Chris Forsyth: Paranoid Cat
Paranoid Cat is Philadelphia guitarist Chris Forsyth’s third solo album and the first for Family Vineyard. It is a sprawling, harmonically-charged side-long suite backed by a clutch of compositions merging raw and delicate American roots traditions. After more than a decade trotting the globe and recording with a mess of today’s avant garde greats, plus co-leading the brazenly absurd Peeesseye, Forsyth has arranged a full-band with dummer Mike Pride and members of D. Charles Speer & the Helix, Sunburned Hand of the Man, Peeesseye, and Mountains to accompany his electric six-string vision of interlocking arpeggios and maximalist peaks. The kaleidoscopic arrangements of Paranoid Cat are a leap from the stripped down attack on Forsyth’s hotly acclaimed 2009 Dreams -- to be reissued by Family Vineyard later this year -- with hints of John Fahey's “America,” Richard Lloyd's work with Television, John Lee Hooker, and Van Dyke Parks all being identifiable somewhere in the swirling mix.
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.
Hisato Higuchi: Henzai
Tokyo-based guitarist/singer Hisato Higuchi presents his fourth full-length and first LP release. “Henzai” is Higuchi at his most bare. Each song appears like a spectral poem -- sewn together with hushed electricity and whispers. This recording is wholly intimate, recorded in seclusion, and washes over the listener like a hazy, day-break dream. Higuchi splits these 12 torch-songs between slow-motion improvisations and the composed, yet each is sung with a mix of beautiful wordless/Japanese language moans that appears to have no beginning or end. The electric guitar catches the fainest of blue melodies and single note trances before flickering into black nothingness. The disparate touchstones for the emotional weight waged across this LP range from Blind Willie Johnson to The Cure’s “Pornography.”Higuchi first embarked on his artistic travels as a puppeteer for a theater company. In 1990 he started creating music in his home studio and eventually self-released his debut CD EP “She” in 2003. Soon after he appeared on PSF’s famed Tokyo Flashback compilation series, and Family Vineyard released the full-lengths “Dialogue” (2006) and “Butterfly Horse Street” (2007). Higuchi will be featured on an upcoming installment of Root Strata’s Tsuki No Seika 7-inch series.=Higuchi recorded, produced and shot the cover art for this 550 edition LP
Suzanne Langille & Neel Murgai: Wild & Foolish Heart
Suzanne Langille started her recording career as a vocalist alongside Loren Mazzacane Connors on a string of rare LPs in the mid-1980s acclaimed for their startling transformation of the blues. Since, Langille has added vocals and lyrics to many Connors albums, including the landmark "Hell's Kitchen Park," collaborated with San Agustin and issued a conceptual full-length on Secretly Canadian in 1998. But all along a proper solo album has never surfaced -- until now."Wild & Foolish Heart" joins Langille with Indian classical musician Neel Murgai -- a long-time collaborator and leader of his own ensemble. Langille's blues-filled moans are perfectly matched to the dazzling drone and subtle melodic rhythm of Murgai's tanpura and daf (Persian frame drum). Their reworking of popular/traditional songs and Langille's own dramatic compositions draw out redemption, sorrow and celebration in a way that makes listening to these sides feel like uncovering a lost field recording of otherworldly haunts or spirituals. Langille's pervading melancholic tone flares in the tradition of Patti Smith and Thalia Zedek at times. The LP ends with a scorching blowout from the Haunted House band, the legendary/defunct downtown 'blues rock' improv-combo fronted by Langille, with Murgai, Connors and San Augstin guitarist Andrew Burnes.This 550-edition LP features cover art from Loren Connors, a selection of his rarely seen photography/collage work, and is pressed in an edition of 550 copies.
Alan Licht & Loren Connors: Into the Night Sky
Into the Night Sky is the sixth album from avant guitarists Alan Licht and Loren Connors, the first after 2003's In France. Since 1993 these New York City artists have evolved an instrumental dialogue merging shades of electric blues and minimalism. These two epic pieces — one from 1996, the other 2006 — recorded live in concert clearly show far their desolate sound world grew over a decade of collaboration while the core of layered guitar complexities and alien melodies remain. The atmosphere conjured by the duo is unmistakable — the ebb of eloquently shaped feedback — while the harmonic patterns recall 20th Century classical music. Active since the early 1990s, Licht has worked with a veritable who's who of the experimental world, from free jazz legends to downtown composers while performing in Text of Light and an ongoing duo with Aki Onda. Since 1978 Connors has released dozens of acclaimed and sought after LPs documenting his singular adaption of the blues and forging his place as one of America's most iconoclastic artists.
Human Skab: Thunder Hips and Saddle Bags
Human Skab was a 10-year old boy from Elma, Washington who played African music with buckets and spoons. Thunder Hips and Saddle Bags is a 1986 cassette recorded by young Travis Roberts with his neighborhood pals and siblings. It was injected into the underground network of tape traders, zine scribes, college DJs, and freak seekers who were universally bowled over by its bewildering and utterly poignant snapshot of the mid-1980s. Skab's music — an orchestration of pots n' pans, three string guitar, poorly-tuned upright piano, broken bottles, toy guns, a garden rake, and a "Snake Mountain" microphone — is a response to fear of nuclear war with the Soviet Union, He-Man cartoons, Twisted Sister, the coolness of dinosaurs, the uncoolness of John Wayne, and Ronald Reagan. Roberts captures the fervor of do-it yourself ethos, punk energy and the rawness of early American folk by acting on his wild child imagination and enigmatic sense of song.These rare recordings have never been made widely available until now. This reissue includes the complete 1986 cassette. The CD version contain a bonus 1987 radio interview. The 16-page booklet in the 500 edition LP and CD contains extensive liner notes by Roberts and Cousin Franky, and radio DJ?John Straub along with many full-color photographs and news clippings.
Jailbreak: The Rocker
Jailbreak is the duo of pedal steel/vocalist Heather Leigh and drummer Chris Corsano. The name foregrounds the kind of outlaw violence with which the two reformulate rock/roll instants by bringing free jazz fire power to amp-humping sex beats. Their musical alliance goes all the way back to the legendary Brattleboro Free Folk Fest, the birthplace of the ?New Weird America’, where Corsano and his long-term saxophone partner Paul Flaherty joined Leigh and Christina Carter for a quartet show that took the roof off the building and the skin off their fingers. Since then Corsano and Leigh have worked together as part of Taurpis Tula and as members of Thurston Moore’s Dream/Aktion Unit. So, who better to describe this 700 edition debut LP, than Mr. Flaherty: For those of you who've been worried that the Free Power Noize scene has become a little too tame, (and seriously who isn't somewhat concerned about that), a new screamin' creamin' duo -- Jailbreak -- expoldes to the rescue. The Rocker is a blast-furnace of blisteringly joyous witch-howling assaults on the essence of whips and chains and repressive injustice gone legal. Both of these magisterial musicians are capable of extreme dynamics and subtleties, but those concepts don't get in the way of this monster-truck of a record. And why should they when drums and guitar can slash and burn in a riotous electric smash fest like this crazed merry madcap of an album. Over the top . . . Way!
Loren Connors & Darin Gray: The Lost Mariner LP (+ At The Old Factory 7")
Just past 10 years ago this debut collaboration between primitive American blues guitarist Loren Connors and the confounding electric bassist Darin Gray was issued on CD. The Lost Mariner was the first in a pair of releases by the upstart Family Vineyard label. Now with a decade of hindsight and a nod to looking ahead, here is a a 700 edition LP reissue of the studio session considered by Connors to be one of his finest. Since this album's 1999 release Connors has released a series of sorrowful solo albums and multi-disc collections on Family Vineyard while Gray formed the cinematic On Fillmore (with Wilco’s Glen Kotche) and continued collaborations with Jim O'Rourke, Akira Sakata, Chris Corsano and others. The Lost Mariner is an improvised dialogue between these two musicians. Structure is there, but it roams as it sways, constantly adjusting and reinventing itself as the two react to its mysterious design. For this reissue the LP is sleeved inside stunning cover art (an Albert Pinkham Ryder painting) and contains the bonus At The Old Factory 7-inch. This raw, live snapshot of a 1999 performance comes on colored vinyl in a full-color sleeve designed by Katie Leming (Cro Magnon, Bird).
Akira Sakata & Chikamorachi: Friendly Pants
Friendly Pants is the first American release by legendary Japanese saxophonist Akira Sakata in more than 20 years. It pairs the 65-year-old traveler alongside Chikamorachi, the bombast rhythm section of drummer Chris Corsano (Paul Flaherty Duo, Bjork, Jandek) and acoustic bassist Darin Gray (On Fillmore, Grand Ulena, Brise Glace). Since the late 1960s, Sakata has been a constant figure in jazz and creative music scenes as an ever evolving and adventurous, multi-instrumentalist, and member of classic groups such as Yamashita Yosuke Trio and Wha-ha-ha plus many of his own, like the Sakata Akira mii. He has recorded with Chris Cosey, Peter Brötzmann in Last Exit, DJ Krush, Yoshimio, and others.
Since 2005 Sakata has been aligned with Corsano and Gray — a duo equally informed by underground American rock, noise & free jazz — and already issued two other smoked and blown out albums with them in Japan. On each of those they were joined by Jim O’Rourke, who remains in the producer’s chair for this session. Sakata deliverers ferocious / highly lyrical approaches to the post-bop field and with Chikamorachi’s recalls late-period John Coltrane or Pharoah Sanders during the early 1970s at times. While the three smear and tear at the edges, Sakata’s massive tone and melodic sense reins in the chaos to create beauty and awe.
Originally issued on O’Rourke’s Japanese imprint Shakaijin Records, Friendly Pants is now reissued for the rest of the world to dig.
Loren Connors: The Curse of Midnight Mary
In 1981 guitarist Loren Connors took his tape recorder to the graveyard where the legendary Midnight Mary's grave lies in New Haven, Conn. The curse is: Anyone who gets caught in her graveyard past midnight will die the next day. But Connors, like a young fool, taped in that place, making this album that was lost and forgotten until uncovered in 2008.
Recorded between Connors’ eight volume Unaccompanied Acoustic Guitar Improvisations LP series and the folk albums he would make with Tom Hanford and Kath Bloom, these nine pieces meld those distinct forms. Connors, singing in a trance like moan, reforms the Mississippi Delta blues on his acoustic guitar with flashes of melodic hooks and a percussive guitar style that erupts into boogie-woogie riffs and other world spirituals. It’s an album for fans of Connors’ solo avant work and collaborations with Jim O’Rourke or Jandek; and will enthrall devotees of early the 20th Century blues of Blind Willie Johnson and Charlie Patton. A rare and essential peak into the still mysterious early years of this American guitar master.
Jim O'Rourke & Loren Connors: Two Nice Catholic Boys
These two nice Catholic boys, Loren Connors and Jim O'Rourke, met at the crossroads each night during a 1997 European tour. By this time O'Rourke already reissued Connors' seminal heartbreak album In Pittsburgh on his Dexter's Cigar label and and was preparing to produce the guitarist's big-band mash-up with Alan Licht, Hoffman Estates. Together, Connors-O’Rourke unravel slow motion ghost blues across three extended pieces that evolve from the elder’s martian style to the thundering, feedback splattered lead grooves of that whippersnapper. The spontaneous melodies shift from devastating, country road intimacy to hypnotic overamped rock. It's ferocious, epic, and an utter beauty capable only from two who know themselves and each other all too well. This live CD is only the second duo release by these musical partners despite performing together since the mid-90s. During the past decade, O'Rourke has repeatedly returned to the hours of recordings captured across Europe to select these 47 minutes.
Rachel Shearer: Fakerie
Fakerie is a digital séance of aural and visual sculptures by the New Zealand artist Rachel Shearer, formerly known as Lovely Midget. Filmed in an environment to facilitate focused listening, Fakerie is as much for the ears as the eyes. Glowing white lights ebb and expand from darkness in shifting series — like clustered stars — as penetrating resonances of acoustic and electronic overtones decompose into the tiniest sand-like components. Traces of Mary Lucier’s mid-1970s burn films and Francois Bayle’s musical investigation into the physical and psychical world is present. The specially programmed Region 0 (free)/NTSC format DVD plays in constant loop. Its 22-minutes can be expanded into hours allowing the user to immerse themselves in the work. This DVD is Shearer’s first long-form film release. In the past 20 years she has released records on Siltbreeze, Xpressway, Flying Nun, Corpus Hermeticum and Ecstatic Peace as Lovely Midget and with Queen Meanie Puss and Angelhead. Packaged in a mini-LP-styled gatefold book, this set also contains a 20-page booklet investigating the ghosts, distances and signals of fakerie.
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.
The Blithe Sons: The Great Orthochromatic Wheel
The Great Orthochromatic Wheel is The Blithe Sons first full-length release since 2004. In the years since the California duo of Loren Chasse and Glenn Donaldson may have traversed poppy fields and swam to aqua cities though mostly they've remained active with their Jewelled Antler offshoots: Ov, Of, and Child Readers (Chasse) or Skygreen Leopards and Flying Canyon (Donaldson) and both in Thuja. These five songs combine nature's elodic pull and minimalist songs forms summoned by a miniature orchestra of eclectic instruments. Each LP side flaunts a different depth of the Sons, one recorded outdoors and the other inside. The indoor set consists of slow-motion ballads built on hymn-like organ, nylon string guitar, analog drum machine & stark percussion. The outdoor side offers a web of exotic wind-instruments & battery-powered electronics reverberating in a cavernous hall cut in the side of a sea-cliff. Each 500 copies contain a download coupon for MP3 version of the album.
Dredd Foole: Kissing the Contemporary Bliss
For over 30 years troubadour wailer Dan Ireton, aka Dredd Foole, has called upon the spirit of 78 shellac blues n' psychedelic Stooges n' Velvets to fuel his guttural, pure soul ethos of the song. Whether solo or leading mass, Foole hints at the classic forms of Dylan’s Blood On The Tracks, Buckley’s Starsailor and the celestial fug of Sun Ra’s third-eye vision to create an approach untraveled yet increasingly influential (see: Six Organs of Admittance, Sunburned Hand of the Man). Produced in multi-dimensional spectrasound by Matt “MV” Valentine (Bummer Road, Tower Recordings), Kissing The Contemporary Bliss spans 50 miles of elbow room (it’s a double CD) and kicks up the most outward bound and staggering approaches to Gus Cannon's "Walk Right In" and Robert Johnson's "Stones In My Passway" while offering ear-popping originals colored by Erika Elder’s jug blowin’ and Coot Moon’s ecstatic, reverb dosed banjo. You’ll hear nothing like this in 2008 or beyond. Packaged in a mini-LP-styled gatefold book with full color photos of The Foole in action.
John Terrill: Frowny Frown
Between 1988 and 1998, John Terrill (co-founder of the late ?70s new/no wave Dancing Cigarettes) recorded this album and made a few copies for close friends and for mailing to musical heroes. In another era, it could have stood next to Scott Walker or Michael Hurley’s early albums or even Randy Burns’ LPs on ESP Disk. It’s an out-of-time classic that mixes honey baked orchestration, acoustic soul, and pop-psychedelia into cracked and spellbinding songs. Now reissued for all and remastered with a bonus track from 1984. “I feel this album is a little gem. Lyrically—a man up against it (Frowny Frown) as opposed to (Smiley Smile), but still leaning towards humor, kindheartedness, and no bitterness within the adversity. A very feeling album and all kinds of sonically interesting things. The kind of direction Brian Wilson might even have taken himself if his own circumstances had been different. Beach Boys meet Mothers of Invention.” — Bill Fay.
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.
Alan Licht & Aki Onda: Everydays
Debut collaboration of New York artists and long-time duo partners Alan Licht and Aki Onda, whose combined history connects artists straddling the pop and experimental worlds, including Fennesz, Loren Connors, Takemura Nobukazu, Lee Ranaldo, and Toriko Nujiko. In the past decade their montage-inspired solo work---Licht's permutational guitar and tape pieces on Rabbi Sky and A New York Minute, Onda's field recording recontextualizations on Bon Voyage! and Ancient & Modern---has co-existed with their experimental sound/visual projects Text of Light (Licht) and Cinemage (Onda). Everydays is five grandly formed soundscapes that mix Onda's poetic/textural cassette sounds and the rhythmic/lyrical pull of Licht's guitar. Morphing from recognizable structures to dissonant hammered chunks and rapid cut-ups, the album perfectly weaves their signature applications of sound diaries, minimalism, grainy fidelity, looping and free blues into a dynamic and ambitious statement.
Jed Speare: Sound Works 1982-1987
Jed Speare is a crossover artist who has been working in sound, video, and performance for over thirty years. Sound Works 1982-1987 reflects his investigation and uniquely expressive practice of musique concrete-like analogue sound/field recording, editing, combining and mixing during that era. He is the creator of the Smithsonian Folkways LP Cable Car Soundscapes (1982), a project that begins as a sound documentary and ends as a tape composition based on cable car sounds. In the early 80s he recorded with the San Francisco groups, Research Library (appearing with and solo on the legendary Red Spot compilation LP; Subterranean Records), Ultrasheen (7" ep; Subterranean), and Appliances. This 2xCD collects five of Speare’s long-form compositions for the first time. Splicing together sources into towering movements used for stage and screen, these two hours of music take you to the heart of sound where nothing can own you. Twelve page booklet features introduction by video artist and writer George Quasha, Speare’s detailed notes on each piece, rare photographs and score reprodcutions. Remastered by Bhob Rainey (nmperign).