Sunday, November 30, 2008

New Arrivals list #306

Just the usual notice in case you didn't see it on our website already, it's there...

Our Records Of The Week this time:
Coh "Strings" (Raster-Noton) 2cd $23.00
Amazing minimal electronica assembled from manipulated stringed instrument recordings, piano-techno to heavy metal guitar drone to Middle Eastern oud-glitch, very cool in both concept and execution.
Fennesz "Black Sea" (Touch) cd $15.98
Digital electronics-meets-guitar bliss from another big AQ fave. These cold soundscapes may be his best yet!
Ulaan Khol "II" (Soft Abuse) cd $14.98
Steven R. Smith's Ulaan Khol trilogy reaches its second installment, one whose majestic guitar radiance wows us like a more psych-rock version of Zomes. We liked the first Ulaan Khol a lot too but this one's even better!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

FYI, we'll be closed all day tomorrow, Thursday 11/27. Busy giving thanks, feasting, and (oh yeah) writing reviews for our New Arrivals list #306 on Friday. Locals, see you then, we'll be open at 10am on Friday as per usual, albeit with turkey or tofurkey hangovers. Mailorderers sending us emails, you may have to wait 'til Saturday to hear back from us, since no-one's going to be in the office tomorrow and Friday will be a hectic list-day... Ok, have a terrific holiday everybody!

We're in the movies, sort of...

Here at AQ, we're often writing things about Harvey Milk. But, being AQ, it's always stuff about the band Harvey Milk, and not the man for whom the band was named.

So, we encourage everyone to go see the new the new movie, Milk, which opened in theaters today. Directed by Gus Van Sant and starring Sean Penn, Milk is about the life and times (and tragic assassination) of '70s San Francisco supervisor and gay rights leader, Harvey Milk, the nation's first openly gay elected official. We're looking forward to seeing it, and plan on doing so at the Castro Theatre, naturally, where it'll be playing all month.

And not only do we know a few fellas who were extras in the film (including one of Allan's housemates, and one of the guys from Sic Alps) but Aquarius itself gets some screen time! Well, not our actual store here on Valencia Street, but a Hollywood re-creation of our storefront exactly where it used to be back in the day on Castro Street, where we started off, right next door to Harvey Milk's camera shop. That's what's pictured above.

When the film was shooting, someone from the Milk production team actually called here to see if we had an old sign they could use... we didn't, so they made their own. It's supposed to be very '70s psychedelic, though it looks kinda rave-y to us. If you look closely at the posters in the window, they're all for made-up bands.

We asked old AQ owner Butch if the Milk version of Aquarius looked at all authentic. He said, nope. But it's still cool they tried!

The Milk folks did their best to give the whole Castro area a retro makeover for the filming. Our pal Matt Wobensmith blogged a bit about it here when it was happening. (That's where the picture above came from, thanks Matt).

And on the New York Times website today, there's a photo essay slide show thing about Milk that includes a shot of the "fake" old AQ.

So, on a related note: does anyone have any old photos of Aquarius on Castro St. they'd like to share? We'd be curious, we've never seen what either of AQ's early incarnations on Castro St. looked like (we were in two different locations there in the '70s before moving to Noe Valley in the '80s and then over to where we are now in the Mission in 1996).

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Jinxed it

Dang, the Joust machine is already acting up. The screen seems to be on the blink. We probably jinxed it by blogging about it the other day. Fortunately, we're grateful to have a friend, Brett, who knows a thing or two about vintage video game machines (he has an arcade's worth of them in his house) and he's gonna be coming by soon to take a look at the Joust and the Rastan and see if he can fix 'em...

Monday, November 24, 2008


Here's a close-up view of our cassette cabinet (which, we forgot to mention when we described how we fit a new arcade game and new LP rack in the store, we moved from near the listening station, over to the wall next to the new metal cds). The usual lo-fi black metal and floorcore noise cassettes, which primarily populate this cabinet, have been joined by some South American and Indonesian '60s garage psychedelia reissued by the new cassette-only label Plus Tapes...

Between-lists new arrivals roundup

Here's some (but not all) of the stuff we got in since list #305 went out. Some (but not all) of these will be reviewed this Friday on list #306.

One of the more eagerly-awaited items you'll see listed below is the Jewelled Antler Library box set. We have just a few of those left over from the shipment we received, 'cause we had so many pre-orders! So if you didn't preorder it, and want one, better let us know asap! (Those who pre-ordered it should have heard from us already, and in most cases we've already shipped your Jewelled Antler Library box off to you. Thanks!)

There's also the Buddha Machine II (new loops, new colors, and pitch control!!), a few new Mississippi releases, that trilogy of Hawkwind tribute split 7"s on Trensmat, a new issue of The Wire, a new NWOFHM effort from Steel Mammoth, and well, see for yourself, kinda crazy...

Acid Mothers Temple And The Cosmic Inferno / White Hills "Sonic Attack (Psychedelic Warlords)" (Trensmat) 7" $5.98
Animals & Men "Never Bought, Never Sold" (Mississippi) lp $10.98
Aidan Baker "Letters" (Basses Frequences) lp $17.98
Bible Of The Devil "Freedom Metal" (Cruz Del Sur) cd $11.98
Bible Of The Devil / Valkyrie "The Auld Dirt Road / False Dreams" (Heavy Birth Vinyl Records) 7" $5.98
Blood Ceremony "s/t" (Rise Above / Candlelight) cd $13.98
Brethren Of The Free Spirit "The Wolf Also Shall Dwell With The Lamb" (Important Records) cd $14.98
William S. Burroughs "Break Through In Grey Room" (Sub Rosa) cd/lp $14.98/$16.98
David Byrne & Brian Eno "Everything That Happens Will Happen Today" (Todomundo Ltd. / Opal Ltd.) cd $14.98
Colossal Yes "Charlemagne's Big Thaw" (Ba Da Bing) lp $13.98
Dara Puspita "A Go Go" (Plus Tapes) cassette $5.50
Dara Puspita "Green Green Grass" (Plus Tapes) cassette $5.50
Dara Puspita "Jang Pertama" (Plus Tapes) cassette $5.50
Dragging An Ox Through Water "The Tropics of Phenomenon" (Awesome Vistas) lp $14.98
Earthless "Live At Roadburn" (Tee Pee) 2cd/2lp $14.98/$15.98
Fennesz "Black Sea" (Touch) cd $15.98
Flaskavsae / Light Shall Prevail "split" (E.E.E Recordings) cd-r $13.98
FM3 "Buddha Machine II : Brown" (FM3) battery powered soundbox $26.00
FM3 "Buddha Machine II : Burgundy" (FM3) battery powered soundbox $26.00
FM3 "Buddha Machine II : Grey" (FM3) battery powered soundbox $26.00
Grouper / Inca Ore "split" (Acuarela) cd $21.00
Kieran Hebden and Steve Reid "NYC" (Domino) cd $15.98
J.T.IV "Cosmic Lightning" (Galactic Zoo Disc / Drag City) lp+dvd $24.00
Jackie-o Motherfucker "The Cryin' Sea" (Awesome Vistas) lp $14.98
Jarboe "Mahakali" (The End) cd $12.98
The Killers "Day & Age" (Island) cd $15.98
Kinski / Bardo Pond "Sonic Attack (Lords Of Light)" (Trensmat) 7" $5.98
Los Holys "Sueno Sicodelico" (Plus Tapes) cassette $5.50
Mudhoney / Mugstar "Sonic Attack (Motorheads)" (Trensmat) 7" $5.98
The Rats "s/t" (Mississippi) lp $12.98
Sacros "s/t" (Shadoks) cd $17.98
Sad Horse "North Portland Music Series, Volume #2" (Mississippi) 7" $3.98
Sorc'henn "Faro" (Crucial Bliss) cd-r $8.98
J. Spaceman & Matthew Shipp "SpaceShipp" (Treader) cd $17.98
Steel Mammoth "The Kingdom Of The Golden Hammer" (SuperMetsa / Ektro) cd $14.98
Susanna "Flower Of Evil" (Rune Grammofon) cd $17.98
Ulaan Khol "II" (Soft Abuse) cd $14.98
v/a "Dancehall: The Rise Of Jamaican Dancehall Culture" (Soul Jazz) 2cd $25.00
v/a "Dancehall: The Rise Of Jamaican Dancehall Culture Vol. 1" (Soul Jazz) 2lp $25.00
v/a "Dancehall: The Rise Of Jamaican Dancehall Culture Vol. 2" (Soul Jazz) 2lp $25.00
v/a "The Jewelled Antler Library" (Porter) 4cd box $61.00
Watain "Rabid Death's Curse" (Season Of Mist) cd $14.98
Kanye West "808s & Heartbreak" (Roc-A-Fella) cd $15.98
The Wire "#298 November 2009" magazine $9.98
Wooden Shjips "Vampire Blues / I Hear The Vibrations" (Sick Thirst) 7" $4.50

Friday, November 21, 2008

A new addition to the family

If you've been in the store lately, you've already seen it. Joust! The classic video arcade game from 1982. We have one here at AQ now, joining our other arcade machines, Andee's Tron and Allan's Rastan (which is currently out of order, but hopefully soon to be fixed). Andee surprised Allan with the Joust for his birthday a few weeks back, and as far as Allan is concerned, it's about the best birthday present ever. Understandably, Andee says it's Allan's Christmas present, too... C'mon in and play! (Andee is the current high score holder, with 111,900 175,550 points.)

Of course, Joust is best in 2-player mode, wherein you try to cooperate and not accidentally kill each other (except during the "gladiator" levels), so at some point we'll have to have a proper tournament...

If you're wondering where we put this Joust machine in our increasingly crowded store, well we put it where the magazine rack used to be, with the Rastan beside it. We then moved the Tron into the window space vacated by the Rastan. The magazines all went on a new spinny rack. And, somehow, we were able to also fit a whole new LP rack in where the Tron machine used to be! So vinyl browsers will have an easier time of it, and we can stock MORE LPs, yay!

If (if? when!) we get more arcade machines, though, it remains to be seen where we'll squeeze 'em in. And Allan and Andee are planning to attend a video game auction next month, uh oh...

Speaking of new additions to the family, also, we should formally introduce our newest (and tallest) staff member, Nick Ott. What with Cameron leaving to move to NYC, we're really glad to have Nick on board.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Andee doesn't hate these bands

Just can't seem to stop blogging today... Thought some folks might want to take a look at this, it's the latest installment our pal Brandon Stosuy's metal column for Pitchfork, Show No Mercy. As a year-end wrap-up, he's got his top ten of 2008... along with similar lists from a bunch of cool folks with good taste, members of Krallice, Gates Of Slumber, Skeletonwitch, Ludicra, Matmos, Enslaved, and others. Among 'em, a metal top ten from AQ's own Andee! (And some of his picks, we even still have copies of in stock, maybe!).
Even cooler, one of the other top ten lists, by Cosmo of the Invisible Oranges blog, includes haiku about each album.

Bogner fun

Our customer Steven Johnson in Baltimore emailed to say: "Hey there Aquarians... as usual your new arrivals email is helping me tear off the sleepy cobwebs of an early Saturday morning after the work week is done. Ursula Bogner made my week! So inspired I was, I took a gander at the Faitiche website for more morsels. What I found may excite you - should you not already be aware! You can play all the tracks on their website. But more importantly, you can play them at the same time! So one can take Bogner to a whole new level - everyone can be a Bogner mixmaster. I am still messing around with combinations, but so far my favorite is tracks 1 & 2 in combination. You can adjust volumes as well. Perhaps you may want to cue "Aqua-world" in to this little bit of web-fun?!"

Thanks Steve, indeed we do, everybody check it out here:

And while you're there, you can also read more about the fascinating Ursula Bogner... or perhaps we should say "Ursula Bogner"? The skeptical amongst us couldn't help noticing that there's a page on the Faitiche site that gives a definition of the label's name as being "a combination of facts and fetishes, and makes it obvious that the two have a common element of fabrication." Hmm.

9 Beet Stretch

In case all the drone records you've been purchasing here at Aquarius aren't quite enough, you can always tune into this:! It's a internet audio stream of Beethoven's 9th Symphony stretched, without pitch distortion, to 24 hours duration, basically turning it into a gorgeous "pop ambient" drone. It's been streaming on continuous loop since May of 2005... One of the best drone pieces ever!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

New Arrivals list #305

Has been uploaded / emailed out. For the next two weeks you can find it here if you haven't seen it already.

The 2 Records Of The Week, this week:
Ursula Bogner "Recordings 1969-1988" (Faitiche) cd/lp $19.98/$19.98
Hadn't ever heard of her before either, but as soon as we heard her lovingly packaged Recordings 1969-1988, we were smitten, fascinated by the secret sonic life of a mother and housewife, and entranced by her homebrewed hobbyist minimal analog electronic music that's so wonderfully playful and dreamy. Wow. And even if the compelling story of Ursula Bogner were not true (if, say, this was an elaborate hoax perpetrated by Jan Jelinek) we'd still love the music...
Tobacco "Fucked Up Friends" (Anticon) cd/lp $14.98/$14.98
Fuzzed out swap meet synths and vocodered '80 vocals in a WTF? electro pop concoction with guest rapping from Aesop Rock! In heavy rotation here at AQ...

Also, there's a new tUMULt release on this week's list:
The Memories Attack "s/t" (tUMULt/Noyes) cd $13.98
Nope, it's not any sort of black metal, not this time. This one's for the pop lovers out there, it's an album from a Canadian indie noise pop duo featuring one of the dudes from Eric's Trip.

Something to do next Wednesday nite (if you're in SF)

Our friend Ms. Maiko over at Alternative Tentacles passed this along... Ian Svenonius (Make Up, Scene Creamers, Nation Of Ulysses) interviews Richard and Alan Bishop of the Sun City Girls, and Jello Biafra, for a taping of Ian's show on Vice's, this coming Wednesday 11/19, 6:30pm at Cobb's Comedy Club in North Beach. It's free to attend but you gotta RSVP at if you want to go. Could be pretty interestin'!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thanks for the plug!

This interview with the former music director at KFJC makes a nice mention of Aquarius, and also our pals at one of our other favorite radio stations, WFMU.

Oh and speaking of plugs, did you see our top ten sales chart in Rolling Stone magazine recently? It was in the one with AC/DC on the cover. Cute picture of Scott's band The Alps in there too...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Midweek new arrivals roundup

These are some of the interesting items to have shown up here since last Friday's list...

Asva "Futurists Against The Ocean" (Southern) lp $23.00
Azrael Rising "s/t" (Primitive Reaction) cd ep $10.98
Bass Communion "II/III" (Beta-lactam Ring) 2cd $19.98
Bixobal "Number 5 October 2008" (Ri Be Xibalba) magazine $2.00
Blood Of The Black Owl "A Feral Spirit" (Aurora Borealis) lp $17.98
Bohren & Der Club Of Gore "Dolores" (Ipecac) cd $15.98
CSS "Move (Remixes)" (Sub Pop) 12" $4.98
Free Blood "The Singles" (Rong / DFA) cd $14.98
Low "Santa's Coming Over" (Sub Pop) 7" $4.98
Lucky Dragons "Dark Falcon" (Marriage) lp $15.98
Lucky Dragons "Dream Island Laughing Language" (Marriage) lp $16.98
Brother Jack McDuff "Gin & Orange" (Dusty Groove) cd $14.98
Megadeth "Rust In Peace" (Capitol) lp $22.00
Megapuss "Surfing" (Vapor) cd $15.98
Metallica "...And Justice For All" (Warner Bros) 2lp $25.00
No Age "Teen Creeps" (Sub Pop) 7" $3.98
Pelican / These Arms Are Snakes "Gold Diggers / Pink Mammoth" (Hydra Head) 10" $14.98
Piano Magic "Dark Horses" (MMM) cd $14.98
Pig Heart Transplant "Hope You Enjoy Heaven" (Sweatlung) cd $10.98
Rahdunes "Musick" (Sweatlung) cd $10.98
Reverend Bizarre "Dark World / Deceiver" (Primitive Reaction) 7" $9.98
Thou "The Retaliation of the Immutable Force of Nature" (Gilead Media) 12" $12.98
Tipsy "Buzzz" (Ipecac) cd $15.98
v/a "Titan: It's All Pop!" (Numero Group) 2cd $26.00

Both the Blood Of The Black Owl and the Pelican/These Arms Are Snakes split we will be getting in on cd, soon, too.

So, it seems we won't be moving Aquarius to Canada anytime soon, after all

Saturday, November 1, 2008

New Arrivals list #304

Haven't blogged much this week, sorry, that's 'cause we were busy working on the latest New Arrivals list, which you'll find here. Hope everyone had a Happy Halloween!

The four Records Of The Week, this week:
Nahvalr "s/t" (Enemies List) cd $13.98
Buzz upon buzz upon buzz. The first "open source" black metal record, from the same guys behind the blissed out blackened gloom metal of Have A Nice Life!
Fripp & Eno "(No Pussyfooting)" (DGM) 2cd $16.98
Fripp & Eno "Evening Star" (DGM) cd $15.98
Two crucial legendary albums by Fripp & Eno, remastered and reissued, sounding as good as ever, with a whole bonus disc on No Pussyfooting, ready to be worshipped by a new generation of listeners into the likes of Expo '70 and Growing.
Gore "Hart Gore/Mean Man's Dream" (Southern Lord) 2cd $17.98
Finally reissued together on two cds, two of THE most awesome records ever of groundbreaking minimal metallic crunch from this legendary Dutch trio.

PS. Vote vote vote!!!