Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Body: The Myth Arc

The Body specializes in misery.

For their latest album, No One Deserves Happiness, the duo, members Chip King and Lee Buford, decided that their brand of bleak metal should be expanded or altered with unsettling dance rhythms and corrupted electro beats.  The group's latest single, "The Myth Arc," is, in some ways, kind of beautiful.  While a very loud series of echoing blasts of machined static drives the song, not to mention the droning riff that crumbles slowly after every stroke, vocalist Chrissy Wolpert, (Assembly of Light), exudes a calm and delicacy that's at odds with the horror beneath her, so much so that her promise that "I will find you" takes on a haunting level of foreboding.  It is genuinely chilling and not too far removed from the sonic mastery that Scott Walker and SunnO))) exhibited in 2014's Soused.

You can check out the video below.

All video and release information and links were provided by Thrill Jockey.

Actor Keir Gilchrist of It Follows stars in the stylish new video from The Body

The Myth Arc directed by Thou's Mitch Wells

The Body's acclaimed new album No One Deserves Happiness is out now

“[They] take doom metal as their core template and shred it to pieces until it's completely unrecognisable." - Pitchfork

"[No One Deserves Happiness] sees the band take a further leap in conception, scope and delivery." - FACT

"This album, like everything the band has done, is designed to break us now only for us to thank them later." - SPIN

"On 'Starving Deserter' they casually unleash the best track The Melvins never recorded." - The Wire

On the cusp of their US collaboration tour with grind band Full of Hell this August & September, The Body have unveiled their eerie and haunting new video for "The Myth Arc," a track taken from the duo's critically acclaimed latest album No One Deserves Happiness.

The video features notable actor Keir Gilchrist (It Follows, It's Kind of a Funny Story, The Good Neighbor), and is directed by Mitch Wells, bassist of sludge metal giants Thou. Gilchrist has been a longtime fan of The Body's and always attends their shows in LA. A truly open-ended video that will linger in the mind after viewing.

WATCH: The Body - The Myth Arc (Official Music Video):
YouTube Link To Video:

On No One Deserves Happiness, The Body’s Chip King and Lee Buford set out to make “the grossest pop album of all time.” The album themes of despair and isolation are delivered by the unlikely pairing of the Body’s signature heaviness and 80s dance tracks. The Body can emote pain like no other band, and their ability to move between the often strict confines of the metal world and the electronic music sphere is on full display throughout No One Deserves Happiness, an album that eludes categorization.

No One Deserves Happiness has received high praise from SPIN, NPR Music, The Quietus, FACT, Noisey, Thump, A.V. Club, and The Wire. They are one of the most in-demand bands around: In the past two years, they have joined forces with metal bands Thou, Sandworm, Full of Hell, and Krieg, recorded with Wrekmeister Harmonies, and collaborated with electronic producer The Haxan Cloak for "I Shall Die Here". They are currently working on a collaboration with renowned UK dubstep pioneer The Bug. This unexpected list of collaborators and unpredictable touring approach further emphasises the demand for the band’s distinctive sound and their open, explorative nature.

The Body - No One Deserves Happiness Out now via Thrill Jockey
Available on CD / LP / DL

1. Wanderings
2. Shelter Is Illusory
3. For You
4. Hallow / Hollow
5. Two Snakes
6. Adamah
7. Starving Deserter
8. The Fall and the Guilt
9. Prescience
10. The Myth Arc

The Body profile page:

The Myth Arc (Official Music Video):

Two Snakes (Official Music Video):

Shelter Is Illusory (Official Audio):

The Body on: Facebook / Bandcamp

Letters From A Tapehead

Friday, August 12, 2016

Singles: Band Aparte, Girl Tears, Kishi Bashi, Douglas Dare, Fire to the Stars, Miss Lava, Purling Hiss, The Well, The Julie Ruin

Band Aparte: "Cherry Chapstick" (via Force Field PR/Noisey/Manifesto Records/Soundcloud)

Girl Tears: "Sedated" (via Omnian Music Group/Sinderlyn/Soundcloud)

Kishi Bashi: "Say Yeah" (via Joyful Noise Recordings/Soundcloud)

Douglas Dare: "Doublethink" (via Erased Tapes/Stereogum/Soundcloud)

Fire to the Stars: "Wholesale Slaughter" (via Fire to the Stars/Soundcloud)

Miss Lava: "Another Beast is Born" (via Earsplit PR/YouTube)

Purling Hiss: "Fever" (via mutante-inc./Drag City/Soundcloud)

Perpacity: "9725" (via Shameless Promotion/Bandcamp)

The Well: "Black Eyed Gods" (via Us-Them Group/RidingEasy Records/Soundcloud)

The Julie Ruin: "Mr. So and So" (via Hardly Art/Paper Magazine/YouTube)

Letters From A Tapehead

Friday, August 05, 2016

Over the Hill (plus 10): The Beatles' Revolver

When The Beatles' entire catalogue had been remastered in 2009, I penned a three-part review of the box set for No Ripcord.  For the band's 1966 release, Revolver, this is what I had to say:

"In a way, Revolver is a bolder album than Pepper was, an experimental hybrid clashing symphonic string arrangements ('Eleanor Rigby'), rock n’ jolly 'Singin’ In The Rain'-styled ditties ('Good Day Sunshine'), kid-friendly sing-alongs about friendly aquatic transports ('Yellow Submarine'), Eastern influences ('Love You To') and the decade’s introduction to psychedelic rock n’ roll ('She Said She Said,' 'Tomorrow Never Knows'). An absolute plethora of influences and styles at work and they marry perfectly onto Revolver with nary a concept at work, nor a marching suit to hide behind. 

Revolver is Beatlemania’s actual 'good riddance' and the very reason they couldn’t go on as a touring band. As a continually growing entity, confronted by the possibility of having to appease public expectations with renditions of 'I Saw Her Standing There' and 'I Wanna Hold Your Hand,' the studio was their only means to continue as a band. No single song spoke that truth louder than 'Tomorrow Never Knows,' its eerie and ultra-modern tonality quite possibly The Beatles’ most exciting contribution to rock music."

Today, Revolver turns 50 and still stands as one of the most important rock albums to date.  And, with this being the year that George Martin passed away, his vision having contributed significantly to the album's brilliance, it would almost seem disrespectful not to give Revolver a spin today.

As far as what to write, Revolver's been analyzed, critiqued, dismantled, and reconsidered enough times that it's pointless to try and add any new observations or even attempt to find its flaws.  The album's continued importance in the ongoing story of rock n' roll, not to mention our collective pop-fueled consciousness, will not be denied or usurped.  It's a permanent fixture that's transcended generations and influenced countless musicians and even studio techs.

And now that I've made the babyboomers happy by getting on my knees and bowing repeatedly to the tune of "we're not worthy...we're not worthy," I would like to express a couple of things personally that have made this album important to me.  (Because why not channel my own inner-babyboomer and make this all about me?)

First off, let's talk about that cover by Klaus Voormann

As a child, I drew.  A lot.  And being someone of the visual persuasion, Voorman's intricate and caricatured line drawing was something I'd stare at quite a bit.  It was like the original Where's Waldo, some obscure bit always hiding in plain sight within the contextual mire of collaged photos and ink. 

I'd thought about the cover differently, however, one day while home sick from school.  I was watching a VHS copy of The Compleat Beatles, an early 80s documentary about the band and I have a very vivid memory of the scene when they begin discussing the track, "Tomorrow Never Knows."  While the song played in the background, the camera would pan over the cover in varying ways, trying to visually capture the intensity and otherworldliness of the track.  It was a very simple device, but I watched that ten of fifteen seconds over and over again. 

Second, "Tomorrow Never Knows:"

I share this one with a lot of people.  In my mind, "Tomorrow Never Knows" is what ends most arguments that begin with claims that The Beatles were overrated.  That isn't to say they didn't have their moments when a song or two missed the mark, or that their reputations as Jelly Babies-smeared, cherub-faced moptops didn't have some validity prior to their most innovative period.  I'll concede that point, albeit begrudgingly.  But, "Tomorrow Never Knows" is, in many ways, defined how music would sound for years following. There's no hook, no bridge, no conventional structure. This song is a breathing stream of consciousness, John Lennon's Tibetan Book of the Dead inspired (Ringo Starr's whimsical thought bubble spoken aloud supplying the title) thoughts carried by one captivating bass rhythm and simplistic drum loop, which likely informed the later structural personas of drum-n-bass music, trance, post-punk...etc.  In addition to its altering of the pop song paradigm, its use of prerecorded samples, which were curated by Paul McCartney, is a remarkable innovation, something we take for granted now as music, primarily early hip-hop, has used sampling through the last 30 or more years.

I didn't know any of this, though, the first time I really listened to this song.  When I was about 10 or 11, I'd recorded Revolver onto a cassette tape, the vintage pops and cracks audibly carried from my father's original U.S. pressing.  I found myself concentrating on "Tomorrow Never Knows," understanding that it was NOT a Beatles track.  It was something else.  To this day, I get chills listening to this song.   

Third, Paul McCartney as bassist:

In all honesty, the George Harrison-scribed "Taxman" was the first song that made me actually think about Paul McCartney's brilliance as a bassist. I always felt he'd been buried up to that point, or it could be that the song's very minimalist structure allowed me the opportunity to listen to what he could actually do.  His near-funk riff truly drives this song and is its most distinguishing characteristic.  So, from the standpoint of listener and appreciator, one able to discern and distill elements from a song, "Taxman" was the track that first trained my ear to locate sounds. 

Letters From A Tapehead

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

I Heart Noise: Boris's Pink (Deluxe Edition)

Pink (Deluxe Edition)
Sargent House
Released: 7.8.16
Originally released: 2005 via Diwphalanx Records (Japan); 2006 via Southern Lord Recordings (U.S.)

Letters From A Tapehead

Monday, August 01, 2016

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez: "Running Away"

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (The Mars Volta/At the Drive-In) is at the start of a very heavy season of solo releases, which, with help from Ipecac Recordings, will carry through till year's end.  For the second installment of this series, a video for the track "Running Away," featured on the album Corazones, has surfaced and features cameos from Buzz Osborne (Melvins), Teri Gender-Bender (Le Butcherettes) and John Frusciante (Red Hot Chili Peppers) to name a few.  And they all inflict onto Rodriguez-Lopez physical harm.  Pitchfork premiered the video, which you can check out below. 

A schedule of Rodriguez-Lopez's solo releases can be found below along with other information, all of which was provided by Speakeasy PR.



Aug. 1, 2016, El Paso, Tex. – Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (At The Drive In/Mars Volta) premieres the video for “Running Away,” from the latest in his ongoing series of solo albums, Corazones, via Pitchfork (

The clip, which was directed by Violeta Felix and shot by Adrian Blanco, features Omar in a series of Los Angeles-based encounters with friends who might not be terribly happy to see him. Guests include Buzz Osborne, Teri Gender Bender, John Frusciante, Robin Laananen, Tatiana Velazquez, Aura T-09 and Eva Gardner.

Omar, in partnership with Ipecac Recordings, recently announced the release of a series of solo albums, which kicked off on July 15 with
Sworn Virgins. The previously unreleased albums were recorded from 2008 to 2013, while he lived in Zapopan, Mexico and continued when he returned to El Paso. The titles are released on a bi-weekly basis with the first spate of albums running through the end of the year. Each album will see a digital release with a limited number of physical copies (CD) available on Rodriguez-Lopez’s various live outings. A limited edition CD/LP box set will become available in 2017, once the full run of releases are available.

The releases can be purchased via Bandcamp ( and iTunes (

Omar Rodriquez-Lopez initial release schedule:
Sworn Virgins (July 15)
Corazones (July 29)
Blind Worms, Pious Swine (August 12)
Arañas en La Sombra (August 26)
Umbrella Mistress (September 9)
El Bien Y Mal Nos Une (September 23)
Cell Phone Bikini (October 7)
Infinity Drips (October 21)
Weekly Mansions (November 4)
Zapopan (November 18)
Nom De Guerre Cabal (December 2)
Some Need It Lonely (December 16)

Letters From A Tapehead

New Selections — DEAFKIDS, Marisa Anderson, Circuit des Yeux, Moaning, Here Lies Man

Some new and not-so-new selections for June.  DEAFKIDS: " Espiral da Loucura " (via Rarely Unable /  Bandcamp ) Via Ra...