Friday, February 26, 2010

New Arrivals #340

All right! Blogging about our new list and it's not even midnight Friday, wow. You can find it here.

Records Of The Week:

DWARR "Animals" (Brand X Recordings) cd $12.98
Eccentric outsider "doom metal" from the '80s, psychedelic and strange, like DIY Black Sabbath meets Todd Tamanend Clark...
HADEWYCH "s/t" (Tuchtunie) cd $13.98
Mysterious occult sonic rituals from this UK horde, a dizzying blend of black drones, dense doomic dirgery, skittery electronics, bizarre vocalizations, all blurred into an epic, sprawling, haunting otherworldly soundscape songsuite. Packaged in handmade wooden sleeves wrapped in leaves and ULTRA LIMITED.
LI JIANHONG "Classic Of The Mountains And Seas" (PSF) cd $16.98
Sheer, untrammeled, outward bound electric six string axe action from this Chinese amplifier worshipping guitar god: heavy, epic, blown out, and so beautiful.

Andee just bought some new drumsticks, this is why

Sorta last minute to post this but if you're local and wondering what Noise Pop show to check out this weekend, you oughta go see Andee's old band P.E.E. doing the reunion thing for the second and they say last time - they played a party a few months ago on for bassist Tiber's 10th wedding anniversary, and after that show were somehow persuaded to headline a Noise Pop gig as well. Pretty exciting, actually, 'cause the other bands on the bill are all big AQ faves: True Widow, Ovens, and Grass Widow!

Here's the details:

Your last chance to see nineties grind poppers P.E.E., together again, albeit briefly, after 11+ years, whose music was once described as "all the bridges (not the choruses, not the verses, the BRIDGES) from all your favorite pop songs strung together into a seamless whole", playing all the old hits, as well as one or two new ones. And sharing the stage with some of the raddest bands around. Here are the details:

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 27th, 8:00 pm



TRUE WIDOW, from Texas
OVENS, from right here in SF
and another widow, GRASS WIDOW, also from SF

Here's the lowdown on all three bands:

Not sure what it is exactly about True Widow, it could be that after hundreds of records of rumbling dronemusic and blasting grim buzz and hushed ambient shimmer, that a band that writes songs, incredibly catchy and melodic and heavy songs, is exactly what our ears craved. Not to take anything away from the band, even if we were immersed in straight up pop and heavy rock (which we sort of are also), True Widow would most definitely shine. This is the sort of music we rarely hear anymore. We originally expected this to be metal, maybe some sort of heavy post rock metal hybrid, and while it is heavy, it's way more indie rock, or maybe slowcore, more like some haunting mix of the two, the guitars are thick and distorted, but not metallic, and they drift into slow drifting creeps as easily as they do pounding majestic roars. Other reviewers have described True Widow as 'sonic noir' and 'stonegaze', both of which are fairly appropriate, it's definitely dark and moody, certainly shoegazey, and a little bit stonery, but it's really just some sort of perfect gloomy heavy postrock. We hear Codeine, Low, Seam, the vibe is laid back and disaffected, weary and washed out, but still somehow completely rocking.
Every one of their songs is practically perfect, and each one segues seamlessly into the next, you don't just remember the melody or the lyrics, but which songs comes next, and how long the pause between songs is, the sound just so hypnotic and mesmerizing, a sort of lyseric doom pop, a druggy post rock, but the thing is, none of that really explains how addictive TW's songs seem to be. Literally, from the moment we first heard their record, we have not been able to stop listening to it. We've found other reviewers elsewhere who had the same reaction. Which speaks to the power of the songs, so well crafted, brooding, yet incredibly catchy. Just check out "Aka", with its strange mesmerizing main riff, the mysterious pause, and then when the band kicks in, it give you chills, and it's 40 seconds into their debut record.
Another track, "Duelist", is one of the few that features vocals from bassist Nicole Estill, her warm purr draped over big drums and a simple minimal bass throb, before the band launches into a slow burning minor key lope, only to crank up that opening part, infusing it with just a bit more muscle, and peppering the proceedings with a cool woozy chorus. Then there's "Sunday Driver", a gorgeous hazy reverby almost ballad, skeletal guitars, the drums still solid and loud, the vocals laid back and drugged out, the main melody so catchy, and a chorus that kills. A new record on the horizon, which is pretty much the only thing that could get us to stop listening to their old one.


Shredding hook jammed pop blasts, most less than a minute long, many of those 30 seconds and under, but each one packed with some of the catchiest most timeless sounding pop you've ever heard. Weezer meets the Beatles meets the Beach Boys meets old Bee Gees meets Guided By Voices meets the Fucking Champs, super rocking, punky here and there, metal once in a while, but always total pure pop genius, with lyrics about doing drugs, getting fired, falling down the stairs, getting hurt, how much they suck and how their songs all sound the same, doing more drugs, all delivered by a vocalist that sounds uncannily like the skinny John from They Might Be Giants! Acoustic guitars, wild shredding leads, buzzing distorted chug, warm wheezing keyboards, fluttery flutes, incredible harmonies, and HOOKS like you wouldn't believe. These guys accomplish more in 30 seconds than most pop bands can pull off over the course of a full album. And they accomplish more in these 44 songs than most bands manage in their whole careers.
Some of their songs are hushed and dreamy, others are pounding and super rocking, some soar majestically, others are wildly metallic freakouts, Iron Maiden-y guitar harmonies wrap around weird Melvins like falsetto vocals, summery folky strums drift over calliope like keyboards, crunchy guitars unfurl jangly jams, while the vocals drawl lazily over the top. So many different sounds and styles but all totally perfectly fused into the Ovens' weirdly perfect pop world. Live the band are as likely to kick out a cover of the Bee Gee's "Holiday" as they are some old Melvins jam. They manage to sound heavy and crunchy, but also delicate and folky, often those two sides colliding in a burst of total freaking mad genius popsmithery. If there was any justice in the world these guys would be HUGE. Every song of theirs is as good if not better than any Weezer song, and they pull it off in half the time. The lyrics are hilarious, deadpan, self deprecating, clever and snarky, the musicianship is totally stellar, especially the guitars, the arrangements are unique, sometimes super unexpected but somehow they never take way from the song or the hook, and every curveball they throw manages to sound more catchy than off kilter. We could gush and gush, and go on and on about how pop bands like this are such a rarity, but man, how these guys went so long without blowing up, still boggles the mind. So now's the time. These guys rule. They're loud and fun, and funny and catchy and heavy and super rocking, and these are some of the catchiest most kick ass songs you will ever hear. EVER!


Awesome Bay Area trio, who most definitely know how to whip up some seriously awesome art punk garage rock, very much in the tradition of bands like the Shop Assistants, Young Marble Giants, Vaselines, Kleenex, The Fall, as well as fitting really nicely alongside current comrades like Thee Oh Sees, Brilliant Colors, Vivian Girls, etc. There's such a sense of urgency and immediate energy that comes pouring out of their music as well as a timeless quality to their approach that will no doubt give their sound a lasting power. There is a haunting/beautiful quality to GW's vocal delivery as well which reminds us a bit of one of our favorite and most underrated bands from a decade ago, Quixotic. We're definitely gonna keep our eyes and ears glued to what these ladies do because every record so far has been amazing, and they definitely seem like they'll only keep getting better and better...

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Projects in the jungle

Our NZ friend Antony Milton (Mrtyu, Nether Dawn, A.M., The Stumps, The Futurians, PseudoArcana label, etc.), asked us to help spread the word about this neat project he did on behalf of the endangered South American rainforest, here's the info:

In September and October of 2009 Antony Milton spent 3 weeks working as a volunteer for the San Miguel del Bala community in the Bolivian jungle. His project for this time was to record a work representing the sound environment of this location, the sounds of the jungle and of the local village and its musicians.
This experience was a real adventure and involved a 3 day journey in dugout canoe up into the deep jungle of the Madidi National Park in order to record howler monkeys and other more exotic animals.
The final album is a filmic 35 minute suite of sounds and music. Upon receiving payments an email will be sent back as soon as possible containing the download links.
The download includes a text file documenting the sound sources for these recordings.
All money from this release will be forwarded to the San Miguel del Bala Community Trust, an initiative set up by Conservation International as an alternative to the logging which was the main source of income for villagers prior to the trust funds various tourism based operations.

There is a lot more information about this album on Antony Milton's myspace blog:

to order go here:

Monday, February 15, 2010

New Arrivals #339

Happy President's Day people! In case you've been partying all weekend as a result of the holiday, and didn't notice, we sent out a list on Friday, you can find it here!

Records Of The Week:

STRAPPING FIELDHANDS "Discus" (Shangri-La) cd $11.98
At last reissued, a masterpiece of '90s indie noise rock shot through with '60s British Invasion pop stylings, sure to strike a chord with all the kids who have been digging the new wave of home brewed retro lo-fi garage pop, now that they'll finally get to hear this genius album!
BLESSURE GRAVE "Judged By Twelve, Carried By Six" (Alien 8) cd $14.98
San Diego's coldest goth-cult, dirge-punk lo-fi art pop combo unveil their debut full-length, after a bunch of buzz-worthy splits, cassettes, and singles.
ETIENNE JAUMET "Night Music" (Domino) cd/lp $14.98/$22.00
From France, a surprise epic of cosmic, psychedelic space-out groove, mixing electronics, jazz, techno, and more, for fans of Zombi AND Zomby, Klaus Schulze and Carl Craig (who mixed it!).

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Documentary about a documentary

Ah, Circle. Ah, Finland. Here's a trailer for a documentary someone made about the making of another documentary, the Circle Saturnus Reality dvd we listed last year:

No word yet whether this documentary will be available on dvd, too.

Shipping, simplified...

For domestic mail order customers only (overseas and local folks, you don't need to read this)...

Hopefully you noted the new domestic mail order rates/options that went into effect as of list #338. The details are on our website, and nobody has seemed too confused by any of it yet, but since it's a slightly more complicated system (with a new choice you can make, to have your stuff send via USPS Media Mail if you like) we've been trying to come up with super simple explanation of the way the new domestic shipping rates work... here it is:

IF we can fit your order into a USPS Priority Mail Small Flat Rate Box (8 5/8" x 5 3/8" x 1 5/8") then that's how it goes, for $4.95.

UNLESS, your order consists of only one (1) item that's not any bigger than a 7". In which case, we'll send that single item USPS First Class for $2.95. (Sometimes we can send a single magazine this way too.)

ALL other orders will ship UPS Ground for $9.95 - OR, if you've selected the Media Mail option, then we'll ship it Media Mail for either $5.95 (1-3 items) or $7.95 (4+ items).

Things that won't fit into a Priority Mail Small Flat Rate box include: 7"s, 10"s, 12"s, LPs, most box sets, most magazines, most books...

Usually up to 3 cds in jewel cases or digipacks will fit. (Sometimes slightly oversized cds won't, but if we're feeling friendly we'll send 'em via Priority Mail in a non-Flat Rate box anyway, and pick up the difference.)

If you've selected Media Mail, but when shipping we determine we could send your order via Priority or First Class instead, we will, and charge you the appropriate rate (if it happens that you've pre-paid via Paypal or money order, the difference will be applied to your next order).

And by "order" above, we're referring to whatever group of items we're shipping to you at a given time.

Hope that makes sense. Questions, let us know. Thanks!