Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Thrill Jockey Records & Thou Present: Many Waters — Baton Rouge Flood Relief 2017

Sludge metal beasts and sons of Baton Rouge, Thou, have, with the aid of Thrill Jockey Records, pulled together a compilation release to help benefit the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank following the floods that devastated the area in 2016.  Featured are, of course, Thou along with The Body & Full of Hell, SUMAC, Yob's Mike Scheidt and Old Man Gloom to name a few. 

You can find a compilation trailer, some sample tracks, and information on the compilation below, all courtesy of Thrill Jockey Records. 

Thrill Jockey & Thou present:
Many Waters: Baton Rouge Flood Relief 2017 - Out now

Featuring exclusive singles and live tracks from: The Body & Full of Hell, Thou, SUMAC, Aseethe, Old Man Gloom, Mike Scheidt of Yob and many more

All proceeds to benefit the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank

Watch trailer by Chariot of Black Moth here:

Many Waters: Baton Rouge Flood Relief 2017 is out today, with all proceeds going to the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank for relief from the Louisiana floods of 2016. The compilation features a range of exclusive tracks from acclaimed metal acts as well as Louisiana DIY mainstays, including The Body & Full of Hell covering Devo, Thou covering Neil Young, special live tracks from SUMAC and Old Man Gloom, and a solo live recording by Mike Scheidt of Yob, as well as contributions from Louisiana bands Heavy Mantle, Dovonan Wolfington, Caddywhompus and more.

The compilation is available only through Thrill Jockey or Bandcamp, with a digital booklet and the option to purchase an exclusive Many Waters t-shirt.

From Joshua Nee, drummer of Thou

“I spent the better part of three weeks after the [Baton Rouge] flood driving around neighborhoods looking for homes to help out. Every day after work and pretty much all day on the weekends was spent gutting damaged homes. You could tell by looking at a house, that if it didn’t have refuse and debris scattered around outside of it, it probably needed some help getting cleared out. We’d see a house without anything on the front lawn, and just go knock on the door and see if people needed help clearing things out. Once a house has had water in it for that long, all the wood gets swollen and rots and mold sets in, so you have to take it all out - sheet rock and all. A practice space we had been sharing with a slew of other bands was totally wrecked, and countless bands I know had their spaces and equipment destroyed.

When Mitch was getting this benefit together, he asked what organization would make sense to donate to. I told him the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, as they had been really amazing and helpful during the aftermath of the flood, and they themselves had even been completely flooded out.

I was thrilled to have so many local Louisiana bands on the compilation. All of those bands come from the same DIY community based background. Punk, pop, metal, whatever. They represent all kinds of music, but they all come from a similar, supportive culture.”

Watch the trailer for Many Waters by Chariot of Black Moth

Certain tracks were mastered by James Plotkin, while the whole compilation features mastering donated by Keith Souza and Seth Manchester at Machines With Magnets. Artwork was donated by Becky Cloonan, renowned for her work with DC and Marvel Comics.

Many Waters on Bandcamp: https://thrilljockeyrecords.bandcamp.com/album/many-waters-baton-rouge-flood-relief-2017 

Many Waters on Thrill Jockey: http://thrilljockey.com/products/many-waters-baton-rouge-flood-relief-2017 

Full tracklist:
1. Cikada - 30 Dollar Bag
2. The Body & Full of Hell - Gates of Steel
3. Thou - Don't Let It Bring You Down
4. Solid Giant - Dead Souls
5. Christworm - Mad World
6. Aseethe - Void
7. SUMAC - Hollow King (Live)
8. Thrush - Effete
9. Empty Vessels - Above Ground
10. The World Is A Vampire - Christian Brothers
11. Hand Grenade Job - Threat Assessment
12. Sandworm - Taverner
13. Old Man Gloom - Zozobra (I-III) [Live]
14. Recluse - Deluge
15. Cajun Clam - Seer Sucker Suits
16. Pudge - Moo Moo
17. Heavy Mantle - Weights and Measures
18. I'm Fine - Brindle Party Plus One
19. Donovan Wolfington - Slower Loris
20. Pope - The Ballad of Little Stevie
21. Black Abba - Demons
22. Gland - Kratom 8r
23. Mea Culpa - Ghost
24. All People - Ruff Dreams
25. Caddywhompus - First Date Anthem Part 2
26. Wildhoney - Thin Air (Drew Scott Remix)
27. Sharks' Teeth - Melting Belief
28. Ize - Heart on Your Sleeve
29. A Living Soundtrack - Expanding Consolidation
30. Treadles - Feral Human
31. Mike Scheidt - Throw off the Dark
32. Proud/Father - La Paz en la Aqua
33. Golden Void - Sickle Clowns

Letters From A Tapehead

Thursday, January 26, 2017

TRAX!: Rebecca Foon, King Champion Sounds, Hauschka, Oozepus, Joy, No Joy, Sunless, Parlor Walls

Rebecca Foon: "I Only Wish This For You" (via Rarely Unable/Constellation Records/Soundcloud)

King Champion Sounds: "Fool Throttle" (via mutante inc./KCS Press/Bandcamp)

Hauschka: "Familiar Things Disappear" (Terrorbird/Temporary Residence Ltd./YouTube)

Oozepus: "CYN" (via Earsplit PR/Malignant Records/Soundcloud)

Joy: "Cut to the Nerve" (Blood & Ink Records/Decibel Magazine/YouTube)

No Joy: "Califone" (via Forcefield PR/Grey Market/NPR/YouTube)

Sunless: "Urraca" (via Earsplit PR/Bandcamp)

Parlor Walls: "Play Opposites" (via Northern Spy Records/Bandcamp)

Letters From A Tapehead

No Ripcord: Uniform

Wake in Fright
Sacred Bones Records
Released: 1.20.17

Letters From A Tapehead

Monday, January 23, 2017

Music Pounding In My Head: Channels "Backpfeifengesicht" b/w "Airstrip One"

Channels released a new two-song single on Inauguration Day called "Backpfeifengesicht" b/w "Airstrip One", which timely documents the band's thoughts on the new commander-in-chief and the problems of xenophobia.  If you need some idea as to how the band aligns politically, "backpfeifengesicht" roughly translates to "a face in search of a lead pipe."  So, that should clear up any questions.

You can give it a listen below.  The single can purchased at Dischord Records.  If you like what you hear, please support the band.  

Found at Bandcamp Daily.

Letters From A Tapehead

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Fugazi: "And The Same"

"Yes I know this is politically correct
But it comes to you spiritually direct
An attempt to thoughtfully affect
Your way of thinking

That is if you believe in race
Or that you were born in the right time or place
This is a thought about face
Your way of thinking

Your way of...

And the same could be said
For all the people lying dead
For them to die was a distraction

And what they found out a bit too late
Got covered up with all that hate
And now its nothing but reaction

If you have to carry a gun
To keep your fragile seat at number one
This is a bullet you can't outrun
Your way of thinking

So wait and see it's coming round
Conscripted through the lost and found
And still we find so tightly wound
Your way of thinking

Your way of...

And the same could be said
For all the people lying dead
For them to die was a distraction

And what they found out a bit too late
Got covered up with all that hate
And now it's nothing but reaction

Action, Reaction, Action, Reaction."

— Fugazi

Letters From A Tapehead

Monday, January 16, 2017

Entrance: "Not Gonna Say Your Name" (proceeds to benefit Planned Parenthood)

Guy Blakeslee of Entrance has released a new protest track called, "Not Gonna Say Your Name," a folk-blues penned as indictment of our President-elect, Donald Trump

Blakeslee is offering the track for $1 with all proceeds being funneled directly to Planned Parenthood, an organization currently under threat of having its funding cut by the incoming administration.  You can check out the track here:

From Thrill Jockey Records:

With the Presidential inauguration almost upon us, ENTRANCE releases brand new protest song 'Not Gonna Say Your Name'

All proceeds donated to Planned Parenthood
Buy it here now

ENTRANCE's warming new album Book of Changes out February 24th on Thrill Jockey 

Today Los Angeles based musician Guy Blakeslee (aka ENTRANCE), releases a new track, 'Not Gonna Say Your Name,' in advance of the President-elect’s impending inauguration.

Blakeslee says of the song,
“I really wanted to write a song expressing my own feelings about the election and the state of things in our country – like many I was in a state of mourning. I wondered, how can I sing about this without saying his name?”

'Not Gonna Say Your Name' is now available via Thrill Jockey on participating DSPs, with all proceeds from song purchases and streams going directly to Planned Parenthood, an organization that Blakeslee holds near and dear to his heart.
“I decided to use the song to benefit PP because one of the things that is so shocking about the election result is that it sends such a negative message to women and girls,” he says. “It's the least I could do - for all of the women in the world, in my life, and especially for my mother - to fight back and make a clear statement that we will not accept this backwards agenda.” 

ENTRANCE will also be performing at a Planned Parenthood Benefit taking place in Los Angeles at the Teragram Ballroom this Valentine’s Day, alongside artists including Ty Segall, Kevin Morby, and King Tuff. 

'Not Gonna Say Your Name' is now available to stream and purchase via Thrill Jockey, Bandcamp, Spotify and iTunes, with all proceeds being donated to Planned Parenthood. 

ENTRANCE will also be releasing Book of Changes - his first full-length album for Thrill Jockey - on February 24th.

Check out 'Not Gonna Say Your Name' now via:  
Thrill Jockey // Bandcamp // Spotify // iTunes

Letters From A Tapehead

Friday, January 13, 2017

Music Pounding In My Head: thisquietarmy

Grains of Sand
Released: 2.13.17

For those relatively familiar with the often unsettling nature of thisquietarmy's ambient output, Métamorphose, the project's latest release, may sound a tad relaxed.  While molding tonal environs that do much to lull ones conscious self into sedate levels of being with the opening track, "Tu aimerais parfois te retirer de ta matière," the array of echoing signals in "En y glissant ton esprit comme dans un gant neuf" brings to mind some of Cluster's earliest sounds motifs, fields of sonic grit arriving slowly in an effort to swallow up the expanse.  It's an immersive listen to say the least and once the 11+ minutes of "Tu manierais ta peau afin de l’attendrir" begin to take shape, the rather somber pluck of reverberating strings calling out against its hazy backdrop, you're thankful to have an excuse for the moment of contemplation or personal reflection this track affords you.

For artifact junkies, Métamorphose will be available on CD on February 13th via Grains of Sand Records.  You can sample the album below.  If you like what you hear, please purchase the release and help support the band.

Letters From A Tapehead

Thursday, January 12, 2017

TRAX!: Pissed Jeans, Laetitia Sadier Source Ensemble, Unearthly Trance, David Bowie, Monolord, Pharmakon, Equinox, Ummagma

Pissed Jeans: "Ignorecam"  (via Sub Pop/YouTube)

Laetitia Sadier Source Ensemble: "Undying Love for Humanity" (via mutante-inc./Drag City/Soundcloud)

Unearthly Trance: "Famine" (Earsplit PR/Cvlt Nation/Relapse Records/Soundcloud)

David Bowie: "No Plan" (via YouTube)

Monolord: "Lord of Suffering" (Us-Them Group/Metal Injection/RidingEasy Records/YouTube)

Pharmakon: "Trasmission" (via Rarely Unable/Sacred Bones Records/Soundcloud)

Equinox: "Goodbye (feat. Dementio13)" (via Shameless Promotion/Soundcloud)

Ummagma: "Winter Tale" (via Shameless Promotion/Bandcamp)

Letters From A Tapehead

Monday, January 09, 2017

Buys & Receipt: Wire, Flying Lotus, Sun Ra

'Twas the season... 

Nocturnal Koreans

Caught Wire's Nocturnal Koreans mini-LP just before 2016 elapsed thanks to my wife who has, interestingly, managed to gift me one Wire album over the last (now) three Christmases.  I think I got the Document & Eyewitnesses compilation in 2014 and Wire's s/t LP last year.  I wouldn't call this a bad tradition.

While I really liked the title track when the album came out, I'll admit this isn't my favorite of the band's recent output.  I may need to give it a few more listens.  I would never accuse the band of phoning it in so to speak, but maybe plateauing a bit.  Either way, I'm always happy to be expanding my collection of Wire LPs.

Flying Lotus
You're Dead
Released: 10.6.14

You're Dead by Flying Lotus slipped by me in 2014 and has been on the "I'll get to it someday" wishlist for the past couple of years.  I should've jumped on this one sooner.

Myself a fan of 70s era jazz fusion and late 60s Impulse!, my appreciation and enjoyment of this album was immediate.  Taking full advantage of hip-hop's standing as a sample genre, its multiple frames of reference coalescing into a fascinating cross-section of sounds akin to Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Alain Goraguer to name a few, Flying Lotus (a.k.a., Steven Ellison) impresses with some deep jazz arrangements that relate well to some of his more beat-related instrumentals.  You can probably credit this to the track sequencing.  There are moments when the album sounds more like a film score, some of the tracks segmented and short, but that doesn't detract overall from the complete package.  You're Dead is a hip-hop album for fusion heads.

And the physical presentation of the album is gorgeous, foil-stamped and heavily illustrated.

Sun Ra
The Definitive 45 Singles Collection, Vol. 1: 1952-1961
Strut Records
Released: 11.25.16

As I continue with my foolish and impossible quest to amass a complete library of Sun Ra's work, hearing news that a two-volume singles compilation would be released certainly sparked my interest.  Strut Records put out the first volume in late-November in both 3-LP or 3-CD sets and as a limited edition set of 10 45 singles.  I got the 3-LP set and it's been a lot of fun to absorb, though I have yet to listen to the whole set.  I need a solid block of uninterrupted time, which isn't always easy to come by. 

The second volume spans 1962-1991 and is scheduled to release mid-March.

Letters From A Tapehead

Friday, January 06, 2017

What's (Re)New?: Sleep's "The Clarity" 12"

Obviously, I have my copy.  And now you can have a copy, too, without paying any jacked-up, opportunistic prices online.  

Sleep's "The Clarity" 12" is finally being put out officially by Southern Lord Records on February 10th in editions of either black, white, or orange vinyl.  There are some t-shirt/hoodie combo offers as well.   

You can click here to pre-order.

All info comes courtesy of Earsplit PR.

SLEEP's "The Clarity" 12" Receives Official Pressing Via Southern Lord; Preorders Now Live

This February, Southern Lord will re-release SLEEP's "The Clarity," a special 12" containing the first new song from the band in over two decades.

Initially released digitally as part of the
Adult Swim Singles Program in 2014, "The Clarity" is the first new SLEEP track the band has released since their critically-adored, life-changing, 1998-issued Dopesmoker album. Afterward, the band issued a very limited run of the song on vinyl which was sold exclusively at their live shows and the band's online store. Having been out-of-print in physical format ever since, Southern Lord will now re-release the mammoth track for official distribution.

Recorded by Neurosis' Noah Landis and mastered by John Golden, the near ten-minute-long "The Clarity" has been re-cut by Adam Gonsalves at Telegraph Mastering for this new pressing, which will see release on 180-gram 12" vinyl pressed at RTI. The B-side of the platter features a special etching of the artwork by David V. D'Andrea (Samaritan Press), and will be housed in an ultra-heavyweight picture disc-style sleeve, silkscreened with the iconic SLEEP logo.

"The Clarity" will see re-release February 10th and can be preordered at THIS LOCATION.

Remaining one of the most widely-respected and influential acts in the stoner/doom metal universe, SLEEP's popularity has grown tremendously since their reformation in 2009. The reborn lineup, reuniting bassist/vocalist Al Cisneros (OM) and guitarist/vocalist Matt Pike (High On Fire), and including drummer Jason Roeder (Neurosis), SLEEP continues to do what they have always done; largely and without pause, make music in tune with the ages.

In related SLEEP news, the band has several performances confirmed and spread over the coming months both stateside and abroad with additional appearances to be announced in due time.

1/27/2017 The Fonda Theatre - Los Angeles, CA w/ Melvins SOLD OUT
1/28/2017 The Fonda Theatre - Los Angeles, CA w/ Melvins SOLD OUT
1/30/2017 The Granada Theater - Dallas, TX
2/01/2017 Cannery Ballroom - Nashville, TN
4/19/2017 First Avenue - Minneapolis, MN
4/20/2017 Majestic Theater - Madison, WI
4/22/2017 White Oak Music Hall - Houston, TX
4/23/2017 Decibel Metal and Beer Festival - Philadelphia, PA
4/30/2017 Desertfest London @ Camden Roundhouse - London, UK
6/03/2017 Primavera Sound - Barcelona, ES

"It captures SLEEP at its heaviest and weediest, and despite the puff of smoke that pervades these ten minutes, it's the band's cleanest-sounding recording." — NPR

"Built, like many of the band's best tracks, around Cisneros' thunderous, distorted basslines and the bleary haze of Pike's Tony Iommi indebted guitar snarls, 'The Clarity' hearkens straight back to the drone-y, stone-y tunes that the band was working on when they were teenagers." — Spin

"'The Clarity' is a heavy journey through meaty riffs, mid-tempo drums and plenty of drug references. At 10 minutes in length, it's also a perfect song to turn on and zone out to." — Exclaim! 


Letters From A Tapehead 

Thursday, January 05, 2017

TRAX!: E, Uniform, Droughts, Dan Deacon

E: "Great Light"  (via Thrill Jockey Records/YouTube)

Uniform: "The Killing Of America" (via Rarely Unable/Sacred Bones/Soundcloud)

Droughts: "Welcome Back" (Skeletal Lightning/Invisible Oranges/YouTube)

Dan Deacon: "Opal Toad Segement" from the upcoming compilation, I Said No Doctors! (via Us-Them Group/Dymaxion Groove/Stereogum/Soundcloud)

Letters From A Tapehead

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Oh, 2016... You're Gone and That's Totally Cool.

This was another very quiet year from me.  Regrettable as that is, it was an unfortunate aspect of my current professional situation, which I'm hoping levels off in the next couple of weeks.  I'm going to make the same promises I made last year, which was to be more visible, more active, and more engaging.  In the meantime, even though I didn't get to write much about it, I still heard a lot of great music in 2016.  So, I was at least able to come up with a list of my favorites that I hope you all enjoy.  I also hope that, if you disagree, you can comment or hit me up via email.  I'd be happy to debate or discuss.

2016 began without much time to absorb the death of Lemmy Kilmister before the world lost David Bowie.  As if to set a precedent for how the year was going to play out, Bowie's death seemed the starting point for a ridiculous streak of musical losses that I just grew numb to after a while:  Glenn Frey, Phife Dawg, Prince, Sharon Jones, Alan Vega, Greg Lake, Leon Russell, Merle Haggard, Leonard Cohen, Mose Allison, Bernie Worrell, Prince Buster, Scotty Moore, Alphonse Mouzon, Pauline Oliveros, Phil Chess... we even lost the man many consider to be the 5th Beatle.  With that said, and with Bowie's passing in mind, it's likely that my top choice for 2016 will be perceived as predictable and boring.  But, Bowie's ★ affected me quite a bit, as it did others.  So, while I don't normally like to pander to or even acknowledge the popular consensus surrounding music, in this instance I couldn't really ignore what was both an excellent and tragic final release from an artist the likes of which we will never know again.  We're lucky to have had him. 

In terms of albums I missed, probably most noteworthy was my intentional omission of Thee Oh Sees, who released two albums this year, A Weird Exits and An Odd Entrances.  I ignored Thee Oh Sees because I've begun to feel self-conscious about bands that seem to regularly wind up in my top fifteen.  Without question Thee Oh Sees normally belong in that list, but the fact that John Dwyer's annual output leaves me feeling conflicted about the group's continual inclusion in my round-up made me wait on picking up either album.  It was stupid to feel this way, though.  They'll both be added to my library this year.

I also fucked up with Neurosis, Tortoise, Puce Mary, Autolux, Marissa Nadler, DJ Shadow, Dinosaur Jr., Russian Circles, clipping., Frank Ocean... Yeah, I have no excuse. 

My hopes were high, as was my naivete, for Iggy Pop's Post-Pop Depression album due to Josh Homme's involvement, but I found it very disappointing.  I was also disappointed with Bob Mould's Patch The Sky thanks to that awful vocal effect that bathes his voice on very track.  Seems petty, but my ears couldn't get around it.  I also couldn't figure out the appeal of The 1975 or Whitney.  Someone will have to explain those bands to me.

Anyway, here are my favorite albums of 2016.  Thanks for reading. 

Letters From A Tapehead

15). A Tribe Called QuestWe Got It From Here... Thank You 4 Your Service

14). SavagesAdore Life

"Following the acclaim of their first LP, 2013’s Silence Yourself, the post-punk quartet known as Savages offered their much-anticipated follow-up in 2016, Adore Life, an artful and aggressive treatise on love that more than delivers on the intensity promised by its predecessor. While it’s clear Savages smoothed out some of the rougher edges heard on their last album, Adore Life is no less exciting, the rambunctious persistence of 'The Answer' leading into the disco-propulsion of 'Evil,' throbbing and hypnotic rhythmic loops of 'Sad Person' met by 'Adore'’s sultry strut and patient climax. Vocalist Jehnny Beth’s adept expression remains crucial to the band’s makeup, a sound that owes some thanks to the likes of Siouxsie Sioux or Lizzy Mercier Descloux without being at all a facsimile. The distant scream she lets out that sets 'Slowing Down the World' off into a discordant haze a minute from the song’s close is one of my favorite musical moments of the year. Adore Life is the work of a band that continues to thrive, their creative growth evident and offering much to await in the coming years." – transcribed from No Ripcord's Top Albums of 2016

13). The Dwarfs of East AgouzaBes

12). The CoathangersNosebleed Weekend

11). Kendrick Lamaruntitled unmastered.

"While untitled unmastered. technically qualifies as more of a compilation of demos than a proper release, Kendrick Lamar’s surprise follow-up to his excellent To Pimp A Butterfly LP stands as a worthy addition to his canon, an album rich with multi-instrumental explorations of jazz, funk, blues and soul. Lamar continues to be every bit the lyrical craftsman, ably working through every track with a seamlessness that’s always remarkable. The first track that caught my attention was "untitled 03 | 05.28.2013," Thundercat’s minimal bass strokes driving Lamar’s analysis of race and the American dream. Also notable is "untitled 5 | 09.21.2014," an arpeggiated series of bass notes, light brass, and opening stanza from singer Anna Wise, providing a captivating backdrop for Lamar, Punch and Jay Rock to throw around verses." – transcribed from No Ripcord's Top Albums of 2016

10). OpethSorceress

9). AlaricEnd Of Mirrors

"It’s easy enough to point out that Alaric’s sound revolves around the shadows, its dark expanses permeating each track as indication that some cavernous dwelling was provided in which the band could both reside and perform. I would say would, though, that this deepness or bleakness has more affecting resonance than the superficial utilization of a 'misery for misery’s sake' device meant to appease goth fanatics or appeal to angst-riddled frequenters of the local Hot Topic." – 5.4.16

8).  VirusMemento Collider

"Virus has released a follow-up to (The) Agent (That Shapes The Desert) called Memento Collider, a six-track return following five years of silence. That album’s longest offering, 'Afield,' occurs right at the beginning. The guitar sounds are expectedly icy and splintered; the low end and drummed groove still prominent. And vocalist/guitarist Carl 'Czral' Michael Eid still performs his dramatic narratives with a cadence that evokes campfire tales or a B-movie voice-over, an expressive tone that at times passes for an almost croon. Czral’s guitars phrases glaze the track’s disco propulsive swing, his strummed melodies delivered in threes and rarely allowed to stray from his minimalist design." – 6.24.16

7). Leonard CohenYou Want It Darker

"The much beloved singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen passed away this year at the age of 82 a little less than a month after releasing You Want It Darker, his chilling and beautiful closing act. As was the case with David Bowie’s Blackstar earlier this year, Cohen’s ailing health weighs heavy within the album’s contents, his very dry admission, 'Hineni, hineni… I’m ready, my Lord,' less of a self-assuring pep talk before venturing into the unknown than an aware declaration to his Maker. And while Cohen’s words sound consumed by fate for most of the album, ('I’m leaving the table/I’m out of the game…,' 'I’m traveling light/It’s au revoir/My once so bright/My fallen star…'), he addresses love and loss with the candor and clarity of a being who has only known and expressed truth in his life. “They ought to give my heart a medal/For letting go of you/When I turned my back on the devil/Turned my back on the angel too,” his voice somewhere between a spoken blues or gravelly croon as he sings in 'On the Level,' testimony from an artist whose finale proves as essential as his most celebrated work." – transcribed from No Ripcord's Top Albums of 2016

6). SwansThe Glowing Man

"For what was a stunningly prolific and creative stretch for Michael Gira’s latest iteration of Swans, The Glowing Man is the final installment. Having revived Swans in 2010 with the excellent My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky after a lengthy period of inactivity, Gira’s vision grew exponentially in scope with every subsequent release, his soundscapes rich with layered repetition and mighty crescendos. For its almost 2-hour runtime, The Glowing Man continues to challenge listeners, tempting accusations of pretension and self-indulgence with lengthy intros (“Cloud of Unknowing”) and a penchant for compositional ruts (“The World Looks Red/The World Looks Black”). But, for all its excesses, the album pulses with unbridled energy and a seemingly limitless imagination, ideas that result in something enormous and distinct. Yes, The Glowing Man is a heavy listen, but only if you mean heavy on reward." – transcribed from Phawker's THIS IS OUR MUSIC: Our Favorite Albums of 2016

5). AnenonPetrol

"Anenon is the moniker of one Brian Allen Simon, saxophonist and creative presence behind Petrol, whose composed intersections of soft and rushed are manifest in such a way as to find solace in spite of constant stimuli. Petrol is apparently an ode to the Los Angeles highway, though there's a lot of serenity within these grooves, too much to attribute to the frustration, anxiety, and stress one experiences when stuck in traffic." – 7.15.16

4). Nick Cave and The Bad SeedsSkeleton Tree

" 'You fell from the sky/Crash landed in a field/Near the river Adur,' Nick Cave narrates, his voice cold and stark against the mesmerizing pulse of 'Jesus Alone,' the song that opens Skeleton Tree, the latest album from Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds. Having been dealt the tragic and sudden loss of his son, Arthur, in 2015, any expectation that Cave’s follow-up to 2013’s Push The Sky Away would be heartbreaking was met with Skeleton Tree, itself rife with somber and cathartic poetry. Though compositionally minimal, the album’s emotional density is, at times, a lot to bear. By the end of 'Magneto,' one of the Skeleton Tree’s more beautifully rendered offerings, its weight becomes almost suffocating. In 'Anthrocene,' a percussive loop and ghostly melody behind Cave’s vocal, his lamentations are turned to the world, an acquaintance with personal loss qualifying his closing advice: 'Close your eyes, little world/And brace yourself.' " – transcribed from Phawker's THIS IS OUR MUSIC: Our Favorite Albums of 2016

3). Child BiteNegative Noise

"I admit to romanticizing a bit when I listen to Child Bite, convinced of a few things but most especially this: That if bath salts had been a thing when Saccharine Trust’s Surviving You, Always or Black Flag’s The Process of Weeding Out had first been unleashed upon the malcontented hardcore class of 1980-whenever, a fringe-variety evolution of some sort would’ve birthed a group like Child Bite much sooner. Thankfully, we have them now. Following-up the serrated bliss of 2014’s Strange Waste EP, Child Bite, the nihilistic purveyors of punk-abstraction, deliver unto us Negative Noise, an appropriately titled long-player packed with a dizzying array of vitriolic and bizarre. From the mantra-driven intensity of 'Death Before Dementia,' to the queasy loop of low end that drives 'Paralytic Phantasm,' and then the relentless, near-progressive phrasing of 'Born A Hog,' Child Bite’s Greg Ginn-centric post-everything blend of art and antagonism remains compelling. The persistent and heavy pulse of 'Video Blood' is satisfyingly abrasive. For 2016, Child Bite is one of the year’s most necessary acts, keeping the fringe alive with perverse and delightfully weird possibilities." – transcribed from No Ripcord's Second Chance Selection (January - June 2016)

2). Danny BrownAtrocity Exhibition 

1). David Bowie – ★ (Blackstar)

"It’s worth mentioning that Blackstar is on the level of some of (David) Bowie’s most acclaimed work, especially the more instrumentally progressive and modern aspects of albums like Station to Station and Low. In its relatively short run time of 41 minutes, Blackstar is vast. With Bowie’s constant appreciation for new sounds yielding unexpected forms of electronic and rock experimentation, jazz and string arrangements, and hip-hop rhythms, he’d reportedly taken cues from Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly and the 'sound and vision' tactics of Death Grips. With a group of jazz musicians led by saxophonist Donny McCaslin, Bowie slowly drapes his melodic syllables across the title track, combatting the song’s otherwise heightened tempo. McCaslin’s saxophone adds a layer of calm to the piece, its percussion frantic and Bowie’s voice infused with something dark, almost pleading. The second half of the song has a more relaxed stride, its initial restlessness entering into what sounds like resigned understanding. Bowie sings, 'Something happened on the day he died/Spirit rose a metre and stepped aside/Somebody else took his place, and bravely cried/(I’m a blackstar, I’m a blackstar).' It’s been theorized that the album’s title may mean 'lesion,' as some forms of cancers tend to look like black stars. As Bowie lists and then denies his reputation as a 'filmstar,' a 'popstar,' or a 'star star,' he’s ultimately renouncing his accolades, accepting that he’s been beaten by his condition in as meaningful a way as possible." – 1.8.16

And, here are my follow ups:

16). DeerhoofThe Magic

17). Ty SegallEmotional Mugger

18). RadioheadA Moon Shaped Pool

19). Kaada/PattonBacteria Cult

20). Death GripsBottomless Pit

21). PJ HarveyThe Hope Six Demolition Project

22). Psychic TeensNerve

23). Skinny Girl DietHeavy Flow

24). Cult Of Luna/Julie ChristmasMariner

25). So Pittedneo

26). Wire Nocturnal Koreans

27). WarpaintHeads Up

28). Hooded Fang Venus On Edge

29). EluviumFalse Readings On

30). The Album Leaf Between Waves

31). The Joy FormidableHitch

32). NothingTired of Tomorrow

33). SiaThis is Acting

34). Bob MouldPatch the Sky

35). Iggy PopPost Pop Depression

Singles & EPs:

2). The Holy Circles/t

4). Nisennenmondai#6

Letters From A Tapehead

Music Pounding In My Head: IT'S NOT NIGHT: IT'S SPACE

Missed this one in 2016:

Our Birth is but a Sleep and a Forgetting by IT's NOT NIGHT: IT'S SPACE came out mid-June via Small Stone Records and found its way to my ears thanks to a series of shows the band will be playing this month starting tonight in Boston.   And there is a Philly stop at the Kung Fu Necktie. 

I'd recommend giving this album a listen because it's better than watching the news.  Well, that and you're likely to be on board if you're into Hawkwind, Grails, and Om.  It looks like vinyl copies of the album are out of stock, but CDs and downloads are still available if you want to own this after giving it the virtual spin via the embedded Bandcamp player below. 

All links and tour info are brought to you courtesy of Earsplit PR.

IT'S NOT NIGHT: IT'S SPACE: Psychedelic Space Rock Instrumentalists Kick Off New Year Mini-Tour Tonight

"There are certain kinds of psychic transport only attainable by lingering on a drone or a single pattern long after the modern mind has expressed its desire to move along, and that place is where
INN:IS lives but this band has become nothing short of masterful at the art of the narrative arc as well..." -- The Hudson Valley Almanac Weekly

Dark psychedelic space rock instrumentalists IT'S NOT NIGHT: IT'S SPACE will kick off their first round of dates of the new year. Beginning tonight in Boston, Massachusetts the band's (((Win-Tour 2017))) excursion will wind through five states and eight venues, with additional performances to be announced in the coming weeks.

1/04/2017 O'Brien's Pub - Boston, MA w/ Rope Trick, Kind, Sun Drifter
1/05/2017 Needful Things, LLC - Dover, NH w/ Rope Trick, Green Bastard, Cain
1/06/2017 Darkside Records - Poughkeepsie, NY w/ Rope Trick, River Cult
1/07/2017 The Cobra Club - Brooklyn, NY w/ Rope Trick, River Cult
(INN:IS birthday party!)
1/08/2017 Aurora Providence - Providence, RI w/ Rope Trick, River Cult. Minibeast
1/14/2017 Snug Harbor Bar And Grill - New Paltz, NY w/ Shadow Witch, Geezer
1/15/2017 Kung Fu Necktie - Philadelphia, PA w/ Rope Trick, Pneumagon
1/18/2017 Arlene's Grocery - New York, NY Ode To Doom Series w/ Somnuri, Heavy Traffic, St. Bastard

IT'S NOT NIGHT: IT'S SPACE will be touring in support of their Our Birth Is But A Sleep And A Forgetting full-length released via Small Stone last year. Recorded, produced, and mixed by Rick Birmingham at Castle Alamut and The Tin Roof Studios and mastered by Chris Goosman (Acid King, La Chinga, Solace, Lo Pan, Freedom Hawk etc.) at Baseline Audio, the intoxicating, six-track offering is available worldwide on CD and digitally.

Stream and order the record at the official Small Stone BandCamp page HERE.

Gushed The Hudson Valley Almanac Weekly of the offering, "There are certain kinds of psychic transport only attainable by lingering on a drone or a single pattern long after the modern mind has expressed its desire to move along, and that place is where INN:IS lives but this band has become nothing short of masterful at the art of the narrative arc as well, and that's important for an instrumental band. Jams that transfix live can just bore in the studio if a band is not taking its storytelling responsibility seriously." "Our Birth Is But A Sleep And A Forgetting is a surprising little journey through the psychedelic cosmos of the stoner and ambience world," wrote Apochs.net. "IT'S NOT NIGHT: IT'S SPACE does a superb job casting various settings... leaving the listener at their mercy through soothing astral voyages with or without the aid of hallucinogenic drugs of some kind. Between solid musicianship like what's found on 'The Beard Of Macroprosopus' and the emotionally charged sensations felt on 'Across The Luster Of The Desert Into The Polychrome Hills,' it's plain to see that this three-piece is not your everyday instrumental act." "Beaming in from cosmic depths with six tracks... Our Birth Is But A Sleep And A Forgetting offers sonic immersion and atmospheric scope in kind with a patient, hypnotic front-to-back flow that adds rich tonality to what guitarist Kevin Halcott, bassist Tommy Guerrero, and drummer Michael Lutomski accomplished their first time out," offered The Obelisk. "Parts may have been born of improvisations, but the finished product doesn't feel like a collection of jams. Rather, a series of interconnected pieces correctly positioned to guide the listener through this aural expanse. Spiritualism, contemplation, philosophy, space itself - all of this seems to be in play for IT'S NOT NIGHT: IT'S SPACE." Outlaws Of The Sun concurred, "The album sounds incredible through-out. The production is first rate as you feel emotionally connected to the music from the very start. Our Birth Is But A Sleep And A Forgetting is simply an album that will not only be considered as one of the year's best instrumental rock albums but perhaps one of the best albums of the year." Added More Fuzz in their year-end review, "The name of the band gives two clues about their music, first that it's space (rock), believe them, they know. Second, its length suggests post-rock influences, and there's definitely some post vibe in the way the songs progress smoothly towards their apex, with noisey melodies becoming gradually faster and angrier through time. You'll probably feel a drone aura also, because this trio knows to take its time to do it right. Don't worry, you won't have to do a thing, just lay back in this comfy capsule drifting through the cosmos."

Guitarist Kevin Halcott and drummer Michael Lutomski founded IT'S NOT NIGHT: IT'S SPACE early in 2010. By that Fall, Tommy Guerrero had joined on bass and their first EP arrived in October 2011. East Of The Sun & West Of The Moon featured three epic instrumental pieces that set the tone for what to expect from IT'S NOT NIGHT: IT'S SPACE. Positive response came in virtual and physical realities, and the band set about honing their craft, averaging about fifty-sixty shows a year.

Momentum carried IT'S NOT NIGHT: IT'S SPACE straight into their first LP, 2012's Bowing Not Knowing To What, self-released with the help of successful crowdfunding raising $5,000 to press CDs and vinyl. It was this album that caught the attention of Small Stone Records. A series of roadblocks and personal setbacks following that release album set the tone for their second album, the soon-to-be issued Our Birth Is But A Sleep And A Forgetting.

In moldy warehouses, grimy basements, and the dusty backrooms of pizza shops, the psychedelic drone trio channeled new material and worked tirelessly to craft the songs that would become a definitive offering. It became a full-time task. Our Birth Is But A Sleep And A Forgetting rings both familiar and fresh. Longtime fans should have no trouble getting down with the heavy grooves and climaxes of these sonic journeys, but the band has pushed into dreamier territories as well. The long wait to share this very personal and powerful album is finally over, and IT'S NOT NIGHT: IT'S SPACE is ready to get back on the wave and ride it forward.


Letters From A Tapehead

Monday, January 02, 2017

Buried in a Good Mix Tape: Best of 2016 Mix...

I agonize over these fucking things.

About midway through November, I started pulling tracks for this year's 2016 mix with a few must-haves in place before building each of them out with good lead-ins and bridge tracks.  And then, editing, filling gaps, fades...etc.  I'm mostly happy with how this year's selections worked out, but truthfully I could probably start all over again and assemble an entirely new mix at this point.

The only must-have I later reconsidered was David Bowie's "Lazarus."  It just didn't fit with the rest of the comp and it was too much of a bummer.  I thought "Anthrocene" from Nick Cave's Skeleton Tree and "String Reprise/Treaty" from Leonard Cohen's You Want It Darker LP provided enough of a sad bastard treatment, not to mention "False Readings On" from the Eluvium album of the same name, which I used as more of a melancholy transition track.  Bowie's "Sue (Or In A Season of Crime)" wound up being a perfect third hit following the blistering pace of Bangladeafy's "Termites."

Necessary to add this year were Opeth's "Sorceress" and Danny Brown's "Ain't It Funny."  I added "Squeeki Tiki" by The Coathangers because my daughter thought the rubber ducky sounds were funny.  Also necessary were "Evil" by Savages and "Steamer" by Virus, both of which sounded good sequenced together.  

For the cover this year, I used a newly drawn interpretation of "Tapehead" and have since decided to use it as my avatar.

Front cover.

Inside cover w/ track listing.

Check out the tracks and, if you'd like, let me know what you think.

Anenon — "Once" (Petrol)

Bangladeafy — "Termites" (Narcopaloma)

David Bowie — "Sue (Or in a Season of Crime)" (Blackstar)

Kaada/Patton — "Imodium" (Bacteria Cult)

VIRUS — "Steamer" (Memento Collider)

Savages — "Evil" (Adore Life)

PJ Harvey — "A Line in the Sand" (The Hope Six Demolition Project)

Radiohead — "Decks Dark" (A Moon Shaped Pool)

Ty Segall — "The Magazine" (Emotional Mugger)

Skinny Girl Diet — "Lazy Eye" (Heavy Flow)

So Pitted — "pay attention to me" (neo)

Death Grips — "Spikes" (Bottomless Pit)

Deerhoof — "Little Hollywood" (The Magic)

The Dwarfs Of East Agouza — "Hungry Bears Don't Dance" (Bes)

Cliff Martinez — "Take Her To Measurements" (The Neon Demon - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Opeth — "Sorceress" (Sorceress)

Danny Brown — "Ain’t It Funny" (Atrocity Exhibition)

Child Bite — "The Great Ego Flood" (Negative Noise)

The Coathangers — "Squeeki Tiki" (Nosebleed Weekend)

Eluvium — "False Readings On" (False Readings On)

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds —  "Anthrocene" (Skeleton Tree)

Leonard Cohen —  "String Reprise/Treaty" (You Want It Darker)

Letters From A Tapehead

Judy Garland: "Somewhere Over The Rainbow"

April 16, 1961 - December 6, 2014 Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead