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Showing posts from December, 2009

What I Heard This Morning: Fucked Up

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For those unfamiliar with the workings of Canadian retro-punkers, Fucked Up , they have a LOT of singles. In 2004, they put out a compilation titled, Epics In Minutes , which is out on Deranged Records. Matador is putting out their SECOND singles compilation, Couple Tracks: Singles 2002 - 2009 , in late January on both double vinyl or double disc with a 7” added for comfort. “Neat Parts” was posted back in November and will of course be included in the compilation. According to the information I gleaned from Matador, this single was originally released on the Triumph Of Life 7” back in 2006. ”Neat Parts” Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead

Rowland S. Howard (1959-2009)

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Musician, Rowland S. Howard passed away yesterday at the age of 50 from liver cancer. He was awaiting a transplant. In all honesty, Howard is one of those names that exists in the ether of post-punk who’s who, and he was a name that I’d been meaning to add to my music library. Only days ago, I had The Birthday Party ’s Prayers On Fire in my hands, ready to shell out the loot for the sake of owning my favorite Birthday Party track, “Nick The Stripper.” I didn’t get it, though, and now I’m kicking myself. So, in memory of Howard and the scene that brought him notoriety, here’s a video for “Nick The Stripper.” R.I.P. Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead

Them Crooked Queens of the Stone Age (appropriately aged for Zeppelin fans)

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Them Crooked Vultures s/t Interscope Released: 11.17.09 There are times when actions beg questioning, even if you do appreciate the outcome. With Them Crooked Vultures , the supergroup venture joining Queens of the Stone Age singer/guitarist, Josh Homme , Foo Fighter Dave Grohl , and Led Zeppelin bassist, John Paul Jones , the possibilities alone seem so exciting. But, what’s the motivation behind joining three generations of musicians into what could ultimately be seen as a marketing ploy with rock roots? Even listening to the album you get the sense that Homme could’ve turned most of this material into a new Queens album as his characteristic falsetto and off-kilter riffs dominate most of the music and don’t necessarily aid in the development of anything particularly new. Grohl seems to be a draw, a re-tapped mainstream presence that gave the Queens the visibility they needed to put Songs For The Deaf in peoples’ hands. Jones? In the 90s, his involvement might’ve meant

Shopping For Records #23: Glitter & Doom & Conference — Some Live Vinyl

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A.K.A. Music purchase: Om Live Conference Important Records Released: 7.27.09 "Sacrilege" may be the word. It's possible I find the idea of the new version of Om , drummer Chris Hakius no longer part of the equation, recording a live rendition of the mighty Conference of the Birds a little unsettling. I picked up Live Conference a couple days ago while scouring A.K.A. for a few birthday selections, unaware that new drummer, Grails transplant Emil Amos , was tapped for the performance. Live Conference , like its studio ancestor, is a two-song LP. Recorded live in September of 2008, Important Records unleashed this behemoth in late July and, as soon as I became aware of it, it was something I wanted to check out. Conference of the Birds is an album I swear by, a smoked out masterpiece of sonic sludge that I live in whenever it’s playing. Al Cisneros sounds great, his flattened prayers tuneless against the wall of energized bass amp behind him. Despite Amo

What I Heard This Morning: jj

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For those of you that took Pitchfork ’s advice and wrapped your heads around jj ’s acclaimed debut, jj nº 2 , the band has signed with Secretly Canadian and will putting out their follow-up, jj nº 3 , in early March. jj nº 2 is an album that I unfortunately missed this year, but what I’ve heard has been mostly club-ish and airy, a less sinister Mezzanine that could resurrect Enya and inspire cannabis culture to appreciate yacht rock. Their single, “Ecstacy,” is one of the few songs I’ve heard successfully utilize Dirty South hip-hop flavor. ”Ecstacy” jj will be touring with The xx in the Spring: 3/22 Baton Rouge, LA - Spanish Moon 3/23 Birmingham, AL - Bottletree 3/24 Atlanta, GA - The Earl 3/25 Carrboro, NC - Cats Cradle 3/28 Washington, DC - Sixth & I Historic Synagogue 3/29 Philadelphia, PA - First Unitarian Church Sanctuary 3/30 Brooklyn, NY - Knitting Factory 3/31 New York, NY - Webster Hall 4/02 Boston, MA - Paradise 4/03 Montreal, QC - Le National 4/04 Toronto, O

Ruse Of Fools: The Flood

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For a couple months, I’ve been getting emails about this video by Philadelphia bred Ruse Of Fools and the new video for their song, “The Flood.” Because there’s been such a lack of information regarding this band, (i.e.: dysfunctional website and dead information links), and because their album, Film Noir , has been out since 2004 or 2005, I really wasn’t sure how to go about promoting them. The song’s good and the video is some warped Persepolis meets Tool mutation. It's definitely worth a look. RUSE OF FOOLS "THE FLOOD" from Rémy M.Larochelle on Vimeo . Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead

Run-D.M.C.: Christmas In Hollis

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I'm not a huge fan of most Christmas music. Most of it's trite and dull, inspiring cover after cover after cover resulting in diminishing quality, like a video tape subjected to many rounds of record. Some songs, though, I do look forward to, mostly Vincent Guaraldi 's A Charlie Brown Christmas and most especially Run-D.M.C. 's "Christmas In Hollis." An old school groove will win every time. Happy Holidays, Letters From A Tapehead

No Ripcord: Top 50 Albums of 2009 (Part Two)

Part 2 is up. I contributed a blurb for Primary Colours by The Horrors . As always, I will be writing up my own year end list in early January. Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead

No Ripcord: Top 50 Albums of 2009 (Part One)

No Ripcord 's Top 50 countdown for 2009 was begun. Part One is up for your perusal. I contributed blurbs for Them Crooked Vultures ' self-titled debut, and Crack The Skye by Mastodon . Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead

What I Heard This Morning: VOICEsVOICEs

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The duo of VOICEsVOICEs have an album coming out in January called, Origins . Between this group and Warpaint , Los Angeles seems to be the land of the ethereal female, whose vocalese is harmonized through limitless space and allowed to create the music. I'm not even sure there are lyrics to be deciphered, but the VOICEs alone make it all worthwhile. "Flulyk Visions (Edit)" Something pretty to get you through Monday. Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead

12.21: Happy Birthday, Frank

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Your family has a candle glowing in your honor. Happy 69th. Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead

Maynard: Tent Revivals and Arizona Wine...

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So, Maynard James Keenan ( Tool , A Perfect Circle ) has a lot going on next year. First off, it turns out Maynard has a vineyard in Arizona. Who knew? A documentary entitled, Blood Into Wine , will be released February of next year and details the efforts of Maynard, and his partner Eric Glomski , to bring Arizona some recognition as a contender in the wine industry. And though wine is the film’s main topic, Maynard himself is also examined in the film. Photo credit: Isaac Brekken And, transitioning from taste to tastelessness, Maynard’s extra-extra curricular activity, Puscifer , will be touring the east coast: March 2 — Atlanta, GA — CW Center Stage March 3 — Atlanta, GA — CW Center Stage March 5 — Washington, DC — Lincoln Center March 6 — Washington, DC — Lincoln Center March 8 — Philadelphia, PA — Theater of Living Arts March 9 — Philadelphia, PA — Theater of Living Arts March 11 — New York, NY — Grand Ballroom March 13 — New York, NY — Apollo Theater March 15 — Bosto

What I Heard This Morning: AFCGT

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So, AFCGT is a sort of non-thinking way to name this mind-numbingly sonic experiment comprised of Seattle groups A Frames and Climax Golden Twins . “Two Legged Dog,” from their upcoming self-titled LP, (their 10” EP and OTHER full-length LP are also self-titled interestingly), moves and builds into static absorption consuming enough to interrupt any ability to multitask. I’ve listened to the song about three or four times now and it’s been impossible to actually do anything other than stare. "Two Legged Dog" The album will be available on Sub Pop in late January as a 12” LP with a bonus 7” single, or digitally sans bonus. No CD release, though, folks, so time to get a turntable. Guess next year we’ll witness the first steps in phasing out the compact disc. Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead

Daytrotter Sessions: Japandroids

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Yesterday, post-garage rockers Japandroids laid down a couple tracks for Daytrotter , including a decent cover of Big Black ’s “Racer X.” You can download the session here , so long as you don’t mind registering with the site. Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead

Shopping For Records #22: Here Lies Love

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I realize that I’m on a multitude of mailing lists for news, updates and information from music resources, labels and artists, but it’s always cool to see a name like David Byrne staring back at you from your inbox. Late February will see the release of a collaborative effort with Fatboy Slim entitled, Here Lies Love , which is about Imelda Marcos and her caretaker, Estrella Campus . It’s a double-CD and DVD set with a hundred-page booklet that, in Byrne’s words, “explains it all.” Some of the vocalists enlisted for this album are: Florence Welch (of Florence + The Machine ), Sia , Santigold , Nellie McKay , Sharon Jones , St. Vincent , and Róisín Murphy . It’s Byrne: I’ll give it shot. Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead

Dinowalrus: Bead

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Stereogum posted a video for “Bead” by Dinowalrus . Pretty epileptic video, but indicative of their manically percussive No Wave spaz rock. I’m starting to understand parallels between these guys and Mi Ami , dance-friendly rhythms that confine an otherwise expansive and minimalist sonic dissonance. I posted this track back in November , along with a couple others, and I’m really looking forward to hearing their album, % , which will be out in January. In the meantime, see if you can actually watch this. Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead

Shopping For Records #21: Shrinebuilder on double wax...

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So, one of my favorite albums to come out this year, Shrinebuilder ’s debut, is now available as a double LP. 12” vinyl at 45 rpm. U.S. version European version You can order it at the band’s label, Neurot Recordings . Something else to put on the wish list. Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead

The Year End Gathering: Stragglers Vol. 1

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This hasn’t been an easy year. For some critic types, (i.e. the successful ones), I think it might be simpler to get across what usually takes me hours to come up with, as ironically, I’m my own worst critic. It’s not often that I’m happy with what I write, the conclusions I draw or the opinions I offer and, because of that, I tend to torture myself with albums before I’m able to actually sit down, take a breath, and type something out that may or may not offend. It’s possible that I took on more this year than I should’ve, so some albums slipped through the cracks. In an attempt to at least offer some notice to the albums I missed, I’ll be compiling them into a few short blurbs over the next few weeks or so. Here is the first group: Giant Squid The Ichthyologist (Self-released) Released: 2.3.09 I acquired The Ichthyologist around March of this year through Giant Squid ’s Myspace page before they were signed to Translation Loss. This album was re-released by their label i

What I Heard This Morning: The Besnard Lakes

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Something else to look forward to for next year, Jagjaguwar’s The Besnard Lakes are releasing their newest LP, The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night in early March. A single from the album, “Albatross,” will be released as a 12” in February. Cover for The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night Cover for Albatross This track is from their last album, The Besnard Lakes Are the Dark Horse . ”And You Lied To Me” Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead

What I Heard This Morning: Liars

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So, March 2010 will see the release of Sisterworld , the new album by retro-no wavers, Liars . Their first single, “Scissor,” is an electrified blues lament that wildly deviates from its melancholic intro. It’s loud and abrupt like only the Liars know how to be, providing ample hope that their fifth album will be a worthwhile addition to the library. You can download the single at their website , or get more information over at Mute Records . Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead

Lennon 29: An Update For Johnny Silver...

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2009 reacquainted the world with The Beatles and your face is now alive from a virtual standpoint, staring back at video game enthusiasts holding faux instruments. To me, technology did you guys a solid this year, cleaning up your legacy in a respectful, albeit digitized, manner. As much as you wanted to forget about The Beatles, the world wants to keep remembering: All those songs, all those albums and all that brain scrambling madness that emerged from those grooves like a riot on a turntable. 29 years after the trigger clicked the mood isn’t so optimistic, no “imagine”-style whimsy aflutter with visions of bed peace or hair peace, peace of ass or peace of meat, here-a-peace, there-a-peace, everywhere a peace-peace. The war isn’t over this Christmas. Maybe you’d be disenchanted with our political climate, but you can take solace knowing that it’s still uncool to like Paul McCartney , even though he doesn’t deserve all the cold shoulders. Cynical times and music won't cha

On Stage Testimony From the Gods of $5 Rock...

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Don’t you miss Fugazi? In the same roundabout way that you find most things on the Internet, (i.e. “Let’s check out Pitchfork and go from there.”), I managed to find this 40 minute compilation of stage banter from the mighty Fugazi posted at Chunklet . It’s an interesting reminder as to the difficulty of trying to carve out an entirely new niche after pioneering the oft-time violent hardcore scene, Ian MacKaye and crew unfortunately subjected to the antics of children that were entirely too young to experience the spitting and punching when it was the thing to do. When I saw Fugazi in 1995, I remember hearing shouts of “Straight Edge” and “Minor Threat” from every corner of the Trocadero as MacKaye restrung his guitar after popping a high E. It’s probably the best $5 I’ve ever spent. Anyway, hearing this 40 minute clip of Ian and Guy Picciotto either berating, defending or speaking to the crowd, my ears have received nothing other than Fugazi all day. I truly miss this ban

The Haunted House of Funerary Circumstance on Wax…

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Califone All My Friends Are Funeral Singers Dead Oceans Released: 10.6.09 All My Friends Are Funeral Singers will be a movie. Before I knew that, the album version already had a narrative feel, conceptual chapters that attempt to convey something of a story. And though I’m not completely aware of what it says, Califone ’s ponderous and acoustic album sounds as natural as elapsed time or budding flora, organic head-growth conveyed through risk and sensitivity. With “Giving Away The Bride,” All My Friends Are Funeral Singers leads in with a somewhat long and looped stride that sporadically erupts into fuzz and odd instrumental moans. Califone’s experimental heart is more apparent here, the rest of the album bestowing hollow-bodied strums and blues-based sing-a-longs that take unconventional jaunts into some other headspace, maybe ghostly ideas translated into something unconfined by category. A romantic notion? It’s possible that my expectations were so blown that objecti