Loren Connors: The Departing of a Dream
Vinyl reissue of master guitarist Loren Connors' modern classic The Departing of a Dream ? the first of what would become a three volume series based loosely as tribute to Miles Davis' "He Loved Him Madly." This album finds Connors exploring slowly churned darkened hues ? each collapsing onto themselves like echoes of Miles' muted trumpet and Connors' signature ghost melodies.
Since the late 1970s, Connors' use of haunted Delta Blues, minimalism and compositional underpinnings have become an avant-garde style synonymous to him. When The Departing of a Dream was released as a CD in 2002 it signaled a dramatic growth in Connors' sound by combining electric, acoustic and bass guitar with the unsettling menage of subtle percussion and ambient hiss. Remastered from the master tape this 180 gram LP extends the closing two part suite "For NY 9/11/01" with a bonus track. Comes with download code.
Apache Dropout: Magnetic Heads
This is not a ?new??Apache Dropout platter, but an archival sidestep into the Fugs n? fried view of their early beginnings. Before the Indiana trio cemented their unique red-level, distorto proto-punk they focused on a more obliterated bent on traditional forms. Fiddle, distortion and echo drive most of these songs, as sung by Sonny Blood, that tout distrust of banks, ballot uncertainties and magnetic heads. It's a bleaker vision than the recent Bubblegum Graveyard LP on Trouble in MInd, even with the blownout take on Chuck Berry's "Memphis, Tennessee" and hints of Holy Modal Rounders to Kim Fowley doused throughout these sides.
Culled from the group?s first two self-released cassettes -- Cha Cha in 2008 and Lysergic Choogle: Not for Pigs issued a year later -- the 10 songs are equally formed by their recording in a grain silo and the group's Magnetic South studio as much as the songwriting. Edition of 700 copies, comes with download code and if you can name all the heads on the cover, will give you prize.
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.
Thee Open Sex: Thee Open Sex
In 2013, after years in the midwestern freak scene pushing ear splitting cassettes, the rest of the Earth will discover Thee Open Sex. With their first proper full length, they approach the midwestern American alienation of Rocket From the Tombs as reductionists, aligning with German art rock robotics from the viewpoint of John Lydon.
While there’s a thousand bands mining the 70’s German minimalist psyche aesthetic, Thee Open Sex gets down on the Berlin street of Eno or Bowie as much as it explores Can's Inner Space. Songs come unhinged in the the cosmic pathways connecting the trance of Popul Vu, with Eddie Hazel's electromagnetism and the hypnotic thump of “Lust for Life.” The captivating aggression in vocalist Miss Mess suggests a spiritual depth while staying grounded on the planet where the Pagans and Dow Jones and the Industrials set up their amps. Her delivery emanates the bad-girl vibes of influential exploitation film “The Switchblade Sisters” instead of New Age ether.
Each of these songs were recorded at the all analogue Magnetic South studio in Bloomington, Indiana by John Dawson and Haley Fohr (aka Circuit des Yeux). Cover art from the mind of Mad Monk.
Mad Monk & Apache Dropout: My Wild Life
Mad Monk is John Terrill, original member of the late '70s new/no wave Dancing Cigarettes and veteran of many stripped down Hoosier groups since. As an ace singer/songwriter and eternal student of rock ?n? roll?s high/gulcher culture, he?s kept a criminally low profile snug in the Midwest despite drawing attention from songwriter Bill Fay and other major/minor music heads.
This platter lines up the Monk?s two newest biographical orchestrations -- and a Velvet Underground bootleg favorite -- with the freakbeat backup of Apache Dropout -- fresh off their Trouble In Mind album. In blasted proto-style the Monk takes on his past (?My Wild Life?), drink of choice (?Double Shot of Brandy?) and a tune that bridges Apache Dropout?s boogie and avant-garde notions (?I'm Not a Young Man Anymore?). Comes in full color sleeve with download code in edition of 500 copies. Recorded in mono by John Dawson and Lord Fyre at Magnetic South on analogue equipment.
Apache Dropout: Apache Dropout
Was your ear to the ground in 2011? If so, you heard Apache Dropout — the lysergic boogie trio from Southern Indiana. Their self-titled vinyl LP was named the best “re-scoring of the garage-rock aesthetic in the 21st century” by Mojo and repressed a couple times due to demand. Now, that platter is finally available in an expanded CD version. With mostly guitar/bass/drums Apache Dropout 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 Alexander is the enigmatic howler/guitarist whose swagger and melted riffs lead the way.Recorded by the band at their own Magnetic South studio on all analogue equipment and mixed down to mono, they’ve used the studio-as instrument to push 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. A horn section, synth, backup singers and guest producers help round this album into a stoned cold classic of the American rock ?n’ roll underground. Even in 2012, you’re not going to hear anything else like this. Exclusive to this CD version is a nine song live set by the band, featuring an unreleased song.
Chris Forsyth: Dreams
Dreams is a reissue of Chris Forsyth’s second solo album. In 2009 Forsyth pressed up 100 LPs for a European tour and created quite an uproar of approval by the heads who managed to score a copy. Now available again, Dreams rightfully shows Forsyth at the creme of American guitarists who blend masterful skill of country/blues with sometimes violent aggression or mind-bending arrangements. Dreams was recorded and mixed between 2007 and 2009 and catches Forsyth in the studio layering acoustic and electric guitars and organ with contributions from his guests, creating four pieces which are full of the raw power and intuitive delicacy that characterizes his live shows still. Dreams crosses free-wheeling minimalist rock balladry and anarcho-improv surrealism with a fearless approach to beauty in a deeply psychedelic landscape. It features contributions from his Peeesseye bandmates Jaime Fennelly (synth on one track) and Fritz Welch (drums and vocals on another) as well as the soaring trumpet work of Nate Wooley and organ, saxophone, and snare drum overdubs by another longtime collaborator of Forsyth’s in Phantom Limb & Bison, Shawn Edward Hansen. This is Forsyth’s second solo record, preceding Paranoid Cat, which was released on LP?earlier this year on Family Vineyard.
Akira Sakata & Chikamorachi: Live at Hungry Brain
In 2009 Family Vineyard released the first U.S. album by Japanese saxophone legend Akira Sakata in more than 20 years. That critically heraldedrelease, Friendly Pants, was with Sakata's long running rhythm crew Chikamorachi -- drummer Chris Corsano (Paul Flaherty Duo, Bjork, Jandek, etc.) and acoustic bassist Darin Gray (On Fillmore, Grand Ulena, Brise-Glace, etc.). This LP is their follow-up. Recorded during the '09 Umbrella Music Festival in Chicago, Live at Hungry Brain is an outrageous document by this brawling avant garde trio. Sakata, on alto/clarinet/ vocals, relentlessly pushes Corsano/Gray into the blackout zone where the body drops out and the spirit takes over. On each piece Sakata seemingly levitates higher into a cosmic zone while blasting out gorgeous melodic shapes -- even when he sings. Those who have followed Corsano and Gray's progression through the American rock, noise & free jazz underground will hear this LP as a pinnacle of their talent. It's an exhilarating, deeply textured and exhausting listen only matched by the outlandish, yet spot-on, cover art by famed Japan illustrator More Rock All Art. Edition of 700 copies.
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.
Alan Licht: YMCA
YMCA is guitarist Alan Licht's first solo release since 2003's A New York Minute double CD (on XI), and his first solo vinyl outing since 1994's long out-of-print Sink the Aging Process (on Siltbreeze). Largely recorded at a 2004 concert at a Cambridge Massachusetts YMCA by Keith Fullerton Whitman, YMCA documents Licht's solo guitar set of the time -- a three-part structured improvisation that moves from mournful, layered sustained tones that sound more like a reed organ than a guitar, to a gently plucked middle section, to a final firestorm of loop processing that is a tour de force of "the changing same." Inspired by his friends Oren Ambarchi and Tetuzi Akiyama's then-current albums (Triste and Don't Forget To Boogie), Licht proposed YMCA to Idea Records to form a kind of trilogy with those releases. With Idea's subsequent demise, Family Vineyard has stepped in to bring this peak performance out as a special limited edition vinyl release, exactly as the artist originally conceived it. Limited to 500 copies.
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.
Loren Connors: Red Mars
Loren Connors has long been heralded as one of the country’s most inimitable guitar voices. Like kindred spirit John Fahey, Connors’ legacy began by quietly self-releasing a series of raw and embryonic LPs. Since the late 1970s, Connors’ use of haunted Delta Blues, minimalism and compositional underpinnings have become an avant-garde style synonymous unto him. Along the way, musicians diverse as Chan Marshall, Jim O’Rourke, Darin Gray, Keiji Haino, Jandek, Alan Licht and others have sought Connors as a musical partner on record and stage.
Red Mars is the first CD of new solo music by the New York City guitarist since 2004. Since that time, Connors' unmistakable electric blues style presented on album has changed somewhat — from multilayer tape-recorded pieces to spontaneous live performances. The five pieces here, a suite to the Red Planet, are filled of the cinematic pacing, lyricism and a palette of phantom tones that hoist Connors to a stunning new peak. Portuguese bassist Margarida Garcia joins Connors on the opening journey, introducing a dialogue unique in its ambience as its entwined mystery and melodies. Features cover artwork by Connors.
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.
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.