Thursday, July 02, 2020

J Zunz: "Y"

Album pre-order

J. Zunz is the solo work of Lorena Quintanilla of Lorelle Meets The Obsolete. The new single and video for the track "Y," which is featured on the upcoming new LP, Hibiscus, exudes an ever-heightening level of electro-induced tension despite its minimalist presentation. Effectively discomforting, the subtleties of Quintanilla's work are intensified once the addition of abrasive synthesized elements.

Hibiscus will be out 8/21 via Rocket Recordings.

All info and links were provided by Rarely Unable.




Hibiscus is the strikingly confident and singular second album from J. Zunz, the solo reinvention of Lorena Quintanilla - better known up until this point as one half of Mexican duo ‘Lorelle Meets The Obsolete.’ Upcoming on Rocket Recordings on the 21st August across all formats, the album is preceded today by the lead single "Y" and a powerful video inspired by the artwork of Helena Almeida. More on this below. Hibiscus is available to preorder on ltd edition 'Exotic Swirl' vinyl via the Rocket shop from 9am on Friday (3rd July) – to coincide with the Bandcamp 'No Fee' day.

Hibiscus marks a move on sonically from earlier comfort zones in Lorena's work (check, Silente from 2017) into minimal electronics, hypnotic repetition and compelling trance states, arriving at a soundworld in which cyclical synth patterns, eerie ambient textures and cathartic vocal exhortations coalesce into a beguiling atmosphere of otherworldly intensity. Although some might hear echoes amongst these songs of the like of Angelo Badalementi’s ghostly raptures, the bleak epiphanies of Nico’s Marble Index or Fifty Foot Hose’s spare sci-fi psychedelia, both the approach and the resulting tapestry here are Lorena’s and hers alone.

“It is hard to describe any record as they keep unfolding to me in time” says Lorena. “Now it is almost a year since I recorded it. What I know is that I wrote the album during a personal crisis inside and a political crisis outside. After being profoundly hurt by a person I trusted but also by the structures outside of me. I wrote it during sleepless nights filled with overwhelming thoughts and feelings.”

Hibiscus is the result of a metamorphic process whereby the minimal is rendered maximal and the personal fused with the political. This is apparent on the video for the lead single "Y" about which Lorena comments, "The video was inspired by the artwork of the great Helena Almeida. It is about giving movement to some of her photographs and maybe imagine a story in between them. Abstract enough to give space to any interpretation. Sometimes it is necessary to make a video about violence because looking at it directly is unbearable. We make metaphors of violence because nobody wants to accept that every day we make a woman suffer."

The initial vision for the J. Zunz project was for Lorena to strip her approach down to the basics - “I remember I was reading a biography of John Cage and that book detonated something in me. The author was referring to the influence of Buddhism and meditation, and modern artists like Sonia Delaunay, Lucio Fontana, Julio Le Parc, Duchamp, futurism. I was very charged with ideas.”

Hibiscus more than anything else is a process of alchemy - turning a less-is-more approach into a formidable psychic assault, and undergoing an artistic transmutation that renders compelling and uplifting work from trying times. “I didn’t want these songs to sound vulnerable.” Lorena reflects. ”I wanted the songs to be everything I wasn’t at that moment: strong and fearless.”

Letters From A Tapehead

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Uniform: "Delco"

A new single from Uniform is out today for the group's upcoming release, Shame. "Delco," (or Delaware County, a Philly suburb not too far from where I live in Montgomery County), is a personal and cathartic distillation of hometown abuse and its subsequent impact upon vocalist Michael Berdan. If you've heard Uniform before, you know that they, (Berden, guitarist Ben Greenberg, and drummer Mike Sharp), are adept at converting pain into decibels. "Delco" is no exception: Berdan's bark reverberating over a calamitous barrage of drum fills and riff-borne fuzz. Sometimes, making a loud noise is the best form of therapy.

Shame is due out on September 11th from Sacred Bones.

Uniform's 2017 release Wake In Fright was reviewed for No Ripcord.

All info was provided by Rarely Unable.


New York City, NY (June 24, 2020): What if the antihero in your favourite film or book had no chance to repent, reconcile, or redeem himself? There’s no victim to rescue. There’s no evil to thwart. There’s no tyranny to turnover. Instead of saving the day against his better judgment, he just walks a Sisyphean circle of existential malaise doomed to repeat yesterday’s vices without the promise of a better tomorrow. Rather than tell this story on the screen or on the page, Uniform tell it on their fourth full-length album, Shame. The trio – Michael Berdan (vocals), Ben Greenberg (guitar, production), and Mike Sharp (drums) – strain struggle through an industrialised mill of grating guitars, warped electronics, war-torn percussion, and demonically catchy vocalisations.

Today they hit us with the album’s massive opener “Delco” which fuses guttural distortion to haunting chants buttressed by muscular percussion. Short for ‘Delaware County,’ the track reflects on Berdan’s upbringing in a suburb west of Philadelphia and how beatings and bullying by the local hellraisers taught him how to keep his guard up and navigate a violent world.

Berdan reveals, “During my adolescence I would get routinely picked on and beat up by some of the kids in the neighbourhood who I desperately wanted to like me. The more beatings I caught, the more I’d go back to try and impress them. My self esteem was nonexistent and I developed psychological calluses. I learned to repeat some of the behaviours that had been leveled my way on those beneath me in the pecking order. In time, I became numb. Getting older and attempting to reconcile with personal demons surrounding depression, anxiety and substance abuse has forced me to take a long, hard look at my childhood. In the process I've realised to degrees just how I've perpetuated learned cycles of harm. A terrified part of me is still a little kid in Delco. This song is an exercise in trying to come to terms with these ghosts and let go. Some days are better than others.” 

“Thematically, the album is like a classic hard-boiled paperback novel without a case,” says Berdan. “It focuses on the static state of an antihero as he mulls over his life in the interim between major events, just existing in the world. At the time we were making the record, I was reading books by Raymond Chandler, James Ellroy, and Dashiell Hammet and strangely found myself identifying with the internal dialogues of characters like Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe.”

The lead-up to this moment proved just as intriguing as any of those characters’ exploits. Born in 2013, Uniform bulldozed a path to the forefront of underground music. Following their acclaimed works Perfect World (2015) and Wake in Fright (2017), the group’s third offering, The Long Walk (2018), represented a critical high watermark. In addition to touring with the likes of Deafheaven and Boris, they joined forces with The Body for a pair of collaborative albums – Mental Wounds Not Healing (2018) and Everything That Dies Someday Comes Back (2019) – as well as the live release, Live at the End of the World (2020). When it came time to pen Shame, Berdan made a conscious decision to include lyrics, marking a first.

“I wanted my words to carry a degree of weight on this record,” he says. “Books and cinema have always been integral to my life, and that is often because of how I relate to the themes and characters therein. I am naturally shy and terrified of being misunderstood. This time around, I endeavoured to trudge through those fears in order to explicitly articulate what goes on in a dreary corner of my inner life. To put it plainly: I was in a dark place. It was the culmination of years of thinking everyone in the world was wrong, but me. I realised that I couldn’t control the attitudes and behaviours of other people, but it was my responsibility to look inward and fix what was there. I had to articulate what was going on in my heart, my head, and my soul. As I set about the task of writing everything down, I experienced exorcism. If I wanted any kind of reprieve, I had to let go of the narrative that the demons in the back of my head had been constantly whispering to me. For years I held onto my lyrics like personal diary entries. Now is the time for a different approach.”

This record marks the debut of Mike Sharp on drums, adding a natural fire to the engine. His presence grinds down their metallic industrial edge with a live percussive maelstrom. Once again, Greenberg assumed production duties behind the board at his studio, Strange Weather. Building on the approach from their last LP, the band perfected the powerful hybrid of digital and analog, electronic and acoustic, synthetic and actual that has become their hallmark. In another first, mixing duties were not handled by Greenberg, but rather handed off to the inimitable Randall Dunn at his studio Circular Ruin. This time around, Dunn’s fresh set of ears pushes their sound to its limits, giving us Uniform’s most powerful records to date. 

Shame sees its release September 11th, 2020 via Sacred Bones. There will be limited edition LP colour variants available. For more info and to pre-order go here. Keep up with the latest Uniform updates on Instagram here.

Follow Uniform: Instagram - Facebook - Bandcamp - Spotify - Apple

Letters From A Tapehead

Thursday, June 11, 2020

2020 Playlist — The Imbeciles, Kid Cudi, Masaaki Yoshida, Evischen, VOIDCEREMONY, Eddy Current Suppression Ring, Lotic, ZOMBI

I managed to fall behind a little bit on my 2020 Playlist selections.

Hope you're all doing well.


The Imbeciles: "One Hand Tommy"
(via Sonic PR / YouTube)

Album Purchase


Kid Cudi: "Leader of the Delinquents"
(via Republic Records / YouTube)

Single purchase:


Masaaki Yoshida: "There Will Come Soft Rains"
(via Phantom Limb / YouTube)

Album Preorder:

Via Phantom Limb:

Phantom Limb's imprint Geist im Kino launches new series

Imaginal Soundtracking Vol. 1: There Will Come Soft Rains, out June 19

Musicians invited to re-score forgotten works of cinema; Vol.1 features Lakker, Masaaki Yoshida (Archorsong), Rully Shabara (Senyawa) and Dylan Henner

Phantom Limb's soundtrack imprint Geist im Kino continues with the launch of new series Imaginal Soundtracking, in which contemporary musicians are invited to re-score existing film pieces.

Designed to reframe overlooked or forgotten works of cinema and to offer a new artistic challenge to the contributing musicians, Imaginal Soundtracking acts as a dialogue between the creative minds at play. The first release in the series, out digitally on June 19, sees a quartet of highly inventive, wildly varying takes on award-winning animation There Will Come Soft Rains, created in 1984 by Uzbek filmmaker Nazim Tulyakhodzayev. The film is based on a short story of the same name by Ray Bradbury, itself a reference to a 1918 work by US poet Sara Teasdale, which foretells the danger of mankind’s extinction by war, predating many such fears by some decades. Characteristic of Soviet filmmaking of the time, Tulyakhodzayev's adaptation is abstracted by layers of allegory and interpretive meaning, rendering it bizarre, sometimes lysergic, but nonetheless arrestingly powerful and hauntingly relevant today in its story...

Watch the film and listen to acclaimed London based Japanese producer Masaaki Yoshida's (better known as Anchorsong) unique interpretation here and below. His lamenting, piano-led score highlights the futility and sadness of the story. A single, gentle, repeated pulse holds the tempo while soft chords respond to the film’s increasingly bleak imagery. He retains the robot’s voice from the original film, building his own composition around it.

Along with Yoshida, the other contributors Lakker, Rully Shabara and Dylan Henner all began with the same source material, their respective new soundtracks are strikingly different from each other.

Renowned electronic duo Lakker (mainstays of seminal electronic label R&S) offer a dark, synthesis-driven take, formed of complex sound design and sci-fi sonics. Their narrative progression builds in strain and tension, rising in intensity until the climax of the film, at which point the focus shifts to a sorrowful, robotic-voiced rendition of the 1918 poem
There Will Come Soft Rains by Sara Teasdale, which Bradbury references for his story.

The talented Rully Shabara is best known as vocalist for Indonesian experimental duo Senyawa. His soundtrack is made entirely from extended vocal technique, beginning with a droning, hypnotic soundbed that allows the film interpretative breathing space, in keeping with the mechanical ecosystem the story predicts. As the film develops, more recognisable voicings start to appear, and the humanism of the story rises to the surface.

Finally, mysterious ambient newcomer Dylan Henner contributes a dark, electronic soundworld in which the film’s only “character” - the robot - is re-voiced in a distorted, demonic language that frames the dynamic rising and falling of his composition. Though floating and consonant in places, the inherent dread fundamental to the film remains a doomy undercurrent throughout.

Track listing:
1. Masaaki Yoshida: There Will Come Soft Rains
2. Lakker: There Will Come Soft Rains
3. Rully Shabara: There Will Come Soft Rains
4. Dylan Henner: There Will Come Soft Rains

Masaaki Yoshida on facebook / twitter
Lakker on facebook / twitter
Rully Shabara on facebook / twitter
Dylan Henner on facebook / twitter


Evischen: "Under the Stall Door"
(via Clandestine Label Services / American Dreams Records / YouTube)

Album Preorder

Via Clandestine Label Services:

New-England Based Sound Artist Evicshen's New Album Doubles as a Readymade Art Object that Functions as a Speaker

The New LP Hair Birth, out July 17th on American Dreams Records, comes in a unique handmade record jacket that is a fully functioning speaker, allowing one to listen to the album through its own cover art.

Genre: Noise, Industrial, Electroacoustic, Avantgarde, Analog Synthesizer
RIYL: Aaron Dilloway, Merzbow, Nurse With Wound

Victoria Shen (AKA Evicshen) is an experimental sound artist who has worked with electronics for over a decade. Her practice blurs the lines between sound, visual, and tactile art. Shen originally got her feet wet working for Jessica Rylan (a student and former employee of Don Buchla) at Flower Electronics, creating patchable analog synthesizers. She cultivated a fluency with electronics, which in conjunction with her expansive interests in the arts and sciences, challenges a conventional means to “make music.”

Though synthesizers are the backbone of Shen’s music, while performing live, she plays self-made synths, invented instruments, and even acoustic objects like a bull whip. Shen is a markedly mobile performer that muddles of the boundaries between performer and audience, stage and floor. Her sets tend to be site-specific, in direct response to the physical and acoustic qualities of the space in which she performs. Her live show vacillates between moments of restraint and swells of frenetic and confrontational movement. A tightrope walk between control and chance, the whiff of danger is never far during Shen’s performances. Her sound is dynamic with a sensitivity to texture and structure throughout.

This sensitivity is maintained in her debut LP
Hair Birth. Hair Birth is the result of several weekends locked in a studio creating cacophonous, wondrous synth noise with Harvard’s Buchla 100 and Serge modular systems. She tracked hours of stems before cloistering herself in a painstaking editing process. Songs like “Under The Stall Door” sound like a cybernetic rollercoaster with rumbles and shrieks that hurtle the listener through virtual space. Others, like “Bolete,” are tense, dense mood pieces that move from the queasy to the tranquil to the surreal.

Hair Birth is not limited to audio though – Shen wants the full expression of the album to be experienced visually, haptically, and to be embodied as a living breathing artifact. In a total integration of sound and image, Shen has created an album that you listen to, through its own art.

Here’s what she had to say about the limited special edition record with a jacket that functions as a loud speaker:
“The art is the speaker and the speaker is the art. The width of a continuous copper coil is modulated as it radiates across the surface of the jacket, rendering the image of my face mid-performance from a show last summer in Kumamoto, Japan. The coil, when connected to an audio amplifier and placed in front of a magnet, turns the material of the cover into an active speaker membrane. The whole thing dances and vibrates in your hands as you listen to the album, as it pushes the particles in the air back and forth to create invisible waves that we perceive to be sound.”

Shen’s curiosity and creativity knows no bounds, and Hair Birth is an unbridled emblem of her inspired, joyous mind.

Evicshen - Hair Birth
American Dreams Records - July 17th, 2020

1. Current Affair
2. Under The Stall Door
3. Classical Mechanics
4. Funhouse Mirror Stage
5. Bolete
6. Lissajous
7. Fever Pitch

Recorded, arranged, and mixed by Victoria Shen
Mastered by Mike Young


VOIDCERMONY: "Desiccated Whispers"
(via Earsplit PR / 20 Buck Spin / YouTube)

Album Preorder

Via Earsplit PR:

VOIDCEREMONY: California Death Metal Act To Release Entropic Reflections Continuum: Dimensional Unravel Via 20 Buck Spin In June; "Desiccated Whispers" Now Streaming

20 Buck Spin proudly welcomes Ramona, California-based death metal outfit VOIDCEREMONY to the label.

Circulating in the pits of the deepest underground for nearly seven years, VOIDCEREMONY presents their long-awaited first full-length, Entropic Reflections Continuum: Dimensional Unravel. While earlier releases hinted at the band's unique potential and frenzied imagination, on their proper debut album, it takes its most actualized form thus far, looking ahead to darker visions of indefinable cosmic obscurity.

Furiously fragmented death metal rips though the reflective fabric of reality sinking deep memory hooks into the innermost cerebral chasms. Out of the technically warped twists and unpredictable turns emerge progressively skyward guitar leads and mercilessly precise percussion work. Concurrently, the fretless bass mastery on display permeates the entire framework with an otherworldly time bending defiance.

VOIDCEREMONY reaches well beyond the confines of the typical to create a methodically accelerating chaos, an orchestral maelstrom of esoteric profundity. And while nowadays "technical death metal" has become synonymous with banal machine-like acrobatics for its own sake, VOIDCEREMONY instead maintains a principled continuum of arcane alchemy and increasing internal entropy.
On Entropic Reflections Continuum: Dimensional Unravel, VOIDCEREMONY features members of Ascended Dead, and is joined by Damon Good (Mournful Congregation, Stargazer) on fretless bass. The album was re-amped, mixed, and mastered by Damian Herring at Subterranean Watchtower Studios (Horrendous, Blood Incantation, Ghastly), and the cover art was created by Ivory Crux.

Stream the lead single from VOIDCEREMONY's Entropic Reflections Continuum: Dimensional Unravel, "Desiccated Whispers," at YouTube HERE and Bandcamp HERE.

Entropic Reflections Continuum: Dimensional Unravel will see release via 20 Buck Spin on LP, CD, cassette, and digital formats on June 26th.
Entropic Reflections Continuum: Dimensional Unravel Track Listing:
1. Desiccated Whispers
2. Sacrosanct Delusions
3. Empty, Grand Majesty (Cyclical Descent Of Causality)
4. Binded To Unusual Existence
5. Abandoned Reality
6. Solemn Reflections Of The Void

Garrett Johnson - lead/rhythm guitars, vocals
Jon Reider - rhythm guitars
Charlie Koryn - drums, engineering
Damon Good - fretless bass (session)


Eddy Current Suppression Ring: "Vicariously Living"

(via Tell All Your Friends PR / Castle Face Records / Brooklyn Vegan / YouTube)

Album Preorder

Via Tell All Your Friends PR:

Eddy Current Suppression Ring Share "Vicariously Living" Video Via BrooklynVegan

All In Good Time Out Now On Castle Face Records

Eddy Current Suppression Ring have shared a new animated video for single, "Vicariously Living." The track is off of their latest LP, All In Good Time, released in December of last year. The video was premiered exclusively with BrooklynVegan.These lyrics are about staying at home on a Saturday night and living life through a movie or a book, a magazine, or scrolling through images on the computer or phone, to the point where it consumes you, and you feel like you’re living life through these images, often images of images, blurry snippets of information, recycled jargon, social events, false idols, scenes and stories that begin to lose all meaning. Always leaving you craving more, something else. Constantly unwrapping scrappy information, like a never ending game of pass the parcel.



Lotic: "Burn A Print"
(via Stereo Sanctity / Houndstooth / YouTube)

Via Stereo Sanctity:

In succession to her debut album ‘Power’, released in 2018 on Tri-Angle, Lotic’s new single “Burn a Print” is the accession of the previous album’s message: Once one has transformed fear and vulnerability into the consolidation of individual power, the natural next step for any reign is to establish a legacy, or in Lotic’s own words, “to burn your print into this Earth because when you go, you need to remind the future bitches that you was here.”

Lotic, known as J’Kerian Morgan, has been fortifying her forceful sound and dominating the Berlin electronic music scene for nearly a decade. Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Lotic played alto saxophone in her high school marching band and in competitions with the University Interscholastic League before an education at the University of Texas at Austin, where she studied film and electronic music and hosted DJ sets for the college radio station. 

In 2011, shortly before relocating to Germany, she released her debut EP ‘More Than Friends’, on Ben Aqua’s dance music label #FEELINGS. Following her move to Berlin in 2012, she released a series of well-received mixtapes, including ‘Fallout’ (2013), ‘Damsel in Distress’ (2014), ‘Agitations’ (2015) and ‘Heterocetera’ (2015). 

In addition to producing music for the dance floor, Lotic also helped to create one: She co-founded the Janus Collective with fellow American expatriate promoters and producers, creating a monthly party that began in Berlin-Kreuzberg’s Chesters and quickly ascended to hosting Janus rosters at Berghain. Lotic established herself within Berlin’s nightlife for her capricious DJ sets, her sonic offering ranging from experimental creations rooted in her music theory training to remixed Top 40 that attracted avant-garde singer, songwriter, and DJ, Björk. Following a collaboration on two remixes for Björk’s ‘Vulnicura’ album’s track “NotGet” and an invitation to open for her 2015 Berlin concert, Björk stated, “Lotic is one of the fiercest performer DJs I have ever heard” (Mixmag, 2018). 

Even in the midst of success and recognition, Lotic (meaning, “to inhabit rapidly moving water”) treaded against the currents of sudden homelessness, the end of a long-time love partnership, and a personal transformation. Through an empowering hiatus focused on rebuilding, she found her voice in her debut album ‘Power’ (2018), which introduced her as a singer and songwriter for the first time. 

‘Power’ was praised for its polished production style in the tradition of Lotic’s past releases and rejuvenated by her narrative and reflections on race, sexuality, and gender. The release of ‘Power’ inaugurated ‘Endless Power’, a live A/V show in collaboration with lighting designer Emmanuel Biard, featured at Berlin’s CTM Festival and Barcelona’s Sónar in 2018. The same year, Lotic collaborated with fellow Houston-born dancer and choreographer Roderick George /k Noname Artist on ‘Fleshless Beast’, a music and dance performance in co-production with Berlin’s Sophiensaele and funded by the Berlin Senate Department of Culture and Europe. Lotic created the original score and performed in Fleshless Beast, a performance contemplating and deconstructing race relations, being an immigrant, and challenging the status quo. 

In 2019, Lotic collaborated in the performance piece ‘Las Casas Invisibles’ with the KDV Dance Ensemble hosted by Berlin’s Funkhaus, once again lending her original music to the performance score. The newly released track is a declaration in continuation of Lotic’s mission to “live life to the fullest by not giving a fuck about what anybody thinks.”

Much like feminine rulers memorialized in history, Lotic’s sound is the symbiosis of force and softness; the beat behind the drill of a parade honoring a strong and unpredictable Queen imprinting her mark into the ground to the beat of her own drum.



ZOMBI: "Earthscraper"
(via Relapse Records / YouTube)

Via Relapse Records:

ZOMBI Share "Earthscraper" Music Video

New Full-Length 2020 is out July 17th

Instrumental duo ZOMBI share the official “Earthscraper” music video from the upcoming album 2020, coming out July 17th. Watch “Earthscraper," directed by Tony Balko, on YouTube HERE.

Regarding the track, ZOMBI drummer A.E. Paterra comments:

“A heavy song, and an even heavier video by director Tony Balko. We’ve been excited to share this - it’s heavy in a new way for us and we hope you enjoy it.” - AEP

In addition, ZOMBI will be holding a raffle for a test pressing of 2020, with all proceeds going to the Bukit Bail Fund of Pittsburgh and Black Visions Collective. Details can be found on ZOMBI’s Instagram and Facebook accounts.

2020 is due out July 17th on CD/LP/Digital. Physical packages are available for pre-order via HERE. Digital Downloads / Streaming Services are available HERE.

ZOMBI’s first new album in 5 years,
2020 showcases the songwriting prowess that has pushed the duo of Steve Moore (synthesizers, guitars, bass) and A.E. Paterra (drums) to evolve throughout their storied, 20 year career.

Listen to 2020’s previously released, opening song “Breakthrough & Conquer” on YouTube HERE. ZOMBI has strived to build upon and expand their sound with every release. Now more than ever, the band stays true to their ethos. From the pulse-pounding, dramatic opener "Breakthrough & Conquer", to the melodic bass whirls found in "XYZT", 2020 proves to be ZOMBI's most riff-intensive album. At first a soundtrack of driving musical euphoria, 2020 takes a sharp turn into uncharted waters - "Earthscraper" is reminiscent of a space where sounds of sludge and doomlike-riff crushers dominate the soundscapes. Synthwave and neon crescendos are furloughed in favor of Blue Oyster Cult inspired progressive epics. A truly therapeutic loop of immersive instrumental rock, 2020 might just be ZOMBI's most ambitious album yet.

ZOMBI on Facebook
ZOMBI on Instagram
ZOMBI on Twitter
ZOMBI on Bandcamp

Letters From A Tapehead

Tuesday, June 09, 2020

No Ripcord (Quick Takes: April/May 2020): Flat Worms & GRID

Click the link for Quick Takes reviews of Antarctica by Flat Worms and Decomposing Force by GRID.

Buy —

Buy —

Flat Worms
God? Records
Released: 4/10/19

Decomposing Force
NNA Tapes
Released: 4/24/19

Letters From A Tapehead

Friday, May 15, 2020

Mrs. Piss: "Downer Surrounded by Uppers" & "Knelt"

Wee wee and rock 'n' roll…

Chelsea Wolfe and Jess Gowrie's provocatively titled project Mrs. Piss exudes the level of melancholic depth-rock that one would normally associate with Wolfe, though this reductive version of her presentation captivates as a shared entity. Two lyric videos have emerged as incentive to check out the upcoming new album from the band, Self-Surgery.

The grinding and emotive "Downer Surrounded by Uppers," (which is a great song title), finds some commonality with yore-rockers like 7-Year Bitch and Babes In Toyland, slop-addled distortion and energy. It's a solid track. 

By contrast, the weighted crawl of "Knelt," Wolfe's ethereal vocal melting into the track's seismic density, is patient and stern. I love the bridge. Disrupting a crowd-flattening stomp akin to early Swans, Wolfe/Gowrie break for a moment to inject some melody into the mire. 

Right now, it looks like this project is solely digital. Self-Surgery will be released 5/29 from Sargent House. Pre-order here

All info and links were provided by Rarely Unable.




Mrs. Piss is a new collaboration between Chelsea Wolfe and Jess Gowrie. Drawing on their collective rock, metal, and industrial influences, the project began while the two were touring around together during Wolfe’s Hiss Spun album in 2017. These songs feel more urgent and visceral than anything either of them has created before: heaviness spurred on by punk spirit. Today they’ve detailed their debut, Self-Surgery, to be released May 29th on Sargent House, and share two singles, “Downer Surrounded by Uppers” and “Knelt”. Listen and share via YouTube below or hear the tracks on all streaming platforms here.


Chelsea Wolfe (vocals, guitar)
“Working on this project brought Jess and I so much closer as songwriters and production partners, after reuniting as friends and bandmates. It was freeing and fun to channel some wild energies that I don’t typically put into my own music. We tried not to overthink the songs as we were writing them, but at the same time we did consciously put a lot into crafting them into our own weird sonic vision. This project was a chance for us to do things our own way, on our own terms, and we plan to invite more womxn musicians along for future Mrs. Piss recordings.” - CW

Jess Gowrie (drums, guitar, bass, programming)
“To me, Mrs. Piss represents a musical chemistry cut short long ago that now gets a second chance. Creating with Chelsea has always been very liberating for me, and we both push each other to try new things: anything and everything. Both of us have grown so much as writers and musicians since our first band together (Red Host), and with the journeys we had to take separately to get there, we both have so much more to say; so much more pain and anger to express. That said, we also had a lot of fun doing it, not to mention how freeing it is to not give a f-k and to just create.” - JG

Self-Surgery was recorded at The Dock Studio in Sacramento, CA and in The Canyon. To pre-order, go here.

Self-Surgery Track Listing:

1- To Crawl Inside
2 - Downer Surrounded by Uppers
3 - Knelt
4 - Nobody Wants to Party With Us
5 - M.B.O.T.W.O.
6 - You Took Everything
7 - Self-Surgery
8 - Mrs. Piss

Letters From A Tapehead

Monday, May 11, 2020

KRAMER / Let It Come Down: "Monday" & the Return of Shimmy-Disc

Joyful Noise Recordings has selected the one and only KRAMER as 2020's Artist In Residence. 

For those who don't know, KRAMER is synonymous with Shimmy-Disc, a label that cultivated a veritable wellspring of odd flavors and creative abnormalities from about 1987 until operations ceased in the late 90s, releasing albums from the likes of Naked City (John Zorn), Daniel Johnston, Galaxie 500, Butthole Surfers, Urge Overkill, Ween, King Missile, and GWAR to name a few. KRAMER also released albums from his own projects: Bongwater and Shockabilly.

It was recently announced that KRAMER would be reactivating Shimmy-Disc and releasing some new music after years in absentia via Joyful Noise. "Monday" is a new track from a current project called Let It Come Down, which exhibits the vocal talents of Xan Tyler. Let It Come Down's debut LP, Songs We Sang In Our Dreams, is the first of five LPs that Kramer is releasing as part of his JNR Residency. We Sang In Our Dreams is scheduled to release June12th.

You can pre-order the 5-LP set or digital release set here. All info was provided by Tell All Your Friends PR.

Joyful Noise Recordings is honored to announce musician, composer, producer, and Shimmy-Disc label founder KRAMER as the 2020 Artist-In-Residence.

In a career spanning four decades, Kramer has positioned himself as one of the defining figures in post-punk music, while establishing Shimmy-Disc as one of the most influential independent labels of the late 20th century music. As part of Kramer’s residency with Joyful Noise Recordings he’ll be creating a 5xLP box set, and relaunching the Shimmy-Disc label.

The first release is Songs We Sang In Our Dreams, the debut album from Let It Come Down, a project that has been percolating in Kramer's mind for over 20 years.

Initially conceived as a studio-only, one-man-band called TIME, everything changed in 2016 when Kramer met vocalist Xan Tyler (Mad Professor/Mission Control, Technique, Orinoko, GlassHouse). After producing an EP for her in Scotland, Kramer invited Tyler to be the human voice of his new recording project.

“I’d been hearing Xan's voice in my dreams for decades, so you can imagine the shock I experienced when I first heard her voice while awake,” said Kramer. “I invited her to work with me on an LP of songs I'd been working on for a long, long time.”

The 2020 Artist in Residence is unique among past years in that JNR has chosen someone who is not solely a composer/performer, but also works with—and through—other artists. As a producer and label-head, Kramer has cultivated incredible art in a way that very few human beings ever have.

Over the last four decades, Kramer has worked with Daniel Johnston, Low, Will Oldham, Butthole Surfers, Sufjan Stevens, Bongwater, John Zorn, Jad Fair/Half Japanese, Galaxie 500, Luna, Danielson, Urge Overkill, Gwar, and so many more.

Kramer’s residency with Joyful Noise Recordings will incorporate all aspects of his creative expression. “I’m devoting the entirety of 2020 to the series,” Kramer explains. “I’ll be focusing on my work as an artist and collaborator, precisely as I did when Shimmy-Disc was operational in the ‘80s and ’90s.”

Songs We Sang In Our Dreams — TRACKLISTING

1. Moonlight
2. Monday
3. One Moon
4. Forget
5. Pennies
6. Two Dreams
7. Vicky
8. Fingers
9. Three Wishes
10. Tomorrow
11. Uh-Oh
12. Four Hands

Kramer Bio:

Kramer’s work in music covers a vast spectrum of sound, unified only by an unwavering commitment to experimentation and collaboration. Even a straight telling of Kramer’s bio reads like a wild tall tale. He’s toured as a member of The Fugs and Butthole Surfers. He’s played bass for GG Allin, and live-mixed Sun Ra. Kramer has produced records for dozens of artists, including Daniel Johnston, White Zombie, and Low. Through Shimmy-Disc, Kramer released albums from a fascinating roster of artists that includes Ween, gore metal heroes Gwar, King Missile, and Japan’s noise rock masters the Boredoms. There’s perhaps no other living figure with a greater connection to outsider music than Kramer.

While Kramer has operated successfully in the extreme margins of music, he’s also demonstrated an equal mastery of pop music, producing influential recordings from artists like Galaxie 500 and Will Oldham. Kramer even scored a bonafide hit in 1994, handling production duties for Urge Overkill’s take on Neil Diamonds’ "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon.” That song was featured on Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction soundtrack, and climbed up to a #59 spot on the Billboard Hot 100.

Kramer first rose to prominence in the late 1970s, performing with New York Gong, a side-project connected to ex-Soft Machine guitarist Daevid Allen’s prog rock warhorse Gong. The 1980s saw Kramer co-founding a number of significant groups, including Shockabilly, Bongwater, and Captain Howdy, a collaboration with famed magician Penn Jillette. But the creation of the Shimmy-Disc label in 1987 would prove to be one of Kramer’s most enduring projects. With Shimmy-Disc, Kramer coalesced his varied talents as a producer, curator, and musician into one inextricably linked whole.

“I tried to release stuff no one else wanted to release,” Kramer says of his work with Shimmy-Disc. “I decided that I just wasn't going to stand for seeing all this great music I was producing languish unreleased, passing into obscurity and nothingness right before my very eyes. I knew that there would never be anything I could do about a work of art falling into obscurity, but I could certainly rise to the occasion and challenge the specter of nothingness by starting a record company and releasing the music myself, on vinyl. At least then it wouldn't be nothing. There had to be the opportunity, at least, to listen, or not listen. So I started Shimmy-Disc.”

Kramer’s residency with Joyful Noise Recordings will incorporate all aspects of his creative expression. “I’m devoting the entirety of 2020 to the Artist-In-Residence series for Joyful Noise Recordings,” Kramer explains. “I’ll be focusing on my work as an artist and collaborator, precisely as I did when Shimmy-Disc was operational in the ‘80s and ’90s.”

Follow Kramer on the World Wide Web:
Facebook | Website | Joyful Noise Recordings | Sign Up Page

Letters From A Tapehead

Thursday, May 07, 2020

Online Sounds: Psychic Graveyard

Mouths by Psychic Graveyard was released for Bandcamp Friday on May 1st via Deathbomb Arc. A quick 5-song listen built purely from the time and frustration that extensive periods of quarantine have made available, Mouths is an electro-jolt of urgent, and mostly negative, energy. With commentary informed by the pandemic and the subsequent behaviors manifested by the American public, every track is a "mouth" and every mouth has a lot to say.

"He gets drunk / He attends the protest / His American heart is rotting … inside his chest." — "American Mouth"

The album is available digitally for purchase:

Letters From A Tapehead

Kraftwerk Appreciation Post…

Florian Schneider (4/7/47 – 5/6/20)

In 2009, I wrote a piece about Kraftwerk's reissued discography, The Catalogue: Four Decades of Masterworks. Without delving into each album individually and distilling every seminal and necessary fiber, the goal at the time was to articulate the group's impact on modernity, which, in my mind, put them in the daunting position of having to constantly evolve alongside technology. Citing the group's 1991 LP The Mix, I wrote the following:

"I look at 1991’s The Mix, their re-imagined or updated selection of songs that had, up to that point, been their best known. As both a response to the availability of new technology, and as an alternative to putting out some staid 'best of' compilation, The Mix was Kraftwerk appealing to a new era when guitars were back in vogue and hip-hop had reached its golden age. The Mix comes off as attempt to harness the present, confessing that, even in as primitive a digital era as 1991, technology will remain in flux, never to be outrun by art or music. Progress is forever elusive and temporary while the tangibility of media remains permanent and destined to be left behind."

Florian Schneider, co-founder of Kraftwerk, passed away at the age of 73

I don't believe in clairvoyance, but the ideas that both Schneider and Ralf Hütter had for how the future should sound were bold, revelatory and laid the necessary groundwork for so much of the music that we've come to know, appreciate, and take for granted. It is like they saw the future, assuming rigid, robotic movements while generating the most exciting and dynamic electricity captured to wax that 70s/80s technology would allow. And some artists, notably David Bowie and Brian Eno, saw the value in Kraftwerk's vision and took a lot of notes. 

The most fitting tribute to an artist that I can think of is to fail at imagining the world without their contributions. Certainly there's no way to determine how the last 50 years of music, in all the various permutations, innovations, and excesses it's undergone, would've sounded without Florian Schneider. 

Technology will remain in flux, but human beings determine its trajectory. It will never outrun art or music.

Related link:

Letters From A Tapehead

Wednesday, May 06, 2020

Wire: "The Art Of Persistence"

For me, the prospect of new music from Wire is always thrilling. Having released Mind Hive earlier this year, a compilation of unreleased or "evolved" material called 10:20 is scheduled to release June 19th after having been originally planned as a Record Store Day release. The nature of the 10:20 LP seems to loosely reflect that of 2013's Change Becomes Us, (also a Record Store Day release), which was a collection of material from 1979-1980 that had been revisited and revised. 

As a taste of what to expect, you can check out the new video for "The Art Of Persistence." 

A complete list of each track and its origins was provided by Stereo Sanctity. It doesn't look like a pre-order link has been activated.

Via Stereo Sanctity:

WIRE- Reschedule album '10:20’
A collection of “stray” tracks
- To be released on June 19th via pinkflag
- Hear “The Art of Persistence" now

WIRE have announced new release details for forthcoming album of strays, '10:20'. Originally scheduled for vinyl release on Record Store Day, the album will now receive a full general release on all formats on June 19th, 2020 via the band's own label, pinkflag.

Accompanying the announcement, the band have shared a second glimpse at the record. Following the previously shared new incarnation of "Small Black Reptile", today the band share the first ever studio recording of "The Art of Persistence".

"The Art of Persistence" arrived fully formed when Wire reconvened in 2000, but it was previously only available as a rehearsal room run-through on long deleted EP 'The Third Day' or as a live version on Legal Bootleg album 'Recycling Sherwood Forest'. Here, the song receives the full studio treatment as the group transforms it into a piece of spacious guitar pop with an edge of unease.

The track comes accompanied by a stills movie from Wire's performance at Band on The Wall in Manchester on January 28th, 2020. The band encourage fans to donate to the Save Our Venues campaign, so that shows like this may continue to happen when venues are allowed to re-open. More information here.

"The Art of Persistence" on YouTube:

WIRE have never been a band to rest on their laurels. Indeed, their forward-facing aesthetic is matched only by their industriousness. A scant five months after the release of the widely acclaimed ‘Mind Hive’ (
“Sinewy, stripped-back, fearful – and beautiful” – The Guardian), Wire return with ‘10:20’.

‘10:20’ also thrives on its own perverse logic. Herein are songs the band refers to as ‘strays’. These are recordings of pieces that couldn’t be accommodated on regular albums, as well as compositions that – following their original studio recording – evolved substantially through live performance, and so deserved a new life on record.

Tracks 1 to 4 were recorded in the latter part of 2010 and feature contributions from both Margaret Fielder (of Laika) – who had been performing guitar duties with Wire on live dates the previous year – and Matthew Simms, who was on the point of becoming an official member of the band.

1. ‘Boiling Boy’ first appeared on 1988’s
'A Bell is a Cup... Until it is Struck.' The original studio outing had a smooth sheen that only hinted at the jagged joys to come. ‘Boiling Boy’ has gone on to become perhaps the most played Wire song ever. Throughout the ’00s, it became one of the acknowledged highlights of Wire’s live sets. Here, that arrangement can be heard in all its studio finery. Grey’s precise motorik drumming and Lewis’s muscular bass line create a machine with an unstoppable momentum, while Newman, Simms and Fielder weave a thick web of guitar textures.

2. ‘German Shepherds’ is another late ’80s Wire song that has developed a second life on stage. One of Lewis’s most immediate yet most enigmatic lyrics is set in a sparkling up- tempo arrangement that exploits the possibilities of the rhythm guitar. The recording is also notable in that it includes vocal contributions from Newman, Lewis and Fielder. ‘German Shepherds’ represents Wire at their most optimistic and summery. And yet, even here there is a slanted strangeness at the heart of their sound.

3. ‘He Knows’ was developed back in 2000 when Bruce Gilbert was still with the band. It emerged in a reinvigorated form in 2008 when it became a staple of Wire’s live show. This is the only studio recording to have surfaced. A Wire song with an atypical structure, ‘He Knows’ is a slow-paced piece built around tension and release. Newman’s vocal is cool and restrained until the keening chorus, which blossoms with its repeated refrain of
“We’re hypnotised...” Here, as elsewhere, Wire prove that their particular brand of art-rock is also rich in emotion.

4. ‘Underwater Experiences’ was demoed for the band’s sophomore album
'Chairs Missing', but in the end was omitted. Having lay dormant for a couple of years, the song later appeared in two fast, abrasive, contrasting versions on Wire’s notoriously confrontational live album 'Document And Eyewitness', and a fifth iteration surfaced on 2013’s 'Change Becomes Us'. However, the song has never sounded quite as it does here. With its hectic but precise pell-mell of scything guitars and kick drum, ‘Underwater Experiences’ is 10:20’s most intense entry.

Tracks 5 to 8 were recorded more recently with the long-established line up of Colin Newman, Graham Lewis, Robert Grey and Matthew Simms.

5. ‘The Art of Persistence’ arrived fully formed when Wire reconvened in 2000. But it was previously only available as a rehearsal room run-through on long deleted EP
'The Third Day' or as a live version on Legal Bootleg album 'Recycling Sherwood Forest'. Here, the song receives the full studio treatment as the group transforms it into a piece of spacious guitar pop with an edge of unease. Grey’s drumming is crisp and urgent, and Newman’s calm, confident vocal belies the lyric’s nervous uncertainty. What emerges is a song that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on 1979’s 154.

6. ‘Small Black Reptile’ originally appeared on the band’s 1990 album
'Manscape'. Of all the reimagined songs on 10:20, this is the one that has travelled the furthest. Whereas the original was a skeletal and arch computer-driven pop song, this new version sees the composition retooled as a piece of melodic rock. Here, Wire sound like a smart psychedelic beat group with Matt Simms’ guitar essaying a cocksure swagger.

7. ‘Wolf Collides’, with its warm synth tones and spindly lead lines, sounds as if it deserves to be sitting regally on side two of 1978’s
'Chairs Missing'. In actual fact, it was written in 2015 and became a stalwart of that year’s live set. This version was recorded for inclusion on 2017’s Silver/Lead but was omitted due to lack of space. Here, another witty off-centre Lewis lyric is threaded through a soundscape where mystery and enigma mutate into a becalmed haze. It may just be 10:20’s finest moment.

8. ‘Over Theirs’ is the climax of the continuing reassessment of Wire’s 1980s output. Although the song appeared on
'The Ideal Copy' and has been an intermittent component of the group’s live shows since 1985, its true power had never been properly harnessed in the studio – until now. If this near nine-minute sonic behemoth is defined by its dense guitars and strict drum pattern, then the rich, languorous mesh of drones that rounds off both the song and album proves once again how adept Wire are at discovering beauty in unexpected places.

'10:20' is that rare thing: an album that not only serves as a must-have for long-term fans and completists, but that’s paradoxically also the perfect introduction for anyone new to the band.

Mind Hive order link
Wire Facebook
Wire Twitter
Wire website

Letters From A Tapehead

Monday, May 04, 2020

Beastie Boys Appreciation Post …

Adam “MCA” Yauch (8/5/64 — 5/4/12)

Letters From A Tapehead

Household Gods: "Rest In Power"

"Music is a gift. And, it's a gift to be shared." 

"Rest In Power" is a track by a band called Household Gods, a foursome comprised of musicians David Pajo (Slint, Papa M), Vern Rumsey (Unwound), Lauren K. Newman (LKN Band, Palo Verde) and Conan Neutron (Conan Neutron & the Secret Friends, Replicator). This track is a tribute to Newman who'd passed away in 2019, and features her thoughts and musically-based recall over the band's muck-addled and ethereally-charged crawl, all of which had been culled from interviews. 

The fact that this track was recorded by Dave Catching is not a shock. There's a distinct sonic quality consistent with any recording managed at Rancho De La Luna, and guitar-oriented rock typically sounds unencumbered, aiming to travel endlessly within the aurally limitless expanses of Joshua Tree.

Household Gods' upcoming album, Palace Intrigue, is up for pre-order and will be released June 5th. 

Related links:

Via Seismic Wave Entertainment:

Household Gods is a band. David Pajo (Slint, Papa M), Vern Rumsey (Unwound), Lauren K. Newman (LKN Band, Palo Verde) and Conan Neutron (Conan Neutron & the Secret Friends, Replicator). It was recorded at Rancho Del Luna studios in Joshua Tree by Dave Catching.

The record, Palace Intrigue, was revealed to the world on May 1st for Bandcamp's Covid-19 day of action.

Listeners can hear one song, and soon all of them. $10 pre-order for the digital on Bandcamp.

Palace Intrigue by Household Gods

Letters From A Tapehead

J Zunz: "Y"

Album pre-order J. Zunz is the solo work of Lorena Quintanilla of Lorelle Meets The Obsolete. The new ...