Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Lichens instore

Don't forget, Robert A.A. Lowe aka Lichens will be performing at the shop tomorrow, Wednesday December 15th at 6pm!!!!!

Here's what we wrote about Lichens' debut on Kranky/Holy Mountain:

Robert Lowe, of the now defunct 90 Day Men, as well as part time member of TV On The Radio, delivers his first solo record, using the name Lichens, and creates a ghostly otherworld, using primarily his voice. That's right. An acapella record. Well, mostly. Lowe's haunting impressionistic vocals are drenched in reverb and sent drifitng into the ether, a soft fluttering falsetto most of the time, a low monk like chant at others, swooping through ominous minor key melodies, over simple sparkling guitar lines, wrapped in a warm and shimmery haze, over a bed of rumbling drones and occasional chiming percussion. Delicate crystalline soundscapes equal parts Pelt, Sigur Ros, Scott Tuma and Jewelled Antler. All three tracks recorded live with no overdubs, all completely otherworldly and breathtakingly lovely.

Blogging blues

Hey folks, as you may (or may not) have noticed, posting has been light 'round here lately. Haven't even been keeping up with the usual blog post announcing a new New Arrivals list. That's 'cause until we manage to migrate this blog onto the front page of the actual AQ site (which is part of a major site upgrade we have in the works), it's seeming to us that we get a better response / wider readership from things we post to our Facebook page, or Twitter about. If you haven't signed up for either or both, may we suggest you do so?

Lately we've been posting a "used cd score of the day" to the Facebook page, for those of you who don't regularly dig through our used section... there's some hidden gems.

Not that we're gonna not post stuff here too... but just a heads up to check out those other socially networked means of staying in touch with what's going at AQ.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hey friends, have a nice holiday! We'll be closed Thursday, but hope to see you all again real soon on (Black) Friday, the 26th, which is a bit of a mini Record Store Day, with a few special, limited edition releases for the occasion. We didn't get 'em all, just the ones we thought were most interesting, a new Iron & Wine ep being chief among 'em.

(Also, sorry posting has been light on this blog lately, sometimes we have the blogging bug and sometimes we don't...)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Cake!


One of the two cakes we had made for our AQ40 party. Not the best-lit picture, but you get the idea. Very nice work, King's Bakery on Mission St.! And it was yummy too.

New Arrivals #357.13: Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Don't forget to Freakout


We know we've got an event here at the store tomorrow too, but we also want to remind everybody that the 2010 edition of the Frisco Freakout psychedelic dance party all-day festival at Thee Parkside is tomorrow!! Along with Arthur mag, KUSF, and um, Ice Cream Man, we're proud to be sponsors. Here's the lineup, with set times:

12:30 AM Wooden Shjips
11:15 PM Howlin Rain
10:00 PM Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound
9:00 PM Carlton Melton
8:00 PM Strangers Family Band
7:00 PM White Manna
6:00 PM Greg Ashley
5:00 PM JEFFERTITTI's NILE
4:00 PM Young Prisms
3:00 PM Sic Alps
2:00 PM Glitter Wizard
1:30 PM Mass At Dawn

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

MSN's metal blog talks to AQ

MSN's metal blog, Headbang, recently had a chat with Andee and Allan about Aquarius, and metal, and stuff. Thankfully the video has been edited to not be too embarrassing. Though, as always, as soon as the camera stopped rolling, our conversation got a lot more interesting. Really. Still, if you're curious, check it out. The blogger guy, Phil Freeman, was really nice and we enjoyed talking with him, even if our discussion about obscure technical death metal ended up on the cutting room floor.

Double Live On Valencia posters


We'll have these rad posters for sale ($25) at the instore Saturday (and they'll also be for sale across the street at Lost Weekend, 1034 Valencia, where Superchunk will be going to do a Q&A and screen the Quest For Sleep documentary at 6pm, after their acoustic set here at 5pm). Thanks to our friends at Lost Weekend for making these posters happen!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

AQ 40th Birthday Show!! Oct. 25th!!

In case you didn't see our email about it...

Lordy, lordy, look who's 40! 



Us, that's who. 



That's right, aQuarius has been "getting the music to the people" since 1970 (hence our Age-of-Aquarius moniker). 



So 2010 marks our 40th anniversary. 



Wow. 



Of course, none of us here now have been at AQ quite that long. But still, it's a milestone worthy of note. And we're certainly proud of aQuarius' history as San Francisco's oldest surviving independent record store. aQuarius was SF's punk rock/new wave store back in the '70s (when we were located on Castro St.), and over the years we sure have seen lots of music trends/scenes/formats come and go. All along, doing our very best to bring you the best, music-wise. 



We said "surviving", and we won't kid you, as you can imagine, in the current economy, it's not always easy. But we'd sure like to be doing what we do for a long time yet to come. And thanks to all the folks like you reading this, hopefully we will! 



Everybody here feels like it's a special thing to be a part of aQuarius, a chance to be involved with the music we love, getting it to the people who will appreciate it. And we couldn't do it without you! In fact, there'd be no point. 



So, to celebrate 40 years of aQuarius, we're throwing ourselves a "surprise" birthday party. Real soon. And you're invited! 



It's in a little over two weeks, on Monday October 25th, doors at 7pm show starting at 8pm sharp, at the Cafe DuNord, 2170 Market Street

We've got six great bands lined up for the event (not necessarily in this order): 



THE MANTLES
power pop drone rockers, with records on Siltbreeze and Mexican Summer
LUMERIANS
psychedelic hypno dirge space rock, & maybe they'll do "Crazy Horses"! 

DZJENGHIS KHAN 

retro-proto-metal garage rock power trio a la Blue Cheer 

PIGS
heavy, rifftastic punk-metal radness sorta like a scuzzier Melvins
DATE PALMS
boy-girl dream-drone duo from Oakland with a fantastic debut lp just out on Root Strata 


PLUS a special, secret headliner!!! We can't tell you who they are just yet, but there's a pretty good chance you bought their new album from us... and their shows are usually at places a bit bigger than the DuNord... and they're on the poppier, sunshinier side of things... huge faves here. 



We'll have some birthday cake to share with folks who get to the show early enough (you'll want to anyway, with six bands it's gonna start on time, if not earlier!). Also we'll be doing a drawing for $40 aQuarius gift certificates at the start of the show as well. 


Admission is just $10, advance tickets will be available here at AQ and at the DuNord box office soon. 
We really hope to see you all there (and tell your friends!). Please come out, see some great music, support AQ, and make it a 40th to remember! 



We'll be posting/emailing you again with reminders and updates, it's really soon though so mark your calendars now. 


Thanks!!! 


(And yes, we know, it's been 2010 for a while now... but as you get older, you start forgetting things.) 


New Arrivals #356

Once more, unto the breach! A new list is up.

Records Of The Week:

MAJEURE "Timespan" (Temporary Residence) 2cd/2lp $16.98/$15.98
Epic, sprawling spaced out sci-fi electronic minimal kraut disco epics from one half of Zombi, total John Carpenter / Goblin / Vangelis worship, propulsive, motorik and psychedelic... on vinyl and cd (& the cd comes with an entire extra bonus disc of remixes, including one by Justin Broadrick of Jesu).
SALEM "King Night" (IAMSOUND) cd $11.98
The poster boys (and girls) of 'witch house' live up to the hype, a dizzying disc of blissed out hypnogogic shoegazey drift, lurching, chopped and screwed style Southern crunk, majestic choral dreaminess, blurred beat heavy collaged electronica, and sample heavy blown out synthbuzz epicness! Wow.
CLAIR CASSIS "s/t" (Full Moon Productions) cd $10.98
Now on cd! The long awaited debut of this post Velvet Cacoon combo, the buzz and blur of VC, jammed into shorter 'pop' songs, with super melodic basslines, transforming black metal buzz into something much more gloomy and melodic and catchy and weirdly fucked up and brilliant!
GERMAN OAK "s/t" (Flash Back) cd $17.98
Also now on cd, and with 3 BONUS TRACKS! A legendary krautrock classic, and ALL TIME AQ favorite, reissued, after being out of print for way too long. Heavy and weird and dark and damaged, hypnotic and bizarre, spaced out and rhythmic, incredible bunker-recorded underground insanity.

Instore next Saturday

Hey folks, there's this obscure new band we think you might like, they're pretty cool, so we thought we'd try and help these youngsters out out by letting them play a free acoustic instore at Aquarius, it's a week from today, Saturday October 16th, at 5pm, so come on by and check 'em out. Oh, they're called Superchunk.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

New Arrivals #355.5

The instore yesterday was awesome, thanks White Hills Black Valleys for playing! And, we sent out another "in-between" list, this one devoted to "Attaining tUMULt-uousness", highlighting the diverse output of our Andee's own label, tUMULt. If you somehow missed the likes of Worms, Varghkoghargasmal, Like A Kind Of Matador, the Painted Black comp, etc., now's your chance to check 'em out - and all tUMULt stuff has been marked down as well!

Monday, September 27, 2010

New Arrivals #355

Such a nice sunny weekend here in SF, almost forgot to blog about the new list we sent out on Friday!

It's got five (5) Records Of The Week on it too, wow:

PHILIP JECK "An Ark For The Listener" (Touch) cd $15.98
Latest disc of otherworldly ambience, from one of our all time favorites, a series of hazy and gauzy record player driven dreamscapes, woven from hushed drifts of blurred sound, buried melodies, and murky textures and muddied rhythmic swells, as always so fantastically breathtaking.
GROUP INERANE "Guitars From Agadez Vol. 3" (Sublime Frequencies) lp $25.00
Latest from the Sublime Frequencies label, another fantastic record of buzzing cyclical hypnotic African Tureg Guitar music from these legends, the third in the Guitars From Agadez series, super limited and vinyl only.
BRUTAL TRUTH "Need To Control (Redux)" (Earache) cd $14.98
Perhaps one of the greatest grind records ever, hell, maybe one of the best metal records ever, industrial doom thud collides with whirling psych grind madness collides with abstract noise, catchy and heavy and WAY weird, finally reissued on Earache with bonus tracks, including a Celtic Frost and Pink Floyd (!) cover!!!!
BASTARD NOISE "A Culture Of Monsters" (Deep Six) cd/lp $10.98/$12.98
The one time members of powerviolence legends Man Is The Bastard, finally fully drag their newer, more abstract, electronic noise outfit kicking and screaming into the knuckle dragging fray of old school blast and pummel, for some serious noisy mathy heaviness!!
SUN CITY GIRLS "Funeral Mariachi" (Abduction) lp $25.00
The final record from these weird genius sonic mystics, the last to be recorded before the untimely death of their drummer, an expansive, soundtracky epic, rife with Morricone influences. Introspective, haunting, and at times quite beautiful.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Instore upcoming: Black Valleys

We were all excited to announce that our fave East Coast space rock psych lords, White Hills, were gonna be doing an instore here at AQ real soon, on October 1st to be precise, the same day they'll be playing in SF at the Rickshaw Stop. Unfortunately, they had to cancel. But, never fear! They've hooked us up with some friends of theirs, a mysterious band of synthy dronesters called Black Valleys, who can do the instore. We're assured that all White Hills fans will totally dig Black Valleys too... So come on by, that's Friday, October 1st at 4pm, to check out the first ever Black Valleys performance!!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

New Arrivals #354.5

Our latest "in-between list" list is all about some of our Favorite Found Sounds and Field Recordings. Subjects include: frogs, loons, cow bells, cats, kittens, angry drunks, melting ice, and more! Check it out.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

PARK(ing)

So maybe you already know about this, but apparently tomorrow is something called international PARK(ing) Day, our friend Daryll just told us about it. The idea being that folks are supposed to "transform metered parking spots into temporary parks", partly for fun, partly to raise awareness of environmental concerns. Our friend has a supply of sod, apparently, and plans to come by in the morning tomorrow and create a little urban oasis in one of the parking spots in front of our store. Which inspired Andee to plan on bringing his BBQ grill (is that good for the environment?). So if you're in the Mission on Friday and stop by AQ, you can maybe get Andee to cook you a hot dog or something!

Also don't forget, Saturday we're hosting the KFJC Penny Pitch, see earlier blog post below for details.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Perhacs & Phelps

Wow. We're all pretty excited about this. We're not that familiar with Jeff Phelps, but we dig Nite Jewel and The Samps... and boy do we love acid folk chanteuse Linda Perhacs (and her wonderful 1970 album "Parallelograms"), pretty incredible that this is gonna be her 2nd live performance ever... We may have some tickets to give away for the Perhacs show, we'll keep you posted...

Human Ear Presents: Linda Perhacs and Jeff Phelps @ San Francisco Art Institute

Human Ear presents two legendary artists,
October 2nd and October 9th, 2010
at San Francisco Art Institute

October 2nd: Jeff Phelps, Nite Jewel, The Samps
Starting with 1985's sought-after, self-recorded, "Magnetic Eyes" LP, Jeff Phelps has crafted 25 years of idiosyncratic, original soul. Phelps lovers Nite Jewel and The Samps open, then join in as part of Phelp's backing band.

October 9th: Linda Perhacs, Julia Holter, CLoudS
Her 1970 masterpiece "Parallelograms" has influenced a generation of alternative musicians. She now joins us in San Francisco to perform new material. Opening are Perhacs collaborator Julia Holter, and Human Ear SF's Jean Yaste and Jason Grier as CLoudS.

SFAI Lecture Hall • 800 Chestnut Street • San Francisco, CA 94133
ALL AGES • $17 • 7pm Sharp! (Doors at 6:30)
All tickets are will call and may be purchased at www.human-ear.org tickets

Sunday, September 12, 2010

New Arrivals #354

Delve into the whole thing here.

Records Of The Week:

CLOUDLAND CANYON Fin Eaves (Holy Mountain) cd $13.98
After years of channeling noise drenched krautrock drift, these aQ faves embrace their love of pop and whip up an otherworldly noise drenched lysergic dream pop classic, fuzzed out and deliriously droney!!
GERMAN OAK s/t (Flash Back) lp $24.00
This legendary krautrock classic, and ALL TIME AQ favorite gets reissued on vinyl, after being out of print for way too long. Heavy and weird and dark and damaged, hypnotic and bizarre, spaced out and rhythmic, incredible!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

KFJC live from AQ

Hey it's that time of year again, time for the KFJC Penny Pitch, a fundraiser for one of our absolute favoritest non-commercial radio stations! We've hosted this event a couple of times before and it's always been super fun and festive. So please come by on Saturday, September 18th (or tune in on the radio or online!), there'll be a tent set up on the sidewalk outside of AQ with a whole bunch of KFJC's DJs broadcasting live all afternoon, from one o'clock to six o'clock pm. Not only can you do some shopping here, but you can donate some change to support KFJC.

Plus there'll be the usual snacks and beverages and stuff... and maybe one or more of the AQ staff will get to spin some tunes on the radio too.

Here's the schedule for the live KFJC DJs:
1pm C.H. Skewer
2pm Cynthia Lombard
3pm Maybelline
4pm Belladonna
5pm Captain Jack

Sunday, September 5, 2010

New Arrivals #353.5

Tonight's the last night of the On Land Festival here in SF, and it's been awesome thus far (including the On Land related instore at AQ earlier this afternoon). You can read about some releases from the participating artists on the On Land themed in-between list list we sent out Friday, which also includes a separate section of new stuff like the latest batch of Mississippi titles.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

New Arrivals #353

Our latest list.

Records Of The Week:

HEADS "Relaxing With The Heads" (Rooster) 2cd $16.98
Killer reissue of the 1996 debut record from these UK space rock rifflords, perfectly timed to school the current crop of young punk space rock wannabes, still the heaviest hookiest space rock record ever, even nearly 15 years later, with a whole bonus disc of extra tracks, B sides and Peel Sessions...
TRISTAN PERICH "1-Bit Symphony" (Cantaloupe Music) jewel case 1-bit electronic music generator $30.00
The second of Perich's cool musical devices and 1-bit compositions, a series of weirdly lush lo-fi loopscapes created with exclusively 1 bit sounds, in a little jewel case contained music generator, easily the coolest music gizmo since the Buddha Machine, with some gorgeous tunes built in to boot.
CHRISTIAN MISTRESS "Agony And Opium" (20 Buck Spin) cd/lp 10.98/14.98
Awesome NWOBHM style true melodic metal from this Olympia outfit, old school and original, with epic riffing, REAL singing, totally hooky and heavy and incredible, Fenriz from Darkthrone endorsed thusly: "heavy metal the old way, the exact way we enjoy it ourselves"!!
MOEBIUS & BEERBOHM "Double Cut" (Bureau B) cd $17.98
Welcome reissue of this early eighties post Cluster collaboration, that's not so much krautrock as an otherworldly version of minimal techno, a way ahead of its time proto Chain Reaction electronica, mesmerizing and menacing and so incredible!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

On Land, In Store!

Hopefully SF locals (and nearby folks, and travelers from far places) all already know about this year's edition of the Root Strata-curated On Land Festival, happening next week, Thursday through Sunday, September 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th. Performers include Oneohtrix Point Never, Barn Owl, Daniel Higgs, Xela, Pulse Emitter, Rene Hell, Bill Orcutt, The Alps, White Rainbow, Starving Weirdos, Grouper, Grasslung, Higuma, and many many more. We've got tickets for sale here at AQ.

And, we're also gonna be hosting a special On Land related instore that weekend!

featuring the new duo of
ILYAS AHMED + LIZ HARRIS (Grouper)

and
CHRISTINA CARTER (Charalambides)

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 5th
2 o'clock pm
right here at AQ

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Swiss sound and imaginary space

Curious to check this out when it opens next month, an exhibition of sound-art installations at San Francisco's Gray Area Foundation For The Arts, all the way from Zurich. And we're definitely looking forward to a solo show there in early 2011 by Swiss artist Zimoun, whose kinetic sculptures (often involving many, many small motors) are quite interesting visually, sonically, and conceptually, judging by the video clips posted on his website...

Saturday, August 21, 2010

New Arrivals #352.5

Duos duos duos! That's the theme of this week's point-fiver. A selection of some of our fave duos. Silver Apples, Coyle & Sharpe, Lightning Bolt, Cluster, Ruins, Matmos, all sorts of duos... oops forgot Happy Flowers.

Monday, August 16, 2010

New Arrivals #352

New list up, as of Friday night!

Records Of The Week:

CLAIR CASSIS "s/t" (Starlight Temple Society) lp $14.98
The long awaited debut of this post Velvet Cacoon combo, the buzz and blur of VC, jammed into shorter 'pop' songs, with super melodic basslines, transforming black metal buzz into something much more gloomy and melodic and catchy and weirdly fucked up and brilliant! Limited vinyl release (but we WILL be getting a cd version soon too). Oh, and look below for a VC vinyl reissue with bonus material as well!

FABULOUS DIAMONDS "II" (Chapter Music/Siltbreeze) cd/lp $16.98/$15.98
Second full length record from these Aussies, quasi-mystical post-Terry Riley time-lag accumulation and proto-electronica guitar riffs over stripped down slinky percussive grooves and motorik krautrock beats resulting in some seriously hypno-zoner bliss out; vinyl via Siltbreeze, cd on Chapter.

Monday, August 9, 2010

New Arrivals #351.5

Blog lag... we sent out another "in-between list" list on Friday, a TAPES TAPES TAPES edition. Most of those tapes are gone gone gone now. But we do still have a few of a few... so check it out if you haven't already, tapeheads, and try your luck.

For your listening pleasure

Well, ok, everything we write about usually pertains to your listening pleasure. But anyway, thought we'd draw your attention to a really cool podcast from WBEZ in Chicago, called Hit It Or Quit It, this particular episode featuring AQ's own Irwin (also of KUSF fame) talking about some local SF bands he loves, plus there's an interview with one of the Woven Bones, and a report (by our pal Derek Erdman) from that weird gathering that Insane Clown Posse fans go to every summer!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

New Arrivals #351

Gotta blog about something else besides new lists one of these days soon... trouble is, doing our list definitely cuts into writing time for other things as you may imagine. The latest one is up now, lots of cool stuff on it, including Boris vinyl and a new Pharaoh Overlord, so please check it out and order some stuff!

Records Of The Week:

RAZEN / SHELDON SIEGEL "split" ((K-RAA-K)3) lp $16.98
Super weird and wonderful split lp, Razen deliver a sort of abstract off kilter and intense faux world music, performed on instruments the band members don't know how to play, while Sheldon Siegel, a band not a person, take free jazz and stretch it to its droned out rhythmically abstract breaking point. So good! Vinyl-only and super limited.
JAILL "That's How We Burn" (Sub Pop) cd/lp $13.98/$15.98
Pop record of the year! A new disc of psychedelic jangle and hook filled indie rock, so crazy catchy, one of our favorite new records for sure!!
THE BODY "All The Waters Of The Earth Turn To Blood" (At A Loss) cd $10.98
Finally on cd, the latest disc of crushing abstract avant doom from this Rhode Island duo, heavy as hell, but not just regular doom, multiple drummers, an actual choir, strange edits, dronescapes and plenty of other sonic weirdness.

Friday, July 23, 2010

New Arrivals #350.5

Not really "new arrivals", but another "in-between" list rounding up, this time, vinyl 7"s! 'Cause we did the all-vinyl round up on #349.5, but forgot the sevens. So this list is ALL sevens.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

New Arrivals #350

Wow, three hundred and fifty of these New Arrivals lists so far! We made sure this one was an especially good list.

Records Of The Week:

ROCKFORD KABINE "Xero OST" (Clockwork / Cobra) cd + dvd $19.98
Latest from this German duo, another collection of fantastic short form, cinematic micro-epics, strings and chimes and twang and drone, lush, and haunting, and mysterious and playful, the score to an actual adult film, an arty psychedelic XXX art movie, cd + dvd, must be 18 to buy, not for the underage or the prudish!!!
V/A "Saigon Rock & Soul - Vietnamese Classic Tracks 1958-1974" (Sublime Frequencies) 2lp $30.00
Latest vinyl-only release from Sublime Frequencies, this one focusing on super fuzzy, ultra rocking Vietnamese garage rock from the sixties and seventies, so good!
CHARANJIT SINGH "Synthesizing: Ten Ragas To A Disco Beat" (Bombay Connection) cd $17.98
Finally on cd, this hard to believe, head spinning collection of proto-acid techno synth ragas from India, circa 1982, INCREDIBLE!!!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Lau Nau, instore soon

Got another special instore performance coming up soon, we're excited to host an appearance by Finland's Laura Naukkarinen aka Lau Nau this weekend!

that's...

Sunday, July 18th
5pm


Don't miss it!

Here's what we said about Lau Nau's two albums for the Locust label, Kuutarha and Nukkuu:
Ahh, Finland. We've said that before. Now perhaps people in Finland think about California the way we think about Finland. But of course they'd be wrong. We don't have any analog to Moomins trolling about in our forests. Whereas our fantasies about that far-off land are quite accurate. At least, judging by the ongoing gurgle of cd-rs and tapes and cds and such flowing from their fertile "free-folk" underground, from Kemialliset Ystavat to Avarus to Kiila. And recordings like Lau Nau's Kuutarha just make our fantasies of Finland more and more vivid and otherworldly. Lau Nau is Laura Naukkarinen and a few friends. She's a very lovely singer, a member of Kiila, Paivansade, and Anaksimandros. Here her melodic Finnish-language vocals are set to droneily folkish backing, making for quitely distorted lullabies. Finnophiles will agree that this could also definitely be compared to Islaja, but perhaps rawer, more broken down and abstract. And to make a Finland-California comparison, well, this could basically be a Finnish version of Jewelled Antler's Franciscan Hobbies, with Laura Naukkarien's vocals. So very very nice. (Hmm, which came first? Jewelled Antler or the these Finnish forest folk folks? Doesn't matter, it's the zeitgeist we guess!)
For some reason, we like to look at the list of instruments and non-instruments used on records like these, maybe you do to, so here goes: acoustic bass, bass recorder, five-stringed kantele, acoustic guitar, tenor recorder, violin, bamboo flute, colorful juice glasses, mortar, mandolin, witch laugh megaphone, baby's rattle, bike bells, banjo, cowbells, electric guitar, organ, willow whistle, tablas, percussion, cymbals, comb, beer cans, tamboura...
Lau Nau's Nukuu walks an incredibly fine line between the expansive forms and consistent density and texture of drone music, while also hiding within that density many structural shifts more akin to folk music. Watching her music vibrate between these two poles is the main attraction on this record, but remarkably, she finds an incredible amount of detail and freedom to explore between them. The songs often anchor in centrifugal clusters of tone and texture, looping and feasting on themselves, while occasionally a lyrical vocal passage, or a particularly noteworthy electronic or acoustic phrase will emerge to a more singular position in the mix. Other songs however, are less roiling and give the listener the opportunity to bask in the delicacy and winsome precision in Lau's voice, sometimes creaky and childlike, other times whispered and ghostly. Lau's decisions regarding the modalities and textures of her instrumentation, as well as the cadences of her lyrics, sung in Suomi, all reflect Finland's liminal position between the influences of Europe and Asia. That said, given her lo-fi recording approach at times, she can sound eerily similar to some of the '78s we've been graced with in the past year from Dust-to-Digital's Victrola Favorites and Black Mirror collections. The obvious comparisons to Islaja and Kuupuu, her collaborators in Hertta Lussu Assa, yields Lau a more innocent, gentle, and dare we say motherly distinction, as opposed to the bewitching dark humor of the other two. Without indulging her biography too much, it is worth noting Lau gave birth to a son in the interim since her last album. Apparently much of the record was written while her child was sleeping, and so too it is titled, "sleeps." Naturally it follows that there are a few lullabies in the mix, but there is also a keen sense of independence, as though these songs are about digesting much more than motherhood, a feet in itself. Like another Scandinavian luminary on this list, El Perro Del Mar, Lau butts up against an almost hymnal like intimacy at times, though her work is naturally more feral, and less controlled and crystalline. Fans of all things Finnish will obviously be pleased, but those who've enjoyed Natural Snow Buildings, acts from the Dronevolk compilation, and even Valet will also find themselves gently coaxed into a similar but challenging musical terrain. All told, atmospheric and entrancing, subtle and intelligent, composed and vulnerable, Nukkuu comes highly recommended.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tickets tickets tickets

Local folks, we've got some tickets to three cool upcoming shows to give away. All of 'em are at the Elbo Room (647 Valencia St.), a few blocks from Aquarius. Two of the shows are metal/punk oriented, one more of a hiphop/dance thing. You'll have to email us at store [at] aquariusrecords.org for a chance to win 'em. Here's the details...

ONE PAIR OF TIX:

Lucifer's Hammer presents "NekroNacht"

Friday July 16th 8pm

INQUISITION (Colombia/ WA)

ALTAR OF PLAGUES (Ireland)

VELNIAS

DISPIRIT (ex-Weakling!)

Adv tix: $11 http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/113354
$13 at the door

21+

email store with the subject line INQUISITION TIX

-----------------------------------

ONE PAIR OF TIX:

Saturday July 17th 5-9pm Early Show

Lucifer's Hammer presents

PLUTOCRACY

ACEPHALIX

SELF-INFLICTED

VACCUUM (Members of Artimus Pyle/ MD20/20)

21+
$7 cover

email store with the subject line PLUTOCRACY TIX

--------------------------------------------------------------

ONE PAIR OF TIX:

Monday July 19th
Elbo Room proudly presents

ANA TIJOUX (Chile)

from SFBG: As ever and ever the divide grows between what we hear on the radio versus what's truly fly in hip hop these days, Ana Tijoux plots her coming to America. Born to Chilean parents who fled from the brutal reign of Augusto Pinochet, the MC's life reads as the manifesto for the counterculture universality of hip hop. How to express the feelings stirred up by moving across the world at 14? How about coming to a country whose democratically elected president was slaughtered, replaced by a dissident-torturing dictator, that happens to be where your parents grew up? Tijoux found her anger reflected in the rhymes of the American rappers of the early '90s- and shortly after, used their "force" to raise her own voice. She's been a player on the South American hip hop scene ever since, and is releasing her second solo album, 1977, which may be her most personal project yet, looping scenes from a remarkable life story with her direct, staccato flows. Here in the Bay, we're getting a chance to catch her beats live.

FUNKY C & JOYA


DISCO SHAWN (Tormenta Tropical/ Bersa Discos)

9pm doors

Adv tix : $6 http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/118162
$8 door

email store with the subject line ANA TIJOUX TIX

Friday, July 9, 2010

New Arrrivals #349.5

Fire up yr turntables, folks. We've got an all-vinyl "in-between list" list for you here!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Embarrassing, but I guess we have to post this

AQ Overlords Andee and Allan were recently interviewed by Justin Foley (The Austerity Program) for his column on the MetalSucks site... the interview is now up here for all to read.

Another paean to 1971

Now All Music gets into the act, here.

Thanks to AQ customer Joe Decruyenaere for the link. Funny, was just thinking about the 1971 phenomenon this morning, listening to Tago Mago and LA Woman!

Monday, July 5, 2010

New Arrivals #349

Hey there, happy 4th! Yes, we're open today. And if you were too busy B-B-Q-ing and waving sparklers and stuff like that this weekend to do so already, please take note of the new list of ours that's up here.

Records Of The Week:

DEUTSCHE WERTARBEIT "s/t" (Medical Records) lp $19.98
Incredible unearthed krautrock / new age / kosmische gem from one of the very very few female krautrockers we know of, warm minimal hypnotic rhythms and vocoder voicings a la Klaus Schultze, Tangerine Dream, Cluster... So incredible. Vinyl only.
FNS "s/t" (Miasmah) cd/lp $15.98/$19.98
On Miasmah, a gorgeous expanse of minimal psychedelic folk, a bit like local dronefolk duo Barn Owl, and space kraut astral travelers Expo 70, folk music transformed into druggy drifty dreamy space ragas.
PAN SONIC "Gravitoni" (Blast First Petite) cd $17.98
Final missive from these Finnish electronic alchemists, a glorious sonic last stand, buzzy and dense and noisy and heavy, an incredible and practically perfect final sonic farewell.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Dollar bin score

Was just looking through the $1 used cd boxes here at AQ, and as usual there were a few surprises (surprised that we put these discs in the dollar bin, surprised that they're still there). This time we found not one but TWO copies of what was once, years and years ago, an Aquarius Record Of The Week, the sole album by German instrumental post rockers Fuehler. It's a brilliant album, beloved by all long-time AQ staffers, and way, way, way out of print. Here's what we said about it ten years ago, the last time we were able to get copies of it in:
Hey! Achtung! This lil' item was, along with the first Death Cab For Cutie, "Album of the Month" back in August '99 (list #78) and we've been out of it almost ever since, due to major import distribution snafus. So if you missed it then, hurry up and get it now (we got a bunch but some are spoken for already). Instrumental 'post-rock' from Germany that, in a word, rules. Here is what we said about it last summer, using Don Caballero perhaps unfairly as a comparison:
The relative ease with which this German band outshines the post-rock-fanboy holy-grail trio Don Caballero (keeping in mind that we really like Don Cab), makes one wish that the general indie rock audience at large was harder to please. Then perhaps more bands would try to expand on the Don Cab sound instead of incessantly aping it, and more records would sound as jaw droppingly brilliant as this one. In place of Damon Che's non stop avalanche of 'Moby Dick'isms and DonCab's metal-in-post-rock's-clothing is a complex sonic tapestry of hypnotic drones and cyclical riffs. Fuehler take the droning single note repetition of Tony Conrad, the scraping stones of Loren Chasse, the heavy prog of Voivod, the dynamics of Slint, and the slowly evolving Reich-ish rock of Circle, and fashion a music at once emotive and heavy, intellectual and kick ass.
So, yeah, a GREAT album, an old fave. And we have two one dollar copies of it, somehow (guess people don't know who they are, nowadays). And they're both in pretty good shape, even. So... email the store (mailorder [at] aquariusrecords.org) if you want a copy. If you're local, we'll set one aside for you, and you can come on by and pick it up. If you're a mailorder customer, well, it'd be cool if you also ordered something else too, to make it a little more worthwhile for us to box and ship the $1 Fuehler...

First come, first served!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sub-atomic particles are better at making music than most humans...

Thanks to former AQ staffer Alison for sharing this with us, from the BBC, an article entitled "God particle signal is simulated as sound".

Pretty amazing. What do you think those samples sound most like? Delia Derbyshire? Bruce Haack? Tod Dockstader?

We can only hope the Large Hadron Collider releases a record soon. Sound like a good band name, anyway.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

New Arrivals #348.5 : 2010 Faves So Far

Yo, there's another "in-between list" list up here!

AQ Overlords Andee and Allan picked some of their faves from the first half of the year so far, stuff from lists #336 through #348. Of course, sadly, we had to leave off stuff that we had run out of and wouldn't be getting back in for a while, or (worse yet) had already gone out of print. But it still wasn't difficult to come up with a few mega (and possibly overlooked) personal faves off of each list to revisit here. Since we just did an "International Sounds" round-up last in-between time, we did skip things that had just appeared on that, and also didn't bother picking records that had been "Of The Week" 'cause hopefully you at least saw those the first time. One of the reasons we started doing these extra ".5" lists on the off-list-week Friday is that we know a lot of you, despite your best intentions, don't always get a chance to thoroughly read the entirety of each and every one of our admittedly lengthy New Arrivals lists, so this sort of thing gives you a chance to catch up with some crucial items you somehow might not have seen when they were originally listed.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

New Arrivals #348

Yeah, we did the list last Friday, you've already spent hours checking it out here, but there's a bit of blogging delay 'round these parts.

Records Of The Week:

WOVEN HAND "The Threshingfloor" (Sounds Familyre) cd $14.98
Yes, once again WH's latest gets the ROTW nod. Why not, it's another gorgeous disc of haunting, harrowing, apocalyptic swamp folk, quite possibly their heaviest and most intense yet...
PARSON SOUND "s/t" (Subliminal Sounds) 3lp box $54.00
We had to make this a ROTW, one of our favorite recordings ever, originally a 2cd of archival material by this pioneering Swedish psych act, minimalist drone heaviness that out-krautrocks any actual krautrock, from way back in '68, now finally on vinyl in a deluxe 3 lp set, expensive but worth it!!
DARK DAY "Window" (Dark Entries) lp $19.98
Another limited vinyl document of early '80s cold wavish no wavish synth pop stuff, from an early member of DNA and friends, definitely a hit around here!
KONONO NO.1 "Assume Crash Position" (Crammed Discs) cd $15.98
The latest from the masters of Congotronics, rhythmic street music jams that even collapsing walls (as heard on this recording) can't successfully interrupt!

Note, we're already out of the Parson Sound, our supplier says hopefully they'll have more for us next week, though... and it turns out that, with brillant timing, the 2cd version is also out of stock, awaiting a repress. We'll take orders for 'em though...

Friday, June 18, 2010

Strotter pics, video

The Strotter Inst. instore we had on Wednesday was awesome. It involved 3 specially rigged turntables, lots of rubber bands, and masking tape! Here's a photo Andee took (with an arty filter on his iPhone, if you're wondering):

For more pics, and video, go here to our Facebook page, we posted 'em there. And sign up to be our friend on FB if you haven't already!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

New Arrivals #347.5 : International Sounds

Whoops. This new "in-between list" list thing we're doing takes a little getting used to. Forgot to blog about Friday's installment. Well hopefully you got the email, visited the site, and have perused it already. If not, please check it out here.

It's an all-international roundup from recent lists, but we included one brand new review too, a very appropriate Record Of The Week:

KONONO NO.1 "Assume Crash Position" (Crammed Discs) cd $15.98
From the very first notes of Assume Crash Position, we're immediately transported right back to Kinshasa in the Congo, a bustling town square, people going about their business, cars zooming past, children playing and shouting, people sitting at tables on the sidewalk drinking, eating, catching up, birds perched in the trees, chirping, just a regular bustling African city, except maybe for a certain group of musicians, creating their own soundtrack to daily life, conjuring up a gorgeous, rhythmic, hypnotic and strangely psychedelic racket, equal parts classic African folk music, High Life, and junkyard percussion. The musicians are wielding a strange array of hand built instruments, there's lots of rusted metal, car batteries, old cracked loudspeakers, various drums, and most notably, some fantastic looking, and even more fantastic sounding amplified thumb pianos. By now, regular readers of the aQ list most likely know we're talking about the truly amazing Konono No.1, quite possibly one of our favorite African ensembles ever, past or present. When we first hear them a few years ago, we were blown away, the super distorted thumb pianos spitting out clouds of rapid fire chiming notes, tangled melodies, all locked into super hypnotic drum driven grooves, call and response vocals, simultaneously festive and danceable, dark and mysterious, raw and feral, primitive and DIY, lush and melodic and like nothing we had ever heard before.
When we first threw on Assume Crash Position, our first thought, was that very little had changed, and to a certain degree that's true, all of the above mentioned elements are still present, the wild thumb pianos, still the focal point, their sound curious but so warm and sweetly melodic, the call and response vocals, the tribal percussion, the groovy rhythms, but from the first track it IS in fact evident that some things have changed. That opening track, "Wumbanzanga", is far more melodic, far more pretty and almost more like some of the other traditional African music we've heard in the past, with great female vocals, the vibe super festive, but those thumb piano melodies definitely add a distinctly Konono vibe. Then the next track, "Thin Legs" explodes in a frenzy of whistles and tribal drumming and vocals, that's it, but it too manages to be super melodic and totally effusively celebratory.
It's not until "Mama Na Bana" which opens with that Konono style stop start THRUMP THRUMP THRUMP, where the whole group locks in, before launching into classic Konono, it's really hard to describe, but those fuzzy buzzing metallic melodies wrapped around the repetitive rhythms and the super emotional vocals, the whole rest of the record is classic, albeit a bit more polished and melodic, Konono junkyard Congotronics...
Some of the highlights this time around include "Makembe", with it's buzzing melodies, crooned vocals, and the sounds of kids playing and birds chirping, before there's a BIG crash, apparently the sound of a concrete wall collapsing, a wall the vocalist was moments earlier leaning against, and then the band launches into one of the best jams on the disc. Or the gorgeous closing lullaby of "Nakobala Lisusu Te", with muted thumb pianos, super tangled melodies, and a sweet soulful croon, so dreamy and blissful, the perfect way to unwind after a wild, sweaty, funky, groovy, Congotronic workout.
The packaging is cool to, with tons of photos of the local scrap yard / junkyard, where the band gather up most of the material they use to build their instruments, not to mention a shot of that collapsed wall that crumbled mid-song. As with past Konono's, utterly and absolutely wholeheartedly recommended!

Instore tomorrow!

Hey (local or nearby) folks! Be sure to come by the store tomorrow, Wednesday June 16th, as we're hosting a very special instore performance - STROTTER INST. from Switzerland!

It ought to be really interesting... customized turntable rhythmscapes and mysterious mechanized drones! Don't miss it.

That's this Wednesday, June 16th, at 6pm here at Aquarius.

Here's our recent review of Strotter's most recent release, a limited 10" we still have a few of in stock:
Got a few copies of this avant turntable masterpiece back in, figured we'd relist it in anticipation of the almost for sure upcoming Strotter Inst instore!
We are huge fans of weird turntable music, from Jeck, to Gum, to Otomo Yoshihide, to Martin Tetrault, but as much as we love all of those folks, our heart belongs to Strotter Inst., aka, Christoph Hess, an older Swiss turntable mad scientist, who creates Frankensteinian record players with multiple arms, weird obstructions forcing the needle to jump and skip, strange strings and rubber bands, that the moving parts pluck and strike, all creating gorgeous mechanical symphonies of sound, with JUST the player, when the manipulated records are added (and they often are NOT), things only get more expansive and lush and amazing.
This latest release from Hess finds his interest in fucking with lps and their players extending to even the pressing process, with the various tracks mastered at different speeds, requiring a small diagram on the label demonstrating which part of which side plays at which speed. Not that it necessarily matters, as Hess' crazy sonic concoctions sound great at any speed.
The sounds here follow on from those on the many other records of his we've reviewed, like some sort of minimal DIY krautrock, or a band like Avarus, populated exclusively by homebuilt noise making robots, all assembled from turntables, it is unbelievable to hear these sounds and know they were designed and planned by Hess, but it's the machines that are creating these gorgeous hypnotic rhythmscapes.
Hypnotic, repetitive, cyclical, but always shifting subtly, crackle, scrape, rumble, hiss, skip, all deftly arranged into propulsive grooves, the rubber bands offering up melody, strange rubbery tones, percussive, but definitely melodic, while the turntable itself, when not striking or plucking the bands, unleashes strange grinding rhythms, peppered with percussive scapes, haunting textural whirs, the rhythms almost tribal, often skeletal and sparse, but just as often dense and layered, when the records are included in the sound making, the various manipulated grooves, spit out even more strange clicks and moans and bleeps and even some strangely appropriate counter rhythms.
Absolutely fantastic stuff, we would imagine as amazing to see as to hear, lucky for us, there's a good chance, Hess will be in the US soon, and will hopefully be visiting aQ for a demonstration / performance.

Friday, June 4, 2010

New Arrivals #347

Man, we're cranking 'em out! Got this one done pretty early, too. Looky here.

Records Of The Week:

THE CARETAKER "Persistent Repetition Of Phrases" (History Always Favors The Winners) cd $17.98
Finally repressed on cd, this blurred, gloriously sprawling, murky, looped and mesmeric ghostjazz dreamscape songsuite!
EMERALDS "Does It Look Like I'm Here?" (Editions Mego) cd/2lp $16.98/$27.00
More kosmische kraut drone explorations from these long time aQ faves, gorgeous glowing spaced out ambience, now in pop song sized chunks!
PIANOS BECOME THE TEETH "Old Pride" (Top Shelf) cd $10.98
Modern day screamo meets, brooding slow build post rock, majestic and epic and chaotic and emo(tional)!
MASTER MUSICIANS OF BUKKAKE "Totem Two" (Important) cd/lp $14.98/$21.00
Ominously, exotically evocative cinematic ambience, "Sun City Girls meet latter-day Earth".

Friday, May 28, 2010

New Arrivals #346.5

Basically a whole new list here, folks! Well, a couple dozen new reviews of new stuff that's shown up in the week since list #346, plus a round-up (like our last "in-between list" list) of some selected items from a selected genre. Actually, 2 genres, we're featuring "out" rock and drones this time around.

Enough new stuff, that we picked two Records Of The Week:

THE BODY "All The Waters Of The Earth Turn To Blood" (Aum War) 2lp $17.98
Latest and greatest from this Providence avant doom duo, their already epic pummel augmented by multiple drummers, horns strings and an actual choir, dom disc of the year hands down!
HARVEY MILK "A Small Turn Of Human Kindness" (Hydra Head) cd $12.98
Incredible new disc from the masters of slow motion crush and anguished glacial plod, tangled and lush and melodic and difficult and lovely and fucking genius.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

New Arrivals #346

Sorry, we're a couple days late blogging about this one, the new list we posted Friday, you can find it here if you haven't thoroughly perused it already. Actually we posted it Saturday morning in the wee hours, it took a much longer time to do than usual thanks to some $%@#! computer issues.

Records Of The Week:

AUN "VII" (Important) cd $14.98
For you dronedoom aficionados, the latest from Quebec's ultra heavy Aun, who incorporate a lot of lovely melody and mystery amidst their glacial shoegazing grind, for fans of SUNNO))), Nadja, and also Aluk Todolo... features guest drummer Away from Voivod!!
DARA PUSPITA "1966-1968" (Sublime Frequencies) cd $16.98
We fell in love with this '60s girl garage group from Indonesia when PlusTapes reissued 'em on 3 now out of print cassettes, thankful Sublime Frequencies has now put out a cd of all that stuff, so incredible!
TY SEGALL "Melted" (Goner) cd $11.98
This local boy brings it yet again, on his best yet, taking his "way blown out lo-fi garage radness" to a new level, and going in other cool directions to boot!

And here's a heads up, you know the list #345.666 we did in-between lists #345 and #346, the "black metal special"? Well, look out for our second biweekly 'in-between list' list, going out this Friday, another round-up of a selected items in stock from recent updates, from a certain genre or two (avant-rock and drones this time 'round). But this time, experimenting further, on list #346.5 we intend to also go ahead and review a few cool new arrivals that showed up this week, so it'll be more of a 'mini' regular list, really. We probably won't do that every time with these 'interstitial' lists, um, 'cause it's a lot more work, but we'll see how it goes this time! So stay tuned...

Sunday, May 16, 2010

New Arrivals #345.666 : Black Metal Special

It's not really a new arrivals list, rather a round-up of all the black metal items still in stock from the past six months or so, spanning lists #333 - #345. Something, if this experiment gets a good response, we intend to do every other week, on the "off" list week, featuring a different genre or other selected group of reviews that we think folks would be particularly interested in (such as, for example: drones, international, our recent pop faves, vinyl-only releases, cassettes... whatever we come up with). Should be helpful to those of you who perhaps missed or skimmed a list or two... You probably already got our email about this yesterday, we posted this debut "between-list" list then, and you can find it HERE!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Return of the mid-week update

Gonna try to use this blog, as well as Twitter, a bit more regularly to let you know what's just come in to the shop... so, a few of the New Arrivals since last Friday's list went out:

BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE "Forgiveness Rock Record" (Arts & Crafts) cd $14.98
COCO ROSIE "Grey Oceans" (Sub Pop) cd/lp $13.98/$16.98
DEAD WEATHER "Sea Of Cowards" (Warner Bros.) cd $16.98
KRISTOFFERSON, KRIS "Please Don't Tell Me How The Story Ends: The Publishing Demos 1968-1972" (Light In The Attic) cd $15.98
MALE BONDING "Nothing Hurts" (Sub Pop) cd/lp $13.98/$15.98
Andee's new pop fave! Kinda like Vivian Girls, or Dum Dum Girls, but boys.
NIGHTBRINGER "Apocalypse Sun" (Anja) cd $14.98
PORTAL "Lurker At The Threshold" (Chrome Leaf) 7" $8.98
Picture disc, super limited, twisted Aussie outsider blackness.
PSYCHEDELIC HORSESHIT "Acid Tape" (Fan Death) cassette $4.00
SINGH, CHARANJIT "Synthesizing: Ten Ragas To A Disco Beat" (Bombay Connection) 2lp $31.00
Proto-techno from India, from 1982!! So amazing.
TWIN STUMPS "Seedbed" (Fan Death) cd/lp $11.98/$12.98
Ugly and awesome, for fans of Brainbombs, Clockcleaner, Pissed Jeans, etc.

Come in/call/email if you want any of these, or if you're ordering off the web, just put 'em in the comments field of the order form...

Saturday, May 8, 2010

New Arrivals #345

New list is up.

Records Of The Week:

ALCEST Ecailles De Lune (Prophecy) cd $17.98
Latest disc of blissed out dreamlike post black metal from these French shoegazers.
OMAR SOULEYMAN Jazeera Nights: Folk And Pop Sounds Of Syria (Sublime Frequencies) cd $16.98
Another disc from Souleyman on Sublime Frequencies, a dizzying ecstatic collection of live tracks culled from 15 years of cassette releases!
V/A COLD WAVES + MINIMAL ELECTRONICS (Angular Recordings) cd $21.00
A recent record of the week on vinyl, originally a pricey 2lp, now available as a much more affordable cd.
WOODS At Echo Lake (Woodsist) cd/lp $11.98/$14.98
Gorgeous disc of lo-fi psychedelic noise folk, from these long time aQ faves, their best record by far!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Time to party! Thursday that is.

We've been in a festive mood here lately, ever since Record Store Day, and we figure it's about time we had another one of our weeknight "shopping parties". The last one we had was back in December, a holiday party (and "release party" for that Alan Lomax Haiti boxset) and it was a blast, we really should do something like that every other month or so, with or without an excuse. So, let's do it! Next week, Thursday night, we'll stay open late, and starting at about 9 o'clock or so we'll bring out the beers and refreshments, so stop by, hang out, eat and drink, play some video games (we'll put 'em on free play), chat with AQ-ers, listen to some music, do some shopping (gotta mention that!!), and in general have a good time partying here at Aquarius for a couple hours... 9pm until 11ish? BYOB if you like, we'll have some drinks here too, and we'll also probably get one or more of our food cart friends to stop by and be on hand to sell snacks if our chips and cookies aren't enough.

So mark your calendars, we're talking about Thursday the 13th, that's next week. Hopefully see you here then, if not before!!


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Last week's Jooklo instore video

Here's footage Andee shot of of the rad instore performance that took place here last Tuesday, by cosmic Italian free improv outfit Jooklo Duo, enjoy:



Or, watch it on our special aQuarius YouTube page.

One more!

Another show at the Great American Music Hall to which we have 2 pairs tickets to give away:

Johann Johannsson
opener TBC (soon!)

Friday, May 14
doors 8pm/show 9pm
tickets are $21 advance/door

email to store[at]aquariusrecords.org, subject JJ TIX

Tickets up for grabs

Heads up, we're giving away a pair of tix for each of these cool upcoming shows:

Fri. May 7 at GAMH: Red Sparowes / Fang Island / Oxbow (all acoustic) - $14 - Doors 8, Show 9

Wed. May 12 at GAMH: KALX Presents Fuck Buttons - $16 - Doors 8, Show 9

Tues. May 25 at GAMH: Spectrum featuring Sonic Boom of Spacemen 3 / Wooden Shjips - $17 adv/$20 door - Doors 7:30, Show 8

To win tickets, email store[at]aquariusrecords.org with the subject REDSPAROWES TIX, or FUCK BUTTONS TIX or SPECTRUM TIX, depending on which show you want to try to win tickets to. To enter for all three, send three separate emails with 3 separate subjects.... good luck!



Saturday, April 24, 2010

Best post of the year

FYI, besides the two Records Of The Week, our list 344 also includes some discs we describe with such enthusiastic accolades as:

"Definite contender for weirdo black metal record of the year." (Abigor)

"For some of us it's already Record Of The Year!" (Angst Skvadron)

"One of the most urgent, immediate and enjoyable records of the year." (Caribou)

"Best dubstep jam of the year? Quite possibly..." (Shit & Shine)

"Will without question end up on many year end best ofs, and with good reason." (Twilight)

"Hands down, THEE best dubstep comp we've gotten in, well, maybe forever." (This Is Dubstep Vol. 2)

"As far as Allan is concerned, his favorite metal cd of the year, quite possibly." (Realmbuilder)

At least we're not all negative, grumpy and jaded.

New Arrivals #344

Yes indeedy, we've unleashed another list, please find it here.

Records Of The Week:

VEX'D "Cloud Seed" (Planet Mu) cd/2lp $14.98/$17.98
Latest record from this avant garde experimental dubstepper, combining big beats, buzzing bass, haunting atmospheres, dense drones, and blown out freeform drift into something gorgeous and ominous, heavy and harrowing, groovy and beautiful.
MONARCH "Mer Morte" (Crucial Blast) cd $13.98
Finally on cd, this long out of print lp, a single track monolith of crushing glacial abstract doom minimalism, from these French doom lords and doom maiden, blissed out and near ambient, impossibly crushing, pummeling and weirdly beautiful.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Record Store Day approacheth!

Of course, as we always say, every day is Record Store Day as far as we're concerned. But "officially", Record Store Day this year Saturday, April the 17th, coming up really soon! That's next Saturday, folks! Last year was a blast, hoping to see even more of our friends/customers (same thing) come out for this one, it'll be a lot of fun.

And as you probably know, there's gonna be a bunch of limited edition Record Store Day only releases coming out that day. A nice idea, stuff that won't be available at Amazon or iTunes or Walmart or wherever, just a real record stores... but we do feel that maybe a little too much emphasis is placed on these Record Store Day limited releases, after all, what REALLY should be the point of Record Store Day is that you go down to your favorite friendly local indie record store, especially if you haven't been in a while (and why the heck haven't you?), and hang out and buy stuff and celebrate, listen to tunes and talk to the folks there and get turned on to some music you didn't already know all about, limited or otherwise!

Not that the RSD releases aren't cool, a lot of them are, and we will have a bunch of 'em (while they last, of course!). A few we're really stoked on are the Moon Duo / Bitchin Bajas (a Cave side project) 7" on Permanent, and the B-Music various artist 12" called "Radio Galaxia", and the Nada Surf cd, among others, well, there's a lot of neat things, yeah! Some others, though, well... it's sorta just another street date. Like, the label was gonna put something out anyway, and it was in April, so ta-da! it's a RSD release, c'mon collectors, buy two copies! Some of those, we didn't order up on so much. And then some others we wanted, but of course here weren't as many to go around as there should have been (c'mon labels, you take preorders, can't you just make more?) and so we don't know just how many we'll get, but probably not as many as we hoped for. But, as we said on our latest New Arrivals list, #343, this past Friday, it's not like we don't ALWAYS have all kinds of cool limited stuff, of course. And cool not-so-limited stuff too. And really, the important thing isn't grabbing some particular limited RSD release, 'cause then chances are there's gonna be someone who's not gonna get the thing they need need need, and then go home and look for it on eBay and that's really not the point of Record Store Day is it?

Anyway, see you Saturday, we'll definitely have a party!!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Instore Sunday: Author & Punisher!

Tristan Shone aka Author & Punisher brings his one-of-a-kind heavy music making machinery to AQ tomorrow, Sunday April 11th at 4pm for a free instore appearance. We can't wait. Here's a teaser:



Definitely not to be missed!

Friday, April 9, 2010

New Arrivals #343

Wow, we got this week's list out, Friday night, and it's not even closing time! Whoo-hoo!

The FOUR Records Of The Week, are:

MUGSTAR Sun Broken (Important) cd $14.98
Latest disc of blown out instrumental psychedelic space rock from these long time aQ faves, their best, and heaviest yet!
XASTHUR Portal Of Sorrow (Disharmonic Variations) cd $10.98
The LAST Xasthur record ever, a twisted black doom folk masterpiece featuring vocal contributions from folk chanteuse Marissa Nadler!
DON CHERRY Brown Rice (A&M / Jazz Heritage) cd $17.98
One of our favorite discs, from one of our favorite musicians, Brown Rice finally reissued, funky and far out and so so good.
V/A Cold Waves + Minimal Electronics : Volume One (Angular Recordings) 2lp $32.00
Another killer comp of cold wave, synth wave, dark wave radness, the perfect companion to the Minimal Waves compilation that was also a Record Of The Week.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Hey c'mon buy this!

Highlighted this last list, didn't sell too many though, what's up with that?? Check out the video, people!



HELEVETES PORT "Exodus To Hell" (Pure Steel) $14.98
Jussi from Circle recommended this Swedish band to us (we've found out about a lot of cool bands thanks to our friend Jussi), and after we tracked down some copies of their cd, we realized we needed to recommend 'em to you, too! Helvetets Port (which means Gate of Hell or something like that) are a current band playing a very deliberately retro, almost tongue-in-cheek style of '80s heavy metal. Not a joke though. They're totally for real, yet revel in the most ridiculous aspects of the music they love so much and strive to emulate. You can immediately see how this would appeal to Jussi (and us), since the next better thing than Circle's "NWOFHM" is of course the actual NWOBHM, which this band is obviously especially inspired by. Helvetets Port are four metal-lovin' Swedes playing dress up in color-coordinated spandex and scarves, but going beyond that to deliver the goods with galloping guitars, piercing falsetto shrieks, wonderful lyrics about diamond claws, Japanese warlords, and the threat of being killed by a reaper. That's what's most charming about this band, their (inadvertently?) silly, seemingly earnest songwriting in the best "story-telling" Iron Maiden-esque tradition. Their songs, though none of 'em long (2-3 minutes, most of 'em), are all mini-prog epics, utterly over the top, the band pushing to the limit of their ability and beyond, always totally catchy but also a bit awkward, their ambitious arrangements quite quirky. The accent-laden vocals, too, sometimes seem a bit strained, but these factors are overruled by their enthusiasm and just add to this band's "real people" feel, making their retro NWOBHM worship (and not just NWOBHM, as we suspect they like other, over the top old schoolers like Manowar and Thor too) seem all the more authentic, bound for cult fandom if they can keep it up.
They remind us a bit of the USA's Harbinger, another young band who like to pretend it's 1983, in real life as well as on record, in fact, if you watch the impressive/hilarious video that's supposed to be included as a bonus on this disc (we couldn't actually find it, but it's on YouTube anyway) for their song "Lightning Rod Avenger" you'll see these kids doing things the old fashioned way...
This was produced by the singer from Enforcer, another spandex-clad Swedish metal band of retro persuasion whom we've recommended previously, though Helvetets Port way outdoes Enforcer with their sheer, sincere, imaginative eccentricity (if not in other ways too). Hail Helvetets Port!!

Shoulda posted this on Easter

Check out the bunny ears. Actually you can't see much, but the music/noise sounds good! In two parts, YouTube footage of Shit & Shine performing in Oakland the other day, with Eugene Robinson from Oxbow on guest vocals, and our own Andee Connors as one of the drummers!!



Sunday, March 28, 2010

New Arrivals #342

We did it again! You'll find the new list posted Friday night, here.

Records Of The Week:

BLACK BUG "s/t" (FDH) lp $14.98
Furious feral synth driven Swedish new wave garage punk, ultra blown out, bloodied and bruised, gloom-wave noise-pop genius! We've been DYING for this record!!
ZOLA JESUS "Stridulum" (Captured Tracks) cdep/12" $11.98/$14.98
Incredible new record from this long time aQ fave, her most polished, emotional, epic and haunting record yet, classic eighties style dark gothic pop. So good.
OMAR KHORSHID "Guitar El Chark" (Sublime Frequencies) 2lp $30.00
Latest Sublime Frequencies winner, a double LP documenting of the genius of this '70s Egyptian electric guitarist, so good!!

Also, we've got a few of the LIMITED EDITION SAVAGE PENCIL POSTERS from our SXSW show!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

And a lecture too

For the, ah, intellectuals out there, looks interesting...

+DIALOG
An evening with Steve Goodman (Kode9) & Erik Davis (TechGnosis)

Location:
Gray Area Foundation for the Arts
55 Taylor Street
Friday, March 26th 7pm – 9pm
Recommended $5-10 donation, however no-one will be turned away for lack of funds.

Recombinant Media Labs SF (in collaboration with Gray Area Foundation For the Arts) is excited to announce +DIALOG, a symposium series inviting local and global artists, scholars and polymaths to present and discuss their work in an intimate environment.
In a time when the information we consume is unprecedentedly estranged from its origins, +DIALOG will provide a forum to commune, collate and derive fresh context direct from the source.

For our second chapter we are fortunate to welcome London based cultural theorist, electronic musician and label owner Steve Goodman (aka Kode9) to present and discuss his first book Sonic Warfare: Sound, Affect, and the Ecology of Fear (MIT Press, 2009).

A flag bearer of the Dubstep movement, Steve Goodman founded Hyperdub Records in 2004, releasing critically acclaimed records by artists such as Burial, Zomby and The Bug as well as his own productions and collaborations.

Holding a Ph.D in Philosophy from the University of Warwick, Steve is a member of the Cybernetic Culture Research Unit (CCRU) and practicing academic, lecturing in Music Culture at the University of East London.

For this occasion Steve will be joined in conversation by San Francisco based kindred spirit Erik Davis, whose work is regularly referenced in Sonic Warfare.

Erik Davis is the author of The Visionary State: A Journey through California’s Spiritual Landscape, the cult classic TechGnosis: Myth, Magic, and Mysticism in the Information Age, and a critical volume on Led Zeppelin’s fourth album. He also hosts the net radio show Expanding Mind. A frequent speaker at universities and festivals alike, Davis has contributed articles and essays to scores of books and publications, and posts regularly at www.techgnosis.com.

The event will take place at 7:30pm on Friday, March 26th 2010 at Gray Area Foundation For the Arts, 55 Taylor St. San Francisco. Recommended $5-10 donation, however no-one will be turned away for lack of funds.

Press inquiries, general questions and suggestions are welcome at mat [├ąt] rml-sf [dot] org

Schedule:
7:00 – 7:30pm reception
7:30 – 8:00pm Steve Goodman presentation
8:00 – 8:30pm Discussion with Steve Goodman & Erik Davis
8:30 – 9:00pm Open Q & A, closing.

And a cool show next week too

Wow, there's all kinds of cool shows happening this month. Next week, both Pentagram and Acid Mothers Temple, ferinstance (unfortunately, on the same night... different venues).

And this one, over in the East Bay, an AQ co-presentation...

CLUB SANDWICH & AQUARIUS RECORDS PRESENT

Burmese
Shit & Shine
(UK, feat. Eugene Robinson of Oxbow)
Mokele Mbembe
Naupli


Tuesday, March 23rd @ 7:30pm, $7, all ages
21 Grand, 416 25th St, Oakland



METAL on the BUS, tonight!

Yes, another killer show on The Bus, and it'll probably be a nice night for it tonight! Three heavy bands we're big fans of here at aQ:

SERVILE SECT (AZ) / PRIZEHOG / PIGS
(maybe not necessarily in that order)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010 at 8:00pm
15th and San Bruno (under the freeway)

Here are some notes on each band, drawn from our reviews:

SERVILE SECT
Bizarre, and hauntingly beautiful alien black metal. Not sure what else to call it, it's definitely black metal, but it's weirdly blissy and electronic sounding, more like Alcest or Amesoeurs than old school grimnity, but even then, it's still weirder, like it must have been played by robots or insects, or some massive black metal machine
assembled beneath the surface of some mysterious moon. You can almost picture some mechanical monstrosity, pieces of human flesh, various organs, somehow built into the machine's inner workings, everything grinding and sparking all in a Herculean effort to produce this glorious droning buzzing blackness. A cloud of black buzz that will eventually drift through space and time swallowing any planets in its path, and extinguishing all life it encounters.
The sound of Servile Sect is epic, and majestic, the guitars glistening sheets of sound, the surface of that sound peppered with bits of electronic shimmer, causing the long drawn out riffery to reflect and refract, tiny little sonic events occurring every second, the surface alive and constantly squirming and changing color, but viewed from afar, it's simply a blown out undulating buzz. Those guitars are digitized and processed, spread into thick smears of warm glowing whir, the riffs barely discernible beneath the constant roar of Servile Sect's sonic swirl.
The vocals add just more buzz to the mix, howling and wailing, but stretched into streaks of sonic violence, and drums, assuming there are any, are buried, festering beneath layer after layer of crushing guitar fuzz, emitting noxious rhythms that don't so much blast or pound as they do explode into tiny squalls of still more buzz.
Occasionally, the buzz abates, leaving the guitar to sway lazily, the notes ringing out, the guitars lurking in the distance, but it's never long before the lilting melody is engulfed by a colossal buzzing roar, and the band locks into another extended psychfuzzblackdrone.
Fans of the new wave of droned out dreamy metal, black and otherwise: Nadja, Angelic Process, Ameseours, Alcest, etc. will dig this, as will dronelords who like their drones heavy and loud and yeah, a bit metallic...

PRIZEHOG

Prizehog are a trio who specialize in slow building, brooding of slow motion heaviness. It's metallic, but not really metal, heavy and sludgey and dark, but with weird bits of epicness and majesty mixed in. There's definitely a Harvey Milk thing going on, and we'd be WAY surprised if fans of that band didn't dig these guys as well. Not so say they're aping HM, more like they're sort of orbiting the same sonic black hole.
Plus Prizehog have a lot more spaciness going on, lots of swirl and shimmer, long drawn out stretches of dark drift, rumbling low end and ominous dronescapes, often sprawling into moody abstract slowcore drifts, peppered with synths, skeletal rhythms and blooping bleeping effects, that slowcore sometimes sounding almost like a blackened doom metal, before returning to their glacial downtuned pound, impossibly slow crawls through near static metal riffage, and squalls of drum splatter, and a howled guttural voice that sounds like it's gargling glass and spitting blood, the whole band a lumbering beast, lurching from chord to chord, note to note, occasionally pausing to rest beneath the glimmering starlight, before rising again to continue on its path of utter destruction.
Heavy, fucked up, freaked out, distorted and brutal, space-y and sometimes sorta pretty, and these guys destroy live, prepare yourself to witness this filthy heaviness and sludgey crush in the flesh.

PIGS

A super heavy, fairly hairy power trio (boy drummer, girl bassist, bearded dude guitarist / sometime vocalist) who kick out the jams big time, sorta like a scrappier, scuzzier Melvins, in their earliest, fastest, punkiest incarnation. Like, with some more Motorhead mixed in. A speaker shredding blast (of distortion, among other things).
Sometimes slow and sludgy, equally often full of frenzied jamming, pure metal-punk underground awesome, with more than a few nods to classic rock catchiness. Pigs traffic in Black Sabbathy riffs, their songs furthermore having plenty of rollicking swing to 'em a la both Sabbath and Sleep. The guitarist constantly peels off tangly, widdly leads like they're coming back into style. All their jams rule, rife with sick-o smartassery, gnarly Ginnish licks and hoarse, strangled vox that could almost be an old Tad tune, wasted doom, even some Champsy chops, not to mention a wicked stoner sense of humor. Is it possible to imagine an unholy hybrid of, um, Electric Wizard, Breadwinner, and, er, Pissed Jeans?? Pigs might be it.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

AQ x WFMU x SxSW 2010!

This year's South By Southwest Music Fest in Austin TX is getting underway soon (it runs March 17th-21st, that's next week, I guess you know if you're going already or not). If you are going, don't miss the showcase gig we're putting on, again in conjunction with our friends at radio station WFMU in NY/NJ. And if you go, be sure to look for Andee and say hi!

If you're not going, you'll still be able to listen in via WFMU's live audio broadcast, check their site for info on that, you'll be able to tune in online or get it over the air if you're in the NYC area.

So, here's the details. Our show is on Friday March 19th, at the club now called Encore (formerly Spiro's, which is the place we did it last year too). There's two stages, indoor and out, and a grand total of 14 bands performing. Several of 'em, past AQ Record Of The Week honorees, plus other longtime faves!! They are:
DENGUE FEVER

Incredible Cambodian garage pop from these long time aQ faves, former members of Dieselhed teamed up with vocalist and Cambodian pop princess Chhom Nimol to not only cover classic 'Cambodian Rocks' pop and psych rock gems, but to also compose originals, which are just as fantastic as the songs and singers they pay homage to. One of the best live bands around, we're so honored to have them playing our show!

DRUNKDRIVER

Crusty, filthy, pummeling noise rock, think Brainbombs, Twin Stumps, Billy Bao, Rusted Shut, total crushing noise drenched heaviness, wild, unhinged, chaotic, blown out and plenty fucked up. We'll be highlighting their 7" on tomorrow's list!

EPILEPTINOMICON

Mysterious rhythmic drone / doom outfit, whose sound is somewhere between, tripped out blackened psychedelic kraut doom, and pulsing minimal Chain Reaction style minimal murk, heavy and dense and druggy. We just sold about 10,000 of the two two cd-rs of theirs we listed recently!

HEADDRESS

Texas trippers Headdress, have expanded from a duo, to a four piece, as they've shifted sonically from psych folk to druggy, spaced out heavy psychedelic dronemusic, shoegazey and dreamy, but definitely dense and heavy, think Brightblack meets Earth Meets Nadja...

HOME BLITZ

Super noisy and fucked up, totally irresistible, sloppy, chaotic garage power pop, that actually sort of ends up sounding a bit like noise rock guys unleashing their inner power pop demons. Home Blitz are responsible for one of our pop jams of last year ("Two Steps") and had an aQuarius Record Of The Week.

IRON MAN

Veteran Maryland doom metal legends, heavy and fuzzy, doomy, dramatic, epic and totally metal. Fans of Black Sabbath, The Obsessed, Trouble, Candlemass, Witchfinder General, Saint Vitus, Solitude Aeternus and all of that sort of heavy doomy stuff should worship at the altar of Iron Man (who themselves obviously worship at the altar of Black Sabbath)!

LITURGY

"PURE TRANSCENDENTAL BLACK METAL" from New York City. One of our favorite black metal outfits, whose sound is a strange hybrid of raw blasting blackness, and epic soaring high end trills, which make the songs sound like black metal composed by Arvo Part, sprawling and majestic, explosive, exhausting and incredible.

MOON DUO

This two piece psychedelic drone groove offshoot of psychedelic space rockers Wooden Shjips, treads similar ground, but moves further away from the Shjips overt rocking, exploring a sound much more fuzzy and abstract, sprawling repetitive drone rock, hypnotic and mesmerizing, a sound motorik and krauty, absolute super-rhythmic, dreamy psychedelia.

PIERCED ARROWS

The band formerly known as Dead Moon, Fred and Toody Cole return with a new drummer, but the same glorious stripped down scuzzy retro rock sound, fuzzed out and melodic, catchy and raw, driving and steady, absolute classic sounding Pacific Northwest garage rock.

SHIT AND SHINE

Multiple drummers, multiple bass players, occasionally someone playing lawnmower, crushing, noisy, tribal, hypnotic, a sound equal parts vintage Butthole Surfers, classic Hawkwind, and modern kraut-psych-drone-rock a la Circle or Pharaoh Overlord or Cave. Supposedly performing a new song written just for SXSW, with a phalanx of drummers gathered from all over Austin... Also a former aQ Record Of The Week!

SONNY & THE SUNSETS

Awesomely sunshine-y jangle pop from right here in SF, fronted by local luminary Sonny Smith, backed up by a who's who of local rockers, which sometimes includes Kelly Stoltz, John Dwyer of Thee Oh Sees, Shayde Sartin of the Fresh & Onlys, Flying Canyon and Kelly Stoltz's band and Tim Cohen (Fresh & Onlys, 3 Leafs, Amocoma!), from brooding moody lope, to shimmery doo wop flecked surf rock to stripped down classic power pop, to fifties style balladry, to twangy back porch folk...

SPEEDWOLF

A recent discovery for us, these Colorado thrashers totally destroy, a killer mix of Venom and Motorhead (and a little Bad News!), with a vocalist who is a dead ringer for Lemmy, crushing riffage, pounding drums, tracks range from full bore neck snapping frenzy, to loping hooky groove, to pounding almost doom, totally heavy and insanely catchy, dying to see these guys live.

TODD

Riffy and raw, rhythmic and heavy and in the red, a pounding and relentless blowout a la Brainbombs and Rusted Shut and Twin Stumps and White Mice and the Mayyors, howled marble mouthed vox, riffs crumbling with distortion, bowel rattling bass rumble, the drums pounding and frantic, from unhinged Scratch Acid / Jesus Lizard noise rock, to seasick post rock groove, to lurching sludge-y doom, to full on filthy space rock trip out.

TRUE WIDOW

Incredible, totally intense and brooding, nineties style slowcore, heavy and dark, epic and so catchy, one of our most listened to records last year (and even still!), and one of the most freaked-out-over Records Of The Week ever, and for good reason, amazing songs, irresistible hooks, gorgeous production, lush and warm, and so goddamn good. They were awesome playing with P.E.E. at Noise Pop the other week).
Not bad, eh? So you don't miss anything, here's the show schedule with set times for the venue's two stages, indoor and outdoor:

OUTSIDE

7p Liturgy
8p Speedwolf
9p Iron Man
10p Moon Duo
11p Shit & Shine
12m Pierced Arrows
1a Dengue Fever

INSIDE

7p Epileptinomicon
8p Drunkdriver
9p Home Blitz
10p Headdress
11p Sonny & the Sunsets
12a True Widow
1a Todd

Please come check it out or listen in at home. And if you're at the show, we'll have some amazing silkscreened posters for sale, with amazing art by Savage Pencil. We'll post the image on this blog soon so you can see it... Only a limited run have been printed, but we're pretty sure we'll also have some to sell at AQ and via mailorder after SXSW is over.

Thanks again to WFMU for asking us to do this with them once more, it's gonna be fun!! Andee doesn't like to go to shows, but even he's excited (he'd better be!).

Also, we're co-sponsoring a free daytime outdoor party on Thursday March 18th, curated by our pal George Chen of Zum, that we're co-presenting along with LA's KXLU, part of something called What By What-Ever. Some of the bands playing include Eternal Tapestry, Weird Weeds, Total Abuse, Abe Vigoda, Infinite Body, Earn, among others! For more info on that and the other WXWE activities, go check out the WXWE site.