Purple Rain is considered only for its place in the annals of popular culture, an encapsulation of an era perfectly rendered through Prince's words and music.  And Prince himself didn't wind up disgraced or blacklisted because some uptight parent with pull decided to sic the word police on him.  Instead, he's met with admiration, his music having touched lives.  He challenged antiquated perspectives on sexuality, taking norms to task through performance.  He even abandoned his name for a time so as to disassociate himself from a bad professional relationship and was eventually able to procure and maintain control of his work and distribute it as he saw fit.

So, while I can't claim to be a devoted fan by any stretch, I am an appreciator.  As I type this, "Baby I'm A Star" is pounding out of my speakers, the mood celebratory and good.  And while the man himself ceases to be, the work lives on.  It's a cliché to be sure and it's an observation made time and time again when eulogies are scribbled or typed in an effort to offer some consolation.  But, that doesn't make it any less true.  Dust off the records, throw 'em on, and appreciate that you're alive to experience them. 

R.I.P., Prince.

Sincerely,Letters From A Tapehead

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Virus: "Steamer"

It seems fitting that Virus would follow-up their excellent The Agent That Shapes The Desert a month after I've replaced my last copy.  I managed to break the CD pushing it into its case.  So, I had to get a new one very quickly. 

Anyway, "Steamer" is the lead single from the group's upcoming fourth release, Memento Collider, and it continues the group's funk-tinged rhythmic strike and metallic unorthodoxy.  While the track doesn't stray too far from what's come before, Virus dabbles in time signature to a pretty significant level and almost "ghosts" the track up with instances of quivering theremin sound.  There's a lot for the ears to distill, from the dominance of low end and melodic textures to the group's undeniable camp factor.

Memento Collider is to be released June 3rd via Karisma Records.  The track was premiered by Decibel Magazine and all the info below was provided by Earsplit PR.

VIRUS: Norwegian Avant-Garde Rock Unit To Release Fourth Full-Length Via Karisma Records This June; New Track Streaming At Decibel

Norwegian avant-garde rockers/recent Karisma Records signees, VIRUS, will release their fourth full-length on June 3rd, 2016. Titled Memento Collider, the mysterious record boasts six tracks of the band's signature brand of experimentation with cover art by the Trine and Kim Design Studio.

In advance of its release, Decibel Magazine is currently streaming fourth track, "Steamer," issuing of the gripping psalm,
"VIRUS has been making the weird of the top-40-of-the-year, you-gotta-hear-this variety for fifteen+ years. And before the onset of this particular plague, vocalist/guitarist Czral spread avant-garde infection of the black metal sort with Ved Buens Ende, in addition to numerous others. When we asked him for a quote about this premiere of a track from the band's upcoming fourth full-length Memento Collider he responded with the following: ' [It's] a tribute to extinct instincts and Chernobyl Wildlife.'... while we aren't completely sure what that means, it seems fitting."

Hear "Steamer," now playing at THIS LOCATION.
Memento Collider Track Listing:
1. Afield
2. Rogue Fossil
3. Dripping Into Orbit
4. Steamer
5. Gravity Seeker
6. Phantom Oil Slick

Forged by Carl "Czral" Michael Eid from the ashes of '90s avant-garde black metal project Ved Buens Ende with the idea of generating a new kind of experimental metal/rock, VIRUS has been distributing their pulsing, tantalizing sounds since 2000. Czral brought with him bassist Petter "Plenum" Berntsen and drummer Einar "Einz" Sjursø and recorded their only demo that same year. The band was picked up almost immediately by Jester Records and released their debut album
Carheart in 2003, but an accident in 2005, which left Czral hospitalized for a year, forced the band into hiatus until 2008. VIRUS would reappear that year with the release of their Season Of Mist-issued sophomore full-length The Black Flux. The album earned "Album Of The Year" status in several publications, as did their 2011 follow-up, The Agent That Shapes The Desert, which was released on the band's own label Virulent Music. VIRUS' long-awaited live debut came in 2011, and aside from club appearances and tours in both Europe and the USA since then, the band has appeared at a variety of prestigious festivals. And now Memento Collider awaits. Further info, including additional track teasers and preorder links will be unveiled in the coming weeks.

Letters From A Tapehead

Buried in a Good Mix Tape: Revisiting Marijuana's Highest Notes for 4.20...

It's April 20th.  Four-twenty.  Sleep put it best:

A while ago I'd compiled some songs written as tribute to or inspired by the holiest of all leaves.  I was going to re-post the list, but found that many of the links are no longer operable.  So, in the spirit of the occasion, I'm revisiting the list and adding more tracks.  Hopefully, you'll find this mix suitable to today's agenda.  Any additions?  Hit me up in the comments or on the socials.

Cypress Hill: "Hits From the Bong"

Cypress Hill/Sonic Youth: "I Love You, Mary Jane"

Black Sabbath: "Sweet Leaf"

Sleep: "Dopesmoker"

High On Fire: "Fertile Green"

Kyuss: "Gardenia"

The Goats: "Wake 'N' Bake"

The Other Half: "Mr. Pharmacist"

Electric Wizard: "Dopethrone"

The Pharcyde: "Pack the Pipe"

Tito y Tarantula: "Cucarachas Enojadas (Angry Cockroaches)"

Madvillian: "America's Most Blunted"

Freddie Gibbs & Madlib: "High (feat. Danny Brown)"

Curtis Mayfield: "Pusherman"

Peter Tosh: "Legalize It"

Cab Calloway: "Reefer Man"

Ray Charles: "Let's Go Get Stoned"

Lee "Scratch" Perry: "The Ganja Man"

Letters From A Tapehead

Polonium Re-programmed...

Controlled Burn Records
Released: 4.8.16

If you’ve ever listened to the industrialized post-hardcore of The Austerity Program and thought to yourself, “Huh… I can get into this,” Polonium was the initial creative outlet for AP bassist Thad Calabrese and guitarist/vocalist Justin Foley, the mid-90s starting point. The album is called Seraphim and it rests nicely alongside much of what influenced its creation, Calabrese and Foley consciously adding to and subtracting from the Amphetamine Reptile/Touch and Go idiom in order to come up with what you’ll hear.

It’s difficult not to cite either Godflesh or Big Black when listening to the contents of Seraphim, its generous Melvins-caliber sonic muck working so heavily within the aforementioned and, perhaps, accidentally perfect construct of “pigfuck” and/or post-hardcore.  The factorial blasts of drum sound and eventual sludge-laden crawl of "Bastard" set a precedent in some ways for the album as you're continually led through torrents of guitar-accented battery for its duration.  And, while Polonium seems to cling to a basic mode of conveyance, they make the most of it.  The percussive imbalance of "Kitchen" offers tension; the circle pit inductive sway of "Kids On Top" offers release; the chunky chord phrase and heightening aggression of "Nebbish" offers both.  From that standpoint alone, I consider it a worthwhile release.

All of the music herein was re-recorded over a two-year period by Foley.  Seraphim is now available for purchase at Controlled Burn Records.  

Letters From A Tapehead

Monday, April 11, 2016

Cetus: "Bowhead"

"Bowhead" single
Dullest Records
Released: 4.10.16

Following last year's excellent album, The Remnant Mass, the loud 'n' local metallurgists Cetus have released a new single, "Bowhead." Exciting and nuanced, I'll let the track speak for itself. Listen below:

The Remnant Mass is available for purchase digitally or on CD at Dullest Records.  If you like the single, I urge you to pick up a copy of the album.

Letters From A Tapehead

Friday, April 08, 2016

Singles: SUMAC, The Dwarfs Of East Agouza, Salem's Pot, Dälek, Caseyland, Dumdum Score, Novembre

SUMAC: "Rigid Man" (via Thrill Jockey Records/YouTube)

The Dwarfs Of East Agouza: "Clean Shahin" (via Rarely Unable/Soundcloud)

Salem's Pot: "Just For Kicks" (via Us-Them Group/RidingEasy Records/Soundcloud)

Dälek: "Control" (via Rarely Unable/Profound Lore Records/FACT Magazine/Soundcloud)

Caseyland: "Secrets" (via Caseyland/Soundcloud)

Dumdum Score: "Swells and Flows" (via Dumdum Score/Bandcamp)

Novembre: "Bremen" (via Fresno Media/YouTube)

Letters From A Tapehead

Tuesday, April 05, 2016


"This album contains material which a truly free society would neither fear nor suppress.

In some socially retarded areas, religious fanatics and ultra-conservative political organizations violate your First Amendment Rights by attempting to censor rock & roll albums. We feel that this is un-Constitutional and un-American.

As an alternative to these government-supported programs (designed to keep you docile and ignorant), Barking Pumpkin is pleased to provide stimulating digital audio entertainment for those of you who have outgrown the ordinary.


This guarantee is as real as the threats of the video fundamentalists who use attacks on rock music in their attempt to transform America into a nation of check-mailing nincompoops (in the name of Jesus Christ).

If there is a hell, its fires wait for them, not us."

These words have inspired me for years.

Letters From A Tapehead

Gritty Death Mask...

Ben Parrish of Kill Rock Stars made the following statement: Gritty should join Taiwan Housing Project ✌️ — benjamin parrish (@mrbe...