MX-80: "Lights Out" / "So Clear"
Vocalist, lyricist, and cynic Rich Stim is back on game, dropping his deadpan, Dada-views on the modern world. Energy wasters, SUV hounds, drunks, and despoilers all get laid out one-by one. Backed by original members Bruce Anderson (guitar), Dale Sophiea (bass, samples), Dave Mahoney (drums) and long-time associates Marc Weinstein (drums) and Jim Hrabetin (guitar), MX-80 has recaptured their time-tested bizarro song-form while adding new layers of blood and seed to tangle up any conceptions or reservations you may hold.
Unstable Ensemble: 17 Ways
Spacious, avant jazz in the realms of Spontaneous Music Ensemble that carries frictional shards sharp enough to shave your globe off yee shoulders and across the valley. Highly tempered and action packed with a sniff of underbelly, Parker, Bailey, and KISS. The make up is: Jason Bivins [electric guitar], Marty Belcher [soprano saxophone], Joe Donnelly [baritone saxophone], Matt Griffin [drums] and Richard Patterson [flute, vocalization]. A force to be reckoned with.
San Agustin: Amokhali
NYC/Atlanta trio of Andrew Burnes (guitar), Davd Daniell (guitar), and Bryan Fielden, (drums). This debut full-length takes the six-string blues dissonance to new heights. Glacial tempos rich in melodic-flow position themselves between the partial jazz trappings. Quite a technical (and emotional) leap from the debut 12"
"Music that often sounds like it's on the verge of collapse... Just get inside and follow your mind."-- Adding & Abetting
Akira Sakata & Jim O'Rourke with Chikamorachi: And that's the Story of Jazz...
And that's the story of jazz... Get it? Well, maybe you had to be there when legendary saxophonist Akira Sakata, guitarist Jim O'Rourke and bombast rhythm crew of percussionist Chris Corsano and double bassist Darin Gray (aka Chikamorachi) jumped in the van for a Japanese tour. This two CD set documents their 2008 jaunt -- not the first and far from last -- in blistering detail. Shades of Last Exit, Coltrane's Live in Seattle and even Kousokuya appear here but this quartet has nailed its own unique 'n' volatile tension and symmetry during its past six years together. Until now, their albums have only been available as Japanese imports. This is also the third U.S. release by Sakata on Family Vineyard in the past three years.Throughout Sakata charges upper registers on alto sax yet still hooks stunning phrases and harmonic themes. O'Rourke's radical, electric guitar blasts are massive volleys of pure sound. All the while, Gray relentlessly anchors the torrent with subterranean grooves, scrapes and slaps while Corsano lays waste to his kit, pounding polyrhythms and tones. Together passages transform from blinding, uncompromised brutality to zones where Sakta's sweetened melodies dance slowly alone and O'Rourke, also on harmonica, adds lonesome country blues. Over-the-top at times, but hey, that's the story of jazz... If you want Grade-A, blood splattered free music, this is it, but you gotta pay for it.
Tigersmilk: Android Love Cry
It gets nasty at times--feedback laden, meters in the red--even psychedelic as Tigersmilk pour it on thick, straight from some cosmic mind's eye teat. Android Love Cry is the third album from the voodoo concrète jazz crew of Rob Mazurek (Chicago Underground, Mandarin Movie, Exploding Star Orchestra) on cornet, laptop/synth (and banjo), acoustic/electric bassist Jason Roebke (Rapid Croche, Fred Lonberg-Holm Trio), and percussionist ylan van der Schyff (Talking Pictures). It's a dynamically gorgeous and dissonant thirteen part cycle that delves into obscure conditions of wilderness and transformation backed by a pulsing and often volatile syncopation not far from Max Neuhaus' electro-acoustics or even Cluster's space 'n' rhythm glow. Even with engorged synthesizer and percussive fields Tigersmilk's heart is the post-bop flare of Bill Dixon's late-60s orchestra and the oceanic pull of minimalist cool. Tradition is deep in these abstractions--it's the unshakable bond of these three travelers who've created an album even a dark prince would love.
Apache Dropout: Apache Dropout
Apache Dropout is a full on lysergic boogie trio from Southern Indiana who've self-released a handful of recordings while touring the sub-U.S. during the past couple years. Finally, their debut LP is here to catch you up with their three-minute-&-less anthems crafted of '60s epoch fuzz. With mostly guitar/bass/drums they channel soul melodies, primitive rock thump and blasted solos that are soaked in the dimethyl-trip of teenage visions (see songs "Sam Phillips Rising" and "God Bless You Johan Kugelberg" for that) and a few whifs of Tuli Kupferberg. Sonny Alexandre is the enigmatic howler/vocalist/guitarist whose swagger and melted riffs leads the way. Formed in 2008, the group's previous endeavors include John Wilkes Booze, Hot Fighter #1 and Lord Fyre. Recorded by the band at their own Magnetic South Studio, they've pushed these 11 songs into highly textured nuggets of punk art that follow in the wave of The 13th Floor Elevators, The Velvets, and Patti Smith Group. We've got no doubt, this is going to floor all ears in 2011. Album art and horn arrangements come by way of John Terrill (co-founder of the late '70s new/no wave Dancing Cigarettes) and final audio polishing by engineer Paul "Z" Mahern, vocalist of the legendary Zero Boys.
Paul Flaherty: Aria Nativa
Aria Nativa is more than Paul Flaherty's third solo saxophone album; it merges rhapsodic avant garde music, patriotic dream verse, and mortality into a frighteningly pure work of audio, visual and literary sledge. Recorded during a pair of 2007 performances, its four pieces capture lifeblood in stunning detail from foot stomps to gut hollers and crowd roars as Flaherty's free power blues dips into the well of wretchedness and raises with fists of mirth. It's the sorta record that splays naked the artist for all: equal parts wise ass and universal vision. From his early 1970s woodshedding through a dozen plus albums each with drum buddies Randall Colburne and Chris Corsano, and collaborators Bill Nace, Wally Shoup and Sunburned Man of the Hand, Flaherty remains a total wildcat -- on and off the alto/tenor horns. For this LP his massive tonal craft is equally matched by Ken Hill's gorgeous cover shot of a snow blown grave and "No More America" -- Ken DelPonte's epic poem that spans nearly five decades and fills the back jacket, framing the atmosphere the music was recorded under. Each 500 copies contain a download coupon for MP3 version of the album that includes a bonus track of "No More America" read by the author.
Blithe Sons, The: Arm of the Starfish
Arm of the Starfish is the fifth full-length release from the outdoor wandering The Blithe Sons, the Jewelled Antler-related duo of Loren Chasse (id Battery, Thuja) and Glenn Donaldson (the Birdtree, Thuja, Mirza), and their second CD for Family Vineyard. Performed mostly in coastal environs on acoustic and battery-powered instruments, the sound of waves, wind, tide pools, seabirds and shifting sand plays an active role in these minimalist folk atmospheres. Incorporating 12-string cuatro, acoustic guitar, dulcimer, banjo, harmonium, percussion, toy amplifiers, wood flutes, Thai mouthorgan, violin-uke, Casio and Donaldson's mysterious vocal utterances, Arm of the Starfish evokes haunted shorelines, windswept cliffs and vast undersea caverns. The Blithe Son's previous Family Vineyard release We Walk the Young Earth was critically acclaimed the world over by Mojo, The Wire, Pitchforkmedia, Vice, Dusted, Signal to Noise, and many other publications.
Jason Bivins & Ian Davis: Benthic
An old fashioned duet with no rules: electric guitarist Jason Bivins and percussionist Ian Davis at the crossroads of American Underground Improvisation. Outside the near blazing solos and riffery of Van Halen proportions there are the clusters of shiny metal, the rattles of Han Bennink-like trappings that poke out like shrapnel. Then there is the roar of 1000 stuttering jazzbo guitarists and drummers with their hands tied down and jaws pried open and ready to feast on this. Now imagine the entire Incus roster growing up on DC hardcore (Bivins) and the South Carolina "chittlin' circuit" (Davis). This is the place where the two meet: Benthic, the bottom layer of the ocean, where everything slowly sifts down towards, where only the blind fish can truly see. Using few tricks and slight of hand movements, these two players take their instruments at the base level, volume and technique are pushed back and forth. Davis' use of tiny-spaghetti-like sticks pick apart the micro-placed notes Bivins can spin off the granular surface of his guitar strings. As leader of the Micro-East Collective and countless other North Carolina Triangle groups, Davis has kept his pace up for the past 20 years, backing everyone from Trailer Bride to Andrew Voight. Newcomer Bivins has kept up with the Micro-East and the Unstable Ensemble.
Paul Flaherty & Randall Colbourne: Bridge Out!
Don't call it a comeback. Bridge Out!, the first release in almost a decade by the outlaw duo of saxophonist Paul Flaherty and percussionist Randall Colbourne, is better thought of as a renewal, a reawakening of a collaboration which has lain dormant for too long. Joining forces in the late 1980s, these two New Englanders released over a dozen uncompromising albums of avant garde jazz on their own and other labels that have since vanished into legend. Since then, Flaherty has expanded across the world stage in improv, out-rock and noise (with Chris Corsano, Thurston Moore, Sunburned Hand of the Man, Wally Shoup, etc.) while Colbourne pursued private study. Together again, they've created eight instant compositions of coiling sax lines and polyrhythmic patterns that commemorates the past celebrates the new. Includes liner notes by Nick Cain.
Bruce Anderson: Brutality II: Balkana
Bruce's second installment. The production and narrative flow by Dale seals this brutal lament on Man's copious history.
"Anderson's guitar emits bell-like tones at one moment, and squalls of white noise at the next. The nearly half-hour "Feud," built around an insistent, clanging low-end figure, stacks whistling guitars and sporadic bass pulses to haunting effect. "Blood" employs more musicians and fewer notes, holding to one low tone for the entirety of its ten-minute length."-- Billboard
Hisato Higuchi: Butterfly Horse Street
Tokyo-based guitarist/singer Hisato Higuchi has shaped an inimitable sound sphere of solitary electric notes that drape across his unearthly moan during the course of two full-lengths and an EP. Channeling loneliness and desires as elegant six-string tone poems, Higuchi has reached the heights of fellow travelers from Meredith Monk to Charalambides. Though Butterfly Horse Street adds an unexpected snarl as Higuchi erupts into free/noise, wall of sound guitar style that echoes the most ecstatic string manipulation of Masayuki Takayanagi or Donald Miller (Borbetomagus). Ferocious and howling, Higuchi still paints desolation whether bleeding into the red or as hushed beauty.
Dow Jones & The Industrials: Can't Stand the Midwest
Family Vineyard reissues an obscure and sought after punk/new wave treasure. Dow Jones and the Industrials' 1981 debut and sole 7-inch EP, originally issued on the Hardly Music label, is immaculately re-mastered from the original tapes and now available on audiophile vinyl. Dow Jones and the Industrials of West Lafayette, Indiana existed from the late 1970s into the early 80s amongst a stylistically matchless state-wide scene that included The Gizmos, Zero Boys and Dancing Cigarettes. This EP -- of which original copies have swapped hands for more than $400 -- contains the often bootlegged and covered anthem "Can't Stand the Midwest," along with "Let's Go Steady" and "Indeterminism." The four member DJI combined jagged rock 'n' roll songwriting with emerging electronic instrumentation and smart-ass collegiate humor into a wild new wave sound that won them immediate popularity among Indiana's punks and co-eds of the day and has remained in the hearts of record collectors these past 30 years. Includes exact reprints of the two different versions of an insert included with the original record. Family Vineyard will be reissuing the complete recordings of Dow Jones & The Industrials later in 2011.
Circuit Des Yeux: CDY3
The cryptic vision of Circuit des Yeux becomes ever more formed with this mini-album. Whereas the oft’ solo Chicago-based Haley Fohr is backed with a tour learned combo to push these three songs into maximal view then, off into obliteration. Yet, the focus remains Fohr’s haunted, mournful melodies, where the edges of her voice twist toward inner conflict and white light aggression, and intricate feedback architecture of her guitar playing.In this near anthem rock mode the songs become a liberation from the cacophonous orchestrations fashioned throughout Symphone and Sirenum and the isolation of last year’s Portrait -- all full-lengths on the De Stijl label. The retelling of “I’m On Fire” and the new "Lithonia" are classic structures filtered through Fohr's Romantic spirit and an emotional weight not far from Catherine Ribeiro or Peter Jefferies. The B-side “Helen, You Bitch” is a smudged, concrete purposed solo that builds with drums and more guitar until the end.Recorded at the all analogue Magnetic South in Bloomington, Indiana, this 300 edition 10-inch is the studio’s first widespread release on its in-house label after previous titles from Apache Dropout, Learner Dancer and Tammar.
Dredd Foole: Daze on the Mounts
Hey, smooch! The Foole, aka Dan Ireton, has finally come out and endeda near decade of silence and Daze on the Mounts, a spiralingthree-dimensional crest of the so-called avant-folk expression, is thecelebratory homecoming. Originally a limited 2004 CDR, this reissuepresents the colossal side for all. In collaboration with MattValentine and Erika Elder (MV&EE/Bummer Road and Tower Recordings),two of modern-time's purest interstellar travelers, Dredd Foole boundsbetween Tim Buckley-esque bellow and a hyper-extended take on the songform (a dewy mash of Ra-space and Vermont-lore) alongsideenvironmental treatments (harmonica, synthesizer, percussion) and hisown acoustic guitar work to fully transcend limitations. From thevisceral 80s garage days with The Din to becoming a beacon for many afree folk explorer, the Foole remains a bona fide master of universalrevelation.
Hisato Higuchi: Dialogue
Dialogue is the first American release by Tokyo's Hisato Higuchi. Originally a puppeteer, Higuchi has transformed his glacial, shadow-box inspired hand movements to the twilight theater of electric guitar. His six-string melodic tones and hushed vocals fan out from the haunted torch songs of Patty Waters and moon-like ambiance. Higuchi's seemingly wordless Japanese croon is a smoky, after-hours call of loss or introspection. The songs of Dialogue float like spectors, each piece manifests itself in a unique and singular conception that seeps into your mind and soul. The perfect introduction for stateside listeners.